Many of us have a bottle of face mist on our office desk that we pick up in the middle of the day to refresh ourselves with, like clockwork. While there are die-hard supporters who firmly believe in the healing properties and benefits of face mists, there are also the naysayers, who see it as nothing more than a overpriced bottle of water.
So, what is it, really? Do face mists really help your skin with anything? Is it a necessary step in our skincare routine?
Before we get into that, first, let’s backtrack: what are face mists, exactly? Here’s a handy summary to catch you up to speed.
What are face mists, and what do they do for you?
The Herbivore Botanicals Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist retails for SGD25, and can be purchased at Sephora.
Primarily, face mists help refresh skin, allowing for a quick dose of hydration for your skin throughout the day. Most of them come in small, travel-sized (or at least comparatively smaller) bottles for ease of convenience. Fun fact: the act of face misting is actually regularly practised in Korea, where it’s common to see women whipping out their face mists throughout the day for a quick spritz.
Bear in mind: facial mists don’t just hydrate. They can also work as a serum, as a way to set makeup, or as a method to cool down flushed, easily irritated skin. The possibilities are endless, especially considering how it can be used over a full face of makeup.
Do face mists really work?
This brings forth the question: do face mists actually work? And if they do, does it mean we can bid adieu to our beloved moisturisers? We get all your pressing questions answered by skincare professionals who have had numerous experiences with face mists and the practice of face misting itself.
1. Does the act of face misting really keep skin hydrated throughout the day?
The general consensus amongst the professionals we asked seems to be that it all depends on the ingredients included in the face mists.
Dr. YX Lum, an aesthetic doctor from IDS Clinic, says, “It depends largely on the ingredients included in the face mists and how they are formulated.
Face mists that contain humectant ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin will help to moisture the skin. Humectants are hygroscopic substances that help to keep things moist. They help to hold the moisture to the skin. Facial mists that contain occlusives can also help to hydrate. Occlusives like mineral oils lock in moisture.”
She also mentioned that there are a lot of face mists in the market that don’t have either of such ingredients, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled before investing in one. Face mists that contain too much alcohol may even end up having the opposite effect and drying out your skin!
2. Does spritzing water on your face achieve the same effect as a face mist?
It’s a resounding “no” across the board. Founder of The Skin Botanique, Charles Ng who formulates skincare products says, “Spritzing water imparts the ‘feeling of freshness’, especially at that instant when water evaporates from the skin. However, I am not convinced that the chemistry of H2O as a carrier solvent and without any other ingredient is able to impart properties such as hydration, softening or a ‘glowy’ effect to the skin.”
This is backed up by Dr Georgia Lee, aesthetic doctor and founder of TLC Lifestyle Practice, who feels that the per-cutaneous diffusion of water is definitely not as cost effective for users as compared to a face mist.
3. If you use a face mist, does that mean you can forgo moisturiser completely?
It’s a valid question, after all. If your skin is already getting round the clock hydration, does that mean you can skip out on moisturising completely?
Not exactly, according to Mr. Ng. He says, “An effective facial mist can help to keep your skin hydrated. However, it has to contain ingredients that are able to impart emollient properties to the skin in order to keep it hydrated. Think of it as a moisturiser that has been pulverised and sprayed, instead of being applied onto the skin.
Facial mists that do not contain emollients are capable of drying out the skin. A water-based facial mist readily evaporates into the atmosphere along with the moisture on the surface of the skin, which is very likely to lead to dryness.”
Are there any exceptions to the rule? Well, only if you have extremely sensitive skin, with no other commercial moisturiser out there being suitable for use. Dr. Lee says that while rare, this can happen, as “all packaged product(s) will have other ingredients to balance the PH, to stabilise, and to preserve” and users with more sensitive skin may be allergic to said ingredients.
4. How should you go about picking the right face mist for your skin type?
A particularly important point to note if you have oily skin is not to get a facial mist that dries out your complexion. “The more oily the skin is, the less emollient is needed in the facial mist,” says Mr. Ng. Getting a facial mist that dries your skin out can even trigger further redness and sensitivity.
