We all love a spa day. Getting pampered and scrubbed. You leave the place all shiny and soft..smelling vaguely of essential oils and rose water…your credit card still reeling…
Here are a few tips and recipes to create those spa results from the comfort of your own home without the associated credit card melt-down!
Step 1: Cleanse
If you are not wearing makeup, you can go straight in with your normal facial cleanser or a washcloth dipped in a basin with warm water and tea tree oil. You want to hold the cloth over your face and then gently rub in circular motions to get the blood flowing.
If you are wearing makeup, you can remove it with good old coconut oil or even olive oil from your kitchen. Add a drop of lavender or rose essential oil to one teaspoon coconut or olive oil for a lovely relaxing scent.
Apply the oil to your skin and massage in circular motions to loosen all your makeup. Wipe away with a warm washcloth. You can then wash your face with your usual cleanser to make sure that you have removed all oil and makeup.
TIP: Wash your hands before you oil cleanse. Your hands will be warmer which heats the oil up a little AND you don’t want to go scrubbing dirt into your skin while you are taking your make-up off.
All you need is a big bowl of steaming water, a few slices of lemon or grapefruit and a few sprigs of rosemary.
All these ingredients are revivers. They make you feel more awake and refreshed. They also have a balancing effect on oily skin.
TIP: Some people say that steam opens the pores. Pores can’t actually be opened or closed. Steam makes the skin warm and moist which makes it easier for product to sink into the skin. That is why steaming is recommended before you apply a mask.
For a gentle skin peel:
Yoghurt contains lactic acid which is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA). You will see this ingredient in many skin peels and masks. Basically, the lactic acid dissolves dead skin cells and tightens the skin. It also has a calming effect on the sunburned or acne-prone skin.
For an antibacterial boost, you can add a little honey. Use two tablespoons of yoghurt and half a teaspoon of honey. Mix together and apply to cleansed slightly damp skin. Avoid the eye area and lips. Leave on for twenty minutes and rinse with warm water.
TIP: If you have discoloration from acne or sun spots you can add the juice from half a lemon to two tablespoons of yogurt as a skin brightening mask.
All natural face scrub:
Oatmeal is a very gentle facial scrub. It has a calming effect on sensitive skin and because it doesn’t have a rough texture it won’t damage your skin. It even has mildly hydrating properties which means that it won’t leave your skin dry and tight like store-bought exfoliants.
For a fruity oat scrub:
Roughly blend together:
1 handful of oats
A few berries of your choice (I like a couple of strawberries)
A little milk or water to loosen the mix.
If your scrub is sticky enough, you can leave it on as a facial mask for 15 minutes and rinse off with warm water.
TIP: For an extra calming effect you can substitute the berries for cucumber which will also help reduce puffiness or substitute the milk/water for strong chamomile tea that has been cooled.
This one is very easy. Mix a pea-sized amount of coconut oil with a pinch of brown sugar. White sugar is OK but it has very sharp edges. Soft brown sugar is a little gentler. You can even add a little cinnamon or mint for a plumping effect. GENTLY scrub your lips with this mixture to get rid of dead skin and dry patches. Rinse off with warm water and apply a lip balm.
TIP: You can use olive oil, sugar and any essential oil to make a lovely hand scrub as well.
Step4: Face Mask
For Acne: Mix 1 teaspoon honey, 2 teaspoons strong green (cooled) tea and 1 tablespoon rice flour. (You can put rice in a coffee grinder and blend until very fine)
Honey and green tea are both anti-bacterial while rice flour brightens and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Anti-Ageing: Mix 1 teaspoon coconut oil, 1 teaspoon cocoa powder and a tablespoon of full-fat plain yoghurt. The yoghurt needs to be at room temperature or the oil won’t mix with it. Cocoa powder is full of anti-oxidants to help fight free radicals that accelerate the ageing process and yoghurt dissolves dead skin cells. Coconut oil is hydrating and smoothing.
If that sounds like work to you mash half a banana and an egg yolk together for an anti-ageing bomb! Egg yolk contains fats and proteins as well as zinc and vitamins while banana is full of potassium and vitamin E to fight free radicals.
Dry skin: 1 tablespoon avocado, 1 egg yolk and a teaspoon of olive oil. All these ingredients are deeply moisturising and gentle on the skin.
Oily skin: 1 egg white, 1 teaspoon lemon juice. You can also add a teaspoon of oatmeal to bind it. All these ingredients have a balancing or astringent effect on the skin.
If you have puffy eyes you can also mash a slice of cucumber to place on your under eye area. The slices will fall off if you want to get on with your treatment but the goo will stay put.
Step5: Hair Mask
Before you get into a nice warm shower apply some hair food!
2 tablespoons avocado
1 teaspoon natural yogurt
1 teaspoon olive oil
(You might have to adjust the amounts depending on the length of your hair)
Avocado is a wonderful moisturiser and is full of proteins, vitamins and amino acids which is great for your roots and scalp.
