On the surface, DIY beauty treatments may not seem as relaxing and fun as having a beauty treatment done by someone else. After all, most of us love being pampered by other people, and it’s relaxing to have someone else do all the work of making us feel and look beautiful.
But all that pampering is expensive, and performing your own treatments can save you quite a bit of money.
Doing beauty treatments at home can also be a lot more fun than going to a salon. Throw in some good friends, great music, and special drinks, and your DIY spa day – or night – can turn into an evening you never forget.
How to Create a Spa Atmosphere at Home
Years ago, I worked at a world-renowned spa in Asheville, North Carolina. It was an amazing facility that paid attention to every detail and consistently won awards for its customer service and high-quality treatments.
I could see customers visibly relax the moment they walked through the front door. Part of it was the soothing music and jasmine tea they were treated to when they came in, part of it was the calming essential oils that wafted into the lobby, and part of it was just knowing they were about to be pampered.
You can make your at-home spa day equally relaxing by creating a calm, soothing atmosphere before you start your DIY treatments. If you’re having friends over to share in the pampering, they will definitely appreciate your efforts. Here’s how you can turn your home into the proper setting for a spa experience.
1. Clean & Declutter
Could you relax and unwind at a spa that was cluttered and disorganized? Probably not. The same is true for your home; it will be difficult to completely relax in a cluttered, unclean environment.
You don’t have to KonMari your entire house, but cleaning and organizing the room where you’ll be doing your DIY treatments, as well as the bathroom, will make your experience more enjoyable.
2. Prepare Special Drinks
Most spas offer guests speciality refreshments when they arrive. These could be gourmet tea, sparkling fruit juice, or herbal or fruit-infused water.
Whether you’re doing an at-home spa day alone or inviting friends over, a special drink is a must. If you decide to make some herbal or fruit-infused water, keep in mind that it needs to steep for an hour or more, so you’ll need to prepare it in advance.
Cooking Light has a list of wonderful infused water recipes. One of my favorites is their orange, grape, and basil. It sounds like a strange combination, but it tastes amazing; I usually have it steeping in my refrigerator all summer. This infused water is a delicious combination that even my kids love.
You could also create a tea station if you’re having friends over. Set up a table with hot water or an electric kettle, pretty teacups, and relaxing herbal teas, such as peppermint, lavender, or chamomile.
You can even opt to create a party atmosphere by serving wine – or champagne if you’re feeling decadent.
3. Create a Soothing Atmosphere
Put on some relaxing music. Light candles or dim the lights. Bring in some plants. In short, spend a few minutes turning your living or bedroom into an oasis you’ll actually want to relax in.
If you have one, turn on an essential oil diffuser. I have an ASAKUKI diffuser, and it’s an affordable model that works really well. Essential oils that are known to be soothing include lavender, eucalyptus, and rose. Other oils such as peppermint, lemon, grapefruit, and lemongrass create a more energizing atmosphere and will help your home smell very fresh and inviting.
You can also create a soothing atmosphere using tea lights, which are less expensive than taller candles. If you have some empty wide-mouth mason jars lying around, put a layer of smooth stones in the bottom of each jar, add a layer of flower petals or herbs from your garden – rose petals, lavender, or rosemary work well – and then fill the jar with water up to the petals. Put in a tea light and ignite it with a stick lighter. It’s an inexpensive way to make your home look like a spa resort.
Tip: Implement a strict “no cell phone” policy for your spa day. Whether you’re going it alone or having friends over, the experience will be much more relaxing if you’re not allowed to stare at your phone.
4. Ask Friends to Pitch In
If you have friends coming over for your spa day, have them bring some items to contribute. Of course, they’ll need their own robes, pajamas, or sweatpants, as well as slippers. But you can also ask them to bring some ingredients for the treatments you’ll all be doing to help offset costs.
