Whether you’re entering the tenth hour of a long-haul flight or hitting that 4 p.m. slump at work, a face mist can help refresh your skin — and maybe even your mind. As Tavi Gevinson told us, one spritz of her favorite Mario Badescu Facial Spray is a “reset button during a tedious, overwhelming, or high-concentration day.” Strategist senior writer Liza Corsillo agrees, writing that she reaches for her pocket-size mister just as that 4 p.m. work slump hits in. But even on low-concentration days, a quick mist can be just as rejuvenating, whether you’re waiting on the subway platform when it’s 100 degrees, standing in a long Sweetgreen line to pick up your lunch, or going straight from a long day at work to dinner with friends.
Beyond their mind-refreshing capabilities, though, face mists are actually a very versatile skin-care product. “Facial mists are not just overpriced water to spray on your skin,” explains Dr. Stacy Chimento, a dermatologist at Riverchase Dermatology in Miami. “Many facial mists contain hydrating ingredients such as glycerin or hyaluronic acid.” Dr. Michelle Park, a dermatologist at Washington Square Dermatology, agrees, adding that they can also “address a variety of concerns such as aging, oily skin, and inflammation, as well as provide UV protection and even set makeup.” For these reasons, Park says adding a mist to your daily skin-care routine wouldn’t be a bad idea. If you do, one way to work in a mist is to spritz after cleansing and before applying a toner, serum, or moisturizing cream, as face mists are thought to enhance the effects of moisturizing products (and some of those products will in turn help lock in any moisture from a mist itself). As Park notes, you can also use a mist after you’ve applied makeup as a finishing touch to set everything in its place.
If you’ve never shopped for a face mist, you’ll soon discover there are plenty to choose from and that different ones can serve different purposes. To help find the best face mists for a variety of uses, we spoke to Chimento, Park, and six more experts — including a beauty-store owner, a spa representative, and a beauty editor — about their favorites. The nine face mists they recommend below will all, at the very least, hydrate skin. But some offer more benefits — from soothing redness, to prepping your face for makeup, to keeping skin oxygenated on a long flight — should you have specific needs.
Best thermal-water face mist
For a simple mist that is truly just water, try this one from Avène, which Park and Glossier brand strategist Emily Ferber both recommend. Ferber says she has an “alarming number of bottles” of it and that it’s “excellent for keeping cool and refreshing, particularly if you’re not looking to add more product to your face.” Park adds that it’s “great for sensitive skin or people with rosacea or eczema,” thanks to its proprietary thermal mineral water that “calms down inflammation and restores the skin barrier.” While Park says it hydrates well, she recommends “using a facial moisturizer after spraying this to lock in the moisture.” Ferber notes that because this is just thermal water, it may not do quite as much work as some of the nutrient-infused sprays on this list — but it does satisfy the French pharmacy–chic aesthetic. “I live for this packaging,” she says.
Best face mist with essential oils
If you want a mist that will hydrate your face and enhance your glow, consider this “beauty elixir” from Caudalie that Chimento and Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, a celebrity dermatologist and the founder of PFRANKMD & Skin Salon, recommend. Chimento explains this mist is “known for its clarifying effect.” It contains essential oils, including grape extract, which moisturizes the skin; rosemary, which serves as a toner; rose, which settles and soothes the skin; and peppermint, which Frank says “helps to tighten pores and reduce inflammation and breakouts.” Both dermatologists agree that this mist will also come in handy before and after applying makeup. “It sets makeup and primes the skin for makeup, giving it a glow,” says Frank. Summing it up, Chimento assures that it “works wonders for setting makeup and refreshing the skin.”
Best calming face mist
Herbivore’s Rose Hibiscus face mist comes recommended by both Chimento and Park for its calming abilities. “This one is great for irritated skin because it has rosewater, which is anti-inflammatory,” explains Park. “It can calm the skin and reduce redness.” Other ingredients include soothing aloe vera, hibiscus flower (which Chimento calls “a great exfoliating agent”), coconut water, and dermatologist favorite hyaluronic acid (“a well-known humectant that attracts moisture,” says Park). The combination of these ingredients makes for a “hydrating and soothing” mist that “enhances the skin’s natural glow,” according to Chimento.
Best face mist for acne-prone skin
Here’s a “highly effective yet affordable face mist” — the cheapest on this list, in fact — that Chimento loves, especially if your face is known to break out. “It hydrates due to the ingredient glycerin and helps reduce inflammation for acne-prone skin,” she says. This mist also contains turmeric, which, according to the brand, is an antioxidant with calming properties.
Best scented face mist
If you’re looking for a mist that also offers some aromatherapy, Frank recommends this lavender oil–infused mist specifically for its scent, which he calls “calming” and says promotes a sense of well-being. “It brightens the skin instantly with moisture and a dewy glow,” says Frank. (For another nice-smelling option, you could try the damask-rose-infused mist Frank developed with Madonna.)
Best splurge-worthy (after-sun) face mist
Shen Beauty founder Jessica Richards recommends this luxurious mist for use after being in the sun. “The aloe in this is super-helpful after getting burned on the beach and makes my skin feel less parched,” she says, adding, “It’s ideal for hydration.” Given its higher price, she just cautions to think twice before throwing it in your Dopp kit when packing for a flight. “I don’t love to travel on planes with it because I’m always scared it’s going to be taken at the security checkpoint,” Richards told us.
Best rosewater face mist
If you want a rosewater mist with fewer ingredients than Gevinson’s beloved Mario Badescu spray, try this one recommended by Sadie Adams, the founder of Take Care Face & Body. She calls Sun Potion’s rosewater mist, which is basically just purified water infused with Vrindavan-rose essential oil, “simple and potent,” adding, “it soothes the skin from overstimulation, and it is hydrating.” We’ve written about the benefits of rosewater mists before — one writer even found they helped clear up her eczema.
Best cucumber face mist
You may know the old cucumber-on-the-eyes trick, but cucumber can also be an equally soothing, anti-inflammatory ingredient in a face mist. Marsha-Ann Boyea, the owner of Cynergy Spa in Brooklyn, says her spa always recommends this spritz, which she calls an “all-natural cool drink of water.” The mist is formulated with moisture-binding nutrients along with heavy water and the humectant sodium PCA, which adds moisture to the skin. Boyea explains that the “heavy water” in the mist is deuterium oxide, which is derived from seawater and “retains moisture in the skin tissue longer than regular water.” The spritz also has hyaluronic acid and, of course, cucumber-fruit oil, which Boyea calls “soothing and cooling.”
Best face mist for flying
Kim Zimmerman of Rescue Spa in Philadelphia calls this mist from cult skin-care brand Biologique Recherche “the perfect travel companion” — and not just because it comes in a TSA-friendly 1.7-ounce bottle. As she explains, “it’s oxygenating,” the skin-care term for when a product delivers additional oxygen to your skin, making it especially refreshing after a few hours in stale airplane air. The mist also “contains vitamin C,” Zimmerman says, “so it leaves the skin hydrated, refreshed, and glowy.”
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