I picked up this bottle of thermal water at a clothes swap. For me this was a bit of a novelty product, but my friend from Spain claims that when in Spain she is never without a bottle of thermal water in her handbag -- in fact Spanish women use this all of the time to freshen their skin.
The label claims that it "Hydrates, moisturizes, refreshes, tones, helps to fix make-up". So of course I tested it out. Here are the results, as well as great (cheaper) alternatives.
* I didn't see much change in my skin, but then again the tap water in my city is very high quality. If your tap water is crappy, you might see an improvement if you use thermal water / hydrolates / distilled water instead of tap water as much as possible.
* It does help seal makeup and make it look more natural by giving you a dewy look instead of a powdery finish -- just like any other liquid would (tap water, rose water, aloe-vera). Basically, water pulls the makeup closer to the skin. For an explanation, read my post on the wet method of setting makeup.
* The thermal water is very handy for travelling. It's almost as refreshing as splashing your face with water when you feel grimy. Also, misting my face saved me from sweating like a horse when I was trapped in a train so hot that I couldn't touch the metal parts.
* It's great for hydrating your face during flights or buildings with dry air.
* I was pretty surprised how long on can can last. I thought that it would be used up after a couple of sprays, but no!
* It's expensive -- I mean, it's just water. And bottled water from springs is like a million times cheaper, so I'm guessing that the price of thermal waters is artificially high. Has anyone used spring drinking water in place of thermal skin water? I'll risk a guess that if the minerals are the right ones you'll get similar effects.
* It's nice to apply below moisturiser -- I believe that moisturising on a moist skin hydrates the skin better and helps the moisturiser / oil / cream absorb better.
The bottom line:
It's a nice product, but not an essential. After the thermal water runs out I will not repurchase -- instead I will fill a plastic misting bottle with distilled water and a hydrolate. (flower-water).
Thermal water shopping tips:
Remember that all products are not equal -- each thermal water contains different natural minerals and trace elements; some like Avene are low on minerals, others like La Roche Posay are high. Different minerals have different effects on the skin Sodium dehydrates, silica moisturises, sulphur is good against acne. Everyone's skin is different so it's hard to predict what your skin will like.
Also, there are many "new generation" sprays with added glycerin, essential oils and plant extracts. Though they might sound like improved versions of thermal waters, my experience has taught me that less is always more. The more ingredients there are, the more chance that something will disagree with your skin, and the extra ingredients might weakan the effects of the thermal water. Hence, I'd prefer "plain" thermal waters to the spiced-up version. After all, most of the extras are probably in your moisturiser.
Want a cheaper alternative to thermal water?
I think that a big part of the "secret" of thermal waters are that they are pH neutral and that they are better than the tap water in many places. If your tap water is awful, try using distilled water for your skin care routine -- this is actually very cheap. If you want to balance your skin's pH level (especially after cleansing, since a lot of cleansers are basic), try rose water or an alcohol-free toner.
Have any of you used thermal water sprays? Which ones did you like (don't forget to mention your skin type). Any tips for using them? Also, has anyone experimented with bottled spring water in your skin care?