How to Use a Face Mist (and Why You Need One!)

Do you use a face mist? You might be missing out on these ways to apply it!
Publish date:
Updated on

My face is, like, SO dewy today. That's because I started off my morning with a facial at the International Dermal Institute—a.k.a. the place where Dermalogica skin therapists go to train, and where media are sometimes invited for the hands-down BEST skin treatments in the city. (It's not open to the public, unfortch—but you can get the same 75-minute Dermalogica facial at any spa that offers them. I just feel more special getting to go to Dermalogica HQ.)

Anyway, today my therapist (as in the skin kind) got to talking to me about facial mists, because she used one on me that definitely contributed to the aforementioned dewy glow. And just last week I was talking to Janine about facial mists too... and the week before that I had some arrive in the mail. So let's just say that this product category is on my mind lately. And there are a few important things I want to tell you about it. Ready?

Not all facial mists are created equal

That's because some are actually straight thermal or mineral water. These are the old-school mists that have been around for ages—surely you're familiar with them?

Think La Roche-Posay:

Or Evian:

Then there are the new-generation sprays, which have water but also hydrating ingredients like essential oils, botanical extracts or glycerin.

Dermalogica's Ultracalming Mist, which I'm modelling today, is one example:

Another one is this Caudalie Grape Water Soothing Moisturizer Spray, which just crossed my desk:

Yet another one is Boscia's Balancing Facial Tonic (gosh I've been talking up Boscia a lot lately, haven't I?):

Anyway, why should you care that there are two different types of facial mists? Because if you use one kind the wrong way, you could be drying out instead of hydrating your skin, that's why.

The right way to use a thermal or mineral water mist

So you know how before those airplane liquid limits came into play, many women (including moi) would bring a thermal water mist in their carry-ons and spray it liberally throughout the flight? Yeah, that was not really the right thing to do. It's not even the right thing to do on the ground.

The reason is because without any hydrating ingredients to bind the moisture to your skin, the water just evaporates—making your skin actually DRIER than it was to start with. Oops! This may be fine if you've got oily skin, but I think even oily skin needs hydration, so I wouldn't recommend it.

Instead, the way to use a thermal or mineral mist is to...

1. Hold it about five or six inches away from your face and spritz.

2. Let it sit for maybe a minute or so, and then (VERY IMPORTANT) blot off the excess with a tissue.

It actually tells you to do this on the labels (see here and here), but if you're like me, you didn't read those. Again, oops! In fact, it's probably a big beauty industry-wide oops, because back when I worked on staff, every magazine beauty editor I knew, including me, facially-misted all day long. And none of us blotted!

Of course, you don't need to worry about this if you've got one of the new hydrating mists. I asked my Dermalogica skin therapist about this again today to be sure, and she confirmed it. FACT.

Other ways to use your facial mist

So besides the method mentioned above (as a mid-day skin-refreshing pick-me-up on top of your makeup), there are a few other applications for these handy prodz...

1. Underneath your moisturizer

I have GOT to start doing this. Every time I write the annual dry skin/winter skincare magazine story, I'm reminded by whichever dermatologist I'm interviewing that it's verrrry important to apply your body lotion on damp skin straight out of the bath or shower. The moisture gets locked in better that way. So why aren't we doing the same thing for our faces?

This was another tip that I picked up today. After cleansing, give your skin a thorough mist and then without patting dry, apply your moisturizer of choice straight on top. Because you're trapping the water with another product, it doesn't matter which type of facial mist you use here.

2. To get a "baby texture" with your makeup

Doesn't "baby skin" sound like a desirable thing to have? I do believe I've written about this on here before, but let me repeat myself. The great Gordon Espinet (VP of makeup artistry for MAC) introduced me to this term, and it means skin that's like you're on holiday at the beach, all plump and hydrated minus the tan and the colour.

The way to get it, he says, is (you guessed it) with a facial mist. Apparently, for every layer (of moisturizer, primer, makeup, whatever) that you put on your skin, you should mist. I guess now would be a good time to mention that M.A.C's facial mist is called Fix +:

Aim to saturate your skin but not make it dripping wet... and then layer on your other prodz as normal. If you try this, let me know if you think it makes a difference!

3. To set your makeup and remove the powdery finish

This is the way I typically use MY facial mists. (Although I'm going to be more diligent now about options #1 and #2.) Anyway, I absolutely despise the look of a powdery, makeup-y complexion—even though I use my HD powder daily on the T-zone. Which is why I mist! As the last step in my routine, it totally cuts out the chalky matte-ness and makes it look more like I'm not wearing makeup... just healthy, dewy, normal skin.

If you try this, you'll want to make sure you're using a hydrating spray like I mentioned above, and also one that's dispersing the water in a fine, even mist instead of big squirts. Don't hold the spray too close or it'll make your makeup smear. I actually like to use the same trick you do with fragrance—mist a cloud into the air and then walk through it. Repeat as necessary.

Tell me:

Do you use a facial mist? (Which one?)

Did you know that the thermal ones can dry you out?

Got any other ways you like to use your mist? Tell us!

Related Articles