Since we’re confined at home to help stop the spread of COVID-19 – and with more time on our hands than ever – the pressing desire to fill up our days with work, hobbies, and other tasks in the name of productivity is an understandable one.
While it’s well and good to stay busy, maintaining a packed schedule – especially during these highly uncertain times – can take a toll on our bodies and minds, triggering unwanted side effects ranging from anxiety to sleeplessness.
That’s why we can’t underestimate the importance of regularly carving time out for just ourselves. “I find that creating structure around the day, and adding in some wellness rituals helps a lot,” says Susanne Kaufmann, founder of her eponymous beauty brand and owner of the wellness retreat Hotel Post Bezau in the Austrian Alps. “You need to make time to pamper yourself and find inner peace. It’s okay to simply want to hide from the news, the stress, and the whole world.”
A visit to our favorite spa may not be in our cards in the near future, but Kaufmann assures it’s more than easy to create a zen-like vibe at home, no matter where you live. The first tip? Tidy up a bit. “Nothing disturbs a home spa experience more than laundry in the bathroom, a cluttered tub area, or towels lying on the floor,” says Kaufmann. “Those little things really make a big difference.” She also recommends “lighting a favorite candle and choosing some music – I really like jazz – to create a sense of calm.”
Also, look for certain ingredients to target specific concerns. Kaufman says lavender “is known for its relaxing and calming properties,” while lemon balm “has a balancing and calming effect.” If your mood needs a little lift, try incorporating St. John‘s Wort, and turn to ginger to stimulate blood circulation for tired muscles.
Without further ado: a handy guide featuring a range of products – from a clever (and affordable) in-shower aromatherapy mist by J.R. Watkins to bath rituals by Aman, one of the world’s most exclusive hotel brands – to help recreate an indulgent, spa-like experience at home.
Aman Purifying Auric Cleanse Bath Salts, $96
When it comes to luxury hospitality, few brands come even close to Aman, a family of 32 discreet, exquisitely designed resorts and spas in beguiling locations all of the world. Fittingly, Aman’s skincare line quietly dazzles with sleek packaging envisioned by acclaimed Japanese architect Kengo Kuma – the jars and bottles are evocative of vintage porcelain – and formulas that are meticulously crafted with sustainable and organic ingredients. To elevate your everyday bath experience, dissolve a couple tablespoons of these salts in a warm bath and let your body and mind soak in the cleansing and clearing benefits of the mineral-rich Himalayan salts and heady Palo Santo oil.
RéVive Supérieur Body Renewal Firming Cream, $195
While we won’t hesitate to splurge when hydrating our face, our bodies are often treated as afterthoughts. That’s when this newly-launched body moisturizer from the science-driven beauty brand founded by Dr. Gregory Bays Brown enters the picture. The super thick formula brims with cutting edge, face-friendly ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid (a humectant), phyto-tensors (tightening agents), and RéVive’s patented Bio-Renewal and Bio-Firming technologies. Liberally massage onto damp skin after cleansing to delicately scent, firm, and tone every inch of your body without a trace of heaviness.
Kahina Giving Beauty Moroccan Beldi Soap, $46
Chances are: you’ve never seen a body cleanser like this. Traditionally used in Moroccan hammams, it sports a striking dark hue, gel-like texture, and is produced with just two ingredients: saponofied olive oil, which is naturally rich in vitamin E, and an essential oil for fragrance. A small dollop produces soft, hydrating suds with no harsh lathering agents, and to extend the hammam vibes, use the Kessa Mitt. Its nubby texture briskly scrubs, invigorates the skin, and increases blood circulation, too.
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Renee Rouleau Triple Berry Smoothing Peel, $88.50
Love how fresh and glowy your complexion looks post-facial, but can’t make it to your aesthetician soon? Then reach for this professional-grade product, which combines the resurfacing properties of a chemical peel with the nourishing traits of a mask. Featuring real berries (note the strawberry seeds) and a mix of enzymes and acids, this mult-tasking product deftly tackles all your skin woes, from smoothing rough skin to fading hyperpigmentation, in a breezy ten minutes.
Susanne Kaufmann Home Spa Box, $55
Since visiting Kaufmann’s wellness retreat Hotel Post Bezau isn’t a possibility for the time being, she thoughtfully put together a kit to help pamper yourself, from top to bottom, in your own bathroom. Apply the Moisturing Mask to your face while filling your tub with hot water and the calming St. John‘s Wort bath crystals. After soaking and rinsing, moisturize your body with the Body Butter and Resculpting Oil. And don’t forget your hard-working (yet oft-neglected) extremeties. Give them a little love by massaging in some Warming Foot Cream and Nourishing Hand Cream.
Kérastase Purifying Scalp Scrub, $50
Consider this a proper reset button for your scalp and hair. Because as with your face, your head is prone to its own unique set of problems (like itchiness, sebum buildup, and styling product residue). Once a week and instead of your usual shampoo, vigorously massage in this freshly-scented, sea salt-based scrub and rinse thoroughly with warm water. Your scalp will instantly feel energized and deeply clean, and your hair will be impossibly soft.
Baskin CBD Body Wellness Cream, $54.99
CBD might be trending at luxury spas all over the world, but Baskin blows the competition out of the water with its patented Invisicare® technology, which faciliates more effective delivery of the workhorse ingredient that alleviates anxiety and inflammation. Meaning: when you use Baskin, your body will absorb 81% of all the active ingredients – as opposed to just 25%, if you use other CBD brands. Apply this all over for deep and restorative pain relief.
Eir NYC Minty Conditions Foot Soak, $22
No bathtub? No problem. “Here in Austria we have a long tradition of footbaths, as they de-stress the body and the mind,” says Kaufmann. “Use any large bowl you have at home, and enjoy the time with an herbal tea, candlelight, and your favorite music. Try to do nothing else to make most of the experience.” So treat your tired feet to a restorative soak with this epsom salt blend infused with zippy peppermint and antibacterial tea tree oils.
J.R. Watkins SLEEP Aromatherapy In-Shower Mist, $14.99
Given the stressful times we’re in, sleep might not come as easily as it used to. So the next night you’re feeling restless, step into your shower and spritz this genius product several times into the warm, running water. Breathe deeply and slowly – I also recommend Dr. Weil’s 4-7-8 technique – to let the aromatherapy blend of lavender and orange help relieve tension and promote a deep state of relaxation.
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