It’s cooling down again in LA and is the perfect time for some warming self care practices. If you get cold feet like I do in the evenings, definitely try this. This is one of my number one weekly treatments for keeping my skin clear and sinuses happy. It’s great for beauty and also excellent for allergy or cold/flu relief.
Steaming is such a great treatment for near instant relaxation. Here are some additional benefits:
Get Glowy. Boosts circulation and leaves skin clear and refreshed.
Unclogs Pores. The warmth from the steam helps loosen pores so dirt can come out.
Oxygenates Skin. Revives tired skin.
Improves Circulation. The heat encourages blood vessels to dilate which keeps blood flowing freely.
Calms Nerves. Breathing in aromatic herbs skin helps to sooth frayed nerves, promotes relaxation and reduces stress.
Using herbs and flowers in steam treatments will soften the water and add vitamins to replenish tired skin. Steaming opens the pores on our face and prepares the skin for extractions. It also boosts exfoliation post steam. To maximize the benefits follow up your steam with a fruit enzyme peel or herbal clay mask.
I’ve created two recipes for steaming, one for dry skin and one for oily skin. The oily skin recipe is also great for clogged sinuses too. You can create facial steams from many herbs, flowers, and essential oils. Fresh and dried herbs work in steaming. Essential oils are the most concentrated and easiest to use. It’s important to source quality ingredients and use purified water as you will be breathing in all of the vapors.
If you are using fresh or dried herbs allow them to steep for 7-8 minutes before steaming your face. I like to keep measurements with herbs loose and you cannot mess this up! Let your intuition be your guide, get creative and have fun with it. As a general guide a handful of fresh herbs and a tablespoon of dried will do the trick ;) For essential oils, let the water cool for 4-5 minutes then add the drops and begin. I suggest 2-3 drops of each oil
Dry/Irritated Skin Steam
- Chamomile. Anti-inflammatory, healing, calming.
- Dandelion. Re-establishes balance, nourishing, promotes clear skin.
- Rose. Moisture retaining, toning, nutritive.
- Peppermint. Increases blood flow, cools, refreshes, revitalizes, astringent.
Oily Skin/Cold & Flu Steam
- Eucalyptus. Anti-viral, decongestant, breakouts.
- Lavender. Anti-inflammatory, balances oil production, stimulates new cell growth
- Rosemary. Stimulates blood circulation, restores elasticity, tones.
You can purchase facial steam machines but I’ve always used a large bowl and towel and it works really well. I find it’s easiest to steam sitting up in a chair with my head leaning over the bowl. This way I can keep my feet on the floor and rest my arms on the table.
Pick a spot in your home that is clutter free for your steam. If possible light a candle, turn on some relaxing music, really make this a way to slow down and take care of yourself.
Bring 1 quart of water to a boil. Pour into a large mixing bowl. Add dried/fresh herbs if using and let steep 7-8 minutes covered. If using essential oils let the water cool, covered for 5 minutes then add the oils. Lean your head over the bowl and cover your head with a large towel making a tent to keep the steam inside. Steam for 10 minutes for non-irritated skin or for cold/flu relief. Steam for 5 minutes if you have sensitive or irritated skin. When finished rinse with lukewarm water and move on to a peel or mask. If you’re finished with your face treatment follow up with a simple toner and beauty oil.
I invite you to try an herbal face steam in the coming week as a gift to yourself. This is such a nourishing practice and very easy to incorporate into even the busiest weeks.
P.S. The lemons in the photos were just used for color ;)
Photos: Asami Zenri