The yoghurt in this recipe is also great for your scalp because it contains lactic acid that dissolves dead skin cells from your scalp. This is great if you have a dry flaky scalp because the yoghurt removes the dead skin and has a moisturising and nourishing effect which also helps your hair grow! Healthy scalp, healthy hair!
Egg for your hair is an oldie but goody. Eggs are hair food. They are full of essential fatty acids, protein and vitamins. There are some people who suggest that they help your hair grow but my own experience is that it smooths hair and puts the shine back.
Olive oil is the perfect hair oil. It’s great for split ends, dull hair even hair loss. The vitamin E in olive oil will help to feed your hair and smooth the follicles which prevent hair from losing moisture and becoming brittle.
Cover your hair with a shower cap or towel to keep it warm while you scrub in the shower. Rinse with warm water but if it feels excessively oily, wash with a gentle shampoo.
Step6: Body polish
While your masks are on, grab some used coffee grounds from the coffee machine and head for the shower! A cup is usually enough.
TIP: Make sure that your shower room is quite warm.
Stand under a warm shower for a few minutes to allow your body to warm up then turn the shower head away from you or turn the water off.
Starting from your feet, use the coffee grounds to scrub the skin in circular motions upwards towards the heart. It’s a bit like dry brushing. You always work towards the heart. You can be quite vigorous on the thicker skin like heels, knees and elbows but don’t overdo it.
This scrub is especially good for cellulite. Scrub your thighs and buttocks in firm circular motions for at least a minute. The caffeine in the coffee grounds is great for mobilising fluid retained in the cells of your thighs and butt which makes cellulite look worse. I love this treatment if I’m wearing a swimsuit or shorts.
On holiday, I have been known to ask hotel staff for a little bag of coffee grounds from the coffee machine during breakfast. THE SHAME…I know …I know…
Here’s the thing about cellulite: Don’t let anybody shame you for your dimples, but if you don’t like the look of it then that is just how you feel and nobody gets to tell you how you should feel about your own body. It’s nobody’s business but yours.
Being body positive is great but I don’t like being told how I should feel either way.
On to the boobs! Be gentle with the skin on your breasts. You really don’t want to scrub the girls too much because they will become red and blotchy which is NOT what we want. The skin on your neck and chest is almost as delicate as your face. BEHAVE!
DO NOT USE THIS ON YOUR FACE. It’s too rough! I’m not kidding. You’ve been warned. If you get coffee grounds in your eyes you will be unhappy.
JUST DON’T DO IT!
You will need to rinse the coffee off very carefully. Those little grounds get EVERYWHERE! Once you have them all running down the plug hole you need to use your body wash and wash properly or you will smell like coffee for the rest of the day. Coffee grounds have oil in them which you need to wash off. Unless you are happy for the caffeine to keep doing its thing and if nobody else is going to have to smell you. It may also make brown streaks on your towels if you don’t wash it off properly.
After your coffee body scrubs your skin will be baby smooth. You can now use some coconut oil to moisturise your body. Add a drop of rose essential oil for a lovely scent.
Step 7: Foot Soak
Your feet work hard for you. They carry you everywhere, they put up with your not-so-sensible shoes. They need a bit of love and pampering.
After you have coffee scrubbed them with the rest of your body:
- 3 drops of tea tree oil
- A handful of shredded mint leaves
- 10 slices of cucumber and
- 1 slice of lemon
- Sprigs of rosemary
- A few mint leaves
to a plastic or glass basin of hot water. Allow to cool until you can comfortably put your feet in it. It shouldn’t burn! You want it hot at the start to help the mint, lemon and cucumber to release their oils but you want it to soothe the feet, not boil them.
You don’t have to rinse your feet afterwards. Dry them properly, especially between the toes. Apply some olive oil to them and wear warm fluffy socks.
Adding a cup of powdered milk and a tablespoon of honey to your bath will further soften and feed your skin. Both these ingredients have moisturising properties. Add a few drops of geranium or ylang-ylang essential oil to your bath.
If you need a detox or have sore muscles you can try an Epsom salt bath.
Epsom salt baths draw toxins from your body and relax tired muscles. Here are some of the benefits of Epsom Salts.
Simply add two handfuls / one cup of Epsom Salts to running bath water. The bath needs to be quite warm but not so hot that it saps your energy. You can also add rose or lavender essential oils to help you to relax.
I stay in the bath for at least 30 minutes or until my husband comes to check if I’m still awake…
When you get out, gently dry yourself.
While you are still slightly damp use coconut oil to moisturise your whole body. Work from your feet upwards towards your heart. Massage the oil into your skin paying special attention to heels, knees, elbows and areas with cellulite. Be gentle with any stretch marks.
Step10: Rest and hydrate
Keep drinking water throughout your spa day but especially after your bath. Wrap up warm, put on some socks and relax. Your body will be flushing out toxins at this point so you want to stay hydrated to help that happen.
And THAT is how you have an all natural home spa day! Pampered body, happy credit card…