DIY Lymphatic Drainage Facial Massage for Skin Care

DIY Lemon Lavender Bath Melts

Lemon Lavender Bath Melts
10 votes, 4.60 avg. rating (91% score)

These wonderfully moisturizing and aromatic Lemon Lavender Bath Melts are just the ticket for softening and soothing dry winter skin, which can be worsened with hot baths.   Now you can enjoy a warm bath and a moisturizer in one.   They look lovely in a jar and make great gifts in cool months.  Substitute your favorite aromatics (rose petals, citrus peel and zest and herbs) for a lush and romantic blend. (more…)

02/25/2015 |

5 Winter Skin Care Tips by Celebrity Esthetician Joanna Vargas

Joanna Vargas
27 votes, 4.74 avg. rating (94% score)

Joanna Vargas is recognized as a skin care guru relied upon by celebrities and news-makers for her results-oriented facials in her Midtown NYC Salon.  She shares her 5 tips for Winter Skin Care, including remedies you can make at home in your kitchen.  Read more about her Skin Care Spa right here on Spa Index.


01/10/2015 |

Sleep Peacefully with Aromatic Bath Blends

aromatic bath blends
47 votes, 4.94 avg. rating (98% score)

Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy holiday season. Our friends in Midwest and East Coast of the United States are experiencing record snow fall, and shopping centers and malls are opening even earlier than usual this year (some even on Thanksgiving Day itself).  The stress of holiday shopping (a self imposed stress which we avoid, but one which can be hard for others to break) and entertaining visitors is going to be more difficult.   You’re going to need a good night’s sleep before, during, and after Thanksgiving and Christmas, and here are Aromatic Bath Blends which will help you get it.


11/24/2014 |

7 Ways to Use Sea Salt in your Beauty Routine

sea salt
15 votes, 4.40 avg. rating (88% score)

The newest product of the Wakaya family of health and wellness products, produced on the island of Wakaya in Fiji, is Wakaya Perfection Fijian Kosher Sea Salt.   Obviously, everyone loves how sea salt flavors almost everything we cook, but did you know, sea salt is a beauty product you should add to your daily beauty routine?   Try out these favorite recipes and let us know which are your favorites.


07/23/2014 |

Moisturizing Chia Seed Exfoliant

15 votes, 4.20 avg. rating (84% score)

Most exfoliants focus on the removal of grime and debris from the skin, but don’t help retain moisture. This DIY exfoliant does double (or triple) duty.  The smooth chia seeds help to scrub and exfoliate the skin, the lemon juices acts as a pore reducer and helps activate the chia seeds, and the coconut oil moisturizes. As an added benefit, the gel produced by the chia seeds helps to penetrate and moisturize your face.


06/09/2014 |

Plantain Cream for Bites and Stings

Plantain Weed
1 vote, 4.00 avg. rating (84% score)

Plantain (the botanical, not the  starchy fruit) is a common weed in your yards and garden — but did you know it also serves as an excellent medicinal remedy?  It’s a wonderful treatment for bug bites and stings, but also minor burns and abrasions, rashes, eczema, and psoriasis.     Make some of this healing plantain cream and keep it on hand this summer. (more…)

06/03/2014 |

Guide to Essential Oils

Spa Index Essential Oils Guide
20 votes, 4.75 avg. rating (94% score)

For the benefit of our visitors who are considering a spa treatment which calls for ingredients in a mask or wrap which are unfamiliar, “read below before you go.”   This Guide to Essential Oils provides some basic information, but it’s also helpful for selecting a new or different combination of oils based on a profile that piques your interest.

03/30/2014 |

Orange Ginger Warming Foot Scrub

Clean Feet
12 votes, 4.58 avg. rating (91% score)

We have someone on staff who, when he’s not busy running our spa empire, he’s an amateur meteorologist.   We recently said “Good morning!” and he replied “Not for anyone East of California.  Did you know 66% of the country is under snow right now? 66%!”  That’s a lot of cold feet.  This warming foot scrub is great for the winter, and leaves your feet feeling soft and relaxed. The sugar exfoliates, the almond oil moisturizes, and the essential oils and cayenne pepper stimulate blood flow and warm the feet.

