All-natural beauty boosters and easy stress relief recipes from world-class spas.
BY KRISTY ALPERT
These all-natural at-home spa treatments are easy ways to practice self-care, and they’re made from ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.
Just because spas aren’t booking appointments right now doesn’t mean pampering needs to take a back seat to the pandemic. While ordering a high-tech beauty gadget or fancy foot spa online is for sure one way to go about it, many of the best at-home spa treatments can actually be made from the ingredients you already have on hand.
“Do it yourself products are great, and I, myself, use many regularly,” says Anne-Cathrin Löffler, deputy spa director and team leader of the Beauty & Care department at the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz in Switzerland.
“It is fascinating how many products in our kitchen are also effective and good for the body. My absolute must have, which is in my kitchen and bathroom, is coconut oil. It is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, and is particularly effective in skin care, especially against acne and pimples, neurodermatitis, and psoriasis.”
Löffler suggests simply warming up a small amount of coconut oil in the palms of your hands and gently massaging it onto the face and body for daily hydration.
But for some real at-home pampering, raid your pantry and follow these 15 DIY spa treatments from the world’s best spas to keep your skin glowing, hair shining, and circulation stimulated while we wait things out at home.
Cinnamon Vanilla Latte Scrub
“One of my favorite make-at-home tips is to make a scrub with items you are likely to already have on hand, such as sugar, coconut oil, and olive oil,” says Christina Stephens, spa director at Wymara Resort and Villas in Turks and Caicos. “If you have essential oils, you can add a few drops, too. I love using coffee grounds and olive oil, which is good for circulation, [and] you can apply them in the shower.”
- 1 cup natural raw cane sugar
- 1 cup coffee grinds
- 1 cup unrefined extra virgin coconut oil or almond oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Dash of cinnamon
- A few drops of vitamin E oil
- Mix everything together. Apply in a circular motion and then rinse off in the shower.
Honey Hair Mask
“Coconut oil is an absolute all-rounder, which is excellent on its own or as a base for mixing, both internally and externally,” says Anne-Cathrin Löffler, deputy spa director and team leader of the Beauty & Care department at Grand Resort Bad Ragaz in Bad Ragaz, Switzerland. “The coconut oil is a base in this hair mask, but it can also be changed with almond or olive oilas desired.”
- Mash the avocado (or banana), and whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Apply thoroughly on dry hair and leave on for 15-20 minutes.
- Wash the mixture out and follow up with a gentle shampoo and conditioner.
3-Part Chocolate Facial
“Chocolate promotes positive feelings as it helps in the release of multiple peptides of the brain and gut,” explains Allen Susser, chef and chocolatier at Jade Mountain in St. Lucia. “Dark chocolate helps in the release of endorphins that affects the brain and helps in inducing a calming and soothing effect. Its abundant aromatic flavor seduces our mood and relieves stress within the first bite.” His recipe for good skin improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure…and includes his favorite ingredient.
- 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder, divided
- 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Cleanse with cocoa powder and aloe vera gel mix (1 tablespoon cocoa powder mixed with 2 tablespoons aloe vera gel).
- Scrub away dead skin cells with a mixture of sugar, cocoa, and coconut oil (1 tablespoon cocoa powder mixed with 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 tablespoon coconut oil).
- Mix chocolate and honey (1 tablespoon cocoa powder mixed with 1 tablespoon honey) to make a face mask and apply liberally to skin.
- After 15 minutes, rinse with warm water.
- Repeat as desired.
Immune Boosting Muti
“Muti is a South African word that describes traditional medicines,” explains Edward Morton, general manager for La Residence in Franschhoek, South Africa; he drinks 2 or 3 cups per day. “It has its roots in Hippocrates’ time and is a wonderful ally in fighting colds and flu.”
- 1 mug of boiling water
- 1 tablespoon organic apple cider vinegar
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 teaspoon raw honey
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Combine all ingredients together in the mug of water and drink while warm.
“The oats have anti-inflammatory properties and are a cleansing agent that are perfect for all skin types,” explains Leticia Fernandez, spa director at SE Spa at Grand Velas Riviera Maya in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. “Milk is loaded with vitamins and good fats, and honey is antibacterial and rich in antioxidants, so it helps bring a glow to the skin.”
- 1 tablespoon organic honey
- 1/2 cup raw oatmeal
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/2-1 teaspoon coconut oil
- Add oatmeal to a blender or food processor, and grind until it reaches a sand-like consistency.
