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Ask Emily from ahhhh! to spa ...

With all the chaos surrounding the summer months--from packing for vacation to heading back to school to dealing with allergies--it's no wonder some of us want to scream by the time we get home for the day. While this release might be helpful, it might also wake up the neighbors. Why not try spending a Saturday pampering yourself with luxurious spa treatments? My husband and I are leaving for an East Coast tour in two days; the laundry isn't done, the car needs an oil change and because we are bringing my little brother back with us, the guestroom should be clean. It isn't.

Despite--or maybe, because of--my high stress level, I spent most of yesterday in a beautiful spa. The minute I walked through the door, I was greeted by smiling faces, the quirky question of "Can we get you some water, herbal tea, or maybe a beer?" and bright rooms infused with color and life. I felt better before I even began my treatment (spa lingo for facial, massage, body wrap, haircut, etc.). When I left, I felt refreshed and rejuvenated.

Not all of us can come home after a long day and immediately switch into spa mode. Perhaps the only faces you see and questions you're asked are your children asking when dinner will be ready. Maybe the only colorful room you have is a tiny bathroom with beige wallpaper--the only room your mate/landlord allowed to be "colored" because it won't lower the resell value like an apple green kitchen might. Do not fear! It is still possible to spoil yourself even if the milieu du jour is less than calm.

During my spa visit, I had the opportunity to talk with the lovely and talented esthetician, Shannon Phillips. Phillips told me that it is easy to do treatments at home. "There is no reason to go out and buy brand name products. Inexpensive scrubs, mask, all kinds of natural treatments can be made from fruits and vegetables, rice meal, nuts, yogurts and essential oils. Each has different properties ... The important thing is to know what you need to treat!" Phillips also said that becoming educated was the most important thing a person could do before treating their skin. She recommended that everyone have at least one consultation with an esthetician or dermatologist so that s/he can help to make skin care recommendations.

The following treatments are designed to appeal to your sense of smell, one of the most important senses when it comes to relaxation. Each treatment is highly aromatic, which will make you conscious of your breathing, another key part of relaxation. Put on a plush bathrobe and try one (or all) of these treatments. Turn down harsh fluorescent lights and put on some soft music. Light some candles. Keep lots of water on hand. Relax.

On this month's trip to the food market, you will need to buy the following items:

* 1 Medium Lemon--considered a "cure-all" by many; detoxifying because of its high concentration of potassium; cleans blemished skin; smooths rough skin

* 2 Small Limes--native of India; very high in Vitamin C, calcium and phosphorus; rind contains a volatile oil that helps to enhance detoxification

* Mandarin Essential Oil--golden yellow in color, the oil's scent is true to its fruit; antiseptic properties are good for blemished and oily skin

* Rosa Damascena Essential Oil--cultivated mostly in Turkey and France, rose oil is deeply floral and slightly spicy in scent; has antiviral and astringent properties that make it excellent for sensitive skin

* Dead Sea Salts--contain magnesium, potassium, bromides, and calcium chlorides; regular mineral salt will work also

* 1 Small Papaya--grown worldwide and high in Vitamin C; mature papaya will have yellowish pink fruit

* Plain Yogurt--is made by exposing milk to heat, which causes friendly bacteria to grow; the curd makes skin, nails and hair healthy, soft and very strong


Honey-Lemon Facial Cleanser

The lemon in this cleanser will help to lighten and brighten skin, but can be phototoxic. Make sure to apply sunscreen if you use this treatment and then go out later in the day.
 Prepare lemon by cutting it in half, removing all seeds
 and setting one half aside (or in a plastic bag, if you
 won't be doing the SELF treatment today).

 Remove the rind from the remaining half and cut the
 fruit into small pieces. Mash gently, but try to keep the
 white skin intact.

 Mix the fruit with 2 tbsp. honey and massage onto the
 skin for 2 3 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.


Mandarin Rose Body Polish

This body polish will help boost the skin's circulation and will slough off dead skin cells, leaving a healthy glow. The salts may make the shower slippery--so use caution when getting in and out.
 Mix 2 cups Dead Sea Salts with 1/2 cup olive oil (from
 the Ask Emily cupboard).

 Add 7 drops Mandarin Essential Oil and 10 drops Rosa
 Damascena Essential Oil to the salts and
 mix thoroughly.

 Rub polish over your body in a circular motion.
 Rinse off with warm water and towel off. Slather on a
 rich moisturizer.


Yogurt--Papaya Hair Mask

Breathe. This smells so good. Ear the other half of the papaya for a healthy spa snack.
 Prepare papaya by cutting it in half, lengthwise. Set
 aside one half.

 Mash 1/2 papaya until nearly smooth. Mix with 1/2 cup
 plain yogurt until combined.

 Massage onto clean, damp hair and cover with a
 shower cap (or plastic wrap) for 30 minutes. Rinse
 thoroughly with warm water.


Citrus Sea Salt Soak

A cupful of this mixture added to a warm bath will detoxify and rejuvenate your body. I like to throw a few citrus peels in the tub. The skins help to exfoliate the skin and they make the bath vet inviting.
 Juice the remaining lemon half and both limes into a
 large bowl.

 Mix juice with 4 drops of Mandarin Essential Oil. Add 2
 cups Dead Sea Salts and mix.

 Add 1 cup mixture to a warm bath. Toss in rinds and use
 to exfoliate elbows and other rough spots.

Emily Ray, MNAHA, has been creating natural beauty products for five years. She is a freelance writer and is the Editor-in-Chief of the Aromatherapy Journal. Emily would especially like to thank Sweetgrass Wellness Spring for giving her the opportunity to interview their staff and have a fabulous spa treatment. Sweetgrass Wellness Spring is located on Moreland Avenue in Atlanta. Check out their website at or call 404-522-3223 for more information about available treatments. Have a beauty question you'd like answered in this new column? Feel free to contact Emily at

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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Natural Beauty
Author:Ray, Emily
Publication:New Life Journal
Date:Aug 1, 2003
Previous Article:From the editor.
Next Article:Connecting with the source: deepen into meditation with Primordial Sound instructor Barbara Kumara.

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