No spa? No problem—let pantry staples like honey, sugar and cocoa powder rejuvenate your skin from the inside out.

By Kelsey Ogletree
April 02, 2020
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Being quarantined in our own homes has led to a lot of creativity in the kitchen the past few weeks. But when you’ve baked to your heart’s content (or perhaps used up all your butter), tried everything under the sun with pasta recipes and maybe even experimented with a virtual cooking class or two, it may be time to switch gears and try your hand at another kind of concoction. Each of these recipes are made using ingredients you already have in your kitchen—but they’re a treat for your skin and body rather than your belly. Here, some of the best hotel and resort spas share their top recipes for homemade self-care products. “When it is time to stay home, it is the perfect time to take care of ourselves,” says Lina Morales, spa director at Four Seasons Resort Las Cabos at Costa Palmas.

Oatmeal and Honey Mask

This moisturizing face mask, recommended by Morales, uses three ingredients that you may already be in your regular breakfast rotation. To make it, mix ¼ cup coconut milk with 2 teaspoons honey and 2 teaspoons oatmeal in a small bowl. Once it reaches a paste-like texture, apply to your face using round, upward movements. Leave the mask for 10-15 minutes, then wash off with warm water.

Rose Water Toner

This toner, which gets its magic from a single flower from a decaying bouquet you might have lying around, helps to balance production of sebum (an oil substance secreted from the sebaceous glands that keeps your skin moisturized) production, and is also cooling and soothing, says Morales. Place rose petals from one rose in a teapot. Pour boiling water over the rose petals; cover tea pot with a lid and let the tea infuse and fully cool for 1-2 hours. Next, strain the tea and transfer rose water to a spray bottle. Apply at night after cleansing, in upward strokes on your face and neck, by soaking a cotton pad with rose water toner. You can also use this as an after-shower body mist, after-shave or hair mist (spray lightly on dry ends). Store the spray bottle in the refrigerator and use within a week.

Coffee Body Scrub

You can help revive dry, tired skin with this exfoliating scrub that will smell good enough to eat (but don’t!). Mix ½ cup honey, 4 teaspoons coffee grounds and 2 teaspoons brown sugar or coarse sea salt. To use, says Morales, take a hot shower to moisten your skin and open pores, then rub you’re your skin using upward, circular motions and medium pressure. Rinse, dry off and apply your favorite body lotion. 

If you don’t have any honey, you can also try a similar version of this scrub recommended by Sienna Creasy, spa director for Playa Hotels & Resorts: Combine ½ cup coffee grounds, ¼ cup cold-pressed coconut oil and 1 drop of your favorite essential oil. “Caffeine topically applied is just a powerful as caffeine ingested,” Creasy says. “The caffeine in coffee has an anti-inflammatory effect that, when used as a body scrub ingredient, will tighten and tone skin, reduce dark circles, minimize fine lines and even reduce the appearance of cellulite.”

Shower Mist

Upgrade your shower with this aromatherapy shower spray concocted by Morales, which blends essential oils to help boost your mood, decrease stress and soothe your respiratory system. In a spray bottle, mix 15 drops of eucalyptus and five drops of peppermint with 200 milliliters of water. Turn on your shower, and once it’s nice and hot, spray the mist in every corner to create a steam effect. Take long, deep breaths and enjoy your relaxing shower.

Tropical Citrus Sugar Scrub

If coffee isn’t your thing, that’s OK—Christina Stephens, spa director at Wymara Resort & Villas in Turks & Caicos, shares this citrusy recipe that will help smooth and firm your skin—and transport you to a poolside lounge chair amid a grove of orange trees, too. To make it, combine 1 cup brown sugar, ½ cup coconut oil, and five drops each of tangerine and lime essential oil. (You can also use the zest and juice of one lime if you don’t have essential oils—and while you’re juicing, why not make a margarita to enjoy afterward, too?)

Chocolate Facial

If you’re turning to your chocolate stash to help relieve stress right now, you’re not alone. “Chocolate really is a comfort food; it makes one feel good,” says Allen Susser, chef and chocolatier with Jade Mountain resort in St. Lucia, which has 2,000 cocoa trees on property. While there’s nothing wrong with baking up a batch of super-thick chocolate chip cookies to soothe yourself, you can also enjoy a calorie-free treat for your face in the form of Susser’s triple-chocolate facial. To make it, mix 1 tablespoon cocoa powder with 2 tablespoons aloe vera gel and apply to your face as you would a cleanser, then rinse. In a separate bowl, combine 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon coconut oil, then use as a scrub on your face and rinse. Finally, mix 1 more tablespoon cocoa powder with 1 tablespoon honey to create a paste, then apply as a mask and let rest for 15 minutes before rinsing with warm water.

DIY Hair Mask

If the memes circulating the internet right now are correct, we’re only a week or so away from knowing everyone’s true hair color. While you can’t get your color refreshed at the salon right now, you can do something about those dry, dull ends, like applying this easy hair mask recommended by the spa team at Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Mash together ½ an avocado (and use the other half to make a mini batch of guacamole!), 1 tablespoon coconut oil and one egg. Massage into dirty hair from root to ends and let sit for 15 minutes (if you have a plastic shower cap lying around, it can be helpful to put that on to help you avoid touching your hair or making a mess). Then, rinse in the shower, and wash and dry as usual. To make this more fun, you could even throw a virtual spa party, connecting with friends over a video conference app like Zoom while you make and apply the mask to your hair.