Few skincare products are as touch-and-go as a face mist. While the best of them can transform dull, dehydrated skin in seconds, there are also plenty that are about as beneficial as a spray bottle of water.
But don’t let those that fall into the latter category put you off. Done right, face mists can play a huge role in your skincare routine. Whether you’re looking for an extra dose of hydration or something to prep and prime your skin pre-make-up, there are plenty of options out there packed with the same ingredients you would expect from a moisturiser or serum.
To separate the duds from the delights, we got to misting – morning to night, under and over make-up – to find a lightweight formula ideal for regular touch-ups. It needed to be powerful enough to fight winter dryness but not so greasy that it would sabotage our dewiness once the weather hotted up.
Face mists are, by nature, designed for frequent use but we were wary of how many tend to be heavily fragranced and irritating to sensitive skin, so we’ve highlighted only the most soothing products.
On top of this, our best picks are versatile and able to slot into any stage of your beauty routine. These are our most refreshing finds.
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Fresh vitamin nectar antioxidant glow water
We could sing this mist’s praises all day long. Thanks to a blend of vitamins C, E and B5, our skin looked plumper and more glowy from the first spritz, and the effects only improved from there.
We incorporated this into our routine in every way possible – before make-up, after make-up, after skincare, after workouts, in the middle of the day and even first thing in the morning – and it never let us down. Our tester has very oily skin and at no point did it tip our complexion over the edge of dewy into downright greasy. We recommend keeping it in the fridge to make each spray as energising as possible. Also, it smells delicious.
WBCo prep mist coconut facial spray
We can’t even begin to explain how good this smells. It’s basically a summer holiday with limitless pina coladas bottled up into one 30ml glass container.
The product itself is just as soothing as the scent – it mists evenly and absorbs in a matter of seconds, leaving you dewy rather than wet. As it’s formulated with aloe vera, it’s perfect for calming angry skin and didn’t irritate any breakouts or trigger excess oiliness, even when used throughout the day. It’s also multifunctional, as it’s designed to work well with soap to help you nail the soap-brow technique. A great all-rounder that’s slightly addictive.
Clinique moisture surge face spray
The moisture surge range has been the jewel in Clinique’s crown for years, so we were excited to give its spray counterpart a whirl. Thankfully it didn’t disappoint, providing surprisingly intense hydration for such a fine mist.
It sprays evenly on to skin and doesn’t leave any sticky residue. Those with dry or dehydrated skin will benefit most, but even our tester’s oily complexion saw a marked improvement, showing a healthy, non-greasy glow when used to prime skin and refresh make-up every few hours.
Sunday Riley pink drink firming resurfacing essence
Like everything from Sunday Riley, this spray feels like a luxurious treat. The price tag does reflect that, but thankfully it has a powerful ingredient list to back it up.
This includes acetyl tetrapeptide-9 and acetyl tetrapeptide-11, which might sound like scientific jargon but are basically peptides that help promote firmer skin, as well as a cocktail of various ceramides, antioxidants and vitamin extracts that combine to calm irritated complexions. Our tester found it refreshing and hydrating, but where it made the biggest difference was easing redness. After several weeks of use, it seemed to even out patches of rough skin too.
Avène thermal spring water spray for sensitive skin
OK, yes, admittedly this is just water, but hear us out. This is Avène thermal spring water, which has been clinically proven to reduce skin sensitivity in those of all ages. You won’t find a mist more refreshing or gentler on easily irritated skin. While it has plenty of uses, we used it to ease redness (a godsend after long walks in the winter cold), prep skin before make-up, as a substitute for a toner, and to refresh our complexion over the course of the day. It may not be as moisturising as other entries on this list, but it’s definitely the most soothing.
Tata Harper hydrating floral essence
This mist is as intensely nourishing as you’d expect from such a pricey product. Thanks to sources of natural hyaluronic acid, it locks in moisture and boosts the radiance of your complexion with repeated use. It’s oil-free, so doesn’t leave a greasy residue and managed to not irritate our tester’s ongoing breakout. While it works well underneath and on top of make-up, we liked this best as part of our skincare routine, as it helped relieve tightness after exfoliating and cleansing. Like everything from Tata Harper, it’s 100 per cent organic and, although it does have a mildly off-putting scent, this disappears in seconds.
