Beauty

DIY Spa

Chill out at home with 4 fabulous treatments to keep you beautifully cool all summer long.
DIY Spa
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Close your eyes and imagine yourself luxuriating in a milk-infused bath, your body enveloped by the silky water. As you slowly inhale, savor the comforting scent of lavender candles flickering beside you. With only a soothing body scrub and facial to cope with in the coming hour, you feel blissfully at ease....

The rejuvenating powers of a spa escape are undeniable. And the benefits go beyond the glowing skin all that sloughing, soaking, and buffing can offer. Treating yourself to a little pampering can provide that rest stop you so desperately need, but probably aren't allowing yourself to have.

It's a satisfying step toward better health--so why not do it right now? With a few easy-to-follow ideas, simple recipes, and affordable products, you can create your own at-home spa indulgence. We'll give you four good ways to take a break from your hot and hectic summer, sit back, relax, and say ahhhhhh.


1. Take A Warm Bath
There's nothing better than soaking in warm water to ease sore muscles and lull an overworked mind into serenity. "Even during the summer when the temperature and humidity soar, a 20-minute aromatherapy bath in tepid water can work wonders to soothe your body and reawaken your senses," says Tara Oolie, owner of Just Calm Down Spa in New York City.

The most beneficial bath experience starts with water that registers the same temperature as your body. Anything warmer than 98.6 degrees will overheat you and actually dry out your skin, and anything cooler will be uncomfortable to sit in.

To make the most of your bath, dim the lights, fire up a candle, and switch on a relaxing CD. While the water is running, pour in a bath soak formulated with softening ingredients like milk. "Since soaking can rob skin of precious moisture, add a product that will help lock in hydration," says Oolie.

Wet a hand towel with warm water, add two to three drops of cooling and stimulating Aveda Peppermint Oil ($14; aveda.com), and roll up the towel to form a neck rest. Lean back in the tub and let the running water gently massage your feet and toes, then work a liquid soap or bath oil over your soles from heel to toe.

As you unwind, place a slice of cooling cucumber over each eye to calm the skin and reduce puffiness. "Because cucumber also contains silica, an essential component of healthy connective tissue, drinking water with sliced cucumbers can help hydrate skin," adds Oolie.

After you've relaxed for 20 minutes, step out of the tub and pat your skin dry. Next, massage in a rich shea butter body cream like Hugo Naturals Body Butter ($10; hugonaturals.com) to seal in moisture.

RECIPE
Just Calm Down Spa's Lazy Lavender Milk Bath

1 packet powdered milk
3-4 drops lavender essential oil
1 chamomile or honey- chamomile tea bag

Add all ingredients to running bath water; allow the tea bag to steep in the bath water as you soak. Stay in the tub for at least 20 minutes.

2. Scrub Yourself
The sun, sand, and salt water of summer can leave you seriously dried out. Restore your skin to softness with a head-to-toe body scrub. Exfoliating the skin will make it look and feel good again, and help it absorb the moisture it so desperately needs this time of year.

Try the homemade scrub below or look for a product made with suga, which is generally less abrasive than salt. To get the best results, step into a warm shower, let your skin soak for five minutes, then massage in the scrub, starting at your neck and working toward your toes. Rinse off with warm water, then apply a moisturizer to still-damp skin.

RECIPE
Sesame Honey Body Scrub

3 tablespoons ground sesame seeds
2 tablespoons almond or olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and warm in a microwave for 10 seconds. Massage the mixture into damp skin using circular motions. Rinse off with warm water.

3. Soothe Your Soles
"In summer, heels get very dry and cracked because they're not covered up in protective socks and shoes," says Donna Perillo, owner of the Sweet Lily Natural Nail Spa in New York City. What's more, dirt gets kicked up and embedded into dry areas. Not good.

To clean and pamper tired, swollen, achy feet, try a citrus-infused softening soak (see below). The acidity of the fruits' natural alpha-hydroxy acids will whisk away dirt and grime, slough off dead skin cells, and keep your feet smelling sweet. Plus, the zesty aroma will cool you down and awaken your senses. Soak your feet for at least five minutes. Use the down time to relax your entire body. Slowly let your head drop to the left, then forward and to the right, moving back and forth in a semicircular motion to stretch your neck. Shrug your shoulders several times, then shake out your arms and spread your fingers wide.

Next, wiggle your toes and massage your feet with a liquid soap. Use a crystal foot file ($7; yogapro.com) to exfoliate rough, dry areas. "The soap will give your skin the slip the file needs to glide effortlessly," says Perillo. Follow with a mint-infused foot scrub to refresh skin and rev circulation. Rinse well, pat dry, apply a thick layer of moisturizer, and slip into lightweight, organic-cotton socks.

RECIPE
Sweet Lily's Lemonade Foot Soak

1 gallon fresh lemonade, warmed on the stove
2 drops lemon essential oil
4 lemons, sliced
1 lemon, halved
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Pour the warmed lemonade into a large tub. Add the lemon oil and slices, and soak your feet for 2 minutes. Then dip the lemon halves into the granulated sugar, and use them to scrub away any rough skin. Rinse with warm water.

4. Treat Your Face
An at-home facial is a real tension tamer. It's also a seasonal essential to help your complexion look its best. "In summer the warmer weather can cause the skin to increase oil production, which is a bonanza if your skin is dry to begin with," says New York City-based skin-care expert Kimberly Sayer. "But if your skin is oily, the excess oil could mean trouble in the form of blackheads and unsightly shine."

For spotless skin, try lemon. "Whether you apply it topically or take it internally, lemon is one of the best treatments for blemish-prone skin," says Sayer. "It's a natural astringent with anti-microbial properties that help combat shine, and prevent and fight breakouts."

Wash with a citrus-infused cleanser, and rinse with cool water. Pat dry, and smooth on a mask made with white, red, or green clay (try Sayer's recipe at left). As it dries, the clay will draw out impurities and absorb excess oil. Rinse with cool water, and apply a light moisturizer—even if your skin is oily. "Oily complexions that aren't properly hydrated tend to look red, irritated, and flaky, so be sure to apply an oil-free moisturizer with SPF every day," advises Sayer.

RECIPE
Kimberly Sayer's Purifying Clay Mask

2 tablespoons clay powder
spring water
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice (if skin is oily)
1 tablespoon olive oil (if skin is dry)
1 tablespoon plain yogurt (if skin is normal)

Mix the clay powder with enough water to form a smooth paste, then add lemon juice, olive oil, or yogurt. Apply the mask to clean skin and allow paste to dry for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.