A general rule of thumb? According to Charles, “a suitable facial mist is one that does not dry your skin, does not cause redness or sensitivity, and makes your skin feel light and radiant.” Dr. Lee is in agreement with this, stating that a good facial mist should primarily “hydrate beyond what a morning moisturiser can deliver,” but also, “not sensitise the skin.”
5. How many times a day should you mist your face?
It really depends on your skin type. Mr. Ng says that it also depends on certain factors, such as “the density of the formulation. Facial mists containing emollients need to be administered between two and three times a day to achieve the effect of having the skin to be hydrated throughout the day”.
Dr. Lum, on the other hand, feels that misting is up to personal preference, and that you can do it as many times as you want throughout the day. However, if you’re looking for a benchmark of sorts, she recommends spritzing it once in the morning, once in the midday, and once at night.
6. Are there any other tips to keep skin hydrated throughout the day?
Because we need all the help we can get in keeping skin hydrated and healthy in Singapore’s climate, right?
Both Mr. Ng and Dr. Lum agree that a large part of this actually has to do with one’s dietary habits.
Mr. Ng explains, “Sustainable skin care isn’t just about what we put to our skin. A balanced diet with micro-nutrients from fruits and vegetables, at least two litres of water and at least six to seven hours of sleep are important to help our skin look its best. A sustainable skin care approach is always an inside-out, and outside-in approach.”
The experts we spoke to
Dr. YX Lum
Having graduated from Trinity College in Dublin with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree, Dr. YX Lum went on to earn various graduate diplomas and certification for aesthetic medicine. Having once battled with acne and breakouts herself, Dr. Lum has since had a strong interest in acne treatment, and innovating products and treatments for the condition.
Dr. Lum is currently part of the team of doctors running IDS Clinic, specialising in skincare solutions from Botox® fillers, laser treatment, to simply acne prevention.
Address: 8 Sinaran Drive, #05-07 to 10, Novena Specialist Center, Singapore 307470
Opening hours: Mon – Fri 10am to 8pm, Sat 10am to 5pm, closed on Sun and PH
For appointments: Through the form on their website
Charles is the owner of plant-based skin care practice, The Skin Botanique and whole food bistro, Lean Bento. An honours graduate in Engineering from the National University of Singapore in 2003, he took the road less travelled by starting The Natural Skin Clinic, a plant-based skincare practice before his commencement. It was rebranded as The Skin Botanique in 2009.
Growing up in an era with limited access to information, lifestyle media at its infancy and without the Internet, he ploughed through limited resources from the library and communicated directly with pharmaceutical companies to start creating home-made skin care formulations. Many of his well-studied experiments which yield favourable results were adapted into treatments and made into skin care products under The Skin Botanique.
The Skin Botanique
Address: 190 Clemenceau Ave, #04-01, Singapore Shopping Centre, Singapore 239924
Opening hours: Mon, Wed & Fri 12pm to 5pm, Tue and Thurs 12pm to 9.30pm, Sat to Sun 10am to 1pm.
Dr. Georgia Lee
Armed with extensive experience and credentials in dermatology and aesthetic medicine, Dr. Georgia Lee started her own practice in 1999 and has since earned a reputation for being a top celebrity aesthetic doctor.
She now practises at TLC Lifestyle Practice, and has also launched her own cosmeceutical skincare brand, DrGL. Dr. Lee also runs a combined spa experience, DrSkin and DrHair, located at Tangs Beauty Services on Level 4, which provides facial treatments and hair loss solutions entirely with DrGL products, or methods approved by Dr. Lee herself.
TLC Lifestyle Practice
Address: 9 Scotts Road, #11-04/05, Pacific Plaza, Singapore 228210
Opening hours: Mon & Sat 8am to 4.30pm, Tue to Fri 8am to 8.30pm, closed on Sun and PH
For appointments: [email protected]