Face mists have a bad rep of being surplus, gimmicky and not really worth the bother. After all, they're just a tin of water, aren't they? And, yes, some certainly are, but to ditch them entirely is to miss a trick. A good face mist will balance your skin's pH (which is, at its optimum, between 5.2 and 5.5 – tap water ranges from 6.5 to 9.5), hydrate tired skin and soothe hot, itchy faces (extra points if you stick it in the fridge). The best contain supercharged active ingredients, like aloe, apple-leaf extract and zinc sulphate, which go the extra mile to correct targeted skin concerns, such as dullness, inflammation or spots – and all in a quick spritz.
Avène's Eau Thermale Spring Water provides the core ingredient of the entire brand. Though it provides ample hydration, as expected, its real selling point is in its ability to calm. Containing potent microflora that has been clinically proven to soothe hypersensitive or easily allergic skin, it's great news for those of us whose skin is prone to flaring up. In fact, its status as a skin rescue is so cemented that three sell every second in France alone.
Even though, like all face mists, this looks like water, somehow the consistency feels slippier, milkier. If you're looking for a really gutsy dose of hydration, this is the one. Once it hits, your skin feels completely satiated. It could have something to do with the osmotic technology which helps to keep skin hydrated for longer, or it could be the mix of bio-activated aloe with juicy humectants (skin softeners), such as glycerine. Either way, it leaves faces feeling supremely silky. Great stuff for very dry skin.
A fave with Victoria Beckham, Caudalie's Beauty Elixir is perhaps the most celeb-approved, Instagrammed, cult face mist of the bunch (in fact, two sell every minute worldwide). With good reason, too. The 100 per cent natural mist is jam-packed with skin-perking ingredients, such as pore-minimising rosemary and glow-giving grape. Its delicious scent makes it extra wonderful – a lilting combo of orange blossom, lemon balm and mint. If you're stressed, mist this all over your face (then across your pillow for good measure).
Despite being a metal, zinc is found in tiny, but essential, traces in our bodies. It helps curb excess sebum production (the substance that forms spots), and also aids slow wound healing. A perfect combination for zapping problem skin that erupts and then won't heal. La Roche-Posay's Serozinc contains a gentle level of zinc sulphate to mop up grease and shine. And, since you can mist it over your skin in a cooling spritz, rather than rub it in, it's less likely to aggravate existing spots.
Who doesn't love Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream? I confess myself devoted on account of its multi-tasking ability to fix all – bites, burns, scrapes etc. Now, it's launched in mist form. Oh, lordy. It comes with all the same intensely moisturising and comforting credentials as before, but with added antioxidants, such as acai, goji and mangosteen to help protect skin from pollution and apple-leaf extract to reduce blotchiness. And, if you're wondering whether it has the same funky smell so unique to the original cream (which, I'll be honest, I rather enjoy), it does not. The scent is barely perceptible, but if you do get a whiff, it smells of lemon water, rose and bergamot.