A frugal Spa Day…at home!

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With the beginning of a new year, everyone has many(or few) goals and resolutions that they intend to keep throughout the next 12 months. Whether it’s to lose weight, give to charity, stop smoking, save more money, etc., it’s always something to better themselves or their environment. But, what about your environment at home? Better yet, what about YOU? No one ever says that their resolution is to pamper themselves 50% more than they did the last year. And why not? Mostly, because it costs to pamper. Or so we think.

Last year, I asked my readers what they did to pamper themselves while on a budget and I loved the few answers I did get. You see, for one year of my short life, I used to be a spa/pamper junkie. Once a year I’d get the massage, once a month it was the pedicure, and once every 2 weeks it was the eyebrow waxing and manicure. Lots of money wasted….for a very high maintenance mama/wife/model/airman.

Once I realized I totally needed to get out of my “princess mentality”, I found new ways to pamper myself right at home. And today, I want to share a few of my secrets with you! Some you may know, some you may not, but I believe we all need to feel re-energized, especially when we are walking down our frugal roads. Saving money can be exhausting, sometimes!

1. Become a fan of Olive oil
This is my all-time favorite trick. Ever wonder why Italian women have such beautiful, shiny hair, and lovely olive-toned skin? Well, it’s genetics first, but it is most definitely olive oil second. We’ve all learned how important, health-wise, it is to ingest olive oil, but using it straight on your hair and body is just as effective. Something I learned from an Italian model friend: once every 2 months, after you bathe before hitting the sack, rub down your whole body with 1/4 cup of plain old olive oil. This includes your face. I know, I know, but trust me, it works! Give it a few minutes to soak in, put on some old pajamas and say goodnight. Doing this once every few months will help to keep your skin soft enough to absorb any lotion you use, and you won’t have to lotion up so much, especially in the winter. We find ourselves using more and more lotion in the winter, but following this trick will keep your lotion bill down to a minimum. You may even be able to get through the winter using only one bottle!
My favorite trick with olive oil from the past year: putting it straight in my hair. Because I have kinky, fizzy, dry hair, I need to deep condition it pretty much every time I wash it. Olive oil is all natural and does wonders compared to the pricey deep conditioners in stores, that are full of items(like alcohol) that are just not good for my coif.
Another olive oil trick is to rub some right on your cuticles! This is a great trick for all the cooks out there. Every time you roast a chicken, rub some olive oil(or canola or veggie oil) right on your cuticles and hands first. Then proceed to dress your bird. While you are getting your dinner ready for the oven, the oil will be penetrating your skin, making it silky-smooth. BONUS: using kosher salt on that bird, too? Rub that in the skin to get rid of winter scales on your hands. An inexpensive salt scrub!

2. Take care of your tootsies….with vinegar!

Now my long-time readers know how much I love vinegar. It has been a life-saver for this frugal mama. But a recent post on Frugal Dad got me to use it in a new way. When I soak my feet for my homemade pedicure, I pour 1/2 a cup of white vinegar into the warm water. I was pleasantly surprised at the reaction my tootsies had to it. It was like I had dropped an alka-seltzer tablet into the water! I could feel the tingle all over my foot. The gross part? That “tingle” was actually the vinegar attacking the dry skin on my feet. The great part? It got rid of all of it! All I had to do when I was done was dry my feet with a small towel and all that nasty dry skin came right off. An olive oil rub down and painting of toes put the finishing touches on my at-home pedicure, and I was set for another month.

3. Take a bath…milk or red wine necessary!
I do love a good bath. A nice long one with the door locked and maybe some candles lit. Ahhh…relaxation. Well, if you add in some milk or red wine to the mix, then it’s a real party. No, I don’t mean drinking them, I mean putting them in the bath. I am a lover of the milk bath, but if you are a wine drinker, red wine is full of tannins….those tannins do wonders for our skin and keeps you looking young. Wait, don’t Italians drink a good amount of red wine? Hmmmm….interesting. Anywhoo, either the milk or the red wine are wonderful for skin. Just a half cup of either would be perfect. Follow it up with trick #1, and you are in business, baby!

4. Use those old t-shirts for salon hair
This is a tip I learned from my hair stylist when I complained to him that I just couldn’t get my hair to stop frizzing, no matter how many different products I used. He told me it wasn’t the products, but the way we women dry our hair after we wash it. Guess what? Those small, little towels they use at the salons are specifically made for hair. So, our bath towels just won’t do the trick. What’s the best option for us at home? Our old t-shirts! T-shirts are made to have a minimum amount of static and are actually pretty good at absorbing liquid. When drying your hair, make sure to pat it dry, instead of rubbing the follicles. The rubbing also contributes to static and frizz(think of when you rub a balloon on your sweater and hang it on a wall). You’ll be surprised at the difference this will make, especially in the winter.

