The Right Way to Use a Facial Mist, According to an Esthetician

woman applying face mist to clean skin


If you're a beauty product enthusiast, chances are you always have a facial mist within arm's reach. Whether you're looking for a midday refresh or a boost of hydration, facial mists seem like the perfect solution, right? Well, according to celebrity esthetician Reneé Rouleau, our facial mists may be doing more harm than good. According to Rouleau, face mists are actually sucking moisture out of your skin. I know—I didn't believe it at first, either.

Meet the Expert

Renée Rouleau is a celebrity esthetician and skincare expert with over 30 years of experience. She is also the founder and CEO of her eponymous skincare line, Renée Rouleau.

But don't start tossing all your favorite mists just yet. "Hydration is essential to keep your skin youthful and glowing," Rouleau continues. "Your skin cells are like fish and need water to live, so using a hydrating facial mist the correct way can be very beneficial." We spoke to Rouleau to learn the reality of the beloved beauty product, plus what ingredients to look out for when shopping for one. Keep reading to discover how to make the most out of your water-based sprays.

How to Use a Face Mist

"Use your water-based mists after cleansing your skin," recommends Rouleau. "Once you rinse off your cleanser and your skin is damp from tap water, you have a 60-second window before evaporation begins to occur, so it's important to move quickly. Ideally, you should spray the mist onto a cotton pad, and then wipe it over your face since it's the wiping action that is physically removing chlorine, salts, and minerals that can dehydrate the skin. If you just mist, you are diluting the tap water and not actually removing it."

She continues, "After wiping your skin, you can mist the face several times to get it nice and damp and then proceed to your serums and moisturizer. The key here is the last step should be a moisturizer with protective emollients or oils that act as a seal to keep moisture in your skin. Anything that is water-based simply cannot perform that function."

What Ingredients Should I Look For?

"Especially for dry skin types, I recommend my clients use an essence—it has a thicker viscosity, so it creates a better protective coating over the skin for reparative benefits," says Rouleau. Try the Reneé Rouleau Moisture Infusion Toner ($45), SK-II's Facial Treatment Essence ($99), or Whamisa's Organic Flowers Deep Rich Essence Toner ($20).

You can even pour them into a spray bottle and mist your skin if you love the sensation, or simply wipe it over your skin (leaving it damp before applying your next product). Ultimately, it's about saturating your skin with the product. Look for super-hydrating ingredients like black raspberry seed oil (which is rich in omegas and helps with barrier reinforcement) and vitamin B3 meant to improve your skin's ability to hold on to moisture.

Do Face Mists Dry Out Skin?

Facial mists are essentially toners in a spray bottle. They're quite popular because they're refreshing and give your skin an instant dewiness—but only for a short period of time. "When you mist your skin with a water-based product and don't apply moisturizer on top (to seal in the hydrating ingredients), it will draw moisture out of your skin and quite literally vanish into the air. The drier the air, the more quickly the evaporation process will occur. Moisture acts like a magnet in that it is drawn to the driest areas, so misting your skin will make the moisture within your skin evaporate out, leaving it tight, dry, and dehydrated," says Rouleau.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Moore EM, Wagner C, Komarnytsky S. The enigma of bioactivity and toxicity of botanical oils for skin careFront Pharmacol. 2020;11:785. doi:10.3389/fphar.2020.00785

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