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Over the last month in lockdown, I’ve come to realise how much I need pampering. Not only do I look better with a little TLC, I *feel* better. I’ve come to realise it’s an important part of my self-care. After trying various masks and treatments, I indulged in a whole spa day at home last weekend. It felt very indulgent and helped my mental health. It felt therapeutic and I want to share how you can create a spa day at home.
I’m going to share my top tips and treatments to create a full day of pampering at home. To really make this a special experience, I love to light candles to create a beautiful scent in my space and put on a good playlist with chill-out music. A spa experience is as much about what your senses experience as well as the actual treatments. Once you’ve set the mood, I slip into my favourite fluffy robe and slippers and have a good book to hand. If I want to create an extra special spa treatment, I’ll make a jug of water with cucumber and fresh mint to sip on between treatments.
My hair is always my crowning glory. As long as my hair looks good, I don’t mind nipping out of the house with no makeup on while wearing joggers. I’ve been struggling with my hair colour regrowth during the lockdown and I’m very self-conscious about my dark roots. Rather than taking a risk on a dodgy home bleach situation, I’ve decided to invest in repairing my hair and improving the condition. There are three products I use which make a huge difference to the condition, manageability and strength of my hair.
The first step is a pre-shampoo treatment. One of my holy grail products in Phillip Kingsley Elasticizer. It’s a pre-shampoo treatment which was created for none other than Audrey Hepburn to revive her tresses. It brings elasticity, manageability, shine and bounce back into your hair. I love it so much I have a 1-litre bottle in my bathroom.
It’s best applied to damp hair so I add water to my hair in the sink, squeeze out the excess and apply a couple of pumps of Elastizer to my hair. I then cover my hair with a shower cap, the heat helps the product to absorb. I try to leave it on my hair for a couple of hours then wash it out as normal. I have written a full review of Phillip Kingsley Elasticizer too.
I’ve ditched traditional shampoo in favour of co-washing my hair. This essentially means using a gentle conditioner to cleanse your scalp and hair instead of a harsh shampoo which strips your hair. My favourite is As I Am Coconut Cowash Cleansing Conditioner. It contains coconut oil, castor oil and saw palmetto which are super nourishing. I spend about 5 minutes applying the co-wash and giving my scalp a massage to stimulate my hair follicles. I’m going to write a full post on co-washing soon so keep an eye out!
After using a co-wash, I use my regular conditioner. I like Pureology’s Strength Cure conditioner as it’s sulphate-free and vegan. It contains antioxidants and ceramides to help restore strength and repair your hair. After conditioner, I apply a light hair oil while my hair is still damp to seal in the moisture. My favourite is By Erim, which contains a potent mixture of oils including amla, coconut, argan, castor and sweet almond. It’s very nourishing but super lightweight. I apply a couple of pumps to my lengths and ends.
When I’m doing a spa day at home, I like to do two masks. I love using a clay mask to draw out impurities and follow this up with a nourishing mask to hydrate my skin.
My Holy Grail clay mask is the Super Volcanic mask by Korean brand Innisfree. The mask uses volcanic ash from Jeju Island, walnut shell powder and AHAs to deep cleanse and improve your skin’s texture. After using this mask, my skin always feels super clean and my skin is noticeably smoother. My skin never feels tight or dehydrated, unlike other clay masks I’ve used.
For a more intensive ‘home facial’ I like using Korean brand Hanacure’s Multi-action treatment mask, if I have any to hand. It’s $29 for a single application so fairly expensive for a home treatment, it’s also not available in the UK and fairly difficult to get hold of in the US. I try to pick up a couple of packs when I visit the US as a treat for my skin if I’ve got a big event coming up.
It’s a favourite of the likes of Drew Barrymore and January Jones, you’ve likely seen viral pictures of them both with a mysterious mask that makes them look 50 years older than they are. That’s the Hanacure mask. It’s an intensive treatment which aims to completely transform your skin in a single application. The kit comes with two separate ingredients which need to be mixed, it’s then applied with the enclosed brush. There’s enough in a single treatment to cover your face, neck and decolletage.
It takes about 30 minutes for the mask to dry, during which it tightens and can be a little uncomfortable. The active ingredient is the CO2 OctoLift compound mimics an intensive salon facial. When I wash the mask off, my skin is noticeably clearer, brighter, lighted and it has a slightly contoured effect. My skin usually feels a little dry after and can be a little pink but the effects are worth it.
