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The Ultimate Guide to Home Facial Steamers

Best Portable Facial Steamer Reviews 2018

When people look at you and say 'wow you're glowing' it can only mean two things. (1) You are pregnant and past the pukey stage or (2) you have found the perfect home beauty solution - a portable facial steamer.

I love the way my complexion feels all dewy and smooth after a professional facial - I am glowing both inside and out. In fact, it's my husband's fail-safe present to give me for Mother's Day, Valentine's, Christmas and Birthday. But what if a facial wasn't just a treat, but part of your regular routine?

Life has moved on since the days where we used to bow our heads over a bowl of steaming hot water in the hope of opening our pores and sweating the toxins out. Nowadays, you can purchase smart, portable home facial steamers that effectively shower your face with steam, rehydrate your skin and assist with the absorption of other products.

Well as per usual I was sold on the hype, and it didn't take long for me to start trying some out. Here's what I learnt along the way and my top tips on the "hottest" facial steamers around.

What is a Facial Steamer?

In simple terms, a facial steamer puffs hot air directly onto your face to stimulate the skin, increase circulation and clear away dead cells. Predominantly performed at a spa as part of a pricey beauty treatment, the same results can be achieved at-home with a more affordable facial steamer.

By using your home facial steamer as part of your weekly routine, you can penetrate your pores and purify your skin for a super soft complexion. They are also easy to use and lightweight enough to take away with you.

best at home facial steamers

Do facial steamers actually work?

Steaming may be a tried and tested method by many, but due to lack of time and money how often do we get the chance to indulge in a rejuvenating facial? Yet, steaming is one of the best ways to keep our skin healthy and free of impurities.

Everyone is different, so results will vary depending on skin type, but if you suffer from acne or blackheads, then regular steaming has been proven to prevent further outbreaks. When your face is exposed to steam it forces your pores to open, lifting and releasing oil and dirt by bringing it to the surface where it can be cleansed away.​

The older we get, the longer it takes our bodies to produce more cells, leaving our skin feeling dull and looking discolored. By steaming our face, we stimulate the skin revealing a brighter complexion underneath and preparing it to be more receptive to other skincare treatments. As someone who is fast approaching 40, I noticed a change for the better in the look, feel and tone of my skin week by week when using a portable face steamer.

What are the benefits of steaming your face?

Whether you are a sufferer of acne or have beautiful blemish-free skin, one of the most effective ways to cleanse facial pores is to steam your face.

There are numerous benefits to purchasing an at-home facial steamer including: -


One of the best ways to cleanse facial pores is to steam your face. The steam causes your skin to perspire, opening the pores and softening the debris such as dead skin cells and dirt, for easier removal.


By warming up the surface of the skin, it makes it more receptive to other treatments such as face masks or serum.


A good facial steamer will enhance your circulation. The hot air causes the blood vessels in the skin to dilate so that more blood can flow to the skin bringing oxygen and nutrients to the tissue. This is what gives dreary, tired skin that rosy, fresh post-steam glow.


Facial steam increases perspiration which releases toxins and has a cleansing effect on the skin. Perspiration is mainly made up of water and when it flows from the skin it lifts all the bad stuff to the surface and rebalances your complexion.


Steaming has a calming effect on the system, as it instantly connects to your breathing. By adding essential oils or herbs to the water you will soothed, healed and relaxed in body, mind and soul.

Are facial steamers good for acne?

Facial steamers can be great for those who suffer from outbreaks of acne, as it increases the blood flow to your skin, allowing oxygen and nutrients to flow into those areas. However, this is a hotly debated topic as whilst some might say with regular steaming facial sessions you can heal the skin, others suggest that it simply smooths out the appearance.

What we do know, however, is that facial steamers help to unclog pores and remove dead skin, making it easier to wash away. If you suffer from blackheads, smoothing out the texture of the skin can be extremely effective, as it can prevent further outbreaks.

remove black heads with facial steamers

How long should I steam my face to get rid of blackheads and acne?

If you are using a facial steamer to extract blackheads and act against acne, you should always ensure that your face is well cleansed beforehand. Positioning the portable steamer so that it targets the area you want to treat, you should steam the face for no longer than 10 minutes before you start to remove the blackheads.

best black head remover

Use a tool to remove black heads when steaming

Are there any side effects for steaming your face?

Whilst there are many benefits to using a portable facial steamer, it is important that you understand how much steam your skin can take. Your skin type is determined by genetics, lifestyle and diet, so there is no "one size fits all" approach. If you over steam you could be at risk of dehydrating your skin leading to flushing, inflammation, broken capillaries or rosacea (redness, pimples and swelling). Heat damage can, in extreme instances, also cause premature ageing.

I would strongly suggest that you start with regular intervals between sessions to see how your skin reacts. I found that steaming my face 1-2 times a week and following each session with a good moisturizer and face mask proved most effective, as it left my skin not only feeling smoother but looking brighter.​

How should you use a facial steamer?