You could also ask everyone to bring a candle, relaxing playlist, or homemade dessert to share. And if you don’t have your own essential oil diffuser, one of your friends might be able to bring one for the evening.
At-Home Spa Treatments
If you Google “spa day at home,” you’ll find list after list of expensive beauty products you can use to make your hands and skin look like they did when you were 20. Purchasing just a few of these can be as expensive as getting a premium facial at a salon.
You don’t have to buy a ton of overpriced luxury beauty products to feel and look amazing. You can make incredible beauty treatments using fresh ingredients you likely already have at home.
While there are plenty of recipes online, it also helps to have a resource book to consult, especially if you plan on doing this on a regular basis. One of my favorite at-home beauty books is “Return to Beauty” by Narine Nikogosian. I’ve used some of the recipes in it, like the Honey Milk Cleanser, for years with great results. The biggest benefit of Nikogosian’s recipes is that they’re simple (most have only three to five ingredients), easy to prepare, and use fresh fruits, vegetables, and pantry staples you probably already have on hand. It’s a great book for beginners who want to learn how to create at-home beauty treatments with natural ingredients.
Another favorite is “Organic Body Care Recipes” by Stephanie Tourles. It has 175 recipes that are more complex and contain lots of ingredients, some of which are specialty items that most people won’t have already have. Tourles’ book dives into great detail with these ingredients, explaining why they’re so beneficial to our bodies, and provides fantastic information on how to keep your skin, hair, and nails healthy and strong as you age. It’s better for those looking to create more complex and multi-faceted organic beauty products at home.
1. DIY Facials
Nothing says “beauty treatment” more than a facial. And there are many wonderful recipes that are easy and affordable to make at home. The best of these can help you forget a bad day at work and leave your skin looking like you just got back from a fabulous vacation.
Beginning your at-home spa day with a facial steam is the best way to start relaxing. A facial steam not only helps you unwind and leave stress behind, but it also opens your pores so that the mask you apply is even more effective.
- A large bowl
- Very hot (but not boiling) water
- Some fresh herbs (such as rosemary or lavender) or a few drops of essential oils
- A medium-size towel
- Pour the hot water into the bowl and add the fresh herbs or essential oil of your choice.
- Put your face over the bowl and drape the towel over your head so that it covers the bowl as well, trapping the steam.
- Put your face near the water and breathe in the steam for at least 10 minutes.
Soothing Oat & Honey Mask
Oats and honey are timeless remedies for aging skin. If you’re starting to notice some fine lines or your skin is particularly dry, try this mask first.
- ¼ cup oats
- ? cup hot water
- 1 tablespoon honey
- A few drops of lavender essential oil (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of carrier oil, such as jojoba or almond oil (optional)
- Blend the oats and warm water in a blender or food processor until well blended. Add honey.
- If you’re using essential oil for scent, stir the oil and the carrier oil together in a separate bowl and then add them to the oats-and-honey mix. Mix well.
- Apply to face while still warm and leave on for at least 15 minutes. Rinse well with warm water.
Tip: You can easily double or triple this recipe if you’re having friends over for spa night.
This recipe comes from She Uncovered, and while you might not have all of these ingredients on hand, they’re pretty affordable, especially if you get them on Amazon. If you’re having friends over, some of them may have at least one of these ingredients.
- ½ teaspoon matcha green tea powder (such as this one from Amazon)
- ½ teaspoon bentonite clay powder (such as this one on Amazon)
- 2 activated charcoal capsules, opened and emptied (such as these on Amazon)
- 2 teaspoons water
- In a small bowl, combine the matcha green tea, bentonite clay, and activated charcoal.
- Slowly add water and stir to combine.
- Clean your face with regular cleanser and leave slightly damp.
- Spread the mask over your entire face, avoiding contact with eyes.
- Leave the mask on for 15 minutes. It will dry and harden.
- Wash face with a washcloth and warm water to remove the mask.
- Apply moisturizer.
