Skin Mists and Essences Explained

Korean products and trends have successfully conquered the global skincare industry, introducing the world to novel products like CC creams and, most recently, facial mists. Sarah Lee, co-founder of the K-beauty blog and retailer Glow Recipe, tells Glamour Magazine that she sees women “spritzing them all the time in public transportation, at cafes, [and] on streets.” The theory behind these lightly moisturizing sprays is that they help prepare the skin for other products likes serums or facial treatments, making them work more effectively. They also act as convenient, luxurious options for mid-day skin hydration, or lightweight skin conditioning. This is because that unlike simple mineral or floral water, these mists include skin softening, moisturizing, and soothing agents.

Many of these next-generation formulas are water free — for good reason. Spraying your face with water is addictivly refreshing, but the evaporation of that water can make one’s skin drier than it was before, as dermatologist Ellen Marmur of New York’s Marmur Medical tells New York Magazine. One must have at the very least some sort of moisturizing agent in the spray to make it worthwhile. By not diluting the ingredients with water, these formulas also maximize the potency of their active ingredients.

The K-beauty gurus at Peach & Lily recommend using the mists first in your skincare routine, and I agree. Their reason is that because it evaporates so quickly, putting it on first helps lock in moisture. When I worked at Estée Lauder, I often told my clients to use products in order of least to most viscosity because of the rates of absorption and skin penetration of each product work together when layered as such. 

Essences are similar to facial mists, but are an entirely different category of product. As Into the Gloss reports, essence is like a toner in its texture, but it more like a diluted serum in its composition. I honestly don’t see a need for them, unless you need extra moisture and don’t want to use a face spray. In my personal skincare routine, I use pretty awesome cleansers (Tatcha powder in the day and my Clairisonic at night) that don’t over strip my face but do a great job to brighten and clean my face. Then, I use my Tatcha face mist (review coming) which hydrates and preps my skin. I don’t really see a need for an essence instead. If you have very dry skin, perhaps an essence would be more moisturizing than a mist (though it depends on the brand and formula). 

Overall, I think these types of skincare are luxurious additions to one’s routine, but not really necessary. Mine definately  improves my skin’s bounce and glow, but it is not extreme. It also helps my beloved serums glide onto my face. I sometimes spray it over my makeup throughout the day for continued moisture, but honestly if  I had to pick just one thing to reapply in the afternoon, it’d be SUNSCREEN. I keep a body mist that has glycerin (among other things) in the refrigerator for light, refreshing summer hydration. Would you use a skin mist or essence? Let’s discuss in the comments~


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