Fair warning. Your friends won't want to leave…
Ever had those weekends that were so hectic you landed up being more exhausted on Monday morning than when you left work on Friday? You know the ones. By the time you’ve got through cocktails with friends, shopping with the girls, dinner at that new restaurant you’ve been dying to try, and family outings, you collapse into a worn-out heap - shattered and drained. Aren’t weekends meant to be an escape from those everyday stresses?
You’re clearly overdue for a little weekend me-time. Yes - we’re talking about the full-on pampering of a spa day. But there’s no need to pay big bucks at a fancy place when you can create a little piece of tranquillity yourself. Just host a relaxing DIY spa day at home for your close girlfriends - they’ll most likely need it as much as you do…
From how to create a calming atmosphere and mood, a schedule of spa treatments (with a checklist of all the goodies you need), and yes, even a refresher bar and snacks, we’ve got a bunch of yummy ideas you’ll need for the best-ever home spa day to spoil your friends (and yourself). And if you haven’t the energy to fully DIY, you can even bring in the professionals to take your home spa day into full-on splurge mode….
BEFORE YOU START
You’ll be pretty much providing all the basics, but just need to work out how far your budget will stretch for any extra pampering. For instance, you can make your home spa day really special by throwing in luxury robes, slippers, headbands and eye masks. But it won’t hurt to ask your friends to bring a few of these things.
Make leggings or sweatpants compulsory, and ask your guests to pack their fluffy slippers, a robe or comfy hoodie, plus sandals for pedicures. And if you’re planning a nail painting session, they may want to bring their own nail color.
SET THE MOOD
Time to usher in the atmosphere. When it comes to ambience and décor, choose a central theme to pull everything together into a special space for calming and rejuvenation. You could opt for one or more pastel colors; go green and natural, or create a Zen-like environment.
Pastel shades could carry through from the color of the towels, headbands, robes and bowls to floral décor and colored tumblers for drinks. A natural theme could be centered on lush plants or succulents, organic fabrics, wooden platters and bowls, and scattered eucalyptus leaves in your foot soak. A Zen theme would include shades of white, grey and pink beige with minimalistic décor like white ceramics, smooth pebbles and a square glass container of wheatgrass as a table centerpiece.
Whatever your theme, create a clean white spa feel by covering all your furniture with white sheets, spritzed with a linen spray for freshness, and scatter around some fresh flower petals tossed in essential oil. And as your bathroom will experience some heavy traffic, extend the décor into here as well, and make sure it has plenty of towels, facial tissues, and cotton balls and rounds.
Fortunately, your party décor doesn’t need to break the bank - you just need a few special touches to transform an ordinary home into a 5-star spa experience.
Calming candles everywhere. Nothing is more calming than candles, specially the aromatherapy ones. They smell good, give off gentle light, and relax the body and soul. That’s why spas put them, well, everywhere - and why you should, too.
You can even create floating candle centerpieces. Simply fill a glass bowl with an inch of clear glass marbles or smooth stones, top up with water, and float a few orchid flowers and tealight candles on top. Instant spa resort feels…
Scatter plants, leaves and flowers. Unless you are going truly Zen, get lots of plants or flowers to freshen up your home spa. Pair with smooth pebbles or colored glass vessels and interesting spa-type décor pieces. Keep your table centerpiece calming and minimalistic. It can be as simple as arranging some lavender sprigs, eucalyptus leaves or large calla lilies into a tall vase.
Pick up an oil diffuser. Smell is one of the most powerful senses. Turn your house into a soothing spa oasis by pairing an aromatherapy oil diffuser with lavender essential oil. Studies have shown that lavender calms you down in the same way as anti-anxiety medications do. Just what you need to relax your friends (and the hectic hostess).
Find a calming playlist. Finally, complete the mood with some quiet and relaxing background music. Scour Spotify for playlists like “Chill out Music” “Ocean Escapes”, “Atmospheric Calm”, or “Lucid Dreaming”. Or ask Alexa to find you one.