- Mix honey, half teaspoon of coconut oil, and milk into the oatmeal until it reaches a thick consistency. (Note: The other half teaspoon of coconut oil can be used if you prefer a thicker scrub.)
- Wet face with warm water and apply scrub with fingertips, starting from neckline upward with gentle circular movements until reaching the forehead. Give a double pass to the t-zone (one of the oilier spots on the face) and leave on for five minutes.
- Rinse and repeat as necessary.
Avocado Hair Mask
The spa team at the Beach House Spa at the Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club in Cape Cod, Massachusetts recommends daily self-care, ranging from daily workouts and healthy meals to this weekly hair mask that helps combat dry, dull hair.
- ½ an avocado
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 egg
- Mix ingredients together.
- Massage into hair from root to ends and let sit for 15 minutes.
- Rinse and dry as usual.
Cafecito Body Exfoliation
“Coffee has excellent properties and helps with detoxifying your body, purifying and rejuvenating your skin,” explains Dagmarie Sanchez, spa director at the Condado Vanderbilt in Puerto Rico. “When you exfoliate your body with coffee, you can experience the reduction of inflammation while improving circulation, giving a youthful body, removing dead skin cells, reducing puffiness, and even reducing the appearance of cellulite leaving your skin smooth and with a natural glow.”
- 4-5 tablespoons medium grind coffee
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil (you can substitute your favorite shower gel instead of coconut oil)
- Combine the coconut oil (or shower gel) and coffee in a small bowl. (Note: For a less abrasive exfoliation, combine 3 tablespoons of coconut oil with 3 tablespoons of coffee.)
- Apply the mixture to your body in a circular motion to stimulate blood flow, increase circulation, and reduce inflammation.
- Rinse off and apply your favorite body moisturizer.
Rosemary Herbal Bath
“Scientists say that taking a warm bath can calm the nervous system and makes blood flow through the body more easily,” says Minerva Toledo, spa manager at the JW Marriott Cancun Collection in Mexico. “If you feel stressed, an herbal bath is the answer. If you have rosemary at home, the rosemary’s herbaceous scent will give you a boost by reducing stress, promoting relaxation, and stimulating circulation.”
- Fresh rosemary
- Start by filling your bathtub with warm water.
- Add several dashes of rosemary, and soak as long as desired.
Pink Himalayan Salt Scrub
“Exfoliation helps remove dead skin from the surface, leaving you with healthy, soft, and radiant skin that glows,” says Erika K. Peterson spa massage therapist at the Viceroy Snowmass in Snowmass Village, Colorado. “We love to include Himalayan pink salt in salt scrubs because it has 84 trace minerals and nutrients, and the oil in the Himalayan Salt Scrub is easily absorbed once the skin is exfoliated. We love the pink tint it gives to the salt scrub. We recommend making multiple batches of the salt scrub, along with different essential oils that you can pick from depending on your mood that day.”
- 1 1/2 cup finely ground Himalayan pink salt (you can also use a mixture of Himalayan salt and finely ground sea salt if preferred)
- 4 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 3 tablespoons almond oil
- 1 tablespoon jojoba oil
- 10 drops vitamin E (optional)
- 15-20 drops of an essential oil blend of your choice, suggestions include:
- In Bloom: 10 drops rose, 5 drops lavender, and 3 drops geranium (dried rose petals optional)
- Secret Garden: 10 drops lavender, 2 drops vetiver, 2 drops geranium, and 2 drops rosemary
- Lavender Vanilla: 15 drops lavender and 5 drops vanilla
- Citrus Refresh: 10 drops grapefruit, 5 drops Meyer lemon, 5 drops orange
- Tropical: 12 drops lime and 8 drops orange
- Forest Blend: 5 drops rosemary, 4 drops fir balsam, 3 drops green myrtle, 3 drops virginia cedarwood
- Measure salt into a mixing bowl, and mix in grapeseed oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, and vitamin E. Add in chosen essential oil(s).
- Mix until all the salt is coated in oil and resembles a thick paste.
- Store in a glass or metal container of your choice. This recipe fills 2 half pint jars.
- It is best to use salt scrubs in the shower once per week. Take a small amount of the scrub in your hand and rub it on to dry skin, then rinse clean with water. There will be some oil that remains on the skin, just pat dry and enjoy your soft radiant glow.
