If you've ever gotten a facial at a spa, you've probably had your face steamed. Steam treatment is an essential element of any facial, and something you can do at home--and we don't just mean awkwardly leaning over a pot of boiling water. Personal facial steamers bring the spa experience home. Facial steamers are inexpensive, safe, and easy to use. If you'd like to learn more about facial steamers, our guide outlines how to choose the best one for you and includes our three favorite steamers on the market. Our top pick is a powerful facial steamer with a nano-steam mist that works in just six minutes.
Benefits of facial steamers
At-home facial steamers are smaller and cheaper than the "facial saunas" on wheeled stands that estheticians use. Personal facial steamers are tabletop machines and have a small reservoir for water (we recommend using distilled water). When you switch on the device, it emits hot steam directed toward your face.
This steam can make you sweat a little, which is a good thing! It helps remove impurities and detoxes the skin. This unclogging of the pores will help with mild acne. It will also loosen blackheads, making them easier to extract, and soften the dead top layer of skin, making it easier to slough off. The steam temporarily hydrates, plumping up fine lines, and the heat increases blood flow, leaving your skin with a healthy glow.
Considerations when choosing facial steamers
One of the differences between facial steamers is the rate at which the unit heats up. Some models take a few minutes to start emitting mist, so if you're someone who is often in a hurry, select a facial steamer with a quick heat-up time.
Another key consideration is the steamer's reservoir capacity. A typical steaming session lasts 10 minutes, so if you want uninterrupted steam, select a steamer with a 90 to 100 mL reservoir. Many facial steamers offer even larger capacities.
Some users prefer facial steamers with a mist that can be streamed in different directions, while others don't mind a fixed stream. Steamers with a flared bowl are fixed, whereas models with flower-like spouts can be directed. Either will give your face a thorough steam as long as you're close enough to the unit.
Advanced steamers use an ultrasonic vaporizer to create nano steam that penetrates your skin up to 10 times more effectively.
Basic facial steamers have a fixed temperature, but more advanced units allow you to adjust the temperature.
Essential oil dispenser
While most facial steamers aren't designed for essential oils or herbs to be added to the water, some include a basket or dispenser so that you can safely add beneficial ingredients without damaging the unit.
Some steamers come with a kit of stainless steel instruments to remove blackheads and other blemishes, which is much easier to do after a good steam.
Basic facial steamers for at-home use cost between $25 and $50. Steamers that offer nano-ionic steam for a deeper cleanse can cost up to $100. Even this is quite a bargain considering professional steamers cost around $200 and essentially do the same thing!
Q. How often should I steam my face?
A. If you have oily skin, you shouldn't steam your face as often--or for as long--as dry skin types because over-steaming can actually ramp up sebum production. People with dry skin can steam twice a week, for up to 10 minutes. Oily skin types should steam once a week or less, for less than 10 minutes.
Q. Can I burn my face using a facial steamer?
A. Though facial steamers are designed with your safety in mind, and none emit steam at a dangerously hot temperature, burns are still possible. As a safety precaution, do not move your face closer than eight inches to the unit. The instructions that come with your unit should also dictate how close is safe.
Facial steamers we recommend
Best of the best: Panasonic Spa-Quality Facial Steamer
Our take: Six-minute steaming sessions are all it takes with this ultra-penetrating facial steamer.
What we like: Powerful and portable machine. Steam is super-fine with nano-ionic technology. Delivers spa-quality results.
What we dislike: On the expensive side.
Best bang for your buck: Kingdom Beauty Nano Ionic Facial Steamer
Our take: Criminally inexpensive for the features this facial steamer offers.
What we like: Tiny, nano-ionic steam provides a deep clean and also hydrates. Portable. Heats up quickly and operates quietly. Can double as a humidifier.
What we dislike: Not compatible with essential oils.
Choice 3: Pure Daily Care NanoSteamer
Our take: A spa-quality facial steamer with a 30-minute steam time.
What we like: Large reservoir capacity that exceeds most units. Comes with five skincare tools that add extra value. Silent operation.
What we dislike: Quality varies from unit to unit.
Ana Sanchez is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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