READY A SPA REFRESHER BAR
No at home spa day would be complete without a stylish refresher bar…
Detox water. Pick some delicious fruit and herb mixes to not only tantalize the taste buds but which are also refreshing and healthy. Try a mix of grapefruit slices and sprigs of rosemary; sliced pear, limes and raspberries; or blackberry and mint.
A stocked tea station. If your friends are into teas, a must-have is a variety of caffeine-free spa-like options. Peppermint relaxes the muscles, and chamomile reduces all that stress and anxiety. Complete your selection with the queen of calm, lavender tea.
Lay out the good stuff too. Champagne is an obvious one - a glass (or three) of bubbly and a pamper party are natural soul mates. But also consider a cocktail twist. Lay out vodka, gin, bitters and club soda together with cucumber slices and lime wedges. Add in cucumber simple syrup for a nectarlike freshness to round off your spa theme.
A WARMING WELCOME
First impressions always set the tone of any party. Start pampering your friends from the moment they arrive with freshly steamed hand towels on top of a large tropical leaf on an elegant platter. This will add a ‘wow’ factor and give them something fun and interactive to do as they walk in the door.
To give your towels a soothing scent, add a few drops of lavender or eucalyptus essential oil to a large bowl of water, soak the towels, wring and roll them up. Microwave for a few seconds to warm them up just before your friends arrive.
Giving out pamper kits with luxury robes, eye masks, headbands, and a pair of comfy spa footies would be the ultimate treat for your friends, and make your party really special. But if your budget is a little stretched to cover the full kit, pick one or two items and ask your guests to bring the rest.
THE SPA PAMPER POINTS
Time for the fun part…
First off, decide which spa treatments you and your girlfriends would appreciate (or need) the most. It’s best to allow about 20-30 minutes per treatment, so the most you will probably be able to handle is 3 or 4 in one party. It really does depend upon whether you have a bunch of party animals who are more likely to settle in for the long haul, or energy-depleted friends just looking to chill out for a couple of hours.
The basics you will need are lots of fluffy hand towels and washcloths plus large bowls for soaking hands and feet. Thermoses are great for keeping water nice and warm, but large water pitchers will work just as well. You will also need somewhere to empty out foot baths and a basket to dump soiled towels.
Just like a real spa, every treatment should have its own station. The easiest three stations to set up are manis and pedis, plus one for facials. But you can choose to add a soothing massage to the mix, a relaxing yoga session – it helps if one of your friends is into yoga - or even a meditation lounge (may be too zen for the party animals!).
It’s always more fun to have everyone doing one treatment at a time, but if space doesn’t allow, you can also rotate everyone through each station. A nice touch is to draw up instruction cards for each station so everyone knows the story without you having to go through all the in-and-outs at the start.
And try limit the number of scents in the products you use - some aromas really do not mix well. Lavender is well-known to calm and soothe - ideal for a perfect chill out spa day.
You have a choice to DIY or splurge, and even extend the time at every pamper point. Here’s how to set everything up so your friends can move seamlessly from one station to another…
There Are Many Uses of Lavender Oil You May Not Know About - Read More
It’s not a bad idea to start by winding everyone down. And nothing is more relaxing than some indulgent foot pampering. If you have a lovely summer day you can set this up on your porch, otherwise your living room is perfect. Aside from towels you will need pumice stones, lots of nail files, clippers, orange sticks and some foot balm.
DIY: Start off with a soothing foot soak. All you need is some large bowls filled with the Pinterest famous Listerine foot soak. Yes - we’re talking the mouthwash. And it’s so easy to make. For every 2 cups of warm water, add 1 cup Listerine and 1 cup vinegar.
For a mini reflexology treat, add in some smooth river pebbles (or use your kid’s marbles) to gently massage the soles of the feet. And sprinkle a few edible flowers, petals or leaves on top for the finishing touch. Soaking for 10-15 minutes guarantees the most divine baby soft feet.
Smooth off any stubborn hard bits with a pumice stone or a coconut salt scrub: Mix 1 cup salt with 1/4 cup coconut oil and 1/4 cup vitamin E oil. Then add 3-4 drops of essential oil for fragrance and stir it up.
