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Best facial steamers for clear, fresh skin

You could be forgiven for thinking a facial steamer is a little-used beauty gadget that would just gather dust in a cupboard – but think again.

By Melanie Macleod | Last updated Mar 17, 2022

woman with glowing skin

For congested, acne-prone skin, a facial steamer is a key bit of kit in your quest for a clear complexion. 

Facial steamers work by warming and softening the dead skin cells on the surface of your skin, making them easier to remove and resulting in a healthy-looking, radiant complexion. 

A good steam opens the pores, making them easier to unclog. Plus, the heat and moisture primes the skin to allow your skincare products to sink in more easily and work harder.

Don’t just take our word for it, though. Facialist Sarah Chapman, who has tended to the complexions of Victoria Beckham, Gigi Hadid and Meghan Markle, begins almost all of the facial treatments in her London clinic with a steam to prep the skin for the following steps. 

In our search for the best facial steamers, we scoured the Mumsnet forums for real Mumsnetter-recommended steamers and, with a beauty journalist in our midst, we’ve tested our fair share too, so have added our honest thoughts on the current best buys.

Our edit of 2022’s best facial steamers takes into consideration how much room they take up (because space-saving is essential), if they have hot and cold functions, and whether they’re any better than a towel and a bowl of boiling water. Spoiler: they are!

Here are the best facial steamers for 2022.

1. Best overall facial steamer: Sarah Chapman Skinesis Pro Hydro-Mist Steamer

sarah chapman facial steamer

Price: £119 | Buy now from Lookfantastic 

“I have the Sarah Chapman steamer and really like it.” (Loved by Mumsnet user ZaraW)

Think of this pricey buy as the Rolls Royce of facial steamers. Not only does it look sleek in Sarah Chapman’s signature space grey, it also performs exceptionally well, with ultra-small non-steam particles able to penetrate the skin at a deeper level, opening the pores to purge them of makeup and dirt.

It’s different to other facial steamers in that you don’t place your face into it. Instead you position the nozzle 20cm from your face, close your eyes and allow it to mist at you. This is good to note if you feel claustrophobic with traditional facial steamers.

It has five and 10 minutes treatment settings, after which it automatically switches off. After using this, your skin will look dewy and hydrated, and not at all red either. It’s fairly small, so can also travel with you if you like.

Fans of this steamer on Sarah Chapman’s site praise it for transforming their skin, delivering a strong steam that they can really feel working.

One thing to note is that this should only be used with water. So you can’t add essential oils to it if that’s something you’d like to try.

Pros

  • Deep cleans the skin
  • Powerful steam
  • Portable

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Can only be used with water

2. Best budget facial steamer: Visiq Facial Sauna

visiq facial steamer

Price: £7.99 | Buy now from Argos

“I love it because it keeps the steam at a steady temperature. I add rose water to mine. Gorgeous.'' (Tried and recommended by Mumsnet user newdeer)

If you’ve ever tried to steam your face at home with a bowl of water and a towel, you’ll know the liquid starts off scalding before quickly becoming cool. That issue is gone with this budget-friendly face steamer.

While it may not look as stylish as the Sarah Chapman Skinesis Pro Hydro-Mist Steamer above, it does offer other benefits. Fans say it’s great for clearing sinus issues and headaches as well as blackheads.

It’s simple to use and you can add additional ingredients, such as rose water, into the water reservoir for a spa-scented steaming session. Users also say they’ve added Olbas Oil to clear blocked noses too, although the instructions do specify not to add oils.

This has an easy-to-use dial to switch between low and high heats and is easy to assemble. The only negative in the reviews is that the cable is a bit short.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Simple to use

Cons

  • Short cable

3. Best at-home facial steamer: Beurer FC72 Pureo Ionic Facial Sauna

buerer facial steamer

Price: £38.09 | Buy now from Amazon

“Worth the money and I no longer have to struggle carrying a pot of boiling water to the table.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user BlameItOnTheVodka)

Similar in design to the Sarah Chapman Skinesis Pro Hydro-Mist Steamer, this is another device you sit in front of rather than place your face into, so there’s no worry about feeling too hot. 

It creates ‘ionic steam’ which means that the steam particles are smaller and thus more hydrating. Ionic means there are negatively charged particles in the steam to draw dirt from the skin and open your pores, so the skincare you use afterwards has a better chance of sinking in. 

It’s simple to set up and use, with each steam session lasting 15 minutes before it automatically switches off. It’s compact too – the base is about the size of a drink coaster. One thing to note: this has to be used with distilled water rather than tap as tap water can create limescale. 

