How to Create a Spa Experience at Home
Need a breather but don't have the cash for a day at the spa? No problem — create your own spa using ingredients and products you probably already have on hand.
By Elizabeth Connor
Medically Reviewed by Christine Wilmsen Craig, MD
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With just a little bit of planning, it’s possible to recreate the spa experience at home. Dorie Byers, a registered nurse in Indianapolis and author ofNatural Beauty Basics(Vital Health Publishing) andHerbal Remedy Gardens(Storey Books), recommends the following essentials for the perfect at-home spa treatment.
Set the Mood With Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is the use of essential plant oils to boost your physical and psychological well-being. To get started, just take a few drops of an essential oil and mix it with a few tablespoons of a neutral oil base (see below for choices). Rub a little on dry skin.
To create a beautiful scent in a room, place a few drops of an undiluted essential oil on a cotton ball and put the cotton ball on a plate or coaster, taking care not to get any oil on the furniture.
Choose the Right Essential Oil – and Put on Some Music
Lavender is a good essential oil to try first, Byers says: “It’s so relaxing, it’s readily available, and it’s amenable to most skin types.”
Whatever you choose, invest in a natural essential oil, not a synthetic one, which doesn’t have the same soothing or stimulating effect, says Byers. An artificial oil might be labeled “fragrance oil” and be available in offbeat scents such as “summer rain” or “baby powder.” “Some of them may be okay, but they just smell like chemicals to me,” Byers adds.
Byers recommends using a neutral, light oil like almond oil as a base. Other plant oils such as jojoba and avocado will work, too. Olive oil will do, but its strong aroma may compete with your essential oil, she warns.
As for cost, she says, “A bottle of any essential oil may cost a bit more than you might think, but when you’re using an essential oil by the drop, those bottles last forever.”
Once you’ve chosen your ideal scent, it’s time to pick the right soothing music. Byers recommends giving a simple instrumental a try.
Start With a Facial
Byers isn’t a fan of opening your pores by placing your face over a bowl of steam because of the risk of it being too hot. Instead, she recommends saturating a small towel with warm water and placing the towel gently on your face.
Afterward, cleanse with a gentle soap. For all skin types, lightly ground regular oatmeal makes a soothing and gentle scrub. A simple astringent will tighten the pores; Byers recommends witch hazel or, for those with oily skin, head to your pantry for some apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, either of which complements the skin’s natural acid balance. You might want to take advantage of rosemary’s natural astringent qualities by steeping a bit of the herb in the vinegar or juice or in some warm water that you allow to cool, and applying that après-facial.
Baby Your Body
For neck-down beauty, Byers recommends these home spa treatments:
Scrub-a-dub.Mix a few drops of essential oil with your base oil and add it to your bath. Or turn again to oatmeal, Byers suggests. Place some lightly ground oatmeal in cheesecloth or in a clean sock (to preserve your plumbing), and dangle the pouch under the spigot as you draw your bath. The oatmeal pouch then makes a wonderful skin scrubber.
Foot therapy.Soak your feet in a basin of water to which you’ve added 2 to 4 tablespoons of non-iodized or sea salt and a few drops of the essential oil of your choice — rosemary and peppermint are especially deodorizing, Byers says. Afterward, use some homemade foot powder made from a few drops of peppermint added to baking powder. Not only are both ingredients odor fighters, the peppermint evaporates quickly and is cooling, Byers says.
Now, relax. If you’re not already in the mood, just consider how much time and money you’ve saved by opting for the do-it-yourself route.
Video: M&S Home: How To Create A Spa Experience
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