So much more than a 3pm refresher, face mists are here to pep up dull and dehydrated skin, soothe irritation and protect against UV rays – here’s our pick of the best

For most of us, our morning and night-time skincare cleanse, tone and moisturise routine is non-negotiable. Facial mists were a fun, yet frivolous and somewhat unnecessary luxury, that few indulged in.

Don’t get us wrong, they were great for spritzing on our hot, tired faces and necks to refresh skin and make-up throughout the day, but that was about it. But not anymore, as this one-hit wonder is part of a growing product category that promises to do so much more for our skin than help keep us awake during an afternoon slump.

"Facial sprays are traditionally water-based and humectants  – for example, hyaluronic acid or glycerin – which help hold water and other beneficial ingredients in place within the skin," explains dermatologist, Dr Beibei Du-Harpur. Think calming, protective and brightening ingredients that will bring much more to your skin than refreshment.

"Mists can be used by people with dry skin as a way to maintain skin dampness and as an alternative to tap water. Spritz after cleansing and before moisturising to keep skin damp so that your moisturiser can trap water into the skin," explains Dr Du-Harpur. 

They’re popular for all skin types during the warmer months to quickly cool, invigorate and soften skin without disturbing make-up. "If kept in the fridge, they have a cooling effect and can feel soothing on the skin," Dr Du-Harpur advises. "Application depends on the bottle, because fine mist spray cans have more propulsion than spritz bottles, but the goal is to have a fine mist that leaves your skin feeling slightly damp, but not wet. Hold at an arm’s length and a quick spritz should be enough."

Want to make sure your skincare is working as hard as possible? Here’s a guide to layering your skincare in the most effective way.

12 of the best hydrating face mists
Moisturising mists

These hydrating mists can be used to add a hit of hydration to help skin absorb and retain moisture better.

Curel Deep Moisture Spray for Dry, Sensitive Skin (£19.50)

• Size: 150ml

To leave skin looking replenished and soft, this fine face spray of tiny, refined micro-ceramide particles help give skin-moisture levels a boost. Hold 20cm from your face or body and spray in a circular motion, before pressing in gently with the palms of your hands.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra 8 Face Moisturiser Mist Sensitive Skin (£19.50)

• Size: 100ml

Whether you’re jumping on a flight, shaving before a trip to the beach or simply cooling down during a heatwave, this light and easy-to-use moisturising water spray will comfort, cool and soothe hot, sensitive skin.

Avene Thermal Spring Water Spray for Sensitive Skin (£4.80)

• Size: 50ml

Throw this little, but hardworking can into your handbag or beach bag to refresh, calm and soften sensitive skin on the go. Due to its low mineral content and neutral pH, it can be used to soothe sunburn, your child’s nappy area (from six months), eye-area dryness, skin tightness and itching caused by dryness, as well as after cleansing or to fix creased make-up – talk about multitasking!

Soap & Glory In The Mist Of It Hydrating Jelly Mist (£9.95)

• Size: 100ml

• Dermatologically tested

A saviour for parched, summer skin, this jelly spritz face spray is jam-packed with hydrating heroes, including hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5 and a triple moisture complex, for skin that looks instantly refreshed and dewy – even over make-up.

Brightening mists

Can be used under or over make-up for a boost of radiance and a dewy glow.

Boots Glow Brightening Mist (£4)

• Size: 100ml

• Vegan

Used as a morning boost for skin or a hydrating wind down, this microfine mist contains niacinamide, which can help refresh and brighten skin tone, leaving it feeling hydrated and looking radiant. Close your eyes, hold the mist 30cm away from your skin and spritz over the face and neck.

Calming mists

Spritz whenever irritated skin feels like it needs to be cooled and calmed.

Dr.Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Calming Mist (£15)

• Size: 50ml

• Dermatologist tested

If summer days have left your skin feeling tight and dry, add a generous layer of this cosseting mist to help quench parched skin. Formulated with Dr.Jart+ Green Repair Solution – a derma complex that brings together the power of tiger grass (centella asiatica aka cica), a blend of herbs, minerals, a moisturising humectant and a probiotic ferment – it helps moisturise, calm, soothe and refresh.

Byoma Balancing Face Mist (£11.99)

• Size: 100ml

• Suitable for vegetarians and vegans

• Non-comedogenic

Summer can overwhelm skin, causing redness, itchiness and irritation – especially if it’s over-treated or exfoliated. Formulated with the brand’s tri-ceramide complex and a blend of allantoin and probiotic ferment to help replenish the skin’s microbiome, this mist will calm redness and provide a much-needed boost of hydration.

SPF mists

Remember, reapply sunscreen every 30 minutes if you’re directly in the sun or every two-to-three hours if you aren’t.

Garnier Ambre Solaire Sensitive Hydrating Face Sun Cream Mist SPF50 (£6.50)

• Size: 75ml

• Non-comedogenic

• Hypoallergenic

UV rays, free radicals and dehydration can take their toll on skin, particularly in the summer months. This ultra-light face protection mist helps protect against long-term damage from the sun and premature skin ageing with a transparent, non-greasy finish that can be applied over make-up. Shake until you hear the bead rattle, then apply a generous layer.

Soltan Clear & Cool Protect Suncare Mist SPF30 (£7)

• Size: 200ml

Whether you’re in the city, on the beach or simply enjoying your local park, this maximum 5-star UVA protection helps prevent skin from premature skin ageing. With an instant cooling effect and a transparent, non-greasy finish, spray this multitasker from any angle – even upside down – for quick and easy coverage, then rub in to ensure complete coverage without the telltale white cast. And if using it on your face, spray on hands first and then rub in.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Sun Protection Face Mist (£14)

• Size: 75ml

This provides high, broad and photostable UVA/UVB protection that’s perfect for daily sun protection. Apply it 30 minutes before exposure, then simply throw in your bag and reapply frequently on the go. Light, fresh, invisible and shine-free on skin, its ultra-fresh fragrance leaves you with an all-day, clean-skin feeling. 

Skincare routine getting overcomplicated? Consider this your introduction to a skip-care routine.

Tanning mists

To use these, simply close your eyes and mist in a downward sweeping motions – the good thing about these is that there’s no need to blend. 

Isle of Paradise Night Glow Self-Tan Face Mist (£15.95)

• Size: 100ml

Getting your glow on traditionally left skin parched and pores clogged. But not anymore. This bedtime bi-phase face mist is packed with organic tanning actives, hyaluronic acid and moisture-locking glycerin, as well as a blend of avocado, chia seed and coconut oils to help hydrate, while the blend of ylang ylang, jasmine and lavender helps you unwind. Shake well before use to activate. Close your eyes and mist two-three spritzes over your face. Use nightly as the last step in your routine for a gradual glow.

Shine-reducing mist

Stop shine in its tracks with these mists – simply close your eyes and spritz an ‘X’ and ‘T’ formation over freshly applied make-up.

Pixi Clarity Face Mist (£18)

• Size: 80ml

• Vegan

Summer sweat and SPF can lead to clogged pores, but this oil-balancing and soothing mist helps purify with sea salt. It also contains cica to soothe and provides a surge of skin-quenching hyaluronic hydration.

No7 Stay Perfect Matte Fixing Mist (£13.95)

• Size: 100ml

If your make-up melts faster than a Mr Whippy, a quick spritz of this mattifying setting spray will help minimise the appearance of pores and provide a flawless, non-powdery finish that lasts all day without the need for touch-ups.

All prices correct on date of publication