A home facial steamer is so easy to use - even a techno-phobe like me managed to set it up and steam away.

It is important that you prepare your skin before steaming. Cleaning and cleansing will help to get rid of any excess dirt, oil or makeup that is on the surface of the skin and a good face scrub will exfoliate, removing any dead cells.

Steamers vary slightly by brand, so make sure you always read the user manual beforehand.

Filling the chamber; located just below the cone; with around 2 cups of tepid water and any essential oils you wish to use, plug it in and off you go. It may take a few minutes to start emitting steam, but make sure you place your face inside the cone attachment above the base and allow the steam to penetrate your pores.

Make sure that you keep your face 10 to 15 centimeters away from the steam to stop your from burning and if it is your first experience with a facial steamer, it is best to begin with a short 2-minute session.

Once finished, turn off the steamer and using a clean towel, pat your face dry to remove any loose dirt from your pores that may remain on your face. For the most effective results, I would suggest going the whole hog and applying your favorite facial mask, but if time is of the essence then make sure you finish your facial with a splash of cool water and a good moisturizer.

What essential oils are good for steaming your face?

There are many benefits to adding a few drops of essential oils or herbs to your facial steamer from colds to blemishes and even ear infections.

My favorite ones to add are: -

tea tree oil for your face

Tea tree oil

A great all-rounder, it treats everything from eye and ear infections to colds, sore throats and even acne.

put natural lemon oil in your facial steamer

Lemon oil

Not only brightens the skin but lightens your mood too.

lavender oil for de-stressing

Lavender oil

This oil helps you to de-stress and unwind and is soothing on the skin.

peppermint oil

Peppermint oil

Relieves the pain of sinus infections, from clogged noses and sore throats to headaches and migraines.

Eucalyptus oil

Eucalyptus oil

One of the best oils for colds; it is antiviral, antibacterial and decongestant.

Geranium oil

Geranium oil

This oil is known as the skin beautifier. If you have scarring or stretch marks, this oil can help to speed up your skin's healing process.

How to pick the best facial steamer for you:

There are so many facial steamers on the market today, deciding which one is right for you can prove tricky. Below I will give you some tips on what features you should look for when selecting a facial steamer for home use.

1. Portablity

There are generally two types of facial steamers. Those that are handheld and those that sit on a table top. A handheld steamer directs steam to specific areas of the face and is perfect if you need to carry it around with you on a regular basis. However, it's compatibility means that these small steamers are unable to cover the entire face in one go, whereas a table top steamer can cover the entire face, produces steam quicker and will often allow you to add herbs and essential oils for better skin treatment.

2. Temperature adjustment

One of the key things that you should look for in a portable steamer is the temperature adjustment feature. Depending on your skin type, you can configure your device so that you can control the temperature of the steam, depending on what you can tolerate. Some steamers also produce a cooling steam, so that you can cool the face and close your pores after steaming it.

3. Capacity

The bigger the volume of the water tank, the longer you can steam for without having to refill it with water. I would recommend looking for a 90ml+ tank, as I found these the most efficient for a good 10-minute steam.

best portable facial steamer reviews

4. Flow of steam

This is important as ideally you should be looking for a strong, smooth and uniformly distributed steam. I tried some that spat more than flowed and wafted rather than blew.3. Ozone Function - Not all machines have an Ozone function, and to be honest I am not sure it really added anything to my facial steam. However, that said the idea that you are using purified and sterilized steam, thanks to a UV lamp, makes the whole process seem more indulgent.

5. Speed of Use

It is important to know how long it will take for your water to warm up as you don't want to be waiting around before starting.

6. Noise

A steam should be a relaxing experience, so the quieter the machine the better. Many are completely silent, allowing you to drift off to a world of utter bliss.

7. Robustness

I sometimes take my facial steamer around to family and friends who want to indulge in some 'me time', so having a facial steamer that is solid, yet lightweight is important.

8. Automatic Shut off

I found this an invaluable safety feature for those times when I switched off a little too much. The automatic shut off meant that I could relax, safe in the knowledge that my machine would turn itself off once the water had been used.

9. Additional Features

Facial steamers are constantly evolving and there are many nice to have functions now included, such as built in mirrors, hair steaming and water misting options. One of the optional extras that I really appreciated was being able to add my own essential oils.

Which facial steamer is the best?

There are so many models of facial steamers on the market that it is easy to get bamboozled. Having tried and tested some of the most recommended facial steamers around, here is my hands-on (or face-on) review of each one. I hope it goes some way in helping you choose the model that is right for you.

OKACHI GLIYA Portable Nano Facial Steamer

1. OKACHI GLIYA Portable Nano Facial Steamer

This full powered facial steamer is small but looked great on my dressing room table. It took no time at all to heat up and within a matter of minutes blew out a steady flow of steam that left my face feeling clean and hydrated.

I loved the fact that it was silent throughout and I could relax in peace having dropped in some essential oils. At the end of each session the OKACHI GLIYA Portable Nano Facial Steamer switched off automatically and was both easy to set up and clean after use.

