In the grand scheme of skincare, facial mist never seemed like a particularly relevant item to me, particularly since I associated it with plain water spritzers. This changed after my sojourn in Japan. While I was in Tokyo studying the kodo incense ceremony, I had plenty of time to explore Japan’s vibrant beauty scene and this was how I discovered that my facial mist ideas were rather out of date.
Forget water in a canister! Modern mists address many skincare needs, from radiance to hydration. It may sound like a tall order, but it reflects a particular approach Japanese women take towards skincare – layering. The idea is to start with the lightest product in terms of texture and then build the layers to the moisturising cream, before ending with sunscreen. In this routine, mist can be used as a first step, a boost throughout the day or for setting make-up after touch-ups.
I have since adapted the layering technique to my own needs and found several European brands that offer interesting products. My favourite mists are hydrating and refreshing. They can also function as an aromatherapy session on the go. The latter is the reason why a bottle of rosewater is always in my bag. I usually buy natural distillate from a Middle-Eastern grocery store or pharmacy, making sure that the ingredients list includes nothing but distilled rosewater, and decant it into a portable spray container. One of the best rosewaters (£6.50 for 26cl) is made by Mymouné. Its scent is velvety and rich, and one spritz is all it takes for everything to come up roses – and to soothe the skin.
An ideal ingredient for sensitive and dry skin, rosewater can also be found in a variety of blended mists. One example is Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Mist (£48 for 100ml). It’s based on a 14th-century recipe that was allegedly commissioned by Elisabeth of Hungary to keep her skin beautiful and attract the heart of a much younger king. Apart from the fact that nobody really knows who this perfume-obsessed Elisabeth of Hungary was, the story is charming. While the original Hungarian water consisted of spirits and herbal tinctures, Omorovicza offers an alcohol-free toner. Besides rosewater, it includes orange blossom and sage-leaf distillates, and glycerin to capture moisture. I use Queen of Hungary Mist both as the first layer before serum and moisturiser and later in the day to hydrate my skin further. The uplifting, bright scent is an additional pleasure.
Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence (£71 for 125ml) is another rosewater-based product, and in addition to many interesting ingredients such as hyaluronic acid (hydration), gotu kola (anti-inflammatory) and willow-bark extract (mild exfoliation), it features a generous dose of aloe vera juice. Floral Essences is one of the most moisturising mists I’ve tried, and it smells delightfully of rose petals and citrusy lavender.
I admit that I sampled May Lindstrom’s The Jasmine Garden Botanical Mist ($60 for 100ml) mostly because of the jasmine. I was not disappointed, and besides jasmine I also discovered a new beautiful toner. It calms any redness and leaves skin soft and smooth. Like the other products that I’ve mentioned, it doesn’t contain alcohol or artificial perfumes; its base components of jasmine, rose, ylang ylang and vanilla essences give it a creamy, white floral fragrance. This potion takes me to the gardens of Andalusia, proving conclusively that hydration and wanderlust can be satisfied simultaneously.
But what if you have sensitive skin and prefer to avoid essential oils, or simply don’t like scented products? In this case, I would suggest either Bioderma Sensibio Eau Dermatologique (£6 for 150ml) or Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray (£22 for 125ml). The former is similar to the classic Evian spray, except that it contains an extra cocktail of soothing ingredients. Clinique’s mist includes aloe vera and glycerin, thus making good on its promise of “moisture surge”. Both are excellent.
Victoria Frolova has been writing her perfume blog Boisdejasmin.comsince 2005. Her explorations of fragrance touch upon all elements that make this subject rich and complex: science, art, literature, history and culture. Frolova is a recipient of three prestigious Fragrance Foundation FiFi Awards for Editorial Excellence and, since receiving her professional perfumery training, has also been working as a fragrance consultant and researcher.