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What is a Complexion Mist?

By T. Briseno
Updated May 21, 2024
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A complexion mist is a liquid spray used for freshening the face. When applied to facial skin before using moisturizer, it may also help to absorb the moisturizer's ingredients. Spraying the face and neck before putting on makeup generally provides for smoother application as well, and misting with the same spray also can help to set makeup once applied. Used alone, a complexion mist may cool the skin in hot weather or can provide needed moisture in dry indoor environments or while outdoors.

Ingredients in a complexion mist vary greatly. Some products are simply water in a spray can or plastic bottle, while others are complex mixes with long ingredient lists. While the base of most mists is water, some may have a high alcohol, witch hazel, or silicone content based on their intended use. A silicone-based complexion mist may be designed to prime or smooth the face for cosmetics, while an alcohol or witch hazel mist may be intended for use after facial washing and before moisturizing or for controlling oils in the skin throughout the day.

With the increased popularity of mineral-based powder makeup, spray products are sometimes marketed for use as the final step in creating a natural finished look and for minimizing a powdery cast. Mists often contain moisturizing oils, aloe, or synthetic compounds for leaving a soft feel to the skin. Using a complexion mist made of rose water has long been considered by many to be effective for toning the face and adding a glow to the complexion.

Those who live in dry climates or in wintry regions may keep a complexion mist on hand for reducing the tautness of parched skin brought on by lack of natural humidity or too much artificial indoor heat. Individuals who suffer from conditions that raise the body temperature and women going through menopause may find relief as well by spritzing a fine mist of water and moisture on the face during the night. Athletes can refresh and cool down by keeping a complexion mist nearby during workouts or on hand during prolonged activity outdoors.

While toning and refreshing the skin may be common uses, some companies have begun creating mists that multi-task. Sunscreen and bug repellent ingredients can now be found in a complexion mist, as can acne medication and bronzer. The varieties are endless — a mist can be unscented or highly scented, organic or synthetic, inexpensive or very pricey. It can be manufactured for beauty, health, or athletic purposes, or it can be made with ingredients at home.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By literally45 — On Apr 09, 2013

@MikeMason-- You might be right but I think that complexion mists usually have some other ingredients that improve skin quality like nutrients or tonics.

I love complexion mists with vitamins in them, I especially look for ones with vitamin C. Vitamin C helps treat hyper-pigmentation. It can fade blemishes and it also makes skin healthier.

Pure water ones are nice to use in the summer for cooling, but I feel upset that I'm paying extra for just water mist! When there is some other ingredient in it, it justifies the price in my opinion. It should at least have an essential oil in it.

By stoneMason — On Apr 08, 2013

@ysmina-- I'm not an expert on this topic but I think for the most part, these products are interchangeable. Especially the ones which have water as the main ingredient can be used both for hydrating the face and for improving complexion.

I have a facial complexion mist which is mainly water. I spray it on lightly after my makeup. It gives my face a very fresh, natural and dewy look.

By ysmina — On Apr 07, 2013

What's the difference between complexion mists and hydration mists?

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