The Home Spa: Steam Facials
Shut out the world for a while and breathe deeply of this
relaxing and hydrating herbal steam facial. Steam opens the
skin’s pores while deeply cleansing and rejuvenating all the
skin’s layers. Using herbs in facial steams is a wonderful way
to nourish your skin. All you need to make your own natural
facial is a pot of water, a method of heating the water, and a
towel. Therapeutic herbs can be infused in the water so that
their healing benefits will become part of the steam and reach
deep into your pores.
Herbs have surprising effects on the skin. Many are emollient,
softening and lubricating; others hydrate and moisturize; and
most are antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Licorice root
is the number one herbal choice for steaming no matter what your
skin type, because it helps open the pores, soothes, cleanses,
and lubricates. Just break a piece of root into your steam pot.
As for other herbs, for dry skin try lavender, mint or calendula;
for sensitve skin try calendula, chamomile, or comfrey; for
oily skin try mint, lavender, rose and/or witch hazel.
Note: Those with asthma or allergies to herbs should speak to
their doctor before using these herbs in a steam. Chamomile is
in the ragweed family.
If you are traveling, instead of steaming your face with
herb-infused water, you can use the hot-towel method.
Saturate a towel with steaming hot water. Let cool enough to
touch the skin, then wrap your clean face with it, and leave
it on for two minutes or so.
Here are simple, seven-step directions to make your own facial
1. Place a handful of herbs in a pot of water. Bring to a boil,
then reduce the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes, adding water
2. Secure your hair back from your face.
3. Wash your face as usual.
4. Place the pot with the steaming water on a trivet or
potholder on a table or countertop. Make a tent over your head
with a towel, and hang your head over the steaming pot. Make
sure not to lean close enough to the steam to scald yourself.
5. Keep your face in the steam tent for about 5 minutes.
6. Rinse your face with cool water.
7. Follow with an astringent (for example, witch hazel) to
close the pores.
By Annie B. Bond