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Cancel your plans—today, spend a relaxing day in recreating the spa experience at home (this means lighting a soothing candle, using fresh ingredients from your fridge and not having to change out of your robe when it’s all done). Here are five ways to reboot and get glowing skin for spring with these expert-approved at-home spa treatments.
At-home spa treatments: Exfoliator
As the warmer weather finally hits, it’s about time to shed to layers—and this includes the buildup of dry skin accumulated over the winter months. To get rid of dryness, Carene Coulter, spa director at Body Blitz Spa in Toronto, recommends using Epsom salts as an all-natural exfoliator.
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“It’s gentle enough to use on your face,” she says. “And it’s cheap.” (A 350-gram bag of salts is $8.95 at the spa.) Mix in the salts with your favourite body oil and massage all over your body to draw out impurities and slough off dead skin.
At-home spa treatments: Epsom salts bath
Draw a bath then drop in about a third-cup of Epsom salts to soak up the body-healing benefits. The salts—a pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulphate—work to flush out toxins from the body. A relaxing ten-minute bath is also perfect for muscle recovery after a workout. “It gets rid of water retention and reduces swelling and puffiness,” Coulter explains.
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At-home spa treatments: DIY facial
To prep skin for a facial treatment, cleanse your face and neck with a hydrating oil or cream cleanser, massaging for 30 seconds. “This is mildly exfoliating and stimulates blood flow,” says Julie Clark, Toronto-based holistic health practitioner and founder of Province Apothecary. Using ingredients from your kitchen, create a DIY enzyme exfoliator for glowing skin.
“Pineapple and lemon juice are naturally acidic—they brighten the skin and act as a general chemical exfoliator, ‘eating' dead skin from the surface,” says Clark. Combine one tablespoon of mashed pineapple with one tablespoon of sesame, sunflower or flax meal with one-sixth of a teaspoon of lemon juice to create a paste (warning: it is messy). “Apply the mixture to your face and massage the exfoliator onto your face, neck and décolleté. Leave it on for 10 minutes and rinse with a damp face cloth.”
At-home spa treatments: Facial steam
Once skin is freshly cleansed and exfoliated, move on to a relaxing facial steam. “Herbal facial steams can transfer tired, dry, sluggish skin into glowing and supple skin,” says Clark, citing its toxin-eliminating benefits while boosting circulation and refining the appearance of pores at the same time. (Side note: facial steaming is not recommended for extremely sensitive skin, active acne or skin with broken capillaries, Clark adds).
Start by choosing your blend of herbs according to your skin needs: lavender, Chamomile or rose (to balance and tighten), rosemary and peppermint (to decongest oily skin and boost circulation) or fennel and rose buds (great for stimulating aging skin). Use a teaspoon of each and combine one to four types per steam (you can also add in your favourite essential oil).
Boil three cups of distilled water, then remove the pot from heat and add your herbs. Cover and steep for five minutes, then place the bowl on a stable surface that you can sit comfortably in front of for ten minutes. Remove the cover from the pot and drape a large towel over your head, shoulders and pot to trap the heat inside. “Close your eyes and place your head ten to twelve inches above the steaming water,” says Clark. “Relax and breath deeply; enjoy the aromas that surround you.” Afterward, splash your face with tepid water and follow immediately with a mask.
At-home spa treatments: Face mask
Mix up a homemade papaya mask for a relaxing facial treatment that leaves you with glowing skin. “It removes dead skin cells through the enzymatic action of the papaya,” says Clark. Mash up a tablespoon of fresh papaya with equal parts fresh aloe. Add two to three teaspoons of clay (try Provence Apothecary’s Brightening Clarifying Clay Mask), a teaspoon each of oatmeal flour and honey, and a one to three teaspoons of plain organic yogurt. Apply to face and neck and relax for ten minutes. Follow with a hydrating serum and then pat yourself on the back for your well-deserved at-home spa day.
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