In keeping with this week's theme of self-care and skincare, I caught up with Mika du Toit, one half of South Africa-based Ecologic Skincare's mother-daughter duo. The pair specializes in whipping nature's gifts into potions and tonics to heal your skin and your soul.
Early this year after a yoga class I hosted at Cape Town's beautiful 196 Victoria, Mika treated us to facial steams. But what really stuck out in her discussion of the herbs used and the process of steaming was her explanation of the marriage of beauty rituals and MINDFULNESS. Mika explains:
"Take the time to look after your skin with intention rather than having it be a chore. It’s a moment in your busy day to celebrate you and what makes you beautiful. Mindful practices like yoga also have a host of healing benefits for the skin. Yoga postures can improve digestion, improve circulation, facilitate lymphatic drainage and facilitate the release of impurities - all of which have glow-inducing benefits for the skin." (Click here for full interview!)
Facial steaming is not only an inexpensive (think raid your kitchen cupboards!) and easy way to add some radiance to your skin, it's "great for a spiritual and physical detox." Mika advocates for incorporating a mantra into your steaming and choosing dried herbs and essential oils based on their both physical and metaphysical properties or their scent. What I love about steaming is that it stops me in my multitasking tracks... sure I can wear a face mask while answering work emails, but steaming requires me to be very intentional with taking a little bit of time for myself. Mika believes in disconnecting from tech and reconnecting with yourself during beauty rituals: "Your skin care time can be the time you take to focus on oneself and focus one’s energies. It is a time to disconnect, put your phone down, slow down and be present in the moment. It’s the ideal time to place your focus on you and reconnecting with your radiant beauty."
What you'll need:
- Medium-sized bowl
- Boiling water
- Herbs and/or essential oils. Your tea and spice cabinets are the places to look!
- Optional: a crystal. Mika's picks are aquamarine, clear quartz, and rose quartz
How to steam:
- Set up your towel and bowl. Make sure you place your bowl somewhere you can sit comfortably.
- Add a generous handful of herbs or a few drops of essential oil to the bowl. The amount of herbs or oil you use will depend on the potency you wish your steam to be. Be cautious when working with essential oils - 3 or 4 drops will do in a medium bowl.
- Boil a kettle of water and pour over your steaming blend.
- Hold your head comfortably over the bowl and create a tent using the towel to trap the steam.
- Breathe in and out deeply with your eyes closed.
- Steam your face for about ten minutes. Use this time to work with the intention you have set or do a mini-meditation. If you are carrying any stuck energy or thoughts, this is the time to let those go or work with your positive affirmations or beauty mantra. You can also practice a yogic breathing technique (Pranayama) while you steam.
- After steaming, dab away excess perspiration and follow with a clay face mask, toner or a high performance serum with plenty active ingredients.
After you're done, Mika has some great tips for your leftover facial tea that loop back to the practice of Conscious Consumption. Use the leftover water (cooled) to water plants, activate clay face masks, as an herbal hair rinse, sprayed onto the face and body as an herbal tonic/spritz, or (my personal favorite) frozen into serum-cicles (full tutorial here - especially helpful for a little brightening and pick-me-up after a sleepless night).
Gather your teas, herbs, dried flowers, and essential oils and give steaming a try. Take that time to meditate and turn this beauty ritual into a mini-holiday for your mind! Comment below and let me know what you use in your facial tea!