One of my favorite ways to unwind after a long day is by pampering my skin. Usually my go to would be a sheet mask, but placing a cold wet mask on my face in the winter feels more like torture than pampering, so enter the face steam.
The idea of a face steam is similar to a sauna. The heat from the steam helps open up your pores and increase your blood circulation, which helps push out any toxins in your skin and allows for better absorption of nutrients from skincare products (source: Live Strong). Not to mention, it’s super easy and affordable!
I have a Philips Visasauna Aromatherapy Face Steamer that my mom bought ages ago, but you can buy one on Amazon or Ulta for around $25. Or you can boil a pot of water and pour that into a bowl to get the same effect. You only need to steam your face for 5 minutes (or even less if you have dry sensitive skin) to get the benefits, so you don’t need to worry about having to reheat the water.
To boost the efficacy of the face steam, I also add a bit of lemongrass oil, which is an astrigent with anti-bacterial properties. Plus it smells lovely and I get the aromatherapy benefits! Other good oils to add are tea tree oil, chamomile oil and neroli oil.
Be careful when adding essential oils though – you want to start with just 1-2 drops, and you want to add it before the water boils. So I add mine right at the beginning with the water, before I turn my face steamer on. Once the water begins to boil and the steam comes out, do NOT start steaming your face immediately! I made that mistake the first time, and the oil was so strong it stung my eyes and my face! Instead, wait a minute or 2, periodically checking the strength of the oils, before you start steaming. Certain essential oils, when applied directly to the skin, are irritants and can cause more harm then good. Adding them to your face steam session dilutes them with water and makes them gentle enough to use.
After the initial vaporization of the essential oils, that’s when I actually start my face steam sauna. Most face steamer are shaped to so you can place your head directly onto the bowl, but I find that it’s too close to the steam – I’m just trying to open my pores, not cook my skin thank you. Instead I hover my face over the bowl, and throw a small towel over my head so it covers the gaps between my face and the steamer.
After 5 minutes, my skin feels rejuvenated, brighter, and softer. I also noticed some of my blackheads have surfaced (both exciting and gross at the same time), which means that I can wipe those nasties off without much effort. I then follow up with my Pixi Glow Tonic to remove any other residues on my skin and tighten my pores, then I proceed with the rest of my skin care routine. On the days I feel like going all out, I’ll follow up with my Borghese Active Fango Mud Mask instead for an additional deep cleanse, or use a sheet mask so my skin can really absorb all the nutrients.
I recommend doing a face steam once a week if you have combination/oily skin, or once every other week if you have dry or sensitive skin. I’ve really enjoyed adding this to my skin care routine, and I can’t believe I haven’t done it sooner. Nothing beats a nice sauna on a cold winter day :)