DIY home spa
Although some say it was the ancient Egyptian women who made the first lipsticks and creams as far back as 2500â€”2300BC, itâ€™s very likely that other cultures were attending to their external looks before this time. Traditionally, the definition of beauty is a symmetrically balanced exterior; however, today our perception is changing. Like art and architecture, trends in treatments parallel the evolution of our mindsets.
Within the spa environment in particular, a facial feels worlds away from the classic salon style. No longer is a facial only about the sequence of cleanse, steam and mask. Many include back and neck massages prior to cream and oil applications or the chiming of Tibetan bells and the scent of essential oils and incense. The journey is more often one of inner healing as well as outer beautification.
Some say the face is a mirror of the inner world. According to Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), for instance, health is linked to beauty. One does not exist without the other. Through the study of the texture, colour and condition of our skin, doctors in these disciplines can determine the state of our physical and emotional health. A radiant complexion is considered a reflection of wellbeing.
Regular facial massage is highly recommended by all. Itâ€™s said you can take years off your physical appearance through regular massage, which softens the lines, releases the jaw and lifts areas that have become heavy because they are burdened with worry. Recently, I spent time with a Chinese doctor who advised me to practise chi kung on my face to maintain a youthful glow and enhance skin firmness.
Another well-known facialist pointed out that regular exercise maintains tone in our body and that the same approach could be applied to our face. Regular upward stroke motions around the chin area and across the forehead and tapping to increase circulation is said to maintain firmness over time. Indeed, many famous French beauty brands have long blended acupressure techniques from the East into their beauty treatments to stimulate the immune, circulatory and lymphatic systems.
Another trend in spas is hot and cold crystal and stone applications, massaged on to the skin to increase circulation and blood flow, which in turn creates a plumped-up appearance. Internal remedies and supplements are also recommended and increasingly sold alongside facials and skin care. Founder of Aveda, Horst M. Rechelbacher, for example, has launched a new company, Intelligent Nutrients, which is dedicated to providing organic nutritious supplements for internal and external beauty.
The food and liquids we absorb also impact our skin â€” particularly sugar, which is believed to be our skinâ€™s worst enemy. Adding real foods like fresh salads, essential fatty acids, pure water, raw coconut oil and fruits can assist in producing radiant skin. Then there are spas that bestow â€œskin foodâ€ facials made with fresh fruits and plants like freshly mashed avocado, papaya and cucumber.
But do all these all-natural facials really work? Some remain unconvinced that massage techniques and natural ingredients alone will create the ultimate facial. Millions opt for cosmetic surgery to convince themselves that ageing of the body isnâ€™t really happening. Yet, as author Andrew Weil MD writes, â€œAgeing reminds us of our mortality; it can be a primary stimulus to spiritual awakening and growth.â€
In the end, though, we learn that there is no right and wrong way to live our lives, although a combination approach is always a win-win scenario. Less worry, good food, regular exercise, healthy relationships, intimacy, lush products and regular facials and massage are a powerful way to face the world with joy and confidence.
Avocado cream mask
A thick creamy moisturising mask suitable for all skin types, particularly dry and dehydrated.
- Â¼ cup avocado
- 2 tbsp cream
- 3 tbsp runny honey
Directions: Mix all ingredients together and apply to clean face, leave on for 10 minutes and rinse off.
Almond and milk cleanser
The natural lactic acid in the milk gently cleanses and exfoliates the skin. Good for all skin types, especially dehydrated skin.
- Â¼ cup milk
- 2 tbsp oatmeal
- 1 tbsp almond meal
- 2 drops geranium
Directions: Mix all ingredients together and apply with fingertips in circular motion to the skin.
Gentle Face Scrub
A once/twice-weekly exfoliation that helps retain clean and well-cared-for skin.
- Â½ cup oat flour
- Â¼ cup powdered comfrey leaves
- Â½ cup French green clay
- 2 tbsp powdered lavender buds
- Â½ cup powdered rose petals