WAAAAAA! I wrote and posted this on Saturday, but I just saw now that it never posted!?! WTF?! Anyway…without further ado…………
Well, I survived yet another trip, and for the first time ever I’m looking forward to NOT traveling for a little while (until the BIG trip next month, anyway! ). I am thoroughly on a break from airports, having been to and from and to and back again six times in the past week – my flight was delayed six hours going to Ottawa, and if I hadn’t had my laptop I would have been one sad, sick gal! From all the travel and stress going on, I got the flu just as I was leaving for Ottawa, but happily I seem to be on the mend now and should be good as gold when I head back to work this week. It made for a rough couple of days in workshops, but nevertheless I enjoyed my trip; I got a boost in work morale and ambition, I got to meet a fabulous long-time reader for a delicious lunch (thanks Sarah!), and had a couple of days to spend with one of my favorite people – a good friend of mine who’s now living in the city. All in all, its been a whirlwind of a summer – not without it’s highs and lows – and with the weather cooling a bit, I’m really looking forward to fall and all it has to bring!
I arrived back from Ottawa feeling in desperate need of some R&R and major pampering. My hair and skin lately have been showing my fatigue – the ends of my hair are painfully dry and tangled, and my skin has been itchy, irritated and flaking in patches. I haven’t yet been home, staying with my mom overnight and enjoying her company and nurturing, so since I didn’t have my ‘usual’ treatments on hand I got creative, concocting a few home spa recipes! I’m normally not entirely on-board with this kind of thing (though not against it by any means – just lazy I think), but it was a perfect way to spend a day, whipping up some treats to soothe the body and soul. I must say, I am exceptionally impressed with the results, and think I might incorporate these treatments into my regular routine from now on! Let me show you what I got up to
Brown Sugar and Olive Oil Scrub
I got the ball rolling with a smooth start. This ‘recipe’ only conains two ingredients and is super-easy and requires only items I’m sure you already have in your cupboards: brown sugar and olive oil. Mix a small palmful of the sugar (just the regular kind, not the raw sugar) with a few drops of the oil, creating a paste. Rub on face (or body!) in a circular motion to remove dead skin cells and wake up the skin. Rinse thoroughly and gently pat face dry.
Ta da! That’s it! You’ll find as your rinsing that it feels like the olive oil is leaving a residue on your skin. I was worried that it would leave my oily skin oilier, but surprizingly after I patted my face dry, my face felt neither greasy nor like there was any film on my skin at all! I actually would have needed to apply a moisturizer to some of the drier parts of my face afterward if I wasn’t going to follow with a masque – so I would say this is a great scrub for all types of skin. It wasn’t too abrasive but definitely gave my skin a good buffing…I think I’m hooked!
Cucumber Soothing Masque
Next, I wanted a masque to soothe my skin from contact with all the random allergens of other people’s (typically fragranced) laundry detergents that I had come in contact with over the past few weeks, which has really taken a toll on my skin (I actually usually bring my own pillowcase to places away from home but due to the busy-ness of the month I forgot for the most part). This cucumber masque was noted for being great for sensitive skins (hello!) and it didn’t seem to contain any funny stuff, so I tried it out. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
1 tbsp active yeast
1 tbsp finely ground oatmeal
1 whole cucumber, peeled
2 tbsps plain yogurt or sour cream* (what I used)
1 tsp honey
I made several mistakes/changes to this face masque – first, I used only a half a cucumber, and forgot to peel it (LOL!); I also combined everything together in a blender at once, though they recommend mixing the oatmeal and yeast together and setting aside, and blending the cucumber separately first – then adding other ingredients, blending, then finally the oatmeal/yeast into the rest of the mixture. However, my version still seemed effective so I wouldn’t worry about it too much (though I would peel the cucumber as I had bits of it stuck to my face haha). They suggest to apply it chilled so I had it in the fridge for a while before using. Once I applied it to a clean face and neck, I left it on for a good 30 minutes, until it fully dried, then gently splashed warm water on my face, loosening the bits until it fully washed off. I didn’t experience any irritation or uncomfortable sensations while wearing it nor after it had been washed off – what I DID feel was smooth, soft skin that wasn’t itchy or inflammed at all, and an awesome by-product – smaller pores! I don’t know why exactly but I’m not questioning it! I will definitely be using this masque in the future without a doubt.
Avocado, Banada and Honey Hair Masque
Just before applying the cucumber masque, I whipped up this hydrating masque for dry hair (which would also work for the face – just exclude the olive oil). I’ve always wanted to make my own hair masque with avocado (probably due to my addiction to the yummy green stuff), so I was stoked to check this out. I actually combined a few recipes I read online to make this masque, as I really wanted to include banana and honey as well. So I used the following and it turned out pretty great!:
1/2 of a ripe avocado
1/2 of a ripe banana
1 tbsp of honey
1 tsp of olive oil
I combined all the ingredients in a blender and applied to dry, brushed out hair (now…my hair had been in a braid before I did the masque so I was able to ‘brush it out’…but normally I would have applied this to damp, just washed/rinsed hair because otherwise it would just *not* be happenin’ on this curly head!). I left it on for a few hours while I sat outside in the sunshine – optimal situation I think – but you can probably just leave it in for 30 minutes under a shower cap and retain similar benefits! As the masque dried my hair got hard as a rock, like I had put gel in it, which was kind of interesting.
I have to tell you gals, this masque was awesome! When I rinsed out my hair, it felt really good. Really, really healthy and strong, and to my surprize – thick! I have a lot of hair but it’s quite fine, and when I straighten it you see how not-thick it really is (which is probably good because if it were super-thick along with being super-curly, we’d have some major problems). After this treatment, my actual strands felt thicker and more resilient – I’d love to try this just before straightening my hair to see the effect! Also, it reduced the frizziness of my hair big time. And shine? Yea, ok, you get the picture, right? The only caution I have is that if you do have fine, limp hair, I would either use this at night when you’re just staying home, OR omit the olive oil, as it may weigh hair down a bit (which for me is a plus). Again, definitely a concoction I will be using again and again, I absolutely LOVE it!
So that was my homemade spa day! It was an excellent way to unwind from it all, pampering myself while sitting outside in the sunshine with a glass of wine. I feel rejuvenated and ready to get back to ‘er – and it only cost about $5. Note that both masques made WAY more than was necessary – the hair masque will easily make 2-4 treatments depending on your hair (more like 2 for me), and the face masque made enough to last me a whole month (though it probably won’t last that long physically – I’m going to try and use it every second day until it goes bad). Probably best case scenario is to do these with a friend and share the fabulous – maybe watch a little Sex and the City?…which is my plan for tonight This weekend has been all sorts of awesome – and we still have another day off tomorrow!! Which of course helped make today just that much better
Have you tried any home recipes for spa treatments? What are some of your favorite home remedies? What is your favorite way to unwind?