Spas.  Spa-aaahhhs.  Luxurious.  Refreshing.  But also spendy.  I’ve only been to a spa a handful of times, and each time it was severely discounted or complimentary.  I just can’t bring myself to drop $100 – $500 (or to ask someone else to do so) on a one-time treatment.  But that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy spa treatments.  In fact, in my home almost everyday is a spa day.  I give myself facials, manicures, pedicures, and hair treatments on the regular.  I do body brushing, exfoliation, and the occasional long, luxurious bath when I have the time.

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Spa treatments have so many physical and emotional benefits.  Why not have a spa-tastic holiday season?  The following are some of my tried-and-true home spa treatments, those that I give myself and loved ones.  They would make great gifts for you or for a family member or friend this season, no matter what holiday(s) you celebrate, and even if you don’t celebrate any!  They are cost-effective and show someone just how much you care.

Also, if you’re not someone who enjoys giving spa treatments to others, you could instead put together a spa package with products and ingredients that they can use themselves.

All of these treatments will cost $5 or less (plus your time), as compared to $100 – $500+ for spas.  But first, let’s talk about putting together spa packages.

Spa Packages

If you don’t know about Etsy by now, shame on you!  No, but really, you should.  There are tons of organic and natural beauty artisans there, and some of the best fave been featured on this blog.  There you can find everything from soaps, to body/massage oils, to serums and facial masques, bath salts, you get the picture.  What’s more is that you can often customize products or place special orders for your giftees.  Use search words like: organic, natural, fair-trade, etc. to find what you’re looking for.  You can also include the type of product in your search, such as “organic body oil.”

The most cost-effective route, in most cases, would be to purchase and make products yourself.  There are tons of sites with natural beauty recipes, from bath salts, to oils, and facial masks.  Just do a Google search for what you’re looking for.  Set a budget for what you’re willing to spend, and use recycled (and sterilized) packaging for bath salts and other products you’ll make.

Ingredients

Essential oils can be found at sites like Vitacost, where you can buy them at a discount with free shipping for orders over $49.  (See this article on essential oils with the most health benefits.)  If you need them right away, you could also try Whole Foods or your local health food store, but they will cost more.  Other ingredients like bath salts, body oils, etc. can be bought in your grocery store.  Olive oil, epsom salt, sea salt, and more.    There are tons of things you can create with just a few ingredients.

12 Spa-tastic Holiday Treatments, Part I

In this series I include 3 facial, 3 body, 3 foot and 3 hand treatments.  Ingredients for each treatment are approximately $5 or less.  First, let’s discuss facial treatments.

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3 Facial Treatments

1) The Total Facial – Cleanse, Steam, Scrub, Masque.  Approx. Time: 1 hour., Total Cost: $5

Cleanse: Use a soap bar or liquid soap you already have.  If you have a drying liquid soap, simply add a bit of oil (like jojoba) and shake it up.  Just add a bit, i.e. 1 tablespoon per 4 oz. of soap.  It will be much more moisturizing this way.  Cleanse as you normally would.  If you have a dedicated facial soap that you use and already love, even better.  Cost: 25¢ or less.

Steam: First make sure that you have the herbs or flowers you need.  You can use those you already have in your kitchen, like sage, rosemary, thyme, and basil.  This of course will create an herbal scent.  For a more floral scent, visit a local health food store where you can buy herbs in bulk by weight.

All you need in a total of 2 tablespoons of herbs and flowers for a facial, so you can buy a teaspoon or so each of rose, lavender, chamomile, calendula, etc.   With buying such a small amount, the total cost should be $1.50 – 2.50 or even less.  Instructions for a facial steam.

Scrub:  Use a tablespoon of sugar or baking soda to one teaspoon of oil and or vegetable glycerin.  Again, you want to use what you already have on hand to control costs.  If you have aloe vera gel, use that.  Mix together and scrub gently.  (Feel free to add a few drops of essential oil if you have them on hand.)  Total Cost: 25¢.

Facial Mask: There are so many directions we can go with this.  Use fruits, vegetables, clays, egg whites, oatmeal, so many ingredients that you already have.  Avocados are probably one of the most pricey ingredients you can use for a scrub, but it is so amazing for the skin.  You only need 2 tablespoons at most of all ingredients.  Again, search Google for recipes.  And if you want to pick up items at your local grocery store, you can do that too.  Total cost: 50¢ to $1.50.

Tone skin after the total facial with hydrosol or a splash of the cooled facial steam water.  Then moisturize as you normally would.

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2) The Targeted Fix.  Approx Time: 10-15 mins.  Total Cost: 5-50¢.

For this facial treatment, you can choose a targeted facial area to work on.  Areas that require more of our time and attention are usually: blemishes, under-eye area, lips, and neck.

Blemishes: Do a quick blemish treatment by mixing a bit of clay (such as Bentonite) with apple cider vinegar and lavender oil (if on hand).  Leave on for 10-15 minutes.  Rinse well.  Another recipe is using a bit of diluted lemon juice on blemishes, or yogurt mixed with lemon juice.  Cost: 10¢ to $1 (Again, use what you have on hand if possible.)

Under-Eye Treatment: This includes dry under-eyes, dark circles, etc.  I can’t promise instant overnight results, but these areas will be pampered.  Use parsley (fresh, or dried in your spice cabinet) mixed with warm filtered water and a few drops of oil (such as olive) and apply to the area.   Leave for 10-15 mins. Also, sliced cucumbers are an old standby.  The next time you brew tea, save the tea bag and refrigerate.  Use that evening or the next day as an under-eye treatment (esp. green tea bags).  Leave on one eye for 10 mins. and then switch, turning the bag over for the 2nd under-eye.  Cost: 10 -50¢.

Lips: Do a gentle lip scrub to get rid of flaking skin.  Mix 1 tea. of fine white or brown sugar with 1/2 tea. of olive oil.  Add a few drops of honey or agave nectar if you have it on hand.  Rub this over your lips in a circular motion for a minute.  Then rinse off (or lick off :)) and apply a little olive oil or lip balm if you have it on hand.  Cost 5¢.  Use what you have.

Neck:  Create a neck treatment with 2 tbl. milk (cow, goat, soy, almond, or others — organic if possible), 1/2 tea. cornstarch (non-GMO if possible), and a few drops of EO if you have them.  Apply to clean neck and leave on for 15 minutes or while you shower.  The milk gently exfoliates (if using milk with lactic acid), and all milks provide moisture and protein to the skin.  Cost: 15 to 25¢.

3) The Oil Cleaning Method (OCM).  The OCM is great for all skin types and can be customized according to skin type.  You can use oils you have on hand, such as Olive, but Castor, Grapeseed, Safflower, Jojoba, and others are great, too.  If you live near a health store where you can try samples, you could ask for a small sample of some of these oils to see what oils and oil-ratio work best for your skin.  Learn all you need to know about OCM at the link above.  Total cost (assuming that you take advantage of samples): 25 to 75¢.

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Set the stage for a relaxing experience by playing soft, relaxing music at a low volume, burning all-natural candles or incense, and dimming the lights. 

What are some of your favorite recipes and ingredients for home facials?  Do share!  Please comment if you found this post helpful and/or if you have suggestions.  I’d love to hear from you.

Next up I will share 3 body, 3 foot, and 3 hand treatments.