It’s day 763 of quarantine during the Covid craziness—how are your hair roots doing?! During this time of social distancing and isolation, there are a lot of routines and normal-life-things you’re probably missing. Seeing friends and family, going out for drinks or dinner, going to a movie or favourite coffee shop. But what about the other, self-care, spa-like activities you used to enjoy? Getting your hair cut or dyed, going for a manicure or pedicure, getting a massage or a facial. All of those activities are off the table for the foreseeable future, but that doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself in the comfort of your own home. In lieu of going to your favourite salon, you can make your at-home spa just as enjoyable and relaxing—and the best part is, you can go there as often as you’d like!
Before we jump into some of the things you can do at home to pamper yourself, let’s talk a bit about the products you’ll be using to do that. Personal care products are some of the most lifechanging products you can purchase—for better or for worse. Natural skin and body care products have become more and more popular over the last few years, and there’s a good reason for that. Why? Because what you put ON your skin, goes IN your skin—and into your body and all its processes, so we want to make sure that the products we’re using are as clean as possible.
Conventional personal care products can be laden with toxic chemicals, additives, and downright dangerous ingredients. A study by the Environmental Working Group showed that average women use about 12 personal care products a day that amount to 168 chemical ingredients being slathered on their body. Men were slightly lower with 6 products a day that contain about 85 chemical ingredients. But both stories are not good ones. If you’re a woman and do that every day for a year, that’s 61,320 incidences of something chemical and possibly dangerous getting onto and into your body. No thank you! Here are some of the top ingredients in conventional personal care products to watch out for and avoid:
Fragrance – pretty much any chemical that gives any personal care product a strong scent. BAD NEWS: have you ever gotten a headache walking down the laundry aisle or past a candle store? Yep, that’s fragrance for yah. It can trigger allergic reactions, asthma, headaches, and hormone disruption.
Parabens – this might be a familiar one to you. These are preservatives that are used pretty much everywhere—makeup, skin care products, cleaning products, and even baby products. BAD NEWS: They can cause skin and allergenic reactions, and can also collect in tissue of the breast which can stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells.
Propylene Glycol – used in shampoos, beauty products, soaps and cleansers. BAD NEWS: may cause skin rashes and damage to the kidneys or liver.
Triclosan – found in soaps, body washes, toothpaste, cosmetics. BAD NEWS: It’s linked to skin sensitivities, liver damage, hormone disruption, and could even potentially be linked to cancer.
Phthalates – another preservative in soaps, cosmetics, skin care and cleaning products. BAD NEWS: these bad boys impact our endocrine system, which is our hormone system, and in particular targets our reproductive organs.
Sodium Lauryth Sulfate (SLS) – this shows up in a lot of products that need “lathering”, like laundry detergents or soaps. BAD NEWS: skin irritation, and it can also be contaminated with a known carcinogen. SLS is known to build up in organs like the brain, lungs, liver, and heart.
Mineral Oil – a byproduct of petroleum products and is used in everything from foundation to skin creams to baby oil. BAD NEWS: not only does it clog pores, it stops the skin from eliminating toxins.
Coal Tar Dye – this is a colouring product that is often used in hair dues, toothpastes, and more. BAD NEWS: it’s a known carcinogen and causes many allergic reactions.
Talc – in many baby powders, feminine products, and other items. BAD NEWS: it’s linked to ovarian cancer. Yikes!
Aluminum – this is one you’ll find in deodorants and cosmetics. BAD NEWS: it can affect the function of your central nervous system and has also been linked to Alzheimer’s.
As you can see, these ingredients have a range of negative effects on the body, from allergic reactions to hormone disruption to potentially causing cancer. As well, the burden of all of these toxins builds up in your liver and other elimination organs, which slows down your body’s detoxification process in general. This causes digestive issues, skin issues, hormone disruption and issues with your cycle if you’re a woman, weight and metabolism issues, headaches, and so much more. Who knew the root of your health issues might be in that bottle of lotion you’re using?
The solution? Go natural. There are SO many options out there today for natural personal care products—everything from makeup to lotion to hair dye. Many of them not only don’t contain the bad ingredients, they also contain extra nourishing ingredients that actually promote health. Yep, you can do your body good with your makeup!
So let’s take a look at how to put together your at-home spa for some relaxing rejuvenation.
