Have your summer vacation plans been squelched by your pocketbook? Why not pamper yourself with your own at-home spa day? Itʼs easier and more economical than you might think and you probably have plenty of the products you need in your bathroom cabinets. If not, quality spa products are as close as your nearest pharmacy or big box store.
Unlike a day at the spa, you can experience your at-home spa over and over again just by re-using your products and gadgets. Plus, Mother Nature gives us free heat in the summer months that we can use to our advantage.
Exposing yourself to heat makes you sweat and that has many well-known health benefits. Sweating is said to increase circulation, cleanse pores, make muscles more supple and provide pain relief.
You can use summer’s heat to help you look and feel more youthful, but remember that prolonged direct sun exposure will age you. In fact, many people are under the misconception that you can’t get sun damage on a cloudy day. You can.
“Ultraviolet rays come right through the clouds that block the visible light rays. Never forget that ultraviolet is invisible and you cannot use less visible light as an indicator of less ultraviolet light,” explains Tampa, Florida dermatologist Henry E. Wiley III, M.D. It’s the invisible ultraviolet rays that wreak havoc on your skin, causing wrinkles, discoloration, skin roughness and more.
At-home spa tips
1. Deep condition your hair. When your hair cuticles become dry and damaged, they can result in a dull, frizzy look. Deep conditioning your hair allows the cuticles to lie flat, restoring shine and youth with longer-lasting results than you get by simply using conditioner in the shower for a few minutes.
On a particularly hot day, clip newly washed, towel-dried hair into sections. Release one section at a time, applying the conditioner of your choice to each section to ensure uniform coverage. It doesn’t have to be exact; you just want to be sure you’re not leaving out some very dry areas. Next, pile your hair on top of your head and apply plastic wrap or a plastic shower cap. (Note: Keep plastic away from your nose and mouth!)
Then, sit outside in the shade for about 15-20 minutes with a good book, magazine, iPad or anything that passes the time. Rinse out the conditioner and style as usual.
2. Enjoy a facial mask. Regular cleansing removes surface dirt and makeup, but a facial mask will draw out impurities from beneath the top layer of your skin. Using a mask helps to unclog pores and exfoliate the dead skin cells from your face. It also helps to stimulate circulation and, depending on the product, helps hydrate and protect your skin.
Using the product of your choice, apply the facial mask and sit outside in the shade on a hot day. If you’re planning to deep condition your hair, you can save time by doing your hair and facial mask at the same time, because many masks direct you to wash off after 15-20 minutes.
Here’s an extra tip: Use some of the mask on the tops of your hands – they can show your age, too. Rinse mask according to the product directions and pat dry.
3. Get your free Vitamin D. Our bodies need Vitamin D for optimal calcium absorption. It also helps to lower blood pressure, decrease the incidence of some cancers, boost the immune system and has other healthful benefits.
The best way to get Vitamin D is from the sun. Experts say 10 to 20 minutes a day in direct sunlight is all you need to keep your levels optimal. Here’s a tip: Nowhere in the medical books does it say you must expose face, neck, chest and hands, which are the areas that can show age the most. Keep those covered.
4. Exercise in the great outdoors. Winter’s harsh conditions can force us to get our exercise in the gym or at home for months on end. With summer comes the opportunity to enjoy fresh air and warmth while exercising.
Take a walk, do some yoga, or, if you’re feeling really energetic, take a jump rope or hula hoop outside in the shade for a quick workout. Be careful when exercising outdoors if it’s super hot. Do your workout in the morning or evening and avoid the hottest part of the day. Also, be sure to keep your water handy to stay hydrated.
5. Extend that exercise to include your face. You can get a “natural” face lift at home with Cynthia Rowland’s Facial Magic facial exercise program. Just like you’d exercise your body at the gym to keep your muscles in shape, your 55 face and neck muscles need exercising, too.
“Facial Magic rejuvenates the underlying muscles with specific and targeted exercises so your face looks fresh and lifted with tight, youthful contours and better looking skin,” explains Rowland. “These exercises leave you looking like yourself, only younger.