Remember those spray bottles with battery-powered fans attached to them? They were a staple of Disney World and Six Flags lines in the summer (and probably still are). You can look at face mists as a highly evolved form of those. Sure, they may not be entirely essential to your skin’s well-being, but they’re a really nice addition to your routine. The fan is just superfluous, though.
The value of a mist is in its ability to deliver a major dose of hydration and nourishment to your skin. Bonus points for the fact that you don’t even have to touch your face. Keeping a mist (or 10) handy in your bathroom is a good first step.
There’s a lot of confusion about the difference between a toner and a mist. The lines have been blurred, and you can really get away with using either (or both if you’re on the Korean more-is-more beauty plan). But while toner is typically a post-cleansing-only ritual, think of mists more like your lipstick: to be kept with you at all times and reapplied often. To hit that point home, here's when we would spray what:
For waking up:
Caudalíe’s Beauty Elixir is the morning mist you want in your life. Grape, bitter orange flower, and rose calm and moisturize, while the scent of mint and rosemary extracts will wake you right up (and/or clear your sinuses in a good way).
For before makeup:
Supergoop's Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50: Sets, yes; refreshes, yes—but there's SPF 50 in here, too! Can you believe?! How thoughtful. It's light and dries fast. There's a slight smell of sunblock, but sometimes you have to pay for the collagen you want to retain in your face.
For any and all mid-workday blues:
Tata Harper’s Hydrating Floral Essence is the one to display—and also use, but that bottle is downright stately. The super-lightweight formula of hyaluronic acid and flower extracts means it is useful as a midday pick-me-up at pretty much any point.
For anytime, anywhere:
You may also want to keep the Glossier Soothing Face Mist around for on-the-go sprays. We're biased, but it’s got rosewater—pretty much the OG face mist ingredient—and aloe to keep skin smooth and hydrated without getting sticky or messing up your makeup. Plus, it comes in a lightweight (and virtually unbreakable!) bottle, so you can toss it in your bag without fear of finding your phone, keys, and wallet drenched in rose-scented water.
For before bed:
True Nature Botanicals’ Pacific Mist is the essential bedside mist. It’s all-natural, so it doesn't feel sticky on your skin while you sleep, and the green and white tea extract, sea kelp extract, and essential oils (tuberose, star jasmine, neroli) double as a slightly sultry before-bed scent. Boyfriends, lovers, and other bedmates have been known to be into it. Just saying.
Photographed by Tom Newton.