What To Do Before & After Steaming Your Face

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Some people associate self-care with going out and dedicating a day at the spa to get a facial, among other relaxing skincare treatments. 

A woman is getting a facial treatment with a steam machine.

But to many people, it can be time-consuming or even costly to go to a spa for a facial regularly. Or there are times when you don’t even want to leave the comforts of your home.

The truth is every step of the usual facial treatment is doable at home. Even steaming your face is very much possible to do by yourself.

With facial steamers widely available, it’s easier than ever to do it at home. You don’t even have to buy a steamer if you’re on a budget; you can just do a DIY face steam using household items!

What’s more important is what to do after steaming your face. 

The steps to completing your at-home facial after steaming your face are generally the same. But you should pay closer attention to specific steps depending on your skin type or concerns.

And that’s what we’re here to discuss. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of steaming your face and what to do after you steam your face at home.

What Is Facial Steaming?

Facial steaming is as simple as it sounds. It’s the part of facial treatment where you expose your skin to steam. If you’re doing it at home and without a facial steamer, the steam that comes from warm water does the job as well.

The key is ensuring the steam reaches every inch of your face for the perfect at-home deep cleansing treatment. But it’s also important to never expose your skin to boiling water — more on that below!

Benefits of Facial Steaming

For such an easy skincare process, you’ll be surprised that facial steaming has plenty of benefits.

Helps Unclog Pores

You’ll often hear about “opening the pores” when talking about facial steaming. But experts have said that it’s a misnomer, adding that pores can dilate or stretch.

Pores contain hair follicles and sebaceous glands, which are responsible for producing the oily sebum that moisturizes the skin. Pores can get clogged and can dilate when there’s an overproduction of sebum.

The heat from facial steaming helps loosen excess sebum and dirt buildup, unclogging the pores. Like all forms of matter, pores expand when exposed to heat and contract or shrink when exposed to cold.

By removing buildup and other impurities, steaming your face prepares your skin for deep cleansing. 

Helps Fight Acne

The common causes of acne are excess sebum, dead skin, and bacteria trapped in the pores. And when you loosen up these impurities through facial steaming, you have a better chance of preventing acne.

Better Product Absorption

Along with loosening up oil and other impurities, facial steaming also improves the skin’s permeability. It helps the skin absorb the active ingredients from your skincare products much better in order to effectively target your skin concerns.

Hydrates the Skin

There’s a difference between dry and dehydrated skin. Skin gets dry when it doesn’t have enough natural oil.

But the skin becomes dehydrated when it lacks water, which can be caused by the weather, not drinking enough water, or skin damage.

So you can treat dry skin with creams, toners, serums, and facial oils with moisturizing properties. But dehydrated skin needs water, which you can also get from facial steaming.

Proper hydration helps improve skin elasticity so that you can minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Softens Skin

Your skin becomes softer when it’s well hydrated and more permeable. That’s why facial steaming is typically done before extracting comedones, like blackheads, to make the process less painful. 

What to Do Before Steaming Your Face

Before we get into what you should do after steaming your face, let’s discuss how you can prepare your skin to maximize the benefits of the process.

Cleansing your face should be your standard first step to any skincare treatment, especially when you’re doing it at home. You can use your daily facial wash because these products tend to have a gentle formula. 

The important thing is to make sure you cleanse your face thoroughly. Make sure you’re reaching every inch of your face to properly remove dirt and other impurities on the surface of your skin.

If you wear makeup regularly or have oily skin, you’ll benefit from double cleansing before steaming your face. Start with an oil-based cleanser or a cleansing balm.

Gently massage the product on your skin and rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water. 

Then follow up with a water-based cleanser or micellar water for the second half of the double cleansing process. Again, make sure to wash your face properly before moving forward with steaming your face.

Whether you’re cleansing your face as usual or double cleansing, the main goal is to have clean skin before steaming your face.

How to Steam Your Face at Home

You have mainly two options if you want to steam your face at home. But if you want a full DIY experience without spending extra bucks, that’s possible, too! 

