Thursday, May 23, 2013

Spa Day: Recipes for a Rejuvenated You


Occasionally I go to a spa for some pampering but more and more I am making products for treatments at home.  I like to know what ingredients I am putting on my body.  One rainy afternoon when the Hubinator was out of town and I had nothing pressing to do (or I was forgetting everything I needed to do), I decided to give my self a little pampering.  This is a really nice way to treat yourself well and feel relaxed and rejuvenated without having to get out of your PJs or spend big bucks.  The only part I missed?  A massage.  Oh well, I guess you do have to leave the house for that.

Some supplies you will want to have on hand before you begin:

Therapeutic oils:
As you may have guessed my first choice is coconut oil however there are many others you can use:
  • Avocado and Apricot Kernel -deep moisture, best for very dry, itchy, or mature skin
  • Grapeseed, Jojoba, and Olive -great for most skin types
  • Almond -all skin types, especially for oily skin

Good quality herbals:
  • Lavender
  • Chamomile
  • Calendula
  • Dried Rose Petals
  • Herbal Tea bags -if you like the way it tastes you probably like the way it smells

Cupboard Items:
  • Oatmeal
  • Yogurt
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Bananas
  • Avocado
*You won't need all items.  Use the following recipes to assemble what you need, and keep them on hand for the future.

  • Bowls
  • Towels
  • Candles
  • Boiling water
Prepare your bathroom; create a serene, quiet, and comfortable atmosphere.  Clear the area around your sink, remove anything from the rim of your bathtub (you know your face wash and shampoo are sitting there), light candles, get in a bathrobe or comfy pajamas, put on your favorite tunes,  and relax!

The order I put these treatments together in maximizes the effectiveness and benefits to your skin.  I've included a few recipes for each step, choose the best ones for your skin type.  If you have sensitive skin, please be gentle with it and everyone should test unfamiliar ingredients first to make sure you do not have a reaction.

  1. Cleanse
  2. Exfoliate
  3. Steam
  4. Mask
  5. Moisturize

Begin by boiling 2-3 cups of water while you prepare your treatments.  Once the water is boiling add your herbs to infuse.  When your treatments are mixed, line them up next to your sink in the order that you will use them.

Oil cleansing is a wonderful way to remove dirt and leaves your skin balanced and smooth.  You skin really likes oil, I promise!  You can read all about the method over at Thank Your Body, I like to use coconut oil mixed with olive oil but choose any oil from my list above.

Honey is also a great cleanser, it is anti-bacterial and really gentle.  It too will balance you skin and will also brighten, minimizing some of those dark spots.  I recommend using local raw honey, but what you have on hand is fine too.  Pour about a tablespoon into your palm and rub your hands together to warm and soften it a bit.  Then smooth it onto your face, focusing on trouble spots first.  Then wet a washcloth with very warm water and hold it to your face for a few seconds, remove while wiping away the honey.  Repeat with the warm washcloth as many times as needed to remove the honey.
You want to start with a clean face, removing as much surface dirt as possible without stripping your skin of it's natural oils.
These methods will thoroughly clean your face without the use of harsh chemicals present in most commercial cleansing products.

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, mixing to make a paste.  Wet your face and gently scrub in a circular motion.  Rinse off with warm water.
Heavy -1 tsp baking soda + 1 tsp water
Light -2 tsp Coarse Sugar + 1 tsp Oil (of choice)
Lightest -2 tsp coarsely ground Oats + 2 tsp Oil (of choice)
Exfoliating removes dead skin that has built up and will leave your face soft and smooth.
*Baking soda can be harsh, do not use if you have sensitive skin.  I use this once a week, then supplement with the other two for general exfoliation.

Mix 1/3 cup of Lavender and 1/3 cup of Calendula or 4 bags of your favorite herbal tea, steep for 10 minutes in boiled water.  Take your steeped herbs in boiling water off the stove and place it in your sink.  My sink accomodates a small saucepan if yours doesn't then strain the herbs and pour in the water (to keep herbs from washing down the drain, not good).  Lean over the sink and cover your head with a towel, essentially creating a steam room.  Stay for 10 minutes or as long as you can stand.
This really opens up your pores and allows for the mask in the next step to sink in and do its job.
*You can dry and save the herbs or tea bags for one more use.  Make sure they are thoroughly dry before storing.

Mix up your mask.  Apply all over your face avoiding your eye area.  Leave for 10-15 minutes.  Wash off with warm water.  I like to use the hot water washcloth method described above.
I keep frozen cubes of yogurt for just this use.  It's also a great way to use up the last of your yogurt if it has gotten a bit too strong tasting to eat.  Pour yogurt into ice cube trays and freeze.  Keep in a plastic bag in the freezer.  When ready to use simply place a cube in a bowl and allow to defrost, usually about 1/2 hour.
Mix 1 Yogurt cube or a couple Tbsp of Yogurt with 1 tsp Honey.  Add one or many of the following:
  • 1/2 Banana, mashed -The potassium in the banana will help even your skin tone and Vitamin A and E will help with fine lines and wrinkles
  • 1/4 Avocado, mashed -The fats in the avocado are great for moisture
  • 2 tsp Whole Oats or Oat Groats -Great for sensitive or "trouble" skin, they soothe and nourish and help reduce any inflammation.
  • 2 tsp Lemon Juice -Tones and balances your skin, helps reduce dark spots.
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon and 1/4 tsp Nutmeg -helps alleviate inflammation or acne
I end the whole experience with a good slathering of coconut oil.  I don't recommend this if you need to leave the house (or if friends are due) it can be a bit greasy.  If you want a less oily appearance then use Jojoba or Almond oil.

I like to do a mini version of this every few weeks but if I have a couple hours to spend I add one more step, a bath!
After applying the mask, sink into a tub filled with warm water (hot water is drying to your skin) scented with essential oils, add some oats, or milk, or leave the water plain.  Relax and breathe deeply while you let the mask do its work.  After about 10 minutes, stand up and apply an exfoliant to your entire body, my Coco-Coffee Sugar (or Salt) Scrub is perfect here.  Do this while the tub empties.  Once you have rubbed and scrubbed, turn on the shower to rinse your face and body.  While you are still wet, smoothe a small amount of coconut oil or oil of choice all over your body THEN towel off.  If so desired, apply a body lotion......upcoming post "Homemade Body Butters"!

Now that you are relaxed and rejuvenated go, have a glass of wine, watch a movie, paint your toenails, even go to bed.  Mostly though, Enjoy!

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