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Easy, At-Home Spa Treatments

No time or money for professional pampering? Treat your achy muscles and stressed-out skin at home! Bliss out with these DIY tricks.

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David Tsay
bath oils and soaps
Jack Miskell
Ericka McConnell
Blaine Moats
Corbis Photography/Veer
David Tsay
David Tsay
Jack Miskell
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Find "Mist" Opportunities

Go from dry to dewy in a spritz. "Floral and herbal waters hydrate skin and keep it glowing," says Terri Lawton, a Los Angeles-based holistic skincare and wellness expert. Try a premade version like Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist ($21, jurlique.com), or make your own: Add 1/6 cup dried lavender and 1/2 teaspoon dried sage to 1 cup boiling water, says Marina Valmy, director of New York City's Christine Valmy Skincare. Remove from heat, add 25 rose petals (one large flower), and steep for two hours. Drain the mixture through a coffee filter, then refrigerate in a spray bottle.

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Float Away Stress

Taking a bath before hitting the sack can help you snooze better, notes a study in the journal Sleep. Add a few drops of bath oil or a moisturizing fizzy ball (see our picks below). For a more organic feel, toss in flower heads, such as those from roses and dahlias, and lime slices (as many as you like) while the tub is filling. The oils of the buds moisturize skin, and the vitamin C-rich fruit acts as an astringent, says Gerard Bodeker, author of Health and Beauty from the Rainforest.

Pamper your skin with these luxe tub treats:

  • Fruits & Passion Foaming Bath ($30 for a set of three, fruits-passion.com)
  • Jo Malone Red Roses Bath Oil ($60, jomalone.com)
  • Carol's Daughter Sugar Coated Shea Bath Bombs ($7.50 each, carolsdaughter.com)

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Rub Off Wrinkles

A face massage not only feels fab, but "it also relaxes muscle tension -- smoothing lines -- and increases luminosity," says Shelley Bawiec, global skincare education director for Aveda. To do, apply a thin layer of lotion to your face, place your palms against your cheeks, and rub in fast up-and-down motions, Bawiec instructs. Repeat along your forehead. Next, use your index and middle fingers to make small circular motions against the sides of your nose and around your mouth. Finally, press down on the area just under your brows and above the bridge of your nose for three seconds.

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Sip Super Water

Get your eight glasses a day the spa way by adding five mint leaves and 10 thin cucumber slices to a pitcher of water, suggests Pam Ouellet, spa director of the Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Banff Springs in Alberta, Canada. Mint oil helps flush away complexion-dulling toxins, and vitamins A and C in cukes keep skin healthy.

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Paint One On

Use an artist's fan brush (available at art supply stores), not your fingers, to apply a face mask, says Laura Hittleman, director of corporate beauty services at Canyon Ranch in Tucson. "The bristles lightly exfoliate, helping the mask's ingredients penetrate deeper." Mash half a banana and combine it with one tablespoon each orange juice and honey, says Sharon Ronen, owner of Skin Haven Spa Studio & WellSpa in Los Angeles. Apply and rinse after 15 minutes.

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Treat Your Feet

Fill a basin halfway with warm water, then add a few river rocks ($14.99 for 10, rubrocks.com). "Press your soles down on them, or use one to knead away pain caused by running," says Hittleman. Afterward, paint your toes a deep blue, green, or lavender. "These spa colors project feelings of calm," adds Craig Fossella, founder of Tru Spa in San Francisco.

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Smooth It Over

Body scrubs are a popular spa treatment, leaving skin silky. Achieve similar effects in the shower by wearing buffing mitts, such as Spa Sister Textured Bathing Gloves ($6, bathaccessories.com). Rub skin in circular motions, starting at the bottoms of your legs and moving up to your waist, then repeat from your wrists to your shoulders, Lawton suggests. Make clockwise circles around your tummy, and brush upward from your chest to your neck. Dry off, then apply body lotion -- damp, just-exfoliated skin will drink it up.

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Chill Out

Spas and gyms offer cool, eucalyptus-scented cloths in their locker rooms. "The scent helps relax your breathing and clear your mind," says Carol Espel, national director of group fitness and Pilates for Equinox Fitness Clubs. Keep a supply on hand: Add 12 drops of eucalyptus oil (available at health food stores) to a sink full of cool water, Espel says. Dip each washcloth into the H2O, wring out, fold in half, roll up, and store in the fridge. After an intense workout, unroll a cloth and lay it over your face until you feel calm.

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Flower Power

During tough economic times, sales of floral perfumes spike, because we find them comforting, according to Givaudan, a Swiss fragrance house. Try these new bloomers.

1. Subtle and sweet: Gardenia and jasmine plus a sprinkling of peach keep In Bloom by Reese Witherspoon ($34, avon.com) light and airy.

2. Fashionably fragrant: A sexy night-out spritz, Very Hollywood Michael Kors ($85, sephora.com) mixes florals like ylang-ylang with raspberry.

3. New classic: Much like the 1956 original, Dior Diorissimo Eau de Parfum ($72, saksfifthavenue.com) is concentrated with lily of the valley and lilac.

4. Petal pusher: Peony and magnolia in Faith Hill Parfums ($31, walmart.com) are suitable for day.

5. High notes: Mariah Carey Forever ($55, Macy's stores) is laced with lotus blossom, tuberose, and gardenia, the singer's favorite posies.

See more floral fragrances here

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Download to Unwind

"Songs with a rhythm of about 60 beats per minute mimic your heartbeat, inducing relaxation," Lawton says. Breathe deep with this expert-approved playlist (which is also perfect post-workout).

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, November/December 2009.

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