- 1-2 egg whites
- Whip one to two egg whites—depending on the size of the eggs—into a foam and leave on your face for 10-20 minutes.
- Rinse with cold water and moisturize.
Ground Coffee and Brown Sugar Body Scrub
“Coffee is great to stimulate circulation and is rich in antioxidants,” explains Viviana Casada, senior spa director at the Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Toronto in Canada. “This treatment helps to replenish moisture and eliminate dead skin, stimulating the body’s natural renewal process to produce new skin cells.”
- 1/2 cup ground coffee
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup coconut or olive oil
- Optional: Add one or two drops of aromatherapy [oil] such as lavender. Personally, I like to add orange as the smell boosts positive and happy feelings for me.
- Combine ingredients well and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes.
- Lather the scrub over your body. Be gentle around sensitive areas, but don’t forget to scrub elbows and knees. (Note: Not recommended for use on your face.)
- Leave it for a few minutes since the oil will help replenish moisture to the skin.
- Rinse and feel an instant glow to your skin.
Elbow and Knee Exfoliate and Skin Brightener
The experts at the ZaSpa at Hotel ZaZa Memorial City in Houston, Texas claim that “the key to healthy and glowing skin is to drink lots of water, sleep well, exercise, exfoliate, remove makeup before sleep, and include vitamin-rich food in your diet.”
They also shared a surprising use for fresh oranges.
- 1 orange, cut in half
- Cut an orange in half and rub it on your elbows and knees. This helps soften those rough patches, and it smells good!
- Rinse off the sticky mess when you are done.
Moisturizing Face Mask
FEED YOUR FACEDIY Food-Based Masks to Make Your Skin Glow“This mask combines sour cream (which is derived from lactic acid and helps with hydration and gives a light exfoliation), honey (which acts as a humectant to lend moisture without leaving the skin oily), and egg white (which has protein that tightens and firms the skin),” explains Nicole Abrahams, expert therapist at The Silo Spa at The Silo Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa.
“It is very important to exfoliate, at least once or twice a week. This promotes skin cell renewal. Applying beauty products without exfoliation means the product sits on the skin without penetration, because of the build-up of dead skin cells. After exfoliating the active ingredients have a better chance of penetrating to the deeper layers of the skin for longer lasting results.”
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 egg white (no yolk)
- Mix this all together until you get an even consistency. The more you mix the better the consistency.
- Apply to the face. Leave on for about 15-20 minutes and then rinse with cool water.
“To stay healthy during this time, I recommend consuming a blend that includes lemon balm, wild orange, and peppermint,” says Martina Zecca, spa director at T Spa at Grand Hotel Tremezzo in Lake Como, Italy.
“This blend can be drunk as an infusion beverage or can be physically applied to the face as an anti- bacterial and anti-virus solution to reinforce the immune system, due to the vitamin C included in this concoction. These ingredients are also used by ‘Officina Santa Maria,’ our official line of products custom designed and used at T Spa on property.”
- 4 lemon balm leaves
- 2 wild orange peels
- 3 fresh peppermint leaves
- 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
- 2 teaspoons crystallized honey
- As a drink: Infuse warm water with four lemon balm leaves, three peppermint leaves, and two wild orange peels.
- As facial cream: Blend the lemon balm, wild orange, and peppermint with 3 tablespoons plain yogurt and 2 teaspoons crystallized honey. Mix everything together slowly then massage it onto the face. Leave it on the face for 15 minutes, which will give an illuminating whitening effect. Rinse it off with warm water. Repeat as necessary.
Lavender and Coconut Facial Scrub
Most of the ingredients used to make the spa products for the Wildsmithskincare line at The Little Bothy Spa at Heckfield Place in Hampshire, England are sourced naturally from the 438 acres that line this Georgian manor estate hotel and farm. The Wildsmith skincare specialists chose this recipe because it provides magnesium, acts as an anti-ageing treatment, and treats skin blemishes while calming skin and helping with anxiety.
- 2 cups Epsom salt
- 1/2 cup room temperature coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons lavender flowers
- 10-20 drops lavender oil
- Place the Epsom salt, coconut oil, and lavender flowers in a large bowl.
- Use a spoon to thoroughly combine, and then add the lavender oil, starting with 10 drops and adding more if needed.
- Massage on the face in a circular motion.
- Rinse with warm water.