Do-it-yourself home spa pampering


Soak it In

A trip to the spa can be the pinnacle of relaxation, but you don’t always need to outsource your pampering. It’s easy to make your own bath scrubs and soaks, choosing the scents that appeal to your sense of inner peace. Ingredients are widely available—even at some chain drug stores or your neighborhood supermarket. 

Scrubs are composed of two parts, an exfoliant and an emollient. The exfoliant sloughs away dead skin cells and creates an irritant which draws blood to the area. Examples of exfoliants are ground apricot kernels, sea salt, almond meal or corn meal. The emollient smooths and soothes the skin. All oils, aloe, some hydrosols and some teas have emollient properties.

Hydrosols are a byproduct of the essential oil distillation process. While they contain compounds found in specific plants, the levels are gentle enough for use when an essential oil may be too irritating. They are water-based, as opposed to essential oils, which are oil-based. Both essential oils and hydrosols will come from specific plants like rose, lavender, lime or orange. 

In addition to being used for skin care, scrubs are great for the circulatory system. The act of gentle scrubbing can be used to move your blood and lymph, and to loosen tight muscles.

Remember that water + plant material + time = mold. If you want to create a scrub that has a water part in it (aloe, tea, a hydrosol), you will need to make a fresh batch each time. 


Exfoliating Body Scrub

1 tablespoon colloidal oatmeal 

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons ground apricot kernel

2 ounces oil (try jojoba, sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil, or olive oil)

1 tablespoon honey

2 teaspoons aloe or hydrosol

10 drops essential oil

Mix everything together and enjoy your scrub!


Salt Scrub

1 cup salt (sea salt, Himalayan pink salt, Epsom salt)

1/3 cup oil (olive oil, jojoba or almond)

1/8 cup honey

10 drops essential oil

Mix honey, oil and essential oil together. Pour the mixture over the sea salt.


Written with the help of consultant Maia Tollis, an herbalist with the Herbiary, which has a location at Reading Terminal Market.

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