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Jun 062012
 June 6, 2012  Posted by  Beauty, Health & Beauty

Facials are a great way to keep your skin hydrated and glowing. But when the budget won’t allow even a discount spa version, try one of these DIY recipes using fruits and veggies.

These are among many cheap and easy spa treatments you can create for yourself at home.

DYI Facials

(The only ingredient you won’t find in your fridge or cupboard is dry green clay, used in the first facial. You can buy it online for as little as $3 for a one ounce container — enough for many facials.)

Adrian Bryce, founder of Bryce Organic Skin Care, a Boston-based company that uses fresh, 100% certified organic products, recommends an avocado/cucumber mask to deep-clean pores and to firm and moisturize the skin. It’s simple to make and consists of healthy fats and phyto-nutrients in the avocados and a high water content in the cucumbers.

Firming Avocado/Cucumber Masque


  • 1 organic avocado, mashed
  • 3 teaspoons dry green clay
  • ½ organic cucumber, pureed
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice


  • Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl; chill in refrigerator for up to an hour.
  • Apply a thick layer on face and allow to dry for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Wipe skin clean with warm washcloth, splash with cool water and pat dry.

Here’s another easy and effective facial: the pumpkin face mask, courtesy of Erika Katz, author of Bonding Over Beauty. It’s rich with exfoliating enzymes that brighten the skin, helps reduce lines and wrinkles and maintain skin tissue.

The pumpkin in the mask is rich in Vitamin A, which is healing to the skin. The honey is a humectant (promotes retention of moisture). The cream is a moisturizer, beneficial to flaky skin.

Pumpkin Face Mask


  • 2 teaspoons canned pureed pumpkin
  • One-half teaspoon honey
  • One-quarter teaspoon heavy whipping cream


  • Mix all ingredients and apply to face.
  • Leave on for 10 minutes and rinse.
  • Pat dry.

More effective edibles

When your skin needs a quick pick-me-up and all you have handy is a single banana, just mash it into a creamy paste and apply to your face. Let it set for 10 to 20 minutes, then rinse with cold water and pat dry.

An upgraded version

Add 2 tablespoons of honey and one-quarter cup plain yogurt to the mashed banana. Mix until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined and creamy. Apply to your face. Let the mask set for 10 to 20 minutes. Rinse with cold water and pat dry.

More DIY spa treatments

Smooth Skin

Sugar scrubs have a rejuvenating effect on your entire body, and they don’t have to be expensive. You probably have most of the ingredients in your kitchen: brown sugar, olive oil and honey.  If you want to add fragrance, you can put in a little splash of vanilla extract. Simply mix one cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup olive oil and a couple tablespoons of honey in a bowl. You can use it right away, or make it ahead of time — just be sure to stir the mixture before each use. You can use it in the shower all over your body, concentrating on the tough parts like elbows, knees and heels. To increase the softening effect, rub the mixture on your skin then leave it on for a couple minutes. You can store the extra mix in an old jar, or re-use an empty shower gel bottle. Whenever I finish salsa or jam, I run the jars through the dishwasher, then keep them to fill with my special scrub.

The ingredients:

The finished product: 

Soft Feet

Pedicures aren’t the only way to get soft feet. Before going to bed, rub some of your creamiest lotion into your feet. Then slip your toes into a pair of semi-lightweight cotton socks (super-thick socks will leave fuzzies on your moisturized feet). If you can’t sleep with socks, simply put lotion on when you get home from work and spend a few hours with socks on to seal in the moisture. If you will be moving around – particularly on wood or tile floors –  you may want to put on slippers so you won’t slip.

Step 1: 

Step 2: 

Seal In Moisture

Dry air, cold wind and stress can have devastating effects on your skin’s ability to retain moisture. Seal in moisture after every shower or bath. Celebrities may use expensive oils — it’s reported that Jenifer Lopez regularly uses a bath oil that costs upward of $60 a bottle. But you can find a bottle full of nourishing bath oil for under $5. Baby oil is light and sensitive enough for even the youngest skin. The best part is that it also doesn’t have to smell like baby oil – the oilsare sold with lavender, cocoa butter and even aloe scents. There is no need to buy name-brand unless you have a really strong personal preference. Drugstore brands are made with the same ingredients. After showering, spread a few drops of oil over your entire body and rub it in like lotion. If it feels too thick, put it on while the water is still running to rinse some off, then pat dry. For extra moisture, you can still put on some of your normal body lotion to really seal in the softness.

