What to do AFTER a spa treatment!

For all the admonishments we get to arrive at least 20 minutes before the appointment, switch off the cellphone, steer clear of the razor and clearly communicate any discomforts, there is surprisingly little advice dispensed at the end of spa treatments on what to do in the hours ahead! But ignorance does not make for spa-bliss – in fact, since your body is at its most vulnerable immediately after a massage or scrub, it’s important to take precautions. This will not only help avoid damage to your skin but also optimise the skincare, wellness and feel-good results you paid for (often through your nose!).

post-spa1. Stay off the alcohol and cigarettes

Most spa treatments expel toxins by releasing them into your blood stream, from where they are gradually pushed out of the body – usually over 24 hours. Drinking alcohol and smoking can dehydrate your body and further increase toxicity, so avoid these for at least a full day.

2. Turn to water

In order to flush away these toxins and replace lost hydration (which is common after spa therapies), drink lots of fluids – namely water and green tea – for 24 hours post-treatment.

3. Eat light

Avoid eating a heavy meal for a few hours after the treatment as your digestion needs all it’s power to eliminate toxins. For optimum results, have a meal made with garlic, which lowers blood pressure, boosts circulation, reduces fat, and flushes toxins from the body. Your best bet? A light, Asian-inspired dish.

4. Load up on the fruits

Swap dessert for a platter of fresh fruits: chock full with vitamins, enzymes and water, these are the best option for maintain the health effects of any spa treatment.

5. Rest, rest, rest… and then rest some more!

A massage reveals its optimal benefits over a few hours, so you need some “me-time” to fully absorb the results of any spa session. By doing anything stressful, you might lose the effects of your treatment. Plus, any strenuous, rigorous or exciting activities (including steamy sex!), which make you sweat, will cause dehydration, leading to extreme fatigue. Instead, indulge in some quiet, relaxing pursuits like getting lost in a book or zoning away to music for 24 hours after your spa visit.

6. Resist the shower

Although it may sound counter-productive, if you have any treatments that use essential oils, creams or botanicals, refraining from rinsing off will allow your skin to soak up the minerals and anti-oxidants completely.

7. Skip the steam and sauna

You’ve been cleaned and steamed… heating up the face and body is going to strip away that just paid-for glow. And that’s highly avoidable, right?

8. Go light on home products

This is especially true if you have had a peel or scrub: adding on potent at-home products after these is a surefire recipe for redness. So, give your skin a two or three day break after a treatment.

9. Stay out of the sun

After a massage, peel or scrub, you’ve got a whole new batch of vulnerable skin cells that can easily burn in the sun. Better to stay in the shade and avoid the skin damage.

10. Sleep on a soft sheet

Your skin is super-soft after a spa visit (which is good). However, this also makes it super-prone to allergies, dust and harsh fabrics that can easily cause rashes and other irritations (which is bad). To avoid, sleep on a soft sheet – preferably silk or satin (sigh!) – that won’t irritate your skin. And, yes, stay away from those rough towels as well.

The only beauty detox you will ever need

After a full week of back-to-back weddings, complete with shovelled-on makeup and ultra-late nights, every pore of my skin is crying out for mercy. Time for a hefty dose of Beauty Rx!

Step 1: Cleanse out the gunk

When an event runs from morning to night, it means multiple makeup touch-ups. Result? Skin that gets completely clogged over. And there can be no better way of scrubbing out the gunk from every pore than this simple-yet-potent natural exfoliator, which comes from a Greek buddy who has the most gorgeous skin ever!

Ingredients

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 drop vanilla extract (for a soothing fragrance; recommended but not essential)

Method

1.  Whisk together all the ingredients.

2.  Massage them into your face and neck for a couple of minutes, rubbing in circular motions.

3.  Rinse with warm water and a wash cloth (to remove the oil).

Step 2: Deep cleanse from the inside-out

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Truly beautiful skin needs to be nurtured from the inside out. And this old Russian recipe helps you do just that, upping your beauty quotient multifold.

Ingredients

3 cups water

1 bowl

3 tablespoons dried herb (chamomile soothes dry skin, peppermint controls excessive oiliness, while rosemary and parsley are great for congested, acne-prone skin)

1 tea infuser

1 towel

Method

1. Pour one tablespoon of the dried herb in a tea infuser. Place the infuser in a mug and add boiling water until the mug is full. Infuse for 10 minutes.