02/07/2014 |

Natural Room Scents

Natural Home Scents
9 votes, 4.89 avg. rating (96% score)

We were delighted to find tips by Monica of The Yummy Life for adding natural fragrance to your home using simmering waters infused with spices, herbs, and fruit.   These natural concoctions are ideal for personal aromatherapy in your home and office (provided you don’t have to worry about scent intolerances), or, for setting the stage of your home spa party or bridal shower. Consider scenting your home for romantic evenings, and of course, if it’s listed for sale and you’re having an open house.

12/04/2013 |

Wheat Germ Moisturizing Body Scrub

9 votes, 3.78 avg. rating (76% score)

This combination of ingredients is best for very dry skin which needs to be softened, exfoliatated, and nourished.  It is best used the same day it is made, and not stored.  Make this before a shower and take your time scrubbing your entire torso, hands, arms and feet.  The wheat germ acts as a mild abrasive, the yogurt soothes and softens with protein and lactic acid, the almond oil helps lock in the moisture, and the honey protects.

11/27/2013 |

Sandalwood Aromatic Body Mist

7 votes, 4.71 avg. rating (93% score)

This combination of scents in Sandalwood Aromatic Body Mist makes for a musky, forested aroma.   It will appeal to men and women who like Oriental, woody, citrus and musky notes.  Distilled water (rather than tap water) is important when making any aromatherapy based treatment or product.  Distillation involves boiling the water and then condensing the steam into a clean container.  The resulting distilled water has its impurities removed, providing a cleaner, more true scent.

11/20/2013 |

Ginger Dry Skin Creme

9 votes, 4.78 avg. rating (94% score)

This recipe for ginger dry skin creme is infused with fresh ginger, nourishing oils and cocoa butter. Ginger invigorates and the oils soothe — a perfect double dose for dry skin.  This recipe first appeared on in December 2002 as a cold weather remedy and we’re still making it every Winter. Sometimes we use coconut oil in place of the cocoa butter, but we prefer it with cocoa butter as it is a little more solid. Use whichever you have on hand and prefer.

11/13/2013 |

Aphrodisiac Bath Blend

Glass jug with milk and honey
11 votes, 4.64 avg. rating (92% score)

Whip up an Aphrodisiac Bath Blend to relax the mind, while the properties of the essential oils stimulate euphoria.  The milk provides lactic acid, which is a wonderful softening agent in bath water (we keep dried  milk powder on hand for just that purpose — you can use it here, too).


11/07/2013 |

Thai Herbal Balm

8 votes, 4.13 avg. rating (83% score)

Tiger Balm™ is a popular remedy made from a secret herbal formulation that dates back to the times of the Chinese emperors. The Aw brothers, Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par, inherited the formulation from their herbalist father. They call it Tiger Balm, after Boon Haw (whose name in Chinese meant “Tiger”) who was instrumental in helping Tiger Balm become a household name in many East and South Eastern Asian countries.

Herbal Balms are for external soothing pain relief.  Here is a DIY version you’ll enjoy trying.

10/17/2013 |

End of Summer Almond Body Scrub

5 votes, 5.00 avg. rating (98% score)

As the end of the summer season approaches, many of us are sporting that attractive tell-tale sign of fun in the sun:  Peeling skin.  We have an excellent recipe for an Almond Body Scrub to gently and thoroughly exfoliate the top layer of dead skin cells. Body scrubs feel wonderful and relieve the itch of flaking skin.

09/12/2013 |

Egg White Grapefruit Oily Skin Mask

7 votes, 4.86 avg. rating (96% score)

Grapefruit is a wonderful astringent for facials to reduce oiliness on your skin.  The egg white firms and tightens and (hopefully) reduces wrinkles,  plus contains Vitamin A which helps in tissue repair.  The sour cream moisturizes.  If you don’t have the grapefruit juice or sour cream, you can still treat your face with just beaten egg white, to aid in tissue rejuvenation.


