My Beautiful #RedCarpetCurlsRoyalty,
My job as the Founding Queen of Red Carpet Curls is to share the science and benefits behind certain treatments and techniques involved in natural beauty maintenance via the Curly Girl Method.
Steam has been one of the most effective techniques I’ve used in my Curly Girl Method Journey for both my skin and my hair. Steam is also super inexpensive, you can just close your bathroom door and open the faucet to hot water, and let the steam fill the room.
In this in-depth article, I will share with you why I love to incorporate steam into my skincare routine at least twice a week for clean, clear, and glowing skin.
Let’s talk start with how steam comes into our routine.
Why Should I Incorporate Steam into My Skincare Routine?
As we go through our normal day, our skin secrets a unique moisturizing oil known as Sebum. This oil is responsible for not only moisturizing and nourishing the skin, but it also protects the skin from dirt and bacteria that can lead to imperfections.
Depending on how strenuous our day, our diet, or even our environment, we begin to sweat and it sits on the skin and eventually reabsorbs into our skin (if not wiped away or cleansed in the shower). Not only that, we accumulate dirt, debris, germs, and bacteria on our skin from constantly touching our faces. This leads to a build-up of the oils which clogs our pores and that’s how we end up with pimples and other impurities such as blackheads and whiteheads.
As curly girls, we are even more prone to impurities because often while we wait for our hair to dry or rinse treatments off in the shower, the products begin to accumulate on the skin and clog our pores, often causing little blackheads and bumps on our foreheads (close to where we apply products to our hair), or even on our back (known as back acne).
In today’s modern world where we feel so pressured to look and act perfect, these little breakouts can be quite troublesome. That is where the steam comes in to save the day.
Steam is known to help unclog the pores and soften the skin to help make it easier to remove impurities such as dead skin cells, sebum, and bacteria to reveal clean, clear, and radiant skin. The condensation from the sweat helps to gently rinse away build-up of dead skin cells, bacteria, etc. When used consistently in your skincare routine, skin becomes less acne-prone and reveals a glow most other people just don’t have! You can’t get that glow from only exfoliating 1-2x a week!
What are the Benefits of Using Steam for Your Natural Skincare Routine?
Steam offers many benefits to the skin, you know what they say, mother nature has a cure for every ailment. The appearance of your skin says a lot about your internal health and nutrition.
Steam is able to:
- Gives a Deeper Clean: Steam “Opens” (I put this in quotations because scientifically pores are not able to open and close, pores are small openings in the skin that do not contain muscle meaning they are unable to contract giving the appearance of “opening and closing”) the pores. Meaning the steam is known to soften the impurities under the skin (yes, blackheads and whiteheads harden making it even more difficult to remove without harming the skin). Once the impurities and sebum (yes, sebum hardens too causing blockages in the pores this can even stretch a pore out to larger than it’s original size) are softened as well as the skin layers are softened, your products (including treatment masks) are better able to penetrate and work.
- Improves Circulation: The warmth (also known as moist heat) from the steam helps circulation. Essentially the heat from the steam helps increase perspiration which in turn helps dilate your blood vessels, therefore increasing circulation in your skin. With the extra blood pumping through your vessels, the skin gives off a healthier glow naturally.
- Promotes the Production of Elastin and Collagen: Collagen is produced by the body, it’s a major component in our body. Collagen is in your hair and skin. Over time, as we age (women especially) the production of collagen begins to decrease or deplete completely. That is why taking collagen supplements is so beneficial in terms of hair, skin, and nails. Since steam increases the circulation of blood flow, the increase of blood flow increases the release of other components in the body. If there’s more blood flowing that means more collagen and elastin are flowing. That will result in clearer, even-toned, glowing skin. Collagen helps prevent wrinkles and keeps pores looking tight to reveal beautiful skin. Who knew the secret to anti-aging was in steam!
- Releases and prevents acne: As we already discussed, steam helps “open” the pores to release trapped sebum, dead skin cells, bacteria, debris, etc. These are the factors that greatly contribute to acne on our skin. Our hands touch different surfaces all day long, we should not be touching our skin unless we have disinfected our hands before touching. Without steam products are unable to get deep down inside to remove all the causes of acne. This helps dry, clogged, and acne-prone skin like mine continue to produce impurtiy after impurity. By adding steam to your regime, you will help expel all those nasty little things that get trapped under our skin. In time, you won’t need expensive products or treatments in salons. All you will need is a skincare routine that works for your skin type and some steam.
- Removes Trapped Make-Up: Did you know our skin has many layers and because of our skincare habits our makeup can get stuck underneath our skin just like sebum and dirt? Man, nothing gave me a worse feeling than thinking about all the times I washed my face after taking off my make-up and all of a sudden was haunted with the image of small make-up particles being lodged underneath the skin. Far from my normal cleanser’s reach. Ugh, the nightmares. When you include steam in your regime, you are able to “sweat-out” all the impurities under the skin including make-up.
