Who doesn’t look forward to a day of spa treatments? The massage, the facial, the steam bath.
Every moment is so luxurious, except the moment you get the bill. And sometimes that’s preceded by pressure to buy products with big markups.
Spas and all the services they offer are expensive indulgences. But you can create that pampered feeling yourself for a whole lot less money. After all, the seclusion of a bathroom with running hot water is a good start for your DIY home spa.
With just a few affordable ingredients — many you likely already have in your pantry — you can easily recreate a memorable spa day at home. And a few small purchases can turn your run-of-the-mill bathroom into the perfect location for a luxurious at-home spa experience.
14 Ways to Create Spa Treatments at Home
Here are some of our favorite ways to pamper ourselves at home.
1. Everything you’ve heard about coconut oil is true. Skip the expensive body lotion and the deep conditioner and use this low-cost alternative instead.
Cost: A jar of coconut oil costs about $9 and will last for months.
2. Apply an avocado or egg mask to your hair at the beginning of your spa routine, then wrap your head in a warm towel. Let it work its magic for at least 20 minutes.
Cost: One egg will set you back about 17 cents, and an avocado is between $1 and $1.50.
3. Korean sheet masks, cotton-based sheets that address various skin care issues, make your skin look amazing, but they can be awfully pricy. I picked up a handful at my local dollar store for a buck each and discovered they work just as well as the expensive brands. If you buy in bulk, you can save even more.
Cost: Sheet masks can be found online or in dollar stores for $1 or less.
4. Speaking of masks, if you use Lush cosmetics or know someone who does, hang onto those little black pots and bottles the products come in. You’ll score a free face mask when you turn in five clean empties. That’s a savings of at least $11.50.
Cost: The cost of the five products.
Cost: A small container of plain yogurt can cost anywhere from 60 cents to $1.25, depending on brand..
6. After rinsing off the mask, give myself a five-minute face massage. It’s surprisingly relaxing.
Cost: Totally free.
7. Give yourself a lip scrub to slough off dead skin. Your lips will feel pillowy soft and refreshed.
Cost: The basic ingredients — olive oil and sugar — are probably in your kitchen. So are the add-ons you can use to spice it up, like cinnamon, brown sugar and coffee.
8. This homemade sugar scrub is both luxurious and exfoliating. Add your favorite essential oil, such as eucalyptus, to slough off dry, dead skin, leaving behind a tingly clean that smells luxurious.
Cost: Less than $1 worth of sugar, coconut oil and salt, plus around $6 for eucalyptus essential oil.
9. For a change of pace, I like to mix things up and exfoliate my skin with this three-ingredient coffee body scrub that you can make with the used coffee grounds left over from your morning brew. It reportedly also reduces the appearance of cellulite. (Don’t tell me if that’s just an old wives’ tale — I don’t want to know.)
Cost: Free, if you’re a coffee drinker.
10. Sometimes your skin just isn’t up for a harsh scrub down. That’s when a recipe like this one from WholeElise on YouTube comes in handy. Rather than abrasive salt or sugar, this scrub uses oats, water and glycerine (or honey).
11. If you plan to shave during your spa time, try dry brushing first to prevent ingrown hairs and razor-burn bumps. It’s also great for keeping your skin smooth in the harsh winter months.
Cost: A good-quality dry brush costs around $7.70.
12. Give your hands some love. This lemon-sugar scrub is easy to make, smells amazing and is perfect for making your hands silky soft. After you rinse it off, slather on some hand lotion and take a minute to admire your, er, handiwork.
Cost: A lemon is about 50 cents, and you probably already have sugar and oil in your pantry.
13. Do you know why every movie spa scene depicts someone with cucumber slices on their eyes? Because they work! You can use the leftovers for cucumber-infused water to really amp up that luxe “I’m in a spa” feeling.
Cost: About $1 for a cucumber.
14. Treat your feet to a restorative soak with whatever gentle bath wash you have on hand. Follow it up with a homemade foot scrub. Simply stir one part coconut oil into two parts sugar and scent with a few drops of essential oil. A dash of lemon juice adds extra oomph. To kick (ha!) things up a notch, slather on some lotion and cover your tootsies with thick socks while the moisturizer works its magic.
Cost: Peppermint essential oil costs about $10, or you can use eucalyptus oil if you have it on hand. The rest of the ingredients are likely in your pantry.
10 Easy Ways to Spa-ify Your Surroundings
While planning your day of indulgence, don’t forget to design your own relaxation grotto. Give your bathroom a deep clean and then:
1. Splurge on a soft, thick towel.
2. Pick up some pretty containers from the dollar store to hold all the scrubs and potions you make.
3. Treat yourself to a fluffy bathrobe to wear while relaxing.
4. Get some inexpensive candles to create ambience during bath time — or make your own.
5. Set a plant or vase of flowers in the bathroom, because greenery makes everything better.
6. Cover your bathroom window with frosted contact paper to diffuse bright sunlight that might harsh your mellow.
7. Put a few sprigs of eucalyptus on the corner of the bathtub to create a clean, refreshing scent when you run the hot water.
8. Buy a bathtub overflow drain cover so you can fill the tub extra deep and soak all the way up to your chin.
9. Cue up this chill Spotify playlist.
10. Use the cucumber you bought for your eyes to make some cucumber and lemon-infused water to sip as you spa.
Want even more DIY spa ideas? Check out how to make your own sea salt spray, body lotion and more.
Writers Catherine Hiles and Lisa McGreevy are contributors at The Penny Hoarder.