It’s a stressful and scary time right now, as we all do our best to practice social distancing and stay at home in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 has impacted daily life in a myriad of ways, as we transition to a new routine that often consists of staying in a rather small space for 24 hours a day. While a trip to a day spa to ease some of the stress and tension isn’t in the cards anytime soon, you can still treat yourself to a little at-home relaxation right now.
We spoke with top wellness and spa experts from the most luxurious hotels around the world for their tips on how to bring some pampering and self-care into your life at home right now, using items you probably already have in your household. Below, see a few of our favorite rituals, including an at-home hammam, olive oil hair mask, coffee scrub and baking soda bath.
Take care of your mental and physical health with breathing exercises and natural treatments.
“I love doing my at-home spa treatments both on the inside and outside,” says Anna Bjurstam, Wellness Pioneer at the über luxurious Six Senses Hotels & Resorts. “A healthy ginger and lemon shot to start with, then an all-natural face mask with things I have at home, such as honey, lemon juice and oatmeal. Then do a breathing exercise that instantly calms the mind, counting three seconds breathing in and five seconds breathing out. If I can do it in a bath with magnesium flakes, that’s even better.”
Use Epsom salts and soothing music for your own spa bath.
Deb Garman, Spa Director at Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina Seawater Spa, recommends “Drawing a warm bath with Epsom salts and scent the air with lavender, vanilla or your favorite botanical for a sense of peace through the senses. Dim the lights and play relaxing, yoga music to take your mind to a serene place.”
Use household products like baking soda and Greek yogurt for baths and masks.
“Pour yourself a bath and add one-fourth cup baking soda, light some candles and listen to your favorite tunes. Adding baking soda to your bath can help relieve pain and tension and detoxify the body to boost immunity,” says Carnah Collins, Spa Manager at The Shore Club Turks & Caicos and The Palms Turks & Caicos. For a DIY face mask, “Smooth on Greek yogurt, close your eyes and relax.”
Support your immune system with Vitamin C-infused treatments.
“To stay healthy during this time, I recommend consuming a blend with lemon balm, wild orange and peppermint,” says Martina Zecca, Spa Director at Lake Como’s glamorous Grand Hotel Tremezzo T Spa. “It can be drunk as an infusion beverage or physically applied to the face as an anti-bacterial and anti-viral solution to reinforce the immune system, due to the Vitamin C included.”
Mix a face mask with orange juice and honey.
Linnea Robertson, the Spa Director at Newport Beach’s Balboa Bay Resort, recommends making your own honey citrus face mask. “It’s great for dull or tired skin, as it gives skin a bright and dewy glow. A simple at-home face mask like this will help break up your daily routine and keep your skin healthy and fresh.” Combine three tablespoons of orange juice and one-fourth cup honey, and leave the mask on for 15 minutes.
Mix a soaking bath with baking soda, oils and tea leaves.
“Add a half cup of salts, a cup of baking soda, essential oils and loose tea leaves,” Kimberly Acker, Spa Director at Belmond Cap Juluca’s Arawak Spa in Anguilla, said. “Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Crush or grind the tea leaves to open up natural oils in the plant and allow it to mix well with the salts. Once combined, run a hot bath and add three tablespoons of the mixture to the water. Soak in the tub for 15 minutes.
Give yourself a steam facial with just boiling water, a bowl and towel.
“Steam facials are a simple at-home way to cleanse your face and open up your pores. While the heat opens up the pores and softens blackheads, it’s also a chance for toxins to be removed from the skin. Place boiling water in a large bowl, with a few optional drops of your favorite essential oil. Let the water cool just a fraction,” says Pedro Castillo the Spa and Wellness Director at Eden Roc Cap Cana. “Place a towel or cloth over your head and the bowl, and sit for a few minutes. Once finished, rinse your face and apply a moisturizing mask of your choice. While the mask is on, place cucumbers over your eyes to really feel like you’re at a luxury spa! After the mask is done, wash it off and hydrate with moisturizer.”
Spend extra time on your tresses with olive oil, honey, green tea and coconut oil.
“Our hair is an amazing gift of nature. It is a natural extension of the nervous system and is said to transmit important information to the brain,” explains Marc Belmonte, the Director of Avalon Holistic Beauty Lab at Preferred Hotels’ Palmaïa – The House of Aïa in Cancun. “From a spiritual perspective, it can actually help raise the Kundalini energy (creative life force), which increases vitality, intuition and tranquility. Olive oil is one of the best ingredients for hair health, thanks to its high content of Vitamin E and antioxidant properties. It’s totally effective in stopping the damage of sun exposure on hair, while moisturizing, nourishing and providing incredible shine. Or, instead of conditioner, apply honey from the middle of the head through to the ends; it hydrates skin and combats dandruff and irritation. Leave on for a few minutes before washing thoroughly. Green tea also has magical properties. Applied directly to the scalp and hair, it stops hair loss, relieves stress and prevents premature aging. Coconut oil is a fantastic natural conditioner to reverse hair and scalp damage. After shampooing, apply three tablespoons of coconut oil to damp hair, rubbing it from roots to ends. Leave in for 30 minutes before thoroughly rinsing with warm water.”
Use sugar, oils and coffee grounds for a shower scrub.
“Make a scrub with items you are likely to already have on hand, such as sugar, coconut oil and olive oil, and if you have essential oils, you can add a few drops,” advised Christina Stephens, Spa Director at Wymara Resort and Villas in Turks & Caicos. “I love using coffee grounds and olive oil, which is good for circulation. You can apply this in the shower.”