Splurge: Mix in some luxury bath salts with warm water for an indulgent foot soak. After 15 minutes is up, smooth and detoxify footsies with a fragranced salt scrub. Finish off by nourishing the feet with a pampering foot balm.
For the ultimate in splurge, warm up a spa neck pillow to gently ease away all that shoulder tension while the feet are soaking up all that good stuff…
If you have time: Have a clipping, filing and polish session for the toenails. Supply some fun toe separators and ask your guests to bring their own nail polish. Or if you’re following a color theme, lay out some fun shades and pics of easy nail art examples to brighten up everyone’s day (and have a good laugh when things go a bit wonky).
No spa day would be complete without a face mask to purge and pamper the skin. You can do this in the living room where everyone has easy access to a coffee table for all the goodies they need.
Supply some pretty headbands to keep the goop away from your hair, micellar water to remove makeup, stiff makeup brushes to paint the face and some mirrors so everyone can see what they’re doing. And make sure you have lots of clean washcloths. Otherwise invest in some good quality paper towels which you can tear up and leave in piles in pretty baskets.
DIY: As everyone’s skin is different, you’ll need multiple masks. Set up a few bowls with cards detailing the skin type and ingredients for each mask. There are tons of DIY masks to choose from online but here are two of our favourites…
After all the gunk is washed off, a refreshing face mist promises a beautiful glowy end to your face time. Fill two thirds of a small spray bottle with purified water, add 1 tablespoon of lavender essential oil (or a mix of lavender and rose hip oils), fill up with aloe vera, and shake well. Both these oils are multi-purpose so are good for both dry and oily skin, but just check for sensitivity on the inside of your upper arm before spraying onto your face.
Splurge: This one is totally up to you depending upon how far your wallet can stretch for ready-made masks. Just remember that most drugstore masks will deliver pretty much the same results as more expensive ones. If you’re not into all the messy mask bit, try a variety of sheet masks for different skin types and conditions (they’re just not as Instagram worthy as the gooey ones).
If you have time: DIY a natural face moisturizer to apply after masking. Here’s one that ticks all the boxes as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial with great nourishing benefits. Pour 3 ounces argan oil and 1-ounce shea butter into a double boiler. Allow the shea butter to melt and blend the two ingredients. Remove from heat and add one-ounce carrot seed oil. Blend well. Then add essential oils - 10 drops lavender, 5 drops lemongrass and 6 drops chamomile - and blend again.
Lavender Essential Oil: A Potent Skin Care Product You Probably Haven't Tried Yet - Read More
Time to chill out again. Not everyone likes the touchy-feely part of a massage so focus on places that are less personal - like the hands and shoulders. All you need for this is a natural massage oil and some willing friends who are up to giving a simple massage in exchange for a tension easing rub in return.
DIY: Pair up your friends to massage each other in turns. Start with the hands which have several pressure points to reduce tension and stress. Gently apply pressure between the thumb and index finger, then on the palm below the pinky where the hand meets the wrists, and finally where the thumb meets the hand (also palm side).
For shoulders, concentrate on making circular motions with your thumbs, followed by shoulder kneading (squeezing each shoulder with alternating hands). Then move your fingers along the shoulders while pressing down firmly, and end with finger presses along the neck.
Splurge: Bring in a professional. While you can definitely splurge on a pro therapist, a less expensive option is to scout around beauty schools for a willing student who wants to practice their newly learned skills. With a professional to do all the hard work, you can weave individual massages in amongst your foot soaks and facials during the 15 minutes or so downtime planned during each of these treatments.
If you have time: Get the professional massage therapist to bring along their kit (or provide a comfy chair) to set up in a bedroom so each friend can enjoy their treat in private. Don’t forget to dim the lights and add calming aromatherapy candles and soothing music. Then, for the ultimate in indulgence, throw in a luxury eye mask, booties and blankie to fully re-create the ambience and atmosphere of a real-life spa.
Schedule the manis for last so everyone’s painstaking artwork doesn’t get ruined going through all the other pamper points. Your manicure station is best set up in the dining room so everyone can easily do their nails and socialize at the same time.
