A steam room or sauna has been a prominent part of spas and health clubs for decades, but in fact, they go back as far as Roman times. The technology has advanced hugely, even in the last few years and now you can even reap the benefits of a steamer in your own home, at a very affordable price.
In the past, a common way to steam your face was to use a basin of near-boiling water and a towel draped over your head. That can work well, but a far more effective and beneficial way of steaming your face is to use a purpose-built facial steamer, and they are very affordable.
Modern facial steamers are very quiet to use and can produce very fine nano-steam, which can give many more benefits to your skin than regular steam can. Some nano-steamers are suitable for aromatherapy, and some can even produce cool steam as well as hot steam, giving you a complete skincare and relaxation package.
We are going to discuss both methods of steaming your face, but feel free to skip ahead to the Facial Steamer method, of the DIY method!
But why steam your face? Facial steaming has many uses, including:
- Soothing blocked sinuses
- Softening your skin
- Opening pores to eliminate blackheads
- Cleansing your skin
- Encouraging healthy circulation
- Lowering your blood pressure
- Hydrating your skin
- Promoting collagen production
With these different benefits combined, it even enhances the effects that topical products can have, allowing them to penetrate further into your skin.
So it is easy to see why more men and women are beginning to use facial steamers, especially with the convenience of using one in your own home. If you have just bought a facial steamer, or you are interested in trying one, we can talk you through the simple steps of using a facial steamer so that you can get the best results from it.
Table Of Contents
- 1 How To Steam Your Face With A Facial Steamer
- 2 How To Create a DIY Facial Steamer
- 3 How To Add Fragrance To An Aromatherapy Steamer
- 4 Conclusion
How To Steam Your Face With A Facial Steamer
Using a facial steamer is very easy. Models will vary slightly in their design, and you should make sure you thoroughly read the instructions before you use it.
Safety first: It is important to know whether your steamer has an automatic switch-off function for when the water level runs low. Otherwise, you will need to set a timer so that you know when to turn it off to prevent it from boiling dry.
1. Prepare Your Steamer
Before you use the steamer the first time, it is a good idea to let it run a couple of cycles before you steam your face. Once it has run for a couple of cycles and cooled enough to touch, fill up the reservoir with fresh, preferably distilled, water.
If you have an aromatherapy steamer, you can now add some drops of essential oil, fragrance or even some fresh fruit into the aromatherapy basket. Only add essential oils or other products if your steamer is specifically designed for aromatherapy. Otherwise, you risk damaging your steamer.
Once it is ready, make sure the sections are all closed. Set your steamer up in a position where you can comfortably sit over it for a while, without hunching over, but don’t switch it on yet.
2. Prepare Your Skin
Before you use your steamer, cleanse your skin with a gentle cleanser or gently exfoliate. This will remove makeup residue and products and ensure that your skin is not dirty for when your pores open up with the steam. It also means that the steam can hygienically penetrate your pores effectively.
3. Sit Comfortably
With a freshly-cleaned face, you can now get comfortable. Sit in a relaxed position, above the steamer. You steamer instructions will advise you what distance you will want to be from the nozzle, but this will generally be a few inches away from the nozzle.
4. Turn It On…Sit Back And Relax
You can now switch on your steamer, relax and enjoy the soothing steam, and the gentle scents of you have an aromatherapy steamer. Steam sessions ideally last between 5 and 20 minutes, but you can get tailored advise from your dermatologist or beauty therapist to see what is best for your skin.
5. Extract Blockages
Ideally, it is a good idea not to squeeze spots, however, if you have suitable, sterile tools to do the job without damaging your skin, then the time to do it is when your pores are open after a steam. Make sure that you clean your hands and the tools immediately before and after you use them, and you don’t break the skin. You will also need to make sure that the oil and bacteria you extract does not go on to block other pores.
We recommend not squeezing spots as this can cause scarring and infection. Instead, we recommend leaving the blockages to clear naturally, which can happen when your pores are open during hot steam.
6. Apply A Product
After your steam session is over, your skin will be more receptive to topical products, and the results these products can give will be enhanced. Therefore, it is a good idea to apply a facial mask now, but first, you will want to pat your face dry with a clean towel. Gently apply the mask with clean hands or brushes and then leave it on for as long as the instructions say. Afterward, you can rinse it off with water.
7. Cool Steam
Some facial steamers have an option to product cold steam, which is a great way to close your pores and seal in the goodness the steam face mask delivered. Set your steamer up in the same way you did before, but switch it to the cold steam setting for another relaxing session.
If your steam doesn’t have an option for cold steam, you can close your pores with clean, cold water.
