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Of all the skin care products out there, facial mist could be the most misunderstood. You might assume its role is limited to plain old hydration. But don’t sell this product short — it does a lot more than you might think.

Turns out, the face mist actually pulls double duty. It plays the role of both beauty product and the kind of self-care ritual you can enjoy just about anywhere.

In a bid to find out what exactly makes a good facial mist so lovely — and if it’s really doing more than giving a quick boost of moisture — I quizzed skin care experts, scoured the internet, and tested dozens of options.

Read on for everything I learned, including recommendations for the best facial mists to have on hand this season and beyond.

As you might imagine, facial mists are products that are misted onto your skin. And they’ve been around for thousands of years.

Carolina Prioglio, founder of Maison/Made, explains that “facial mists were generally used between the cleansing and moisturizing steps of a routine because people used to clean their faces with bar soap, which is very alkaline. Face mists would then provide a quick rebalance of the skin’s pH.”

She says the role of a facial mist in a skin care regimen has stayed constant, and Gretchen Frieling, MD, a board certified dermatopathologist, agrees. “Facial mists can be used… to prepare the skin for maximum absorption of subsequently applied serums, moisturizers, and oils,” Frieling explains.

In addition to being refreshing, soothing, and cooling, a good facial mist imparts a number of other perks:

  • Provides aromatherapy. Some facial mists contain plant extracts and essential oils to provide aromatherapy benefits.
  • Enhances mood. A facial mist is its own kind of mini self-care ritual. There’s just something about that fragrant, cooling mist that feels so refreshing and even indulgent — especially when you’re spritzing on the go.
  • Gives a boost of antioxidants. Some mists include antioxidants, like vitamin C, vitamin E, or ferulic acid.
  • Blocks blue light. Benefits depend on the mist you choose, but some contain ingredients that are meant to block the effects of environmental stressors, like blue light.
  • Sets makeup. A quick spritz after applying a face full of makeup can give you a dewy finish.

To apply, you can either mist straight onto your face and neck, or apply like a toner, using cotton rounds.

These days, there are facial mists promising to deliver all kinds of results. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the sprays aren’t a cure-all. They’re mostly designed to hydrate skin, though that doesn’t mean water is the only appropriate ingredient.

Here are Prioglio’s suggestions of what to look for by skin type:

Frieling adds that aloe barbadensis, or aloe leaf, is a gentle ingredient that helps increase moisture retention and hydration. Hyaluronic acid and niacinamide are also both great additions for hydration.

As for what to avoid, it’s pretty easy. Frieling recommends avoiding drying alcohols, like:

  • simple alcohol
  • SD alcohol
  • ethyl alcohol

If you’re prone to topical allergies, make sure to scan the ingredient list before spritzing.

Best single-origin facial mist

Maison/Made Rose Geranium Biodynamic Hydrosol

  • Price: $$

I love true rose scents, and this artisan-distilled, single-plant hydrosol absolutely delivers. It’s made with a single ingredient — Biodynamic certified Pelargonium capitatum steam-distilled hyrolat, which is a fancy way of describing the water that’s produced when rose geranium is steam distilled. That level of simplicity means it’s a soothing, hydrating option for all skin types.

Honestly, wed use it for the scent alone, but have found it’s a great product for that critical “in-between” step — after oil cleansing and before a serum or moisturizer.

This is one I reach for during the day when a mental reset is needed. Truly, this mist is its own little moment of Zen.

Most aromatic facial & body mist

Bathing Culture Golden Hour Hydrosol

  • Price: $

Bathing Culture’s Golden Hour Hydrosol is the kind of facial mist that will hook you for life.

“This is the one I keep in my bag for a quick spritz of ‘me time’ when I’m at the lake, on the beach, or on the sidelines of the soccer pitch watching my kids play,” a member of our team writes.

It smells incredible, thanks to the blend of Moroccan neroli and Bulgarian, Moroccan, and Turkish rose oils. Those oils are blended with distilled water to create a delicate, refreshing mist that serves as a natural toner for all skin types.

Plus, rose oils are associated with relaxation and anti-anxiety effects, making the aromatherapy benefits of this fragrant hydrosol a real benefit.

Best facial mist for toning

cocokind Rosewater Toner

  • Price: $

This is a rosewater mist that’s actually sold as a toner to balance the skin’s pH. Try it one of three ways — mist directly on the skin to refresh throughout the day, to set makeup, or apply to a cotton round and use it directly after cleansing. Either way, the scent is on point, and the light, airy mist leaves a hydrating finish for all skin types.

