There’s a reason why there are so many options on the face mist market. Whether you’re looking to hydrate your skin or set your makeup, there’s something extremely refreshing about spritzing your face.
Judging by the price tag of mineral water in an aerosol can, it’s clear that brands know this too.
That being said, finding a mist that hydrates, nourishes and soothes skin (while giving your makeup extra staying power) is easier said than done. This is especially true for those who are sensitive.
Cloying artificial fragrances, denatured alcohols, and irritation-causing preservatives lurk in many of the most popular products.
There are some great options on the market, but personally, I wanted the freedom to be able to make my own mist at home using natural ingredients. Out of this desire, I came up with two different recipes that are simple, effective, and economical. They can be made 2 ways depending on your preference of fragrance: rosewater or cucumber mint.
Simple ingredients like rosewater, peppermint hydrosol and vegetable glycerin aren’t revolutionary by any means, but sometimes simple is effective. I’ve found these recipes to be incredibly helpful for a variety of uses for face hair, and body.
Use #1: setting makeup for an effortlessly dewy look
My favourite use for this recipe is as a makeup setting spray, hence the title of this post! If I’ve been too heavy-handed with my favourite powder, my face can look overly matte and dull. I prefer my skin to be on the dewy side. Spritzed over makeup, this mist brings some life and sheen back into my skin. The result is foundation that stays put without a lifeless, powdered look.
That being said, glycerin setting sprays work best when the temperature is cold or mild. To lock your makeup in place under hot, humid conditions, you’re going to want to use a glycerin-free formula. That’s why I came up with this DIY neroli setting spray recipe.
Use #2: adding extra hydration between layers of product
I love spraying this on my face after cleansing and toning, and between each layer of serum or oil. When combined with a liquid like rosewater, glycerin (a humectant) helps attract and trap moisture where it counts — close to your skin.
Use #3: a cooling, soothing mist for face and body
This mist is perfect for refreshing your face and body on a hot day. It’s also useful for calming red, inflamed skin if you’re experiencing a breakout, flare-up, or if you just overdid it with the AHAs.
Use #4: a detangling and hydrating hair mist
I spray this on my hair after washing it to help detangle, hydrate, and subtly fragrance my hair. It’s the perfect base before layering on other styling products or protective oils.
Use #5: as a lightly fragrant perfume mist
My favourite brand of rosewater is already naturally fragrant. But by adding extra rose essential oil, you can increase the strength of the mist’s fragrance to make a light, floral perfume for hair and body.
Rosewater: I use food-grade rosewater from Cortas. Since the skin is so permeable, I prefer to use food-grade when it’s available.
Benefits of rosewater and rose oil:
- In aromatherapy, rose’s fragrance is uplifting, anti-depressant, and anti-anxiety
- Calming and anti-inflammatory, helping to soothe conditions such as acne and dermatitis
- Antimicrobial that helps control the growth of pathogenic and acne-causing bacteria on the skin
- Helps control free radical activity on the skin thanks to its antioxidant properties
Peppermint hydrosol: I used peppermint hydrosol in the cucumber mint version of this recipe.
Benefits of peppermint hydrosol:
- Refreshing and cooling sensation on the skin
- Anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity of peppermint helps to soothe inflammatory conditions
- Antimicrobial that helps to regulate skin microflora by controlling unwanted bacteria
- Peppermint’s aroma can help relieve headaches and tension when used in aromatherapy
Vegetable glycerin: This kind of glycerin is a byproduct of plant oils, not petroleum.
Benefits of vegetable glycerin:
- Hygroscopic, meaning it draws water from its surrounding environment
- Humectant — when combined with a liquid like rosewater, it works synergistically to hydrate and retain moisture
- Provides a protective and lubricating barrier over skin and hair
Note — since glycerin is hygroscopic, it should be used with caution by those who live in dry climates. In a humid climate, glycerin will absorb moisture from the air. In a dry climate, however, glycerin can steal the moisture from your skin and hair! For cases like these, consider this DIY setting spray recipe without glycerin.
