Here we are: Day 582 of lockdown. I admit, I lost track of the days a while ago in the never-ending cycle of days upon days upon days of samey-ness. Time had become an abstract concept between trying to maintain some sort of work routine, binging Netflix and staring longingly at the street from my kitchen.
I decided I needed to do something to feel normal again. Despite all of this pandemic-imposed me-time, I realised that I had not done anything nice for myself in a while. Normally, my answer to this would be to visit a spa for a facial or massage, but of course this currently remains inaccessible. Not one to be defeated and always up for a challenge, I turned to my kitchen to see how I could DIY my own treatment, using natural ingredients from my food stores.
Open your pores with a nice facial steam
On the stove, bring water to the boil and add in slices of lemon. Additionally, my mint plant outside has been growing out of control, so for good measure, I added in a small handful of leaves. Let it stand to cool down a bit, and then place a towel over your head while letting the steam do it’s magic on your face. Make sure it is not too hot before you do this!
Steam improves circulation, and will soften your pores, which will allow your facial ingredients to penetrate deeply into the skin to maximise their benefits. It is also very soothing, which is exactly what I want when receiving a facial.
The Oil-Cleansing Method
The oil-cleansing method is something that has been on the rises in the past few years. It seems very counterintuitive to clean your skin with oil, especially if you have oily skin, however it has been proven that oil can be incredibly effective as a cleansing agent for the simple reason that oil dissolves oil.
To cleanse, use a mix of extra-virgin olive oil and castor oil, mixed as a 1:1 ratio in the palm of your hand and then gently massage it into your skin. Leave it for a minute or two and then remove with a warm damp cloth. Not only will this remove impurities and dead skin, but it is a natural antioxidant that will simultaneously moisturise your skin.
As a coffee fanatic, I never pass up the opportunity for a hot-brew, and have a close relationship with my Breville espresso machine, but coffee has many benefits too, especially when used on the skin – from anti-aging properties, reduced inflammation, reduction in dark under-eye circles and even a source of Vitamin B3 which reduces the chance of skin cancer.
To exfoliate my face, I whipped together a scrub consisting of half a cup of fresh grounds, half a cup of granulated brown sugar and about half a cup of coconut oil (be sure to melt it first – I had a terrible time trying to mix in solid pieces of coconut oil). Apply to your skin in circular motions to remove as much dead skin cells as possible without being rough with your skin. Leave it on for a few minutes before washing it off.
Beauty Warriors Tip: Coffee is proven to help the reduction and prevention of cellulite, therefore go wild and use this as a body scrub as well, taking care to massage areas where cellulite is a concern.
Before lockdown began, a friend with an avo tree in her garden gifted me with an abundance of the delicious fruit. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts to eat as many as possible, they were ripening at a rate that I could not keep up with, so it seemed natural to try and include them in my facial. Avo is a popular choice for DIY facials, and of course they are – they are a superfood filled with so many healthy fats which means they are the best natural moisturiser.I mashed up an avo in a bowl and added a tablespoon of honey – Manuka honey is usually recommended, but as it is imported from New Zealand, in South Africa it can be very expensive, therefore I would settle for raw honey instead. Raw honey is unpasteurized and straight from the hive, so it does not contain any additives or processed sugar that can be common in supermarket-bought honey.
Leave this mask on for at least 20minutes before removing and be prepared to be blown away by how radiant and soft your skin will be. Avocado is packed full of vitamin B, vitamin E, and amino acids, it is anti-aging and nutrient-rich. An absolute treat for your skin.
Beauty Warriors Tip: Adding a dollop of unpasteurised farm yoghurt to this mask will introduce lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid that aids in preventing premature aging. The natural probiotics in yoghurt may also cause a reduction in acne-causing bacteria.
Bonus: DIY Foot Spa
I’ll give it to you straight, since lockdown began, I have ditched the practice of wearing both bras and shoes. At the most, I may be persuaded into wearing my comfortable, cuddly well-worn slippers. Of course, as a result, my feet have taken a bit of a knock in their unprotected state and so I decided to treat them to a good soak while the mask was on. One of my childhood memories was my mother regularly soaking her feet in Epsom Salts after a long day’s work, and this practise has always stuck with me as the ultimate go-to to ensure soft, delicate feet.
Run warm water into a tub and add about two-thirds of a cup of epsom salts. For extra pampering, a few drops of essential oils would not go amiss – I used lavender, as it is very soothing and added a relaxing ambiance to my kitchen while the foot spa and mask got to work.
While my need to DIY a spa experience came from a desperate need for some sort of normal in my lockdown life, I can say that it left me feeling rejuvenated and mentally re-invigorated, ready to beat the lockdown blues and get cracking on some projects that I had been avoiding. My skin was glowing and clean and I felt refreshed. Feeling good can come from the simple things, and you owe it to yourself to give you something nice, just for you – it does wonders for both your skin and your mental state.
I can’t wait until I can show off this amazing skin to the world, during my weekly outing of taking out the trash!