At-Home Steam Facials Really Work — Here’s How to Make Them Part of Your Routine
The steam room is often the first stop during a spa day. Used before a facial, five to ten minutes in the steam room can help open your pores and prep your skin. Most of us can agree, however, that visiting an esthetician or facialist at a spa can be pricey (or not possible thanks to restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic). That’s where at-home steam facials come in. Giving your face a steam facial at home can help rid your pores of dirt and toxins, soften your skin and prime your complexion for the serums, essences, moisturizers, masks and more to follow.
When it comes to the DIY part of a steam facial, we have to admit that steaming your face over the sink at home doesn’t give that same zen-like feeling we get at the spa. And that’s because at home it’s missing one key element: aromatherapy. If steaming your face pre-facial has its benefits, steaming your skin with a little aromatherapy mixed in seriously ups the ante. Interested in learning how to give yourself a spa-inspired at-home steam facial? Keep reading, and prepare to be truly relaxed.
Tips for an At-Home Steam Facials
TIP #1: Whether you’re at home or at the spa, always steam before your facial, never after. If steaming before prepares your skin to soak up all the goodies in the skin care products you’ll use — from serums and masks to moisturizers — steaming after can potentially wash them all away.
TIP #2: Drink a lot of water and avoid alcohol. This rule is especially important when steaming at the spa, but it can apply to home facials, too. Steam rooms naturally make you sweat, which can lead to dehydration if you’re not drinking enough water or imbibing in liquids that can be dehydrating.
TIP #3: Always steam for 5-10 minutes at most.
Ready to steam? Here seven steps that take you through the entire process.
How to Practice a Steam Facial At Home
STEP 1: Cleanse and Exfoliate
Before steaming your face, get your skin as clean as possible. Tie your hair back and wash your face with a gentle exfoliating face wash like the Kiehl’s Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash that can remove makeup, dirt, impurities and dead skin cell buildup.
STEP 2: Prep the Steam
Bring a small pot or bowl of water to a boil in the microwave or on the stove. You'll only need a few cups of water. When the water is thoroughly heated, carefully transfer it to a ceramic bowl and allow it to cool down a bit. As for what type of water to use, tap water is fine. Distilled or spring water is easy to find if you’d like to use that instead.
STEP 3: Add Essential Oils
To enhance your at-home steam facial with a spa-like perk, add essential oils to your water. Essential oils can deliver a relaxing aroma and make your steam facial even more enjoyable. Three to five drops of an essential oil are more than enough. Before steaming your face, decide on the aromatherapy experience you’d like to have and select the right essential oils:
To feel invigorated: citrus-scented essential oils
To feel relaxed: lavender or chamomile essential oils
To feel uplifted: rose essential oil
For the ultimate spa experience: eucalyptus oil
STEP 4: Steam Your Face
Stand over the bowl or container with your face about 12 inches away from the steam. Drape a sheet or towel over your head and shoulders to create a steam tent. For five to ten minutes (no longer), inhale and exhale slowly as you let the warm, soothing steam hit your face. To avoid irritation, keep your eyes closed. If you feel uncomfortable at any point, remove the towel and move away from the steam.
STEP 5: Add a Mask
After you’ve steamed, clarify your skin further with a clay mask or cleanser to wipe out any excess impurities and gunk. We love the SkinCeuticals Clarifying Clay Mask or the L’Oréal Paris Pure Clay Charcoal Detox Wash.
STEP 6: Use a Toner
Once you’re done with your post-steam facial mask, sweep a hydrating toner like the Then I Met You Birch Milk Refining Toner all over your skin with a cotton pad. If you have acne-prone skin, try the Pixi Clarity Tonic with salicylic acid.
STEP 7: Rub an Ice Cube All Over Your Face and Neck
To contrast the warmth felt during the steam facial, follow with an ice cube face mask to cool off. Here’s how to give yourself an ice cube facial.
STEP 8: Moisturize
All skin-care routines call for moisturizing. For normal-to-dry skin, try the Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Dew Cream, or if you have an oily complexion, try a pore-minimizing moisturizer, like the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat, that will help lock in hydration and keep excess shine at bay.
Editor’s tip: At-home steam facials should be a treat, not a daily occurrence. Talk to your dermatologist or skin-care provider about the right frequency for your skin.
Photography: Saq Idrees