Would you spend £92 to spray bacteria on your face?

Would you spend £92 to spray bacteria on your face?


It’s the latest big idea in beauty — products that beat blemishes by feeding the bugs on your skin. But: Would you spend £92 to spray bacteria on your face?

  • Latest in beauty is products that beat blemishes by feeding the bugs on your skin
  • New face mists help promote your skin’s microbiome as good bacteria thrives
  • Here, FEMAIL test the best nine spritzes to protect your skin from modern life

Pollution. Over-cleansing. Too much time indoors. Modern life wreaks havoc on our skin’s microbiome, the ecosystem of microbes that’s crucial for healthy, youthful skin.

‘Your microbiome is your skin’s invisible armour,’ explains Trevor Steyn, biochemist and founder of Esse Skincare UK. ‘It is critical for skin health in much the same way as your gut microbiome is important for intestinal health. A balanced skin microbiome keeps the skin’s immune system in check and reduces sensitivity.’

Normally, our skin microbes like nothing better than to be left to their own devices to feed on natural oils in our ‘acid mantle’, the upper layer of skin that forms a barrier against the outside world.

We, however, insist on messing with this delicate ecosystem, stripping the bugs of their food source with harsh cleansers and assaulting them with piping hot showers or aggressive skincare.

‘It’s one of the reasons skin sensitivity is now so common,’ says Trevor.

Victoria Woodhall tested a selection of the best new spritzes to protect your skin from modern life. Pictured: Valmont Primary Veil

‘When we blitz away the good bacteria, the bad guys move in, such as the bacteria responsible for acne and eczema,’ adds pharmacist Dr Marie Drago, creator of Gallinee skincare. ‘If the microbiome cannot play its protective role, skin becomes inflamed, red, sensitive, dry and more prone to premature ageing.’

Enter a new breed of face mists that help promote your skin’s microbiome.

These sprays create a holiday camp for good bacteria, bussing in hordes of fresh ones in the form of probiotics such as lactobacillus, along with the food they like to feast on — sugars such as inulin and oligosaccharides or fermented ingredients such as vinegar and lactic acid.

Trevor likens it to skin rewilding. Just as nature reclaimed our streets in lockdown, we’re helping our skin’s wildlife reclaim its space.

Simply spritz a microbiome mist on your face in place of your morning wash (spray the air, then lean into the mist to avoid a super-soaking effect); put it over your back, legs or anywhere else your skin needs extra TLC; and use it to set make-up and to moisturise and protect against pollution throughout the day.

Here, we test the best nine spritzes to protect your skin from modern life.


Valmont Primary Veil, £92 for 150ml, harveynichols.com

WHAT IS IT? With therapeutic water drawn from a 1,500ft-deep Swiss thermal spring, this mist is aimed at delicate and imbalanced skin. It brings out the big guns with the lactobacillus probiotic, as well as prebiotics made from chicory, plus soothing oils extracted from jojoba. A banquet for bacteria.

FEELS LIKE? Its milky texture makes this more moisturising than most and it smells delicately botanical.

VERDICT: Luxe, soothing and effective. 3/5


Sunday Riley Pink Drink Firming Resurfacing Essence, £42 for 50ml, cultbeauty.co.uk

Victoria said Sunday Riley Pink Drink Firming Resurfacing Essence (pictured) left her skin feeling soft and nourished 

WHAT IS IT? As an essence, it’s meant to be used under serum. It has firming peptides plus ceramides, the oils that are essential for an effective skin barrier. There’s an impressive list of fruit, flower and algae extracts from cucumber to chlorella, cacao, apricot and rose.

FEELS LIKE? There’s a reassuringly high dose of prebiotic ferments from pink yeast and honey, lending this pretty pink liquid an unmistakable, but not unpleasant, whiff of the brewery. After spraying it on, my skin felt soft and nourished.

VERDICT: Potently plumping. 4/5


Venn Synbiotic Defense Mist, £34 for 50ml, facethefuture.co.uk

Victoria said Venn Synbiotic Defense Mist (pictured) is more of a serum than a moisturiser, but is a turbo-charger for your skin’s defence 

WHAT IS IT? This U.S. and Korean brand takes glowing skin seriously, and, in the age of ‘maskne’ (acne-like flare-ups caused by wearing face masks), has come up with an anti-inflammatory blend of four probiotics, three of which are higher up the ingredients list than water.

There’s a prebiotic, too, and seven active ingredients such as anti-wrinkle and pore-reducing niacinamide, brightening peptides and a host of wrinkle-busters.

