Best Face Mists That Aren’t B.S..

The Best Face Mists That Aren’t B.S.

Face mists may not seem as essential as, say, your cleanser or moisturizer. (Some even write them off as nothing more than ridiculously expensive water.) But actually, a well-formulated face mist can be one of the best ways to level up your beauty routine, delivering a hit of hydration and nutrients to your skin whenever you need it most (during a long flight, around the 3 p.m. slump, after a sweaty workout). Whether you’re a frequent jetsetter or sit in a dry office all day, these on-the-go hydrators can mean the difference between parched, cranky skin and a radiant, glowing complexion. Ready to step up your skin care? Let’s dive into what face mists can do for your skin and how to find the best one.

See recent posts by Jay Blades


Do face mists DO anything?

Since face mists are usually water based, their No. 1 job is to hydrate. However, the best face mists also contain other skin-loving goodies (moisturizers, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories) to help soothe, replenish, and protect your face. Since many ingredients sink in better when your skin is damp, a watery mist can be a great way to apply them—and prep skin for any products that follow.

e.l.f. Makeup Mist & Set - Large droplets.
What’s the difference between toner and face mist?

Toners and face mists have a lot in common. They can both be hydrating, and they tend to contain a lot of the same ingredients (rose water, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C). In general, though, toners help balance pH and deep-clean your pores by getting rid of any remaining gunk—dead cells, dirt, bacteria, excess makeup—whereas face mists add moisture and nourishment.

That said, many modern toners are also super hydrating and packed with nutrition, and some face mists contain exfoliants and astringents, so the line can get pretty blurry. To add to the confusion, there are also spray toners, which are sort of a hybrid product.

But for the most part, you apply them differently: As their name implies, face mists are sprayed or “misted” on, whereas you typically dab toner onto a cotton pad and then swipe or pat it onto your face and neck. And because face mists don’t really cleanse the skin, you can use them throughout the day (more on that below). Toners, on the other hand, should only go on between cleansing and moisturizing.

YOUTH TO THE PEOPLE Adaptogen Soothe + Hydrate Activated Mist with Reishi + Ashwagandha with model.

When should I use a face mist?

Face mists are super versatile—you can use them between skin-care steps to boost absorption, before foundation to create a smooth base, after makeup to set your face, or just whenever you need a pick-me-up.

But the absolute best time to apply a face mist is after cleansing or exfoliating and before applying a serum or moisturizer. For one thing, a clean face will allow the ingredients to better penetrate your skin. But also, not all face mists contain humectants (hydrators like aloe vera and hyaluronic acid that attract water), and even fewer have occlusives (moisturizing ingredients like beeswax, shea butter, and mineral oil that seal in hydration).

If your skin is really dry, you ideally want a face mist that contains both. If it doesn’t, be sure to follow up immediately with a serum, moisturizer, or face oil—or you could actually be drying out your skin even more.

Can you use face mist over makeup? What about over sunscreen?

Because face mists are usually water-based, they won’t mess up your makeup like a moisturizer would (just make sure you hold the mist far enough away from your face so you don’t smudge your foundation). There are also some great face mist/setting spray hybrids that can actually extend the wear of your makeup.

Sunscreen, however, is a different story. Spraying a face mist over sunscreen can mess with your coverage, so it’s best to do so before applying SPF in the morning or after the sun goes down.



Best Face Mist Overall

Youth To The People Adaptogen Soothe + Hydrate Activated Mist with Reishi + Ashwagandha.

Youth to the People Adaptogen Soothe + Hydrate Activated Mist 

This lightweight mist from superfood skin-care brand Youth to the People is new to the market, but it’s already earned tons of praise from experts and Sephora shoppers alike. Minimal packaging hides a hardworking combo of research-backed ingredients: Aloe, shea butter, and glycerin attract and lock in hydration; reishi, ashwagandha, and holy basil heal and protect; and pentapeptide-59 reduces redness. It’s everything you could want in a face mist. 

Buy It Here

Best Rose Water Face Mist

Herbivore Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist 4oz.

Herbivore Rose Hibiscus Coconut Water

Rose water frequently shows up in face mists for good reason: It’s rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties, which means it protects skin against damage and soothes irritation and redness. Herbivore’s fine, lightweight mist also adds in coconut water and hyaluronic acid for intense hydration.

Buy It Here

Best Face Mist for Setting Makeup

e.l.f. Makeup Mist & Set - Large - 4.1 fl oz.

E.l.f. Cosmetics Makeup Mist & Set

Skip the pricey setting sprays and head straight for this drugstore gem. The fragrance-free mist is like hairspray for your face—with the added benefit of anti-aging vitamins, healing aloe, and calming green tea. Spritz on throughout the day for a moisturizing touch-up. 

Buy It Here

Best Natural/Organic Face Mist

Teddie Organics Rose Water Facial Toner Spray 2oz.

