Four basic ingredients and two minutes currently stand in between you (and me) and a homemade spa treatment! Oh, and this blogpost…I’ll keep the chit-chat to a minimum.
Early in my teaching career I discovered a necessary job perk: spa day! I loved the kids and my chosen career path, but as anyone in the world of teaching knows, being a classroom teacher is hard work! My typical day started around 6am (in the classroom, not waking up) with meetings, planning, and cutting papers. I would finally return home late in the evening, around 6:30pm, with a large bag of papers and a computer full of emails. I loved watching my classroom kiddos flourish each year and become confident learners, but the additional job responsibilities were exhausting. Kuddos to all my teacher friends.
Due to the high-stress nature of the job, I adopted a yearly “spa day.” I chose one day each school year to take off and spend time relaxing at a popular spa in our area. This was my “sanity day.” The one day each year I would leave behind the stress of a rigorous schedule and early mornings for lavender scented linens and cucumber-mint water.
One of my favorite treatments was a green tea exfoliating facial session. The 30 minute experience always left my skin soft and rejuvenated–something a tired teacher was in desperate need of.
It’s been five years since my last “sanity day.” The good news is the spa experience didn’t end with my last year of teaching. Now that I have two little kids at home, I’ve learned to recreate mini spa sessions during my daily five minute sanity break (AKA: shower time). My DIY spa alternatives cost just pennies and only require basic household ingredients to make. A spa experience that saves money? I think so!
Because the exfoliator was my favorite treatment, let’s start our pampering time with this super simple four ingredient homemade version. First, before we get to the exfoliating and super smooth skin that follows, let’s take a look at the ingredients:
Green Tea: This simple ingredient can be found just about anywhere these days, from grocery stores to coffee shops. Green tea contains antioxidant properties that may help to reactivate cells and fight against damaged skin. There are many ways to use green tea in a skincare regime (and many companies now include this ingredient in high-end beauty products). In this recipe, the green tea leaves are added directly to the scrub to exfoliate the skin and get rid of unwanted pollutants.
Sugar: Good ol’ sugar is a humectant which may help the skin retain moisture. Sugar also contains glycolic acid which may help encourage cell turnover and fresh-looking skin. Not all sugar is created equal when it comes to homemade skincare. I highly recommend using a softer sugar (such as: organic white or brown sugar) for homemade exfoliating scrubs. The abrasive nature of more natural sugars (sucanat, coconut sugar, raw sugar) may leave the skin irritated and red.
Olive Oil: Yep, the same ingredient used to make homemade salad dressing may also be used on the skin. Olive oil contains three important antioxidants which may help keep the skin from aging prematurely. Oil is also known to help cleanse the skin by drawing out unwanted oils (read more about cleansing with oil).
Raw Honey: Honey (particularly honey that hasn’t been pasteurized) is a powerhouse of nutrients for the skin. It’s loaded with antioxidants and natural enzymes to help cleanse and nourish. Honey may also fight against acne thanks to the antibacterial properties.
Bottom line: This homemade exfoliator is good stuff!
Who knew a spa experience could be so simple? Four ingredients. Two minutes.
- 1 TB dried green tea leaves (2-4 tea bags, depending on size of tea bag)
- 1 cup white or brown sugar (the sugar should be soft, not large granules)
- ½ cup olive oil (100% olive oil, not an oil "blend")
- 2 TB raw honey
- (optional) skin-friendly essential oil (I use 10 drops of lavender)
- In a medium-size bowl, combine all the ingredients. Store the exfoliator in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place (the linen closet or medicine cabinet).
Note: This recipe makes enough exfoliating scrub to cover the entire body and face 2-3 times. Due to the abrasive (exlfoliator) nature of the sugar, I recommend using this scrub every 1-2 weeks, especially if you have sensitive skin. Make sure water isn’t introduced into the mixture in between uses (hello mold growth and bacteria). Use a spoon to scoop the mixture from the jar. To make a small batch, simply reduce this recipe by half.
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