The wintery days are upon on us, and we are very likely still somewhat limited in where we can go and what we can do, due to the pandemic. So, I thought I would share some easy home recipes for spa-like self care you can create at home, or wherever you are. I hope you enjoy them!
Usually there would be a long intro story here to paint a nice picture in your mind about all the amazing ways you can benefit from good wholesome self care. But instead of taking up your time with another tale of something you probably already know about, I’ll just get right to the ingredients and recipes!
If you want to read up some more on self care in general or other recipes for DIY bliss and mental health you can check out these:
Prioritizing Your Mental Health When the World Feels Chaotic
24 Spa Treatments You Can Do at Home
Simple Detox Ingredients You Probably Have in Your Home
- Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulfate) – this form of magnesium is great for relieving stress and promoting serotonin production, and reduces the effects of adrenaline. Softens skin, soothes muscle aches, and has natual cleaning and anti-bacterial properties.
- Bentonite Clay – has antibacterial properties and fights off various pathogens. It contains helpful elements including calcium, magnesium, silica, sodium, copper iron and potassium. Nourishes skin.
- Powdered Milk – contains alpha hydroxy acid, cleanses and exfoliates skin, calms skin from irritants.
- Coconut Oil – a natural cleanser it also soothes inflammation, provides antioxidants, and moisturizes skin.
- Baking Soda – balances water to a more alkaline pH level. Can reduce skin irritation and itching, and also provide detoxifying benefits.
Detoxifying Essential Oils to Keep On Hand:
- Juniper Berry
The Basics of Mixing
These really are meant to be simple, stress-free recipies you can throw together in a few minutes or prep ahead of time and keep ready to use. However, make sure you use the right equipment and storage to get the best results.
I try to always use a clear glass bowl and silicone spoon/spatula when mixing body care ingredients as some react to certain plastics and metals and may give you poorer results. For instance, if you mix in your bentonite clay using certain metal spoons you can negate some of the natural healing properties. I don’t know all the science behind it, but there are chemical reactions happening that go unnoticed by our naked eye and they definitely effect the outcomes. Plastics are known to deteriorate from essential oil exposure also, so the safest bets are glass, silicone, or wood.
For storage after you have mixed your goodies I like to re-purpose glass jars – we usually have plenty after a few weeks of meal prepping with our little farm fam. You could also use paper or plastic bags to package up the shower steamers, but the rest of these recipes stay best in closed glass jars.
When mixing, the same principles of baking apply – keep your dry ingredients separate and mix those first, then incorporate the wet stuff. That’s about the only “rule”.
These recipes are a guideline, feel free to substitute or skip elements or try your own blend of essential oils. The measurements don’t have to be exact, you can even eyeball it and just mix it up in the jar as you go if you wish.
A Bit About Quality
If you know any “oily ladies”, you know there are many many brands of essential oils out there. It is hard to know which are worth the extra money or not. I don’t have a hard steadfast answer for that one.
I have used oils from Walgreens and the grocery store, some small batch high end brands, and all the way to therapeutic grade wholesalers. That being said, I can tell you the price doesn’t indicate quality. The source does. So check out what distilleries your fave brand is using (or owns in many cases) and also see if they provide a certificate of analysis for their oils. These spec sheets will show the plant origin, particular species, and also notes the ratio or % of all elements present in the sample tested. This will show how much of the “oil” is actually the specific essential oil you are wanting, and how much other “filler” elements are in the mix.
For individual use, some trusted brands I would recommend are Revive if you are buying online, or find who in your tribe is a Young Living or Doterra oily gal. I would not recommend oils on your skin that you cannot determine the source or look at the analysis of. Those are fine for diffusing for the nice smell it provides, but you lose many of the therapeutic properties the more the oil has been “stepped on”. The point of these recipes are to help detox your system and recharge your inner batteries, so you want to use the best available oils.
Coconut Glow Scrub
2 c. coconut oil (softened but not hot)
1 c. Epsom Salt
10 drops Lavender
10 drops Juniper Oil
Slightly melt the coconut oil if it is solid, but you want it just to the liquid stage – NOT hot. Mix in the epsom salts until well incorporated. Add your essential oils and finish mixing. Store in an air-tight container.
For best results, apply to skin and massage in small circles, moving outward from the body – shoulders out to hands, thighs down to the feet, etc. Rinse off. (I put this on while IN the shower, but before I turn the water on, as it can get messy.)
Detox and Relax Milk Bath
2 c. Powdered Milk (your choice – coconut, whole, goat, etc.)
1 c. Epsom Salts
1/2 c. Bentonite Clay
1/2 c. Baking Soda
6 drops Lavender 6 drops Frankinsence
Mix milk, salts, and clay until well incorporated, then add essential oils and continue mixing. Store in an air-tight container.
Add a few tablespoons to a hot bath and enjoy the enveloping serene bliss.
Refreshing and Clarifying Shower Steamers
** Full Disclosure Warning – this the HARDEST recipe here – but also one of my absolute faves! Just be sure you prep these ahead of time and make enough to keep the whole family stocked.
1 c. Baking Soda
1/3 c. Citric Acid
1/4 c. Corn Starch or Arrowroot Powder
10 drops each: Lemon, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, and Grapefruit
Witch Hazel in small spritzer bottle
Small molds – silicone ice trays or candy molds work great!
Mix your dry ingredients and then add the essential oil. Not too hard, right?
Now, this is the tricky part – that citric acid is going to want to fizz up when it gets wet, but you need to moisten this mixture ever so slightly to be able to shape into the molds. The perfect consistency is similar to wet sand and holds its shape when squeezed. If it’s too dry, use one hand to spritz the mixture with witch hazel and one to mix. Continue spritzing until the mixture holds its shape. Pack into molds and let set at least 24 hours.
Toss a cube into the corner of your shower, the warm water will activate the ingredients and turn your humble shower into your own therapy sauna.
Refreshing Foot Soak
1 c. Epsom Salt
1/2 c. Himalayan or Sea Salt (optional)
1/2 c. Baking Soda
1 tbl. Jojoba, Olive, or other oil of choice (liquid at room temp works best)
5 drops each: Tea Tree, Lavender, and Peppermint
Mix salts and baking soda until well blended and keep in a jar ready to use. Keep oil of choice and essential oils handy.
Fill foot bath with warm water and a spoonful of the salt mix and stir around. Then and add jojoba oil and essential oils directly to the warm water. Soak your tired achy soles.