How to create a spa at home on a budget

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Paupers Pampering-creating a home spa for less

When someone says pampering we often dream of expensive spas in the middle of rural England with fluffy towels, deep skin detox treatments, the facials, the glamorous pedicures…and then often the bubble bursts right there when you start considering the cost of this luxury treat. The harsh reality of the cost of spa treatments leaves us with the bitter taste of wanting more but not being able to achieve it on our realistic budgets.

So for those of you out there who like me have dreamt of spa treatments and days I have written a detailed review and ‘how to’ guide on a budget. Should any of the steps or treatment not be suitable for you then just skip them. Any pampering treatment should leave you feeling confident, happy and glowing. I’ve also tried including a rough guide on costs to base on costs of items in the United Kingdom. I am sure others around the world can calculate prices to suit them. If you have any questions on any part of this guide you can e-mail me (I run the eBay shop Serene Goddess).  I make a lot of bath and beauty products that have the spa treatment factor-I have mentioned some of the products my customers have come back to me with glowing reports. This is not simply a plug for my items-I just want you to be aware that luxury pampering products can be bought on a tighter budget. You can use which ever brand items you feel happy with for your spa day.

These type of spa days are ideal for bridal showers, birthday parties, graduation treats (maybe before the big day), baby showers (always make sure the products are suitable for mums-to-be) etc etc. The aim of pampering if to give you a lift, make you feel special and let you relax and unwind (even if its only for a few hours!).

First things first-do you want to make this spa treatment into a mini pampering spa day for all or just for yourself? If you want to do it alone you can do-some people prefer others to be around to give them a hand with hot oils treatments etc. If you know anyone who could do with a pamper why not link with them and split the cost of the treatments?

Secondly, decide on when you can fit this spa time into your calendar. Lets me realistic-most of us have commitments ranging from work to families. The last thing I suggest is trying to fit loads of treats into a small space of time-where the point in that? Pick a day where you will have enough time to enjoy the treatments and relax.

Now that you have the day sorted make sure you have clean towels/dressing gowns/slippers around to use. Some of you may want to lay down blankets etc on the floor to make space for a group of friends. That’s up to you.

Now let’s set the scene. I love candles-there’s something special and sacred about the glow. I usually get a group of tea light candles and put them on a mirror tile (which you can buy from most D.I.Y stores). I then put the tile on a sturdy table and light the candles. The effect is quite dramatic-it’s double the glow for your money! Plus grouping candles creates a nice centre piece. If you want to make the room/bathroom look cool you can always use flowers in bowls. All you have to do is place some water in a bowl and add a few flower heads. For the more adventurous people you could add a few drops of food dye to the water to create a nice effect. Seen as though we’re creating a spa theme you could opt for greens and blues for their relaxing and calming effects. Some people love to use oil burners-if you have them by all means use them. Lavender oil is well known for its relaxing effect so you could always use this to create a nice aroma around the room. If you don’t have an oil burner and want to fragrance the room then you can consider incense sticks. I usually buy mine at my local Indian/Pakistani stores where you can pick up a nice box of incense sticks for under one pound (usually around 69 pence). Failing that you can pick up incense sticks in bohemian style stores but they may cost you a bit more.
Of course you can choose not to use candles or incense/oil burners. It’s up to you.
Cost for this step:

Bag of tea light candles (bought at a local pound shop) £1.00 for 36
Mirror tiles (bought at a local D.I.Y store) 50 pence each
Incense sticks-pack of 15 for 69 pence
Oil burner plus oil and matching incense sticks-bought at a local store for £1.99

Now that you’ve got a rough idea on how you want the room to look, who you want to share you’re pamper day with you need to think about what treatments you will use. Generally at a spa you’d opt for at least one treatment per area for example a hot oil hair treatment, a full body sea scrub, a pedicure and a back massage.  So what I’ve done is outlined treatments that can be done at home starting with the head (hair) and working my way down to the feet.

Head-Hot oil treatments are worth every penny if you suffer from split ends, dry hair, damaged hair or frizzy hair. Hot oil treatments provide the hair with moisture and help it shine too-not bad considering how simple the treatment is. Now you have two options here. You can either buy a single use sachet of hot oil which will cost you around £1.20 or you can buy a bottle of hair oil from an Asian grocery store (Indian and Pakistani stores are 99% guaranteed to stock this product as its used on a regular basis as part of their hair care routine). The price can vary depending on the brand. Traditionally mustard oil is used however it does carry a strong smell. These days you’re more likely to use Jasmine hair oil which smells much nicer. A small bottle will cost between £1.00-3.00 depending on the brand. A small bottle will give you around 4-10 treatments or even more depending on the length of you’re hair.  Or if you have not got an Asian grocery store nearby you can use coconut oil which costs around £1.00 for a bottle that will provide around 5-10 treatments depending on the length of your hair.

