It’s been a tough year filled with the panicked uncertainty of a life far removed from a regular routine, and the pressure can build up quickly. You’ve made it this far, and deserve a bit of a treat for rising to the challenges each day presents. So it’s time to be gentle with yourself. One way to care for yourself is with a full-body home spa day. It might not be possible to escape to an actual spa right now, but you can recreate some of the experience for yourself at home.
Set the Mood
Start by lighting a candle with scents like jasmine, lemongrass, cucumber, and lavender to evoke a spa-like air of relaxation. Turn on some music to create an ambiance, and either turn your phone completely off or switch it to airplane mode. In general and especially now, it’s important to unplug from time to time, taking a break from the constant inundation of social media and the news. At a real spa, it would be in a locker in the dressing room and not within reach anyway.
Soak It In
If you’ve got a tub, run yourself a bath with a bath bomb or your preferred additions like Epsom salts, essential oils, or bubbles. Light some incense or a candle in the bathroom, placing them in safe spots to prevent the likelihood of knocking them over or burning yourself. To maximize the bath experience, wash your face and apply a wash-off mask or sheet mask, letting it get to work while you unwind in the warm bath. If you can trust yourself not to spill the contents of a glass or dunk a book into the bathtub by accident, indulge in one or both of those activities. If you find it difficult to sit still and do nothing, focusing on such relaxing activities will help the time go by faster while you truly rest.
Scrub It Away
When you’re done soaking, put away the candles and books, and rinse off to prepare for the next step—an exfoliating scrub to slough off dead skin. Perhaps that physical act of washing old skin cells down the drain and uncovering a newer layer will help to reinforce the feeling of embarking on a new beginning and lend to the feeling of renewal. Using an exfoliating mitt or body scrub, massage your skin with circular motions without applying too much pressure. The soak in the tub will have softened your skin up, making it easy to cast off dirt and detritus. If you don’t have a tub, take a long, hot (but not too hot) shower instead, singing along to your favorite tunes to stretch out the time.
Smooth It Up
The best time to depilate is after a warm shower or bath because doing so softens the hair. The feeling of smooth, silky skin will contribute to the theme of decadence that you’re going for with a spa day. But that’s not to say that shaving is mandatory. Body hair is a personal thing, and everyone is entitled to their choice to shave or not. Most guidelines for shaving recommend a good buffing beforehand to remove dirt, dead skin, and oil, which unclogs pores and helps to achieve a closer shave. Exfoliating before shaving also helps to prevent ingrown hairs and clogged pores, so if you haven’t been doing it that way, update your shave routine.
Soften & Soothe
Follow up your shower and shave with a lotion to protect your moisture barrier. Take your time, making languorous passes over your skin, almost as though you’re giving yourself a mini massage. A product like the Bioderma Atoderm Ultra-Nourishing Cream enhances suppleness, replenishes lipids lost during your shower and exfoliation session, and locks in moisture. You can also try something with a soothing quality, like the Dr. Hauschka Lavender Sandalwood Calming Body Cream.
Don’t forget to pay special attention to your hands and feet, as they’re the extremities that suffer the most abuse during the day. Your feet are constantly ferrying you to and fro, stuffed into shoes, banged against surfaces, etc., and your hands are undergoing more washing than usual as you do your best to stave off contact with the virus. Take a little more time to massage them with a nourishing cream, not just to moisturize, but to relieve tension.
Spend the Time
Your face routine is an important part of the home spa experience, and this total body routine is a great time to perform as languorous a regimen as you’d like. Don’t have time to complete a 10-step routine every day? A spa day is the perfect opportunity to pamper your face, so take your sweet time patting in those toners and essences. Want to 7-skin? Double up on serums? Use a serum AND an ampoule? Do all of it. It’s your day.
When the last step of your routine is complete, change into some comfortable lounge clothes and move over to your couch to paint your nails while you binge-watch something fun on Netflix. And if that’s not your thing, find an activity that requires the least amount of physical exertion. You can tackle all the other stuff tomorrow.
What are your favorite home spa hacks?