First thing’s first: pick a space in your home. It should be somewhere you feel relaxed and happy to be in. It could be in your bathroom, in front of your vanity, or even in your bedroom. Wherever makes you feel serene—that’s where your at-home spa should be.
Second: carve out time for this. Just like you would schedule yourself a hair or massage appointment, schedule in chunks of time for these self-care practices. Whether it’s daily or weekly, you’ll thank yourself for the gift of relaxation and pampering when the time comes around. And it’s something to look forward to!
Third: get into the spirit of it. Maybe you want to wear your favourite robe or bring a glass of cucumber water with you to your serene spot in your home. Put on relaxing music, have a diffuser or natural candle going, and really relax.
Once you have these things sorted out, it’s time to pamper yourself! Here are some options for at-home spa appointments you can make for yourself!
Hair Appointment: while we never recommend cutting your own bangs at home (back away from the scissors!), you can do everything else you’d normally get done at the hair stylist. Give your hair a beautiful wash with John Masters hair care to help nourish, moisturize, and smooth it out. Or if your roots need a touch-up, reach for chemical-free, all natural hair colour from Tints of Nature. Need some extra TLC for your hair? Andalou Naturals has a couple different hair masks that are bound to bring life back into your locks. After you’ve treated your hair, take it the rest of the way, too—dry it, style it however you’d like, and enjoy your fresh new do.
Mani Pedi: this was one of my favourite self-care things to do pre-Covid! You can have your own manicure sesh in your at-home serene spa. Give your nails and hands a nice soak in warm water, and then use some of the Urban Spa Nail Accessories, like their Manicure & Pedicure Kit, Foot File, Pumice Stone, and Nail Brush to get your cuticles, dry skin, and nail length in check. Once that’s all done, enjoy the natural nail colours from Mineral Fusion or Gabriel for non-toxic refresh. Finish off with some hand or foot lotion for the ultimate pampering!
Facial Refresh: aside from washing your face at least daily and using a toner and serum on your skin to keep it fresh, there are a number of weekly treatments you can use to refresh your face as well. Try a scrub like Sukin’s Revitalizing Facial Scrub to help clear away dead skin cells. If masks are more your jive, Derma e has a Purifying Charcoal Mask; Andalou Naturals has a few Clay and other Masks for different purposes; Acure has some awesome Under Eye Hydrogel Masks; and Boo Bamboo has Eye, Lip, and Face masks for brightening, hydrating, or refreshing pores. All of these are awesome options! After the scrub or mask, make sure you rinse well and use a toner and serum, and then a day or night cream if that’s your jive as well. Sukin has awesome options for all of these purposes!
Whole Body Massage: If you’re quarantined with a partner, enjoy a massage date with Now Comforting Massage Oilor Lavender-Almond Massage Oil. Take turns giving each other massages for a full relax mode. If you don’t have any massage oils on hand, you can use any natural lotion or body care products that you have at home to give a nice massage flow. Even coconut oil will work perfectly! And your skin will feel amazing afterwards.
Blissful Bath: carve out at least an hour for this experience! Light a few candles around your bathtub, dim the lights or turn them off if you can, and even pour yourself a glass of wine or kombucha for real relaxation mode. Once you draw a bath, use Carina Organics Bubble Bath to create that relaxing experience, and sprinkle in some bath salts from Sundhed or Kismet or use a bath bomb from our Goodness Me! line. There are all kinds of relaxing scents like Stress Less, Bedtime Routine, Lemon Fizz, or Take Time Oat. Epsom Salts are also a great addition to any bath. Then kick back, relax, and enjoy the warm water and relaxing scents with some soothing music or a good book—or just some quiet time with your eyes closed. Once you’re out of the bath, make sure to nourish your body head to toe with an all-natural body lotion.
The Whole Package: have a bath, follow it with a whole-body massage, facial refresh, mani/pedi, and hair treatment—and you’ll be living like a new person! Carve out a whole afternoon for this relaxing experience and be ready to fall into bed super early.
Now that you’re excited to be relaxed, go enjoy some at-home spa experiences to melt some of the craziness and stress away. I promise you’ll feel better! Namaste my friends!
Katie has worked in the natural health & wellness industry for over 10 years and is currently studying to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. She is passionate about eating #feelgood food and recognized that this might look different for each and every person. She truly believes that in a healthy lifestyle, you can have your cake and eat your kale, too! Follow her on Instagram @katielmitts