Spring clean your complexion the old-fashioned way!
Spring has officially sprung, and I’ve got one thought on my brain: spring cleaning. Closets, drawers, windows, floors—nothing is off-limits once this annual bout of motivation strikes, including, of course, my complexion. Instead of investing in a series of peels, I prefer to steam-clean my face in the comfort of my own home. During this season of renewal, I turn to natural plant materials to serve as the active ingredients in DIY herbal and floral steam facials. Not only does this relaxing ritual cleanse the skin, it also works wonders on clearing up my allergy-ridden, stuffy sinuses. (Talk about a two-fer!) Here’s how it’s done.
Step One: Gather up your ingredients. Head to your local co-op or natural foods store and make a beeline to the bulk tea and spice aisle. When measuring your ingredients, bear in mind that you’ll use approximately 1/2-cup of dried herbs per steam. Don’t worry if you can’t find every single one of these herbs. Aim for a mix of two or more and you’ll be in great shape. Once you’ve purchased your herbs, mix them together and store them in a jar for easy access.
For normal skin: chamomile, lemon-balm leaves, rose petals, lavender, linden flowers
For dry skin: calendula flowers, fennel seeds, rosemary, rose petals, chamomile
For oily skin: lemongrass, lavender, rosemary, thyme, arnica flowers, peppermint leaves, eucalyptus
Step Two: Ready your supplies. You’ll need a large pot, a big heat-proof bowl, water, a hair clip or binder and a clean towel. (Complementary essential oils are optional.)
Step Three: Bring your pot of water to a boil. While the water’s heating, pull your hair back using your clip or binder and wash your face. At a rolling boil, carefully add your combination of dried herbs (1/2 cup total), and a few drops of essential oil (if you prefer) and swirl it all around. Remove the pot and carefully transfer the hot water to the bowl. Using hot-pads or heat-proof gloves, move the bowl to a stable spot where you can stand or lean over it comfortably.
Step Four: Take your towel and drape it over your head and the bowl of water, trapping in that lovely, scented steam. (Use caution at first as the water will be hot!) If the steam is too intense, move your face away or move the towel so some air can flow through.
Step Five: Close your eyes and relax. Take deep breaths through your nose. Let the steam do its magic for anywhere between three to 10 minutes before calling it quits. When finished, strain and throw out the herbs to avoid clogging your drain.
Step Six: Pat your face dry with a clean towel and then spritz on your favorite toner. Boots Botanics Rosewater Toning Spritz is great. (Find it at Drugstore.com with these coupon codes!) Follow up with your go-to night cream or moisturizer and your skin will thank you with a healthy-looking, nourished glow!
Before You Shop: If your skin is really parched, slather on a thin layer of organic coconut oil after cleansing, before steaming. The heat from the steam helps the moisture from the coconut oil enrich the skin and penetrate deeply.