Maid of the Mist Do you use a facial mist? Because you might be doin’ it wrong—or missing out on these other ways to apply it!

House of Holland Spring 2012 makeup Do you use a facial mist? Because you might be doin it wrong—or missing out on these other ways to apply it!

My face is, like, SO dewy today. That’s because I started off my morning with a facial at the International Dermal Institute—a.k.a. the place where Dermalogica skin therapists go to train, and where media are sometimes invited for the hands-down BEST skin treatments in the city. (It’s not open to the public, unfortch—but you can get the same 75-minute Dermalogica facial at any spa that offers them. I just feel more special getting to go to Dermalogica HQ.)

Anyway, today my therapist (as in the skin kind) got to talking to me about facial mists, because she used one on me that definitely contributed to the aforementioned dewy glow. And just last week I was talking to Janine about facial mists too… and the week before that I had some arrive in the mail. So let’s just say that this product category is on my mind lately. And there are a few important things I want to tell you about it. Ready?

Not all facial mists are created equal

That’s because some are actually straight thermal or mineral water. These are the old-school mists that have been around for ages—surely you’re familiar with them?

Think La Roche-Posay:

La Roche Posay Thermal Spring Water Do you use a facial mist? Because you might be doin it wrong—or missing out on these other ways to apply it!

Or Evian:

Evian Facial Spray Do you use a facial mist? Because you might be doin it wrong—or missing out on these other ways to apply it!

Then there are the new-generation sprays, which have water but also hydrating ingredients like essential oils, botanical extracts or glycerin.

Dermalogica’s Ultracalming Mist, which I’m modelling today, is one example:

Dermalogica Ultracalming Mist Do you use a facial mist? Because you might be doin it wrong—or missing out on these other ways to apply it!

Another one is this Caudalie Grape Water Soothing Moisturizer Spray, which just crossed my desk:

Caudalie Grape Water Soothing Moisturizer Spray Do you use a facial mist? Because you might be doin it wrong—or missing out on these other ways to apply it!

Yet another one is Boscia’s Balancing Facial Tonic (gosh I’ve been talking up Boscia a lot lately, haven’t I?):

Boscia Balancing Facial Tonic Do you use a facial mist? Because you might be doin it wrong—or missing out on these other ways to apply it!

Anyway, why should you care that there are two different types of facial mists? Because if you use one kind the wrong way, you could be drying out instead of hydrating your skin, that’s why.

The right way to use a thermal or mineral water mist

So you know how before those airplane liquid limits came into play, many women (including moi) would bring a thermal water mist in their carry-ons and spray it liberally throughout the flight? Yeah, that was not really the right thing to do. It’s not even the right thing to do on the ground.

The reason is because without any hydrating ingredients to bind the moisture to your skin, the water just evaporates—making your skin actually DRIER than it was to start with. Oops! This may be fine if you’ve got oily skin, but I think even oily skin needs hydration, so I wouldn’t recommend it.

Instead, the way to use a thermal or mineral mist is to…

1. Hold it about five or six inches away from your face and spritz.
2. Let it sit for maybe a minute or so, and then (VERY IMPORTANT) blot off the excess with a tissue.

It actually tells you to do this on the labels (see here and here), but if you’re like me, you didn’t read those. Again, oops! In fact, it’s probably a big beauty industry-wide oops, because back when I worked on staff, every magazine beauty editor I knew, including me, facially-misted all day long. And none of us blotted!

Of course, you don’t need to worry about this if you’ve got one of the new hydrating mists. I asked my Dermalogica skin therapist about this again today to be sure, and she confirmed it. FACT.

Other ways to use your facial mist

So besides the method mentioned above (as a mid-day skin-refreshing pick-me-up on top of your makeup), there are a few other applications for these handy prodz…

1. Underneath your moisturizer

Chanel Hydra Beauty Gel Creme Do you use a facial mist? Because you might be doin it wrong—or missing out on these other ways to apply it!

I have GOT to start doing this. Every time I write the annual dry skin/winter skincare magazine story, I’m reminded by whichever dermatologist I’m interviewing that it’s verrrry important to apply your body lotion on damp skin straight out of the bath or shower. The moisture gets locked in better that way. So why aren’t we doing the same thing for our faces?

This was another tip that I picked up today. After cleansing, give your skin a thorough mist and then without patting dry, apply your moisturizer of choice straight on top. Because you’re trapping the water with another product, it doesn’t matter which type of facial mist you use here.