DIY Spa Tricks from the Pros

Can’t afford a luxury spa resort? No problem. You can recreate chic spa treatments at home, according to spa directors Leticia Fernandez at the AAA Five-Diamond Grand Velas Riviera Maya just outside Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and Silvia Velasco from Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit near Puerto Vallarta. The duo have developed seven do-it-yourself recipes using ingredients such as avocado, sugar and olive oil that can be easily found at your local grocery store. For some of the other items, check with retailers that sell organic items or essential oils.

Bubble Bath

  • ¾ bottle of Natural Dish soap
  • Food coloring
  • Essential oil (lavender, sandalwood or neroli)
  • Rose petals (ask a florist for leftovers or buy a cheap bunch)

Mix dish soap in the tub. Add food coloring and essential oil one drop at a time until you get the desired color/scent.  Top off with rose petals and relax!

 Deep-Conditioning Treatment with Avocado

  • ½ avocado
  • 8 oz. jar of mayonnaise (15 oz. jar for very long hair)
  • Shower cap
  • Towel

Smash half of an avocado into a bowl. Add entire jar of mayonnaise and mix well. Divide your hair in 4 parts and work the mixture into each section. Cover your hair with the shower cap. In warm water, wet the towel until damp and wring excess water out. Fold into quarters, place in a microwave for 1 minute or until it is warm to the touch, and then wrap your head in the hot towel. Leave on for 25 minutes, then rinse the mixture out of your hair.

 Natural Body Exfoliation

  • Olive oil
  • Raw sugar

Combine sugar and olive oil in a bowl. Mix well and apply to your body. Rinse off with water.

Milk and Honey Facial Cleansing Cream

  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. warm milk

Mix the honey and milk over low heat. Apply the mixture to your face with the pads of your fingers, using a light massaging motion. Rinse and dry with a towel, lightly tapping your face.

Aloe Vera Cream for Dry Skin

  • 6 capsules of Vitamin E or ½ tsp. wheat germ oil
  • 4 tsp. aloe vera gel
  • 125 ml. or ½ cup almond oil
  • 1 tbs. lanolin

Mix the aloe vera gel with the almond oil. Open the Vitamin E capsules and add the oil to the mixture. Beat vigorously or blend and pour into a small container. Melt the lanolin over a hot water bath. Remove from heat; add the oil mixture and beat vigorously until cool. Store in a glass container. Apply to skin as needed.

Basic Hand Cream

  • 2 tbs. lanolin
  • 2 tbs. almond or wheat germ oil
  • 4 drops of your favorite calming essential oil

Lightly heat the lanolin over a hot water bath and mix well. Remove from heat when the lanolin liquefies; add the almond or wheat germ oil and essential oil. Mix until cool and store in a glass container. Apply to hands as needed.

 Intensive Oil Treatment for Dry Hair

  • 3  tbs. almond, wheat germ or soy oil
  • 3 drops of chamomile or rose aromatherapy oil

Lightly heat the oils and mix them together. Use the mixture to massage the scalp; distribute it over your entire head of hair, focusing on the dry ends. Cover your head with a hot towel for 20 minutes. Rinse and wash well with shampoo.

Lillian Africano

Lilllian Africano is the editor-in-chief of, cruise editor at JAX FAX, senior editor at Elegant Accents and executive editor at She also blogs on and She formerly served as a freelance editor and writer at AOL Travel and is the author of 16 books, including three best-selling novels (under the pseudonym “Jessica March”). She co-authored the 9th edition of Off the Beaten Track Guide to New York, as well as You Know You’re in New Jersey When… and two editions of The Insiders Guide to the Jersey Shore. Lillian is president-elect of the Society of American Travel Writers and past president of the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association. Find her on Google +.

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