First, I fix a really large glass of ice water with lemon slices to sip on while I'm in the tub. Fresh lemon has great detoxing properties (thanks to God).
If I'm not using any scented bath products in the tub, I'll light a scented candle. Otherwise I just turn on some relaxing music. My all-time favorite CD for relaxing is Santorini Splendor by Solitudes. Its an uplifting, vacation-like instrumental with the gentle sounds of the ocean lapping at your door. Ahhhh!
Before filling my bath tub, I use a dry brush on dry skin to do body brushing using a natural bristle body brush. This simulates the lymph and immune system and exfoliates the skin. Supposedly it can help with cellulite also - and who doesn't want a little help with that! Begin by brushing at your feet and slowly work your way up your legs, then your hips, backside and stomach, then your hands and arms to your chest and neck. It is suggested to brush upwards in medium length strokes toward your heart and to brush softly on the areas of your body where your skin is the softest or thinnest. It is also suggested to brush more in a circular motion around the stomach and chest areas. This process doesn't take long - maybe 2-3 minutes - and its invigorating.
Next I take a hot bath with dead sea mineral salts - they're great for your skin and your immune system. (Thanks be to God for the salts too!) I really like the one pictured above by Masada. I get it when it goes on sale in my local grocery or health food store. If you don't have any Dead Sea salts like these, just use Epsom salts , they're really inexpensive and have similar muscle relaxing and detoxing properties. You can add a couple drops of eucalyptus essential oil or peppermint oil to get that refreshing, soothe-your-sinuses scent if you want. I do like my baths really hot, but it need not be hot to dissolve the salts.
The bath is a great time to apply a facial mask. You can use clay or cucumber if you want to go the natural route, or you can purchase a specialty masque to suit your skin's particular needs. But more often than not I choose to just relax bare-faced and let the steam open my pores.
In my next post I'll cover my at-home manicures and pedicures. Are your cuticles dry and jagged? Are your heels looking positively prehistoric? I've got some tips coming for you!
Meanwhile, you can get started planning an at-home spa day. You can also post for us any bath, facial or spa products you simply wouldn't want to live without. If you don't have any faves to offer, you can tell us any we should definitely avoid. For instance, when I was a teen I created a home-made hair mask of mayonnaise and oatmeal (whole oats). My shower clogged and it took about 20 minutes of washing to get all that grease out of my hair. I think I smelt like mayo for two days too!
Share your best pampering ideas with us so we can both look and feel mahvolus in 2008!