Oh the irony: At stressful times like these, when you could really use a relaxing spa treatment, the spa is exactly where you shouldn’t be. The good news is that turning your own home into a temple of tranquility is as easy as raiding your kitchen cabinet and running a bath…
Prep Your Space
When creating a home spa – even on the fly – it’s important to pay attention to detail, creating a serene and sumptuous atmosphere with what you have on hand. So the first step is to gather your supplies, including beauty products and calming decorative items like candles. “Understated luxury” is the effect you’re going for, so pay attention to visual appeal.
Prepare any homemade scrubs, facial masks or bath bombs in glass jars, bottles or bowls, rather than plastic containers. Arrange your prettiest bottles, candles and other supplies neatly on trays, and get everything you don’t need out of sight. Don’t forget some potted plants – they don’t just look nice, but will also help you de-stress.
A couple hours in advance, prepare some infused water using fresh ingredients like herbs, lemons or cucumbers – it will instantly make you feel pampered (and years younger).
Gather the fluffiest towels you own, as well as your favourite bathrobe, for the essential plush feel.
Create a playlist with your favourite relaxing tunes, and skip the New Age tracks if they aren’t your jam. They might be associated with spas, but not with your spa, if pan flutes give you the jitters.
Lastly, but obviously: Make sure your bathroom is squeaky clean and decluttered. It’s hard to be zen with dirty laundry strewn on the floor.
Spa Mode: ON
Spa time = me time, so turn off the phone and ban all devices except the one you’re using for music. Lock the door if there’s any risk that (tiny) housemates may barge in. Turn on the tunes, light the candles and hang your robe over the heater. Pour yourself a glass of infused water (wine is fine, too!).
While you let the bathtub fill up with warm water, fill the sink with hot water. Add a few drops of scented oil if you like, and steam your face a few minutes to open up the pores. Alternatively, steam with warm hand towels prepared in a slow cooker or rice steamer with a few drops of essential oil.
Wet your face with warm water and, using a gentle facial scrub, lightly massage your face with your fingertips in circular movements. Rinse off the scrub, then apply a face mask and slip into the tub while you let it set. After you’ve had a long soak with your favourite bath oils or salts, scrub the entire body and don’t skip the feet.
Your spa time can include a host of other treatments: an under-eye gel, a hair mask, a foot soak or a manicure/pedicure, as long as you’re having fun and feel relaxed. Take in the sounds, smells and flickering lights of the candles. Breathe deeply. You’ll notice it doesn’t take much to go from stressed-out to blissed-out.
Tips From The Experts
Some of the world’s best spa therapists have a secret: many of their absolutely favourite ingredients are already stocked in your kitchen cupboard. To up the pampering power of your home spa experience, try some of their DIY beauty and wellness formulas.
Formulate, Exfoliate, Luxuriate
Pansy Chong, General Manager, Esen Group
“Without fail, no matter how busy my schedules are, twice a week I exfoliate my body and face with a concoction of grape seed and sweet almond oil, unprocessed brown sugar, coarse salts and egg white. It’s my grandmother’s secret recipe to nourish and energise skin and tone up the body’s muscles. And nothing detoxifies and aids blood circulation like a 15-minute foot soak in hot water with a tablespoon of coarse salt.”
The Perfect Pre-Shave Prep
Sara Corwin, Founder Heart’s Friend Mobile Spa in Los Angeles, California
“This lavender and lemon pre-shave scrub delivers the closest shave of your life: Mix a cup of coarse raw sugar (a great dead skin remover) with 3 tablespoons of raw honey, whose enzymes and antibacterial properties soften skin. Add 25 drops of lavender essential oil to heal razor bumps, and 15 drops of lemon essential oil to brighten skin tone. Blend with ¼ cup of raw coconut oil, the zest of 1 lemon and lavender flowers and use on areas to be shaved.”
Put The Lime With The Coconut
Pebbles Alburo, Spa Manager, Coya Spa in Dubai
“Freshly squeezed lime juice has a fresh scent that totally revitalises your mood, has a brightening effect on dark areas like elbows and knees, and is a natural exfoliant. Apply to your face and leave it on for 10 minutes. Rinse afterwards, then moisturise with freshly squeezed coconut milk from an old coconut. The milk delivers intense moisture; it’s like food for the skin and hair – and can be used for the bath instead of bubble bath.”
New Ways With Rice
Sae Tsuji, Cofounder ESO Mobile Spa in NSW, Australia
“Sake (rice wine) brewers have the most beautiful hands! Their hands are covered and soaked in nutrient-rich rice water during the malting process, which has soothing and hydrating properties. Use rice powder as a body scrub by mixing with sugar, honey and coconut oil. Or mix 2 tablespoons with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch powder as a translucent face powder. You can even use the rice water made after cooking rice for your meal as a brightening toner.”
Sweet Use For Sour Cream
Becky Mueller, Spa Aesthetician at The Edgewater, Wisconsin
“Apply sour cream to severe sunburns – it contains a high concentration of lactic acid that softens, heals and soothes the skin. Apply it like a paste 2-3 times a day to eliminate the burn. Fellow aesthetician Sarah Sandsnes also uses baking soda as a gentle exfoliant. This deceptively brilliant ingredient increases alkaline levels and reduces mineral-depleting acidity levels in your skin. To enhance the effects, add oat flour to the baking soda for an even deeper cleanse.”
A Smoothie For Your Skin
Paula Glancy, Remedial Massage Therapist in NSW, Australia
“Naturally growing ingredients are packed full of youth-boosting antioxidants, vitamins and acids that can be used right away. For a great mask, mash 10 blueberries (packed with vitamins C and E) into 1 tablespoon of plain yogurt. The lactic acid helps exfoliate the UV-damaged layers of the epidermis. Chia seeds, honey and a ½ cup of chopped raw green apple makes a scrub packed with apple’s polyphenols and flavonoids to soothe and plump skin.”
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