Facial mist sprays are just what they sound like: misting bottles or atomizers filled with a liquid designed to soothe, moisturize, relax or rejuvenate your face. They may contain sunscreen, minerals, antioxidants or other ingredients that nourish and protect your skin. Many of them also smell good or, in fancier language, contain aromatherapy oils thought to encourage different moods.
Of course, for the mist effect to work, the main ingredient in all of those little bottles must be water. Some products contain mineral water and others use plain old H2O. You can use them if your face is feeling parched after a dehydrating plane trip, if your makeup has begun to wilt during the day or if you simply want a little spritz of something cool and refreshing.
Mists that are simply mineral water usually cost around $10 to $15, but if you want to buy an upscale version from a big-name cosmetic brand, prices will be higher. There are lots of options: you can go organic or drugstore with many stops in between. And, because facial mist sprays are basically water, you can be thrifty and make your own
Some researchers and consumers have questioned whether a product that is basically just a spray bottle filled with water is really worth the cost. But several kinds of facial mists with multiple purposes continue to sell after years on the market, and many repeat buyers swear by them.
Read on to learn why mist sprays were developed by a bottled-water giant and how to save money by making your own spray at home in your own kitchen.
Types of Facial Mist Sprays
If you'd like to try out a facial mist, you have a lot of options. You can pick which one you want to try by looking at the type of water used as a base and the added ingredients the mist contains.
First, consider what kind water is used. Evian -- well known for its bottled waters -- was among the first to hit upon the idea of putting mineral drinking water in a canister with nitrogen to propel it toward your face. In fact, Evian's spray was first designed for medical use in hospitals and burn units [source: Loxley]. Depending on the brand, the water might contain different minerals such as calcium or magnesium in different concentrations. Other mist sprays use spring water, ocean water or simple purified water. Most of this is up to your personal preference -- many of the compounds that water can contain can't be absorbed through your skin.
Next, look at the rest of the ingredients the mist contains. Some mists are just water and a propellant. Others contain herbs, oils and extracts touted to firm up, moisturize, invigorate or have some other effect on your skin. Many mists also contain sunscreen -- always a good idea -- so that you can moisturize and add some extra skin protection on top of your makeup.
If you're a fan of aromatherapy, you can look for a spray with essential oils or herbal extracts. Which one you choose is primarily based on what smells good to you and what mood or feeling you're trying to conjure.
On the next page, you'll learn how facial sprays can boost your skin's moisture level or -- if used incorrectly -- might actually make your skin feel drier.
Benefits of Facial Mist Sprays
There are two main benefits of facial mist sprays -- they can temporarily change the appearance of your skin, and, since they're usually cool and pleasantly fragranced, they can help you feel good. Some sprays are marketed as being able to temporarily give you a dewy glow if your skin is feeling dried, and others designed by cosmetic companies may help set or refresh your makeup. Keep in mind, though, that many of the ingredients added to sprays can't actually be absorbed by your skin. So, while a mist might set your makeup or brighten your face for a little while, it's not going to make a lot of physical improvements to your skin.
Aromatherapy, the use of essential oils extracted from plants, might be another reason to use a facial mist spray [source: Hawkins and Ehrlich]. Many alternative medicine practitioners say certain scents can be effective against depression, anxiety, insomnia or exhaustion, although in some cases scientific evidence is inconclusive. If you choose a facial mist for this reason, be sure to read the ingredients list carefully. Several essential oils, such as cinnamon, can cause irritation or breakouts when applied to the skin.
Be careful about overusing facial sprays. When you mist your face, the water evaporates, which can dry your skin -- think of the way your lips become chapped if you lick them too often. Also, some added ingredients might dry your skin out by stripping away the protective layer of oil, or sebum. If you find a spray that contains moisturizer or if you moisturize shortly before or after you spritz, you can help guard your skin's moisture level. Also, keep in mind that, although a sunscreen-containing mist is probably better than no sunscreen at all, a mist might not cover your skin thoroughly enough to really protect you from the sun.
If you still have questions about facial mist sprays, visit some of the links on the next page.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Case, Marianne. "The Chemistry Behind Moisturizers." Illumin: A Review of Chemistry in Everyday Life. Dec. 4, 2003. (Accessed Aug. 29, 2009)http://illumin.usc.edu/article.php?articleID=118
- Center for Watershed Science and Education. "Three Common Problems in Your Drinking Water." (Accessed Sept. 2, 2009)http://www.uwsp.edu/cnr/weal/Corrosion.htm
- Gladstar, Rosemary. "Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health: 175 Teas, Tonics, Oils, Salves, Tinctures, and Other Natural Remedies for the Entire Family." 2008. (Accessed Aug. 29, 2009)http://books.google.com/books?id=vbGXx6ijzBcC&pg=PA123&dq=make+your+own+rose+water&ei=Zq-ZSo7IC5OMzgT_qoDhDg&client=firefox-a#v=onepage&q=make%20your%20own%20rose%20water&f=false
- Hawkins, Ernest B. and Ehrlich, Steven D. "Aromatherapy." University of Maryland Medical Center. Aug. 23, 2007. (Accessed Aug. 29, 2009)http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/aromatherapy-000347.htm
- Loxley, Trisse. "Summer Beauty: The best new facial mists." Elle Canada. (Accessed Aug. 29, 2009)http://www.ellecanada.com/beauty/face/summer-beauty-the-best-new-facial-mists/a/24523
- Peng, Tina. "Do Facial Water Sprays Help Your Skin?" Newsweek. May 5, 2008. (Accessed Aug. 29, 2009)http://www.newsweek.com/id/135589
- Rickwood, Lisa. "Escape the Pace: 100 Fun and Easy Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy Your Life." 2003. (Accessed Aug. 29, 2009)http://books.google.com/books?id=i2sp9M1abcoC&pg=PA92&dq=facial+spray&lr=&ei=D1mZSpC7IabKyQTtlaT0Dg&client=firefox-a#v=onepage&q=facial%20spray&f=false