The credit crunch doesn't mean you can't enjoy a spa bath - but the ingredients might be ready for a change
Further to a piece I wrote a little while ago on eco-friendly beauty, I thought I'd share a few more budget - and natural - bathtime ideas.
The first is from my friend K in Cincinnati - sugar. I'd tried bath salts, of course, but had never thought about sugar, but she is right - it makes the most fantastic body scrub, especially if you mix it with some oil. Just pour about a teaspoon of oil into your hand, add about the same amount of sugar, mix it to a paste and bob's your uncle. No mess, no residue, clean drains. I've taken to keeping a vanilla pod in the jar too - scents the sugar wonderfully.
Another tip was one I read about many moons ago, back in the 1970s and was advice offered up by Marie Helvin - margarine. Before you gag, think about what margarine actually is - it's just oil hydrogenated into a solid form, which actually makes it a tad easier to use. Just keep a tub of it by the bath, grab a smallish handful and either drop it in the hot water or rub it over yourself like a cream as soon as you get in.
If you balk at margarine, why not just use oil? Rather than shelling out for expensive bath oil that you add to the water, I now get in the bath and quickly rub plain old grapeseed oil all over myself. (Don't add it to the water or it just forms clumps.) Grapeseed is high in natural collagen, which plumps up your skin, but it's a bit thin, so if you prefer something thicker, either mix in some olive oil or use sweet almond oil instead - particularly good for dry skin. I keep mine in an old massage oil container which is very pretty, and have added a bit of ylang-ylang and rosemary essential oils to it for a more fragrant experience.
My latest bit of fun is a product I found at my local health store. I actually bought it to eat, but it also works well as a detoxifying bath - green clay. Just shake a bit into a bath until the water goes cloudy and you have the most gorgeous, silky-feeling water imaginable. You can also mix it to a paste and use it as a face or body mask.
I suppose everyone over a certain age already knows about oatmeal for the bath. It was all we had when we were kids. This is best used in a cloth bag or you end up with bits everywhere. Hang the bag under the hot tap while the water's running, and at the end, give it a squeeze - wonderful for dry or sore skin. This oatmeal specially made for the bath is from www.eatmoreoats.com. On a similar theme, powdered milk makes a very nice bath too and generally costs so little that you can use as much or as little as you like.
Courtesy of Twiggy's book on style over 40 (see reviews section), I tried her idea for a honey and olive oil face mask, and very nice it is too. You have to warm them to mix them together, leave on for 10-15 minutes and simply wash away.
Voila - a cheap, nice-smelling, totally eco bathtime.
And by the way, I found a great system for a natural deodorant - will post another time.