Want glowing, hydrated, dewy skin this winter instead of the standard rough, dry, cracked, raw and red stuff you’re probably used to? Think steam.
(Ok, maybe I’m making it sound worse than it actually is but some of us do suffer like this from December through April!) If you answered yes — and really, why wouldn’t you — it’s time to consider incorporating steam into your skincare routine.
No, I’m not talking about sitting really close to your 100-year-old radiator while boiling water spits out in your general direction. Rather, I’m referring to the healing, hydrating power of a good facial steam every few days to make sure your face is getting the moisture it needs and deserves as it faces freezing temperatures and whipping winds.
If you’ve ever gotten a facial, you know that they often start with steam. After cleansing your skin, the aesthetician is likely to position a robot-like arm that mists warm steam over your face for a few minutes, the point of which is to open up your pores and soften skin. I know what you’re thinking: “But don’t I want to shrink my pores?! Why would I do anything to make them larger?” Well, in the context of a facial, temporarily-enlarged pores make for easier extractions so there’s minimal digging necessary. Another, lesser-known thing that results from steam-enlarged pores? Skin that’s more susceptible to whatever you put on it post-steam. That serum you spent a lot of money on that seems to be working ok? It’ll work even better on steamed skin. That mask you’re not sure about yet? Try applying it right after a steam and notice a major difference in results.
What’s more, if you take it one step further and add healing, skin-friendly ingredients so the water, the steam will help them make their way into your pliable skin thanks to the water molecules drifting up to your face. Blends like Blue Lotus from Anima Mundi and the Herbal Detoxifying Steam from Apoterra are specifically formulated for facial steaming and combine herbs and flowers that detox and nourish skin. They draw out impurities, implant healing oils and essences, soothe cold-ravaged skin and leave your face looking as plump and hydrated as if you had slept for 10 hours, drank a gallon of water and did some restorative yoga.
Up for a steam? Follow the stupid-easy steps below for the most luxurious at-home spa experience of your life:
Cleanse your face completely. You want your skin to be totally bare while steaming, including oils and moisturizers. So cleanse as you normally would but stop before the moisturizing step.
Bring 3-4 cups of water to an almost-boil and pour into a large glass bowl. (Make sure the bowl is sitting on a solid, flat surface with space around and above it. You’ll see why in a minute.)
If using a steam blend, add a handful to the water and let it steep for five minutes. If not, skip ahead to the next step.
Leaning over the bowl so your clean face is 6-8 inches above the water, create a tent around your head and the bowl with a large, clean towel. This doesn’t have to be perfect, but you want to keep the steam from the bowl contained. And be sure not to put your face too close to the hot water for fear of steam burns and general discomfort.
Stay like this for about five minutes as you breathe deeply and relax, letting the steam do its thing to your skin.
Emerge from your steam cocoon with glorious skin. Spritz and moisturize like normal, knowing that whatever you put on your face post-steam will be even more effective than usual.
Warning: You may emerge from the aforementioned steam cocoon a bit red-faced…that’s totally normal. It should go away in about 10 minutes.