How to use the treatment: you do not need to wash your hair before applying the oil. You take a small bit of oil and massage it into your scalp. Keep doing this until you’ve covered you’re full scalp. You then start working on your body of hair-again a little at a time to prevent spills. Once you’ve done all your hair you can tie it and cover it with cling film for extra power. If you want to have a really deep treatment you can wrap the hair in cling film and then wrap it with a hot towel-the towels heat will make the oil even more powerful. Now sit back and relax for 30 minutes. You can leave the oil on for even longer should you wish to as it is not harmful (please note I am referring to jasmine/mustard/coconut oils and not the fancy ones with funny herbs in!). After the relaxing period wash you’re hair. You may need to wash you’re hair twice to remove all traces of oil. As your hair is all moisturised you can get away with no conditioner after shampooing! Excellent! If you have used oil from a bottle you can store the oil in a cool dark place. It will last for at least 6 months without losing its fragrance. Coconut oil comes in solid form so if you use this oil you may need to melt it by placing the jar in a bowl of hot water before using it.

Cost for this treatment:
Sachet of oil £1.20 from a high street beauty store
Bottle of coconut oil £0.99 from a food store
Bottle of mustard/jasmine hair oil £1.00-3.00 from any good Asian grocery store.

Facial steaming: great for those with blackheads and for a cheap, deep clean!
Deep cleaning with steam is an ancient method used across the world. It’s not only cheap but highly effective. It’s very easy to do to. All you need is a large bowl or basin/container, which you need to fill with one litre (2 pints) of boiling water. You then site before the bowl and cover your head with the bowl whilst taking in the steam. You do this for no more than 8 minutes. You can add two drops of lavender or tea tree oil to enhance the experience. You do not need to literally sit on top of the bowl to benefit from this method of deep cleaning so avoid making yourself sleepy and just relax and inhale.

If you do not have any oils to hand but have lavender flowers you can add them to the water. After steaming pad you’re face dry. If you do not wish to carry on to a face mask apply either rose water as a toner (if you have combination or oily skin) or a moisturiser if you have dry or normal skin.

Cost for this treatment:
None-unless you go out to purchase oils, bowls etc Remember you do not need the oil to execute this treatment-it can be done without it too and provide just as good results.

Face Masks/packs
If you’ve used the steaming method for a deep clean then you can give it a bigger boast with a deep clean mask too. Making masks is not only fun but they can be used by people of all ages-plus you know exactly what’s gone into them. I’ve included a deep cleaning mask recipe here-I’ve written another guide with more mask recipes on so if you want to try out more please look up my other guide.

Deep cleaning pineapple pack
1 ripe medium pineapple peeled and chopped roughly
1 cup camomile tea-cold
3 tablespoons oatmeal or crushed porridge oats

Step one: puree the pineapple using any available kitchen appliance
Step two: add two tablespoons of the camomile tea to the puree and mix it in well
Step three: add two spoons of oatmeal/oats to the puree-if it forms a smooth paste then it’s ready! If its soggy then add the remaining oatmeal. Mix well.
Step four: apply pack to face and neck avoiding the delicate eye area. Leave for 15 to 20 minutes.
Step five: remove the mask with the water. Now dab on the remaining camomile tea. Leave to dry naturally.

Please note: its highly unusual for someone to have a reaction to pineapple but if the pack doesn’t feel right take it off and try another pack a day or three later.

Moisturise the face:
It’s very important to moisturise the face as it has to battle with everyday weather, central heating (which dries out the skin), make up etc. So once you’ve had a deep clean give your skin some added moisture with your favourite cream. And go on-why not let your skin have a make up free day if you wear it everyday.

Full body treatment: so we can dream of luxury mud baths in Turkey but what about at home? Well it’s unpractical for me to tell you to find mud and lay in it! So my suggestion is use a deep cleaning body scrub. Do you suffer from stubborn dry patches? If so then it’s a good idea to get some bath creamers-we do coconut and lemon ones that are suitable for sensitive skin as they contain a lot of real coconut which exfoliates away dead skin. After you’ve scrub away any stubborn patches go for a real pamper treat in the form of a body scrub. Now you have many choices-you can go for a sea salt based scrub, a sugar based scrub or even coconut or oat based scrubs. The market is full of scrubs so it does depend on personal taste. I personally love my “thou shall go to the ball” chocolate body scrub. It contains enough exfoliates and moisturisers and leaves the skin smelling like chocolate. An active key ingredient is Dead Sea salt. It draws out impurities which is important if you want a real deep cleansing experience! Plus it’s none drip which is very important to keep the bathroom in order during my pamper sessions. But be warned-it contains real chocolate and looks like chocolate cake mix…its not meant to be eaten just applied to the skin!