2. Boil the remaining water; place the remaining herb in a bowl and pour in the boiling water.

3. Lean over the bowl, draping your head with a towel so that you are inhaling the vapours from the herbs. Remain as long as you can stand the heat or until the water cools.

4. Pat face dry with a clean towel, sip the tea slowly and don’t go out into the cold for at least half an hour. You’ll have a glow that comes from the inside out!

Step 3: Lay on the beauty mask

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Exhausted skin is sluggish skin and you need to rev up the circulation. Besides its circulation boosting powers, this Russian recipe also simultaneously tones, hydrates and refreshes the skin.

Ingredients

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon mustard

1/2 teaspoon tomato juice

1/2 teaspoon vinegar

1 tablespoon (unbleached) white flour

1/2 cup buttermilk (for later)

Method

1. Mix all the ingredients except the buttermilk to form a paste.

2. Apply the paste to your face and neck; leave it on for 5-10 minutes. It may tingle a little as the blood starts flowing. However, never leave anything on it if it begins feeling uncomfortable.

3. Rinse with lukewarm water and pat skin dry.

4. Soak a cotton ball in buttermilk and apply it all over the skin. Rinse off after 10 minutes.

Step 4: Toner

Sweeping a slightly slightly astringent toner across newly clean skin preps the perfect canvas for applying moisturiser and completing the beauty detox. There are various type of skin fresheners but one of my favourites is still one that good old mom recommended years ago.

Ingredients

2 lemons

1 1/2 cups cold mineral water

Method

Squeeze the lemons and and strain the juice into a small bottle. Add the mineral water. Use an astringent toner after any of the facial masques. Follow with your favourite moisturiser.

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Jeans that double up as skincare!

Jeans have long been the top choice for women who want to look fit and sexy. These ubiquitous denims don’t only up your ‘cool’ factor, they also provide a zillion body shaping benefits that lift, push up and literally contour the wearer. However, till now their benefits were only temporary – take off the Wranglers and your body sprang back to square one. But hope is at hand as a slew of denim brands are infusing their jeans with skin and body care ingredients that can combat cellulite, reduce fat deposits and tone your thighs on a permanent basis.

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It’s a dream premise – getting the perfect body simply by wearing the right jeans, whose active ingredients work as we carry on with our daily lives. Amazingly though, this may not be an empty promise. Clothes infused with skincare ingredients have existed in various cultures, including India, Greece and Turkey, for several centuries and their benefits have often been ratified by modern science. After all, what could be a better way to maintain a continuous delivery of skincare ingredients to our body than something that’s worn right next to the skin?

However, the challenge till now was to find a way of infusing the cloth fibres with formulas that would not wash out at first rinse. Also, there needed to be technology that would keep up constant interaction between the skin and the cloth, without the cloth feeling uncomfortable or clammy (imagine wearing jeans soaked in aloe vera juice for 8 hours, if you could actually feel the juice against your legs?). Fortunately, the answers to these problems are increasingly becoming clearer with innovations in nanotechnology and micro-capsules… which is what these three leading cosmeceutical-clothes brands have brought into use. Take a look and tell me if you would hand over your body to them for some toning up?

Wranglers Denim Spa Therapy for Legs

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Wranglers new Denim Spa Therapy for Legs jeans come with circulation-boosting, cellulite-reducing and hydrating ingredients (such as aloe vera and olive extracts) infused into the denim to smooth and moisturise your skin. The jeans feel super-comfortable and according to brand statistics, almost 75 per cent of 160 women involved in a trial said their thighs were more attractive after 4 weeks of everyday wear. The skincare ingredients are expected to last 6-8 washes, after which the jeans need to be sprayed to reload the effects. Price: 99.95 euros / US$130

Mohicano Jeans Denim Therapy 

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The well known Chilean brand has also launched jeans with anticellulite properties drawn from nano-particles of aloe vera that are incorporated in the cotton fibres. When these particles come in contact with the skin, they release a hefty punch of vitamins, amino acids, enzymes and antioxidants that reduce the appearance of cellulite and stretch marks, while stimulating cell growth, collagen and elastin.

