Most of the U.S. is in for a bitingly cold winter, and there’s no doubt that your precious hair and skin are feeling the sting of the season. Low temperatures and high winds have an intensely drying effect and, right now, replenishment is crucial. Why not treat yourself to a luxurious spa day? An eco-friendly one, of course.
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Set the Mood
Before you pamper your body, pamper your senses and light a natural, scented candle like this calming lavender coconut wax one. Candles are typically made from paraffin wax, which is a derivative of oil and full of toxins. These candles generate soot and don’t burn as cleanly as nontoxic alternatives. With that in mind, stick to candles made from beeswax, soy wax, or another natural wax.
Burning incense is another great way to create a tranquil environment — just ask the incense-loving ancient Egyptians. Aromatic plants and essential oils make up incense, emitting beautifully scented smoke when burned. Look for incense sticks or cones that are made from natural ingredients to stay eco-friendly.
Pop on some soft music and find a comfy robe while you’re at it!
Now that your mind is at ease, it’s your body’s turn, and your tub is calling.
Add natural, nontoxic products to enhance your bath. Try adding essential oils, Epsom salts, herbs, tea or oats for a soothing and restorative effect.
Add 10 to 20 drops of calming lavender essential oil to 2 cups of muscle-soothing Epsom salts, mix together, then add to your warm bath for ultimate relaxation.
While taking a hot, leisurely bath is an indulgence most environmentalists avoid, it can be an occasional treat. Save water and don’t fill your tub to the brim or choose a quick shower instead.
Is your hair looking dull? Are your split ends showing? It’s time for a revitalizing deep conditioner. You can even multitask during your bathing session!
Deep conditioning is the act of treating your hair with protein-based moisturizing conditioner. It’s recommended that you use a deep conditioner or hair mask once a week — more for those of us with damaged hair — to maintain healthy and happy locks. You can use a deep conditioner after your regular conditioner during your hot bath or shower. Slip on a shower cap for a few minutes to allow it to work its hydrating magic before rinsing.
Deep conditioners are specifically designed to penetrate hair and replenish each strand. They’re typically made from two components: protein and moisturizer. That being said, making your own eco-friendly deep conditioner isn’t complicated. Try a DIY natural conditioner made from coconut oil, jojoba oil, and essential oil.
Let the skincare begin! The first step you should take is to cleanse your face. Use a mild facial cleanser, like this all-natural face wash from Pacifica, to remove buildup and give your skin a fresh look.
Regular cleansing will maintain clear skin and boost skin hydration.
It may come as a surprise, but there’s no doubting the vitality of exfoliation for healthy skin. This rejuvenating practice refers to the removal of naturally occurring dead skin cells on the skin’s surface by way of scrubs. Built-up dead skin cells cause skin to look dull, rough, dry, and can cause blemishes by clogging pores.
Exfoliating scrubs can either be physical — think tiny scrubbing granules — or chemical. Choosing the right exfoliator is up to you. Chemical exfoliants can sometimes be abrasive to sensitive skin, so a gentle physical exfoliant is a safe starting point.
If you do head in the physical exfoliant direction, stay away from plastic microbeads, which are typical in exfoliating scrubs. They are so tiny that they slip through water treatment filters and head to the ocean where aquatic organisms may accidentally consume them.
Fortunately for us environmentalists, there are many alternatives to microbeads these days, like oats or coffee grounds. A trip to your local drugstore or natural beauty shop will show you that finding a natural exfoliant isn’t difficult.
Perhaps the greener option in this scenario is to make your own. For a basic exfoliant, all you need is a moisturizing agent, like coconut oil, and an exfoliator, like raw sugar. Check out these recipes for all-natural scrubs and find a combination that fits your skincare needs.
Exfoliation isn’t just for your face, either! All of your skin deserves a brightening scrub.
Moisturizing your skin shouldn’t only occur on your spa days. Hydrate your skin every day to keep it clear, smooth, and wrinkle-free. Choose a moisturizer based on your skin type; creams work well for dry skin and lotions for oily skin.
Hot baths or showers tend to strip moisture away from the body. Have your bottle of lotion or cream handy after you towel off for silky, renewed skin.
Don’t forget your face, neck, and chest — they house the most sensitive skin you have. Apply a light moisturizer containing SPF to protect against harmful UV rays. Hydrating your face with moisturizer will ultimately keep it young, fresh, and the perfect canvas for natural makeup.
Originally published on January 11, 2018, this article was updated in January 2021.