How to use a face mist to cool, balance and hydrate skin

We asked the experts how to use a face mist for maximum benefits and a calm, comfortable complexion

A woman spritzing her face, to illustrate how to use a face mist
(Image credit: Getty images)

Mastering how to use a face mist in your is well worth your time – there's a spritz for every skin concern.

The thought of adding another product to your skincare routine may seem unnecessary but the best face mists have incredible benefits. They're great to use alongside the best face moisturisers and serums (basically all of your best skincare products) as they increase the moisture content of your skin, and everything runs better when your complexion is nice and hydrated. 

“If you experience dry skin first thing in the morning, a face mist can be a great first step in your routine,” Dr Vanita Rattan, CEO and Cosmetic Formulator at SkincarebyDrV, tells us. “Similarly, if you're out and about during the day and it's hot, a quick spray of a face mist can help to refresh and cool down the skin.”

Mists are also ideal for perking up lacklustre complexions, especially if they contain ingredients like vitamin C. They can be a bit of a secret weapon and are hardworking multitaskers – but only when used correctly. Here two skin experts share how to use a face mist to fully reap its benefits. 

How to use a face mist according to the experts 

Understanding how to use a face mist couldn’t be easier – simply spray a couple of pumps of the face mist onto clean skin and leave it to settle and absorb in. “When you spray a face mist, hold it 20cm away from the face. It's important to give it a minute to absorb into your skin before you proceed with your skincare routine or makeup application,” Dr Rattan explains. 

“You can leave a face mist on for as long as you like, as long as it doesn't cause any irritation or discomfort to your skin,” she adds. If you do notice that it's making your skin red or itchy, simply rinse off. 

Although learning how apply face mist is pretty straightforward, it's also rewarding and beneficial to understand exactly how to use a face mist in your skincare routine. They can be used in a variety of ways and have a multitude of potential benefits – all of which are listed below. 

1. How to use a face mist to hydrate

Whilst not a wholly essential product in your skincare routine, face mists serve a refreshing and hydrating purpose – especially when used before applying a serum or moisturiser and to top up moisture levels during the day. They come in all shapes and sizes but the best buys are hydrating, soothing and so refreshing. The best hydrating face mists contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid, coconut water, urea, and glycerin to keep skin nourished and plump all day long. 

Our beauty writer recommends...


Elemis Superfood Kefir-Tea Mist | RRP: £26 / $38

This is one of my all-time favourite face mists and I have a stockpile in my stash just in case I ever run out. It's refreshing, hydrating, soothing, and the decent is so calming. It's got a great ingredient line up too, containing coconut water, rooibos, and kefir.

2. How to use a face mist to perk up skin

Especially great in mornings to perk up dull and tired complexions, a face mist comes to the rescue of skin that needs a little TLC. The perfect wake-up boost, just a couple of spritzes of a reviving face mist will also help prep skin for your other skincare products like serums and moisturisers. 

Spray a generous amount of your selected face mist onto freshly cleansed skin to lock in moisture before applying your serum, moisturizer, and your best facial sunscreen. It's one of the most effective ways we've learned how to use a face mist.

Our beauty writer recommends... 


Pixi by Petra Glow Mist | RRP: £16 / $15

If you're after a skin nourishment injection this face mist is the one for you. Packed with 13 natural oils, fruit extracts, and aloe vera this helps enhance the natural radiance of your complexion. Use in the morning on freshly cleansed skin and before your skincare products or to perk up lacklustre skin during the day.

3. How to use a face mist to refresh tired skin

If you're feeling tired at your desk mid-afternoon after your lunch, then pick an uplifting and energising face mist to help revive you and your complexion. Look out for ingredients such as rosemary and mint which are known for reinvigorating the mind as well as the skin, thanks to their relaxing scents.

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Caudalie Beauty Elixir | RRP: £34 / $49

Truly one of the most refreshing and uplifting face mists out there, this herbal concoction of grape extracts, rosemary essential oil, orange blossom, and rose extracts is so worth investing in. It's a real favourite of the woman&home beauty team – once one person spritzes, we all tend to follow suit – like a very refreshing Mexican wave.

4. How to use a face mist to clear skin

How to use a face mist isn't just about creating a relaxing ritual – they can also make a real difference to your skin. Face mists have come a really long way and now contain hard-working ingredients that cater to every single skin need. There are many that now provide comfort for problem-prone skin and help reduce blemishes and oil buildup that leads to spots and congestion. 

