It’s always nice to escape to the spa and forget about the cold winter weather. But if you overspent during the holiday season, or just want to be frugal, you can create a spa-like, pampering experience, right at home. Here are some ways to take your home beauty regimen to the next level, so when you meet your amigas they’ll think you’re fresh out of the spa.
A Soothing Bath
A warm bath with oatmeal or baking soda can help gently soothe and moisturize your skin. Be careful not to make the water too hot — it certainly does feel good to slip into a nice, hot bath for a good soak after battling the winter cold, but this turns out not to be the best thing for your skin. The hotter the water, the more it strips the skin of its natural moisture barrier, leading to rough, red patches.
If you really want to treat yourself and help your skin at the same time, you can spice up your bath by adding some lavender. Fill the tub with hot water, add two cups of Epsom salts, one cup of baking soda, and 10 drops of lavender oil. Let the water cool a bit, add a scented candle, and you’re good to go!
Clean and Exfoliate
Let’s not forget about treating your skin to a facial! But before this, or any other treatment, it’s important to make sure your skin is clean and exfoliated. Tie back long hair and wash your skin with your favorite cleanser. Be sure to remove any lingering eye makeup. You can make a homemade exfoliator by mixing two teaspoons of sugar with a teaspoon of honey. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells, helping your skin glow.
Once your skin is clean, it’s time to steam. Steaming softens any leftover dead skin cells so they can be easily sloughed away; this will cause the facial ingredients to penetrate your skin more deeply. Steaming also increases circulation and gives your skin a healthy glow.
To steam your face at home, boil water on the stove and remove the pot from the burner. Drape a large towel over your head to direct the steam to your face. Position your face about 12 inches from the pan. Then let your skin soak up the steamy moisture for five minutes. You can add herbs, or a drop or two of essential oils, to the water to upgrade your experience to spa-level. Peppermint oil is energizing and invigorating while lavender oil has a calming effect.
Fun (and Almost Free) Facials
The type of facial you choose will depend on your skin type. Dry skin will benefit from a creamy mask that moisturizes, while oily skin responds best to ingredients that have a pore-tightening effect.
Plain yogurt is a good base for dry skin masks. Add a few drops of fresh lemon juice to plain yogurt and apply the mixture to your skin. Place two cold cucumber slices over your eyes, sit back, and relax. After 10 minutes, remove the mask, and with a cotton ball, apply a dilute solution of apple cider vinegar to your face. To make the vinegar solution, use one part apple cider vinegar to two parts water.
A milk mask is another quick do-it-yourself mask for dry skin. According to legend, this was one of Cleopatra’s secrets for beautiful skin. Begin by mixing powdered milk with enough water to make a thick paste. Now apply the paste to your skin, leaving it on for 10 minutes. Get creative and add honey or another puréed fruit to the paste (fruits are rich in natural antioxidants, which help purify the skin).
You can even make a coffee mask! That’s right, regular, ol’ coffee. Instead of drinking it to boost your energy, try this facial mask to remove blackheads, and renew your appearance. Coffee reduces inflammation, tightening your skin for a youthful look. According to beautyepic.com, “a coffee scrub exfoliates your skin, helps prevent acne, reduces the appearance of fine lines and hyper-pigmentation, and softens your skin.” The best part is that you probably have all the items right at home.
Mix one teaspoon ground coffee (be sure to use finely ground beans to avoid scratching your skin), one teaspoon cocoa powder, and a bit of coconut oil (you can use milk if you don’t have oil) in a bowl until pasty (it shouldn’t be too liquid). Apply onto clean, dry skin with a spatula or brush, and leave it on for 20 minutes. With just a few drops of water, begin exfoliating your skin with soft, circular motion to get rid of blackheads. Finally, rinse the coffee mask off with water and your favorite gentle face cleanser to eliminate excess oily residue. Any remaining scrub can be stored for over a week at room temperature.
Another item you may not have considered trying is papaya. This brightening mask exfoliates and stimulates circulation in the face, resulting in a warm, rosy glow. Unripe papaya contains natural alpha-hydroxy acids and high levels of papain, an enzyme that helps dissolve dead skin cells. Yogurt adds lactic acid (another alpha-hydroxy) and gives the mask a creamy texture, and honey helps skin retain moisture. When left on, the mask should tingle slightly; if you have sensitive skin or prefer a gentler exfoliation, use ripe papaya, which has less papain.
Blend a half cup unripe diced papaya, one teaspoon plain yogurt, and one teaspoon honey in a food processor until smooth. Apply to clean skin using fingers; leave on for eight to ten minutes. Rinse off using cool water and pat dry. Finish by applying a gentle moisturizer.
Hopefully, with these tips, you can escape the frío outside, and feel like you’re having a spa session at home without breaking the bank.