This simple hydrating skincare step feeds your skin barrier for a calm and healthy complexion. Here's why we're all in

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One of the hottest topics in wellness right now is the microbiome. We’ve all heard about ' gut microbiome ', the colony of bacteria in our gut, but did you know that your skin has it's own bug ecosystem too, the skin microbiome? And similar to  gut health , having a healthy and diverse collection of microbes on our skin is key to a glowing and flare-up free complexion.

A healthy gut microbiome plays an important part in a strong  skin barrier , as Marie Drago, founder of microbiome skincare brand Gallinée explains.

"Your skin microbiome is your first line of defence,” she says. “It’s the community of microorganisms living on your skin and they have two roles: communicating with your immune system to manage inflammation and defending your skin against aggression.”

One super simple way to look after your skin microbiome daily is with a microbiome mist, which gives the skin a dose of  probiotics   – good bacteria – as well as prebiotics, the food that helps good bacteria to flourish, often from fermented sources such as vinegar or  kombucha  (the same thing you'd feed your gut with, although of course made safe for your face!). Think of pro- and prebiotics as cheerleaders for good bacteria and chimes of doom for bad, inflammatory bugs.

Right now we need them in spades. The way we live, when we're short on sleep, exposed to  pollution , have a less-than-healthy diet, sun exposure or if we use harsh abrasive skincare, affects our microbiome. “As soon as the microbiome is unbalanced we can have skin problems,” explains Dr Sophie Shotter of Iluminate Skin Clinic in Kent.

You'll know if your bug party is invaded by unwanted gate crashers if you start seeing more inflammation, such as sensitive, red and itchy skin. If your microbiome is overly compromised, it's more open to invaders, particularly the bacteria responsible for acne and  eczema , she explains.

"The trend for microbiome mists is in answer to how much our microbiome is mistreated by our modern lifestyle, pollution and stress,” adds Marie. “It makes sense to be able to replenish it during the day and a mist/spray is perfect for that.”

Gallinee's cult Face Vinegar is one of our favourite microbiome-friendly toners, and now it's available in as a mist ( Gallinée's Face Vinegar in Spray , £24). In recent weeks both Beauty Pie and Drunk Elephant have launched their own microbiome mists in the form of Beauty Pie's  Uber Youth Super Elixir Microbiome Mist-On Serum , members £17.43, non-members £80 and Drunk Elephant's  Sweet Biome Fermented Sake Spray , £35.

When should you use a microbiome mist?

“Think of your facial mist as the final step in your skincare routine, to be used after your full skincare routine and before your makeup application,” says Dr Howard Murad, founder of Murad skincare. Microbiome mists can also act as makeup setting sprays or throughout the day to hydrate the skin, he adds.

Microbiome mists to buy now

Murad’s Prebiotic 3-in-1 Multi Mist, £30

This pink bottle houses a  peptide-rich , hydrating mist that replenishes the skin with prebiotics to balance the skin's microbiome for a healthier-looking complexion. It has hydrating sugars to moisturise and refresh skin, while a yeast peptide helps lock in hydration. A spritz of this definitely feels refreshing, with fairly large droplets adding noticeable moisture. This isn't as fine as some mists we've tried, but for an afternoon wake up, this is ideal.

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Sunday Riley Pink Drink Firming Resurfacing Essence, £42

Another pretty pink spritz, this late 2020 launch from Sunday Riley is like a health drink for your skin. Scented with watermelon and rose, a spray of this provides much more than hydration (though it does that too thanks to refreshing cucumber extract). In has firming peptides in the mix to gently resurface the skin and help it look firmer, while ingredients including fermented honey, pink yeast filtrate, chlorella and kelp act as prebiotics to support and balance the skin’s microbiome. This refreshing spritz can be used morning and night, before serums, oils, and moisturiser.

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Gallinée's Face Vinegar in Spray, £24

Gallinée has added a spray nozzle to its cult prebiotic toner so we can embrace its purifying, toning powers on the go rather than swiping it on with a (reusable) cotton pad. It contains prebiotic actibiome that calms stressed skin and prevents it from irritation, along with gentle postbiotic acids that allow the skin’s beneficial bacteria to thrive. The  vinegar  element of the mist reconfigures the skin’s pH and provide a light exfoliation for a fresh, clean, balanced complexion.

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Institut Esthederm’s Cellular Water Mist, £18

This ultra-fine spray helps preserve the quality and biodiversity of the skin's microbiome to keep skin looking young and revived. It has  hyaluronic acid  in the mix too to boost hydration as well as  magnesium  to soothe. "This spray doesn't alter the number or diversity of the microbiome in the skin. It helps keep the microbiome balanced and skin well defended," explains Dr Sophie Shotter.

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Mother Dirt AO+ Restorative Mist A Live Probiotic Spray, £49.99

Unlike many mists that preserve and protect the microbiome, this fragrance-free spritz contains live bacteria and so needs to be kept in the fridge. It can be used all over the body, not just on the face, to improve to look and feel of your skin. The live bacteria is ammonia-oxidizing bacteria, which helps nutrient turnover, hence the AO in the name.

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Beauty Pie Uber Youth Super Elixir Microbiome Mist-On Serum, members £17.43, typical price £80

This misting serum boasts anti-wrinkle, anti-oxidant and anti-hyperpigmentation  powers thanks to skin-barrier-supporting ingredient Defensil, plus it promises to support the skin barrier and soothe inflammation due to the inclusion of a probiotic called Revivyl. Beauty Pie recommends applying this before your serum morning and night, or use it instead of your serum.

Not a member of Beauty Pie? Join using code GTGSENTME and get an extra £50 to spend.

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Drunk Elephant Sweet Biome Fermented Sake Spray, £35

This mist sounds like something you'd find on the shelves of Whole Foods, combining fermented sake extract, hops and kombucha , to soothe and restore the skin and contribute to a balanced microbiome. Keep this one on your desk for an hourly refresh when you and your skin are feeling tired.

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Elemis Superfood Kefir-Tea Mist, £25.90

This ultra-refreshing spray is a godsend when you're hot and bothered. It delivers an instant hit of cooling hydration and feeds the skin too with probiotic kefir ferment to soothe and brighten, while aloe vera, coconut and a natural prebiotic hydrate the skin and keep your microbiome balanced and happy.

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