Why We’re Adding ‘Kunatira’ to our Skincare Routine: The Surprising Benefits of The Lauded Covid19 Miracle Worker

February 18, 2021

The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic introduced a word to many Zimbabweans. It was almost as if it never existed preCovid with the shock waves a lot of people expressed when they heard of it. The word, ‘kunatira’ which means steaming in English trended on many social media platforms and it got to the point where people started to change their display names to ‘Natirai’ as well as giving it many variations and slang names such as ‘Natting’ or ‘Nats’. The wonderful whacky world of social media:)

But this ‘new’ word is not actually new.

Kunatira or kufukira has traditionally been used to help ease the discomfort that comes with the common cold or flu as noted by Hammer and Tongues (https://www.google.com/amp/s/hammerandtonguesshoppingmall.wordpress.com/2017/07/10/home-remedies-for-the-cold-and-flu/amp/). Traditionally, it is suggested that one adds a small amount of Vicks or certain herbs to a pot with hot water. The ill person then sticks their head into the pot and covers their head with a towel. By inhaling the steam for about 15 minutes, one’s breathing will be made easier, clearing any congestion in the throat. Kunatira, however, not only helps with flu symptoms or as recently discovered , COVID respiratory symptoms; it’s also excellent for the skin.


Benefits of steaming on the skin



If you have never used steaming as part of your skincare regimen, we have compiled all the reasons why you should start. Off the bat, steaming cleanses, nourishes and feels luxurious but there are numerous other skincare benefits of this procedure. We asked Deriah Danda, owner of Beautyworx Chisipite for the effects and benefits of steaming and this is what she said:


  1. Steaming helps open the pores and loosens up any buildup of dirt, thereby cleaning the skin. When the pores open, it helps to soften blackheads, making them easier to remove. This term is known as cleansing.
  2. It prepares the skin for any treatments to follow afterwards such as masking, toning and moisturising.
  3. It is hydrating. Steam aids the skin by hydrating it and increasing the oil being produced by it. This then leads to a moisturized face.
  4. It is best to steam after cleansing your skin as it removes the dirt and dust from it
  5. For the best results, you can exfoliate and steam your face at the same time to help purify your skin.



Deriah went on to advise us on the different oils and herbs that are best to use for steaming depending on your skin needs. Tea tree helps for those with problematic skin; lavender helps as it is soothing; chamomile is great for dry, mature, sensitive or inflamed skin; for oily skin you can use rosemary or sage; for stubborn blackheads, try out eucalyptus, peppermint and rosemary and for all skin types, lemon peel helps to energise your skin.

You can follow Beautyworx on Instagram and Facebook.




Experts from healthline.com provide further benefits of steaming. These include:

  • It promotes circulation. The combination of warm steam and an increase in perspiration dilates your blood vessels and increases circulation. This boost of blood flow nourishes your skin and delivers oxygen. The result is a natural, healthy glow.
  • It releases acne-causing bacteria and cells. Opening up your pores allows the release of dead skin cells, bacteria and other impurities that clog the pores and contribute to acne.
  • It releases trapped sebum. This naturally occurring oil is produced by sebaceous glands to lubricate your skin and hair. When sebum gets trapped beneath your skin’s surface, it creates a breeding ground for bacteria and causes acne and blackheads.
  • It helps your skin better absorb skin care products. Steam increases the skin’s permeability, enabling it to become more absorbent. This means you get more bang for your buck from skin care products applied after a steam.
  • It promotes collagen and elastin. The increased blood flow experienced during a steam facial promotes collagen and elastin production. This results in firmer, younger-looking skin.
  • It is affordable and accessible. You don’t need to dish out big bucks for a steam facial at a spa to enjoy the benefits; it can be done at home using the items you already have.


Noreen Bgoya, a beauty and lifestyle influencer on Instagram gave us some great advice and tips about steaming. In a recent interview, we asked her to give us the different techniques and products one can use when steaming.


What techniques would you recommend as the best ones for steaming?

There are a few such as;

i Filling a bucket with hot water and hanging your face over it with a towel covering your head,

ii Using a towel dipped in hot water, and having drained or squeezed the excess water from it laying it on your face for a few minutes,

iii Last but not least, the best way in my opinion is the steamer. It is less admin. All you have to do is put water in your steamer and turn it on.



Do you have any tips and tricks?

– I usually leave my scrub on during the steam. I use my index and middle fingers to gently massage my face using circular motions which helps me feel like I am really assisting in the process.


What are the best things to do before and after steaming to ensure the best results?

  1. It is important to hydrate before your steam, your skin will be exposed to heat and which opens up your pores,
  2. Gently cleansing before helps prepare your skin for the steam,
  3. After steaming you want to rinse your face with cool water, this helps shrink back your pores a little so your skin is not exposed to bad particles in the air,
  4. Moisturising is vital whether steaming or not, but after steaming you want to use something nourishing as your skin is at its best time to really soak up all the moisturiser’s benefits.


Why has Zumbani become such a big craze?



Zumbani has always been a big deal but the pandemic amplified its importance and has become a bigger craze because of how helpful it is in fighting colds and flues. It also boosts the immune system; benefits we can all reap from in such a time.


In your opinion, what are your go to products for your skincare?

There are a lot of them on my list but one of the best ones I use is the Neutrogena hydro boost cleanser – you can never go wrong with a hydrating cleanser for whatever skin type you have. It is gentle and extremely hydrating. A local product that is really good is the Ndanaka radiance face oil, it is a nourishing oil that also helps heal scarring.

Follow Noreen on Instagram- @noreenyyolanda


By Delyse Gimani








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