5. Let your pasta water do double duty…
Or boiling potato water. Don’t let all that steam go to waste! While your yummies are boiling, run to the bathroom and wash and moisturize your face. Turn off your pot a few minutes from being done, and place your face indirectly over the pot for those last few mintues of cooking. The rising steam will open those pores and help that moisturizer get in there! Who needs an expensive facial, when you can just do this a few times a week. Can you believe some people pay hundreds of dollars to have this done?

6. Wear gloves(and socks) to bed
This is a tried, but true trick that has been seen in many Womens magazines. I remember one time, my dad came to my room to wish me good night, saw the gloves on my hands and laughed all the way to his room. I didn’t care…I wanted soft hands, so I slathered them in vaseline, covered them with my winter gloves, and went to bed. Nowadays, I don’t do the glove trick, but I do take advantage of my many pairs of socks. I rub down my feet with lotion and cover them with fluffy socks before bed. This helps those home pedicures last as long as they can. Plus, a good foot massage before bed ain’t bad, either. You’ll wake up to soft, silky skin with minimum effort and no money wasted. A win-win situation.

Want to use some of your own home items for pampering? Check out these posts!

Homemade wax(body sugaring)
Face scrub as a spa treatment

Now I turn it to you! Do any of you use these tips? Do you have any budget-friendly ways that you pamper yourself?

About Amiyrah

My name is Amiyrah and I'm an an African American fashion & lifestyle blogger based in Ohio.

Plan Your Year Now!


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  1. 2.5.09
    bugsi033 said:

    I just printed out this entire post. I now know how I’m spending my day this coming Sunday. I need a little pampering. Great post.

  2. 2.5.09
    Pubbler said:

    Oh my goodness. I completely forgot about olive oil. In SA, we rub newborn babies with olive oil. Its to help hydrate their skin & it does wonders for them. Also use it on our hair.
    You didn’t add the waxing part. I buy a jar of wax to do my lips & brows. Much cheaper than getting my eyebrows done at $20 a pop.

  3. 2.5.09
    missy said:

    Baking soda is a good exfoliator (very gentle) for your face
    wash your face and gentle rub a tsp full on your wet face it feels wonderful

  4. 2.5.09

    GREAT POST!!!! Ok now I am jealous yours was much better than mine…LOL.

  5. 2.5.09
    Precious said:

    First, did you change the look of your blog or are my eyes playing tricks on me?

    I love this post. Thank you so much especially for the tip on the vinegar and feet. I have such dry skin on my feet living out here in the desert that I am hoping this will help.

    The one thing that I always make sure of is to never go out in the sun without suncreen protection. It is so very important not only to protect you against cancer but to minimize those wrinkles as you get older.

  6. 2.5.09
    Jenny said:

    Thanks for the tip on oil for hair, I will have to try it. Mine is super frizy and dry so I’m looking forward to this. I’ve tried eggs for strength and beer for shine and hated both as it took forever to wash it out of my hair, not to mention beer smell was all over my place.

  7. 2.5.09

    Thank you, thank you! I know how i”m going to pamper myself this weekend, and I definitely know how to get ready for Valentine’s Day (DH has asurprise for me!). I’m going to take Bugsi’s advice and print this out.

  8. 2.5.09
    Lucky said:

    Kind of along the lines of your olive oil trick, whenever I use up a stick of butter, I wipe the wrapper on my hands. Sounds weird, but it helps keep them soft when I’m cooking, and it doesn’t add a nasty lotion taste to my food!

  9. 2.5.09
    Amiyrah said:

    wow ladies! You are most welcome! I think I will add a few links to the bottom of this post to some other posts about using household or stockpile items to pamper.

    pubbler, I have a recipe on here for homemade wax that is similar to the Nads stuff they sell at stores. I will provide that link too.

  10. 2.5.09
    Amiyrah said:


    you totally sound like me! Now, I dedicate thursdays to taking care of me. Whether it’s to do my hair, take a long bath, give myself a body scrub or manicure, I make sure I do something nice for me. Then, one Sunday a month, I take a WHOLE DAY and do everything for me. Sonny boy gets to play whatever without “school time” with mom and I give myself facials, manicures, pedicures, and time with a good magazine or book. Hubby takes care of the boy and I take care of me :o)

    Precious, forgot to respond! Yes, I did change the layout of the blog. It’s the Pisces in me….I need a change of scenery every once in a while…even on my blog lol.

  11. 2.5.09
    Debtfreemommy said:

    I was a pamper princess for about 18 months prior to my DH being born and now I cant remember the last time I shaved my legs lol…ok maybe I can but maybe i cant remember the last time I cut my hair 🙂
    Great tips!