If you don't happen to have an extra hundred bucks to enjoy a day at the spa, don't sweat it. There are lots of easy DIY spa treatments you can do for yourself at home for less -- a lot less!
You can pay a small fortune for a jar of salt scrub body exfoliant, or you can make your own for about a buck.
Find a nice container (a small glass jar with a tight-fitting lid works well), and fill it about three-quarters of the way with Epsom salts. Now slowly mix in either almond oil (better) or baby oil (cheaper), and stir until the mixture looks like wet snow.
It's optional, but you can add your choice of aromatherapy-grade essential oil to add a lovely scent. Lavender is a great choice! And you can substitute sugar for Epsom salts.
If you've ever had a pricey clay-masque facial treatment, you know that natural clay has the ability to gently draw out impurities and excess oils that can dull skin and clog pores. Clay is known to improve healthy circulation, tighten pores and tone your complexion.
You can spend a lot of money for a commercial clay facial product, or you can make your own with -- don't panic -- a generic brand of 100% clay, nonclumping cat litter. Just mix two tablespoons of the product with enough warm water to create a paste, and presto! You have a clay mud masque ready to use.
Apply masque to your face and neck, avoiding contact with eyes. Let it dry, and gently remove with a wet washcloth. Your face will glow.
TREATMENT FOR TROUBLED SKIN
Reader Karen J. received a gift certificate to visit an exotic day spa for a massage and facial. During the procedure, the technician taught her how to care for her troubled, blemish-prone skin at home for less: Buy a bottle of milk of magnesia.
Smooth this product over blemishes before bed. Smooth a bit more over your face in the morning and then remove the residue in the shower. It helps to keep your skin clear, smooth and soft.
Karen swears by this home treatment. However, no one should attempt self-treatment of a medical condition without first checking with one's doctor or health care provider.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR FACIAL TONER
Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, or ACV, has amazing natural healing and soothing properties, especially for aging skin (tell me, whose skin is not aging?!).
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Mix raw apple cider vinegar and filtered, distilled or bottled water in these ratios:
For sensitive skin: 1 part ACV with 4 parts water
For normal/dry skin: 1 part ACV with 2 parts water
For oily skin: 1 part ACV with 1 part water
Mix the ingredients together, and store in a glass or plastic container. A spray bottle is convenient but not necessary. No need to refrigerate, as the vinegar makes it shelf-stable.
To use: Using your normal routine, cleanse your face fully and then rinse. Next, saturate a cotton square with this toner, and lightly rub on your face and neck. Or spray a light mist directly on your skin to freshen your skin throughout the day. Do not rinse it off after use. The smell of vinegar will quickly dissipate.
This homemade treatment for your dry, callused, cracked heels and feet is quite amazing. And so much more convenient than a trip to the salon for a pedicure plus callus treatment. Cheaper, too!
Combine these ingredients in a foot basin, foot bath or any container large enough to comfortably soak your feet (this recipe multiplies well):
2 cups warm water
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup original Listerine or generic antiseptic mouthwash (Any antiseptic mouthwash will work well, but those that are green or blue may stain your feet. To avoid that, stick with one that is yellow or amber.)
Soak feet for at least 15 minutes in this DIY foot bath. Rinse and then dry with a firm terrycloth towel or microfiber cloth. Follow with a pumice stone, foot rasp file or loofah sponge to slough off the dead softened skin. Rinse again.
Mary invites questions, comments and tips at EverydayCheapskate.com, "Ask Mary a Question." This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of Debt-Proof Living, a personal finance member website and the author of the book Debt-Proof Living, Revell 2014. To find out more about Mary visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.