Teddie Organics Rose Water Facial Toner Spray

This is one of those toner sprays we talked about earlier, which means it not only soothes and hydrates but also balances pH and unblocks pores. Called “a miracle toner” and “holy water” by its fans, the organic rose-water mist has over 4,000 five-star reviews on Amazon gushing about its ability to clear up acne, reduce redness, and even skin tone.

Buy It Here

Best Face Mist with Vitamin C

Fresh Vitamin Nectar Antioxidant Face Mist.

Fresh Vitamin Nectar Antioxidant Glow Water

Beauty editors rave about this citrusy mist from popular skin-care brand Fresh. And rightly so—the energizing spray packs a powerful antioxidant punch (vitamins C, E, and B5), minerals, and fruit extracts to give you bright, glowy skin. It’s like a facial in a bottle.

Buy It Here

Best Face Mist for Men

Mad Hippie Hydrating Nutrient Mist.

Mad Hippie Hydrating Nutrient Mist

Okay, we love this face mist for everyone, but it’s especially great for dudes because it’s basically a moisturizer, antioxidant serum, acne treatment, and anti-aging product all in one. Sodium ascorbyl phosphate (a gentle vitamin C derivative that prevents acne, protects against free radicals, and brightens skin) and sodium hyaluronate (a form of hyaluronic acid that easily penetrates the skin) are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this skin-plumping spritz. 

Buy It Here

Best Mattifying Face Mist

Volition Beauty Oil Control Mttifying Mist.

Volition Oil-Control Mattifying Mist

If your skin is oily, the last thing you want is a product that makes you look dewier than you already are. Like a blotting sheet in the form of a spray, this clean face mist hydrates while absorbing excess oil, leaving skin refreshed but not shiny. Use it to set makeup, for touch-ups during the day, or after the gym to tamp down a sweat-slick. 

Buy It Here

Best Aloe-Based Face Mist

Michael Todd Beauty Citrus Spray.Michael Todd Beauty Citrus Spray

Lots of face mists contain aloe—after all, it’s been shown to soothe sunburn and inflammation, lock in moisture, and alleviate skin conditions like acne and eczema. But you’ll usually find it way down the ingredient list. Not so with this citrus-scented spray: Aloe juice is No. 1 on the lineup, so you know you’re getting a healthy dose of the skin-healing ingredient.

Buy It Here

Best K-Beauty Face Mist

MISSHA First Treatment Essence Mist.

Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence Mist

A spray version of the K-beauty brand’s best-selling essence, this skin-reviving mist calms, moisturizes, and improves tone and texture by using high concentrations of fermented yeast, chamomile, and licorice root extracts, plus anti-aging niacinamide (vitamin B3). You’ll get the most out of it if you use it like an essence (meaning after cleansing or toning, before any serums), though you can also spritz it over makeup.

Buy It Here

Best Value Face Mist

Pixi By Petra Hydrating Milky Mist - 2.7 fl oz.

Pixi by Petra Hydrating Milky Mist 

This drugstore face mist is chock-full of humectants and emollients, which help draw in and hold onto water, leaving skin soft but not sticky. Lesser-known ingredients like black oat, allantoin, and lecithin further smooth skin and calm redness. Reviewers say it stacks up to other high-end mists and wears nicely over makeup.

Buy It Here

Best Status Face Mist


Tata Harper Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Floral Essence 

Tata Harper can do no wrong in our book, and her luxurious mist is no exception. As with all of Harper’s products, most of the ingredients are grown on an organic farm in Vermont. (How charming is that?) The real star here is hyaluronic acid, which does wonders for tired, thirsty skin, but floral essences (rose, lavender, neroli) add protective, anti-aging benefits.

Buy It Here

Best O.G. Face Mist

Caudalie Beauty Elixir.

Caudalie Beauty Elixir

Beloved by celebs and makeup artists, with 2,000 five-star reviews and nearly 90,000 loves on Sephora, this face mist is a long-standing holy-grail product. Supposedly inspired by a Hungarian queen’s “elixir of youth,” the spa-scented spray softens and tones at the same time, thanks to plant-based ingredients like grape and rose extracts, orange flower water, and essential oils. The mini size is especially great for travel. 

Buy It Here

Best Cooling Face Mist

Mario Badescu Skin Care Facial Spray.Mario Badescu Facial Spray With Aloe, Cucumber, and Green Tea

The green version of Mario Badescu’s cult-favorite (almost 4,000 five-star Amazon reviews) mist delivers the same burst of hydration as the original but adds cucumber and peppermint essential waters to tone and cool, plus green tea extract to protect against future damage. Store in the fridge if you want to feel extra refreshed. 

Buy It Here

Best Super-Hydrating Face Mist

Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray.Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray

If the name Clinique has you picturing that yellow lotion of your preteen years, it’s time you revisit the brand. A great place to start is this face mist, which gives superior hydration. Thanks to an extra-gentle, oil-free blend of aloe water and glycerin, there’s nothing in this formula that can irritate or further exacerbate any skin conditions. It’s an instant glow-up for all skin types.

Buy It Here

Related Stories

All products have been hand-picked by our writers and editors. Items purchased through links may earn us a commission.