Treat Yo’ Self… for Pennies: 24 Spa Treatments You Can Do at Home
Want to know a secret?
I’ve never had a professional massage. I totally get why they’re appealing, but they’re just not my jam.
Manicures, on the other hand? Heck, yeah. My tombstone will read, “How do my nails look?”
I’m not gonna lie, getting my nails done every two weeks or so costs a pretty penny (or 6,000, to be exact), but it’s the one luxury I budget for even if it means using cheap body wash or mascara.
The main reason I go to a salon to get my manicure done is because there’s no way I could do it at home. I’m basically the most uncoordinated person on the planet, so I’d end up with acrylic powder in my eye and nail shellac on the walls.
For all other spa-type treatments, though, I’m strictly a DIY gal.
Here are some of my favorite ways to indulge myself easily right in the comfort of my own home.
14 Ways to Get Your DIY Spa Day On
Not only will you not have to leave the comfort of home, but these ideas won’t cost you a fortune.
1. Everything you’ve heard about coconut oil is true. Skip the expensive body lotion and the deep conditioner and use this low-cost alternative instead.
Cost: An entire jar of coconut oil costs about $6 and will last for months.
2. Apply an avocado or egg mask to your hair at the beginning of your spa routine, then wrap your head in a warm towel. Let it work its magic for at least 20 minutes while you give yourself a lip scrub.
Cost: One egg will set you back 10 cents, and an avocado is between $1 and $1.50.
3. Korean sheet masks, cotton-based sheets that address various skin care issues, make your skin look amazing, but they can be awfully pricy. I picked up a handful at my local dollar store for a buck each and discovered they work just as well as the expensive brands. If you buy in bulk, you can save even more pennies.
Cost: Sheet masks can be found online or in dollar stores for as little as — you guessed it — $1.
4. Speaking of masks, if you use Lush cosmetics or know someone who does, hang onto those little black pots and bottles the products come in. You’ll score a free face mask when you turn in five clean empties. That’s a savings of at least $11.95!
Cost: The cost of the five products (To be fair, Lush products can be pretty pricy — but they smell so gooood.)
5. Clear up blemishes and reduce fine lines with a container of plain, generic-brand yogurt! Whether you use it alone or jazz it up with extras like a dash of honey or oatmeal, your pores will thank you.
Cost: A small container of plain yogurt can cost anywhere from 60 cents to $1.
6. After rinsing off the mask, I like to give myself a five-minute face massage. It’s surprisingly relaxing.
Cost: Totally free!
7. If you’ve got a few dollars a month to spare, sign up for a Sephora Play! subscription. You’ll get a box delivered right to your door filled with deluxe product samples and a bonus fragrance.
Cost: $10 per month
8. This homemade eucalyptus sugar scrub is both energizing and effective. You can make a batch to slough off dry, dead skin, leaving behind a tingly clean that smells luxurious.
Cost: Less than $1 worth of sugar, coconut oil and salt, plus around $13 for eucalyptus essential oil.
9. For a change of pace, I like to mix things up and exfoliate my skin with this three-ingredient coffee body scrub that you can make with the (free!) used coffee grounds left over from your morning brew. It reportedly also reduces the appearance of cellulite. (Don’t tell me if that’s just an old wives’ tale — I don’t want to know.)
Cost: Free, if you’re a coffee drinker.
10. Sometimes my skin just isn’t up for a harsh scrub down. That’s when I whip together this gentle scrub that rinses off easily with warm water. (I’ve tried it without wheat germ, and it still works great.)
11. If you plan to shave during your spa time, try dry brushing first to prevent ingrown hairs and razor-burn bumps.
Cost: A good dry brush costs around $7.50
12. If I’m going to sport beautiful nails, the rest of my hand better keep up appearances, too. This lemon-sugar hand scrub is so easy to make and smells amazing. After you rinse it off, slather on some hand lotion and take a minute to admire your, er, handiwork.
Cost: A lemon costs about 50 cents, and you probably already have sugar and oil in your pantry.
13. Do you know why every spa scene in a movie or on TV depicts someone with cucumber slices on their eyes? Because they work! You can use the leftovers for cucumber-infused water to really amp up that luxe “I’m in a spa” feeling.
Cost: About $1 for a cucumber.
14. Treat your feet to a nice soak with whatever gentle bath wash you have on hand. Follow it up with a homemade foot scrub. Simply stir one part coconut oil into two parts sugar and scent with a few drops of essential oil. A dash of lemon juice adds extra oomph. To kick (ha!) things up a notch, slather on some lotion and cover your tootsies with thick socks while the moisturizer works its magic.
Cost: Peppermint essential oil costs about $9, or you can just use the eucalyptus oil you bought earlier. The rest of the ingredients are likely in your pantry.
10 Easy Ways to Spa-ify Your Surroundings
While planning your day of indulgence, don’t forget to design your own relaxation grotto. Give your bathroom a deep clean and then:
1. Splurge on a soft, thick towel.
2. Pick up some pretty containers from the dollar store to hold all the scrubs and potions you make.
3. Scour thrift shops for a fluffy bathrobe to wear while relaxing.
4. Get some inexpensive candles to create ambience during bath time — or make your own.
5. Set a plant or vase of flowers in the bathroom, because greenery makes everything better.
6. Cover your bathroom window with frosted contact paper to diffuse bright sunlight that might harsh your mellow.
7. Put a few sprigs of eucalyptus on the corner of the bathtub to create a clean, refreshing scent when you run the hot water.
8. Buy a bathtub overflow drain cover so you can fill the tub extra deep and soak all the way up to your chin.
9. Queue up this chill Spotify playlist.
10. Use the cucumber you bought for your eyes to make some cucumber-infused water to sip as you spa.
Want even more DIY spa ideas? Check out how to make your own sea salt spray, body lotion and more.
Lisa McGreevy is a former staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.