Wednesday 4 November 2015

Pamper rituals | Bathing beauty

When I had my first ever facial it involved popping my head into this weird contraption, a face steamer. While technology has moved on, and the equipment in most spas has gotten a little more fancy, still some form of steaming is very likely to be part of the treatment. The reason is very simple, it is effective. The hot vapours soften your skin, loosening up all the trapped dirt and bacteria. The heat also increases blood circulation to the face. Steaming is the easiest way to aid the removal of blackheads without having to use harsh peels. However, you really don't need any special equipment to reap the benefits, all you need is a bowl of freshly boiled water and a towel. Most people could benefit from an occasional steam, but if you have rosacea or any skin condition that is triggered by perspiration, fungal infection or severe acne, it is not for you.

I must admit I don't have these full on pamper treatments more than twice a month, I think once a week would be perfect but I just can't find the time. First thing I do is cleanse my face properly, making sure there is no traces of makeup or oily residue from the makeup remover, as I want to get the full benefits of my at home facial.  After boiling a kettle, I pour the contents into a large heat proof bowl and pop a facial tea bag from Bathing beauty in the mix (I have been using the face tea for shy skin*, but it isn't currently available on the website, hopefully it hasn't been discontinued). After letting it infuse for a about 5 minutes, I pop my face over the bowl, and make a mini tent with the towel, making sure the steam doesn't escape (or very little of it escapes). It is quiet important to leave a few minutes straight after boiling the water before going ahead, not only does it give a chance for your herbs to work, but you also need to be careful as steam can burn your skin, you don't want it to be too hot.

If you have ever come across a book Smart face by Goodman and Young from 1988, they are of a mind that adding herbs to a steam doesn't have any direct skin benefits apart from making it smell nice. I haven't been able to find any real evidence for or against using herbs in this way, but my thinking is a long the following lines: if the pleasant aroma is relaxing it is already a benefit in itself, stress shows up on the skin so anything that is relaxing to you, indirectly benefits the skin; this herb infused steam is effectively touching your face, and I have seen benefits of washing my face with herbal infused water. Also steaming with herbs does benefit your sinuses, and that is great news if you have a blocked nose. The bathing beauty tea for shy skin* contains chamomile, calendula and chickweed. Calendula, aka marigold, has antibacterial properties and is a good antiseptic. Chamomile is probably one of the most popular steaming herbs as it is supposed to help a number of skin problems like acne, rashes and inflammations amongst others, so with such a variety of uses, it really isn't surprising. Chickweed is good for itchy skin conditions. The fact that these herbs come incased in a tea bag makes the clear up so much quicker and easier.

After steaming for about 5-7 minutes (you really don't want to do it for a lot longer than that as too much heat is not good for your capillaries), it is time for a mask. Now that the top most layer is all softened up your mask should work so much better. As I'm prone to blackheads I like to use a double duty product that has some scrubbing action, to help get rid of everything that the steam loosened up. I absolutely love Bathing beauty draw mask for shy skin*. It is a mixture of white clay (one of my favourite clays), organic oats and spray dried banana. This mask comes in 4 individual glass pots for freshness, and you are meant to empty the entire pot and mix it with water, tea or yogurt, you can add a few drops of oil if you feel like it. I don't use the whole pot, I use about a quarter. I find that it is plenty for my face and I see great results so I don't feel like I need to use more. After about 10 minutes it is time to wash it off, the left over steam water is perfect for that. First I use just a little water to dampen my face, this reactivates the mask allowing me to get the mild scrubbing action from the oats. At this point I just use it like you would any facial exfoaliant, and rinse it clean once I'm done. 

I finish the whole thing with a few spritzes of floral water or toner and apply a couple of drops of face oil, taking this opportunity to give my self a short massage. My skin is left looking fresh and properly pampered.

Have you guys tried Bathing Beauty masks or face tea? What do your pamper rituals look like? Let me know in the comments.

*PR samples, all opinions are based on my personal experience with the products and are completely honest, I take the integrity of this blog very seriously. Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing for me to gain by not sharing the truth.

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