09/01/2013 |

Coconut Oil Java Scrub

coffee grounds
7 votes, 5.00 avg. rating (98% score)

Caffeine Addiction at its  best: reduce the appearance of cellulite and exfoliate naturally with this Coconut Oil Java Scrub.   Unfortunately, it’s impossible to remove cellulite completely, however, there are things we can do to reduce its appearance. Indie Lee, founder of the all-natural skincare line Indie Lee & Co, shares one of her at-home recipes for an all-natural scrub containing her favorite ingredient: coffee. The caffeine works to dehydrate fat cells and when broken down, acts as a natural exfoliant, so use caffeinated coffee grounds.


08/14/2013 |

7 Tips to Fix Sunburned Peeling Skin

Woman With Sunscrean
12 votes, 4.42 avg. rating (88% score)

Redness, pain and peeling skin are unmistakable signs that you have spent too much time in the sun.   Peeling after a sunburn is the body’s attempt to rid itself of sun-damaged cells and protect you from premature aging and skin cancer, according to the University of Heidelberg.   Unfortunately, peeling skin is also itchy and unsightly. While peeling cannot always be avoided, you can reduce the likelihood that your skin will peel by taking proper care of it immediately after sun exposure.

08/07/2013 |

Beach Sand Scrub

beauty beach
9 votes, 3.89 avg. rating (78% score)

The next time you decide to spend the day at the beach, take advantage of the “on location foot treatment” with Beach Sand Scrub. Brazilians, particularly, are known for scrubbing their entire bodies, particularly the feet, deep into the sand while they relax on the beach.  The recipe calls for Canola Oil, but you can use your favorite baby oil or massage oil.  In a pinch you can use suntan oil, but we don’t recommend it (for tanning or any other use)  — they are often of poor quality and overly scented.

07/31/2013 |

Sunblock Recipe

Woman With Sunscrean
7 votes, 4.14 avg. rating (83% score)

Our esthetician experts say “If you can see your shadow, you need sunblock.” However, did you know the active ingredients in sunblock often dissipate after the season? You should always use a sunblock, but, don’t purchase it in bulk or save that last little bit in the bottle for the next season. Buy it fresh every season, or, make your own if you don’t have access to your favorite brand. Note: This recipe will give you a white nose “lifeguard style.” 


06/10/2013 |

Rosewater Recipe

7 votes, 4.43 avg. rating (88% score)

Our popular Rose Water Recipe is made with rose petals, alcohol and water and forms the basis for a good many home spa treatments and cosmetics for delicate and sensitive skin, and, for making perfumes and aromatics for the bath.  The  next time your sweetheart sends you flowers and they begin to droop, save the petals before they wither and use them to make rosewater, and you’ll wear your sweetheart’s gift on your skin.

05/25/2013 |

Tomato Oatmeal Blemish Mask

7 votes, 4.00 avg. rating (81% score)

In our staff herb and vegetable garden, which we use to concoct and test our Spa at Home recipes, we have beautiful green Early Girl tomatoes, growing daily.  Every once in a while, a tomato will escape our attention and split open from being overly ripe. While these are often too soft and not attractive for eating, they are perfectly fine for using in treatments (providing they don’t appear to be spoiled).  This summer, we’ll use them to make this Tomato Oatmeal Blemish Mask.


05/18/2013 |

Chocolate Facial Mask

cocoa powder
12 votes, 3.75 avg. rating (76% score)

Our popular Chocolate Facial Mask is made with cocoa powder and cottage cheese.     It’s more than just fun and funky — it’s an excellent moisturizer (recommended for normal complexions) which leaves your skin baby soft.  The cocoa powder is also a natural anti-oxidant which protects and frees the skin from free radicals.


05/11/2013 |

Apple Honey Acne Facial

10 votes, 4.20 avg. rating (84% score)

For this apple honey acne facial remedy, our skincare experts tell us the common apple has many skin beautifying properties.   Apples are also rich with Vitamins C, E, A, K, as well minerals Zinc and Copper, all of which are useful for healthy skin.   These vitamins help to protect your skin from free radical damage, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, calm redness and acne breakouts, restore and repair skin cells, maintain pH levels, and keep skin moisturize.


