Essential oils  are powerfully concentrated plant medicines (that happen to smell nice). Mother Earth knows (and has always known) what to provide its inhabitants for a healthy and abundant life and we’ve figured out how to condense these natural gifts into powerful tinctures.

One of my favorite ways to use essential oils (besides in my homemade face oil and face spray) is in a face steam. 

It’s exactly as it sounds: steaming the face with essential oils.

This delicious little practice has become one of my favorite rituals. It’s a beautiful way to treat my skin, enjoy Mother Earth’s gifts, and get some TLC for myself.

I’ll share with you all of my favorite essential oils to use, the science behind them (and facial steaming), as well as instructions on how to steam your face with essential oils too. 

If you try this, then PLEASE drop a comment and tell me how it goes! I’m excited for everyone to have a mini spa treatment right.this.very.minute with these essential oils for steaming the face!

What does a facial steamer do?

A facial steam is a relaxing steam bath applied directly to the face for just a few minutes. The heat of the warm steam will help the pores of your face to open up and release deeply ingrained dirt and toxins. This relaxing treatment promotes skin health through increased blood flow and circulation which leaves you glowing.

What is a facial steamer good for?

Face steaming is an ancient skin care rejuvenation technique with many aesthetic and healing benefits. One of the most important things a facial steam can do for you is to help clean your face by getting down deep into the sebaceous glands and expelling the deeply ingrained dirt and dead skin cells that can get trapped in there.

Routine facial steams can also help to reduce the signs of aging such as wrinkles. Adding facial steams as part of your normal skincare routine can have powerful anti aging benefits from unclogging the trapped sebum beneath the surface of mature skin and creating an overall tighter appearance to the skin’s surface.

essential oils

Best essential oils for steaming face

Essential oils are a must-have when it comes to facial steaming. Not only do they have powerful and proven healing properties, the aromatherapy benefits alone will cause a noticeable shift to your mood. Below I’ll share the 6 essential oils for face steaming, which oils are best for your skin type, as well as the scientifically proven benefits of essential oils.

Tea Tree Essential Oil

Great for: acne prone skin

Tea tree oil is one of the most popular essential oils used for facial steaming, and for good reason since it is scientifically proven to be antimicrobial. When this essential oil is added to your facial steam it will help kill the bacteria in your clogged pores. Plus, adding tea tree essential oils when you’re feeling a little stuffed up will improve sinus congestion along with creating a healthy glow.

Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Great for: all skin types

Much like tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil also has a long history of medicinal use and facial steam benefits for its antimicrobial properties, making it a great essential oil to use when your skin feels particularly dirty or when you feel a cold coming on. Because of its ability to stop the spread of germs, using a few drops of eucalyptus oil in your facial steamer can also help acne prone skin.

Peppermint Essential Oil

Great for: combination skin

The smell alone of this fresh mint essential oil will make you feel energized and rejuvenated, so it’s great for a morning face steam, but it also happens to be a powerful antibacterial. This oil is going to be a great addition to help get out some of the deeper dirt that might be trapped beneath your pores.

Lemon Essential Oil

Great for: oily skin

Smelling citrus fruits is an instant mood boost, so use lemon oil when you are looking for a pick-me-up. Lemon essential oil vapor in particular is a powerful anti-stress tool, specifically when inhaled. After a few minutes with these essential oils you’ll have a whole new outlook on life as well as healthy skin!

Lavender Essential Oil

Great for: sensitive and dry skin

It seems as though there are few things that lavender essential oil can’t do. It’s antimicrobial, antihypertensive, a mood stabilizer and even a sedative, but one of its most effective powers is its scientifically proven ability to reduce the effects of migraines. Be sure to use some lavender oil when you need some helping calming down and relaxing your mind.

Geranium Essential Oil

Great for: sensitive skin

A few drops of geranium oil will put you in a soft romantic mood after your at home facial steam, but aside from helping you get in the mood it also has anti inflammatory properties. So, this essential oil is great for anyone with sensitive skin since adding this oil will help to reduce certain skin conditions such as rosacea.

DIY face steamer: how to steam your face with essential oils

There are many excellent products you can buy to help you perform this at home spa treatment that still give you the look and feel of being at the spa. So if you want to treat yourself you might want to consider purchasing a facial steamer, but it’s not necessary to buy extra equipment. 

You can do DIY facial steaming today just using some things you already have in your home. All you’ll need is some water, a bowl, and of course, some essential oils.

NanoSteamer Large 3-in-1 Nano Ionic Facial Steamer

1. Boil Water

The main ingredient in an at home facial steam is steam, so put about 2 cups of filtered water in a saucepan on the stove and let it boil. Don’t leave the water on for too long, you don’t boil away too much of the water away.

I like using an electric kettle so that I can easily top up my water bowl as the steam dies down.

COSORI Electric Kettle with Stainless Steel Filter and Inner Lid

2. Wash Your Face

The steam is going to open up the pores of your face, allowing the steam to get deep into the sebaceous glands which then releases acne causing bacteria and toxins. So in order for this process to work fully you’ll want to start with a clean base, making sure to wash your face first. Use lukewarm water and a gentle cleanser so that your face is clean but not irritated before face steaming.