So, if you've been wondering how to get rid of acne, opt for a face mist that contains salicylic acid or niacinamide to help prevent future imperfections. Use before your oil-balancing serum and day cream to really keep your skin happy and healthy. 

Our beauty writer recommends...

Facetheory Replenamist T5 | RRP: £15 / $20

Facetheory Replenamist T5 | RRP: £15 / $20

Containing high levels of oil-balancing niacinamide, soothing prickly pear extract and nourishing cactus water this face mist certainly works hard. After a few uses you should notice an improvement in your skin's health and happiness. 

5. How to use a face mist to balance your complexion

Post-cleanse there's nothing quite like a balancing toner or face mist to prevent that tight, dry feeling. Invest in a good quality pH-balancing face mist to help keep your complexion healthy and ready for all your other skincare ingredients. A few sprays of a barrier-boosting formula will enhance the all-round health of your skin and improve its functions.

Our beauty writer recommends...


BYOMA Balancing Face Mist | RRP: £11.99 / $13.99

Promising to keep your skin looking and feeling nourished, protected and soothed, this face mist does it all. A blend of barrier-boosting ceramides and pH-balanced ingredients makes this ideal for balancing irritated skin barriers. 

6. How to use a face mist to boost radiance

Wondering how to use a face mist to supercharge your skincare? It's simple – use the same active ingredient that's in your serum to give your skin a double dose. Vitamin C is a great one to do this with during the day, as it shields skin from external aggressors and works to brighten dull complexions. Before applying your best Vitamin C serums, spitz your skin with a mist infused with the ingredient, to give skin a more intensive vitamin C hit.

Our beauty writer recommends...


Lumene Nordic-C Hydrating Mist | RRP: £9 / $10.80

If you want to boost your radiance then this face mist will help overhaul your complexion. Just a couple of spritzes a day will keep you looking fresh and energised.

What is the purpose of a face mist?

Confused about what a face mist is doing in your routine?  “A face mist is a skincare product that you spray on the face to hydrate and refresh the skin quickly,” Dr Rattan tells us.  “While it’s not a substitute for other skin care products, they can provide a burst of hydration to the skin to combat dryness and as a pick-me-up throughout the day,” she explains. It's best used in conjunction with a good cleanser, serum, moisturiser and sunscreen to amplify their benefits. 

Do face mists really work?

Yes, face masks really do work – especially if you're looking to refresh and hydrate your skin. As we have already mentioned, they're not an essential skincare product to add to your beauty schedule but they are a lovely added bonus if you fancy it. Much like the best toners, face mists will help hydrate, soothe, brighten, and balance your complexion.

“I think they are a good, very practical, and easy product to add over make-up," says Dr Colette Haydon, founder of Lixirskin. "If you feel you need a refresh during the day, or your eyes are getting tired, a face mist is a very easy product to use to help," she explains. 

Do you use a face mist before or after moisturiser?

“It’s good to use your face mist first after cleansing, then to follow with a serum or moisturiser on top as you get more benefit on slightly damp skin,” Dr Haydon explains. This will allow you to seal in all that added hydration and goodness that your mist is providing. Equally, don't feel limited to just using face mists in this way, and you can also apply them over makeup for a dewy makeup look or whenever you need a moisture top-up during the day.

How do face mists differ from serums?

While they may look and feel similar to serums, face mists aren’t quite the same. The ingredient base for a lot of face mists is water and while they provide a lovely refreshing sensation and a temporary hydration hit, they won’t deliver the results as say your best night serum or daytime one will. 

“Serums are typically lightweight, gel-like or liquid formulas that contain a high concentration of active ingredients such as retinoids, antioxidants, peptides, and vitamins,” Dr Rattan explains. “They are much more effective than face mists, as serums are designed to target specific skin concerns such as fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and uneven skin tone,” she continues. 

So, while adding a face mist into your routine will aid the efficacy of other skincare products by supercharging their benefits and hydrating the skin, don't go replacing your serums or moisturisers with a face mist anytime soon.  

Annie Milroy
Beauty Writer

Annie Milroy is the Beauty Writer for Woman & Home and other publications.

She spent three years studying Journalism and English Language at the University of Portsmouth before starting her career in magazines in 2017.

After 5 years working as a Fashion & Beauty Writer, she refined her career and is now working at Future as a Beauty Writer.