According to Mohicano, this specially treated denim increases skin’s hydration by about 11.5 percent when the jeans are worn for at least six hours every day for 15 days. As an added bonus, the fabric is hypoallergenic, which makes it ideal for sensitive skin. The nano-particles remain active for up to 40 washes, after which the jeans lose their beauty benefits and become just a regular pair of denims. Price: US$85

LeRock 

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This hip Italian brand has taken the beauty benefits a couple of steps further with jeans that promise to knock off 0.7 inches from your hips and thighs every time you wear them. The Eve LeRock jeans, created in collaboration with French cosmetologist Florence Bombard, are loaded with a patented drug that includes three components: caffeine, escin (also known as horse chestnut) and vitamin E. Caffeine dissolves fat storage and prevents excess water retention; escin promotes microcirculation and protects the skin; while vitamin E is an antioxidant that fights cellulite.

How does this work? The fabric is equipped with microcapsules that release when they come in contact with the skin and continue to be activated with the natural friction that happens while walking or sitting. Simple! Eve LeRock jeans remain effective for approximately 28 days or four washes, after which the fibres have to be recharged with the fluid that’s provided in a 50 ml bottle.

What is your acne telling you?

I always knew that the once-monthly spots that overtook my chin were the result of not-so-stable hormones. However, when my dermatologist took one look at the sudden outcrop of angry zits on my nose and asked me to get my blood pressure checked, it introduced me to a whole new (actually old) science of face mapping, which is pretty much the key to unlocking the mysteries behind problem skin.

Face mapping, which is fast taking centre stage at most clinics nowadays, combines Ayurveda and ancient Chinese medicine with cutting edge dermatologists’ prescriptions to explain how certain parts of your face are connected to other areas of your body. Put simply, think of your face as a map and blemishes as X’s on that landscape. Spots in different zones correspond to different problems. So, with this “map” as your guide, you can address the underlying causes of blemishes and not only make the unsightly zits vanish but also treat the underlying health problem in time.

Pretty awesome, right? Try it out: Here is how to decode breakouts in the basic areas.

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1 & 2: Digestive System — Eat less processed or junk food, reduce the amount of fat in your diet, step up water intake and opt for cooling things like cucumbers.

3: Liver — Cut out the alcohol, greasy food and dairy. This is the zone where food allergies also show up first, so take a look at your ingredients. Besides all this, do 30 minutes of light exercise every day and get adequate sleep so your liver can rest.

4 & 5: Kidneys — Anything around the eyes (including dark circles) point to dehydration. Drink up!

6: Heart — Check your blood pressure (mine was slightly high) and Vitamin B levels. Decrease the intake of spicy or pungent food, cut down on meat and get more fresh air. Besides this, look into ways to lower cholesterol, like replacing “bad fats” with “good fats” such as Omegas 3 and 6 found in nuts, avocados, fish and flax seed. Also, since this area is chock-full of dilated pores, check that your makeup is not past its expiry date or is skin-clogging.

7 & 8: Kidneys — Again, drink up! And cut down on aerated drinks, coffee and alcohol as these will cause further dehydration.

Zone 9 & 10: Respiratory system — Do you smoke? Have allergies? This is your problem area for both. If neither of these is the issue, don’t let your body overheat, eat more cooling foods, cut down on sugar and get more fresh air. Also keep the body more alkaline by avoiding foods that make the body acidic (meat, dairy, alcohol, caffeine, sugar) and adding more alkalizing foods like green veggies and wheatgrass juice. Another thing that most of forget – dirty cell phones and pillow cases are two of the top acne culprits and this area is what they affect the most!

Zone 11 & 12: Hormones — This is the signature zone for stress and hormonal changes. And while both are sometimes unavoidable, you can decrease their effect by getting adequate sleep, drinking enough water, eating leafy veggies and keeping skin scrupulously clean. Another interesting point: breakouts in this area indicate when you are ovulating (and on which side).

Zone 13: Stomach — Step up the fibre intake, reduce the toxin overload and drink herbal teas to help with digestion.

14: Illness — Zits here can be a sign that your body is fighting bacteria to avoid illness. Give it a break, take a yoga class, take a nap, take time to breathe deeply, drink plenty of water and know that everything always works out!

So, the next time you break out or notice dark under-eye circles, look to your face map: your skin is probably trying to communicate on behalf of the internal organs. However, do remember that, as with all medical issues, it is always best to see your doctor or dermotologist for a proper prognosis. This is just a general guide to head you off in the right investigative direction – just becuase you break out between the brows doesn’t always mean you have a bad liver!

Also read: What is your body acne telling you?