Beauty treatments make me antsy. I do like a good massage, but sitting still for anything else—a seaweed wrap, a mud detox, a purifying facial or whatever they invent next—this is not for me. I even used to put off pedicures until discovering that my cheapie neighborhood mani-pedi place had wifi. But at times like these—when the heat and humidity combine with urban grime to create the most soul-depleting of outdoor conditions—I find that one’s spirits can be vastly improved by creating a little at-home spa experience for oneself.
I start out by drawing myself a nice cold bath. Not vampire-cold, but cold; room temperature or anything warmer defeats the purpose entirely. It’s a bit of a shock to the system at first, but in exactly the same way that jumping into a cool lake on a hot summer day is. Unbearable at first, and then really, really nice. I always add about five drops each of lemongrass and ginger essential oils into the tub. Lemongrass both relaxes and energizes, and in combination with the ginger it’s just one of the best scents going.
Then I just go at my feet with some of this…
…and one of these, because if your daily life involves walking the streets of New York in open-toed shoes, your feet get a very special, very stubborn kind of filthy that doesn’t necessarily wash off right away. If I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll go in for a bit of this action as well. As one does.
And after that, as I’m just the tiniest bit OCD and started doing this years ago and—irrationally—can’t stop, I go over them once more with a proper bar of soap as well. How pretty is this? And the scent complements my little ginger/lemongrass concoction quite nicely.
I am the least DIY person you could ever hope to meet, but I do love to make myself a nice salt scrub. It’s easy, it’s cheap, and you can create whatever scent you want. I use coarse sea salts like these, and then just mix in sweet almond oil—which is unscented and lightweight and pretty much always available at your local Whole Foods or wherever—with some more of the ginger and lemongrass essential oils. The whole idea of putting on a layer of gloppy moisturizer when it’s this hot out is ick; the little bit of oil that’s left on your skin after you towel off from the scrub feels just right.
And then I’m out. Happy and refreshed, like I took a nice little dip.