Toners, Tonics & Facial Mists: Do They Hydrate or Dehydrate the Skin?

Facial Mists

For decades I’ve noticed women would frequently use hydrating mists on their face, most commonly on planes or at the office especially when the heater has been cranked up high. I’ve always wondered about this, “does the product truly hydrate the skin? If so then why do they have a tendency to spray it on ever so often?” Sure, hydrating mist “helps” refreshens the skin giving it a dewy look. Some products even go as far as promising that it calms skin irritations, but do they truly work?

If like me, you’ve used a facial mist on your face, you’d notice that this refresh feeling tends to disappear after about a minute. This usually happens if the spray is primarily made out of H20. Your skin would end up feeling dryer than it did due to trans-epidermal water loss. When the water evaporates so does your “moisture”. Just like when you have chapped lips and you keep licking your lips, you’d notice that your lips would actually feel dryer than it did.

Unless if the facial mist ingredients include emollients, then yes, it can help to moisturise your skin. Therefore, be cautious the type of facial mist that you are getting. Look at the ingredients, you would get a sense if it’s water or the product is actually delivering active ingredients or emollients.


The right toner can help reduce the appearance of pores. Witch hazel is particularly effective for this, especially for those with oily/combination skin. Whereas rose water is great to soothe sensitive skin. It also helps to rebalance your skin’s natural pH while some toners help with moisturising the skin.

For the past few years, I’ve had the habit of spritzing toner directly on my face and finishing it off with a serum, facial oil, moisturiser and an SPF. The problem with not using your toner on a cotton pad and physically wiping your face, is that it does not remove any residues or impurities from the tap water used to rinse off the cleanser, be it salt, chlorine and minerals which can dehydrate your skin. Toners aren’t just for removing excess oil but also any access dirt/makeup you may have accidentally left on your skin during the cleansing stage.

It is important to note that, once you rinse off your cleanser and your skin is damp from tap water, you have a 60-second window before evaporation begins to occur, so it’s important to move quickly with your skin care routine. Do not wait until your skin dries before toning your skin.

This is how I look at it, when your skin is still damped with a toner and then you put serum on it, it actually helps lock in the hydration and helps with product absorption better (whether oil/serum).

Image: GlossyBox



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