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7 Tips for Setting Up a Home Spa

If you ever needed a spa day, now would be that time. Too bad the spas are all closed.

Not to worry: You can create your own spa experience without leaving your home (a really good idea at this point). You won’t have the fancy ambiance—but you won’t have the fancy prices, either.

Here are some ideas for DIY pampering via an uber-indulgent bath.

Create a Green Screen

If you already have houseplants, you can use them to good effect as a way to give your bathroom more of a natural feel: Set larger, bushier specimens on the floor while placing trailing plants on window ledges or the edge of the sink or commode. You’ll be surprised how different they’ll look in candlelight. Speaking of which…

Set the Mood with Candles

Candlelight is a relatively inexpensive but highly effective relaxation aid.

Paraffin candles are the cheapest but burn quickly, and some scented types give off fumes that can be unpleasant for people who have allergies. Candles made with beeswax burn very slowly and cleanly, with a honey-like smell; just be aware that this aroma tends to clash with other scents. Soy-based wax is even-burning and carries scent well, but its softness means that it is usually available in jars instead of free-standing pillars or tapers.

Don’t Forget the Tunes

Audio options such as iPods make it easier for you to incorporate sound into your home spa, which can set a mellow mood while blocking outside distractions. A wide variety of meditative music is available, as are recordings of such nature sounds as running streams or waves on a beach.

Use Scents to Soothe and Revive

Aromatherapy with high-grade essential oils offers another spa enhancement that goes far beyond simply scenting a room.

“There’s nothing lightweight about essential oils,” says Valerie Ann Worwood, author of The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy (New World Library). Popular options include lavender, which Worwood cites for its calming, antidepressant effects; lemon, which has detoxifying properties; and peppermint, a tonic pick-me-up.

Any number of essential-oil diffusers are available. If you don’t have one, you can improvise by setting a small dish over a tea light and putting a few drops of oil in it; make sure your setup is secure.

Another way to enjoy aromatherapy’s advantages is by using essential oils directly in the bath. Which oil you pick depends on what effect you want: For stress relief, go with patchouli, while eucalyptus helps counteract mental sluggishness.

Moisturize Before Your Soak

To control skin dryness, Worwood suggests using a pre-bath oil blend that combines two teaspoons each of avocado and apricot kernel oil with two tablespoons of sweet almond oil. When you get out, pat dry instead of rubbing. (If you have them, don’t forget to include little luxury flourishes, such as a hotel-style robe and thick towel, that you reserve just for spa sessions.)

Enhance Your Bath with Espom Salt

Essential oils work especially well when used with Epsom salt. This old-time remedy provides the essential mineral magnesium, which helps unknot tense muscles and calm the mind while flushing toxins and softening skin.

Use Products Tailored to Your Skin Type

Top-flight skincare is one of a day spa’s greatest attractions. Fortunately, a number of quality products are available for home use.

If your skin is oily and given to breakouts, try tea tree. According to the beauty website, Australia’s best-known botanical “is an excellent skin treatment, especially for oily and acne-prone skin.” It works well with aloe vera, chamomile and willow bark extract in facial cleansers and hydrators, and with kaolin clay and lychee shell in scrubbing masks.

If dryness is your problem, another Australian import, kakadu plum, may help. Vitamin C is known for helping to rejuvenate aged and sun-damaged skin, and “it’s estimated that a single kakadu plum contains more vitamin C than an orange—55 times more, to be exact,” says Alle Connell of the beauty site StyleCaster. Kakadu plum works well with aloe, bearberry, desert lime, macadamia and yucca, along with an Australian native known as the quandong.

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**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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