A woman steaming her face using a bowl while using a towel to cover her body and face

How to Do a DIY Face Steamer

First, here are a few things you’ll need:

  • Clean bowl
  • Water
  • Towel
  • Optional: Essential oil and dried herbs

Here are the steps to put these together:

  1. Gather the things you need and choose a comfortable spot in your home because you’ll have to stay still for a few minutes later in the process.
  2. Boil a pot of water. The amount depends on the size of your bowl. If you’re not adding herbs or essential oil, you can skip steps 3 to 5.
  3. When the water starts boiling, add your preferred herbs like chamomile, rosemary, or parsley for added skincare benefits.
  4. Stir, cover the pot, and reduce the heat. Let it simmer for up to three minutes, and turn off the heat.
  5. Transfer the water to the bowl. If you’re adding essential oil, this is the time to put a few drops into the water.
  6. Take a seat, facing the bowl of warm water. Make sure your face is about 12 inches away from the bowl.
  7. Place the towel over your head and use it to trap the steam.
  8. Steam your face for 5 to 15 minutes. Remember to keep your eyes closed!

Aside from maintaining proper distance between your face and the bowl, you should never do an at-home face steaming while the water is still at a boiling point. After removing it from the heat, let it cool down for a few minutes.

It shouldn’t be too hot for your skin and just warm enough to produce steam that feels good and relaxing on your face.

Once you’re done steaming your face, get a clean and soft towel to pat dry your skin. Do it gently to avoid irritating your skin after steaming.

Use a Facial Steamer

If you plan to incorporate steaming into your weekly skin care regimen, you may want to invest in a good facial steamer.

Don’t worry, we’re not referring to the large ones you see at the spa. There are plenty of handy facial steamers online that get the job done. And many of them are pretty affordable too! 

Try the Pure Daily Care NanoSteamer, a highly rated 3-in-1 device that comes with a blackhead extractor kit!

Using a facial steamer usually only requires two to three steps before starting your face steaming session at home. Whichever steamer you get, always read the instructions from the manufacturer.

What to Do After Steaming Your Face

You now understand why steaming your face can be a good part of your skincare routine. And you now know that you don’t always have to go to the spa to reap its benefits.

Now let’s talk about what you should do after steaming your face to complete your DIY spa experience.


One of the best times to exfoliate is after steaming your face. The heat from the steam should loosen up stubborn buildup, excess sebum, and impurities lodged in your skin.

So this is your chance to remove them and clear your pores easily.

You can use physical exfoliators like face sponges, your usual facial scrub, or even a washcloth. If you’re really into DIY skincare, you can also use natural ingredients like coffee grounds or oatmeal.

The important thing is to exfoliate your skin gently and thoroughly. You’d want to remove dead skin cells and any remaining dirt so your skin absorbs the next products you will apply to your face.

Put on a Facial Mask

Most face masks are formulated to deliver multiple benefits, making them one of the best things to do after steaming your face.

You’ll find face masks designed to moisturize, hydrate, and soften the skin. There are also plenty of masks with detoxifying and exfoliating properties.

Of course, you can also get anti-aging masks that promise to reduce the prominence of fine lines and wrinkles.

And your skin is probably at its cleanest and clearest state after steaming your face, making it the best time to use a face mask.

You can choose from the different types of face masks, but it’s best to pick one that suits your skin type.

  • Clay masks are typically advised for oily skin types because they usually feature ingredients that work great to absorb excess oils. So they’re also known to help remove buildup and unclog pores.

    For acne-prone skin, sulfur and niacinamide are some of the ingredients you should look for in a clay mask.
  • Gel masks often come with soothing and moisturizing properties. So if you’re experiencing skin irritation or have sensitive skin, you’ll benefit from applying this mask after face steaming.
  • Sheet masks have been the popular choice for many because they are much easier to use than other face masks. The sheets are typically covered in a water-based formula, so it’s a sure way to treat dehydrated skin.

But the sheer variety of sheet face masks is also one of the reasons it’s a crowd favorite.

You’ll find tons of sheet masks with natural ingredients ranging from aloe vera, avocado, green tea, collagen, citrus fruits, tomato, berries, and so many more.

And most of the time, they’re meant to moisturize the skin, so they’re also very suitable for dry skin types.