I like this OSEA Ocean Cleanser, which is made of algae and essential oils.

OSEA Ocean Cleanser

3. Pour the Water into a Bowl

You can always do your facial steam directly over the pot on the stove, but the process will take about 5-10 minutes so you will be more comfortable sitting down at a table with the bowl in front of you. 

Choose a beautiful glass or ceramic heat safe bowl to get into the spa feel, just make sure not to use a plastic bowl so that you don’t inhale any microplastics.

essential oils for the face 1

4. Add Your Essential Oils

Next, add essential oils to the hot water which have the added benefits you’re looking for. Just a few drops of your favorite essential oils will help to create a luxurious aromatherapy experience, but be sure not to add too much so that you don’t get overwhelmed by the scents.

Here’s my personal recipe for face steaming:

You can also add dried herbs, like dried lavender or rose petals, to your face steams if you don’t have any essential oils on hand yet. Just open up a tea packet, like green tea or herbal tea, and add the contents to the hot water.

5. Sit Over the Bowl With a Towel on Your Head

Before you sit down to enjoy the steam, grab a towel to place over your head. Any towel will do, just make sure it is large enough to cover your head and captures the steam rising up from the bowl. Now sit back and enjoy the healing steam facial for 5 to 10 minutes, being mindful of the time as any longer than 10 minutes could cause adverse side effects, especially for certain skin types.

6. Use a Toner

Once you’re done with the steam you’ll want to use a toner on your face to help your pores close back up. If you don’t already have a toner you can make an all natural at home facial toner by mixing an acid such as lemon juice or apple cider vinegar with water, using a 1 tablespoon to 1 cup ratio. Apply the toner with a cotton ball—not your finger—to make sure no dirt or debris gets into your freshly cleaned pores.

I like putting mine into a little spritzer, mixed with different essential oils, depending on what I’m looking for at that time.

essential oils for the face 2
2oz Glass Spray Bottles for Essential Oils, Small Empty Spray Bottle, Fine Mist Spray

7. Moisturize

After cleaning and applying toner your skin will need some moisture to help lock in all the benefits of this process and keep your skin from drying out. Use a moisturizer with simple ingredients and make sure it dries fully before applying anything else to your face. I love my DIY calendula oil or lavender oil as a daily lightweight healing moisturizer.

essential oils for the face 3

Try this essential oil blend to clear out your sinuses and get over a cold

What you’ll need:

Place 1-2 drops of eucalyptus and peppermint essential oils into the bowl of boiling water after it has been taken off the stove. The antimicrobial and antibacterial properties of these essential oils will help to stop the spread of germs, and inhaling the powerful herbal scents will help to clear nasal passageways and remove excess mucus. Try using this blend in the morning as a sick-day pick-me-up!

healing essential oils

Benefits of steaming your face

Aside from opening up your pores, steaming your face regularly will help to clear out bacteria and excess oil from your face as well as your nose. Breathing in the steam, especially with added essential oils, will help to remove blockages in your respiratory system. The increased blood flow experienced during a face steam rejuvenates muscles in the face helping to energize you as well as create younger looking skin.

  • Benefits of steaming face for acne prone/oily skin: acne is a complex issue, but it has to do with deeply ingrained bacteria and oil (AKA sebum) getting trapped in the sebaceous glands in your skin. Regular steam however will help to reduce the sebum production and also help to regulate the pH in your skin, which will actually reduce the risk of acne returning.
  • Benefits of steaming your face for relaxation: steam has been proven to reduce the effects of stress in your body. The increased blood circulation will work to relax tight muscles and help to reduce inflammation.
  • Benefits of steaming your face for dry skin: regular facial steaming actually helps your skin to retain water better. This means that adding a face steam to your skin care game will help to create a stable epidermal barrier that keeps skin from drying out in the future.

Common questions

Everyone’s skin is a bit different, so what works for one person may not work for the next. Here are some commonly asked questions that will help clarify what you should keep in mind while you incorporate this at home beauty routine.

How often should I steam my face?

This answer will be different from person to person as everyone has a different skin type with different needs. However, it is important not to steam your face too often, so for most people once a week is all you need. People with oily skin may want to do a face steam twice a week, while those with dry or easily irritated skin may want to only do this twice a month.

How long should you steam your face?

Because the heat from the steam promotes circulation and increases blood flow, you should only be doing your DIY steam for up to 10 minutes at a time. Staying under the steam for much longer can cause skin irritation, steam burn, and rosacea flare ups for those with the condition or similar skin problems.

What to do after face steam?

Be sure to close your pores back up with cold water and facial toner. Since this process does dry out the skin in order to clean it, you’ll also want to gently massage some moisturizer onto your skin afterwards.

Does steam open pores?

Steam is hot water evaporating, and when that evaporated water meets the sensitive skin of your face it causes a few things to happen, one of them being the opening up of your pores. It also helps with circulation as blood vessels will become dilated and blood will move to the surface of your skin, giving you a healthy glow as well.

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