Thursday, March 17, 2011

How-To: Herbal Facial Steam

Okay, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Cleansing and caring for your skin does not have to be complicated or expensive AT ALL to be effective. Simple is best when it comes to your skin, in my humble opinion. You might already know this, but maybe need some guidance in putting those sentiments into action. Fear not! I'm here to help. Today we are going to look at the wonders of the facial steam. Ahhh...

Ok, so what is a facial steam? Essentially, it is holding your head over a pot of boiling water and "tenting" the steam with a towel so it can't escape. Kind of like a sauna for your face.

Why would you want to do this? For starters, they feel wonderful! Typically, you add fragrant herbs and/or essential oils to tailor the steam to your skin type and preferences.  Also, they are really relaxing (trust me-I just did one), open your pores and can increase circulation to your skin. And, they can be really helpful when you have a stuffy nose or a headache. Are you sold yet?

So, let's look at what you'll need...

Your Basic Ingredients:
For my typical steam, I use whatever herbs I have on hand that I think smell amazing. Today that happened to be lavender, rose petals and chamomile flowers. If I had a stuffy nose, I might throw in some eucalyptus or peppermint.Other good choices are comfrey leaf, calendula flowers, sage and even pine needles.  A few drops of an essential oil you like can be a nice touch too. And if you don't have any of those ingredients, you can use plain water.
facial steam herbs: chamomile flowers, lavender, roses

Have all that? Ok, let's get to steamin'....

1) Boil water in a large pot and then remove it from the heat source.
2) Add a few handfuls of your herb(s) or drops of essential oil to the pot.
3) Slowly lower your head over the pot and place a towel over your head to form a "tent". Key word SLOWLY. The steam is hot, people!
4) Bask in the steamy goodness for about 20 min. Take a break if you need one or lift the towel slightly if it feels too intense.
5) Pat your skin dry or let air dry. Follow with a facial mask if desired.
a big ol' pot of herbal tea for your face!

That felt damn good didn't it? Yeah, I know. I try to do a steam once a month, but once a week is ideal.Give your skin a little lovin'-you deserve it!

Places I like to buy herbs and essential oils:
**If you live in Flag, you can get most of your herbal and essential oil  needs met at Winter Sun Trading Company. Great folks work here and I always love stopping in.

**I also buy many supplies from Mountain Rose Herbs based out of Eugene, OR. They have stellar customer service and their herbs are top notch organic goodness. They even sell facial steam herbs ready made.

*Last but not least, try growing your own herbs! You can buy seeds here.

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