Truth or mist

Face mists and spritzing tonics are all the buzz in beauty, but what do they actually do?

Words Pamela McIntosh. Photo Getty Images

A ​​​​​​lthough types of beauty mists are many and varied, most list ‘hydration’ as the core reason for picking one up and spritzing it on your face or body. Others boast to provide a base for dewy skin, a perfect pre-moisturiser step or a handy on-the-go face refresher (keep it in your handbag or at your desk, and they work well as an instant refresh in-flight). Kapiti-based product developer Stacey Fraser – the brains behind formulations for Trilogy, Essence of Humanity and Bees Brilliance – says that mists are an essential beauty product. We asked her and other experts more about this so-called summer skin must-have.  

Are mists actually new?  

“No,” says Fraser. “Skin tonics or skin fresheners were early-day beauty remedies. The difference is that they once contained a concoction of harsh ingredients and some were finished with flavoured pink colouring. Many of today’s mists are made with more natural ingredients and consist of gentle waters and active ingredients that not only boost hydration but also support skin concerns from ageing to protection from external agressors such as city pollution. 

How to apply a beauty mist

“Hold the mist bottle 30cm away from your face and spritz the product towards you. Use on skin before make-up to prepare, after make-up for a dewy complexion, or anytime to hydrate and protect skin.” – Yun Liu, founder of Arture skincare. 

Some skin mists still contain alcohol, why is it best to avoid this?

“While alcohol can give the skin a ‘clean’ and ‘fresh’ feel, in the long run it will break down the protective barrier on the skin,” explains Yun Liu, founder of New Zealand skincare company Arture. “This can lead to dry skin which is also susceptible to infections.” 

Is it a sin to add scent?

It’s purely a “sensory component” in selecting your mist, says Fraser. “Scent can have an aroma-therapeutic effect on wellbeing when you spritz and smell it.” Lui included a natural scent from rose water that makes her mist smell like a bouquet of roses. She warns to be mindful about whether fragranced mists are from a synthetic or natural source, because “added perfume may cause irritation to some people’s skin.” 

Are mists suitable for all skin types?

“Yes, mists without alcohol and a selection of natural ingredients are very gentle on the skin – you should be able to find one that’s ideal for your skin type and purpose.” – Brigit Blair, founder of Linden Leaves.

Why is the water source so important?

“The more natural and pristine the water is, the more minerals it contains,” explains Cantabrian Brigit Blair who founded Linden Leaves. “It is like eating vegetables grown in a clean environment compared to a polluted area.” Blair says we are extremely fortunate in Aotearoa, because water is sourced from a natural spring. Lui adds that the mineral balance is important, as is the control of production to not harm the environment. “Water sources can vary in levels of minerals, bacteria, fungus and pollutants and they can all affect the quality of the mists; the wrong amount of minerals can also be damaging to our skin and even react with the other ingredients. Other forms of pure aqua (water) can be a herbal or floral plant hydrosol (also known as flower water), aloe water, and coconut water. 

How would we add a mist to our morning beauty regime?  

“Brighten up your morning by applying either before or after moisturising,” suggests Fraser. “Mist is the ideal primer base and setting spray between layers of make-up for a long-lasting and smooth finish. Spray mist onto a brush or sponge to use with foundation for a dewy glow. 

And for practical performance?

“Mist is fantastic for moments when you need a pick-me-up or a cool-down, adds Fraser. “A good trick is to keep one in the fridge (or at least a cool place) and reapplying throughout the day for skin and mind rejuvenation.” Lui adds, “We know that it’s best to take sips of water through the day to keep our body hydrated. It’s the same with our skin – and because a mist can come anywhere with us and be used under or over make-up, it’s a simple step to consider. 

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