If you're looking for a way to clean out pores that's less harsh than exfoliating or using pore strips, herbal steams offer a super-pretty, chemical-free, and totally luxe alternative that will make you feel like you just stepped out of a sauna.
While it might sound like a treatment you can only find in an expensive, lavish spa, herbal steams won't cost you your entire paycheck and are easy to do in your own home. To prep, boil water, pour the water into a bowl, and toss in a mix of herbs and dried flowers. Then lean your face over the top of the bowl and place a towel over the back of your head, effectively creating a tent that traps the steam against your skin. Relax there for 15 minutes, and you'll feel brand-new.
"Steam relaxes the tiny pili muscles in your face—the muscles that give you goosebumps—allowing your pores to open," says Brandy Monique, founder of the natural beauty brand Fig + Yarrow, which sells herbal steam kits. "The steam clears out dead skin cells and environmental pollutants. It also helps to melt sebum, which causes blackheads and whiteheads when it builds up."
Other pore-cleansing methods, like strips, may give visually gratifying results, but they don't actually pull out impurities and excess sebum from the skin as thoroughly. Plus, steam can make other skin-care treatments even more effective. Monique recommends starting off with a gentle cleanser to remove surface debris, steaming to clear out pores, and following with a mask to exfoliate and cleanse skin even more.
Monique also suggests varying the types of herbs and flowers you use for steam treatments. "Each botanical contributes different benefits—some have antibacterial properties, while others are anti-inflammatory and soothing," she says. "That's the added bonus of an herbal steam over just a plain steam."
As temperatures steadily drop, a once-a-week steam could be just the remedy for clearing up and hydrating tired, dry winter skin. You can also use a steam tab to take your shower to the next level.