How to Choose the Right Facial Mist for Your Skin Type

Though many think it’s an unnecessary or superfluous step in skincare routines, facial mists are having a moment right now — and for good reason…

My first experience with facial mist came in the form of a neon blue liquid that smelled like rubbing alcohol. It was supposed to help de-slick my oily face and keep teen breakouts under control, but all it did was sting my nostrils and dry out my skin, leading to even more oil production. I assumed anything that fell into this skincare category would be disastrous for my skin so I abandoned the step altogether.

A few years ago, I read about some celebrity or another with gorgeous skin who swore her secret was a simple misting of rose water and witch hazel. The price was right and I figured anything that contained rose water couldn’t hurt my skin too much, so I tested it out. Lo and behold, my skin held onto more moisture than ever and some pesky jaw-side inflammation calmed down after a couple of uses.

Today, I’m officially back on the mist train. If you aren’t, you’re missing out. Though many think it’s an unnecessary or superfluous step in skincare routines, or worse, that it’s just spritzing some water on your face and calling it a day, facial mists are kind of having a moment right now—and for good reason.

Though rose water and witch hazel will work just fine, makers know that misting yourself a few times a day can deliver even more skin-loving ingredients to your face than what you get in other steps. Which means they’re upping the ante, packing those small bottles with botanical combinations that will leave your skin glowing and prepped for whatever you want to layer on top.

So after you’re done cleansing but before you apply moisturizer, oil and serums, make sure to mist. And while you’re at it, mist again after you’ve applied makeup. And again at lunch time. And again mid-afternoon. Basically, mist anytime your dang well please because this stuff is only going to do great things for your face: It stops any leftover cleanser from drying out your skin, it balances the pH of your skin if it’s thrown out of whack, and it helps your skin absorb whatever products you apply after. (This third point is crucial; when mixed with an emollient like oil or serum, the hydrating water molecules in the mist get trapped in your skin and do some serious hydrating.)

If you have oily skin…

…stay away from anything that contains alcohol or other drying ingredients. These will only kick oil production into overdrive. Instead, look for something that will help get your skin nice and balanced, like citrus or that witch hazel I mentioned earlier. Both will help keep sebum in check and create a mattifying effect. Luckily, Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Herbal Toner contains both and then some to balance oily skin. 

If you have sensitive skin…

…reach for rose water. Not only is the stuff uber-gentle, it’s also antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, so it can help ward off any unwanted intruders on your already-sensitive skin while still being super-hydrating. Soothing, calming ingredients like calendula and camomile will also serve you well in mist form. The Hydrating Facial Mist from Nicole Granato is gentle enough to use frequently without worrying about skin acting up thanks to its stellar lineup of only three ingredients: aloe vera, hibiscus and rose water. When you have sensitive skin, simplicity equals happy skin.

If you have dry skin…

…you’ll want as much moisture as you can get, in any way you can get it, and plain old water won’t do. Your perfect mist needs to contain plant oils for an extra dose of hydration. Not only will these add a base layer of hydration, they’ll bind to whatever oils and oil-based serums you apply after, deepening the latter’s staying power. Sangre de Fruta’s Botanical Tonic is the perfect blend of gentle-yet-effective oils—neroli, orange blossom, rose—to help restore elasticity and moisture to skin cells. 

If you have acne-prone skin…

…soothing and antibacterial are key. Again, avoid alcohol as it’ll only anger the acne gods, and instead opt for ingredients like aloe (anti-inflammatory), witch hazel (antibacterial) and minerals (helps skin cells breathe). The Refresh Face Mist from LINNÉ is an excellent option for anyone dealing with blemishes with its rejuvenating aloe, stimulating zinc, copper and magnesium, hydrating hyaluronic acid, and toning yarrow.

If you have normal skin…

…pretty much any of these will serve you just fine. But really, if your skin isn’t crazy-reactive, use whatever mist your heart desires. So long as it’s got nourishing oils, botanicals, vitamins and antioxidants that serve your skin in a way it likes, you’re good. And if you want to use facial mist as a mood or energy booster, find one that smells amazing like the grapefruit-infused Immortal Mist Face Spray from Biodara, and it’ll pull double duty as aromatherapy.


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I’ve always thought facial mists were a casual sort of product where anything or any brand works. This is great, knowing that there are factors that make each type specific to each person’s skin! Super helpful!

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

6 years ago

Love this been looking for a good facial spray and these are some good options to consider, thanks for sharing!


6 years ago

I have both oily and sensitive skin… if I use a spray with witch hazel, will it irritate my skin?

6 years ago

Haven’t boarded the face mist train but will give it a try :) Thanks!

Megan b
6 years ago

Funny that you mentioned the witch hazel and rose water concoction in the beginning. That’s exactly what I use on my face. I grew up using witch hazel and it has always worked. But I recently learned the benefits of rose water and decided to mix the two together. I have oily and sensitive skin, but also dry skin in the winter. This concoction works well with my skin all year round. I just fill a bottle half way with aloe infused alcohol free witch hazel, then fill it the rest of the way with rose water. It’s refreshing and my skin has never been better. It clears up breakouts quicker than anything I’ve ever used.

6 years ago

Not only are these mists good for your skin, don’t forget your scalp!

Kayla | onyx + quartz

6 years ago

Until now, I just think mist is very easy to choose because it’s all the same. But after reading this article, I feel like I’m quite wrong