FEELS LIKE? Fragrance-free and slightly sticky, this serum-grade concentrated mist sits best under moisturiser as an all-day shield. More of a serum than a moisturiser, enjoy sparingly.

VERDICT: A turbo-charger for your skin’s defence. 4/5


Esse Toner Plus, £49 for 100ml, esseskincare.co.uk

Victoria said Esse Toner Plus (pictured) has an uplifting fresh-feel and is best applied by patting into your skin 

WHAT IS IT? If Nasa made toners, this would be it. This high-tech organic blend has three types of lactobacillus to stimulate peptides that zap bad bacteria, boost your skin’s immune defences to make it less prone to flare-ups and help you grow more of your own good bacteria, which it feeds with a prebiotic banquet of, among other things, baobab fruit pulp.

FEELS LIKE? Unlike most toners, you don’t need a cotton pad to apply this. Mist on and pat into your skin for a cocktail of brightening acids and protective friendly bacteria. I loved the uplifting fresh feel.

VERDICT: High-tech and high- performing. 5/5


Evolve Organic Beauty Daily Defense Moisture Mist, £9 for 30ml, naturisimo.com

Victoria said Evolve Organic Beauty Daily Defense Moisture Mist (pictured) is a good all-rounder and great over make-up 

WHAT IS IT? If your skin feels dry or irritated throughout the day, or your foundation starts to flake, this hydrating natural mist is one to keep handy for a glug of refreshment thanks to hyaluronic acid and prickly pear extract, which help the skin hold on to moisture. The prebiotic inulin helps your skin barrier stay strong.

FEELS LIKE? When I felt hot, I reached for this travel-sized spritz to cool my cheeks and stop my make-up slipping. If you already use a general face mist, this is a good upgrade.

VERDICT: A good all-rounder. Great over make-up. 3/5


Gallinee Face Vinegar In Spray, £23, 200ml, gallinee.com

Victoria said Gallinee Face Vinegar In Spray (pictured) is great value and treats the whole body

WHAT IS IT? Don’t be put off by the name. Face Vinegar is a traditional French toner that’s great for your skin microbiome, as bugs love an acidic environment. Vinegar makes a great skin purifier, too. It’s a big bottle that you can use all over the body.

FEELS LIKE? No sour smells here. This blend has prebiotics from algae to help reduce redness and stress on the skin, and postbiotics in the form of lactic acid and hibiscus vinegar to create the perfect environment for your skin bacteria to thrive. Use it on your arms to treat chicken skin — and on your teens, too.

VERDICT: Great value; treats the whole body. 5/5


Orveda Respure Breathable Mist Beauty Shield, £60 for 30ml, orveda.com

Victoria said Orveda Respure Breathable Mist Beauty Shield (pictured) is best applied as the last step after make-up 

WHAT IS IT? Calling itself a ‘portable beauty shield,’ this concentrated hydrating and protecting premium mist promises to lock in moisture and keep pollutants out with a breathable shield made from algae and skin-barrier-boosting prebiotics.

FEELS LIKE? Apply as the last step after make-up by day, and, after cleansing at night, to the face, neck and upper back. It has the brand’s signature fragrance created by a French perfumer.

VERDICT: A premium pick- me up.3/5


Drunk Elephant Sweet Biome Fermented Sake Spray, £35 for 100ml, cultbeauty.co.uk

Victoria said Drunk Elephant Sweet Biome Fermented Sake Spray (pictured) softened her bare skin 

WHAT IS IT? Throw a drunken bash for your bugs with a mix of fermented sake, kombucha (fermented tea) and hops. This well-formulated, scent-free mist supports the skin’s acid mantle, where microbes hang out, with moisturising ceramides as well as minerals and electrolytes.

FEELS LIKE? It softened my bare skin, helped my serum sink in better and worked a treat under a facial oil. I’d be happy to use this several times a day.

VERDICT: Featherlight. 4/5


Beauty Pie Uber Youth Super Elixir Microbiome Mist, £17.63 for 95ml for members, beautypie.com

Victoria was impressed with Beauty Pie Uber Youth Super Elixir Microbiome Mist (pictured)

WHAT IS IT? You have to sign up for membership (from £5 per month) to this site to buy its high-quality discounted products, but it’s well worth it. This ‘serum in a mist’ would normally set you back £80, and describes itself as ‘probably too expensive to bathe in’. It tackles wrinkles, pigmentation, inflammation glycation (the ageing effects of eating too much sugar), has probiotics to support the microbiome and is scent-free.

FEELS LIKE? The mist comes out in a hefty dose that was a great switch-up for my morning splash of water.

VERDICT: A serum mist with superpowers.4/5 

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