I love pampering.
The rituals of wellness are something that I inherited from my mother, a beautiful woman well-versed in the craft of holistic self-maintenance. Growing up, the casual mention of "needing to take care of myself," was a line I heard frequently, and began adopting myself as I got older. Today, I generally use this phrase when life gets a little bit crazy, when I need to de-stress, or even as I'm looking to find balance before approaching a new week.
As a teenager, I was fortunate to be treated to the occasional facial, and in turn, experimented with many of the techniques I experienced at home. Steaming was one of these tactics, and as I've gotten older, have learned to appreciate as a great weekly delight, even if it's just done while boiling water for morning coffee. As a side bonus, it does one hell of a job clearing stuffed winter noses too.
Steaming, when performed periodically, is divine for boosting circulation, breaking up any dirt or debris in your pores, and plumping up your skin. The glow it imparts is nearly instantaneous, and when combined with nourishing and relaxing herbs, the relaxation experience is magnified.
Below is a recipe that I've used to bring a little warmth and love to my cold winter skin. It combines lavender and lemongrass, which are both awesomely antimicrobial and antibacterial, Vitamin C-packed dried rose hips, and chamomile, which soothes irritation and delivers calming vibes. After steaming, follow with a gentle facial massage for an extra-pampering boost.
Nourishing Winter Facial Steam
2 parts dried chamomile
1 part dried rose hips
1.5 parts dried lavender
1 part dried lemongrass
2-3 drops sweet orange essential oil
Combine the first four ingredients in a glass jar, and store in a cool place for use. When ready to steam, place a heaping handful of the mixed herbs into a pot and fill with several inches of water and 2-3 drops of sweet orange oil. Bring to a boil, and remove from heat. Drape a towel over your head, and allow the steam to fill the space for 5-7 minutes, inhaling deeply and taking cool air breaks as needed. When complete, rinse face with cold water and finish with a facial mask and/or facial massage.
Note: As with everything, steam in moderation, as overdoing it can damage and age skin. Also, steaming on extremely active acne can also have the opposite effect, so avoid during major breakouts.