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Posts tagged: intentional living

How to do an Herbal Face Steam

 

This winter, my body has been calling for extra restoration. Herbal steams are one of my favorite remedies for congested skin, sinuses, or just a stagnant winter feeling. By infusing herbs in boiling water, a steam releases  the herbs’ nutrient-rich volatile oils. Herbal steams have two primary benefits:


BENEFITS / HERBS

Skincare

The heat of the steam opens up pores, melts sebum and blackheads, and releases volatile oils. For skincare-focused steams, I recommend herbs with circulatory, antimicrobial, and brightening properties:

  • Green tea - tone and tighten
  • Calendula - gentle, all skin types, soothe and nourish
  • Lavender - calm and relax, treat acne
  • Rose - calm and relax, treat acne
  • Licorice - brighten
  • Rosemary - boost circulation
  • Yarrow - heal, stop bleeding, heal infection, treat acne
  • Chamomile - calm, relax, gentle, all skin types
  • Marshmallow - soothing demulcent, calming

Immune, lymph, and respiratory systems

Breathing in the herbs’ volatile oils opens your respiratory system, clears mucus, and brings the benefits of these potent oils into your bloodstream. It’s an especially good remedy during cold and allergy seasons. For these steams, I recommend herbs that calm, soothe, and promote immunity:

  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Eucalyptus
  • Yarrow
  • Elderflower

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Start with a clean face, cleansing & wiping off any makeup or products.
  2. Fill 11”x7” pot (you want a large pot for this!) with 6.5 cups water or a one inch layer of water in pot. Put on high heat, bring to just under a boil, turn heat off.
  3. Add your herbal mixture and let steep for 10 minutes covered. For proportions use one tablespoon of herbs to every cup of water (so for my recipe, I use 6-7 tablespoons of herbs per pot). Use the benefits guide above to choose herb(s) that fit your needs.
  4. Bring covered pot to an area where you can comfortably sit or stand, and place the hot pot on a heat-proof surface (such as a towel or cutting board). Drape a large towel over your entire head, torso, and pot--tenting yourself. Uncover pot and steam for 2-5 min, breathing deeply and staying tented so no steam escapes. After the steam, your skin will be flushed, pores and sinuses will be wide open.

 

Pro tips:

Right after a steam is a great time to follow with your favorite face mask–open pores will allow your mask to work deeper. You can also use the leftover herbal steam water from the pot to make an herbal bath. For the bath, just pour the pot through a strainer, cheesecloth, or muslin sack or pour the mixture right in and strain after. Your skin will absorb the benefits of the herbal infusion. 

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A morning routine that can go anywhere & transitioning to summer!

Lemon water morning routine

I recently did a week-long spring cleanse ("Ayurvedic Kitchari," for those interested). While the cleanse itself was wonderful, what has stuck with me since has been the morning routine I developed that week. The idea of a morning routine is nothing revolutionary, but it is amazing how easy it is to forgo in favor of hitting the ground running straight into our very full lives. 

I like to start my morning with a big glass of hot lemon water. I juice half a lemon into about 10 ounces of hot water. This simple ritual has so many benefits! (Honestly, this is sometimes the only part of the routine I do; on weekends when I relax my routine, for example).

Next I do a bit of meditation and light stretching. If I'm pressed for time, I'll just do 15 minutes of meditation with my preferred meditation app (Insight Timer). On days when I have more time, I enjoy kundalini yoga classes on Yoga Glo.

That's the foundation of my morning routine. I keep it easy and flexible. In the past, my routines often failed because I was too ambitious. If I didn't do that hour-long walk and 30 minutes of stretching, it was OVER! Now, my routine is not a miracle cure. I still have good days and bad days like everyone, but a routine provides a peaceful touchstone to return to throughout the day. It also provides a domino effect. I've gotten better at cooking a solid breakfast, responding to stress in a less reactive way, and putting more time and attention into planning my day, for example. 

As we head into the intensity of the hot New Orleans summer, I'm grateful for any tools I can cultivate to stay grounded. I've also been revisiting my favorite herbal beverage, Golden Milk (see my blog post a few posts back for the recipe!), and reading more this week ("Love Warrior" by Glennon Doyle--aka the best book on healing I've read in a while!)

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