Her Hacks: At-home spa days

What is one to do when the spa beckons but the bank account or calendar is scowling in disapproval whenever you think about it?

In such cases, an at-home spa day is the ticket, and the Her Hacks team has a carnival fairway of hacks, tips and tricks to get the most out of the experience.

After all, everyone deserves a little R&R, even when time is short and funds are limited.

The treatments

A crucial aspect of a home spa day is creating the right atmosphere.

There are all sorts of tips and tricks out there for doing this (don’t skimp on the scented candles and make sure to warm up your lotion a bit ahead of time) but there’s one you should never skimp on: Turning the bathroom into a sauna.

There are a few ways you can maximize your steam. First, while it might seem counter-intuitive, let the room cool down a bit before you get started. The more difference between the bathroom temperature and the hot water creating the steam, the more steam you get.

Next, make sure you seal up any areas of air egress. The more porous your environment, the quicker that sweet steam will escape. Rolled up towels at the base of doors can make for a great steam stopper.

Then, pull the curtains, turn on the shower to hot and let the place fill up with steam. After you’ve got it foggy enough, you can either sit back and relax or fill the tub up with warm water and enjoy from a steamy, warm bath.

A note of warning: Many experts recommend no more than 20 to 30 minutes in a steam bath. Assuming your bathroom steam experience probably isn’t as intense as an actual steam room, you can probably get away with more. But, remember to take a break and drink some water afterward.

Bath bombs aren’t just doing a cannonball into the whirlpool anymore. These days, they’re a more refined and elegant in that they are fizzy little cakes, balls or eggs that you toss into the bath. They tend to have a variety of effects, not the least of which are aroma therapy and muscle relaxation.

And, the best part is, you don’t have to spend a ton of money at the store to stock up on them.

Making homemade bath bombs can be as simple as combining Epsom salts, baking soda, cornstarch and citric acid.

Popular Science has a thorough walk-through at tinyurl.com/y2x9tjou. And, don’t forget that you can add whatever scents you like via essential oils.

The refreshments

What’s a spa day without a glass of Champagne? Not a spa day, that’s what.

For those who aren’t into the bubbly, there are plenty of other options, though.

A salted caramel white Russian sounds like something that should be enjoyed in a bathrobe — Lebowski-style — which makes it a perfect aperitif for a spa situation.

It’s got almost exactly the same ingredients — vodka, coffee or cream liqueur and half-and-half — but substitute salted caramel equivalents where possible. Top with some dulce de leche caramel sauce and you’re ready to go.

For someone who delights in sweet treats like the above but prefers it to be 100 percent less alcoholic, there’s a little drink known as the Dirty Dr Pepper.

Fill a 24-ounce glass with 2 tablespoons of coconut syrup, ice and lime juice. Then, top with Dr Pepper and a splash of half and half or creamer.

The nice thing about this drink is that it’s pretty modular. If you don’t like Dr Pepper, switch it for Coca-Cola or Pepsi. Not a fan of all the carbs from the soda and syrup? Go with sugar-free syrup and diet soda.

There could even be a case to be made for subbing in things like cream soda or root beer. Let your creativity shine.

Spa water might sound like something left over after you’ve removed the cucumbers from your eyes, sorted out those toe spacers and stepped out of the water, but it’s a delicious infusion of fruit and herbs into water.

It has the advantage of helping you keep hydrated (see the note from the sauna section) and, if you’re adventurous, don’t hesitate to spike the spa water.

According to LiveStrong.com, the old adage that “cucumber is a spa water staple,” but don’t let it be the only one. Check out their list of infusion recipes (tinyurl.com/y5kz46d7) for some ideas, including the delicious-sounding Berry Bonanza Spa Water.

If the previously mentioned spiking of the spa water (a ceremony that should never be neglected) sounded interesting, Elle Talk has a recipe for a Spa Water Mule at tinyurl.com/y3gwmxam.

And, if pineapple is your thing, maybe take a look at Infused Water’s recipe for Spicy Pineapple Jalapeno Infused Water at tinyurl.com/y3tjmb7e. They recommend it for a winter spa day, but that sounds good year-round to the Her Hack team.

Anthony Frenzel writes for the Telegraph Herald. Send your hacks, tips, suggestions, DIY thoughts, inspirations and cobbled-together-machinations to tony.frenzel@thmedia.com or share your pins with me on Pinterest (Anthony Frenzel), and you might just be featured in an upcoming edition of her Hacks.

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