Amazon reviews praise this for sinus-clearing powers too, though the instructions say not to add oils to the device. 

Pros

  • Compact
  • Deep cleansing

Cons

  • Has to be used with distilled water 

4. Best quality facial steamer: MAGNITONE SteamAhead Hydrating Facial Steamer

magnitone facial steamer

Price: £28.79 | Buy now from Amazon

If you’re a fan of facial tools, you may already have some Magnitone devices in your beauty kit. Mumsnetter Rebber said she ‘loves’ the brand’s sonic cleansing brush, the BareFaced2.

Magnitone is well known for impressive beauty tools and this pretty pink facial steamer is no exception. It’s simple to use and delivers micro-steam particles for a deep cleanse. Plus, it has a separate nose-steaming head you can swap in if you want to clear your sinuses rather than your blackheads.

It turns off automatically after 10 minutes and one of the selling points is that you can add in essential oils for a real steam room-style experience. One thing to note though: this does produce fairly hot steam, so might not be the best facial steamer if you have sensitive skin.

Reviewers praise it for how well it clears acne-prone skin and leaves their complexion looking radiant. It’s larger than some of the other facial steamers in our round-up, so keep this in mind if you're short on bathroom space.

Pros

  • Ionic steam
  • Can be used with essential oils
  • Switchable heads

Cons

  • Quite large

5. Best portable facial steamer: STYLPRO 4-in-1 Facial Steamer

stylpro facial steamer

Price: £29.99 | Buy now from Boots

Stylpro is another brand renowned for making reliable beauty tools and best known for their brush cleaning devices.

This 4-in-1 facial steamer does more than just clear your pores. It also warms towels (for that true spa-like experience), humidifies rooms and diffuses aromatherapy oils, all from a sleek, small rose gold and white device. Users say they also use this to help their hair masks penetrate deeper and to refresh curly hair when they don’t have time to wash it.

It looks more like a vase, so you won’t mind having it out on your dressing table all the time, plus it’s lightweight and compact, making it the best portable facial steamer out there.

It produces ionic steam for a deep cleanse. The only downside is it has a fairly small reservoir for water, so it needs to be refilled frequently.

Pros 

  • Multi-purpose
  • Pretty
  • Compact

Cons

  • Needs to be refilled often 

6. Best facial steamer for sinuses: Rio Facial Sauna Spa

rio facial steamer

Price: £24.95 | Buy now from Amazon

If you’re looking for a facial steamer to clear your sinuses as well as your complexion, the Rio Facial Sauna comes highly recommended. It has the largest neck of all the ones in our edit - ideal for resting your whole face in - and it’s suitable for adding sinus-clearing aromatherapy oils.

It has two heat and steam settings, depending on how intense you want your steam session to be, plus it has a steam inhaler attachment especially for sinuses, if that’s the main reason you want to invest. 

There are countless positive reviews on Amazon from people with sinus issues saying this has eased congestion, with one reviewer writing that it eased their tinnitus too. The only complaint is that the steam inhaler is fairly small.

Pros

  • Can be used with essential oils
  • Varying heat settings
  • Two attachments

Con

  • Bulky
  • Steam inhaler is quite small

7. Best facial steamer for acne: Panasonic EH-XS01 Facial Steamer

panasonic facial steamer

Price: £99.99 | Buy now from Amazon

This futuristic-looking device was created to deliver salon-level skincare benefits, including hydrated, plump skin with the appearance of fine lines reduced. It offers a 12-minute relaxing spa treatment, a six-minute hydration treatment and a three-minute deep cleanse, depending on how much time you want to spend on your skin.

It delivers nano steam particles into the skin to reach deep down, tackling even the angriest of breakouts, plus it hydrates the skin to combat dryness as well as stimulating collagen production for bouncier skin in the long term. 

Panasonic claims the steam particles created by this are 18,000 times smaller than usual droplets, so they’re better equipped to work deep down in the skin to clear acne.

It’s tiny too for space-saving and is simple to use for even the uninitiated. 

Pros

  • Compact
  • Deep cleansing
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • No face well 

8. Best facial steamer for blackheads: LIVIVO Facial Face Spa Steamer

livio facial steamer

Price: £26.99 | Buy now from Amazon

If blackheads are your skincare bugbear, this is the facial steamer for you. As well as the steamer itself, this comes with a five-piece set of blackhead removal tools to extract stubborn spots. The steamer opens your pores and loosens dirt and debris, ready for you to go in with the tools.  

