How To Make Your Own Facial Steam (From Plants You Would Otherwise Compost)

Facial steams are an easy way to refresh and nourish the skin using the natural pore-opening capacity of botanical steam. The moisture and heat of steam opens pores while plant energetics work to cleanse and flush out impurities. Typically, facial steams look like tea: they are dried bits of plant matter that should be mixed with boiling water and allowed to steep for 5-10 minutes. Once the water gets down to a temperature that won’t scald your face, it’s best to put a towel over your head and lean over the bowl to allow the steam to work its magic.

Some of the most common elements in Facial Steams are citrus peels (orange, lemon, lime, or grapefruit) that have been dried and mixed with green tea or lavender to make a nourishing botanical blend. Dried roses and other fragrant plants like lilac can also be mixed with tea and citrus to make a fragrant, invigorating aromatherapy treatment that cuts down on food waste (you can also add old flowers from a dead bouquet and take advantage of their beautifying benefits).

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Simple Facial Steam

  • 1-2 dried orange, lemon, or grapefruit rinds, ripped into dime-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup strawberry stems, dried lavender, rose hips, or other dried flowers from an old bouquet (only if organically-sourced)
  • 1-2 packets of looseleaf green tea


  • Rip apart citrus rinds and allow them to dry on a paper towel overnight (that should do the trick, and they will end up looking like potpourri).
  • Flowers from an old bouquet can be dried overnight on paper towels or left in the sun to enhance the scent.
  • Strawberry stems are high in Vitamin C and Caffeic Acid, which is often used to make detoxifying tea and other herbal treatments.
  • Combine all ingredients and allow 3-4 tablespoons of the mixture to brew in 1 cup of hot (not boiling) water, just like a cup of tea.
  • Wash your face, and after the mixture has steeped for 5-10 minutes, pour it into a bowl, drape a towel over your head to make a tent, and let the steam work into your pores. The mixture will smell wonderful, and should have a calming, aromatherapy effect.
  • Splash your face with cold water afterward to tighten pores and seal in the healing effects of the steam treatment.

The boiled steam mixture should be discarded, but any unused facial steam can be saved for up to one week. Most holistic skincare specialists suggest doing a facial steam once a week to open pores and cleanse the face– citrus oil has a lightening effect, and can help eliminate discoloration from dark spots and acne scars. If all else fails, mixing two tablespoons of lemon juice with hot water and letting the steam soak into your face will have the same effect– but if you make your own facial steam, you won’t have to compost the rind.

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