There are still a few more weeks until facialists are finally allowed to open in New York City, which means our at-home skin-care regimens are still doing the most. Seriously, we’re armed with cryo tools, microcurrent devices, and every pore-cleansing mask under the sun to help our skin glow. Of course, it’s tough to replicate the absolute relaxation of your aesthetician’s touch, but there seems to be no shortage of devices to bring the spa experience to your home—including the ubiquitous facial steamer.
Whether you’ve attempted an at-home steam yet or not, it’s hard to deny that they’re some of the most divisive products in the beauty industry. Depending on who you talk to, your skin-care expert might swear by its benefits while others will warn you to stay far away for the health of your skin. We spoke to two sought-after aestheticians, Tammy Fender and Joanna Czech, to learn where they fall on the steaming spectrum and why they advise their clients to either embrace an at-home steam or skip it altogether.
Joanna Czech delivers that kind of luminous, otherworldly glow that has celebrities flocking to both her Dallas and New York City studios on the regular. And while she used to apply warm herbs on her face while she was studying in Poland, she is now firmly in the no-steaming camp. “Over the years, I learned that heat can be quite inflammatory, causing redness and swelling, enhancing hyperpigmentation and rosacea, [especially] if people are over-treating and over-exfoliating their skin.”
In Czech’s opinion, steaming with eucalyptus is beneficial if you’re suffering from a stuffy nose, but she doesn’t believe that it will help to open your pores. Instead, she’s a student of cold therapy—which can help to reduce puffiness, eliminate oiliness, and minimize inflammation—and sticking with gentle yet effective products. “For mild exfoliation, I love a micro-exfoliating toner or mild scrub, and for deeper exfoliation and decongesting skin, I love the two-step treatment of Environ’s Dual Action Pre-cleansing Oil followed by their Hydrating Clay Masque. The oil softens the skin, and the clay mask draws out the impurities that the oil has softened. This creates a clean, smooth surface and starts the purification process, making extractions easier. I do it in my studio, and you can do it at home,” she explains.
But if you’re still determined to dip your toes into the world of steam, she advises that you don’t place your face too close to the heat, and to make sure the steamer is on a flat, sturdy surface to prevent any accidental burns. “Don’t do it for longer than seven to 10 minutes one time per week, and I would apply a softening balm beforehand to further protect the skin.”