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Sweat It All Out! Indian Swedana At Home Plus Bonus Face Toner

June 8, 2011

We’ve all been there. You go out one night, you have just a bit too much to drink, just a bit too much potato chips and popcorn, and you finish the night off with just a bit too much of kebab with french fries. And the next day you wake up, and you don’t feel sick necessarily, just… impure. Your nose is clogged, your pores are clogged and everything is red and swollen. You might have done or said some things that makes you feel uncomfortable or embarrassed.

Back home in Finland, my treatment for this would be to go to sauna and just sweat it all out. Unfortunately, saunas are not as common here in the adjacent country. But it’s actually possible to create almost the same effect at home, and all you need is a some hot liquid and a sheet.

This procedure is an Indian ayurvedic treatment called swedana that is supposed to rid you of toxins in your body by sweating. And I can assure you that you do feel a lot better afterwards, not to mention that you will have glowing skin! Doing a swedana, or just making a simpler facial steam, is also great to do before applying a face mask, as it will open and clean your pores and make the face mask more effective.
This is a recipes inspired by Lisen Sundgren from her book Lisens indiska spa.

The ingredients of a swedana are very easy. Some liquid and a few spices are enough. I used milk, but you can use water as well if you like, or maybe so aromated water like rose water. For spices I used cardamon, rosemary, cinnamon, tumeric, and I also added some orange peel, as I had just had an orange for breakfast. You can use any herbs or spices that you have at home that tingles your sense of smell. Some ideas: garam masala spice blend, ginger, rose, black pepper, lemon grass, thyme, oregano, aniseed, lemon (juice/peel), nettles…. Well, just about anything really.

The original recipe said one litre of milk, but I though that was quite a lot, so I used about 4-5 dl (around 2 cups) of milk. Then just add the milk/water and spices to a kettle, and bring to a low boil. Leave on for 5-10 minutes, the longer you let it boil the more the spices will have infused into the milk. If you like you can add some essential oils as well, but make sure you only put a few drops. I added about ten, and that was way too much. Also remember that some of the benefits of the essential oils will disappear when added to hot liquid, so focus more on smell than properties. I used ylang ylang, sandalwood, aniseed and rosemary.

Then you just sweep a big sheet around yourself and the kettle, so you get the feeling that you’re inside a tent. Most important is your face and heart region. You can also just turn this into a facial steam by  covering your head with a towel and leaning over the kettle. Stay under the cover for as long as it feels comfortable, from a few minutes up to 30 minutes. Lean your face over the kettle. Breathe deep, relax.   If the mixture is cooling off, blow gently on it to release more steam. When you’re done, finish off with a splash of cool water or toner, to close the pores, or apply a face mask.

And do you know what the best part about this is? You can use the leftovers as a face toner! Simply strain the spices out and pour into a bottle or spray bottle, possibly adding a few drops of essential oils if you hadn’t already. Store in the fridge and use within 2 weeks. If you have loads, just freeze half or two thirds of it in ice cube trays, and take one out when you need it.


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