Winter is not my favorite time of year. I can’t stand being in the bitter cold, only to come home to a heat that seems to suck all the moisture out of my pores. Although I should probably just drink more water, I’d like to use the season as an excuse to try out some elaborate, at home, spa treatments. Here are the best DIY Spa recipes I could find; the best part is that everything is paraban free!
This invigorating ubtan (cleansing paste) scrub improves circulation and help tone slack muscles. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup oat or chickpea (garbanzo) flour, 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric, 2 tablespoons each ground mustard and crushed fresh coriander leaves, 3 tablespoons rose water, 1 cup orange juice, and 1/2 cup water; stir to blend. Work the scrub all over your face and body. Rinse with warm water.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup pure turbinado sugar
15 drops peppermint essential oil (Mentha piperita)
1/2 cup used coffee grounds from a freshly brewed pot
1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl; using a fork, thoroughly blend. Transfer the scrub to a wide mouthed jar, and store in a cool place until ready to use. The scrub will keep for one to two weeks, longer if refrigerated.
2. While showering, apply handfuls of the coffee scrub to wet skin in circular motions, starting at the feet and working up. The scrub contains oil, so it's best to do this over a rubber mat to avoid slipping. Pay particular attention to rough spots such as heels, ankles, knees, and elbows.
3. After scrubbing, cleanse skin as usual using a mild natural soap or body wash. Pat skin dry with a fluffy towel, and follow with lotion to seal in the moisture.
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1 cup raw oatmeal
• 1 cup olive oil
Mix all the ingredients together and then apply on dry skin, using your hands. You want to perform slow circles—this treatment is to be enjoyed and not rushed. (The real key is standing over a plastic bag or towel to catch the remains.) After scrubbing gently all over, step into the shower and rinse off. Your skin will be like butter.
“Take a freshly cut lemon and rub gently on rough elbows and knees. The acid in the lemon will soften rough spots on skin and also lighten any dark areas.”
Tools 1/3 cup dried lavender blossoms
1/3 cup dried calendula blossoms
4 to 5 drops geranium essential oil (Pelargonium graveolens)
How-To 1. Add dried lavender and calendula (plus any additional herbs of your choice) to a large French press or teapot. Pour 2 cups of boiling water over the herbs and steep for about 10 minutes.
2. When the herbs are finished steeping, fill a clean bathroom sink halfway with very hot water. Pull up a chair that will allow you to hang your head over the basin, about 6 to 8 inches from the water. Press or strain the herbs, then add the herbal infusion to the water. Add geranium essential oil.
3. Drape a large bath towel over your head and shoulders to create a "tent" over the sink and steam your face and neck for 3 to 5 minutes. If the water cools, add hot water as needed to produce more steam.
4. After steaming, splash your face and neck with lukewarm water and pat dry with a clean, fluffy towel.
5. All skin types, especially mature skin, will benefit from a post-steam facial massage to keep skin moist and soft. Simply apply a few drops of a light oil (such as avocado or apricot kernel) to your fingers, then gently massage your forehead, cheeks, chin, and neck using small, inward circles.
You can make a hydrating facial mask by blending a small amount of cold cream, yogurt, honey, aloe vera gel and avocado. Let the mask dry for about 15 to 20 minutes and rinse. Your skin should feel refresh and moisturized.
Homemade Juice Mask for Oily Skin
Strawberry and lemon juice contain natural astringents.
1 tsp lemon juice
2 egg whites
3 tsp honey
1 cup strawberries
Optional: 4 drops of your favorite essential oils (see list below for best oils for your skin type.)
Mash or blend the above ingredients. Smooth over face. Let it stay for 10 minutes. Rinse. Recipe works for two people, so invite a friend, or cut recipe in half for just you.
Banana Mask for Oily Skin
1 ripe banana
1 tbsp honey
Lemon or orange juice
Mix the banana and honey together. Add a few drops of orange or lemon juice. Apply to face for 15 minutes.
Homemade Mask for Acne
½ cup fresh mint
½ cup cilantro
1 tbsp powdered zinc (an anti-inflammatory)
Blend mint and cilantro in a food processor, add water to make a paste. Blend in powdered zinc.
Adjust these recipes depending on thickness and length of hair. More hair requires more conditioning treatment, and less hair requires much less. Also, prepare to get messy! These treatments can get a little bit sloppy. The bathtub is always a safe location for beauty treatments and the steam in the bathroom can increase the benefit of the masks...and you can relax in a bubble bath too!