Uneven Skin Tone Mask
This recipe comes from Elle, and it works wonders for improving uneven skin tone and achieving a wonderfully soft texture. The lactic acid in yogurt is especially effective at exfoliating dead skin cells to reveal newer, brighter cells.
- 1 tablespoon natural, plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
- Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.
- Apply to clean face, let sit for 20 minutes, and then rinse well with warm water.
Hydrating Avocado Face Mask
Avocados are full of healthy fats that work wonders on your skin, particularly when it’s dried out from the sun or neglect.
- Half an avocado
- 2 teaspoons honey
- Mix both ingredients in a bowl, mashing the avocado well with a fork.
- Apply to clean face.
- Let the mask sit for 20 minutes, then rinse well with warm water and a washcloth.
Acne-Fighting Cinnamon Flax Exfoliating Face Scrub
This recipe comes from Hello Glow, and it’s great to use if your skin is on the oily side or you need some deep exfoliation.
- 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- ¼ cup plain yogurt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
- Appy to clean face and let sit for at least 10 minutes.
- Rinse well with warm water and a washcloth.
Amazing Grapefruit Moisturizer
This recipe comes from “Return to Beauty,” and it’s one of my favorite at-home moisturizers. The moisture really soaks deeply into your skin and makes it glow.
- 1 tablespoon cottage cheese
- ½ egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon grapefruit juice
- Add all ingredients except grapefruit juice to a blender and blend well.
- Add grapefruit juice and blend briefly to combine.
- Apply on a clean face.
2. DIY Manicure
Well-manicured nails can help you feel polished and put-together. Follow the steps below to give yourself – or a friend – a perfect at-home manicure.
Step 1: Prep Nails
Prep your nails by getting rid of any dirt or debris that may be lodged under the nails or around the cuticles. You might want to apply some hand cream at this point to make sure that dry-looking hands won’t detract from your newly manicured nails.
Step 2: File Nails
File your nails into shape with a nail file, but be careful not to use a “see-sawing” back-and-forth motion, which can make your nails weaker and more prone to breaking. As long as you’re using a good-quality nail file, you should be able to file in one direction only without taking much longer than you would with a “see-saw” action.
Step 3: Moisturize Cuticles
Apply a dab of cuticle cream or oil to soften your cuticles so they’re more receptive to being pushed back. Massaging a small amount of cuticle oil into your cuticles also encourages blood flow to the nail bed for better circulation.
Instead of buying special cuticle oil, you can save money by using olive oil, coconut oil, or Vitamin E oil. Just be careful with these oils; if you get them on your nails, it might prevent the polish from sticking. Before applying polish, wipe your nails carefully to remove any oils.
Step 4: Trim Cuticles
Soak your hands in warm water for a few minutes and then use a cuticle stick to gently push back your cuticles. Create a spa-like experience by adding some Epsom salts or essential oils to the water.
Some DIY manicure instructions recommend that you trim your cuticles with a cuticle cutter after soaking them, but be careful doing so because it’s all too easy to damage your cuticles accidentally.
Step 5: Buff Nails
Buffing your nails is another way to improve circulation to the nail bed and encourage a healthy, pink sheen. Beauty experts often suggest that you only do it once per week to avoid weakening your nails. But this is one step that really pays off; after buffing, your nails will look shiny and healthy.
Buffing your nails is a quick and easy process. All you need to do is rub a fine-grit nail buffer (such as these from Amazon) across your nails. Rub the buffer in an “X” pattern across each nail. Aim for gentle pressure, and only stroke about six times per nail to avoid damage.
Step 6: Apply Polish
Wipe your nails with nail polish remover to get rid of any grease and then apply a high-quality base coat to help your nail polish last longer. If you’ll be using a dark or bold polish color, a good base coat can also protect against staining your nails.