04/17/2013 |

Coffee Body Scrub

coffee grounds
7 votes, 5.00 avg. rating (98% score)

This is a wonderful way to repurpose used coffee grounds from your coffee maker. We’ve tried this with both fresh ground and with used coffee grounds from our coffee maker and both worked equally well. After all, you’re after the exfoliating effect and the fact you’ve used the grounds to brew coffee doesn’t lessen this effect. In fact it makes the grounds a tad softer.


04/12/2013 |

Kiwi Cleanser for Normal to Dry Skin

6 votes, 3.83 avg. rating (78% score)

Kiwi fruit is an anti-oxidant and enzyme rich fruit and an excellent source of Vitamins C,  A and E which contribute to toned and supple skin.  The honey is antimicrobial, and the yogurt contains lactic acid.  The almonds exfoliate.   Together, using this Kiwi Facial Cleanser will help exfoliate dry skin, tighten pores, moisten, calm, and nourish your complexion.

02/21/2013 |

Silky Rose Dusting Powder

rose petals
12 votes, 4.58 avg. rating (91% score)

Roses are so commonly associated with Valentine’s Day, we are sharing this recipe to either get a head start on sweet smelling Valentine’s Day gifts for your BFFs, daughters, and mothers, or, for those of you lucky enough to receive a dozen roses from your beloved — a project using those wonderful rose petals after the blooms have faded.   This DIY  recipe for Silky Rose Dusting Powder relies on both rose petals and Rose Essential Oil

01/30/2013 |

Gentle Thyme Fennel Cleanser

6 votes, 5.00 avg. rating (98% score)

Fennel has been used throughout history as an aid to digestion or as a slight diuretic. As an infusion, fennel seeds can be gently cleansing and toning for the skin, and they can help reduce puffiness and superficial irritation.  Thyme, which is used in antiseptic preparations, is a good astringent.

01/23/2013 |

Winter Hand Therapy Mask

5 votes, 5.00 avg. rating (98% score)

Winter often means dry, cracked, chapped hands — a seasonal hazard.  Our hands are first exposed to indoor dry heat and then exposed to harsh outdoor conditions.  Often, your favorite or regular moisturizer seem less effective.  Here are some tips to help your hands this Winter, and a recipe for a Winter Hand Therapy Mask.

01/16/2013 |

Cold Weather Overnight Foot Mask

Snow Walking
7 votes, 5.00 avg. rating (98% score)

During long summer when we wear sandals and open-toed shoes, we tend to take better care of our feet because we are concerned with aesthetic appearance.  Then Autumn and Winter rolls through, and our feet are all but forgotten as we bind them up in heavy socks, shoes, and boots, day after day, in heated environments.  

01/09/2013 |

Chamomile and Lemongrass Hair Rinse

cham tea
7 votes, 5.00 avg. rating (98% score)

This rinse, created by musician Moby and his partner Kelly Tisdale, proprietors of Teany on the Lower East Side of New York City,  is recommended as an alternative to washing the hair when you don’t want it to frizz, but you do want it refreshed.  The chamomile will add shine to the hair, while the essential oils in the lemongrass will coat and protect the hair.  You can add fragrant essential oils if you want a more intense scent for your hair, but we prefer the aroma of the teas, on their own.

01/02/2013 |

Rosemary Honey Olive Oil Hair Conditioner

12 votes, 4.50 avg. rating (89% score)
Winter weather can be harsh on skin, nails, and even hair.  The natural moisture balance in our hair is affected by changes in temperature, including just coming and going from warm, heated interiors to the frigid outdoors.  Sitting inside a heated room is the equivalent of spending an entire afternoon under a hair dryer.  Add static from “hat hair” and you’ve got the Perfect Hair Storm.
12/19/2012 |

Pumpkin Papaya Exfoliating Enzyme Mask

9 votes, 4.11 avg. rating (82% score)

If you have visited spas and resorts in exotic locales such as the Pacific Rim, Bali, Hawaii, and Tahiti, you’ve probably been lucky enough to have an aesthetician select and mash fresh fruit in front of you for a fresh-on-the spot enzyme mask.   Fresh Fruits and Vegetables are loaded with enriching ingredients for the skin, enzymes for exfoliation, particularly.  