Encourage your friends to help others with their non-dominant hand to avoid polish oopsies landing up all over the cuticles (and fingers). And if you have a nail art aficionada in your midst, ask if she can help with a quick signature nail for everyone at the party.
DIY: Clear off the table, add a waterproof cover in case you have some spills, and cover with a tablecloth. Then lay out the basics: some bowls of warm water, hand towels, polish remover, cotton balls, nail files, orange sticks, a lotion or cream, cuticle cutter, a buffer, base and top coats, plus tons of polish colors (or stick with your color theme).
Before you start, use the same coconut salt scrub you prepped for your pedis to treat your hands. Then repeat the essential oil infused warm towel welcome that greeted your friends upon arrival. Just zap them in the microwave for a few seconds when you’re ready to give everyone’s hands a soothing steam bath.
Splurge: Call in a manicurist or two - or three. Encourage everyone to do their own nail prep and let the pros paint the nails (they are so much better than most of us). Again, check for students who are looking to polish their skills (excuse the pun) in exchange for a good deal.
If you have time: Consider a pampering paraffin wax treatment to soften your hands, rejuvenate the skin and moisturize your cuticles. Either make your own or get a ready-made paraffin bath and wax kit. Just know that you’ll need about 45 minutes to go through the whole process. But the end result of baby soft and smooth hands is oh so worth it (note for own pamper session).
BRING ON HEALTHY SPA SNACKS
Since the end goal is for everyone to feel refreshed and healthy, look for a variety of snack ideas that will fill you up without bogging you down. And keep it simple (we can’t all be Martha Stewart) as a lot of your energy will be taken up prepping for the rest of the day. You don’t want to totally exhaust yourself before the party starts…
Hummus crudité cups. Place a generous scoop of hummus in plastic cups and fill up with a selection of baby carrots, celery sticks and sliced cucumber.
DIY yogurt bowls. Set up your kitchen counter with bowls and spoons, tubs of plain Greek Yogurt, a selection of fruits (like blueberries, pineapple, kiwi fruit), pomegranate seeds, chopped nuts, granola, honey and anything else that you or your guests may love.
Sushi snacks. Grab a selection at your local deli for sushi-mad friends.
Fruity flavors. Melon caprese skewers with herb oil are quick and simple to make and would be an attractive statement piece for your table. Or go for an out of the ordinary twist on a basic fruit salad with a Mexican style fruit plate with chilli lime salt.
Deviled eggs. A little bit of effort for everyone’s yummy favorite. Keep them classic or add a twist with bits of bacon, chives, jalapenos, goat cheese and more.
Avocado on oat cakes. Your healthy snack line-up would not be complete without including this amazing superfood. Simply mash the avocado with some lemon juice, salt and pepper, and layer it on. Top with a sliver of smoked salmon for a twist of flavor.
Sweet delights. Ok - so we said keep it healthy but it can also be a little decadent. Dip some strawberries into melted dark chocolate for some wonderful anti-aging benefits. Or scout around your local health store for good-for-you options like matcha green tea cake.
A THOUGHTFUL SPA-TO-GO GIFT BAG
So it may not be a bridal shower or a 21st birthday party, but it’s still nice to give all your friends a little swag bag to take home.
You can make a bigger batch of the coconut salt scrub and pack it into heavy glass jars wrapped with a bow. Same with the lavender facial misting spray. Toss into a small paper bag together with some mini soaps and a fragrant flower ball sachet so your friends take home some lasting memories of their pamper party.
And if you’re up to giving them a super spoil, splurge on some take out boxes of lavender treats - each with a candle, soap, sachet and some bath salts.
When your friends finally leave all chilled out and relaxed, we’re sure they will soon be begging you to throw another home spa day. After all, in this fast-paced life of ours, who can resist the ultimate pamper party?
How Lavender Can Help You Stop Worrying And Be Happy - Read More
There's a difference between an essential oil or simply an oil, which is basically a perfume. If a label does not clearly state that it is an 'essential oil,' then it is not a pure oil and should not be used as suggested.