Plus, the brand’s commitment to sustainability is a big plus. This mist comes in a glass bottle from a U.S. manufacturer to reduce the company’s carbon footprint.

Best facial mist to calm irritation

EiR NYC Hydrating Face Mist

  • Price: $$

Five ingredients, including aloe and rose-infused witch hazel, are blended into this hydrating face mist, which doubles as a toner to calm irritated skin and reduce redness. Tannins in the witch hazel serve as a natural astringent to remove excess oil and balance the skin’s pH, while rose hydrosol and aloe are naturally hydrating.

This mist is particularly soothing after a hot day, and it can also be used on a cotton round to remove makeup and mineral sunscreen. Try it after workouts for a quick, refreshing touch-up.

The vegan formula is designed for use on all skin types.

Most hydrating facial mist

Mad Hippie Hydrating Nutrient Mist

  • Price: $

This is billed as a mist, but it’s the thickest, frothiest product on this list. All the better to deliver powerhouse ingredients, like sodium pyrrolidone carboxylic acid (PCA) and sodium hyaluronate, the salt of hyaluronic acid, for serious hydration.

The nutrient-rich mist also includes a number of antioxidants, including vitamin C, ginkgo biloba, resveratrol, green tea, and pomegranate seed extract. Mad Hippie describes this mist as an alternative to toner that will calm redness and irritation.

It’s an ideal base for serums, moisturizers, and SPF, and you can spritz it on arms, neck, and chest, too.

Best CBD-infused facial mist

Vertly Soothing Floral Face Mist

  • Price: $$$

This floral face mist from Vertly is a shining example of the brand’s garden-to-bottle approach to skin care.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the ingredients, along with slow-extracted calendula, rose, jasmine, geranium, and aloe. It’s a potent, antioxidant-rich combination that makes for an ultra-soothing and fragrant botanical boost with a laundry list of skin benefits — reducing inflammation, minimizing pores, and hydrating the skin.

Try this all-natural, organic mist as a toner, to set makeup, or anytime you need a botanical pick-me-up, but keep in mind it does contain CBD.

The fine, consistent mist leaves skin feeling refreshed and hydrated. This one is particularly soothing after time in the sun.

Best facial mist for blue light protection

ILIA Blue Light Protect + Set Mist

  • Price: $$

This is a multitasking vegan mist designed to hydrate, set makeup, and help protect skin from blue light and pollution. According to the brand, the mist helps neutralize free radicals caused by blue light from devices like smartphones, laptops, and TVs before they can damage the skin. Meanwhile, anti-pollution marine actives are a line of defense against environmental pollutants.

As a writers and editors who spends a lot of time on our laptops, it’s the protection from blue light that really appeals to us. And, while I can’t say for sure if it’s really doing the trick, I can tell you that I love the ultra-fine mist, delicate lavender scent, and nonsticky texture of this facial mist.

Ilia recommends using this as the last step in your morning ritual to set your makeup and ready your skin for the day.

Best facial mist for dry skin

Pai Century Flower Lotus & Orange Blossom Soothing Tonic

  • Price: $$

A refreshing spritz of this soothing tonic means a delicate wash of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids courtesy of the living waters from the lotus flower. Pai describes living waters as the water that circulates in plants, which helps them absorb mineral and antioxidants.

The nutrient-rich water, which helps improve skin tone and texture, is mixed with orange blossom to refresh and brighten. The combination makes for a light, beautifully scented mist that dries almost instantly to a soft finish.

This is a soothing option for dry, sensitive skin prone to redness after cleansing or throughout the day.

Best anti-aging facial mist

Soyier Skin Toner Hydratant

  • Price: $$$

This is another aloe-based toner that doubles as a facial mist.

The mist has a delicate white tea fragrance and some impressive ingredients for hydrating and cleansing, including DMAE, agave, sand verbena, and Joshua tree root extracts. DMAE works to combat signs of aging and soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It can also enhance skin tone and texture. The botanical ingredients are antioxidants that minimize the aging effects of free radicals.

Soyier’s hydrating mist can be used on all skin types and works after cleansing or as needed during the day for a refreshing spritz.

Best facial mist for stressed skin

Tower 28 SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray

  • Price: $$

This pH balanced spray is made with hypochlorous acid (HOCI) for gentle, effective protection against inflammation and bacteria. When misted onto the skin, this hero ingredient triggers an immune boost, prompting the skin to heal irritations. That makes SOS a great choice for stressed or acne-prone skin. It’s pH balanced and formulated for facial skin, but you can use it to relieve irritations anywhere on the body.

