Ayurveda Rasayana Herbal Facial Steams

Ayurveda Rasayana Herbal Facial Steams

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Face steaming is another Ayurveda ancient beauty practice for a healthy looking skin. Steams are one of the oldest ways that people have used to cleanse the body, skin and mind.

You can read about Svedhana here.

As usual, we take the time to use the correct method and herbs and spices for each dosha.

Real benefits

Not only does the steam offer rejuvenation results on your skin by deep cleansing it and adding glow naturally. Ayurveda describes how steam can add other wonderful benefits by lifting the spirits, helping to improve moods, clear the mind and ease stress and muscle tension. 

Its so often missed in many treatments, but in Ayurveda, we see the holistic benefits of all therapeutic treatments. Steam for the face reaches much further than just the face, bringing a sense of complete wellbeing when considered correctly.

What does it do?

The warm steam causes your face to sweat, which opens the pores and helps soften the surface layer of dead skin cells, releasing dirt and debris that could be the cause of breakouts and would otherwise stay trapped. With all of the dirt, pollution, and toxins we’re exposed to on a daily basis, steam really helps to purify the skin, along with dosha specific nutrients from the herbs which get deep into pores giving your skin what it needs,  with a beautiful natural glow.

Who and When?

Steam is particularly useful for Kapha types who have congested pores that can create blackheads and acne. All body types will benefit but it's important to use steam correctly and responsibly.

  • Vata skin will initially benefit from 1 to 2 facial steams a week for 3 weeks, then move to one a fortnight.
  • Pitta skin will initially benefit from 1 to 2 facial steams a week for 2 weeks then move to one a fortnight.
  • Kapha skin will initially benefit from 2 facial steams a week for a month and then move to 1 a week.

It's also important to do facial steaming after you have completed the cleansing processes of ubtan and oelation doing it this way really help to bring about significant rejuvenation results. Anything that is stuck deep into the pores will be cajoled into releasing because of the preparation prior to steaming.


Wash your face with either ubtan or oelation cleaning method.

You will need to use a litre of spring water and a small handful or measured selection of the chosen herbs relevant for your dosha type. 

For this simple and general steam facial, we will use just 3 simple but potent herbs that are great for your skin.

Herbs for all dosha face steam


  • I handful fresh bay leaves or half a handful of dried - Bay leaf, I have a bay leaf tree so I use them free but you can substitute crushed dried bay leaf.
  • Thyme -  half a handful of dried thyme.
  • Licorice Root powder - half a handful. This is really easy to get now and sold in a light powdery format.
  • You can double this mixture if you like.

Mix it all together and use a small handful each time you do a facial steam.

Bay leaf and thyme are good for drawing impurities, stimulation and circulation and licorice is a wonderfully soothing and anti-inflammatory herb. We will be using these ingredients as a base for dosha specific facial steam baths, which you will get in the weekly guides.

Mix all the dried herbs in a bowl and transfer to a jar with a lid.

Essential Oils

In this basic recipe, we are not using essential oils but we will in the dosha specific recipes found in week one of March guides.

In a large pan add a small handful of the mixed herbs to the water and bring the water to the boil and simmer for 5 mins, cover and leave to steep for a further minute or two.


Prepare an area where you can sit comfortably and lean your head over the pan so that the steam penetrates your skin. Cover your head and the pan with a large towel to keep in the steam like a tent.

Keep your head about a foot from the hot water and be careful that it doesn't burn your face, lift your head if it gets too hot for you. Breath in the herbs as well as them working on your skin. You should relax and do this from 5 to 10 minutes maximum.

When your time is up, pat your skin dry with a towel and then splash cool water over your skin to close all the pores. Let your skin rest for a few hours before adding a light moisturiser.

This is an all round facial steam, but check out each dosha specific one for your dosh skin.


Linda Bretherton

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