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 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 skincare product. They may look like water, but many pack dermatologist-favorite ingredients like hyaluronic acid and vitamin C. You can use them after cleansing and before applying a toner, serum, or moisturizing cream, as face mists are thought to enhance the effects of moisturizing products (some of those products will help lock in any moisture from the mist itself). You can also use them after you’ve applied makeup as a finishing touch to set everything in its place.
There are plenty of mists to choose from, and different ones can serve different purposes. The seven experts we talked to recommended 10 mists without overlapping on a single one, showcasing how pretty much all the mists will benefit your skin by hydrating it (at the very least), but some offer more specific benefits — soothing redness, helping you fall asleep, keeping skin oxygenated on a long flight — depending on your specific need. Below, the four dermatologists and aestheticians, the beauty-store owner, the spa representative, and the beauty editor we spoke with share their favorite face mists for practically any occasion.
Best thermal-water mist
For a simple mist that is truly just water, try Into the Gloss editor-at-large Emily Ferber’s pick, which she says she has an “alarming number of bottles” of and is “excellent for keeping cool and refreshing, particularly if you’re not looking to add more product to your face.” Ferber notes that since this is purely a thermal water, it may not do quite as much work as some of the more nutrient-infused sprays on this list — but it does satisfy the French pharmacy–chic aesthetic. “I live for this packaging,” Ferber says.
Best face mist with essential oils
If you want a mist that will hydrate your face and enhance your glow, Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, a celebrity dermatologist and founder of PFRANKMD & Skin Salon, likes Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir. It contains essential oils like peppermint, which he says “helps to tighten pores and reduce inflammation and breakouts.” This one can also come in handy before and after applying makeup. “It sets makeup and primes the skin for makeup, giving the skin a glow,” says Frank.
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 luxury after-sun mist
Shen Beauty founder Jessica Richards recommends this 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. The higher price point might make you think twice before throwing it in your Dopp kit before traveling, though. “It’s ideal for hydration, but 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 says.
Best (less expensive) after-sun mist
Richards also “loves Bronty Refresh,” a vegan, cruelty-free mist packed with antioxidants Kakadu plum and mountain-pepper leaf, along with aloe and coconut. “It’s super-hydrating,” she says. In addition to quenching parched skin, the aloe will soothe it after a long day in the sun. And though it’s still not cheap, it’s almost half the price of Richards’s luxury after-sun pick.
Best rosewater mist
If you want a rosewater mist with fewer ingredients than Gevinson’s beloved Mario Badescu spray, try this one recommended by Sadie Adams, 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 face mist with hydrasols
This mist contains “hydrasols,” which came up a lot when we talked to skin-care experts. What are they, exactly? Molly Lamb, an aesthetician and founder of Brooklyn’s Skin by Molly, describes them as “basically plant water that keeps the skin hydrated and moist” and packs “a lot of nutrients.” Lamb’s favorite mist with hydrasols is DMK Herb & Mineral Moisture Spray, which she calls “hands-down the best face mist”: “It has 32 different hydrasols and is designed to mimic your skin’s sweat — sounds gross, but we want this!” Lamb explains that sweat (along with oils) makes up part of the skin’s acid mantle, which is actually what protects skin and keeps it healthy. “The Herb & Mineral Spray has also been polarized, meaning the positive and negative ions have been reversed,” she says. “This helps to carry creams deep into the voids of the skin.”
Best cucumber face mist
You know the old cucumber-on-the-eyes trick, but cucumber can be an equally soothing, anti-inflammatory ingredient in a face mist. Marsha-Ann Boyea, owner of Cynergy Spa in Brooklyn, says her spa always recommends Rhonda Allison Cucumber Spritz, which she calls an “all-natural ‘cool drink of water.’” The mist boasts moisture-binding nutrients along with heavy water and the humectant sodium PCA, which adds moisture to your 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 spray also has hyaluronic acid, a dermatologist favorite for moisturizing skin, 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. “It’s oxygenating and contains vitamin C, so it leaves the skin hydrated, refreshed, and glowy,” Zimmerman says. Oxygenation — the skin-care term for when a product delivers additional oxygen to your skin — would be especially refreshing after a few hours in stale airplane air.
Best nighttime facial mist
Richards says that before going to sleep she wants to give her skin an extra dose of moisture, and her go-to way to do that is with Bronty’s Sleep facial mist. “The vitamin C helps to brighten, while the Kakadu plum hydrates and the lavender puts my mind at ease.” Shen Beauty suggests using this one with moisturizing hyaluronic acid, ensuring a particularly glow-y next morning.
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