After using a detoxing and deep cleansing mask, I like to give a little something back. I follow them up with a sheet mask – I rate Peach & Lily, Dr Jart and Eborian. I adore cult favourite Summer Fridays Jetlag mask. It’s super nourishing, thanks to a potent combination of vitamins, ceramides and antioxidants. I like leaving this mask on overnight to work its magic but it works equally well left on for a couple of hours. It leaves my skin feeling plump, nourished and hydrated.
I usually leave my masking here, but if I’ve got a Zoom date I’ll add a hydrating eye mask to my routine. My favourite is Good Molecules Caffeine Energizing Hydrogel Eye Patches. As the name suggests, they’re infused with 1% caffeine to firm, brighten and reduce puffiness. They also include liquorice extract, peptides and aloe vera to help brighten dark circles and plump up fine lines. They help my eyes look brighter and more wide-awake in just 10 minutes.
After all that masking, I apply L’occitane’s hydrating Immortelle Reset serum-oil to further nourish my skin and of course sunscreen. My Holy Grail is Heliocare 360 SPF50.
As nice as Western spa days are, when it comes to body care they don’t come close to Moroccan or Korean spas. My favourite treatment is the scrub down with an exfoliating mitt. The first time I experienced a Moroccan hammam, I didn’t know what to expect. I enjoyed hanging out in the marble steam room and showering with Moroccan black soap. I was not prepared to lay on a warm marble slab while a middle-aged Moroccan woman scrubbed me to within an inch of my life. The embarrassment of being surrounded by layers of dead skin quickly passed when I felt my baby soft skin. Korean spas have a similar treatment and it’s one of the most satisfying things you can experience in a spa.
Although I don’t have a steam room or a lady to give me a scrub down, I have invested in a Korean Italy mitt so I can recreate a spa day at home. I tend to spend 10 minutes in the shower, without any shower gel. This helps to soften the skin. I then put the mitts on and meticulously set to work scrubbing my body from top-to-toe. I tend to do this once a week or once a fortnight. I follow up the scrub with a nourishing body wash, my favourite is L’Occitane’s almond shower oil.
After my shower, I follow up with either LIHA Beauty’s Ildan body oil or Diptique’s body lotion. Both of them have a gorgeous scents which lasts all day. The Ildan oil is my favourite, the coconut oil has been infused with tuberose which is such a beautiful scent.
I promise the combination of a good scrub and hydrating body oil will leave your skin so soft you won’t be able to stop stroking it.
I have to admit, I’m no good at shaping my nails. This is the one job I need to leave up to a professional. So while we’re in lockdown, I’m keeping my nails short and neat but I’m using Cowshed’s Manicure Set to keep my hands soft, especially with all the hand washing I’m doing. I rub cuticle oil onto my cuticles to keep them moisturised then follow up with a hydrating hand cream. For a more intensive treatment, I slip on some cotton gloves.
If I’m extra bored or want to shoot some content with my hands, I’ll glue on Elegant touch stiletto nails for some length and glamour. My own nails are kept short til I can visit a nail salon.
I’ve saved the best til last. I love getting a pedicure and feel it’s a necessary part of my pampering routine, my poor feet are forever in heels and it feels like the least I can do to treat them.
My ultimate home treatment for feet is an exfoliating foot mask. No, not the hydrating kind. The ones which exfoliate your feet and leave you with layers of skin peeling off. My best I’ve tried is Footner Exfoliating Socks, which is a cult favourite. The pack comes with two little plastic booties infused with various (safe) acids. Simply snip off the top, slip your feet in, tape up and give your feet 60 minutes to soak in the acid. Afterwards, simply rinse off in the shower.
Unlike the other treatments I’ve highlighted in my spa day at home routine, the Footner exfoliating mask takes 14 days to work. You won’t notice any difference for the first 5 days. However, from the 6th day, life gets interesting. By interesting I mean your feet start peeling in the most disgusting-yet-fascinating way. My feeling started with my toes, moved onto the soles of my feet and finally the top. Layers of skin fall away to reveal fresh, baby-soft feet. My top tip is to wear socks and hoover regularly during the peeling process, which lasts about a week. Trust me, it’s well worth seven days of skin peeling.
And there you have it, a top-to-toe guide to creating your spa day at home. If you’re interested in more beauty content I’ve also shared my morning skincare routine as well as my hydrating evening skincare routine.