Sunday, December 30, 2007

A girl's gotta spa

I savor a "spa day" any time of the year, but after Christmas I'm particularly in the mood to refresh and renew. Maybe its the coming new year that makes me look forward to all things fresh and new. Only I don't have much cash left after Christmas to book a manicure or day spa, so I go the at-home-spa route and I focus on health as much as beauty. If you're longing for a little beauty-time-pampering, maybe you'll get inspired by my basic protocol. Several of my favorite, relatively inexpensive home-spa essentials are hyperlinked below in case you are interested.

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.

If my hair were dry or damaged, I'd put an intensive conditioner on it while I'm in the bath and wrap my hair with plastic saran wrap and then a towel. I'd use something like Biolage's conditioning balm, but I haven't needed that. After a relaxing soak, I slather on the moisture! My drug store lotion of choice is Curel. Curel recently changed their bottle style and I found 5 of their old bottles on clearance for about $2 each - oh happy day! I buy it on sale because otherwise its like $7 a bottle. I also like Neutrogena's Light Sesame Body Oil , but it will leave skin somewhat greasier than the Curel lotion and it has a definite nutty-sweet scent. Personally, I enjoy its light scent, which lingers for hours on my skin. This bottle of oil will last a long time. With my bath complete, my skin soft, and my favorite robe on, I head to the kitchen and make a cup of decaf green tea to sip during at-home-spa-day-phase-two, which is the nails phase.

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!


  1. Your spa ideas sound wonderful and I'm definitely taking notes! I'm a spa kind of girl!

    To your list I'd add some Tension Tamer tea, which does exactly what it says and tames tension.

    I'd also ask my husband to give me a hand and foot massage. He's the absolute best at these. Granted, I've given him lots of practice over the years so he should be good at it!

    I love to have my hair brushed so I'd ask the kids to brush it. If they were reluctant, as usual, I'd resort to bribery.

    No spa day would be complete until I curled up with my favorite blankie and a Jane Austen movie- therapy for the mind.

    Thanks for the idea of a spa day, Rachel. I don't know that I've ever taken an entire day just for pampering, but you can bet I'm adding it to the calendar in 2008!

  2. Hey Rachel!
    I love spa/spa treatments, whatever I can get. I had my first trip this summer. We vacation in GA and my sister in law and I went to a wonderful spa in Savannah. I set this up several weeks before we went down and it might just have to be included every year in our vacation. We received a full body massage, facial and pedicure. The facial was the absolute best. I have a friend here that does facials, I am afraid to go to her, as I am scared the experience here might not measure up to my very first experience there. Oh well. Anyway...
    I suggest that moms do this at home spa treatment when they know the kids won't be home. I have tried to just take a nice relaxing bath, only to come out with kids screaming, fighting, or just clammering for mom.
    I recieved a nice pedicure set from Bath and Body Works for Christmas, along with a gift card. So yesterday I went to Bath and Body to redeem that gift card. I love the Wallflowers. Well, they had their True Blue spa products, buy two, get two free. Oh happy day! They have TONS of things to choose from. Firming lotion, foot products and also products for your hands, which is what I got. Night time anti aging cream (I felt I needed this, as my husband said when we were walking outside the mall, "GIRL, you've got like 10 grey hairs on the top of your head)Thanks, honey! I haven't tried this yet, but I bought a 60 second manicure scrub. It looks inviting. It has exfoilients and also some paraffin in it, to make you feel like you really are at the spa. I can't wait to try it. My hands are very ugly. Wrinkled and dry..I'm almost 31, I want to have younger skin on my hands, I hope these products work!
    Oh, I use Curel too, I love it..the anti aging is what I use..but who am I kidding..its just a lable!
    Take care..

  3. Me again..I completely forgot, and I used this last night..
    From Bath and Body Works again. True Blue Spa, its called Take your sweet time, Creamy Body Polish with Sweet Almond Oil. Last night was the first time I used it, but I did enjoy it. I am a fan of the fragrance of almond and this product smells wonderful. It does leave those grainy seeds on the bottom of your tub, but its a good opportunity to clean the bathtub too.

  4. I love these suggestions. I'm going to have to put some of these to good use.

    Keep the ideas comming!

  5. I am a spa girl too! As a matter of fact, love the stuff so much to get the discount I became a BeautiControl consultant. BC is known for at home spa products, so, I take BeautiControl's Therma Del Sol Bath Detoxifying soak & soak a wash cloth in that. (Has a real peppermint smell) Then I heat it up in the microwave so it's really warm. I put Lip Apeel on my lips (masque for the lips). On my face I put on a clay masque called Luxuries of the Sea Fango Seaweed masque. I spray my feet with the Ebb & Flow Spray (gets off all the hard stuff), cover my feet in the Rich Sea Salve, put plastic bags on my feet then a pair of my socks with the word SPA on them over the bags. (Just a nice little touch)Then I take the Nourishing Eye pads-that I've had in the fridge that have a cucumber extract in it. I put my feet up, put the cool eye pads on, cover my face with the warm washcloth that smells so good and lay back while I listen to instrumental soft worship music. After about 15-20 minutes I am a different (better) wife, mom & person! It's seriously awesome!!
    This was fun~thanks for asking! Now I can't wait to go home & spa myself!! :)

  6. Lelia - you are a definite spa girl. You take it to a whole 'nother level! Seriously!!

    Bonita - I'm going try the Tension Tamer tea. And I love Jane Austin movies. Good call.

    Alyce - you scored some good deals on BBW products. So let us know which ones turn out to be your favorites.

    Thanks for posting, you spalicious cyber-friends! :)


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