Kate Somerville uncompliKated SPF
You could have the best skincare routine in the world but it’s all pointless without SPF. While we apply it religiously each morning, keeping on top of reapplication can be tricky – especially when you’re wearing make-up – so products like this are a blessing.
Misted finely, it settles quickly both into bare skin and a full face of product. It has a slight mattifying effect, making it perfect for oily complexions come summertime, and even helps set your make-up. Unlike some ambitious SPF products, it doesn’t clog pores and feels lightweight rather than sticky. We weren’t a big fan of the smell but it’s more than worth it and it disappears after just a few minutes. This is SPF 50 but be sure to apply every two hours to get the full effects.
Glow Hub calm and soothe serum mist
You’d be hard pressed to find a skincare brand much cuter than Glow Hub right now. Aesthetics aside, this mist is designed to calm your skin. The ingredients list is basically a rundown of skincare’s most soothing ingredients, including hempseed oil, jojoba extract and hyaluronic acid.
Not only does this make quick work of tempering angry skin but it has a lovely scent. It dries surprisingly quickly considering it applies as more of a spray than a mist and it sits comfortably with no residue, despite its thickness. We used it pre-moisturiser, and throughout the day, to freshen up.
Garnier rich argan hydrating mist
Argan oil always smells incredible and this mist is no exception. Formulated with organic cornflower water, it’s deeply hydrating and did a great job at alleviating post-cleansing tightness. We were concerned how argan oil would treat acne-prone skin but regular mists throughout the day didn’t trigger any breakouts. It’s also a vegan formula and 99 per cent of the ingredients are of natural origins.
Dr Barbara Sturm hydrating face mist
This isn’t the most affordable face mist in the world, but it’s formulated by world-renowned aesthetic doctor and the brand’s namesake, Dr Barbara Sturm, and contains her optimal formulation of hyaluronic acid molecules. Science’s favourite ingredient for long-lasting hydration, this makes it ideal for misting on before applying serum or moisturiser. This extended the dewy stage of our skincare (which is usually pretty short with oily skin) and visibly reduced the redness of an active breakout. At 50ml per bottle, we would have expected slightly more product for the price, but we were more than impressed with what we got. It sells out quickly, so if it is currently unavailable, there’s also an option to sign up to a mailing list to be notified once it’s back in stock.
Frank Body anti-angry face mist
Don’t let the brand name fool you – Frank Body is just as good at skincare as it is it’s famous body scrubs. This mist is mainly composed of aloe vera and rose water, both of which are renowned for their soothing abilities. The formula is aimed at angry, sensitive skin and does a fine job of treating it, but we found it worked equally well on all skin types. It’s extremely hydrating and makes an impressive primer and setting spray. As it also contains caffeine, it gives skin a much-needed mid-morning boost.
Dior Backstage airflash radiance mist
Inspired by the beauty secrets of Dior’s runway shows, the brand’s backstage line is renowned for its innovative, professional quality products. This spray is as unique as the rest of the range, misting over skin to add radiance and perfect your complexion.
We were unsure how to use it at first, but soon got to grips with it. Applied before make-up, it locks down products better than pretty much every primer we’ve ever tried. Foundation applied first thing looked near perfect by the end of the day and it also gave an easy glow to make-up-free skin. We absolutely loved the smell too.
De Mamiel dewy facial mist
Made from a blend of herbal extracts, essential oils, phytonutrients and a healthy dose of hyaluronic acid, we were drawn in by this product’s promise of being a “serum in a mist”. While it does apply like a mist, it feels like something more intensive and serum-like is happening to your skin. Although refreshing, we didn’t feel the need to reapply it too often. The hydration is long-lasting and had a nice plumping effect that continued to improve over the course of two weeks. We recommend using it either on a make-up-free day or as a finishing mist, as it didn’t sit well directly beneath foundation or concealer.
The verdict: Face mists
Within a matter of days, the Fresh vitamin nectar antioxidant glow water (£19, Fresh.com) became a staple in our skincare routine, which is why it’s our top choice. The WBCo. prep mist coconut facial spray (£10, Westbarnco.com) is also a great budget choice (and would be our number one recommendation based on scent alone), while the Kate Somerville uncompliKated SPF (£34, Katesomerville.co.uk) offers the most practical benefits.
For more products that are kind to your skin, read our review of the 10 best moisturisers for sensitive skin
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