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5 DIY Feel-Good Beauty Treatments
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Get Glowing in the A.M.
Rather than sprinting for the coffeepot after you roll out of bed, reach for your toes. "Stretching loosens your muscles, revs up your circulation, and helps your skin look rosy," says Eva Ritvo, MD, coauthor of The Beauty Prescription. Next, dab a drop of eucalyptus oil inside each nostril and step into the shower. The steam will help create an energizing aroma, says Hope Gillerman, founder of H. Gillerman Organics in New York City. Afterward, as you're putting on your usual facial moisturizer, apply pressure along your brow bones and temples as well as underneath your cheekbones to eliminate any morning puffiness, says Caroline Rushworth, director of education for Decléor in Darien, Connecticut.
Power Through Midday Deadlines
Before you tackle a tough assignment, take a mini break at your desk. Bend down, grab your ankles, and take five deep breaths, Rushworth suggests. "Increased blood flow to the brain will not only energize you but also bring oxygen and nutrients to your skin for a perked-up glow." Then spritz your face with an invigorating mist. "It gives you a boost and hydrates your skin," says Elizabeth Vislocky, lead aesthetician for Jurlique in New York City. Avoid water sprays, which can pull moisture out of the skin when they evaporate. Instead, look for an alcohol-free mist with hydrators like aloe vera. Try Walker's Apothecary Rose Geranium Toner ($16, walkersapothecary.com).
Beat an Afternoon Slump
Skip the candy jar in favor of a quick self-massage. Take a dab of citrus- or peppermint-scented lotion or oil — studies show that the smell of citrus can evoke a happy mood and that a peppermint fragrance can improve alertness and memory — and rub it onto your earlobes, working upward. "Massaging your ears can help release endorphins in your body, allowing you to feel revitalized," Rushworth says. We like Weleda Citrus Refreshing Body Oil ($21, usa.weleda.com) and Ole Henriksen Muscle Comfort Lotion ($28, olehenriksen.com) with peppermint oil. Or mix a drop of peppermint essential oil with a bit of lip balm and rub it onto the back of your neck and shoulders to give your muscles an instant boost, Vislocky suggests.
Cool Down Post-Gym
Tame any sweat-induced inflammation by keeping a cloth packed in ice and cucumber slices in a plastic bag in your gym locker and placing it on your face after your workout. The chill will constrict blood vessels that have become dilated during exercise, helping you to cool down faster, and the cucumber alleviates irritation, says Amy Wechsler, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. Or apply a soothing face mask, like Yes to Cucumbers Calming Facial Mask ($15, drugstores). Cleanse with a refreshing, skin-cooling body wash infused with menthol, mint, lemongrass, or citric acid, recommends Cornelia Zicu, chief creative officer for Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spas in Stamford, Connecticut. We like Gud Natural Body Wash in Orange Petalooza Blood Orange & Hyacinth ($7, drugstores).
Unwind Before Bed
Prep for sleep by making a cup of chamomile tea with two tea bags. When you've finished drinking it, place the cool tea bags over your eyes and cover them with a sleep mask for a soothing treatment, Rushworth says. Leave on for about 10 minutes, then cleanse your face thoroughly. When applying face wash, massage your jaw muscles to help relax your entire body. Before you hit the pillow, spritz a lavender-scented linen mist, like Caldrea Linen and Room Spray in Lavender Pine ($9, caldrea.com), onto a tissue and slip it underneath your pillowcase. "The scent will waft through the fabric during the night, helping you to calm down and sleep soundly," Zicu says.
A new crop of pampering products claim to improve your mood with calming or invigorating scents and textures. FITNESS staffers put them to the test.
1. Hard Candy Glossaholic Rise & Shine Energizing Lip Gloss ($5, Walmart stores)
"It has a coffee scent that perked me right up when I needed a midday boost. I was even able to skip my usual caffeine fix."
— Colleen Moody, Web editor
2. Aveeno Positively Nourishing Calming Body Wash ($7, drugstores)
"The fragrance of this creamy cleanser was really relaxing — perfect to use before bed."
— Christie Griffin, digital director
3. Lollia Relax Shea Butter Handcreme ($24, beauty.com)
"Slathering on this lotion after a long run and a hot shower made me feel as if I just left a spa. The sweet honey aroma put me in a good mood."
— Jenna Autuori-Dedic, fitness editor
4. Origins Calm to Your Senses Lavender and Vanilla Oil for Bath and Body ($23, origins.com)
"This was a quick, luxurious treat after my nighttime shower. It left my skin smooth, and the comforting scent lingered."
— Karina Dearwood, associate photo editor
5. Murad Energizing Pomegranate Cleanser ($26, murad.com)
"I used this foamy wash in the morning, and the revitalizing fragrance helped me get going. It made my skin glow, too."
— Alyson Kaufman, sittings intern
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, January 2012.