When it comes to applying your nail polish, aim to use three even strokes: one down either side and one down the middle. Don’t load the brush with too much polish; most experts say that two coats is enough to build up a decent degree of coverage that isn’t too thick. It’s hard to do a perfect application, but you can easily erase any mistakes by dabbing a cotton swab in nail polish remover and applying it to the mistakes.
Step 7: Apply a Top Coat
Applying a top coat at the end gives a glossy shine and “seals” your nail polish. Opt for the quick-dry variety to minimize the chance of ruining your efforts while the top coat is drying.
Step 8: Apply Cuticle Cream
Applying cuticle cream after your polish has dried completely will not only moisturize the delicate skin around your nails, but it will also leave your hands looking fresh and young. Many cuticle creams also smell amazing.
3. DIY Cuticle Cream
This cuticle cream recipe comes from Wellness Mama. While you might not have everything on hand, if you ask your friends, you may be able to gather everything you need without having to buy any ingredients.
This recipe makes a fair amount of cuticle cream, and you only need a small amount, so there will be plenty of leftovers to use in the future. If you double or triple the batch, you’ll have plenty to send home with your friends.
- A heatproof bowl
- A small pot
- 5 drops Vitamin E oil
- 4 ½ teaspoons sweet almond oil
- 1 teaspoon beeswax
- 3 drops lavender essential oil
- 5 drops lemon essential oil
- 3 drops orange essential oil
- A small glass jar or tin
- Fill the pot halfway with water. Perch the glass bowl on top to make a double boiler.
- In the glass bowl, combine the sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, and beeswax. Heat and stir until the beeswax is completely melted. The water does not have to be boiling, just hot enough to melt the beeswax.
- Remove the bowl from the heat and carefully wipe away all moisture from the outside of the bowl. This will prevent any water from getting into the cream as you pour it.
- Stir in the Vitamin E oil and all essential oils. Immediately pour the cream into your glass jar or tin. Allow it to cool at room temperature until firm.
4. DIY Pedicure
There’s nothing more relaxing than a nice pedicure. Here’s how you can enjoy one at home at a fraction of the price of a fancy spa.
Step 1: Soak & Prep Your Feet
Soak your feet in warm water before you begin the pedicure; a wash bowl can be ideal for this.
Add some Epsom salts or essential oils, such as peppermint, to rejuvenate your feet. Remove any old nail polish and clip your toenails if necessary. Always clip them straight across to avoid the possibility of ingrown toenails. Once your feet have been nicely soaked, push back your cuticles.
Listerine Foot Soak
Some people swear that using Listerine mouthwash as a foot soak works amazingly for removing dead skin, especially on heels.
- 1 cup Listerine
- 1 cup vinegar (regular or apple cider)
- 2 cups warm water
Simply soak your feet for 10 to 15 minutes.
Peppermint Foot Scrub
Peppermint oil makes your skin feel tingly and refreshed, and this is a wonderful scrub if your feet are feeling tired and swollen. You can also use it as a foot soak by adding ¼ cup of the scrub to 2 quarts of hot water.
- ½ cup granulated sugar or 1 cup Epsom salts
- ¼ cup baking soda
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 5 to 10 drops (or more) peppermint essential oil
- Combine sugar (or salts) in a medium bowl. Stir to combine.
- Melt coconut oil in the microwave and pour it into the bowl, mixing well to combine.
- Add peppermint oil while mixing, stopping when the scent is to your liking.
- Store in an airtight container for up to six months.
Step 2: Exfoliate
Use a foot file or pumice stone to remove hard and dead skin from your feet, particularly your heels.
Step 3: Apply Nail Polish
Toe separators (such as these from Amazon) make things a lot easier when you’re applying nail polish to your toenails. As with your nails, apply a base coat before you put the polish on, and finish with a top coat. Give the polish plenty of time to dry before you move on to the next step.