11/29/2012 |

Red Wine Honey Bath Soak for Dry Skin

wine bath
6 votes, 4.83 avg. rating (95% score)

Thanksgiving Dinner is over, your family is watching television, and hopefully the teenagers — and whoever didn’t have to cook — are cleaning the kitchen.   You are tired, and you need a hot bath to ready yourself for shopping tomorrow.  Either keep one bottle of red wine in reserve, or, make certain you set aside at least 4 cups of red wine for the Red Wine Honey Bath Soak (and if you have odds and ends of wine from various bottles or glasses, pour it into a pitcher and save it — we won’t judge or tell).

11/22/2012 |

Parsley Cucumber Facial

parsley cucumber facial
7 votes, 3.86 avg. rating (78% score)

The next time you make a salad, set aside just 3 tablespoons of basic ingredients, and you’ve got yourself a quick parsley cucumber facial, to be enjoyed while soaking in the tub before bed. You cannot get any easier, or quicker, than this.

11/17/2012 |

Indian Cleansing Milk for Oily Skin

7 votes, 4.57 avg. rating (91% score)

This Indian cleansing milk remedy for oily skin benefits from buttermilk which offers the softening effects of lactic acid.  Fennel seeds aid digestion, but when infused with liquids, are gently cleansing and toning for the skin, and they can help reduce puffiness and superficial irritation. Thyme is both antiseptic and slightly astringent.


11/13/2012 |

Grapefruit Jojoba Sugar Scrub

6 votes, 4.17 avg. rating (84% score)

This simple grapefruit sugar scrub takes advantage of commonly available sugar as an exfoliant and the properties of Grapefruit Essential Oil (an astringent) and Jojoba Oil (skin conditioner).  The addition of Castile Soap helps to cleanse and rinse away the scrub.  You could easily add a tablespoon or two of grapefruit juice (fresh) if you happen to have it, or, a crushed grapefruit section from your breakfast, but be careful not to add too much or you’ll dissolve the sugar too quickly.

11/01/2012 |

Pineapple Olive Oil Dry Skin Facial

4 votes, 4.50 avg. rating (89% score)

This pineapple facial is an excellent exfoliant for dry skin.   The citrus fruit contains bromeliad, a protein-digestive enzyme which helps rid the skin of dead cells and dirt.   It also counteracts histamines, has anti-inflammatory properties, and is a mild astringent. Olive oil has excellent healing properties and is a good source of vitamin E, which restores the skin’s surface.

10/11/2012 |

Athlete’s Foot Remedy

6 votes, 4.00 avg. rating (81% score)

There are many over the counter remedies for Athlete’s Foot, including powders and creams, but for those who find those remedies caustic and harsh, and appreciate a natural approach, try this home remedy which relies on the naturally occurring disinfecting and antibacterial qualities of alcohol, garlic and cinnamon. (more…)

10/04/2012 |

Quick Cucumber Eye Soother

Sliced Cucumbers
4 votes, 4.50 avg. rating (89% score)

Need to de puff your eyes in a hurry?  You could purchase a $12.00 bottle of cucumber-lookalike eye pads infused with extract and then kicked up with a list of chemicals — or you can simply use a real cucumber.  Even if you purchased and used a fresh cucumber each week, it would take quite a long time before you spent $12.00 on this simple and soothing treatment to calm and sooth your eyes.   Say, why do we see cucumbers on eyes for so many spa treatments?

10/02/2012 |

Make Your Own Hairspray

7 votes, 3.71 avg. rating (76% score)

Making your own hairspray is a cinch if you’ve got the talent for boiling water, and, your sugar bowl is at hand.  This recipe is particularly useful for people with skin sensitivities who would normally breakout from the sometimes harsh chemicals in over the counter hairsprays.


