About five years ago, a chemical peel was the “it” treatment to try. Fast forward to 2022 and the skin wellness mantra is more “be gentle” which means the art of facial steaming is back on the menu.
“Deep cleansing is back,” says beautician and skin care expert Abigail James, who has never abandoned this method of Greek origin. “The steam softens the skin, and while it doesn’t open the pores as many believe, it softens what’s in the pores, making it an effective step before pumping or just for a thorough clean at the end of the day.”
The heat from the steam is known to increase microcirculation (you will know it works when your skin turns pink). This allows the absorption of oxygen and nutrients to flow to the surface of the skin, improving collagen production in the process. The steam itself also offers a boost of hydration, which is especially beneficial for those with dry skin.
Celebrities love this laborious skincare trick too. Singer Alicia Keys revealed to British Vogue last month that steam is her “favorite thing” about her, saying, “It’s a simple thing that anyone can do.” Victoria Beckham is known for teaching her 30 million followers on Instagram how “important” a steam session is for a glow and Jada Pinkett Smith is rumored to be a fan of her too.
But you’d be a little naive to think Beckham is sitting at home, balancing a towel on her head as she bends over a bowl of water. Oh no, the art of steaming definitely made her game better. There are now several plug-in devices to help you measure the intensity and temperature of your vapor. Sarah Chapman’s Pro Hydro-Mist Vaporizer is one of the best on the market (and is Beckham’s favorite device) as it uses a micro-fine jet of steam to avoid irritation, but still delivers the results you expect.
But whether you choose a stylish gadget or stick to what you know, it’s easy to get started. The key is to steam your face two or three times a week to notice a clearer, rejuvenated complexion.
If you opt for the bowl method, experts say a light hair towel is fine to use alongside a large bowl. Pour half a glass of cold water for each and a half glasses of boil you use, and always place it on a solid surface to avoid accidents.
Either way, simply place your face about 20cm away from the steam, making sure the temperature never exceeds 40 degrees – Chapman’s recommended optimal heat for soothing impurities. Sessions should last no more than 10 minutes each, making the relaxation ritual ideal. Just be sure to clean the skin afterwards to free it of any debris that is on the skin after the session.
If you’re looking to enhance your home experience, adding a few drops of rosewater will fill the room with perfume, and that’s just how Keys appreciates hers. Note: Stay away from essential oils as they can irritate and clog the skin. Better yet, applying a plumping serum or mask just before starting the steam can help retain moisture for lasting hydration. Continue with the rest of your skincare routine as usual – it’s up to you whether you choose to vaporize in the morning or in the evening.
The devices to try
Pro Hydro-Fog Facial Vaporizer, £ 138, Sarah Chapman
Magnitone SteamAhead Micro Facial Moisturizing Steamer, £ 30, Holland and Barrett
ZSH Facial Vaporizer, with Extendable Arm, £ 89.99, Amazon
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