Making time for yourself to unwind is so vital amidst the madness of our jam-packed lives. As the summer begins to wind down and the back to school and work chaos sets in, it’s an ideal time to find some low-key ways to kick back and recharge. Of course a day at the spa always sounds heavenly, but considering the high cost of professional treatments and the time they take out of the day it may not be realistic. Not all of us can afford luxury treatments and the hours to receive them. However, there is hope for us mere mortals! By carving out an hour or two for an at-home spa day, you can pamper yourself at a fraction of the price of high-end spas and enjoy some TLC and skin care at home. Think of it as a mini personal vacation, with the added benefits of no travel, low cost, and free lodging!
To get started on this special solo stay-cation, picking the right time and setting up the atmosphere is absolutely key. First, make sure you select a chunk of time where you won’t be interrupted, as that certainly throws off the mood; 9 am on a Monday morning is probably not ideal. Perhaps a late Sunday afternoon, when your work is finished for the day and the house is quiet. You may need to banish the husband/kids/dogs/for a couple of hours and stress the importance of only being contacted in case of emergency. Next, put away the computer and phone. If your electronics are there and available to you, chances are you will become distracted by their constant pull. Then set out to create a mellow, relaxing atmosphere. Half the pleasure of visiting a top spa is enjoying all the little extras – the plush towels, the soothing music, maybe a delicious cup of tea or lemon mint water (recipe below). You can recreate this same feeling inside your own home too. The right lighting, candles, music, scents and refreshments can transform your house into a welcoming retreat. Prior to embarking on your spa day, stock up on the essentials and allow yourself to indulge in some small luxuries to make your experience really count.
Once you have your spa scene all set, you are ready for the first treatment. We love to begin with a nice facial steam to open the pores, detox, invoke relaxation and prepare your skin for the next treatments. Simply fill a pot with hot, but not boiling water, and add a few drops of any sort of essential oil (lavender is always a favorite), herbs, or even a tea that you enjoy. Position yourself in a comfortable seat and place your face directly over the pot of water, with a towel draped over your head to lock in the steam. Breathe in deeply through your nose for about ten minutes and enjoy the feeling of your skin warming up and relaxing.
Next, time to exfoliate! Exfoliating after a steam is a perfect time to deeply cleanse your skin, diminish blackheads and prep for the face mask to come later on. Whip up delicious face and body scrubs to have on hand and ready to go for this step (see below for recipes) or purchase one such as our Ancient Orient Rice Enzyme Dermafoliant, which includes natural and active ingredients such as Bamboo, Panthenol, and Lactic Acid that are gentle and effective. We do recommend you exfoliate in the shower to minimize clean up, but not to worry; a bath is on the agenda for later! To make your shower more of a spa experience, run the water on hot for a few minutes before you step in, to generate a little extra steam. It not only feels great, but will further help open your pores after the facial steam and aid in more detoxification. Another way to “spa it up” is to splash a little of your favorite essential oil on the walls of the shower. The heat will enable the scent of the oil to come alive, giving you that aromatic steam shower experience from the spa. Once you have your shower temperature just right, gently exfoliate your face, before moving on to a full body exfoliation. If you are using our Ancient Orient Rice Enzyme Dermafoliant, note it is best left on for at least five minutes to allow the lactic acid to fully do its job. You can leave this on as you apply a body exfoliant, using a gentle circular motion to slough off dead skin cells before completely rinsing off. Take your time, an important part of an at home spa day is slowing down and enjoying every moment.
Now it’s time to give your hair some extra love. Using a hair mask is a fabulous way to lock in moisture and revitalize dull, dry strands. Again, you can purchase one but they are super simple to make at home, see our fave recipe below. You can also use another hair treatment of your choice, just be sure with whatever you are using to wrap your hair up tight in plastic and/or a towel so the product doesn’t drip as you step into the next phase-bath time!