07/23/2012 |

Egg White Avocado Oily Skin Mask

5 votes, 4.80 avg. rating (94% score)

The egg white firms and tightens and (hopefully) reduces wrinkles,  plus contains Vitamin A which helps in tissue repair.  The lemon juice acts as an astringent and the avocado balances moisture and ads good fats.  Although avocado is a high fat fruit, it balances your skin with “good fats.”   If you don’t have the juice or avocado, you can still treat your face with just beaten egg white, to aid in tissue rejuvenation.


02/21/2007 |

Cherry Vanilla Foaming Bath

Cherry Vanilla
4 votes, 4.00 avg. rating (81% score)

You’ll be surprised just how much aromatherapy can be hand in a simple splash of your favorite extract in bath water.  You can use scented oils, or, if you don’t want to deflate bubbles, using culinary extracts, like Cherry, Vanilla, Orange, or Peppermint, and add a capful to your bubble bath.


02/21/2005 |

Strip It Off! DIY Pore Strips

knox 2
10 votes, 4.50 avg. rating (89% score)

2012 Update!  This recipe for DIY Pore Strips or Pore Strip Alternative using Knox gelatin, is one of our most popular Spa DIY tricks.    We were delighted to see it pop up on blogs and then all over Pinterest, but sadly, the origins have long ago been lost.  Where did it originate?  Right here on our spa directory, Guide to Spas, with our staff esthetician, in April 2004.   It remains an oldie but a goodie.


04/24/2004 |

Kelp Firming Mask

5 votes, 4.60 avg. rating (91% score)

This mask treatment will help to soften and firm your skin at the same time.   Powdered kelp, when hydrated with yogurt or water, forms a mucilaginous (slippery and gelatinous) texture which is wonderful for the skin, soaking it with vital minerals from the sea.  It has at least 14 vitamins and 18 minerals, including folate, niacin, vitamin K, calcium, zinc, potassium and manganese.


04/04/2004 |

Apple Cider Witch Hazel Toner

13 votes, 3.38 avg. rating (69% score)

Intended for slightly oily skins, we’re told by skincare experts this Apple Cider Vinegar Toner is an excellent substitute for rubbing alcohol (a real no-no for oily complexions, as it actually stimulates the oil glands to produce more oil). Witch hazel is a gentle astringent, apple cider vinegar will help restore your skin’s natural pH balance, and lavender soothes sensitive skin.

02/21/2004 |

Avocado Egg Hand and Foot Remedy

Avocado Walnut & Crispy Bacon Salad
4 votes, 4.25 avg. rating (85% score)

 This natural treatment will revive your dry, wrinkled and rough hands, feet, elbows and knees. The avocado and egg nourish the skin with proteins and oils; the rice bran exfoliates dead skin cells; the oil of evening primrose contains precious gamma linolenic acids, essential for healthy hair, skin and nails. Consider purchasing a small jar of Oil of Evening Primrose capsules from your health food store. Open one, and voila — you have the ingredient for this and other recipes.


12/12/2003 |

Bath Cookies

bath cookies
9 votes, 4.67 avg. rating (92% score)

Our most requested recipe — these bath cookies are baked in your oven and then added to a warm bath to soften and dissolve and bathe your skin in skin softening oil and sea salt.  They may be customized with your favorite add ins.


04/17/2003 |

Reader Inquiry: Can we make our own deoderants and anti-perspirants?

5 votes, 4.60 avg. rating (91% score)

I like your spa at home recipes — I make them with my Aunt once a month when we house sit together.  This may be a dumb question, but can you make your own deodorant/antiperspirant at home, too?  We were laughing that it’s the only body thing we have not made on our beauty weekend.” — Emily K. 

12/19/2002 |

Calming Herbal Bath

herb sage bundle
8 votes, 5.00 avg. rating (98% score)

The combination of sage, rosemary and parsley are calming; the oatmeal is good for itchy or irritated skin. Together, this bath blend will sooth irritated skin from athletics, exercise, winter weather or vigorous activities. In addition, the rosemary alleviates mental fatigue, the sage treats loss of concentration, the parsley is a stimulant, and the salt alleviates light-headedness.


12/19/2002 |

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