If you know a little about professional carpet cleaning then you know a lot about face steaming—the process of loosening trapped dirt with water vapor (forgetting several pounds of machinery) is virtually the same. But unlike a visit from professionals, where one visit amounts to a few tidy rooms and a bill with three digits, face steaming is almost free (and isn’t free always the right price?).
A facial steam treatment softens skin and breaks up dirt and oil packed in pores. It boosts hydration too, unless you steam too often, which can produce the opposite effect and leave skin parched (so no more than once per week, okay?). I try to steam my face a few times a month, before applying a mask for maximum effectiveness.
Let’s talk about the process.
Save for purchasing a facial steamer (which is a fun gizmo to receive and a little less fun to buy), there are two ways to steam: the water bath method and the warm washcloth method. The former I recommend if you prefer sitting while relaxing, and the latter if lying down and relaxing is more your thing.
No matter the method, start with a clean face and about two cups of water brought to a light boil. Transfer the water to a medium bowl if you plan to use the warm bath option, or dunk a washcloth in the pot if you want to lie down. While you wait for the water to cool a bit, you can add essential oils (like calming lavender, energizing peppermint, or sweet ylang ylang) for an enhanced home spa experience. To reduce inflammation, add a black tea bag to the bowl (bear in mind that this may stain washcloths).
When the water is very warm but not piping hot, you can begin to steam. For the water bath, sit in a chair and lower your head to face the water bowl. Cover your neck and hair with a towel to trap the steam. If you prefer lying down, wring the washcloth and place it over your face. Steam for five to ten minutes.
I always follow up with a purifying mask that can pick up pore-clogging dirt loosened by the steam. A new mask I like to rave about is Osmia Organics’ Detox Exfoliating Mask.
When the mask is off, continue with your regular nighttime routine. You’ll notice a clearer, radiant complexion almost immediately.