DIY Deep Conditioning Avocado Hair Mask
• 1 medium sized avocado, mashed with a fork
• 1/2 cup mayonnaise (full fat)
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
DIY Shine Enhancing Banana Honey Hair Mask
• 1 medium sized banana, mashed with a fork
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 1 egg, beaten
• 4 tablespoons natural, unflavored yogurt
Olive oil hair mask
Whisk up 5 tablespoons of olive oil – it doesn't matter which sort – with 2 full eggs. Massage thoroughly into your hair and then cover it with plastic wrap or a shower hat. Your body heat will help the oil to penetrate. Leave for a minimum of 30 minutes and then shampoo out, rinsing well.
Honey and Olive oil mask
Mix 3 tablespoons of olive oil with 2 tablespoons of honey. Apply to your hair and wrap your head in plastic film or put on a shower hat. Leave for at least 30 minutes and then shampoo as usual, rinsing well.
Banana and almond mask for dry, damaged hair
Mash a ripe banana and add a few drops of almond oil. Mix well and massage into your hair. Leave for 15 – 30 minutes. Wash out with gentle shampoo.
Milk and honey mask
Mix a tablespoon of honey in half a cup of full fat milk. Apply to your hair and leave for 15 minutes. Wash out with a mild shampoo.
Masks to help get rid of dandruff
Soak a handful of fenugreek seeds overnight in just enough water to cover them. In the morning, grind the seeds in the water to make a paste. Apply to your hair and leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes. Wash it out using a mild shampoo.
Thyme hair rinse
Put 7 heaped tablespoons of dried thyme into 2 cups of water and boil the mixture for 10 minutes. Your kitchen will smell heavenly! Strain the mixture and leave it to cool. Lean over a bowl and pour half of the solution onto clean, damp hair. Keep scooping it out of the bowl and re-applying until all your hair is well soaked. Don't rinse or wash out. Keep the other half of the solution for another treatment!
Combine a few spoonfuls of cold cream, two drops of tea tree oil, five drops of lavender oil, a spoonful of olive oil and a banana (for a fruity smell) in a blender. When the consistency is smooth, slather liberally all over hands and cuticles. Then slip hands into a pair of yellow rubber gloves—yes, the kind you use to scrub the tub with. For the softest hands ever, I like to sit down and watch TV with my lotioned and gloved hands underneath a heating pad so that the heat will help my homemade salve penetrate my skin that much more.
As with the spoon method, temperature is key; cold milk constricts blood vessels and reduces swelling. The fat in whole milk soothes dry, irritated skin.
How to Use Pour ice-cold whole milk or cream into a small bowl; soak two cotton balls in the liquid. Then squeeze out the cotton balls slightly and put one over each eye. Once the cotton balls warm up, soak two more and repeat for up to 15 minutes.
Egg whites act as an astringent, making your skin appear tighter and smoother. They are also high in vitamin B2, or riboflavin, which is associated with improved circulation.
How to Use Beat two egg whites until stiff, and then apply to the under-eye area using a brush. Let the mixture dry for about 15 minutes; rinse well with water. Jacknin also recommends adding a drop or two of witch hazel to the beaten whites, which further reduces swelling and keeps the egg whites from drying too rapidly.
Cold feet are one of winter's most annoying -- and common -- afflictions. The answer? A rich blend of warm, wintry spices. Cayenne, cinnamon, and ginger are all circulation boosters and mild stimulants. Applied topically, they increase blood flow, relieving chill and numbness. Cayenne, in particular, has foot-warming benefits; folk wisdom suggests sprinkling the fiery pepper into socks on cold days. For a more luxurious experience, try this simple foot mask. It combines spices, skin-soothing ingredients such as oatmeal and honey, and the invigorating essence of orange.
Orange Spice Foot Mask 1/2 cup whole oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper,
4 tablespoons warm water
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
, 4 drops sweet orange essential oil
Food Mask How-To 1. Using a food processor, grind the oats to a fine powder. Transfer to a medium-size bowl, add the remaining ingredients, and stir until blended into a thick paste.
2. Prepare two warm, wet washcloths or hand towels, either by wetting them and placing them in the microwave for one to two minutes or by soaking them in hot (not boiling) water. Wring out excess water and set aside.
3. Sitting with your feet in the tub or a large basin, use your hands to spread a thick layer of the mask over each foot, covering them completely up to the ankles. After wiping hands clean, wrap each foot in one of the washcloths to seal in the moisture from the mask. Sit back and relax for 10 to 15 minutes.
4. When you're ready to remove the mask, carefully lift off the washcloths. Rinse your feet thoroughly using warm water. Pat dry with a towel.