Since we first introduced our facial steam, we have grown a following of devoted steamers who now cannot live without steaming their faces or otherwise using the vibrant herbs and flowers (the creative uses range from brewing small amounts of the herbs for a preservative-free toner or mist that is good for two days, adding the strained or unstrained tea to a bath, and using the tea as an incredible hair rinse).
If you are new to steaming, take a moment and allow yourself to become converted. Steaming your face will save you lots of expense on products and facials, not to mention lots of heartache over your skin’s condition, because it is so profoundly healing and effective at improving the skin’s health and beauty. When we receive an e-mail from a customer stating that everything clogs their pores or that the skin dryness they experience is oppressive and persistent, we recommend a steam and all their problems are solved. And if you don’t have the time or patience for steaming, try a facial compress with a designated soft facial towel. You won’t need a hydrating mask or a facial often, if ever, if you use a high-quality, well-composed herbal steam. Period.
Regular steaming with Selene will result in more supple, hydrated skin over the long term, and also helps the skin to better absorb other products. For this blend, Ava chose herbs that heal acne (yet are nondrying and nonirritant), reduce inflammation, cool, refresh, and soothe:
White yarrow flowers: Yarrow is a wonder herb, often a favorite among the plant-attuned and widely used by professional herbalists in North America and in Europe. The healing properties are strongly anti-inflammatory, acne reducing, analgesic (pain reducing, which comes in handy if one has painful breakouts), cooling, and refreshing. Yarrow has a special affinity for the skin (renowned American herbalists Matthew Wood and Michael Moore recommend yarrow for wrinkles, acne, psoriasis, and to speed healing of wounds) and as a vascular system regulator (yarrow’s benefits in this area include the ability to stop bleeding, to improve the strength of capillaries, to make a reddened complexion appear less red by drawing blood away from the skin, and also the opposite, to improve coloring in very pale complexions).
The scent of the wild white flowers is medicinal-floral, an unusual yet addictive aroma. On a psychic level, yarrow seals our aura so that we sense a protective shield around us and are not as vulnerable to negative energies; our center, our composure, remains intact.
For this steam, we picked wild yarrow from more remote meadows in Washington. We take care to pick flowers in the wild responsibly, cutting off the whole stem rather than just the flower heads, and always leaving behind some flowers unpicked, so that there are enough to make seeds for new plants for the following year. We dry the flowers in semi-shade, trim off the stems, and then store the flowers away from sunlight, humidity, and excessive heat.
Chrysanthemum flowers: Our chrysanthemum flowers come from Ava’s relatives’ countryside near Hangzhou in China. They were hand-picked specifically for use in our skin care line and purchased from the farm in person by our family members, then shipped to us in the United States. Chrysanthemum flowers are highly cooling and anti-inflammatory, with a delicate floral aroma. They are also used traditionally for firming the skin (Ava came across historic accounts of Persian women daily splashing their décolleté and breasts with cooled chrysanthemum tea before retiring for bed to maintain firm and youthful breasts into their old age).
Green tea leaves: As with the chrysanthemum flowers, we use hand-selected, limited-supply, high-altitude green tea from the Hangzhou area countryside in China.
Comfrey: Western herbalists consider comfrey to be the best plant for tissue regeneration. Its healing properties make it ideal for soothing dry skin, as well as skin that is scarred or does not heal quickly. Comfrey and calendula are both especially effective healers for skin that is sensitive to topical products.
Calendula: One of herbalists’ most-used flowers for skin concerns, from cold sores to acne to dry or thin skin, calendula offers unsurpassed skin-balancing properties. The flowers soften the skin, soothe dryness, and reinvigorate dull or tired-looking complexions. We grow most of our organic calendula ourselves, then harvest and air-dry the whole flowers by hand.
Cornflowers: There is a surge of interest in cornflowers as a skin-enhancing herb, particularly for their cooling and anti-inflammatory properties. We gather most of the cornflowers in Selene from secluded meadows in Washington state. We are using whole blue, pink, white, and burgundy cornflowers in this steam. Aside from the skin-enhancing benefits, cornflowers add beautiful colors and a new textural element to the steam blend.
Plantain leaves: The drawing properties of plantain leaves makes them an ideal herb for blackhead- and acne-prone skin types. They help to clarify the pores without any drying effects.
Our steam is based on the most radiant, freshest herbs and flowers. We use the herbalist-recommended parts of the plants; sometimes the flowers, sometimes the leaves. The steam delivers tremendous benefits to the skin, is beautiful to look at both dry and brewed, and has a refreshing yet soothing, lightly floral yarrow-green-tea-chrysanthemum aroma.