- Help Save You Money on Expensive Skincare Products: While I am a huge fan of quality all-natural skincare products, I don’t believe you have to spend an arm and a leg on skincare products. Most products on the market today contain silicones and other ingredients that are meant to help the skin but actually exasperate acne-prone skin. By finding and sticking to one set of products to use daily, you can save money, but steaming your face before using your products can save you even more money. Steaming offers a deep clean that products just can’t so when you steam the skin first allowing the removal of toxins and impurities, you can enhance the benefits of the skincare products you use because the steam will allow the products to sink in deeper. This will save you money because you won’t have to use much product and the steam does the heavy lifting for you so your regime is a breeze. By the end, you will have radiant, clear, healthy skin.
How Often Should I Include Steam in my Skincare Routine?
Now we all know too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Steaming is no different. You should not be steaming your pores every single day because this will eventually make the skin dry out, then you have a whole different set of problems on your hands.
As a general rule of thumb, use steam on your skin for ten minutes one or two times a week, MAX.
Skin needs to be pampered, facial steaming is an essential treatment to the skin. But please remember steam is still heat being applied to the skin too much of it will dry out the skin and this can help create more wrinkles.
I normally use a hair steamer as my source of steam once a week and find it does the job. I am thinking of upping it to twice a week because I noticed for cystic acne-prone skin like mine I have virtually no breakouts when I do it twice a week as opposed to once.
What are my Options for Facial Steaming?
- Q-Redew Hair Steamer: While the Q-redew is marketed as a handheld hair steamer I find it is the perfect design for facial steaming as well. I normally move the steamer around in circular motions all around my face for 10 mins before rinsing with warm water and continuing the rest of my facial routine.
- Boiling Hot Water: You can use a pot in your kitchen to boil water, once the water is boiled you can get a towel, remove the pot from the heat, and gently place the towel over your head, place the pot of boiling water in front of you and allow the steam to hit your face. The towel will help create a seal so the steam focuses on your pores and allowing you to sweat.
- Facial Steamer: There are plenty of bowl facial steamers for sale on Amazon, Walmart, Target, and any other big box store. These steamers are going to be less powerful than the Q-redew because it’s manufactured for skin including sensitive skin.
How Can I Incorporate Steam into My Skincare Regime?
There are many different ways you can add steam to your regime. The choice is really up to you.
Personally, I like to steam my face twice a week before my skincare masks. That way, I know the mask is working to it’s fullest potential because the pores are cleared of debris and other blockage allowing the product to really work deep down inside. I prefer to start my routine with steaming. Many people like to begin by washing their faces first, and then steaming. I always figured, my skin is clogged, washing it isn’t going to have as big of an effect as it would when you would wash your face as the second step. So when I do my steaming routine it normally looks like this:
- Steam the skin for 10 minutes using the Q-redew hair steamer.
- Wash the skin with a cleanser.
- Rinse face, pat dry, apply treatment mask like the Colors Skincare Dead Sea MudMask ( Looking for a demonstration, please click here)
- Rinse off and continue to wash off with my Simple Sugars Exfoliating Scrub
- Eye gel
That’s pretty much what my steam day schedules look like otherwise if I am not doing a steam treatment or mask, my routine will normally be:
- Simple Sugars Exfoliating Scrub (gentle enough for daily use even for sensitive skin, it is all-natural)
- Pat dry
- Apply toner
- Apply Eye Gel
- Apply Moisturizer
You can choose to steam before your routine like me, or cleanse first then steam. The choice is really up to you.
Any Final Tips and Tricks on the Subject of Facial Steaming?
- Exfoliating: Choosing to exfoliate the same day you do the steam treatments during your week is smart. Once all the steam gets the impurities to the surface of your skin you can gently exfoliate it away to reveal a brilliant natural glow.
- Steaming Should always be in Conjunction with a Steady Skincare Routine: Steaming a hidden gem treatment, but don’t expect miracles if you do not have a consistent routine set up. The steam can help do the heavy lifting but you still need to remove all the impurities.
- Relaxing: Acne and other imperfections are many times caused by stress. Take these ten to twenty minutes a week to relax, while you are steam add an essential oil like sweet orange to lift your mood, tea tree to fight acne, geranium to tighten pores (anti-aging). Play some relaxing music in the background (I like piano and violins) and just breathe. Steam will help relax you and release some of the pressure it’s added to your skin. Remember your skin is an indication of your internal health.
Lohman, Everett B 3rd et al. “A comparison of whole-body vibration and moist heat on lower extremity skin temperature and skin blood flow in healthy older individuals.” Medical science monitor: international medical journal of experimental and clinical research vol. 18,7 (2012): CR415-24. doi:10.12659/msm.883209