Facial Steams are used to bring warm moisture to the skin and open the pores. Adding herbs to facial steams increases the benefits, depending on the qualities of the herbs used.
Herbs that are antibacterial, cleansing and stimulating and therefore great for acne prone or oily skin include: rosemary, thyme, sage, peppermint, spearmint, calendula, basil, Echinacea, lemongrass, ginger, tulasi.[1-9]
Herbs that are soothing to dry, irritated or sensitive skin: calendula, fennel, plantain, comfrey, marshmallow root, gotu kola, chamomile, lavender, rose.[10-12]
Herbs that are soothing and astringent, and great for inflamed, but oily or acne-prone skin: plantain, calendula, rose, lavender, neem.[8,10,12,13]
It is important to note that while pure essential oils can be used instead of herbs, they are far more concentrated and may cause irritation to the eyes or mucous membranes. Using herbs allows a safer level of the essential oils naturally found in the plant matter and provides more benefits from the water-soluble qualities of the herbs.
Aromatic Herbal Facial Steam Recipe for all skin types
Combine equal parts of calendula, rose petals, chamomile, and lavender in a small bowl. Add 1-2 Tablespoons of the mixture to your water as directed below.
To create your own facial steam you will need:
Boiling water, a large bowl, selected herbs of choice, towel
- Select herbs from the list above.
- Bring 2-3 cups of water to a boil.
- Remove water from heat. Create an infusion by adding 1-2 Tablespoons of herbs, cover and allow to steep for 10 minutes.
- Remove cover. At this point, the water should still be steamy. If it is not, reheat until vapor rises.
- Pour the infusion (including the herbs) into a bowl.
- Carefully place face above the bowl and create a tent over the head with a towel to hold the steam in. Be sure that the steam is not too hot! It can burn the face if you are not careful. At the first sign of discomfort or over-heating, move the face farther away from the bowl or remove the towel.
- Cool off occasionally – let fresh air into the steam tent by lifting the towel.
- Steam for 1-5 minutes if it is the first time with the herb to make sure that the herbal facial steam does not irritate the face. Otherwise, steam for 5-15 minutes and follow with a natural facial cleanser to deep clean the pores.
- The remaining cooled infusion can be used again as a skin toner after cleansing.