Natural Beauty

Do you need some downtime, but don’t have time to jet to Bora Bora? Maybe you and your love can find pleasure, peace and romantic moments by creating your own “spa” experience at home. It’s one of my very favorite things to do! Before you decide it’s not for you. Remember, relationships are where you go to give. Spa moments are about being pampered together, together. This is a low cost, high impact sort of thing that will spice up your life and change the dynamics of stress. Gather these ingredients during the week, arrange for the children to have a play date, and break out those “I Will Pamper You” coupons that you made for Valentines Day.

You will love those pampering moments when you take time to invest in yourself as a human being, a day to replenish the soul and the body. There is something amazing about a fragrant tub filled with bath salts and dried flowers, lotions that deeply reach in and condition the skin, and the overall glow of feeling healthful and hydrated. There is nothing sexier in the world that being in that glowing place of calm confidence, where the leisurely pace of life can turn into a slow simmer with the person you love, should you choose.

I want to share my “beauty secrets” so that can pamper too. This is a universal human thing, not just for girls. Men enjoy spa day as well. Today, many people need to wind down and be together. We strive to spend quality time in reflection, discussion and pampering.

Therapeutic Touch

It may seem a strange way to start the day, but many quiet mornings find he and I “petting” one another, in the sense of being calming and aware of each other. Accurately called “therapeutic touch” it is a way to say “I see you, the soul in the body that I share life with.” I have learned that the benefits of non sexual full body touch are especially beneficial for my husband who operates at a higher level of tense than I do. The gentle stroke and massage of feet, legs, arms, hands and torso calm him. Using an aromatherapy oil and the quiet of the house, I help him release the tension between his toes, calves, and especially his arms and neck, behind his ears, scratching gently across his scalp. It’s not a massage as much as a gentle caress. It’s a quiet time of peaceful togetherness for us both. Try it with your loved one as a prelude to spa day, and set the tone for relaxation.

Preparing the Spirit

I begin with a time of meditation; you can read “prayer” if you like, but I strive to be quiet and listen more than to talk. In short, seat yourself comfortably in a trusted and private location. I often am in my office, outside my office window in the circle of mature pines, or in the “formal” living room of my house, one of my favorite places on earth. Today, I sit at my window in the office, being grateful. Your imagination can take you to special places in meditation.

Being Grateful

I begin with being grateful for myself, for my health, my life, and the breath that I take. I am grateful for the years and moments, knowing that God is present in all of them. I am so grateful for my home, for the grace and beauty of it. I am grateful for my children and the love that echoes through every particle in this place. I am grateful for my spouse, for his unending friendship, his extraordinary capacity to love, to forgive, to be willing to engage 100%. I am grateful that he needs me as I need him. I am grateful that we get to share this love eternally. I extend that circle out, being grateful for family, love, friends, nature, and God’s work in the universe. I let the grateful feelings permeate every cell in my person. I am incredibly grateful.

After giving this thanks, sit or lie quietly, often listening to my life coach or music, relaxing each muscle group that I have until my body is totally open and quiet. This is sometimes when God inspires and idea or thought. I remain in the position of open to God for as long as it feels right, rotating through tightening and releasing each muscle group until I know that I am physically relaxed.

Natural Beauty

Now that there is internal peace, there is an external joy as well: natural beauty. You’ll have to be deliberate about this, as it requires some specialty shopping. Be creative. Most of these ingredients you will find in a health food store, or someplace like Whole Foods. Here is my logic disclaimer…if you’re allergic to any of this stuff, don’t use it. You can find tons of natural beauty recipes for spa day online.

As with a spa, you want to deep condition your hair and then lightly shampoo. This is a great conditioning treatment put out by the National Honey Board.

Honey Hair Conditioner

The extremes of heat and cold we endure throughout winter can make even the greatest of hair look and feel like straw. This nourishing conditioner blends honey for shine; olive oil for moisture and essential oil of rosemary to stimulate hair growth.

1/2 cup Honey

1/4 cup warmed Olive oil (2T for normal to oily hair)

4 drops of essential oil of Rosemary

1 tsp. Xanthum gum (available in health food stores)

Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Pour into a clean plastic bottle with a tight fitting stopper or lid. Apply a small amount at a time to slightly dampened hair. Massage scalp and work mixture through hair until completely coated. Cover hair with a warm towel (towel can be heated in a microwave or dryer) or shower cap; leave on to nourish and condition for 30 minutes. Remove towel or shower cap; shampoo lightly and rinse with cool water. Dry as normal and enjoy shinier, softer and healthier hair the natural way.

