IF YOU have a severe case of the January blues, what you may need to get you out of your funk is a nice, luxurious spa day.
But, as well all know, spa days don’t come cheap – but with the help of this column, you can have your very own spa day in the comfort of your own home.
We’ve found the very best products, tips and treats to make your day, hour or half hour of pampering utterly relaxing.
The best way to start is with a clean slate. So chuck the family out for the day, the afternoon, or even just a couple of hours, don your fluffiest dressing gown and slippers and prepare to enjoy.
Start with the basics - run a warm to hot bath and add a disgustingly decadent amount of your best bubble bath or bath oil – my current favourite is Elemis Milk Bath.
You want the whole room to smell like a delicious sauna. Light a candle or several - go for relaxing floral musks and spices rather than invigorating citrus scents.
If you need to wash your hair, do that first, and then add a moisturising hair mask. You can make your own excellent cheap hair mask at home by applying a mixture of olive oil and any conditioners you have to hand to your hair, making sure you avoid the roots - greasy is not sexy, people.
Leave it on while you wallow in the bath. Pop on a facemask – there is a veritable smorgasbord of choice out there for every type of skin problem – dull, combination, oily/greasy – but the facemask im currently lusting over is Eve Lom’s Rescue Mask. While it has a rather hefty price tag (£55 for 100ml) this multi award-winning mask is a complexion booster and emergency treatment for sluggish, stressed-out skin.
So, with hair and face masks gently soldifiying on your scalp and face, the time is now to exfoliate. The Sanctuary range at Boots do a fantastic salt scrub which not only smells delicious and gets rid of any bumpy bits, but moisturises using coconut, jojoba and sweet almond oils, leaving skin like a baby's bum.
If you fancy a bit more a treat (ie, a more expensive version) the Elemis Lime and Ginger Salt Glow is the one to beat. This stuff is so good they use it in real, honest-to-goodness paying spas to scrub people down, so you know it works.
Once you’ve gently swilled it all off, its time to moisturise like you’ve never moisturised before. Try to avoid things that call themselves ‘lotions’ as they tend to be thinner in texture and thus, less effective. Instead, go for rich body butters and oils which apart from feeling so much nicer, tend to properly look after your skin, rather than just giving the appearance.
Push back your cuticles with an orange stick while they are still soft - alternatively, you can use the hard corner of your towel (a trick my grandma taught me, cheers G), for instant, manicure-ready nails.
Apply your favourite nail polish - O.P.I polishes are pricey but the colours are lovely and the names are hilarious. For a cheaper version, try the extensive Barry M range, which has every colour imaginable.
Don't forget to apply a base coat and top coat to keep nails healthy and reduce chipping.
To finish off your indulgent pamper, do what you love best to unwind. Read a book, magazine or watch your favourite film while your nails dry.
And voila! It's a new you. If not, repeat on a bi-weekly basis until you feel human and the blues are banished.
Top spa at home picks:
1. Elemis Bath Milk, £42
2. Elemis Lime & Ginger Salt Glow, £36.50
3. Elemis Frangipani Monoi Body Oil, £31.50
4. Marks & Spencer Ragdale Hall Spa Pamper Set, £7.50
5. House of Bath Circulation Machine Mark II, £99.95