I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
The first memory I have of a steam facial involves my mother prepping hot water, offering gentle guidance, and needing a stool to properly lean over the counter. I couldn't have even been more than 10 and thought it a funny idea to place your face over a very hot bowl of water before draping a towel over your head. I'd curiously watch my mom perform this beauty ritual regularly, though, and wanted to give it a try myself.
All these years later, I contend that a good ol' steam facial is not only an effective way to improve your skin, but an affordable one at that. Luxury spas perform steam facials on the regular, and the popularity of steam rooms and saunas, which serve the same purpose but for your entire body, are further proof.
That said, don't be fooled by the expensive "steam kits" you can buy from retailers. I mean, indulge if you want to, but know that you don't have to.
All you need is clean water, boiled on your own stove, and your choice of tea, flower petals, fresh herbs, dried herbs, or essential oils. Honestly, you could even get away with only using water, though adding the other ingredients does offer a more aromatherapeutic, relaxing experience.
In any case, I figured I'd share my go-to steam facial with you. It's straightforward, but perhaps me detailing it will inspire your own.
To start, I typically grab a small handful of my preferred loose tea. If I'm in the mood for true primping, I add rose petals, as I usually have some on hand and it makes for a prettier and more fragrant presentation.
After boiling distilled water, I pour it into a bowl and let it steep for two to three minutes.
The next step goes as you'd imagine. I place my face over the bowl, drape with a towel or some other fabric, and then breath in deeply for about 10 minutes.
The steaming process does a couple of things for your skin. For starters, it makes you sweat, which loosens up gunk in your pores and on your face. The sweat and steam also soften stubborn buildup in the form of blackheads and whiteheads, which makes for a more effective post-steam cleansing and a lower likelihood of breakouts.
Steaming your face also increases blood circulation. The extra blood being directed to your face carries oxygen and nutrients, providing a boost of both that you'd otherwise not have.
Finally, steaming your face has some anti-aging benefits, too. It helps hydrate the skin, and we all know that plumper, fuller skin looks younger. In the same way the steam loosens up gunk and sebum buildup, it also loosens dead skin cells. Think of it as a gentle way to exfoliate, or even a pre-exfoliation exfoliation (how meta!). The less dried, old skin sitting on the surface of your skin, the more vibrant it'll look.
My skin gets a little flushed after steaming (perhaps more noticeably because of my paleness), but that dissipates within 15 minutes. I usually follow up with a foaming cleanser and then lots of moisture in the form of creams, oils and serums.
- What's your earliest beauty ritual memory?
- Are you a believer in the steam facial?