It also came with some additional features including a handy make-up mirror and the Ozone function which purified the water. This is highly appealing for someone who lives in a hard water area.

There wasn't much I didn't like about the OKACHI GLIYA Portable Nano Facial Steamer, although I did find the volume capacity (80ml) slightly on the small side and on occasion had to refill. Slightly more expensive than other facial steamers it worked well and provided a thorough steam.

Pure Daily Nano Facial Steamer

2. Pure Daily Care NanoSteamer

The Pure Daily Care NanoSteamer looked nice, was incredibly lightweight and was very easy to setup. Once switched on it heated up quickly and I was able to adjust the temperature accordingly. Beware though, it does get very hot even on a low setting, so ensure that you are far enough away to gain the benefits without burning.

I loved having a towel warmer to hand, and the humidifier was a bonus I ended up using more than I thought I would. That said both functions I would happily live without, in order to put right some of the niggles that this model came with.

The Pure Daily Care NanoSteamer is quite tall and as I am petite, I struggled to find a low enough surface to place it on to get the full effect. This meant kneeling or holding it in my lap which was not ideal or particularly relaxing and I missed having an automatic shut off function.

Considering it comes with a 200ml tank, I still found myself refilling it, which was a little disappointing to say the least. Overall, this facial steamer did not quite come live up the hype.

Panasonic Nano-e NanoCare Facial Steamer

3. Panasonic EH-SA32-P Pink | Nano-e NanoCare Facial Steamer

This facial steamer has a rather hefty price tag, so I was expecting great things. When the machine arrived, the instructions I received were in Japanese (although this was as advertised), but this did not prove a problem as the machine itself was easy enough to operate. Once setup, the steam produced was powerful and really effective on my skin. Another positive about the Panasonic EH-SA32-P Pink facial steamer, is that is compact enough to take when travelling.

A downside of its compact nature, is its water capacity and I did have to refill during use. It was also a little noisy during operation which was disappointing and for the cost, the Panasonic EH-SA32-P Pink facial steamer felt quite basic.

Lavany Facial Steamer

4. Lavany Facial Steamer – EDITORS CHOICE

This facial steamer was super stylish and felt very expensive, even though it didn’t cost the earth. The Lavany Facial Steamer was the first at-home facial steamer that I tried which offered a hot and cool mist setting.

I found the warm mist great for cleansing and opening my pores, whilst the cool mist left my face feeling refreshed. I can only imagine how it might feel on a scorching hot day. It distributed nano-ionic steam, which really penetrated my skin leaving it smoother, supple and hydrated. Another feature I particularly liked was the ability to add essential oils for a really indulgent facial steam.

Again the water chamber was a little on the small side so I did have to refill on accession and the steamer itself, in comparison to other models, was not quite as powerful. Overall, I felt the Lavany Facial Steamer was great value for money and made my skin feel amazing.

GOODSKY Nano Ionic Facial Steamer

5. GOODSKY Nano Ionic Facial Steamer

Small but perfectly formed, the GOODSKY Nano Ionic Facial Steamer does exactly what it says on the box. It was so easy to use and I was able to start steaming within 10 seconds of turning it on.

Overall this is a great facial steamer for those who have never used one before or if you need to transport it from place to place as it is simple to use and inexpensive. It is however, pretty basic and does not come with any additional features. Although my face felt cleansed, it lacked that extra special glow that some of the other facial steamers left me with.

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Everyone starts out looking for perfection, but when we realise that that can’t be achieved, we accept that feeling great about ourselves is good enough. When you start using a facial steamer, within a matter of weeks you’ll notice a real difference in your complexion and confidence.

Each of the portable facial steamers that I reviewed came with their own pro’s and con’s. For me, the Lavany Facial Steamer was the standout winner in terms of the different mist temperatures and the ability to add essential oils for a more luxurious experience.

So, if you can’t afford a professional facial, have oily skin or suffer from acne and blackheads I will thoroughly recommend purchasing your very own facial steamer for the home.

Facial Steamers
  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 4.5 stars
  • Outstanding

  • Facial Steamers
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: February 28, 2018
  • Overall
    Editor: 95%
  • Portablity
    Editor: 90%
  • Safety
    Editor: 90%
  • Customer Ratings
    Editor: 90%
  • Value for Money
    Editor: 85%

Review Summary:

Facial steamers vary slightly by brand and there are so many steamers on the market today, deciding which one is right for you can prove tricky. However, one thing is clear; whether you are a sufferer of acne or have beautiful blemish-free skin, one of the most effective ways to cleanse facial pores is to steam your face. I personally recommend one as part of your weekly beauty routine.

About the Author Vicky Henderson

A bachelors degree in nutritional sciences and professional certifications in business development has given Vicky the ideal credentials to build an internet presence dedicated to health and lifestyle improvement. The aim of this website is to provide factual reviews and information on a range of dietary supplements, as well as providing general health/wellbeing tips.

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