Over the course of the last week, chances are you’ve already soaked in the bath until your fingers have pruned and experimented with every face mask in your arsenal. But have you had the real spa experience? Doubtful. In our ever-busy lives, efficiency rules and we rarely have time to indulge in a true day of self-care. Now, in the midst of increasing panic and as an uncertain new reality begins to set in, one of the best things you can do is pause, zone out and deliberately decompress. Let the at-home spa be your vessel. These tips prove that a spa is where the home is, if you want it to be, and serenity is a state of mind.
Set the mood.
It doesn’t take much to transform your bathroom into your own private sanctuary. If you haven’t yet embraced a bubble bath because you’re a diehard shower person, now is your opportunity to change it up. Not only is being immersed in water unarguably relaxing, it’s been proven that warm water over your chest and lung area can improve your oxygen intake and help clear your sinuses. Pour a few generous drops of essential oil or some good old-fashioned Epsom salt under the running water.
While you let the tub fill, light a candle, or ten. Actually, light every candle you can get your hands on, then put on some relaxing music. Instead of opting for your typical chill-out go-tos, select something from the Spa & Massage genre on Spotify. Add some cucumber slices or a few squeezes of lemon to a tall glass of cool water (not cold, as room-temperature water lets your body rehydrate faster). Next up, the other accoutrements to elevate your experience.
Think DIY, not buy, buy, buy.
Then again, if online shopping is your therapy of choice, then by all means, go for it...The point is if you’re not already equipped with high-tech skincare gadgets and deluxe face rollers, it doesn’t mean you can’t reap all the same benefits. When the bathroom is your sanctuary, the kitchen is your innovation station. Get in there and get a little creative with your pantry: Mix brown sugar with olive oil for an instant body scrub.
The night before your spa day, pour the potent liquid of your choice into an ice tray — green tea for an antioxidant boost, rosehip seed tea for vitamin C, pineapple juice to brighten, whole milk to increase lactic acid, chamomile tea to calm an unwanted flush or coffee to reduce swelling — and then when they’re frozen cubes, wrap each in a paper towel or thin cotton cloth and run them over your cleansed skin until melted.
Or simply put a spoon in the freezer until it’s ice-cold and then use it as a roller, pressing the back into your face and massaging in upward motions to stimulate circulation. At the risk of sounding redundant, be sure to make sure anything and everything you place near your face is sterilized first!
While sticking your face in a big bowl of ice water sprinkled with cucumber slices, a la Kate Moss (she heralded it as her post-hangover beauty secret, saying, “Those old-school tricks work! It definitely works because all the blood comes to the surface”) is a great way to perk up your senses and skin alike, you might be feeling something more subdued right about now.
Opt for a facial steam: Heat some water in a pot over the stove and as it’s rising to a boil, add any or all of the following: tea tree oil (good for treating acne), rose oil (if your skin is dry) or lavender oil (to combat oily skin); lemon slices for a bit of fragrant citrus; or dried flower petals, mainly for aesthetic effect. Let it cool off, steeping for several minutes, then pour your concoction into a bowl. Lean over it with a towel draped over your head, making a little cocoon so the steam has nowhere to go. Remain there for five or so minutes, until the steam diminishes, breathing deeply and taking it all in.
Mask outside the box.
Unless you’ve maxed out on face masks — be sure you’re choosing ones that are soothing, not stripping — there’s no need to stop today. There’s a plethora of great masks out there designed for regular use, from Renee Rouleau’s Triple Berry Smoothing Peel to Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask, But if you’re looking for some genuinely all-natural options and want a mildly entertaining activity while you mimic your own spa, here are a few recipes you can make yourself, given you’re fully stocked up on groceries at the moment.
And don’t forget, once you’ve soaked, ice-cubed, steamed and masked (not necessarily in that order), apply your trusted Resurfacing Compound, followed by moisturizer, to ultimately treat and regulate your skin. Because while all these homemade creations make for a healthy distraction, we created U Beauty so you don’t need to indulge in all the extras.
A mask to quench, hydrate and nourish:
-1 tablespoon of honey
-1 handful of oats
Mix it all together, apply and leave on for about 10-15 minutes for moisturized, silky skin.
Tip: If you don’t have any avocado, you can replace it with 3 tablespoons of milk for a different effect that’s equally beneficial.
A mask to...even and smooth skin tone:
-1 tablespoon of plain natural yogurt
-1 tablespoon of honey
-1 tablespoon of tumeric powder
The combination will boost lactic-acid levels, increase buoyancy and make your skin extra-even and glowy (tumeric is helpful for fighting hyperpigmentation).
A mask to...shrink your pores:
-1 egg white
-1 tablespoon of honey
-A healthy squeeze of lemon juice
Stir all the ingredients together until they’re a seamless blend, for a mask that acts like a pore-refining toner.
A mask to...soak up oil and balance:
-1 tablespoon of brown rice flour
-1 tablespoon of apple juice
Mash up the avocado, sprinkle in the rice flour and mix until it turns into a paste, then stir in the apple juice. Wear it until dry and rinse with warm water.