These expert tips are perfect for recreating a DIY spa experience at home

Kate Mendonca
Shopping Editor

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There’s nothing better than a relaxing spa treatment to wipe away the stresses of our day to day lives. However, now that they’ve all been closed for the past few months, I imagine I’m not alone in longing for the peace and quiet of a relaxing spa day once it’s safe to return. 

Until then, there are certainly things that you can do at home to recreate the same feeling, and often without spending a dime. From the best treatments that are easy to replicate at home to the added touches that will transform any space into a relaxing environment, we spoke to Andrea Dunham, Director of Spa Operations at Toronto’s Miraj Hammam Spa to get her top tips.

Set the mood for yourself

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According to Dunham, it’s all about the atmosphere. She recommends taking the time to light a candle, dim the lights, and play some soothing music to create an oasis-like feeling inside your own home.

If you’re looking to improve the quality of your bath time, “you need to set the mood for that. It’s not just [a] get in, get out, quick wash,” she noted. 

For an added sensory experience, place a few drops of essential oils to your bath to produce a calming scent that also benefits your skin as you soak, and keep a few extras on hand for when you get out of the tub.

“What I’ve been doing is throwing a towel or a robe into the dryer so it’s nice and warm when you get out, and then having your favourite herbal tea. You’re getting that spa feel inside the house even if you can’t [be there] right now.”

The easiest at-home treatment

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Dunham says that one of her favourite treatments that you can easily perform at home involves a few ingredients that you likely already have inside your pantry. Creating an exfoliating body polish is as simple as combining a few kitchen ingredients before smoothing it onto the skin, taking special care for extra-dry areas like elbows, knees and heels.

“You can use sugars [or] salt. Coffee grounds are also great because they’re super energizing with caffeine,” she suggested. “All of those things, because they do have that granular feel are going to give you a body exfoliation.”

To create a paste, Dunham recommends adding water slowly to your preferred scrub base to get a consistency that’s going to actually stay on the skin and not run off or get too fine. You can also add in ingredients like honey or coconut oil for extra hydration, which also helps to thicken your scrub, but you’ll need to use it quickly. 

“The only thing with making products at home on your own, you have to be careful and use it as a one-time thing, since it’s not going to have the shelf life that you normally would get in a product that’s store-packaged.”

Focus on the hands

Beautiful woman hands are on a towel

Because people are washing and sanitizing hands so frequently, for many of us they’ve definitely taken a beating over the past few months. To combat dry skin, a nourishing treatment using a rich oil or hand cream can help.

Dunham recommends moisturizing hands with a thick layer of your favourite nourishing product, and going an extra step further to lock in moisture with an added extra layer of protection. Kitchen gloves, plastic wrap, or rubber gloves placed over top of lotion for 15 minutes helps the moisture penetrate into the deeper layers of the epidermis, and will be far more effective than simply applying products topically, she says. 

Get the feel at home

We’ve rounded up a few of Dunham’s favourite products to recreate the spa at home below, but if you’re in the Toronto area, you can also email the Miraj Hammam Spa directly to order one of their kits featuring some of their bestselling relaxation products.

Buck Naked Soap Company Bath Soak

Buck Naked Soap CompanyHimalayan Salt Bath Soak. Image via Etsy.

“[They’re] a Canadian company and they have lots of different bath salts and bath milks. Super scented essential oils - there’s a vanilla rose, there’s a eucalyptus blend, lavender, lots of variety there and they have some great ones.”

SHOP IT: Etsy, from $14

Patchology FlashPatch Illuminating Eye Gels

Patchology FlashPatch Illuminating Eye Gels. Image via Skinstore.

“These have vitamin C and mulberry, and it helps to decrease uneven pigmentation. There’s also green tea, so it improves your circulation and lightens the appearance of dark circles, and pearlescent minerals that kind of give you that light-reflecting brightness.”

SHOP IT: Skinstore, $21

Moroccan Beldi Soap with Eucalyptus

Moroccan Beldi Soap with Eucalyptus. Image via The Detox Market.

“[At the spa] we have the hammam, and what we do in this treatment is an application of black Moroccan soap based with olive oil and vitamin E and scented with eucalyptus. You apply it all over the body and then using the traditional kessa glove, that’s what’s actually doing the body exfoliation.”

SHOP IT: The Detox Market, $51

Kessa Mitt

Kessa Mitt. Image via The Detox Market.

SHOP IT: The Detox Market, $16

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