Soothing, purifying, and clinically proven, the spray also has the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance, so it’s safe for even the most sensitive skin types. It makes a nice cooling spritz after sweaty workouts.

Best facial mist for sunny days

Vacation Super Spritzer

  • Price: $

A tropical holiday in a bottle — that sums up this hydrating face mist perfectly.

Chamomile, aloe vera, and coconut water, along with niacinamide and hyaluronic acid, make for a soothing, hydrating mist that’s formulated for use in the sun. That means no photo-sensitizing essential oils. It’s also designed to be nourishing to thirsty skin, with the aromatherapy benefits of chamomile and vanilla. And bonus — it’s dermatologist approved.

Keep this one stashed in your beach tote for sure. (Just remember to pack the SPF, too.)

Best facial mist for aromatherapy

I’m Outside

  • Price: $

This aromatic essence is both a face and body mist, and it’s less for hydration than it is for an instant mood, immunity, and energy boost.

I’m Outside is described as “forest bathing in a bottle,” a surprising alternative to spending time in nature when you just can’t get away.

If your jungle is more urban than anything else, get a good dose of tree oil phytoncides (antimicrobial compounds derived from trees, which may boost immunity), vitamin D3, fulvic acid, and microalgae with a simple spritz.

I was skeptical at first, but this mist instantly takes me to my happy place — the redwood forests of northern California — even when I’m stuck inside on my laptop.

Best facial mist for dully skin

True Botanicals Nutrient Mist

  • Price: $$

Dealing with dull skin? True Botanicals calls its Nutrient Mist a daily multivitamin for your skin.

This hypoallergenic mist is ultra-hydrating and made with a mix of antioxidants to help renew and replenish the skin. Instead of water, it’s made with a green and white tea base for skin-soothing, toning benefits. Algae extract works to protect skin from environmental stressors, and kombucha helps restore skin’s pH so other skin care products can be absorbed more effectively.

Mist it onto the face, neck, and chest after cleansing, or whenever your skin needs a restoring nutrient boost.

Best facial mist for oily skin

Herbivore Botanicals Jasmine Green Tea Balancing Toner

  • Price: $$

This oil-control face mist is infused with green tea, white willow bark extract, and aloe vera to help balance and clarify oily, combination, and blemish-prone skin. Jasmine water helps soothe skin and reduces the appearance of redness, and it’s the reason for this refreshing mist’s delicate floral scent.

Herbivore makes its name on its commitment to being an ultra-clean, 100 percent synthetic-free brand, which means this product has zero dyes, artificial fragrances, or synthetic preservatives. It’s also vegan and cruelty-free.

After cleansing, spritz onto the face and then pat gently into skin to reap the benefits of this antioxidant-rich mist.

Best pore-minimizing facial mist

Codex Beauty Labs Antu Radiance Mist

  • Price: $$$

This invigorating mist is designed to hydrate, smooth, and refine the appearance of pores with a powerful antioxidant mix. It’s blended with quillaja bark extract, mombin plum, and mango to moisturize, tone, and firm the skin.

It has a light, citrusy fragrance, and is designed for all skin types. It’s particularly effective for dull, dry skin.

As an added bonus, Codex products meet an impressive number of standards and certifications, including Leaping Bunny and the Environmental Working Group’s EWG Verified Mark.

Best dual-use facial mist

Knours Be Kind Double Duty Mist

  • Price: $$

With its clever formulation, this face mist really does pull double duty. Layers of soothing aloe vera leaf juice and replenishing jojoba oil separate naturally in the bottle, so you can meet your skin’s need in the moment.

Extra sensitive or oilier than usual? Don’t shake the bottle, and you’ll get a fine mist that soothes and hydrates with aloe and botanical extracts. Feeling a little too dry or flaky? Shake the bottle to incorporate the aloe vera water, jojoba oil, and sugarcane extracts for an extra hydrating mist that will absorb into your skin with a dewy glow.

Knours products include no endocrine-disrupting chemicals in their formulas.

A good facial mist is as much a mini self-care ritual as it is a beauty product, so don’t overlook this option in the world of skin care.

Try one to prep your skin before serums and moisturizers or use it during the day as a simple way to refresh and reset. Just remember to shake the bottle before spritzing.

Jessica Timmons has been working as a freelance writer since 2007, covering everything from pregnancy and parenting to cannabis, chiropractic, stand-up paddling, fitness, martial arts, home decor, and much more. Her work has appeared in mindbodygreen, Pregnancy & Newborn, Modern Parents Messy Kids, and Coffee + Crumbs. See what she’s up to now at jessicatimmons.com.