Sometimes you’ve got to pamper yourself a little bit – even if you’re a big, manly dude. There’s nothing wrong with taking good care of your skin. And wrapping a hot towel around your cheek bones every so often will do wonders.
You will be shaving around 20 000 times in your lifetime, so it will be worth it in the long run to put in some extra time to rejuvenate your skin with a hot towel treatment every few weeks.
Hot Towel Benefits
A hot towel treatment is economical and easy but the benefits for your skin is big. You can use it to get rid of a headache, ease tight shoulders or revive tired eyes. There are great benefits for your whole body from this simple treatment.
For your face, it will open your pores and promote better circulation. You can also wrap it all around your head to increase your hair growth. Plus it will make your skin softer so that the moisturizer you use can penetrate deeper.
If you are under a lot of stress and you’re not getting proper sleep, you can use it to relax the muscles around your eye area. Place it on your neck and shoulders for better circulation and to ease the stress from your tired muscles.
For an even more relaxing experience you can add essential oils to the water before wetting the towel. This will let you relax physically as well as mentally. Various studies have been done to prove the power of Aroma Therapy oils. For your beard, check out these beard oil options.
Tips for Using a Hot Towel
Firstly, you want to create a hot towel, not one that will scorch the skin off your face. The best way to check the temperature before placing it on your face, is to hold it against your inner arm. Push the towel against your skin and monitor your comfort levels.
If you can hold the towel against your skin without cringing from the heat, you’ve found the sweet spot. But try make it as hot as possible, a lukewarm towel will not have the same effect on your pores. Take the hot towel off your face just before it starts cooling down. Using a hot towel on other parts of your body, you can heat it up a bit more than for your face.
If you will be using a microwave to heat up the towel, make sure you wring out the towel properly so that it doesn’t get too hot.
As soon as you remove the hot towel, splash your face with cold water so that the pores close up again. This will ensure that no bacteria enters your pores after the hot towel treatment. Dry off your face and remember to apply moisturizer.
How to Create a Hot Towel
You can basically use any type of towel, as long as it’s big enough to cover your face. You can stick to the basics of just heating it up, but while you’re going through all the effort of pampering yourself, why not go all out and add some fancy essential oils for an even more relaxing experience?
Step 1: Get a Towel or Washcloth
Nothing fancy needed. Try to find a 100% cotton towel, it is the most absorbent. A washcloth can also work because it’s the perfect size for your face.
Step 2: Pick an Essential Oil
The three traditional scents used by barbers are eucalyptus, lavender and sandalwood. These are great to put you in a relaxed mood. You can buy essential oils at your local health food store. A great trick for an additional invigorating menthol infusion, is to use Vicks VapoRub. A bonus of the menthol is that it will also open up your nasal passages while softening your beard.
Step 3: Apply the Essential Oil to a Dry Towel
Before creating your hot towel, first add the essential oil to it. Apply a few drops of the oil to the middle and edges of the towel. It will infuse the towel as soon as you wet it. If you decide to use the Vicks VapoRub, don’t overdo it. Only spread a small, thin layer of it in the center of your towel. When heated up, the smell can be very overwhelming.
Step 4: Heat up the Towel
You can pick one of the following methods to heat up your towel. Hot water from the tap, the microwave or water from a kettle.
Hot Water from the Tap
This one is the easiest option, if you have access to very hot water from your tap. The drawback of this method, is that it depends on the setting of your water heater and how much hot water is available. But if you can get really hot water after waiting a minute or two, then it’s sufficient.
Nuke Your Towel
This one is a much faster method, with a guaranteed outcome of a perfectly hot towel. Wet your towel under the tap and wring it out so that it is slightly damp. Put in a microwave-safe dish or on a plate and microwave on high for 30 seconds. If you want to give yourself some time to walk with the towel from the kitchen to the bathroom, add 10 or 20 seconds.
Pour Hot Water onto the Towel from a Kettle
Boil the kettle, but don’t wait for it to go all the way to boiling point. Remember, you’re aiming for hot, not scorching skin off. Stop the kettle about halfway to three-quarter way into the boiling process. To test when to stop it, place your hand against the kettle. Stop it before the point where you can’t touch it anymore. Place the prepped towel into a bowl or dish and pour the water over it.
If you boiled the kettle all the way, wait a few minutes until the water cooled down a bit before attempting to wring it out.
How to Use Your Hot Towel
Now that you’ve prepared your hot towel, you are ready to place it on your face and let it work its magic. There are a few different ways you can do this.
Hot Towel Treatment 1: Basic Version
You will need a hand towel for this treatment. Before starting, wash your face. Place the hot towel on your face. Remove the towel before it cools down. Dry the excess moisture off with a dry towel, and apply moisturizer while your skin is still hot.
Hot Towel Treatment 2: Advanced Version
For this one you acquire two hand towels and moisturizer cream. Before starting, wash your face. First apply moisturizer to your face, more than you usually put on. Place the hot towel on your face. Take it off before the towel cools down and with the second hot towel gently wipe off the excess moisturizer. Afterwards apply moisturizer again while your skin is still hot.
Hot Towel Treatment 3: Deluxe Version
Use two hand towels, moisturizer and plastic wrap. Before starting, wash your face. First apply moisturizer to your face, more than you usually put on. Place the hot towel on your face and cover the towel with plastic wrap. Make sure you can still breathe through the towel and plastic wrap. Take it off before the towel cools down and with the second hot towel gently wipe off the excess moisturizer. Afterwards apply moisturizer again while your skin is still hot.
Please note: if you feel your skin is becoming excessively dry, use the advanced or deluxe version. For normal skin you can use the basic version. Want to look great for a party? Use the deluxe version for a home spa treatment before you go out. To figure out your skin type, read this article.
Using a barbershop style hot towel is an easy and convenient way to give yourself a spa treatment in the comfort of your own home. Have you ever tried it? What’s your favorite essential oil to use for relaxation?
If you have created your own hot towel before, tell us how you did it and how you enjoyed it. Leave a comment in the comments section below, we would love to hear from you!
About the author: This article was contributed by Andries Johannes from Manomics.com, which is a mens’ lifestyle blog. Manomics is focused on topics such as mens’ grooming, health and fitness.