How To Use Herbs To Steam Your Face – Live Well Zone

Variety of dry herbs to steam the face.

When your skin is crying out for an extra dose of pampering, an herbal facial steam can be a very luxurious treat. Steam not only helps improve circulation, but by adding herbs to the mix, your skin can enjoy some additional therapeutic benefits.

This is mainly due to the volatile oils (also known as essential oils) that are released when the herbs are soaked in hot water.

Those volatile oils have a range of therapeutic properties and many of them can be:

  • Anti-aging.
  • antibacterial.
  • Anti-inflammatory.
  • Astringent.

Since those volatile oils are carried in steam, some people believe that herbal facial steamers can be helpful for the skin.

However, it is important to note that:

  • Since these oils are volatileThey evaporate quite easily.
  • It is not clear how much of these oils are actually transported to the vapor and to the skin.

Therefore, while steam releases the essential oils found in plants, steam should not be viewed as equivalent to the topical application of essential oils.

Rather, the main benefits of herbal steam lie in the fact that it increases blood flow to the face, promotes detoxification (through sweating), and softens the top layer of the skin (which improves the penetration of products that are applied afterwards).

Now that we’ve covered the basics of steam, let’s take a look at some herbs you can use.


1. Hibiscus

dried hibiscus flowers

Main properties (source):

  • Rich in antioxidants and alpha hydroxy acids.
  • It contains mucilage, which is moisturizing for the skin.
  • Regulates oiliness.
  • Useful for sensitive skin.

2. basil

Key benefits (source):

  • Antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory.
  • Improves skin hydration and soothes dry/rough skin.

3. elderflower

Main properties (source):

  • Anti-inflammatory.
  • Rich in antioxidants.
  • Promotes circulation.
  • Mild astringent, which is useful for closing the pores.

4. chamomile

Main benefits:

  • Rich in antioxidants.
  • It alleviates inflammation as well as the side effects of free radical damage.
  • Useful for inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis.

5. Lavender

Some of its main benefits (source):

  • Reduces swelling and redness caused by acne and other inflammatory skin conditions.
  • Antimicrobial and inhibits p. acne, which is the bacteria that contributes to acne.
  • Suitable for all skin types, but particularly useful for dry, sensitive, inflamed and mature skin.

6. calendula

marigold flowers

General properties and benefits (source):

  • Refreshes and moisturizes the skin.
  • Beneficial for inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis.
  • Classified by herbalists as a vulnerary, that is, it accelerates wound healing.
  • Antimicrobial and antifungal.

7. Comfrey

Main benefits and common uses (1, 2):

  • Relieves pain and inflammation.
  • Promotes skin renewal or cell renewal.
  • Balances oily skin.
  • Improves fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Suitable for all skin types, but especially soothing for dry, sensitive, inflamed and mature skin.

8. Mint

Main features (source):

  • Antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.
  • Soothes acne-related redness as well as itching (from insect bites, for example).
  • Ideal for all skin types, but particularly useful for balancing oily and acne-prone skin.

9. Petals and rosebuds

Main benefits (source):

  • Helps skin retain moisture.
  • Anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial.
  • Suitable for all skin types, but especially soothing for dry, sensitive, inflamed and mature skin.

10. Violet Leaf

General properties (source):

  • Natural cleaning.
  • Natural source of salicylic acid.
  • Contains mucilage that moisturizes the skin.
  • Considered beneficial for both oily skin and sensitive skin.

11. Rosemary

Key benefits:

  • natural astringent.
  • Anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial.
  • Rich in antioxidants.
  • Promotes circulation.
  • Ideal for oily and acne-prone skin.

12. Turmeric

General benefits:

  • Anti-inflammatory.
  • Rich in antioxidants.
  • Suitable for oily and acne-prone skin.


  1. Cleanse your skin to remove makeup, dirt, and oil.
  2. Place ½ cup of the dried herb and 4 cups of hot water in a large heatproof bowl.
  3. Sit with your face 8 to 12 inches from the bowl.
  4. Place a large towel over your head and the bowl, so that it creates a tent around you. This will help trap the steam.
  5. Close your eyes and enjoy the steam for up to 10 minutes.
  6. Dry your face and then apply one of these calming homemade masks. If not, use this post-steam guide to find the best next steps for your skin.

NOTE: Fresh herbs are best for steaming. But if you can’t find any, dried herbs are a good substitute.


There is no limit to the herbs you can combine. It really is just a matter of what you have on hand and what scents you find pleasurable.

With that being said, here are some combinations to try:

  • Rosemary, mint and lavender.
  • Calendula, lavender and comfrey.
  • Mint and rosemary.
  • Rosebuds and mint.

Also, feel free to add a drop of your favorite essential oil into any of the above blends. This will increase the effect of aromatherapy! Here are some oils to choose from:

  • Geranium.
  • Pink.
  • geranium rose.
  • Lavender.
  • Rosemary.
  • Tea tree.
  • Mint.
  • clear sage.
  • Lemon.


Can you put herbs or tea in a facial steamer?

In general, adding herbs or any liquid (other than water) to a store-bought facial steamer is not recommended. Herbs could clog the steamer and prevent it from working properly. To be sure of what you can and cannot use, check your vaporizer’s instruction manual.


In addition to the herbs we have covered, there are many other herbs that can be used for skin care, including red clover, lemongrass, tulsi (also known as holy basil), and licorice.

The sky really is the limit in terms of what you can play!

But keep in mind that steaming isn’t ideal for everyone, especially if you have sensitive, inflamed, irritated, or damaged skin. The intense heat of the steam can damage the skin and end up doing more harm than good.

So at the end of the day, honor your skin and ditch the beauty trends that aren’t working for your needs.

You might also like:

Which is better: face scrub or face mask? Pros, cons, how and when to use

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