2. To get a “baby texture” with your makeup

Versace Fall 2011 Do you use a facial mist? Because you might be doin it wrong—or missing out on these other ways to apply it!

Doesn’t “baby skin” sound like a desirable thing to have? I do believe I’ve written about this on here before, but let me repeat myself. The great Gordon Espinet (VP of makeup artistry for MAC) introduced me to this term, and it means skin that’s like you’re on holiday at the beach, all plump and hydrated minus the tan and the colour.

The way to get it, he says, is (you guessed it) with a facial mist. Apparently, for every layer (of moisturizer, primer, makeup, whatever) that you put on your skin, you should mist. I guess now would be a good time to mention that M.A.C’s facial mist is called Fix +:

MAC Fix+ Spray Do you use a facial mist? Because you might be doin it wrong—or missing out on these other ways to apply it!

Aim to saturate your skin but not make it dripping wet… and then layer on your other prodz as normal. If you try this, let me know if you think it makes a difference!

3. To set your makeup and remove the powdery finish

This is the way I typically use MY facial mists. (Although I’m going to be more diligent now about options #1 and #2.) Anyway, I absolutely despise the look of a powdery, makeup-y complexion—even though I use my HD powder daily on the T-zone. Which is why I mist! As the last step in my routine, it totally cuts out the chalky matte-ness and makes it look more like I’m not wearing makeup… just healthy, dewy, normal skin.

If you try this, you’ll want to make sure you’re using a hydrating spray like I mentioned above, and also one that’s dispersing the water in a fine, even mist instead of big squirts. Don’t hold the spray too close or it’ll make your makeup smear. I actually like to use the same trick you do with fragrance—mist a cloud into the air and then walk through it. Repeat as necessary.

Tell me:

Do you use a facial mist? (Which one?)
Did you know that the thermal ones can dry you out?
Got any other ways you like to use your mist? Tell us!


Tuesday, May 1/2012 at 9:44 pm

Ah! I scored a small bottle of Mac Fix+ a while back but wasn’t sure what exactly to do with it. It sounds like I guessed correctly though, because I’ve been using it after applying my foundation and then to set blush/powder, and it makes my skin nice and dewey and lovely – baby skin, I suppose!!! I am a big fan.

Also, thanks for the ‘facial moisturizer on damp skin’ reminder! I always moisturize after a shower (and I usually do my primer/foundation right away as well, then get dressed/do hair/finish makeup) and it is a million times better than moisturizing already-dry skin. The facial mist and moisturizer tip is a great one.


Tuesday, May 1/2012 at 11:35 pm

This post could not have come at a better time for me! I am about to fly to Chile in… 8 hours! And I was going to bring Avene Thermal Water for the plane and mist without blotting! I’m glad I read this because I have really dry skin! Now I know better, thanks :)


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, May 3/2012 at 1:01 pm

You are welcome… happy travels!

PS – the Avene one actually might not be too bad on dry skin – I read on their website that compared to other mineral sprays, it has “a low salt mineral content adapted to sensitive skin” so will not dry out the skin.

I would probably still blot though just to be on the safe side… airplane air is the worst!


Wednesday, May 2/2012 at 1:26 am

A makeup fixing mist is different than a hydrating facial mist is it not? I currently am using the Clarins Makeup Fix which is fantastic, I am in love because is makes the makeup stay like a damn and cuts the aforementioned powder look (also it sorta smells like Turkish delight). I do use it for pick me ups during the day though. should I be using one of the specifically hydrating ones during the day instead? do they effect your makeup wear?


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, May 3/2012 at 1:18 pm

Great question! Yes they are different things – makeup setting sprays are not designed to hydrate – they have alcohol in them which is what’s going to help the makeup to adhere. You would want to use those after your makeup application (not before moisturizer or layered in between primer, foundation, etc.) and they’re not really meant for spritzing throughout the day. I would think that would be really drying unless your skin is oily.

The hydrating mists are a better choice for mid-day pick-me-ups. They won’t be as good at setting the makeup initially, but I think having the extra hydration can help with the makeup longevity too… you know how dry skin eats makeup? It will help with that.


Thursday, May 3/2012 at 1:33 pm

Is evian a makeup setting spray? I’m getting confused now.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, May 3/2012 at 1:47 pm

No, it’s just pure mineral water. So I wouldn’t use those to set makeup… for that use either a makeup setting spray (like the Clarins Makeup Fix or Urban Decay’s All Nighter) or any of the hydrating mists (Dermalogica, Caudalie, etc.)


