As the days grow shorter and colder here in the northern hemisphere, daily rituals become all the more important. A cup of hot tea, an evening walk with your dog, lighting some candles and curling up with a favorite book, or even just a few quiet moments to yourself can make such a difference when it comes to keeping your mood elevated.
It's so easy, especially as the stress of the holiday season begins to ramp up for many of us, to get lost in the all the endless lists of things that need to be done. Self-care may be sort of a buzzword these days (as in, it's everywhere you look), but that doesn't detract from how important it really is.
An herbal facial steam is one of the simplest, yet most luxurious, things you can do to take a little time out for yourself and give your complexion some extra love.
And, the best part is, all you need are a few simple things: a lovely blend of herbs, hot water, a medium or large bowl, and a clean tea or dish towel.
Aside from being a really nice way to unwind, a facial steam can do wonders for the skin; the warm steam opens up pores, helping to cleanse them of impurities and improve overall complexion.
Tossing in a few skin-loving herbs adds another dimension, as some of the herbal properties of the steeping plants soak into and nourish the skin (not to mention the calming power of the scent of rose petals and lavender...). Comfrey, chamomomile, calendula, lavender, rose and nettle are wonderful for calming and clearing normal to dry skin, while adding in more astringent herbs like raspberry leaf or rosemary works well for complexions that fall a bit more on the oily side.
To do a steam, bring 4 cups of water to a gentle boil, then pour off into a bowl. Toss in a handful of herbs (about 1/4 cup), and let them steep for a minute or two.
Lean over the bowl and drape the towel over your head to create a 'tent' effect, trapping most of the steam. (If the steam is still a little too hot, give it a minute or so to cool down.) Let the steam and herbs do their work for about 10 minutes, taking small breaks if you need to, and then wipe your face clean.
Splashing a little cold water on your skin isn't necessary, but it can be really refreshing!
Make sure to follow with a nice, rich moisturizer, as the skin may feel a bit dry right after a good steam.
This is a lovely ritual to do about once a week (or every other week...or whenever you feel like it!). It only takes 10-15 minutes, and it's such a simple way to show yourself a little extra love.