As a therapist, gym bunny and avid health fan, I love nothing more than spending a few hours with my husband doing the spa experience thing, or treating myself to the occasional treatment, but can you get the organic home spa experience using store cupboard items and products you have at home?
It’s not everyone’s idea of a relaxing break to sit in your bikini, doing nothing and just ‘being’. My husband finds this very difficult as he likes to be active. It can also be time consuming and expensive, especially if you need to find willing babysitters, dog sitters and so on. So, can you have a relaxing night in at home, and still feel relaxed and pampered without breaking the bank?
I decided to experiment this week, so as my husband was working away for a couple of nights, I invited a friend over for a girlie night in and a promise of pampering. There are tons of homemade remedies available if you search on Google or Pinterest, but many are too complicated, don’t use easy to find ingredients or just don’t carry any health benefits. So, I found some ideas that were organic, healthy and easy to make.
As a holistic therapist, I used the Neal’s Yard products from my treatment room in the mix, but you can substitute for whatever products you have in your bathroom, gift sets bought for birthdays or Christmas, or find other recipes to make your own versions.
Being a Reflexologist, I thought we’d start with a foot ritual – Keep it simple, Foot bath, foot scrub and balm were all that was needed.
After changing into our onesies, and choosing a romantic comedy to cheer us up; How to be Single (just for the comedic value, of course!)and we prepared our foot baths.
You can use any bowl big enough to fit your feet in or a foot bath if you own one. One of us tried the infra-red foot bath, whilst the other had a bowl with hot stones at the bottom.
2 drops peppermint essential oil
2 drops lemon essential oil
1 tbsp mineral salts
1 tbsp spoon honey
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar.
You will also need a towel to dry your feet afterwards.
Honey retains moisture and is also great for swollen feet. Peppermint is cooling and refreshing, whilst lemon is invigorating and a natural deodoriser.
The mineral salts are rich in magnesium and other trace minerals which are often difficult to obtain from the foods we eat, so this is a great way to absorb them. They also help to avoid hydration, balancing the bodies fluid and electrolytes.
The cider vinegar is mildly acidic and will remove dead skin cells as well as refresh your feet. It can also sooth sore feet, prevent foot odour, treat athlete’s foot and much more, making this foot soak a great health boost as well as a relaxing treat for your feet.
How to make
Fill a bowl or foot bath with warm water, add pebbles as an optional treat for exfoliating, then add the ingredients and mix until dissolved. Soak your feet immediately for around 10 – 15 minutes.
Our next step was to scrub off the dead skin cells, and remove the hard skin fro our feet. This recipe is the simplest out there, using just two ingredients.
The sugar makes this a non-toxic and environmentally friendly exfoliate that’s delicate enough to use on any part of the body, including the face, so you could use any leftover scrub on your face before applying the face mask.
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp of body butter
How to make
Mix a tablespoon of brown sugar with a tablespoon of body butter or any moisturiser you have lying around. I used the Bee Lovely Body Butter from Neal’s Yard which has beautiful uplifting organic orange essential oils. Orange is also very calming, toning, revitalising and can brighten skin, so you can always add a couple of drops of essential oil to your foot scrub.
Massage into your feet using your hands or mitts (we used Tesco’s Bath essentials exfoliating gloves which are just £1). Rinse in warm water.
Finally, to finish our feet, we used the Wild Rose Beauty balm from Neal’s yard, a multi-tasking product which can be used as a cleanser, gentle exfoliant or deeply nourishing balm for dry and dehydrated skin, but you could use whatever moisturiser or foot balm you have in the bathroom.
Our next stage was to try an organic face mask. As we head into Autumn and turn on the central heating, car heaters and blustery weather conditions, our skin tends to get a little dry, so I chose a face mask recipe that would nourish dry skin.
Avocado and honey face mask for dry skin
½ ripe avocado
2 tbsp honey
½ tsp coconut oil
There are many important health benefits that an avocado face mask can provide, including moisturising the skin, healing acne and inflammation, reducing the appearance of wrinkles, exfoliating the skin and decreasing oil on the face.
Honey is naturally antibacterial, so it's great for acne treatment and prevention. Full of antioxidants, it is great for slowing down aging. It is extremely moisturizing and soothing, so it helps create a glow, and honey is clarifying because it opens up pores making them easy to unclog.
Coconut oil is an excellent skin moisturiser, an ideal deep cleanser, has antibacterial properties, can reduce facial wrinkles, as is as natural as you can get.
How to make
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl using a fork or whisk to smooth out the avocado. Apply to the face, avoiding the eye area. You can add a little cucumber or a cold tea bag (store in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes before applying to the eye area), which are great for reducing puffy eyes and dark circles. We left this stage out as it wouldn’t have been very helpful to watch our film! Leave for 10-15 minutes and rinse with warm water.
We then added a moisturiser to complete the ritual, using the Frankincense hydrating cream which uses the power of frankincense and myrrh to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. You can use your normal night cream, or day cream if you only use one moisturiser.
Just for the fun of it, we applied a bit of hand cream and watched the end of the film with a glass of water to finish off our girlie pamper night.
So, what were our thoughts on the home spa options?
Well, we certainly had a giggle, (especially with a green gooey face mask to apply without getting it all over the floor!) and smelt lovely at the end.
It was not as relaxing making the products before using them as just buying them ready made, but the face mask tasted as good as it smelt, and my skin felt great afterwards. The dry patch around my nose had disappeared, and my skin still felt great the next morning too.
Plus, without any additives and preservatives, we knew what we were putting on our bodies was healthy, not going to overload our bodies with nasty toxins, and most importantly, not cause any breakouts, flare ups or other adverse skin reactions.
Benefits of making your own Spa / Beauty products
The reason to start using organic varies from person to person; some like a green lifestyle, some want to protect the environment, and some just want to use eco-friendly, ethical and sustainable products. Whatever your reason, the health benefits are just as compelling.
The build-up of chemicals in our bodies can be cause for major health concerns starting with allergies, dryness, irritation, and getting as dangerous as liver failure. It’s easy to forget how many products we use on or skin everyday – shower gel, moisturiser, cleaner, toner, mascara, foundation, lipstick, hand cream – and the skin absorbs about 60% of the product, meaning chemicals, preservatives, and other hazardous materials are absorbed into the body much more easily than we think.
They are also far cheaper than chemical counterparts. For me, the only ingredient I bought especially for the night was an avocado. Ignoring the Neal’s Yard organic products, the rest of the ingredients are readily available and don’t cost the earth.
It was lots of fun to experiment and make your own recipes, you can spend hours of fun tweaking recipes to suit your skin type, or using what ingredients you have to hand. You’ll be amazed at how ingredients like milk, olive oil, coconut oil and green tea can also be effective natural beauty products.
You can add your favourite essential oils too, so all your products smell the same and they don’t smell artificial like the chemical versions do. Smell has a very therapeutic effect on the body, and can keep your spirits uplifted all day long.
So, if you are thinking about better skin care, and a little pampering of your own, try it for yourself.
“Invest in your skin. It is going to represent you for a very long time.” – Linden Tyler
View the Neal's Yard Organic Products here: