In these cash-strapped times, there is no need to ditch the pampering altogether. Furthermore, you don’t need to leave the house to extend yourself some love and kindness; there are many wonderful products on the market specifically formulated to re-create the Spa experience at home.
First, prepare your environment by lighting a delicately scented spa candle such as Pearl Lowe’s White Flowers candle for DP London (£30 for three) from www.dplondon.com or spritzing the room with Amala Lavender Room & Linen Mist £21 www.beingcontent.com. Put on a relaxing cd, have plenty of clean fluffy towels to hand, and begin the experience with a detoxifying herbal tea such as the organic aniseed, fennel & cardamom variety from Pukka Teas to cleanse & revive. www.pukkaherbs.com/Tea
With all the heat styling we put our hair through, it’s important not to forget your tresses. Brush your hair with a natural bristle brush (these cause far less breakage than other brushes) and then steep Moroccan Oil £13.50 from root to ends before wrapping in a warm towel. If left on for the duration of your home spa day, your hair will feel soft and nourished as never before. www.moroccanoil.com/
The benefits of cucumber slices on the eyes are well documented for reducing puffiness and toning the delicate skin, but not many know that the humble potato can perform even better for some people. Prepare a couple of thin slices, then, take a warm face cloth such as Pai’s Organic Muslin Cloth www.beingcontent.com and spray with your favorite aromatherapy oil (Lavender, Rose and Vanilla are wonderful relaxing scents). Rest the slices of cucumber or potato over your eyes, and place the cloth over your face for 10 minutes as you lie peacefully in a comfortable place. Breathe deeply, imagining well-being flooding your body as you inhale, and stress evaporating as you exhale. This is also a wonderful way of easing into sleep at night.
A home facial is an enjoyable way to pamper yourself. For a deep cleanse, the new Clarisonic Mia Sonic Skin Cleansing System www.clarisonic.co.uk takes all the effort out of cleansing. The sonic frequency of more than 300 movements per second removes 6X more makeup and 2X more dirt and oil than cleansing with your hands alone, improves skin tone, reduces the appearance of pore size and helps skin care products work their best.
One can even perform a home microdermabrasion with Nubo Diamond Peel & Reveal (£65). www.nubobeauty.com This cream exfoliator contains micronized diamonds to stimulate skin cell turnover and restore the skin’s natural luminosity. Start by soaking some organic cotton pads in rose water and gently sweep over face and neck. Then pump a dime-sized amount of the Nubo cream into your palms and use small circular motions to massage into your face from the jawline upwards, being careful to avoid the delicate eye area. Gently remove with a warm soft cloth.
Follow up with a rich moistursing cream such as Living Nature’s Rich Day Cream £23.49. Formulated with Totara, a native New Zealand plant extract which is renowned for its anti-ageing qualities and ability to mop up free radicals and Manuka honey to hold moisture in the skin and plump up fine lines and wrinkles along with Shea Butter to restore moisture. www.livingnature.com
However, if pennies are very tight, there are also many remedies one can quickly whip up at home. Try an effective, soothing and hydrating facial mask by blending a little natural yogurt, honey, aloe vera gel and avocado. Combined, this is packed with vitamins and natural oils full of vitamins A, C, E, iron, potassium, niacin, pantothenic acid and natural emollients. Use a facial brush to smooth onto your face and leave for 30 minutes. Your skin will thank you for it.
For a real luxury spa-at-home experience, you can’t beat a massage by a highly trained therapist from one of the many mobile massage companies such as ReturnToGlory.com. If you want to be really savvy, keep your eyes peeled for heavily discounted home massage offers at sites such as Wahanda. www.wahanda.com
Preparing your body for winter requires exfoliation. Ila spa, one of my favourite organic brands, has some wonderful home spa products formulated especially for winter. Their Body Scrub for a Blissful Experience does exactly what it says on the tin. Rub a small amount into your heart chakra in the shower or bath, and feel your energy shifting to a more positive place. Containing Himalyan salt crystals, the finest Damascena rose otto, jasmine and organic rosehip oil, these ethically made products are worth their weight in gold when it comes to the feel good factor. Available from www.ila-spa.com/shop for £42.89.
Alternatively, you can slough away dead skin cells and promote new cell turnover with your own home made body scrub for use in the shower using: 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup raw oatmeal, 1 cup olive oil and rub vigorously in upward circular motions over the entire body to boost it’s lymphatic drainage. Follow up with a good body cream such as Jergens Naturals Ultra Hydrating Lotion, which is made with 96% natural ingredients and at £4.99 for 200ml won’t break the bank. www.jergens.co.uk
If de-fuzzing is usually part of your spa routine, Parissa has a wide range of natural hair removal products for use at home, formulated from locally sourced food grade ingredients which are so natural you could practically eat them. The PETA approved ingredients are also biodegradable and pollutant free. The Parissa strip-free hot wax is £8.99 from Boots. parissa.com
Many of us struggle to find the time to get to a salon for a pedicure, but this is possibly one of the easiest ways to pamper ourselves at home. Start by soaking your feet in a large bowl of warm water containing a few drops of tea tree oil. The anti-septic, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties of this wonder oil help to keep athlete\s foot at bay. Or if you’re feeling flush, you could use Botanicals Lemongrass foot Scrub £13.25 with Himalayan crystals to scrub your hard skin away and soften your cuticles. www.botanicals.co.uk
Trim your toe nails straight across with good quality sharp clippers such as Tweezerman’s Deluxe Toenail Clipper, then file into shape with a diamond file, more expensive than the usual emery boards, but these files are less abrasive, extremely durable, and can be washed in warm water to restore the surface. www.tweezerman.co.uk
When choosing your nail polish colour, it is now much easier to find formaldehyde, DPB and toluene-free formula’s, which is a welcome relief for people concerned about the toxicity of these chemicals. NARS, Chanel and OPI’s new collection are all free from the “Big 3”. Always remember to moisturize your feet after you paint your nails (wait for them to dry completely first of course). If you moisturize before painting, the oil in the cream will prevent the polish from bonding to the nail surface quite as well. Moom Aromatherapy Foot Spa Cream £8.99 www.moom-uk.com contains Tea Tree Oil, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Camphor and Vitamin A which helps to maintain healthy tissue to provide a barrier against infection.
When your home spa day is over, you can continue the good work by massaging in a Rosehip Facial Oil www.lovelula.com such as Trilogy’s 100% organic oil underneath your regular moisturizer daily. Rosehip Oil is a powerhouse of nutrients and essential fatty acids that play a vital role in the regeneration process of our skin cells and the repair of damaged tissues. It is an ultra-fine oil that absorbs instantly allowing the skin to breathe as it works, helping reduce the appearance of scars, fine lines and pigmentation and restoring the skin’s moisture balance. You can either apply with your fingertips, or use a traditional Japanese Jade facial roller (£25) www.yuroll.com/ to tone the facial muscles and stimulate circulation. Jade is known as a cleansing stone, aiding the body’s filtration and elimination organs to expel toxins.
If funds are tight, break open a capsule of vitamin E oil and smooth onto skin before moisturising. The antioxidant properties of vitamin E oil are renowned and will boost the efficacy of your moisturizer.
Finally, as you survey your buffed, polished, pampered and preened self, complete the experience with a home made cleansing cocktail of spring water, freshly squeezed lemon, mint, a little grated ginger, some crushed grapes and a splash of agave syrup. Sit, rest and enjoy.