Step 4: Moisturize
Slather your feet with some deep-moisturizing foot lotion to keep them soft; olive oil or coconut oil works especially well. To intensify the moisturizing experience, do this right before you go to bed and pop a pair of cotton socks on. The socks will help to retain heat as you sleep so that the cream or lotion can really do its job.
4. DIY Body Treatments
Making your own body scrub or lotion is an easy and fun DIY project; it’s also a healthier, cheaper alternative to store-bought versions. And if you’re having people over for your spa day, you can whip some up the day before to have plenty to send home with your friends as a gift.
This recipe comes from Wellness Mama. It’s a great one to try if you’ve never made your own lotion before, and when it’s finished, it can last six months or longer if stored in a cool, dry environment.
- A heatproof bowl
- A small pot
- ½ cup almond or jojoba oil (such as this one or this one from Amazon)
- ¼ cup coconut oil (such as this one from Amazon)
- ¼ cup beeswax (such as this one from Amazon)
- 1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil (such as this one from Amazon)
- 2 tablespoons shea butter or coconut butter (such as this one or this one from Amazon)
- Any essential oil of your choice for scent (optional)
- Small glass jars or tins
- Fill the pot halfway with water. Perch the glass bowl on top to make a double boiler.
- Combine almond oil or jojoba oil, coconut oil, and beeswax in the glass bowl. If using shea or cocoa butter, add it as well.
- As the ingredients melt, stir occasionally to ensure even mixing.
- When all ingredients are completely melted, add vitamin E oil and any essential oils you want to include.
- Pour the lotion into the small jar or tin. Small mason jars work perfectly for this. Wellness Mama cautions that you should not pour this lotion into a container with a hand pump; the lotion is too thick to work effectively in the pump.
Wellness Mama advises that this lotion is ultra-moisturizing, so you won’t need to use too much; a little goes a long way. It’s also a great lotion to use on a diaper rash or eczema.
DIY Body Scrub
Homemade body scrubs remove dead skin and giving you a healthy “glow.”
Using a body scrub in the shower is great. However, certain ingredients – including oats, coffee grounds, and nut shells – don’t dissolve in water and can quickly clog your drain. It’s important to use a body scrub that contains sea salt or sugar, both of which dissolve easily in water.
The following recipe comes from Little House Living, and I love it for one simple reason: it won’t clog the drain. It’s also simple and inexpensive to make.
- 1 cup fine sea salt (such as this one from Amazon)
- ½ cup carrier oil (such as olive, almond, coconut, or jojoba oil)
- 5 to 15 drops of essential oil of your choice (such as lavender, peppermint, or patchouli)
- A small jar
- Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir well to combine.
- Put mixture into jar.
- Rub scrub gently onto your skin and rinse with warm water. (Note: If you have sensitive skin, this might be too harsh for your face.)
Merissa from Little House Living also suggests the following additions:
- 1 tablespoon honey for added moisturizing power
- 1 tablespoon dried lavender or rose petals for a soothing scent
- 1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil to smooth fine lines
- ½ teaspoon lemon or orange zest for an invigorating scent
Looking naturally beautiful doesn’t have to cost a fortune. In fact, it doesn’t have to cost anything at all. Many of the best DIY at-home beauty treatments are made using simple ingredients that most people already have on hand.
Now that my 40th birthday has come and gone, it’s more important to me than ever to keep my skin looking healthy and toned. I regularly use many of these treatments – most of the time, while my children are napping in the afternoon – to keep my skin hydrated and cleansed.
One of the most beneficial products I’ve discovered is simple Vitamin E oil (such as this one on Amazon). I put this oil around my eyes and on my lips every night after cleansing. I’ve been doing it for several months now, and my fine lines are definitely less noticeable and my eyes less puffy in the morning. It’s an inexpensive treatment you can use every day to keep your skin looking healthy. Vitamin E oil is also great to have in your natural medicine cabinet to help scars and wounds heal faster.
What at-home beauty treatments do you like to use? Share your favorite recipes with us in the comments!