The Beauty of Rituals
I've recently fallen in love with a new skin care
routine ritual. One that's quiet, still and calm. And actually doesn't irritate the hell out of my crazy sensitive skin like scrubs, masks and moisturizers can. Herbal facial steaming - basically a bowl of hot water with herbs and flowers. Doesn't sound that magical, but the magic isn't in the task. It's in the action of completing said task.
As I sit at my table (or stand over the kitchen counter) with a towel draped over my head, face above the wonderfully fragrant steam - I have 10 minutes to just be. Be with my breath, be with my thoughts or lack thereof, be present in my body. Sometimes, finding those extra few minutes to disconnect from the distractions around you & connect with yourself is what makes an experience a luxury - no spa required.
One of my other favourite things about facial steam is that it's accessible. All you need is a bowl, hot water and a towel. Steaming can have some great benefits for your skin as well. Perspiration is actually cleansing for the skin (saunas!) and can help to unclog congested pores. The heat also promotes blood circulation, which promotes increased delivery of oxygen. But be mindful of how close you get to the steam, you don't want to scald your skin!
If you're curious about DIY herbal steams, there's tons of "recipes" on the googles. I encourage you to do some research and find a blend of herbs / flowers / essential oils that sounds appealing to you. The jury may be still be out on if these additions actually benefit skin, but they sure do contribute to the sensory experience.
Just a few cautions - GO EASY on the essential oils. You still need to be able to breathe comfortably. Also, if you're going to try a "calming" recipe that includes chamomile (so many of them do) and you're allergic to ragweed - skip the chamomile until you check with your allergy doctor. If you have any pre-existing skin conditions that are aggravated by increased blood circulation, you may want to avoid steaming altogether.
If facial steam doesn't sound like your jam, the next time you start your skin care routine, take a few extra minutes and focus your attention inward. Slow it down. Take deeper breaths. Focus more on you and less on getting it done - make it a ritual.