After you have steamed or splashed your skin with cold water, pat your face dry again and apply a non-comedogenic moisturizer. Non-comedogenic means that it will not block your pores, so it will not cause spots. You can use any moisturizer though – anti-acne, anti-aging or anti-shine – whichever you choose is likely to give you enhanced results when you use it after your facial steamer.
9. Clean Your Steamer
After you are done, turn your steamer off at the socket, unplug it and leave it to cool. They can take a while to cool down, but once it has cooled, empty the reservoir and rinse it out. If you have an aromatherapy basket, remove it and empty that out too and clean it with some dish soap. You can wipe around the whole of the steamer with disinfectant – including the nozzle, rubber seals, and controls.
Some steamers can be cleaned inside with white vinegar to demineralize them, but always check your instructions and follow manufacturer’s guidelines on how to deep clean and demineralize your steamer.
After you have cleaned it, leave you steamer to thoroughly air dry before you close it and put it away. This will prevent mildew build-up and keep it hygienic for your next session.
How To Create a DIY Facial Steamer
1. Boil Some Water
You can do this in either a kettle or in a pan on your stove, and you’ll probably need between 1 and 3 cups of water. Bring it to a complete boil and then turn off the heat source. You will probably find it quicker and also easier to transfer the water if you use a kettle.
While you are boiling the water, you can wash your face with a gentle cleanser or exfoliator, to remove any dirt or makeup residue from your pores. You can then pat your face dry with a clean towel.
2. Transfer The Water
Place a heatproof basin, such as ceramic or glass, flat on a countertop or heatproof mat. You don’t want to choose a plastic vessel for this as the plastic may contain nasty chemicals that are affected by the boiling water.
3. Add Some Aromatherapy
You don’t have to add fragrances, but if you do then it becomes a 2-in-1 treatment, and certain oils and herbs can both benefit your respiratory system and your skin. You can either add a few drops of essential oil to your water, or you can add some herbs such as basil or lavender. You can even put a tea bag in the water!
Make sure you don’t add the oil or herb when the water is still being heater as the aroma will quickly disappear!
4. Steam Your Face
Drape a towel over your head and lean over the water. The towel you choose needs to be big enough to drape over your head and the water so that it can trap all the steam. You want to sit so you are close enough to the steam to feel it soothing your face, but not so close that you get burnt.
You want to steam for long enough to get the benefits, but not too long that you exacerbate any issues. We recommend you steam for at least 5 minutes, but not longer than 20.
5. Apply A Mask
As we have mentioned before, steaming helps you to get the most out of topical products. After steaming your face, pat your skin dry with a clean towel and then apply a face mask.
6. Use a Toner
You can either use a regular facial toner, or you can splash your face with some cold, fresh water. Both methods have the same effect at closing your pores so that no impurities work their way back in.
Finally, moisturize your skin. Choose a non-comedogenic option which will not clog your pores and cause breakouts, and make sure that your hands are clean before you apply it. You should now feel suitably relaxed, refreshed and rejuvenated!
How To Add Fragrance To An Aromatherapy Steamer
Not all steamers are suitable for aromatherapy. You shouldn’t add it straight into the chamber as this can affect the boiling temperature and cause damage to your steamer. Most aromatherapy steamers will have a designated basket for you to add fragrance. This can be in the form of essential oils, essences or even fresh fruit.
You can chop fruit and put it straight into the basket, but don’t overfill it, and make sure you clean it out thoroughly afterward. Similarly, with oils and essences, you can add a few drops straight into the basket, or you can put a few drops on a cotton ball and add that to the chamber.
What Fragrances Should I Choose?
There are hundreds of different oils, essences and herbs you can add to your steaming sessions, and each brings you different benefits to soothe different skin or health complaints. Here are some ideas of aromatherapy scents you can use:
- Clearing blocked sinuses/noses – go for menthol, eucalyptus or camphor essential oils, or add some peppermint leaves.
- Reducing anxiety and stress – bergamot and sandalwood oils are very relaxing, or you can add lavender flowers or chamomile tea.
- Helping you get to sleep – lavender and patchouli oils are very good at night, as well as valerian root or chamomile.
- Soothing acne symptoms – tea tree and juniper berry oils have natural antibacterial properties. You can also add basil leaves or clary sage.
- Anti-aging – frankincense, patchouli and geranium essential oils are some of the best anti-aging oils.
- Invigorating – anything citrusy, for example, cedarwood, orange or lemongrass oil. You can also choose lemon balm or ginseng herbs.
So there you go, you are now on your way to clear, youthful-looking skin and long-lasting relaxation. You are sure to be a convert after the first use! The best thing about facial steaming is that it doesn’t feel like a chore. It is very easy and enjoyable, so you can look forward to your steaming sessions and get the most out of them.
If you haven’t yet chosen a steamer and would like to find out more have a look at our best facial steamer reviews.