Yesterday, one of our friends had a birthday party. I literally can’t remember the last time I went to a party. A couple we know had a housewarming party back in late spring or early summer, but I wasn’t feeling well and didn’t go.
Given all the crap that has been happening lately — and the fact that I actually felt emotionally stable enough to go — I decided some pampering was in order.
So, mini spa day.
Because of Tim’s skin, we have a lot of Philosophy products lying around. Before you judge, just remember we do get them at reduced prices via eBay and store sales — always combined with cash back via Mr. Rebates or Ebates.
But, even using that combination, Philosophy products are still pricier than many frugal folks like. Fear not, there are plenty of other options.
For those who enjoy the the slightly cheaper fine things in life, there are plenty of luxurious (feeling) body washes. My favorites were usually from Nivea or Softsoap, with ingredients like shea butter or milk and honey. They feel indulgent, but a whole bottle is less than $7 retail. (And we know never to pay retail, right?)
If you prefer a bath, use oatmeal. Aveeno makes a lovely oatmeal bath product, but the generic version is just as good!
To add a little extra indulgence — and to come out feel really radiant — add a sugar scrub to your routine. For a truly frugal product, make your own scrub.
I know I should condition more. I’m lucky if I remember to do it once a week. (Though I use products that help protect my hair out of the shower. I guess that helps.)
But when I’m pampering, I make sure to give my hair a nice, deep conditioning. It feels indulgent, even though you really don’t have to spend much.
First of all, it turns out that high-end brands are often sister companies of less prestigious brands. For example, Kerastase is made by Loreal. The former’s $50 “hair masque” has almost identical ingredients as the latter’s $4.99 Vive Pro Smooth Intense Conditioning Treatment. Nuff said.
I got some Pantene Professional Damage Repair at BlogHer. I have been using that every couple of weeks — well, at least once a month — with pretty good results. Amazon has the best deal at $5. You only get 5 in a pack (though if your hair is shoulder length or above you can get two uses per ampule), but that’s still a reasonable price.
For the best deal, though, just combine your normal conditioner with a shower cap. Or, if you’re classy like I was growing up, a plastic grocery bag. I’ve also heard of using saran wrap.
Just slather it on, tuck your hair up under some form of plastic and wait half an hour. The idea is that the plastic seals in the moisture (and conditioner) and your hair gets a rich treatment. Just be sure to rinse thoroughly. If you don’t, it will show.
I find there’s very little that can beat face masks for feeling pampered and fussed over. Even if the person doing the fussing over me is, well, me.
My general go-to for a few years was The Body Shop’s Tea Tree face mask. I considered it an indulgence at $15 because, uh, I was broke. But it was great, and if/when we run out of Philosophy face mask products, I’ll probably gravitate back to it. If you shop carefully, you can also get the $15 price tag down. There are frequent sales, plus social buying sites tend to offer $20 vouchers for $10. Keep your eyes peeled.
Alas, that’s where my face mask knowledge ends. So I defer to the experts at Allure. They listed Queen Helene’s Mint Julep mask ($4.75 or less), which was in a few other “affordable face masks” lists. Another one of inetrest was Freeman Beauty masks ($3.99 and up).
As always, though, you can save the most money by being industrious and whipping up something at home. There is a long list of face mask recipes on About.com Beauty, and a list of 50 mask recipes on Witty Living.
Personally, I don’t bother with this all that often. But a pretty color — which drugstores have in a range of affordable prices — on your toes can be a nice cheap way to feel pampered.
When they get out, you can give them a scrub — then a rub.
Of course, girly days are much better with the girls. Invite your friends over for extra fun. Tell them to bring beverages. Plus then you can give each other shoulder rubs for the true spa experience!
And let’s not forget…
Good music is a must — whatever your definition of that is. You need something to bounce around to as you apply a face mask/toe color/makeup. Or play something lovely and soft to relax to.
Whatever tunes you choose, you should emerge from your DIY spa day refreshed, moisturized and feeling pretty confident. And that’s worth any price.
Anyone have any product suggestions or extra steps for pampering?