Nomadic D
Wednesday, May 2/2012 at 3:52 am

Wait, you powder (like with the HD for example) and THEN mist? Very very interesting… I was using MD Formulations Anitoxidant mist for a while, but honestly I couldn’t quite figure out why or what it was doing for me. It felt nice on a hot summer day, but that was about it. It never even occurred to me to spritz it on AFTER my makeup application…. This is kind of earth-shaking.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, May 3/2012 at 1:21 pm

Yes! I just hate looking makeup-y… I love the powder but see the texture of the skin on the model at the top of this post? I want to look like that – like bare skin. I find the mist really helps. You can blot or (if your spray has hydrating ingredients) just leave to evaporate.


Nomadic D
Thursday, May 3/2012 at 1:31 pm

Omg seriously, you may have just changed my makeup life. Which, if you knew how much makeup and how many years and different application method etc I’ve tried, you’d know is a big deal. I’m gonna pick up a hydrating mist soon and give this a try. And in the meantime, I’m wondering if a little spritz of good ol’ H2O, blotted, might have a similar effect?


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, May 3/2012 at 1:48 pm

Yes that would work as long as you blot! At least with cutting the powdery look… but plain water wouldn’t have any effect on the longevity though.


Nomadic D
Thursday, May 3/2012 at 1:52 pm

Hmmm… but you think a hydrating mist would? As opposed to a fixative-type spray, which I’m honestly not super interested in…

Wednesday, May 2/2012 at 9:26 am

Ladies, you MUST try Lise Watier Magnafix Makeup Fixative !!! I’m a MUA for the brand as well as freelance & this is one of my personal favourites. Not only does it set your makeup, it’s packed full of White Tea, Marine Extracts & Glycerin for that punch of antioxidants & moisture. I don’t know where you can get it in the USA as Lise Watier is a Canadian brand, but check out the website …


Wednesday, May 2/2012 at 11:37 am

I’m recently been using a Caudalie Beauty Elixir in the a.m. I spritz it on when my face is still damp and then use my moisturizer (spf 30) on top. It’s really lovely. I also use MAC Fix+ on a daily basis, I alternate between spraying direct over freshly applied foundation/powder/blush and spraying it directly on my foundation brush (Sephora #55), then applying my liquid foundation, this way it sets the foundation beautifully and leaves a great natural finish.

Cheers, Lisa


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, May 3/2012 at 1:22 pm

Good tip re: putting it on the foundation brush!


Wednesday, May 2/2012 at 12:27 pm

I’d like to try the second tip. And what do you think about Caudalie Beauty Elixir? Seems like everyone is a fan, including VB herself :)


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, May 3/2012 at 1:22 pm

I haven’t tried it yet… but I’m sure will be great! It’s a beautiful line.


Chelsea C
Wednesday, May 2/2012 at 1:02 pm

I use MAC Fix+ for make-up application and to take away the powdery look and I have a small Avene mister in my purse. And I too was not blotting the Avene thermal water after application. Thanks once again Michelle!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, May 3/2012 at 1:23 pm

Hi – see above comment to Baillie re: Avene. With that one the formulation is slightly different to LRP and Evian (and probably Vichy)… so might be okay to get away without blotting.


Wednesday, May 2/2012 at 3:20 pm

I use Essencia Eau Florale rose water that you can buy in pretty much any health store.
It’s amazing for an afternoon pick me up and leaves my skin so soft and hydrated.
I even get a nice “baby skin” glow when I use it in the afternoon, almost better than when I first applied my makeup.

THE ONE big set back is the smell.
It smells organic, like roses past their prime but it’s definitely worth it for the effects at only 15$ for a good sized bottle.


Friday, May 4/2012 at 11:26 am

A facialist once told me my skin was not dry, but dehydrated. That’s when Janine turned me onto facial mists. I have used the Avene one every day since! Absolutely love it. I’ve never used it over makeup, however. But it seems like the right time of year to try. I do NOT like matte makeup all up in my face. I feel like I have plasticine face.


Monday, May 7/2012 at 2:26 pm

I use Fulvic Mineral Mist by Pur Minerals. I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I do! I use mine to set my makeup. I wear mineral makeup so for me this is very necessary!