Once you have that safely mixed in with your tresses, adding a mask of Rose Oil and Honey naturally compliments. This recipe is also from the National Honey Board.

This mask should rejuvenate and replenish your skin. Sweet almond oil, which is light and easily absorbed, softens and nourishes skin. Honey as natural humectants, moisturizes, leaving even tired skin incredibly smooth.

2 T Honey

2 T Sweet Almond oil

1 drop Vitamin E oil

5 drops essential oil of Rose

Mix honey, sweet almond oil and essential oil of rose. It’s important to use china or glass, not something metal to mix the ingredients in and with.

Massage onto clean face and neck with fingertips. Relax for 15 minutes, and then rinse off with lukewarm water. Gently pat dry to reveal a fresh, soft complexion.

Ready to clean that skin and exfoliate? This treatment from SharAmbrosia is excellent as a body scrub.

This is a Honey Almond scrub with a Peppermint twist! This product will exfoliate your skin to help make it smoother and softer.

4 T Almond meal (sometimes called Almond flour)

2 T Jojoba oil

4 T Honey

5 drops of Peppermint essential oil

In a 4 oz cobalt or amber glass jar (preferably) pour in the Almond meal and Jojoba oil. Stir well. Then mix in the Honey and Peppermint essential oil. Keep stirring until the mixture is completely mixed.

To use: Cleanse skin first. Apply about a teaspoon amount of the scrub to a moistened face. Mix with water to make it a more fluid application (do not add water to the jar). Scrub the skin gently, letting the almond meal do the work (harder pressure will only damage capillaries!). Massage every square inch of skin except the delicate eye tissue. Remove with a warm washcloth. Be careful to remove every bit of the scrub. Apply a tonic or hydrosol with a cotton ball to remove any excess product. Finish by applying your moisturizer. Use about once a week to help keep the skin soft and smooth and relieve surface tension.

Soaking bath salts are my forte. The most simplistic salt is one that you can easily mix at home.

Combine a bag of Epsom salts with.5 ounce of your favorite skin safe oil, which is usually purchased in a candle shop, bath and body works, or craft store. I do order my essential oils and aromatherapy online, and they are easy to find. I use a deep ceramic roasting pan to mix all of our salts in a small batch, then allow them to dry for several hours before placing the mixture into quart glass jars, labeling and prep for the market. My favorite addition is dried flowers, which I cut and dry in a warm oven to stave off any mildew. Using whole flowers, roses and carnations adds a unique oil blend to the soaking process. Avoiding the stem, but the flowers at the base; if you’re trimming roses, make sure that you include the rose hip into your drying pan. You can also choose to add dried milk to your mixture, given the therapeutic nature of milk to skin.

Don’t forget to liberally use candles throughout your house and turn off those harsh lights. Pick your favorite scents of relaxation.

I am pretty liberal in my use of bath salts, and will pepper a full size tub with two cups or so, adding vitamin E oil and sometimes, lavender oil if my soul is feeling any anxiety. I most often use the scent of the Dragon’s Blood flower for my bath, although lately I’ve also mixed an essential oil blend of patchouli and aromatherapy chamomile and lavender for headaches, etc. The Epsom salts are wonderful to relax away aches and pains in the body.

It’s important to note that none of these concoctions are “edible” even though they are made of common elements. They keep more readily in the refrigerator, and should be in a tightly sealed container.

One might ask “what if my mate is uninterested, or if I don’t have anyone to do this with?” “What if I can only paint my daughter’s toenails, but her Mom isn’t into any of this?” “What if my husband thinks this is stupid?”

Adapt it to your life.

If your spouse is unwilling and you have kids at home, make it a play date with them. I have had six little girls overnight, and the most fun part was the toe nail polish, honey facial and hair all up in towels moment. It was great!!

Adapt all of this to your life.

Make it a time of joy. More than anything make it about building relationship with yourself, with each other if that applies. It’s for your own mental health that you approve and love yourself. Enjoy a great cup of tea, an inspiring movie, laughter and meaningful discussion while you pamper. Kill the electronics for the day; turn off the phone and the computer. It’s important in this world of rushing that you take time to invest in your spouse or partner, friend or family member in special ways. If they are unable or unwilling, treat yourself to a day of relaxation and really focus on those feelings of gratitude and love. Include little ones if age appropriate. If making and mixing isn’t your deal, a quick trip to your local Bath and Body will supply many of the same things; you can also pick up the healthy versions at the health food store.