Pamper yourself!

Relax and enjoy a bit of indulgence with our top tips for creating a spa experience at home

We all need a bit of TLC from time to time to ease away the stresses of the week. A spa break is a great way to rest and unwind but can be pricey. Fortunately, with a few tips and tricks, it can be quite easy to recreate a pampering experience at home. So, kick off your shoes, run a bath and set about creating your very own spa!

Create the right atmosphere

“As with all experiences to indulge the mind and senses, ambience is key,” says Rebecca Goodyear, natural lifestyle expert and blogger (www.biteablebeauty.com). “Take time to make a relaxing environment in your own home. If you’re taking a bath, try scattering rose petals or small flowers in it, and light some scented aromatherapy candles. If you’re having a face mask, or perhaps you’re lucky enough to have someone to massage you, make your bed comfortable, cover with a deluxe towel, spray with room and linen spray, and again light those candles! You may also wish to use an essential oil burner to intensify the fragrance. A large, comfortable organic cotton towelling robe and a pair of slippers are the finishing touches and perhaps a glass of wine!”

Have a good scrub

Body brushing is a great way of stimulating the blood flow and giving you an all over tingle – every bit as effective as a body scrub at a spa! Spend a few minutes doing some body brushing while you are running your bath. “Use a soft natural bristle brush, start at your feet and sweep up the legs in long, light brisk movements,” says Charlotte Vøhtz, the founder of organic skincare company Green People, in her book Naturally Gorgeous.

“All skin brushing movements should be towards the heart, to encourage the return of blood and encourage lymphatic flow. Brush from your fingertips up to your shoulders and toward the heart. Use small strokes and gentle pressure. Avoid your face and areas of skin irritation. Pay particular attention to the cellulite-prone areas like your thighs. Brush your abdomen with a circular clock-wise motion. All in all skin brushing should take about three minutes, depending on how many strokes you give each spot. Don’t be too rough. Over brushing causes the skin to turn red and become irritated. Make sure you wash your brush every few weeks in water and let it dry before using it again.”

Make like Cleopatra!

“Bathing with essential oils is a great way to relax,” says Jennie Harding, essential oil expert and education manager with Tisserand Aromatherapy (www.tisserand.com). “Essential oils are very concentrated so it’s best not to use them neat in the bath water; they need to be diluted in a base that also soothes the skin. A simple idea is to pour 100ml of full cream dairy milk into a cup, add up to six drops of your chosen essential oils, stir together and add to the bath water. This ‘milk bath’ is a traditional way to soften the skin – Cleopatra knew it!” Jennie suggests the following combinations of essential oils:

  • Three drops of lavender and three drops of geranium for a relaxing bath blend;
  • Three drops of rosemary and three drops of frankincense for a toning bath blend;
  • Three drops of grapefruit and three drops of ylang ylang for an exotic bath blend.

“Make your own luxurious body oil by choosing a base oil such as sweet almond for dry skin, or grapeseed for normal skin,” says Jennie. “Measure 25ml into a small bottle, and choose one of the essential oil combinations above, adding the drops to the base oil and shaking together. Massage this into dry skin before bathing as a pre-treatment or, if you prefer, apply after the bath to condition the skin.”

For the finishing touch...

Round off your spa day with a pampering natural manicure. “Firstly, remove any nail polish that is currently on your nails,” says Sarah Heenan, professional beauty therapist and founder of www.lucyrose.biz. “Then soak your hands to soften the cuticles and make it easier to remove any hard skin or to push back your cuticles. Next, clip, file and buff your nails. Buffing helps ensure that there is a good, smooth surface on which to apply the nail polish base coat. For an extra indulgent affair, use a facial exfoliator to treat your hands. After rinsing thoroughly and patting dry, apply your favourite moisturiser to your hands (remember you won’t be able to do this for an hour or so afterwards!) Now’s the time to apply the nail polish base coat. Always check the instructions of your particular product, but non-toxic base coats tend to take around two to three minutes to dry. Next, apply the first layer of colour nail polish and leave for as long as the instructions say. Follow up with a second coat and finally the top coat. Try not to touch anything for an hour to ensure no smudging!”

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