Here is where atmosphere is really everything. Go all out for this soothing bath time! Dim the lights in your bathroom and light several yummy scented candles. Play mellow music to calm your mind and relax even more intently. It is wise to have some kind of hydrating beverage on the edge of your bathtub, as you are likely to sweat and detox even further during your bath. Lemon mint water is a tasty choice and very hydrating. Also, we suggest adding fragrant essential oils to your bath water for both moisturizing and aromatherapy benefits. Some tips on choosing oils: citrus scents -- lemon, lime, grapefruit, tangerine and orange -- are wonderful mood lifters, as are bergamot, rosemary, and cardamom. For a mellower atmosphere, choose soothing scents like lavender, clary sage, sandalwood, chamomile, pine, and vetiver. Allow yourself to fully soak and submerge in the bath for as long as you please, this is your time to truly unwind and let go.
When you start to come to, very gently lift yourself out of the tub and take a short rinse in the shower to wash out the hair mask. Use a clarifying shampoo if needed as sometimes hair masks can leave residue. While you’re still slightly damp, slather on a rich body butter, paying extra attention to those chronically dry areas like feet and elbows. OZ Naturals Sweet Almond and Macadamia Nut Body Butter is deeply replenishing and absorbs beautifully. Another DIY tip is to rub freshly cut lemon on your elbows and knees, as the acid will help soften any rough spots and lighten those areas. Slip into your robe and give your face a little extra pampering by applying a generous layer of a hydrating facial mask (recipe below), avoiding the eye area. While your face mask is penetrating, apply a rich foot cream or yummy coconut oil to your tootsies. To make this treatment even more indulgent, wrap your feet in plastic and then in hot towels (get two small towels wet, ring out excess water, and pop them in the microwave for one minute) then just relax for half an hour, perhaps with a nice cup of herbal tea or even a glass of champagne to complete the spa experience! For an added treat, cover your eyes with fresh slices of cucumber. Ahhhhhh.
By now you should be feeling beyond blissed out and most likely ready for a nap! Fully rinse off your face mask, remove the plastic and hot towels from your feet and apply your regular nighttime facial products. After all the luscious treatments your face has had over the last few hours, any products you use will suffuse into your skin even more thoroughly. We recommend using OZ Naturals Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid serums first, giving your skin a boost of antioxidant and ultra hydrating power. Allow the Vitamin C serum to dry fully before applying the Hyaluronic Acid serum. Next, slather on a layer of our Super Youth 2.5 Retinol Moisturizer to help your skin fight free radical damage while you snooze. Finish up with an eye product, such as the Super Youth Eye Gel, which is packed with patented Matrixyl®synnthé 6 designed to help diminish wrinkles from the inside out by stimulating collagen. With your spa day complete and your skin smiling, enjoy sliding between the sheets and drifting off into dreamland. You are sure to have one of the best slumbers to date.
Note that even if you don’t have enough time for the full spa experience you just relished, even taking a half an hour to apply a face mask and/or relax in the tub every now and then is a wonderful way to give back to yourself and unwind. When we allow ourselves a little extra love here and there, our skin, minds and hearts thank us. Plus, we have more to give to those around us when we look after ourselves. For the future, make plans to visit your at home spa regularly, because you deserve the pampering!
Lemon Mint Water (Best made the morning of your spa day to allow the mint to infuse the water)
- 6 sliced lemons
- Handful of fresh mint
- A gallon of filtered water
- Optional: sliced cucumber
Add lemons, mint and cucumbers to a large pitcher filled with the filtered water. Chill well for at least a few hours and enjoy!
Sugar Scrub Recipe (For Body)
- 1/2 cup sugar (white or brown sugar- preferably organic)
- 1/2 cup oil (olive oil and coconut oil work great)
- Optional: essential oils of your preference (Lavender is our favorite)
Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight jar. Use about 1 tablespoon or more if needed in the shower. Apply scrub to whole body in circular motions and rinse well.
DIY Scrub Recipe (For Face)
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- ½ tablespoon raw honey
- Optional: essential oils of your preference (uplifting scents such as citrus are nice here)
Combine baking soda and honey until they create a paste. Add the essential oil of your choice and mix well. Apply this scrub for face in circular motions for 3-5 minutes then rinse well.
Hair Oil Mask
- 1 avocado (ripe)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Apply to your hair from the ends to the roots, and let sit for 15-20 minutes. Rinse well.
Hydrating Facial Mask
- 1 medium ripe banana
- ¼ cup full-fat plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons honey