Money & Wellness: Fabulous, affordable, natural spa facials at home

There's no better time to take a moment for yourself than in winter. And one of the easiest, most affordable ways to do that is with an all-natural at-home facial.

First and foremost, lock up the kids and your partner-in-life. Send them off to a museum or some activity that buys you a couple hours. Remember: recharging benefits not only you but those around you, since it renews your energy and frees your mind. And your skin will glow with a big fat thank you of satisfaction!

What You'll Need:
  • A comfortable place.
  • 1 large towel.
  • Optional (for steaming): lemon, rose, lavender, chamomile, peppermint, thyme, rosemary, lime.
  • Mask ingredients: oatmeal, honey, water.
  • Moisturizer: olive oil.
  1. Sanctuary: Establish a place of calm and beauty. This is where you will sit and steam your face (step 3). Choose a spot that's comfortable for you and has a table: a seat at your dining room table, perhaps. Claim this spot with a fresh flower, or a dozen, or any object that represents tranquility to you. Some other ideas include candles, a plush clean white towel folded to make a place-mat, or a collection of dried herbs in a vase. Don't forget to turn off the TV and put on some classical music, like Satie's Gymnopedie, or vintage Sarah McLachlan -- we've all been there.
  2. Cleanse: Always begin a facial with a clean face. Wash your face as you normally do, as long as it's not a scrub -- save that for later!
  3. Steam: To open up and unclog your pores, steam your face. Simply heat three cups of water until it just begins to boil. Use caution and don't burn yourself! Make sure you pour the hot water carefully, using kitchen mitts, into a large bowl at your steam station (from step 1). Drop some herbs into the bowl: Thyme, peppermint, and lemon work best for oily skin while chamomile is gentle on sensitive skin. Rosemary, rose, and lavender are great for normal skin types. With the towel over your head, hold your head above the water so you can breathe comfortably without being overcome with steam. Stop if it gets too hot or feels uncomfortable. Recommended time: three minutes.
  4. Mask: There are lots of ways to make a spa-treatment mask at home. To keep things simple, we're going to focus on oatmeal, which is great for exfoliating your skin. Mix a third cup of regular or instant oatmeal with a half cup of water--cook and let cool. Mix in a fourth cup of honey into the cooled cooked oatmeal then massage onto your face, avoiding the eyes. Rest used teabags or cucumber slices on your eyes to moisturize. (You can find more info on this mask recipe and a lemon-based one here. And here are some more great all-natural recipes for facial masks). Rinse the mask off after 7-10 minutes or earlier if it feels more comfortable. Make sure to splash your face with cold water a couple times to help seal those pores.
  5. Moisturize: Making moisturizer at home calls for ingredients not commonly found in the kitchen. To finish off this facial, feel free to use your daily moisturizer or dab a tiny bit of olive oil across your face. Or, if you feel like cooking, check out ways to make moisturizer here and here.
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