There’s little that feels more refreshing during a hot day than a quick spritz of your favourite face mist. With an innovative delivery system and a lilting fragrance to accompany you as you go about your day, you’ll likely have a hard time finding excuses to not use them all day long. But beyond cooling the visage, how good is your face mist at replenishing your skin’s reserves of hydration? What is the right order to use it in to avoid drying out your skin further and which is the common ingredient that is stripping your skin of its natural moisture? We investigated, and here’s what we learned.The science behind how face mists work
From a scientific standpoint, face mists are more than just a non-boring delivery system for active ingredients. “For skin to feel healthy and youthful, it needs to be well-hydrated,” explains noted dermatologist Dr Jamuna Pai, and adds, “A face mist helps our skin to do just that with skin-hydrating ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, thermal spring water, rose water and essential oils in a spray bottle. The humectants in the mist give an instant refreshing feel and dewiness to the skin. As soon as the skin gets hydrated, it plumps up and starts to emit a healthy radiance.”
In the quest for hydrated skin, certain skincare saviours stand out more than others—think humectants like lactic acid, glycerin and hyaluronic acid that improve the absorption of moisturisers. You’ll also find rose water, coconut water and cucumber water pulling in frequent cameos in the facial mist aisle. When shopping for one, Dr Pai also recommends looking for squalene, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and other plant extracts. Dr Rashmi Shetty, a Mumbai- and Hyderabad-based dermatologist, adds, “Newer formulas offer key vitamins that help with hydration, thereby serving as a handy alternative to a serum for those with oily skin.”How effective are face mists, really?
For starters, taking out the time to spritz on a facial mist during the day will nudge your hydration levels in the right direction, but there are limits on what it can realistically achieve. Dr Shetty says, “Face mists can hydrate, calm, soothe, repair the barrier function and act as a protector for the skin. If you live in a dehydrated environment, it serves as a handy option to keep the skin hydrated throughout the day.” However, the catch is to ensure that you are using it in the right manner to avoid drying out the skin further.
The biggest no-no? Simply spritzing a face mist on top of makeup during the day. Dr Pai explains, “A face mist is best used on freshly cleansed skin. You may feel the need to spray the mist during the day in between work and travel, but it will only sit on the makeup and dirt without really penetrating into the skin.” So while they are designed to hydrate and moisturise the skin, using it incorrectly or on the wrong skin type could defeat the purpose, she believes.
As a rule of thumb, it helps to follow her handy guide: “Before spraying a face mist, the skin needs to be cleansed. As soon as the mist is used, it is important to top it up with an emollient moisturiser to trap the hydrating molecules in the skin for a longer time,” she says. The penalty for not following it up with a moisturiser comes in the form of skin that is drier than before. She adds, “In dry and cold weather or even in an air-conditioned room, the moisture from our skin gets evaporated. By simply applying a face mist, it can further strip the natural moisture off the skin, leaving it further dehydrated.”How to keep your skin hydrated through the day
Once you’ve got the modus operandi of a facial mist down pat, you can look to leverage its benefits in your skincare routine. While shopping for one, Dr Pai recommends staying on your guard against formulas that contain alcohol—dry skin’s worst nemesis. “If you have dry and sensitive skin, alcohol can strip the natural moisture off the skin and leave it dry, thereby defeating the whole purpose of using a face mist,” she cautions.
The bottom line? If you are looking for hydrated, glowing skin, you might not want to rely solely on face mists to get you there. For those in the quest of hydrated skin, the topical use of aloe gel, glycerin and hyaluronic gel can also go a long way, she believes. “You can also look to supplements that contain ingredients like sodium hyaluronate, glycerin, astaxanthin, Vitamin E, primrose oil as well omega-3 fish oil capsules that can greatly benefit the skin. Certain DIY masks made with honey, milk, glycerin and lemon juice will also help hydrate and refresh the skin,” she surmises.Also read:
Do you need to worry about the alcohol in your skincare products?
Moisturiser or hydrator—which product do you need for your skin type?
5 ways to get dry and uncomfortable skin glowing again during winters