EZ Beauty on a Budget
For some easy, budget-friendly pampering, head to your kitchen. We’ll show you how with these tips and recipes.
If you’ve got a little time and a few key ingredients in your cupboards, you can enjoy some spa-worthy pampering at home.
Aside from saving you money, home made spa treatments are good for your body and the environment. You control the ingredients, so you can avoid unnecessary perfumes, dyes and preservatives. You don’t have to worry about questionable chemicals being absorbed into your body or ending up in the environment. Best of all, you can also customize recipes to use your favourite ingredients and scents.
Sound complicated? It’s actually easier than you think. Here’s how to get started.
Check your shelves
You don’t need to run to the store to get started. Chances are you’ve already got the most common ingredients in your cupboard or your fridge:
Honey: Not only does it moisturize, it also acts as an astringent and antiseptic.
Milk: Commonly used in baths and masks because it helps to sooth dry skin. Use whipping cream for dry and irritated skin, or skim milk for oily skin.
Apple cider vinegar also helps restore the skin’s pH balance when used as a toner, and works well in a hair rinse.
Olive oil: It moisturizes and cleanses, making ideal it for use on the skin and hair. Extra-virgin is best.
While they aren’t food items, you’ll also see Epsom salts, aloe juice and borax used in many recipes. You can also raid your garden for refreshing favourites like peppermint, lavender and rose petals.
This conditioning treatment is easy and inexpensive and doesn’t require any special prep work Simply pour our a little olive oil into a cup (or a pump, if you have one on hand). Drizzle a little bit on your hands and rub them together to warm the oil. Then massage the oil into your scalp and work it through your hair (dry, clean hair works best). If you’ve got long or thick hair, try dividing your hair into sections first and work a little at a time.
Once your hair is nice and slick, wrap it up in a plastic bag (or cover it with an old shower cap) and then wrap it in an old towel — this will trap in the heat from your head and help the oil penetrate the hair. Then relax for 20 – 30 minutes.
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted (but not hot)
1 tbs. honey
Step 1: Beat the egg in a small bowl until frothy and well-mixed. Slowly add the liquid coconut oil and honey, beating until your mask is the consistency of mayonnaise.
Oatmeal baths are a standard treatment for soft skin. In its simplest form, all you need to do is pour two thirds of a cup of oatmeal into an old stocking or coffee filter bag, tie off the top and throw it into a nice hot bath.
For a variation on this old favourite, try adding a drizzle of honey and a 1/4 cup of powdered milk. You can also stir in a few drops of your favourite essential oil like lavender or peppermint — both of which will sooth and relax.
This recipe from Spa Index uses food-grade cocoa butter which, unlike other oils, stays on top of the skin to form a moisture-locking protective layer (and it has an oh-so-delicious smell). Keep your old coffee grinder on hand for this soothing recipe:
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup dry oatmeal
4 tablespoons cocoa butter
Feel like doing some baking? Try this make-ahead recipe for gifts:
2 cups finely ground sea salt
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 tbsp light oil
Tips for success
– Buy in bulk. Ingredients like oats and sea salt are common in many home spa recipes, so hit the bulk food store for some extra savings. Larger sized bottles of olive oil and honey are cheaper – and you can use those ingredients in your cooking too.
– Check oil prices. Some essential oils are more expensive to produce than others. If the recipe doesn’t require a specific oil try citrus oils, geranium and peppermint to add some scent. They’re less expensive than pricier patchouli, rose and jasmine.
– Be prepared for mess. Have some clean cloths and dish soap on hand, and wear an old pair of pyjamas or bathrobe. If you’re using a hair mask, make sure your top is button-up.
– Test it out. While you should avoid any ingredients you’re allergic to (like nut-based products), not all ingredients may “agree” with your skin. Most sources advise applying a small amount of the product to a discrete test patch of skin first.
– Use as directed. Many products like oat baths and olive oil hair masks are gentle enough to be used on a regular basis. However, some ingredients like lemon juice can do more harm than good if left on too long or used too often.