Create the Spa Experience at Home! (<i>cont'd</i>)
Oils that balance and soothe include lavender, chamomile, niaouli and ylang-ylang. Essential oils to revitalize, stimulate and invigorate include peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, basil and juniper. (Most commercially sold essential oils are diluted with a carrier oil like sweet almond oil for topical application.)
Body Scrubs and Basic Cleansing
Step one is to gently dry brush the skin to increase circulation and stimulate the lymphatic system to eliminate toxins and excess water. Brush with two or three drops of a stimulating essential oil; brush lightly but cover your whole body. This is effective either before or after your morning shower.
Drops of an essential oil may be added to bath salts and used either in the bath — 5 to 12 drops — or after a shower as a gentle exfoliating scrub. Slough off the dead skin cells with wide circular strokes. Remember that you are not sand papering a piece of furniture! Gentle is the key word here. If too vigorous, the action will cause inflammation, which accelerates the aging process and counteracts the benefits of the home spa. Done correctly, you will uncover a glowing, healthy complexion from head to toe.
Another type of body scrub popular in European and Asian spas is the "gommage," or salt glow. Mix one ounce of ground sea salt with twelve drops of a stimulating essential oil such as juniper, grapefruit, lemon or thyme. Make a paste by adding enough water to spread easily. Apply to the entire body with a loofah or terry washcloth in brisk circular strokes, especially on hips and thighs.
This salt scrub will exfoliate dead skin cells, cleanse the pores, activate capillary and lymphatic circulation and boost the elimination of toxins.
This is especially effective for weight problems and areas of the body that store excess water and fat, such as thighs and upper arms. Follow with a warm shower and a brisk drying with a cotton towel. When dry, apply an anti-oxidant body toning lotion to the body — not the face — for firming and toning.
The skin on the face is thinner and more delicate than that on the body and needs to be treated with extreme care and gentleness. Avoid extremely hot water, harsh soaps and drying cleansers.