A do-it-yourself Home Spa

At-home spa treatments are fun and cost-effective, but one of the biggest benefits is the convenience,. You don't have to make an appointment, and you can create your own products whenever you need them in the privacy of your own home.

It's simple to turn your bathroom into a soothing, spa-like environment. Set aromatherapy candles around the edge of the tub or sink. Turn off the phone and turn on relaxing music.

Follow these recipes to create hair-repair treatments, anti-stress baths, moisturizing facials and soothing foot soaks.

The 30 minute home facial

    * Cleanse your face with your usual cleansing lotion. Even good old soap and warm water will do.
    * Hydrate with a 10 minute massage using two teaspoons of milk cream. Those with acne or very oily skin can skip this step or lightly massage with a few slices of cucumber. Always massage from chin to temples, from the centre of the forehead to temples, under the eyes from the inside corners outwards.
    * Steam your face over a boiling pan of water for 2 to 3 minutes, to open out pores.
    * Make your own scrub. Mix breakfast oats with milk to a paste-like consistency and rub over your face for 5 to 10 minutes, excluding the delicate area under the eyes. Those with oily skin can use water instead of milk. A teaspoon of sugar granules added to this makes a rougher and more intensive scrub to get rid of pigmentation and black heads.
    * Make your own face pack: Mix a tablespoon of gram flour with a teaspoon of honey, fresh ground turmeric and 10 ml of milk and apply for dry skin. For oily skin, skip the milk and use rose water instead. Leave on till dry and then rinse.

Treat your hair

The cuticle (outermost covering) of your hair becomes ragged over the week due to environmental damage, causing hair to feel rough and lose its shine. This needs intensive smoothening over the weekend. Warm half a bowl of coconut or olive oil. Add the juice of half a lemon if you have very oily hair or a lot of product build-up (residue of hair spray, mousse, gel, etc). Massage well into roots, comb out and wrap a hot towel around your head for 10 minutes.

Remove towel and apply a hair pack. Henna powder mixed with black tea and a teaspoon of ground soaked fenugreek (methi) seeds is great for shine and volume and works for all hair types. To add strength to brittle hair, use egg white with fenugreek paste instead. The egg protein repairs the damaged hair shaft.

Shampoo after 20 minutes. You could rinse your hair with half a glass of beer after the shampoo -- it adds instant shine and bounce to your tresses.

Body beautiful

Apply a freshly pureed tomato on your arms and legs for 10 minutes to decrease your tan. Massage hands and feet with olive oil, rubbing into nails and cuticles to decrease brittleness. If you have aromatherapy oils like chrysanthemum or lemon grass, a few drops in your bath water are an excellent stress buster (approximately Rs 300 for 20 ml).

Treat your feet

A soak in fresh mint or pure essential oil of mint can take miles off weary, achy feet. For this recipe, use high-quality, not fragrance grade, essential oil of mint like Aura Cacia Organic Peppermint Essential Oil
Mint Treatment

    * 2 tablespoons crushed fresh mint or 5 to 6 drops of essential oil of mint
    * 1 to 2 tablespoons Espom salts

Add ingredients to a small tub of warm water. Soak your feet.

A cup of tea

Green tea (teabags available at most stores) is best, but black tea will do as well. Do not add milk or sugar; use honey or lemon instead. Do not restrict yourself to one cup. Research shows that four cups of tea a day has tremendous health benefits, not just for detoxifying, cleansing and hydrating your skin, but for your heart as well. It has flavonoids that are one of the most powerful antioxidants known. One cup gives you eight times the antioxidant power of an apple. Fine lines, wrinkles, aging and sun damage are all due to oxidative stresses and damage to your cells' DNA by ultraviolet light. Antioxidants help fight that and slow ageing.

Work out

Hit the gym or do 40 minutes of aerobics at home. This boosts circulation to your skin and helps it excrete toxins. Take your antioxidant supplements and have a protein shake (protein powder like B-Protein is available at chemists and supermarkets at approximately Rs 150 for 500 gm) before the workout. Exercise is possibly the best thing you can do to add a glow to your complexion.