Worn out from the Student Climate Strike and International Cleanup Day this past weekend? ME TOO. This activism thing takes a lot of physical and emotional energy and sometimes you need to unwind. One of my favorite ways to do that is to pamper myself with a spa day!
But you’ll find no sheet masks in cutesy packaging, no pore strips, and no disposable plastic bottles of soap in my self-care arsenal–almost everything I need can be found in my kitchen.
Because I make my own products, I know what goes in them, so I’m not exposed to harsh chemicals regularly, and I save money. Plus, learning to make what I need to take care of myself has been incredibly empowering. Now when I have a problem, I think less about what I “need” to buy and more about how I can create a solution with what I already have.
Below are some of my favorite self care rituals that make me feel sparkly clean and refreshed. All the ingredients can be bought in bulk or plastic free packaging.
Bentonite Clay Mask
Bentonite clay is one of my favorite discoveries from my zero waste journey. This stuff works wonders for your skin, and is a great way to clear your pores. It usually comes in powder form, and has been shown to have many detoxifying properties. Here’s some more information about how it works, and its uses if you’re curious.
To make a simple bentonite clay mask, stir together a teaspoon of the clay and enough water to make a paste-like, spreadable texture. You can substitute apple cider vinegar for water if you like, but the mask will be a lot stronger, so take care to take it off quickly. Spread the mask on your face and leave on for 5-10 minutes, or until clay hardens. Wipe it off your face with a warm washcloth. If you leave it too long, it may make your face a bit red and splotchy (this is what it does to me, I can’t speak for everyone) so be careful about applying this mask before you go out somewhere.
This scrub is so easy to make, it now baffles me to see sugar scrubs for sale in stores. It’s just coconut oil and white (or cane) sugar. Dish out two tablespoons of sugar and add enough coconut oil to make a paste texture. Apply to skin in the shower, because it can get messy. This is a great thing to do before you shave your legs, as it makes them super soft. You can also use coffee grounds instead of sugar. Simply rescue some grounds from the coffee machine before they get thrown out and save in the fridge until you make the scrub. I estimate these would last 2-3 days before going bad.
I have two acne treatments I do regularly. The first is just tea tree oil, which has been found to be just as effective against acne as benzoyl peroxide. I dab on a tiny bit to problem spots each night until they clear up. If that doesn’t work, I up the ante–I make a paste of a 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and a tiny bit of water, and dab it on the spot. This will get dry and crumbly 20 minutes, so after that I wash it off. This dries out spots so much that they usually clear up in 24 hours after the baking soda treatment.
This is a great one for the winter months when your skin needs lots of hydration. The biggest mistake people make (ehem, I made) with oil cleansing is starting with an oil that’s too heavy. The idea is that the oil you apply dissolves oil in your skin, but using the wrong one, or too much oil, just feels gross. I would recommend grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil, castor oil, or jojoba oil. To try the oil cleansing method, apply the oil as you would a face wash, working it into the skin. Then, apply a hot washcloth to skin for 30 seconds before using it to wipe off any excess. This helps open your pores so the oil can dissolve what’s in there. After that, apply your moisturizer (I use jojoba oil) to lock in the hydration.
Taking a bath is my favorite way to relax when I’ve been super busy. And you don’t need to buy bubble bath in a bottle to make it sudsy! I have been making this old fashioned bubble bath recipe for years, but I sometimes just use a bit of lavender castile soap (pictured above), because it smells so good.
There you have it! As always, I don’t endorse a particular brand of any of these products, I’m just showing you what I have on hand. Let me know if you try any of these in the comments!