Thursday, May 10/2012 at 2:46 pm

Mind reader. I just made my own facial mist with rose essential oil & filtered water; now I’m going to try to find glycerin to add to it! My skin has freaking LOVED it! 3 days & the skin tone is really noticeabley evener! I am using HALF the skin makeup I was! Still new at it, though.

Thanks for the tip on using it over powder! As it gets warmer & more humid, I will need to switch to straight mineral powder (from powder in cream), and really wanted to avoid that really “powdered” look that happens sometimes.


Monday, May 14/2012 at 3:43 pm

I’m a big fan of MD Formulations Antioxidant mist. I have really oily skin, so it’s cool to be able to add some moisture and antioxidants without putting on another heavy layer.


Tuesday, September 18/2012 at 6:20 am

can you recommend cheaper facial mist?


Saturday, December 1/2012 at 12:56 pm

I have been spritzing my face with a rose water and essential oil combination for years. I love how it makes the skin look dewy and healthy. On occassion I also spritz Power Peptide by Bioelements if I am out of my rose water concoction. Additionally, I keep a bottle of grapeseed oil mixed with anti-aging essential oils in the shower and apply after I pat dry with a towel so skin is still damp and follow with a moisturizer once I step out of the shower.


Tuesday, January 29/2013 at 9:49 pm

i am recently using facial mist and im not sure if what im using is the thermal thing or not .. It is called Vitamin E Face Mist by The body Shop .. I hope you can help me if what im using is good or not. I have a normal skin and just wants a more “baby skin” look. thank you


Tuesday, February 12/2013 at 2:32 am

Nice review. Very informative.

What I do with clients (I am a makeup artist) is after I apply the foundation (before powdering), I spray a mixture of mineral water and original (no flavor) philips milk of magnesia (10-20% MOM + 90-80% water) to control oil and then powder as usual. After I finished my whole makeup, then I spray makeup forever mist and fix. This helps hold the makeup in place for few hours.

Hope this helps!


Thursday, February 21/2013 at 11:33 am

I love Caudalie’s beauty elixir – I use it daily after cleansing and put my moisturizer right on top! It helps my skin stay dewy throughout the day and feels fresh and clean. :)


Alison M
Thursday, February 21/2013 at 1:14 pm

Great post! I have been using a setting spray, but want to try something else. A sales associate told me Caudalie Beauty Elixir also has antibacterial agents. I wish I had known during flu season. I would’ve been spraying it up anytime someone came within a close radius!


Monday, February 25/2013 at 2:51 pm

thank u for really useful post. i use vichy thermal water


Friday, May 17/2013 at 4:45 am

just double checking ~~

for #1, i spray the mist before any skincare to get a deep moisture on the skin

for #2, I did not get whether i should spray it before or after any skincare including the makeup.
If i spray it before, wouldnt this just be like #1, and if i spray it after , wouldnt this just be like #3 ? how does the baby face effect actually work??

for #3, I spray on after makeup to not get a powdery feeling

~ Thanks for your aweeesome post : ]


Thursday, August 15/2013 at 6:32 am

Hi there. What do you think about Uriage Eau Thermale Thermal water compare to Avene? thanks in advance :)


Sunday, September 8/2013 at 5:33 pm

Hi, I have dry skin and I was wondering if a rosewater facial mist or a rosewater with glycerin facial mist would be better for my skin? I am acne prone too so I am not sure if the glycerin would be bad for that. Also, I don’t normally wear makeup so can I spray that on my face throughout the day or would it dry it out? Thanks for the help!


Kelly Kirby
Monday, September 9/2013 at 12:37 pm

Hi Amanda, a rosewater facial mist would be a nice choice for you, especially since you have dry skin. Glycerin is a humectant which would also aid in providing moisture to your skin. I use my rose hydrosol after cleansing and before applying my serum or moisturizer but also, as a setting spray for my makeup and a spritzer throughout the day aid in looking more refreshed. It’s great for travel, especially if you are going to be on a plane and/or in a hotel and circulation and humidity are extremely low in both.


Tuesday, October 1/2013 at 3:23 pm

okay now i am confused, i dont know if iam doing it wrong but i always put first my sunscreen then base then foundation then powder and at last mac facial mist fix. Is that ok? or first is facial mist and then powder? help!


Thursday, October 17/2013 at 7:49 am

What’s wrong with putting mineral water into a spritz bottle? That makes better sense. Just buy San Pellegrino, it’s sodium content is low, and it makes a great mist under moisturizer.


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