"Goals are dreams with deadlines" -- Diana Scharf

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Small Splurges: DIY Spa Day

I’ve never been one to indulge in manicures, facials, or spa days.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of pampering myself.  But it seldom happens.  Either I run out of time or I just can’t bring myself to shell out the money.  Sometimes I run out of patience (you mean I have to wait for my nails to dry?). I can count on one unpolished hand the number of manicures I had last year.  How many?  Precisely three. Yep, three.  And each of those instances related to our wedding.  Given that we aren’t planning another wedding anytime soon, I guess three times was probably my “record high” for annual manicures.  Someone should notify the almanac.

This past weekend, Mr. W. was away and I had the apartment to myself.  It seemed like the perfect opportunity to indulge in some pampering.  Spa day!  What a treat!  But here’s the rub: I didn’t want to spend any money.  It was going to be a DIY spa day, using only ingredients and items we already had on hand. 

I sorted through the contents of our fridge and scrounged around in our bathroom cabinets to see what I could find.  We had a bag of eucalyptus-scented epsom soaking salts that were originally purchased for muscle relief.  When mixed with a little unscented soap, the soaking salts would make for an aromatic bubble bath.  The bag was perhaps $4-5 at our drugstore.  I attacked the bathtub with a sponge and cleanser so that it would be squeaky clean (well, as clean as a tub in an old apartment can be, anyway).  I Googled “DIY facial mask” and “DIY sugar scrub” to see what the internet would yield.  Lots of recipes called for various essential oils or extracts that we didn’t have.  Pass.  Essential oils can be expensive and I wasn’t certain I would use them frequently enough to warrant a purchase.  Plus, I didn’t want to run yet another errand.  Spa day was intended to be a relaxing endeavor, after all.  Finally, I came across two recipes (here and here) that seemed promising.  I tweaked them a little and was quite pleased with the results. 

I whipped up these simple concoctions early in the day and then stashed them in the fridge so that they would be ready to use in the evening.  And if you’re thinking that these recipes sound good enough to eat, you’re correct…not that I licked the spoon, or anything silly like that.   When I was finally ready for my spa day/evening, I just lit a candle, filled the tub with warm water, and poured myself a glass of wine. 


Creamy Chocolate Facial Mask

  • 1 – 1 ½ tsp yogurt (thick yogurt such as Greek or Skyr works best)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Chill at least 30 minutes, until ready to use.  Spread onto face with fingers, and leave on face for about 10 minutes.  Rinse off gently with warm water. 


This felt seriously indulgent to spread on the skin.  The texture was a bit like chocolate ganache and the taste was like chocolate pudding.  I almost felt guilty while applying this mask…like I was playing with my food.  Just be careful when you wash it off since the chocolate mixture has a tendency to splatter!


Citrus Sugar Scrub

  •  ½ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs. citrus juice (I used key lime juice)
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil


Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Chill until ready to use.  Apply to areas of dry skin, such as elbows and heels, and rinse off with warm water.


I enjoyed the fresh, bright scent of this exfoliating scrub. The recipe made a large enough batch that I have plenty left over for another use. 

I also planned to give myself a mani/pedi at the end of the night.  But after soaking in the tub, I was so relaxed that I just felt like curling up in bed and reading a book.  Like I said, I’m not so great at nail care.
Nail polish, why do you elude me?!

I'd love to hear some of your DIY relaxation tips.  How do you treat yourself without spending a fortune?

1 comment:

  1. That creamy chocolate facial mask sounds good enough to eat! I have dry elbows so that citrus sugar scrub could definitely come in handy too. I'm horrible with DIY so since I've become more serious about paying off debt, I've had to cut out the little luxuries but I think by reading posts like these that make DIY seem doable I might not feel so deprived haha. Thanks for the tips lady :)