In my younger (read: childless) days, an afternoon at the spa was one of my favoritest things! Massages, facials, body scrubs, shampoos ... I love love love them all! Now that we are parents, however, most of our money goes to portrait sessions, baseball, dance classes, and clothes to replace the ones we bought last week but somehow are already outgrown.
Fortunately, my brilliant, beautiful, frugal sister MaryAlice made these spa treatments in her kitchen and shared the recipes with me.
Smoothing Face Mask: Process 4 tablespoons of old-fashioned oats in your coffee grinder or food processor until they have turned to powder. Mix with 4 tablespoons hot water and 1 tablespoon milk; let stand for a few minutes. Wash your face and then massage the paste onto your damp face. Leave on for 10 minutes, and then remove with lukewarm water and a washcloth.
Facial Moisturizer: Use after the Smoothing Face Mask. Massage a few drops of grapeseed oil into your face with your fingertips. This oil is very light and is rich in antioxidants. It's available at health food stores, but I bought a giant bottle at Costco for dirt-cheap (and I use it for cooking too, because it is so light, virtually flavorless, and has a high smoke point).
Pore Strips: Mix 1 tablespoon of milk with 1 tablespoon of UNFLAVORED gelatin. Microwave for 10 seconds. Paint a thin layer over your nose with a concealer brush. Let dry, then peel. Wash your brush and dish as soon as you finish, because it dries quickly and will stick like glue. Also, beware that is has a slightly funky smell when it's wet, but I promise it won't leave your face stinky.
Toner: Pour 1/2 cup of rice into a bowl. Add enough water to just cover the rice. Stir until the water becomes cloudy. Separate the rice from the water. Soak cotton balls in the rice water and wipe over your face. It's cleansing and full of nutrients that are repairing and softening for the skin. (And my thrifty sister cooked and ate the leftover rice.)
Sugar Scrub: Combine sugar, olive oil, and lemon juice. Rub all over your body in circular motions, especially elbows, feet, knees, and shoulders. Letting it sit on your skin for half an hour before rinsing in the shower will make it more effective but it isn't really necessary if you're pressed for time. Use any leftover sugar scrub on your lips.
Hair Mask: Mash a banana and mix it with an egg. Apply a thick coating all over hair and pile your fruity mane on top of your head. You can wrap it in a towel or don a shower cap. Let sit 10-30 minutes. Rinse in the shower, and apply a very small amount of conditioner to your ends (no need to shampoo). TIP: Mash the banana really well or you will have hard-to-rinse banana chunks in your hair. Or take the super shortcut I do and use a container of banana baby food!
MaryAlice says: Use the oatmeal mask every week or two. Use the grapeseed oil nightly after you wash your face. For the full spa treatment, I used the pore strips first. Then I coated my hair in banana, massaged my body with sugar, and put the rice toner all over my face. I sat on a towel as a tasty mess, ate rice, and watched TV before rinsing it all off. I didn't use any soap or shampoo in the shower. And afterward, I smelled good, I felt good, I was soft and clean, and my hair was shiny. Cheap, natural goodness!