What’s the go with face steamers?

Are the actually worth investing in? Here’s what an expert has to say

Beauty Crew Beauty Writer / May 16 2022

In a world of beauty fridges, jade face rollers and aesthetically-pleasing skin care packaging, it can be extremely hard to know what’s worth investing in and what just looks good on the ‘gram. Because our beauty addictions are expensive as it is, and if we’re splashing out on something flashy we want to know that it’s actually going to DELIVER.

Exhibit A: Face steamers. You’ve probably seen the portable at-home versions floating round on Instagram or in some department stores and have wondered if they’re the real deal. We all know one of the most satisfying parts of a facial treatment is when the therapist takes a steamer to our face (bye congestion!), but how do those at-home versions shape up? Is this a little slice of skin-perfecting goodness we’re totally missing out on?

To find out more about the buzz around face steamers, and if they’re worth investing in, we spoke to Biologi’s Dermal Specialist Lucy Kuper.

What is a face steamer?

Let’s start at the very beginning, shall we? What is a face steamer? Basically, it’s a device that uses warm steam to open and cleanse clogged pores and helps get rid of congestion. You simply position your face over the device, and allow the steam to work its magic! 

“A face steamer is essentially a device or regimen where you infuse your skin with moisture, which can then enhance and accelerate the rest of your routine,” says Kuper. “Face steamers have also been used in the past for medicinal benefits, with the heat assisting to remove toxins and easing sinus congestion.”  

What are the benefits of steaming your face?

According to Kuper, a facial steamer basically makes your entire skin care routine more effective – it essentially allows products to absorb deeper into the skin for better results.  “There are a few benefits of face steaming, namely by hydrating the face, opening the pores, removing toxins, and promoting blood circulation. This acts like the perfect primer for your face to get it into the optimal state to allow better penetration of products.”   

“Besides the beauty benefits, facial steamers can also be an incredibly relaxing way to unwind after a busy day. You can incorporate the steaming in with some light meditation and breathing techniques which can then have an array of other benefits like a better night’s sleep!”

Can face steamers be used for acne or blackheads?

While face steamers might not get rid of acne or blackheads on their own, it can certainly help the process of elimination, especially when used in combination with other products (like a purifying mask). “Acne and blackheads are generally caused by blocked pores and the heat from the steam will open your pores which can aid in eliminating some of the toxins,” explains Kuper. “As you sweat from the steam, this can break away some of the excess sebum that might be causing the acne or blackheads. The other benefit is the fact that face steaming cleanses your face thoroughly, which can help prevent these types of skin conditions.”

How to steam your face at home

Before using a facial steamer, Kuper advises removing any makeup and doing a deep cleanse to ensure you get the most out of the skin care tool. Generally, most facial steamers will have some sort of tank that holds water for steaming. Check the user manual and fill the steamer with the adequate level of water as instructed. It should also let you know if the device is compatible with essential oils (some devices might have a separate compartment for this) for an even more relaxing at-home spa experience. 

Once you switch on the device, the steam should begin to come out (you might have to wait a few seconds), at which point you should position your face over the spurt. Each steamer should come with a panel of settings you can use to control the temperature. It’s usually recommended to steam your face for five to 10 minutes max.

How often can you use a face steamer?

These are cool little devices and it can be tempting to steam your face at home every single day, but don’t go too crazy! Kuper says using it once a week should do the trick. “Any more than that and you’re risking stripping your skin of its natural oils as a result from over cleansing,” she says. 

What kind of skin care products should you apply afterwards? 

Depending on your skin condition, Kuper highly recommends using a serum after steaming. “We always recommend applying a hardworking natural serum like Biologi’s Bd Face Luminosity Serum. The natural nutrients found in Davidson plum make the Bd serum an all-round face serum that treats a range of skin conditions while working with the body’s natural hydrating processes to nourish cells from the inside out to create an even, luminous skin tone,” says Kuper. 

“The key thing to remember when applying products is that because you’ve got a thoroughly clean base and your pores are open, your skin is more susceptible to these products (meaning they’re likely to penetrate the layers) so choose wisely! We always recommend keeping the number of products to a minimum and avoid layering with synthetic products, which can be the cause of skin conditions down the track.” 

How do the at-home versions compare to a professional steamer? 

“The risk with at-home devices compared to professional services is that people might not use them correctly – whether that’s not prepping their skin as they should, not removing all makeup, or just doing it too often,” says Kuper. “At least with a professional you have the right experience and guidance on your side, so you can trust that you’ll get the most optimal results.” 

Where to find facial steamers

Wondering where you can buy the best facial steamers in Australia? Well, luckily there are a whole heap of great options getting around – it just depends on how much you want to spend. A few of our favourites? The Rituals by Dusk Facial Sauna ($89.99 at Dusk), the EZONEDEAL Face Steamer ($39.95 at Dick Smith), and the LuxSkin Facial Steamer ($150 at LuxSkin).

Rituals By Dusk Facial Sauna

Facial Steamer Skin Vaporiser

LUX SKIN® Facial Steamer

Main image credit: @josephineskriver

Looking for more tips on how to nix blackheads and breakouts? These are the best ways to treat congested skin.

Erin Docherty is a Beauty Writer for BEAUTYcrew, Beauty Editor for Women's Health magazine and a Grooming Writer for Men's Health magazine. She has a keen interest in cosmeceutical skin care and is currently working on minimising her 9-step skin care routine – because ain’t nobody got time for that. When she’s not writing about the latest beauty news, or applying copious amounts of serum, you can find her spending all her money in Sephora.