I didn’t realize, until my husband pointed it out, that I have quite a collection of facial mists. Besides several bottles on our bathroom shelf, I carry a small spray in my purse and always keep an extra one in my travel case. As far as I’m concerned, facial mists are among the best skin care tricks for sealing in makeup, getting a quick dose of hydration and feeling refreshed. Another bonus is that many facial mists are naturally scented, and their light, mild fragrance of rosewater, linden, lavender or orange blossom offers a dose of aromatherapy throughout the day.
My staple facial mist is a simple blend of rose and distilled water, which I either concoct myself (1 cup of distilled water, 4 Tablespoons all-natural rosewater) or buy it ready-made at the pharmacy. In the US, Whole Foods and other health food stores carry several good brands of rosewater* in small, handy atomizers. Rosewater is a boon for my combination skin; it’s soothing, calming and has a delicate scent of sun warmed petals. The scent is all-natural, fleeting, but stimulating while it lasts. Besides falling into a rose perfumed reverie, you can use a mix of rosewater and argan oil to remove makeup, including water-proof mascara and eyeliner. Instant radiance is guaranteed.
Another useful floral water to have on hand is orange blossom*, distilled from the flowers of the bitter orange tree. If I want an Alhambra fantasy, then I reach for orange blossom mist. It’s made in the same way as the rosewater mist, but depending on the orange blossom water quality and scent, you may not need to dilute it quite as much. Simply transfer orange blossom water into a sterile spray atomizer and spritz away.
Rose and orange blossom waters are must-have products in my beauty stash, not least because they have many other applications, from perfuming sheets to flavoring desserts. Herbal distillates, or hydrosols, on the other hand, are much more specialized, and you can take your pick based on your skin needs and scent preferences. Lavender, chamomile, cornflower, and linden are some of my favorite hydrosols, and I rotate them throughout the year. Hydrosols, like the aforementioned mixtures of rose and orange blossom waters, are fragile, and I recommend using up commercial versions within a month and homemade blends within a week.
A versatile category of facial mists are the mineral waters, and any European pharmacy offers a wide selection. This is what I keep near my computer or pack into my carry-on luggage when I travel. Bioderma, a respected French pharmacy brand, offers Eau Dermatologique (50ml, 3€), water spiked with minerals, while Caudalie’s collection features Eau de Raisin (Grape Water, 75ml, 6€), a mixture of water, distillate of grape berries and grape juice. Nothing is more soothing to eyes tired from staring at a computer screen than a generous spray of these waters.
My choices generally stay within the budget category, and while I’m not known to penny pinch when it comes to skin care, I have yet to find a high-end skincare line that offers a facial mist worthy of a splurge. If I want a luxurious facial mist, I turn to the Japanese and Korean brands. By luxurious I don’t mean more expensive, but rather more interesting formulas, loaded with antioxidants, herbal extracts and vitamins. Unlike the hydrosols or waters I mentioned earlier, Asian facial mists are complete skincare products, lotions in a spray form. If you want moisture, radiance, or even a boost for your sunscreen, Asian facial mists will cover all such needs.
Laneige, a Korean brand, is among my favorites, and I love its moisturizing and nourishing Water Bank Mineral Skin Mist. Etude House’s Aloe Moistfull Soothing Mist, Aritaum Baby Face Mist Power Hyaluronic Acid, and Cremorlab Mineral Water Mist fill the niche of my usual toners, with an added benefit of being portable. On a sweltering summer day in Seoul, you see lots of facial misting in action and can even use a metro ride to gauge which beauty products are hot and trendy at the moment.
Among Japanese lines, I’m partial to Shu Uemura’s Depsea Water Facial Mist (150ml, 27€), an unscented hydrating toner. RMK’s Herbal Mist in Rose (50ml, 25€) is excellent, but only as an aromatherapy on the go. I find the formula too strongly scented to be used as a facial spray, but the fragrance of lush rose petals and lime peels is irresistible. If I feel tired or stressed out, I spray Rose on my neck and chest and enjoy its uplifting effect. RMK’s Jasmine and Yuzu mists are also terrific, especially if you like crisp Japanese renditions of white flowers and fruit.
Not long ago buying Asian skincare meant travel, expensive mail-order or kind friends in Tokyo, but over the past two years American and European beauty magazines have discovered Asia and proclaimed its skincare as a panacea for acne, wrinkles, stress, and everything else that ails modern women. I may wince when I read yet another “Asian women don’t age” article, but the hype translates into greater availability of Korean and Japanese cosmetics. In the States, my mother recommends peachandlily.com for its large collection of Korean skincare, while in Europe, I like himawari-store.fr for quick shipping from France and excellent customer service. Alternatively, Sephora, Planet Parfum and Ici Paris XL offer several Asian brands of note and lots of facial mists.
Some of the more obscure lines might still require a trip to Chinatown, Korea-town or Japanese supermarkets. The only downside is the lack of English labels on some Japanese products, but if you like shopping like a sleuth, it only adds to the fun. If you want to avoid artificial perfume, look for products labeled as 無香料 or むこうりょう (mukoryo, unscented). If an ingredient list includes エタノール (etanoru, ethanol), the product contains alcohol. Two more Japanese words that will serve you well during your beauty pursuits: しっとり (shittori), which means moist, products formulated for dry skin, and さっぱり (sappari), fresh, products designed for normal-combination skin. If you see characters 美白 (bihaku), you’re beholding something that will whiten your skin, and yes, there are whitening facial mists as well.
Who says that a quest for beauty is not an educational activity?
Photography by Bois de Jasmin