Recently. I saw a short video featuring Jackie O’s ageless aesthetician from the renowned Georgette Klinger Facial Salon, where I used to go in Manhattan long ago. The expert demonstrated the way she washes her face, which was great to see in action. Because the facialist’s skin was so lovely, I closely watched how she cleansed and moisturized, what products she used and in what sequence.
One item that really stood out in her routine was a spray can of thermal water. I was skeptical about what it could actually do for the skin and wondered if she was adding two unnecessary steps to her regimen. She used the spray before and after cleansing, but said the pre-cleanse was optional. The facialist explained that a good dousing of the fine mist after cleansing not only helps negate the nasty chemicals in city tap water, but is excellent for hydration when used periodically throughout the day. She also said it helps to restore the skin’s pH balance. After she finished her demonstration, her face looked radiant.
With her skin looking so good, I was eager to try thermal water.
What is thermal water? The spray is mineral water that comes from thermal springs, and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which clinical studies have shown to be true. Although thermal water is touted as being safe for people with skin issues like dermatitis and rosacea, caution should still be used when first spraying it on one’s face since the minerals could exacerbate skin problems. Checking with one’s dermatologist before using thermal water would be a smart move for these people.
My local drug store (CVS) has a few European skin care lines that I always glance at when shopping, but I never test the products. I imagine contagious prescription-fillers coughing and sneezing into their hands, then killing time by dipping their germ-laden fingers in a tester jar of moisturizer. For me, sampling a product is not worth the chance of spending several miserable days in bed with aches and pains. But this was a sealed can of water, so I sprayed it on my face without trepidation.
Right away, I had a very good first impression of the product because of how quickly it brought hydration back to my dry, somewhat-sensitive skin. I purchased both Vichy and La Roche-Posay thermal water from the drugstore to test them after washing my face at home, in the morning and evening, and spray them on occasion during the day as a hydrator.
First up was La Roche-Posay Eau Thermale (Thermal Spring Water), which has mineral salts and trace elements in it. This brand has been used in Europe for centuries to treat various skin conditions. Also, the thermal water claims to be suitable for sensitive skin, is gentle enough to use after procedures like laser resurfacing and microdermabrasion, and can be used by those who have rosacea and eczema. What’s more, the spray has a high level of Selenium, an antioxidant, and tones skin.
Wearing a headband to keep my hair out of the way, I cleansed my skin gently. Then I imitated the facialist by spraying the thermal water in circles, then up and down my face and neck. The feel of it was cooling and refreshing. As directed, I let it sink into my skin for the maximum three minutes. Then I took a cotton facial pad to absorb what little water was left on my skin.
Day Two, I used Vichy Eau Thermale (Thermal Spa Water), which is described as being soothing, hypoallergenic, a barrier to protect skin from environmental aggressors and loaded with 15 rare minerals. This spray was also cooling and refreshing. Instructions on the mist’s box say, “Let it set for a few seconds before gently patting dry with a facial tissue or towel.” For those in a rush, there’s no waiting with Vichy.
After both sprays were applied and dried on different days, I touched my skin and each mist left my face feeling very smooth, not stripped of moisture like tap water causes. This is part of what thermal water promises to do — remove impurities, soften and hydrate skin — and it delivers. During my morning skin care routine, I didn’t feel the need to use toner, but found that using it at night after a thermal spritz was still helpful with removing residual city dirt that can even resist a thorough evening cleanse.
Throughout the day, it is recommended that you spray thermal water as a hydrating refresher for your skin, even over makeup (both brands offer a small purse-friendly can). Getting into the habit of this works well for me, reviving my skin as the day progresses. If I’m wearing makeup, a lighter arms-length spray on my face does the trick. La Roche-Posay worked best for this kind of application.
I enjoy using both brands, but use them differently. If I’m in a rush (which is most of the time), I use Vichy. If I’m in a self-pampering mood, I use La Roche-Posay. Both sprays leave my face feeling clean, hydrated, refreshed and ready to help serum penetrate my skin, post-cleanse. I found it important to not let Vichy sit on my skin for more than a few seconds, as directed. Serious devotees to Vichy find the spray very healing. Each person reacts differently to skin care products. Both are worthy sprays to try.
Thermal water has now become a permanent part of my skin care routine as a neutralizing, post-cleanse dirt mopping, softening and hydrating spray. The next time you see a tester spray on the shelf, give your face a quick spritz, and feel it soothe and moisten your skin.
La Roche-Posay is $12.99 for 5.2 oz. and Vichy is $14 for 5.07 oz. Both are well worth the investment. Each company’s website has store locators (Target and Ulta carry both mists) and the sprays are also available online.
We pollution-drenched city dwellers, those looking to better some skin issues, and anyone looking for no-makeup-disruption hydration will feel good using multi-tasking thermal water boosts.
Sidebar: Vichy has a very good Thermale Starter Kit, which includes a smaller-size spray, and is available in stores for only $12. Get it while you can.
JUDGE BEAUTY VERDICT on thermal water sprays: 4 out of 5 gavels.