Monday, February 16, 2015

HowTo Have A Great Spa Night


Spa nights are a big part of my life. Once per week I make an effort to take an hour or two in the evening to run a bath, do some beauty maintenance and really nourish my hair, skin and nails. February totally sucks every year, so this is the perfect time to show yourself some lve by reducing those stress levels and maintaining healthy skin.

I don't really like candles, so instead I'll diffuse essential oils using my electric salt lamp (similar here). I'll put a bit of water into the top cup, then add a few drops of eucalyptus and sweet orange. This mix is both stimulating and relaxing, perfect for an evening bath.

Gommage 

Much like the French, I take exfoliation very seriously. I use a very gentle Clarisonic brush head and a cleanser on my face and neck each night, with the addition of chemical exfoliants at least every other day. (See my fave BHA here and Enzyme here, which I use with my Clarisonic

A simple way to achieve smooth, flake-free skin on the body is by mixing a simple carrier oil with salt. I like almond oil and pink Himalayan salt - both available at any heath food store for only a few dollars. Use this mixture in the bath, since a slippery shower can get dangerous. Be sure to wash the tub afterwards since there will be residue left behind.

*Note: fragrances (even natural ones) can irritate the skin. Be careful with bubble bath products since soaking in a synthetic cocktail of sparkles and suds may do more harm than good.

If you use oils in the tub, you don't always need to follow up with a moisturizer. That's why this step is ideal for winter- hop out of the warm water and quickly wrap yourself up in a cozy robe.


Hair

Hair, like the skin, is absorbent. It cannot absorb silicone since those molecules are too big. So instead, they will coat the hair and give it a slippery feel, which is really only beneficial for taming frizz. 

When looking into a "repairing" and "moisturizing" hair mask, opt for pure oils (like coconut or argan) which your hair will actually absorb. Popular drugstore treatments usually contain silicone polymers like dimethicone as the first ingredient, after water. These ingredients are not harmful, they're simply a barrier which help your skin or hair retain the water it absorbs, instead of having it evaporate and dry out.



Feet and Nails

Good nail maintenance is a daily feat. I try to gently push back my cuticles on the regular and massage in Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream after washing my hands whenever I remember.

I also only scrub my feet with a pumice type stone when they are dry. It's way too hard to get good friction and buff off skin when feet are wet and the skin is more elastic. Do this before the bath, then apply a thick balm or cream right after getting out to lock in that moisture. Slip on some socks and keep them on overnight for the ultimate softening treatment.


Moisturizing Mask

After a shower or bath, balance your skin's pH with toner (best: Thayers Witch Hazel) and apply a soothing moisturizing mask, like the one from Avène featured here. I will use a clay mask every now and then, but I do find them to be quite irritating and not nearly as effective as daily exfoliation with a salicylic acid liquid. 

Another option is giving yourself a relaxing face massage with a repairing, calming and deeply hydrating oil. I'm currently using the ProGenius Treatment Oil from NUDE, which is simply divine. Here is my favourite tutorial on perfecting the ideal face massage technique. 


Shampooing

Here are a few tips I've put into practice that completely got rid of my dry scalp issues and improved my hair's condition overall:

1. Don't use extremely hot water. It dries out your skin/scalp and can cause dandruff. Use warm water instead, which also helps to preserve hair colour. 

2. Use a clarifying shampoo a few times per month. This will eliminate any product build-up and keep your hair feeling fresh.

3. Make sure to fully wet your hair before shampooing and completely distribute the shampoo through your hair - behind the ears, nape of your neck, crown of your head, etc. Only keeping shampoo at the top of your head can also cause dandruff from over-washing one specific area.


If you make it a point to do anything differently this month, just try out a spa night. I almost guarantee that your spirits will be lifted and stress will be reduced. Because "studies have shown that a person who looks happy is perceived as more attractive than the same person who looks sad, says Dayan. So do something kind for someone [and yourself!]. While you're at it, smile. And, for Pete's sake, be sure you're wearing sunscreen." - O Magazine

xx
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