The cost for a body scrub:-prices vary expect to pay from £4.25 upwards for a luxury item.

This is how you would use a body scrub from our range…moisen the skin and apply a thin layer. Leave for 5-10 minutes and wash off. Voila-smooth and supple skin.  If you’ve got a friend who can help you can always ask them to put the scrub on places you cannot reach like the lower back. Just stick on a swimming costume to be modest!
Moisturise: now that you’re body is smooth and free from dead skin cells its time to enhance the pamper experience. Moisturisers come to a variety of forms-you have dry oil sprays, natural butters, whipped butter treatments, creams, moisture bars…the list goes on. I personally prefer butter based moisturisers which are solid as there is less wastage-dry oil sprays are also nice. My favourite product at the moment is our superbalm-it’s a blend of coconut oil and shea butter and smells like sweet oranges. Plus it’s ideal for all over the body including feet…which is where I am off to next.


Pedicure: it’s fair to say most people’s feet get a raw deal. We squish them into small shoes, high stiletto’s or walk or stand for hours on end on them. Yet there pretty damn faithful to us.  And yes they do smell-you need to remember there are loads and loads of sweat glands in our feet plus keeping our feet in unpractical shoes doesn’t help them breathe either. So let’s give them some TLC. Firstly, are your feet dry, or do they just stink the place out? Or perhaps they look like they need some urgent attention? Take a look at your feet-what do you see? So you’ve established what’s up with your feet now you need to figure out how you are going to tackle the pedicure. Firstly you need to soak those poor neglected puppies in a foot bath. Now you have three options. You can use a liquid foot soak, fizzing footsalts or a solid pedicure soak which are similar to their cousins the bathbomb. My personal favourite are fizzing footsalts as they contain a nice heap of Dead Sea salt to draw out impurities-plus if my feet need an extra emergency treatment I up the dosage of salts! We do two versions-one with lovely roses (for when you’re having a girlie moment...) and a nice fresh mint version for when you’re feet need to be freshened up quickly. Both these fizzing footsalts (pamper your paws and revival for feet) contain Dead Sea salt.

If you have dry feet then I’d suggest a pedicure soak with lashings of oils and butters so you can start treating them at the first stage of the pedicure. Again there’s loads of soaks at there. Yes we do them but I won’t plug them here-I’m sure you know how to search for items so I’ll leave that stage up to you.
Whilst you’re feet are soaking scrub away the dead skin bits with a pumice stone-these are a worthwhile and inexpensive investment-I picked one up at my local grocery store for under £1.00 and as it’s a stone its not exactly going to run out after one use either. Scrub away especially around the heel. If you’re feet need exfoliating and moisturising then you can always purchase creamers that are designed to do two things are once-that’s up to you. Soak your feet for a total of around 15 minutes (including scrubbing).  Now try your feet, clip your toenails (if you want to) and move onto moisturising.

I’ve talked about which moisturisers I feel are pampered and spa like so I won’t mention it too much here. My favourite as mentioned before is superbalm as it works greatly on heels too. But you can use whichever moisturiser you feel comfortable with. Put loads of moisturiser on, then put some old socks on and put your feet up. Read a magazine, chill out, listen to the radio-enjoy this part of the spa day as its coming to an end.
Now I’d leave my feet up for 30 minutes and then I’d remove my socks (and stick them in the wash…). What you do now is up to you-can can either paint your toenails or start showing off a more pampered you to your friends and family because your pamper treatment is complete!
Superbalm costs under £5.00-expect to pay less or more depending on brand
Pumice stone: I bought one for under £1.00
Fizzing footsalts: ours retail for under £3.00 high street prices pay differ
Solid pedicure soaks: under a £1.00 per pedicure-now that’s a bargain!

So there you have it-the outline of a home spa day. So now you don’t need to spend hundreds on treatments-you can recreate a similar effect at home. Okay, you won’t leave your familiar surroundings but you can do a lot to enhance your spa day. You could order in some food, create healthy smoothies…get your friends around, take some photo’s and have a laugh. Or you could have spa day all alone with some relaxing music playing in the background. This guide is just that-a guide. You can adjust it to your own personal needs.

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