August 9, 2014

At-Home Spa Day

We all love the relaxation that results from a visit to the spa, but the bill that comes along with it is often too high for most of us. You can create the full spa experience in the comfort of your own home, and the best part is you can completely personalize it and don't have to deal with the anxiety of being seen naked in the changing room or rubbed down by a complete stranger. I wanted to give you all some of my favorite tips and tricks for a relaxing evening at home.

photo credit: Dennis Wong via photopin cc

Candles, Incense or Wax Warmers

Use items such as candles, incense or wax warmers to fill the area with your favorite scent. A pleasant smell is a great place to start when you begin your at home spa session, as the scent will linger throughout the rest of your relaxation process.

Brew Herbal Tea or Make Fruit-Infused Water

If you've had the pleasure of visiting a professional spa, you'll know that you are always offered some sort of beverage like tea or lemon water. This is because these drinks are detoxifying and fun to sip. Heat up your kettle and pour the warm water over a tea bag or sliced fruit and get hydrated. 

Cut Up Fruit or Throw Together a Fresh Salad

This depends on personal preference, but you can enjoy a plate of fresh fruit or a salad with your drink. You could, of course, go for something sweet instead like a cupcake or a few cookies, but most spas promote overall well-being and therefore serve something light and healthy instead. 

Dim the Lights

One thing that affects our circadian rhythm is the amount of daylight we are exposed to. If you are in a room filled with bright lights, you'll naturally feel more awake, and it can be difficult to relax when you're surrounded by harsh lighting. If you don't have a dimmer in your home, use a lamp or some candles to create a similar low-light effect. 

Relaxing Sounds

If you are able to make your environment completely silent during your spa evening, you're lucky! Many of us have the noises from our families, neighbors. or even passing cars invading our homes, and these noises can really hinder your ability to relax. Tune it out with white noise or classical music (or any of your favorite relaxing songs). Sounds such as rain, classical music or slow songs are great for masking less-pleasant noise. You could play a classical station on Pandora or even use one of the hour-long spa music recordings on YouTube while you are treating yourself. 

Deep Conditioning Hair Treatments

One of the most popular at-home spa treatments is a deep conditioning hair mask. Store-bought deep repair masks usually work very well, but you can deep condition your hair with ingredients from your own kitchen. One way to deep condition is to cover your hair with moisturizing items such as olive oil, coconut oil, mashed avocados or bananas, or mayonnaise, cover with plastic wrap or a towel (or just use a clip), leave it in for 20-30 minutes and then rinse. Your hair will look more moisturized, smooth and shiny once it is dry and styled. 

Exfoliate 

You probably already know that exfoliation is an important part of good skin, but it is also beneficial to thoroughly exfoliate your legs, arms, back, feet and even your lips. Coffee scrubs are becoming more popular because the caffeine is said to help reduce cellulite. You can also create body scrubs using sugar, salt and ground rice. Simply mix your course exfoliant (the coffee grounds, sugar, salt or ground rice) with an oil such as olive or coconut oil and put it into a cute container so that you can keep it in the shower and use it again next time you shower. I also like to add at least one aromatic ingredient such as cocoa powder or pumpkin puree so that the scrub has a nice scent. 

DIY Facials

You can purchase great single-use facials from stores such as Sephora, Target, Ulta and even the Dollar Tree, but you can just as well create your own from the items in your home. Find a facial recipe tailored to your skin type (oily, combination, sensitive or dry), and follow the instructions for how to use it. You can find instructions for tons of face masks on YouTube, Pinterest or in beauty books and magazines.

De-Puff Your Eyes

About 8 out of 10 women suffer from puffy eyes or dark circles, so a DIY eye mask could be beneficial to a lot of us. Some ways to pamper the area under your eyes is to place chilled green or black tea bags over the eyes, use sliced cucumbers or potatoes, or saturate a thick paper towel or tissue with warm whole milk and use them to cover the eye area.

Moisturize with Oils and Body Butter

Your hair isn't the only thing that might need some extra moisturization. Take a few minutes after your shower or bath to really massage a thick body butter or oil (coconut or olive oils work great for this) into your skin and let your skin absorb them. This is great for the skin and prevent aging and dryness.

Give Yourself A Mani/Pedi

Manicures and pedicures are so expensive! To get the same effect at home, soak your hands and feet in warm water for several minutes and then scrub them with a thick, moisturizing scrub. Then use some cuticle oil and hand or foot cream and make sure to get all the dirt out from under your nail beds. Apply a strengthening or nourishing base coat and allow it to dry. Paint on two or three coats of polish (depending on how opaque the polish is), allowing the coats to dry in between.Then finish off with a shiny or matte topcoat. Remove any mishaps with a cotton swab soaked in polish remover, and then give your nails time to dry without accidentally rubbing them against another surface. One way to speed up the drying process is to dip them into ice cold water several minutes after you finish painting them. 

Turn On Your Humidifier

Spas often are kept quite humid to allow your skin to breathe and release toxins. Humidifiers infuse moisture into the air to relieve dry skin, and are rumored to help plump your skin to prevent wrinkles. 

Pop Your Towels and Blankets in the Dryer

Before you get out of the bath or shower, pop your towel and blanket into the dryer and run it for about 10 minutes. Wrapping yourself in a warm towel feels great and opens up the pores on your skin before you start moisturizing. Then grab the warm blanket when you've finished all of your spa treatments and wrap your self up before you do whatever you plan to do next.

Grab a Book, Magazine or Movie

Following your spa treatments, keep the relaxation going by curling up in bed with a book or magazine or popping in a movie. Try to turn off your laptop and cellphone and these can cause stress and distract from your relaxation efforts. 

Thanks for reading! Let me know in the comments if you have any favorite DIY spa treatments or if you have any tips for a relaxing evening at home.





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