This also comes with a nasal steamer attachment for sinus issues. The device has a non-slip base, which is handy for keeping it in place when you’re using it.

This steamer is compatible with aromatherapy oils too if you want to add these to your treatment.

The downside with this is that it’s fairly bulky, especially thanks to all the extra bit it comes with, so not a good one if you’re looking to save space.

Pros

  • Can be used with oils
  • Full blackhead extraction kit

Cons

  • Bulky 

9. Best multi-tasking facial steamer: Pure NanoSteamer 3-in-1 Nano Ionic Facial Steamer

nano facial steamer

Price: £116.97 | Buy now from Amazon

This is the most expensive steamer in our edit, but the variety of uses make it worthy of the higher price point. Like the StylePro 4-in-1 Facial Steamer, this warms towels and humidifies, plus it comes with a blackhead extraction kit. 

It has a 200ml water chamber, which means it runs for 30 minutes for an indulgent, spa-worthy steam, plus it runs silently, if white noise bothers you. 

It creates nanoparticles for deep penetration and, if you’re using it as a humidifier, you’ll be pleased to know that, thanks to the large chamber, it works in larger rooms too.

Pros

  • Quiet
  • Long running time

Cons

  • Expensive

Do facial steamers really work? 

Facial steamers do work, though some certainly perform better than others. It depends what you want your steamer to do. If you want a steamer simply to create a warming spa feeling, to loosen dead skin cells or to decongest your sinuses, any of the tools in our edit will do the job.

If you’re looking for a facial steamer that clears your pores and hydrates the skin, opt for a steamer that says it uses nanosteam or has ionic steam. These two create smaller steam particles which delve deeper into the skin for more intense cleaning. Plus they permeate into the lower layers of skin to drive moisture in too for that salon-fresh, plump appearance.

Are facial steamers good for acne? 

Because facial steamers work to unclog pores, they can benefit acne-sufferers. Look for a facial steamer that produces nanosteam or ionic steam for the best acne-fighting powers.

If you have dry or particularly sensitive skin, it’s better to avoid a facial steamer as the heat could prove irritating or drying. 

How do I use a facial steamer?

Facial steamers are simple to use. Just fill up the water reservoir, switch it on and prepare to get steamy.

Facial steamers are either designed for you to place your face into (in a funnel) or there’s a nozzle you position yourself in front of. The ones with a funnel are typically more comfortable as you can relax into it rather than holding your face in place like you would with a nozzle. 

With some devices, you can also add essential oils (check the instructions). If yours is one such steamer, add a few drops of your chosen oil to the reservoir to reap the rewards. 

Certain steamers have time settings for the length of steam and many have automatic-off functions. 

How often should I use a facial steamer?

Experts advise using a facial steamer twice a week. Most steamers run for between 10 and 15 minutes and this is the optimum time. Think of it like a steam room - you wouldn’t tend to stay in there for longer than 15 minutes.

What type of face steamer is best? 

If you’re looking for the skincare benefits of clear, fresh pores, a facial steamer that has nano steam or ionic steam is best. With smaller steam particles, the steam can delve deeper into your skin and really get to work.

If you’re just looking to clear your sinuses, a basic steamer is fine. Nano steamers often tend to be a little more expensive, but their skin-clearing powers are reflected in the price. 

What is the best face steamer? 

Mumsnetters and consumer reviewers alike rate the Sarah Chapman Skinesis Pro Hydro-Mist Steamer as the best face steamer out there. Given that Sarah is a professional facialist who uses steam in almost all of her in-clinic facials, she knows what she’s talking about when it comes to face tools and has created a spa-worthy face steamer to use at home.

It’s compact yet delivers powerful steam for a fresh, radiant complexion. Reviewers love this because the steam blows out consistently, isn’t too hot (unlike the age-old boiling water and towel trick!), is simple to use and helps skincare products to penetrate much better for a spa vibe at home. 

How we chose our recommendations 

Our Swears By edits are compiled by journalists with expertise in the areas they’re writing about. 

They use a variety of sources to compile considered product selections, analysing Mumsnet forum recommendations for testimony from real people alongside independent consumer reviews from reputable sources and retailers such as Boots, Lookfantastic and Amazon, as well as including products they’ve tried and tested themselves, resulting in a trustworthy, in-depth and honest set of product reviews. 

About the author

Melanie, the writer of this piece, has been working as a beauty journalist since 2016, so has tested the great and good of skincare and knows what works and is worth spending your money on. She's been using the Magnitone Facial Steamer for a few years when she wants to elevate her at-home facials and she's found it really works to open the pores and soften the skin. 

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