Saturday, February 19, 2011

Beat the End-of-Winter Blahs with a Do-It-Yourself Spa Night

Yesterday was one of those gorgeous days when nature gives you a 24-hour reprieve from winter: Ten degrees Celsius, with lots of bright, warm sunshine. It was heavenly. Today, we're back to sub-zero temperatures, overcast skies, and howling wind. That little taste of spring has me longing for more, and knowing that more than likely we'll still see a good share of snow/freezing rain/other random nasty precipitation before spring arrives for good.

If now isn't the perfect time for a little body-focused indulgence, I don't know when is! After all, that cold, dry air is really hard on our poor skin. And not only does a spa night rejuvenate you on the outside, it gives you a great mental boost, too. Best of all, it doesn't have to make a big dent in your pocketbook (after all, we have those winter heating bills to contend with, too!) For less than the price of a coffee at Starbucks, you can treat  yourself to an evening of head-to-toe pampering.

Step One: Tame those fingernails
Take a few minutes to file your nails into shape, then (if you have a nail buffer handy), buff them to a shine. Then soak your fingers for a few minutes in a bowl of warm water with 1 tbsp olive oil added to it.

Step Two: The Frugalista Facial

First, clean your face. My favorite cleansing method right now is my tightwad version of Crunchy Betty's Winter Face Scrub (I make mine with just the rice flour, oats, and coconut, with calendula and chamomile thrown in if I have some around).

Once your face is clean, it's time for a steam: Fill a heat-proof bowl with boiling water. If you have a chamomile tea bag handy, throw it in. Add a few drops of essential oil, too, if you want (lavender is my favorite for relaxing). Hold your face over the bowl for a few minutes, with a towel held over your head to form a "tent" to hold in the steam.

The final part of the frugal facial is a moisturising mask: Slather some honey over your face and leave on for 15-20 minutes, then rinse off. I like to leave the mask on while I move on to step three!

Step 3: The Skin-Softening Soak
Run a nice hot bath, adding equal parts dry milk powder and baking soda (I use about 1/3 - 1/2 cup of each). Once again, you can add some essential oil if you like. Make sure you have a good book close at hand, as well as a cup of tea (I prefer a mint-green tea blend for this occasion). Climb on in and stay there for as long as you can get away with.

Step 4: Tenderize those Tootsies!
It's time to pay your hard-working feet some attention. Trim your nails if needed. Now treat them to an exfoliating scrub. Combine 2 tbsp salt, 2 tbsp ground oats, 2 tbsp ground coconut and 1 tbsp baking soda (I reserve a coffee grinder for doing the fine grinding). Add just enough water until it forms a paste, then rub vigorously all over your feet for a couple of minutes. Rinse off, then apply a heavy moisturizer (I like olive or coconut oil). For an extra treat, you can give yourself a short foot massage while you're at it, too. Once you're finished, put on a pair of socks so you don't slide all over the floor.

Step 5: Full-Body Moisturizing
Moisturize the rest of your body (you can use olive or coconut oil here, too) and don't forget to rub some into your nails and cuticles! Now put on your comfiest pajamas and chill out for the rest of the evening with a good book or movie.

Got some frugal body-pampering secrets to share? I'd love to hear them, so please leave a comment and tell me all about them.

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