Cucumber fruit extract: The aromatic liquid extract of the cucumber fruit.
Benefits of cucumber fruit extract:
- Tightening and astringent while also being soothing and cooling to the skin
- Diuretic and de-puffing properties
- Rich in minerals such as potassium, sulfur, and silica
- Emollient that softens skin and hair
- Provides a refreshing scent without synthetic fragrances
Optiphen Plus: In a perfect world, maybe we wouldn’t need preservatives. I won’t touch formaldehyde-releasers, but the truth is that any water-containing product is liable to be contaminated with mold, fungus, and bacteria. Not only is this unsanitary, but it’s also unsafe. Any water-based product needs a preservative.
Optiphen Plus is a paraben-free preservative that increases a product’s shelf life and kills pathogenic bacteria. It contains a blend of phenoxyethanol, caprylyl glycol and sorbic acid.
Admittedly, I don’t love using it. I have some qualms about phenoxyethanol’s safety — it’s created by reacting two carcinogenic substances, ethylene oxide and phenol. Too much phenoxyethanol in a product also irritates my skin, so I use it in the lowest effective concentration.
That being said, I’m not so sure there’s such thing as a completely “safe” preservative. (I plan to go into more detail on this subject in a future ebook.)
Update: After more research and experimentation, I’ve changed my stance on phenoxyethanol and will no longer be using it in my DIY products. I cannot comfortably use or recommend a preservative that is created by reacting two carcinogenic substances. This does not sit right on my conscience (or my skin!).
The fact that a preservative is paraben-free does not guarantee its safety. I worry about the long-term effects of these newer-generation, paraben-free preservatives that have not been tested extensively.
I am now using Leucidal Liquid SF in my homemade mists and toners with great success. I have had absolutely no issues with skin irritation or product spoilage. As someone with extremely sensitive skin, this is remarkable!
Leucidal Liquid SF is a probiotic-based preservative created by the fermentation of Lactobacillus bacteria. It’s not to be confused with the other Leucidal Liquid (otherwise known as Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate), which comes with controversy of its own.
If you absolutely want to skip the preservative, keeping the spray in the fridge will not only make it more refreshing, but also extend its shelf life.
The shelf life of Optiphen Plus on its own is 2 years. I’m obviously not a chemist, but I would assume that using it would help your spray last at least 6 months if working with clean, sterilized materials. (My spray is never around long enough for me to put it to the test!)
Update: The shelf life of Leucidal Liquid SF, the preservative I am currently using, is 12 months. It will not give you as long of a shelf life as Optiphen Plus, but this should not be an issue — mists tend to be used up quickly.
Do you love dewy, glowing skin? If so, you’ll love this ultra-hydrating, natural DIY makeup setting spray made with rosewater and glycerin. Choose your preferred fragrance: rosewater or cucumber mint.
Fill your properly sterilized glass spray bottle 3/4 of the way with your rosewater or mint water.
Add 1 tbsp of vegetable glycerin to your base (any more than this can give your mist a greasy feel).
If desired, add your 1/4 tsp of Optiphen Plus, which is roughly 0.5% concentration in an 8oz spray bottle.
I now recommend 1 tsp Leucidal Liquid SF instead, which is roughly 2% concentration in an 8oz spray bottle.
Finally, add your rose essential oil or cucumber fruit extract.
Shake to combine.
The natural food dye powder isn't necessary -- I used it just so that the finished product would look pretty in the bottle!
Even though I love homemade face mists, I love high quality storebought products too. My favourite is Caudalie’s Grape Water, which is the most soothing face mist I’ve ever used. It’s 100% organic and contains only 3 ingredients: grape water, grape juice, and nitrogen. The airless dispenser means it needs no preservative, making it ideal for those with very sensitive skin. It works like magic for helping to soothe redness and irritation.
If you end up trying my recipe, I’d love to hear how it goes. And if you’ve tried any other natural body mist recipes, I’d love to hear about those too!