Combine sour cream, coca powder, eggs and honey for a moisturizing face mask.
“It’s very important to exfoliate at least once or twice a week to promote skin cell renewal,” Nicole Abrahams, Expert Therapist at The Silo Spa in Cape Town, recommends using a face mask with one tablespoon of sour cream (it helps with hydration and light exfoliation), one tablespoon of cocoa powder, one tablespoon of honey and one egg white (it has a protein that tightens and firms the skin). Mix it together until its even, apply, leave on for about 15 minutes, then rinse with cool water.
Soothe skin with oats, banana and honey.
Karina Chung, Spa Director at Rosewood Miramar Beach Sense Spa, recommend using common household ingredients to help irritated skin. “To calm sensitive skin prone to inflammation, try blending raw oats into a fine scrub and mash with a ripe banana and raw honey. Massage the mix onto your face before entering the shower, allowing the steam to penetrate the pores before rinsing it off. For a gentle body scrub, try turbinado sugar mixed with your favorite nourishing body oil and a few drops of essential oils. Exfoliate areas of concern like elbows, stomach and the heels of your feet, for a DIY body scrub and pedicure in one.”
Turn your bathroom into a personal hammam.
“By turning the lights off, placing some delicately scented candles to create soft lighting and turning peaceful music on, you can recreate a luxurious spa,” advises Arnaud Durrieu, the Spa Manager at Terre Blanche Hotel’s Blanche Spa, a Leading Hotel of the World in Tourrettes, France. “Draw a warm bath, which will have the same benefits as a professional hammam. Add a few drops of perfumed oil to the bath to make your skin soft and velvety. A few minutes are enough to get the emollient effect of the warm water. Then, do a full body scrub to remove dead skin cells. An expert tip—grain body scrubs are the most common, but you can also use natural black soap and a Kassa glove. Leave the soap on for five minutes, then rinse and exfoliate with the glove. Once you’ve cleaned your skin, apply a body milk or nourishing oil.”
Whip up the Montage Signature Scrub at home with at-hand items.
“Mix together a half-cup of granulated sugar, half-cup coconut oil and half-cup essential oil,” per Patrick Huey, Spa Director for Preferred Hotels’ Montage Hotels and Resorts. “It’s nourishing for the whole body, and we recommend using this scrub on your hands—because all of the extra hand washing we are doing today, our skin can become quite dry.”
Exfoliate and moisturize your hands as much as possible right now with a homemade scrub.
To prevent dry, flaky hands from all the hand washing we’re doing right now, Victoria Franca, ESPA Skincare consultant at Leading Hotels of the World’s Acqualina Resort and Spa, recommends an at-home exfoliator. “Pour one cup of sea salt into an empty glass container and add a half cup of Coconut oil (grapeseed oil or olive oil also work). Add five to seven drops of your favorite essential oil. For a full body exfoliation, take a proper shower first, then apply the scrub on wet skin and rub in circular motions. Rinse off and pat your skin dry.”
Give yourself a spa-worthy facial at home.
An at-home facial is simple,” according to Abigail James, the Resident Facialist at The Beaumont in London. She gave us a step-by-step rundown.
Step 1: Cleanse. It’s nice to double cleanse, as we have a little more time, the first with a milk or balm, the second with a gentle wash.
Step 2: Massage with your favorite plant based oil.
Step 3: Remove the oil and exfoliate with your favorite AHA mask, toner or scrub
Step 4. Remove scrub and apply favorite face mask…sit back and relax
Step 5. Remove mask, apply favorite serum and moisturizer.
If you want to learn about James’ full facial massage routine (we do all have a bit more time now, after all), follow these directions.
Use lemon, salt, oil and vinegar to give yourself a spa manicure and pedicure treatment.
“Prepare a hand or foot bath of warm water with the juice of half a freshly squeezed lemon, to refresh and cleanse,” says Laura Bonne, director of the Amazing Space spa at Copenhagen’s famed Hotel d’Angleterre. “Mix in a teaspoon of sea salt, which acts as an antibacterial, and a teaspoon of vinegar to discourage discoloration. Soak hands or feet for six to eight minutes. Massage hands and feet for three to four minutes with a small handful of sea salt and a little warm olive oil, then wash them thoroughly.” Remove any callouses and hard skin on the soles of your feet with a “ceramic foot file” and “oily creams. Try massaging the hard skin with a nail brush right after a bath.”
Just take a deep breath.
“We are in unprecedented times and our breath is more important than ever in how we release the stress of this ‘new normal.’ I want to encourage all of you, when you start feeling heavy, to take a deep breath in through your nose and then let it out with that audible sigh, three or four times, then shift to deep breaths in through your nose and slow, steady exhales through your nose,” suggests Carrie Sotebeer, director of the spa at the West Hollywood Edition. “Find steadiness and call on a friend when you need to.”
Whip up a hair mask with avocado and eggs.
Mimma Badalamenti, the lead stylist at the Spa at Eau Palm Beach, has a home-care hair mask to help you give your tresses a little extra love right now. Smash a half of an avocado, one egg and a tablespoon of honey (if you’re blonde, add in a tablespoon of lemon juice, too), and add water to the mix. “Apply to dry hair, starting from the scalp. Leave it on for 15 minutes with a shower cap or plastic wrap, followed by a warm, moist towel for five minutes. Wash out with a light shampoo.”