Apply Serum and Moisturizer

A woman is on a green bathrobe is putting serum on her face in front of a mirror

Applying serum and moisturizer should round up your at-home facial session. And it’s a great way to maximize the benefits of unclogging your pores after steaming your face.

Once you’ve removed the impurities that clog your pores, your skin is ready to soak up all the goodness from your favorite skincare products. Serums should reinforce the benefits you get from the face mask of your choice.

So post-steaming is also a great time to apply serum, which typically has high concentrations of active ingredients (like hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, vitamin C, and ceramides) to treat your skin concerns.

And to further reduce the chance of having dry skin, you can apply your favorite moisturizer.

What to Do After Steaming Face for Blackheads

Whether you’re getting a facial from a professional or want to do it alone, extracting blackheads is best done right after steaming your face.

The higher temperature from the warm steam helps the pores to dilate. So removing blackheads should be easier — and less painful — as soon as you’re done steaming your face.

If you’re sure you want to do it at home, you must use the proper tools. It could be a blackhead vacuum or a simple blackhead extractor.

This is quite a delicate process, so be careful even when your pores are dilated from steaming. 

And note that most dermatologists advise you to leave the extraction part to the professionals.

What to Do After Steaming Face for Acne-Prone and Oily Skin

After steaming your face at home and completing the rest of your regimen, it’s best to stick to everyday products formulated to fight acne breakouts.

The overproduction and buildup of sebum in the pores commonly cause acne. So most skincare products formulated for oily skin prevent acne. Including a gentle facial wash that can deeply cleanse your skin is important.

Benzoyl peroxide, white clay, and salicylic acid are some ingredients you should look for when shopping for a facial cleanser, mask, and serum. Tea tree oil also works great in preventing acne because of its antibacterial properties.

When choosing a moisturizer, opt for products that have a lightweight and oil-free formula.

What to Do After Steaming Face for Dry Skin

Keeping your skin hydrated and moisturized should be your priority. So check out products that contain humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid.

Needless to say, moisturizer is a must! You’ll benefit from formulas infused with natural ingredients like honey and shea butter.

The latter is also known for its anti-inflammatory benefits, so it should work great when experiencing extreme dryness.  

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Should I Steam My Face?

It depends on your skin type and the method of steaming your face.

When using a bowl of warm water, experts recommend steaming your face for up to 10 minutes only for most skin types. So set a timer to avoid overdoing it and running the risk of irritating your skin.

If you have sensitive skin, steaming for five minutes is a good starting point. But if you feel that your face is getting too hot and making you uncomfortable, stop immediately.

When using a store-bought facial steamer, read the instructions from the manufacturer. It should tell you how long you can use it.

How Often Should I Steam My Face?

Those with oily and combination skin types can have a face steaming session two or three times a week. But if your skin is sensitive, a once-a-week steam is a good place to start

Can I Also Cleanse My Skin With Cold Water?

A close up photo of a woman washing her face with splashing water

Yes. If you want to go the opposite route of steaming, you can cleanse your skin with cold water, which offers benefits like boosting circulation and tightening the skin.

Bottom Line: What to Do After Steaming Face

The benefits of steaming your face, such as removing impurities and oil buildup, give your skin a chance to “restart.” So don’t think twice about making it part of your skincare regimen now and then.

Always start with a clean face to maximize the great benefits of steaming your face.

Once you’re done, don’t forget the important after-steaming skincare practices for your skin type to achieve healthy, glowing skin!

Read these articles to discover more ways to take care of your skin:


  • Ashley Pena

    Ashley Pena brings over 13 years of seasoned writing and editing expertise, fortified by her Bachelor of Science in Management. Esteemed in the beauty domain, her content captivates readers with its depth and authenticity. While she navigates a broad spectrum of beauty trends, Ashley shines particularly as our resident K-beauty guru. Her articles are a harmonious blend of passion and profound knowledge, inspiring readers on their unique beauty journeys.

  • Amanda Meehan

    Amanda Meehan, a licensed esthetician and massage therapist, brings holistic beauty to the forefront. Trained at the Aveda Institute Denver and the Center for Natural Wellness School of Massage Therapy, her accolades include the High Honors and Beauty Is As Beauty Does awards. Beyond skincare, she's a certified Reiki Master and yoga instructor.

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