Retirement Remedies: Beauty Day at Home

I had the most luxurious time the other morning, right here in the midst of counting pennies and trying hard to make dollars do double duty...and all it took was what I had on hand and about two hours time.

It all started while I was reading a magazine article about diabetic foot care.  The article suggested that the best lotion to use on your feet was 'whatever you have on hand'...Goodness you can't beat the soundness of that advice!

Well I've had a bit of trouble with roughness on the sole of one of my feet and so  I decided I'd use a few of the pedicure tools to smooth it.  Bess gave me a Jamberry nail wrap that was for July 4 in Red,White and Blue and there this beauty day began.

I didn't plan it ahead but one thing simply lead to another.  It had been a rough-ish sort of week but at the end of these two hours I felt refreshed, soothed and restored.  Do not underestimate the power of a little pampering time spent on yourself!

So what did I do that morning?  I started with mani-pedicures.  I used cuticle remover first, then cleaned and shaped my fingernails, trimmed my toe nails.  I smoothed calluses and rough spots on my feet and then I polished my nails, using base and top coat (all the same polish as it will do double duty) as well as two coats of color.  I waited until after my shower to thoroughly moisturize my feet. 

After I applied the nail wraps, I looked in the mirror and realized I really needed to wash away the gray'. I applied hair color and while that set, I decided to smooth on shaving cream.  While I was digging about for shaving cream I came across a tube of face mask which I applied. This put me in mind of a tube of hand scrub.  I  used that on my hands, arms and feet. Had I not had this product on hand, I'd have used any exfoliating body scrub I had. By the time I'd shaved my legs and underarms it was time to rinse out my hair.  I applied a thick coat of moisturizer on my hair after thoroughly rinsing away the dye residue, and since my face mask had been washed away by this time, I smoothed on a thick layer of face cream and then stepped back into the shower to gently rinse my face,  while I rinsed my hair a second time.

By the time I'd styled my hair and dressed and put on scent I felt positively pampered.  Smoothing lotion over my feet and legs was the last step before I exited my room. Moisturizing skin after a shower while it's just barely damp helps to further seal in moisture.  Even though I'd had a poor night's sleep I can't begin to tell you how restored I felt.

The best part?  I'd been thinking I was awfully neglected of late and needed new this and a pretty bit of that but the truth was I just needed to be pampered.  I didn't need the latest, greatest face cream  nor the newest shampoo to add volume or moisture.  I didn't need new nail color or lipstick or a new purse.  I just needed to use what I had on hand already.

After I was all done with the pampering part, I decided to put on light makeup and earrings.  I don't normally do that for a day at home.  I'm thinking there are a few things to change up and that is one of them, taking time to not only pamper myself but to make myself pretty.  And I think yes, a few new things are in order, but not pricey ones.   I'm afraid all my house clothes are looking stained and torn and painted these days.

A beauty day is not hard to accomplish even if you don't have the items I had on hand.  There are a plethora of recipes online for face masks, moisturizing treatments, and body scrubs that use common pantry items.  Olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, honey, oatmeal, egg whites...Who doesn't have those things on hand?  Add in whatever shampoo you have in the cupboard, soap and water and voila!  You too can have a sort of spa morning right in your own home. 

I think it pays well to have a simple pedicure/manicure kit in the home: clippers, nail file, orange wood stick, a good pumice stone.  The tools I mention are not expensive but if you have the money I urge you to purchase the best nail clippers you can afford.  Like scissors, the better tool is well worth the investment of more money.   Nail files and orange wood sticks, even pumice stones are pretty much the same whether you pay more or buy the cheapest.  They are all going to be replaced soon.  I'd buy the cheapest.

At Katie's urging I bought a cuticle removing cream and find it very helpful and it does help my polish to 'stick' better if I remove the excess cuticle film where the nail has grown out.  The one I purchased says it can also be applied to calluses.  I think I paid $5 for the tube and it will last a good long time.  Don't waste money on a cuticle hydrating cream though.  I did and I find that plain old Vaseline rubbed into the nailbed does a better job of it than the over priced stuff I wasted my money on.  In fact, I highly recommend a very light smoothing of petroleum jelly on feet and hands and then applying regular lotion.  It does a great job of rehydrating dry rough skin.  Rub a tiny bit between the palms of your hands to warm and melt it and then apply to skin. 

If your hands and feet are very rough, apply a thicker bit  of the petroleum jelly to them and then put on socks and cotton gloves and leave them on overnight.  It makes a huge difference.  That same product is a great softener for the lips, too.

Unsure how to do your own manicure or pedicure at home?  There are YouTube tutorials for that!   In this day and age of computers one of the nicest things about them is that we can have all sorts of how to videos, tutorials, blogs, etc. to show us how to do any number of things, including basic beauty care.

I don't think you have to purchase pricey big name nail polish either.  Yes, there may be a quality difference in brands but overall the end thing is to use what you have.

I've been coloring my own hair at home for years now.  It's not hard to do at all, though I admit it's a little daunting when you stand before the array of products at the drugstore counter.  I once had my hair colored professionally.  It cost $75 (that was some ten years ago).  My color didn't look that different from when I did my own color at home and frankly her match to my natural color proved to be a little too dark...that too was something that often happened when I bought color and applied it myself.  Why did I go to a salon?  I'd always wanted to try a salon color and John was happy to gift this to me.  I decided quick enough that doing it myself was a far better bargain and I might well have used that money elsewhere for a longer lasting pleasure.

There is a difference in salon color and the stuff you buy in a drugstore.  You can buy the salon quality stuff if you go to a beauty supply store but it's all relatively easy to apply.  I use the drugstore stuff because it's the most affordable and accessible.  For about $8 last year I purchased 6 boxes of hair color at CVS (with coupons, sale, and extra cash bucks).  I have very thin and fine hair so I only need 1/3 of the solution to color my hair.  I keep an extra bottle (from previous kits) on hand and measure out the solutions into that spare bottle.   It ends up costing me about $.40, yes forty cents!!, to color my hair.  I've been careful to stick to color that is very near my own.  I don't experiment.  I use the guideline on the side of the box.  I have made a mistake in choosing too dark a color more than once.  It's not a horrid mistake and generally within a week or two my hair has lightened enough to be nearer my usual color. 6 boxes of color will see me through 2 years of color treatments.

I think the key to successful hair coloring is to be sure and moisturize deeply about a week before you color.  If you do use a lot of hair product, you'll want to wash your hair with baking soda and a little shampoo the day before you color, as well.  This will strip the hair of any build up of products.  I don't use hair products very often and never in the summer, so I was able to skip this step.  You'll want to moisturize deeply right after coloring, too.  Most home hair color kits include a tube of moisturizing cream but any basic conditioner will do as well.  Apply it thickly and then let it sit on your hair for at least two full minutes before rinsing it out. 

By the way, that moisturizing treatment can be used at least once a week and it's incredibly good for the skin as well.  Just apply a little to your warm, wet skin near the end of your shower, then rinse well.

You don't want to shampoo your hair for at least 24 hours after you color. When you do shampoo, hair color will last longer if you can use a sulfate free shampoo.  I choose to purchase shampoos that are specifically labeled 'For Color Treated Hair'.   These shampoos are a gentler formula and won't strip the hair follicles.  And yes, I have noted a difference between these specially formulated shampoos and regular shampoo.  Again, this product is bought on sale with coupons.

I won't even pretend to tell you all how to shave but will say it's best to start with wet skin and then apply a shaving cream.  I often soap up my legs in the shower and do touch ups but I get a much better shave if I take the time to use shave cream and do a proper job of it.  Too many of these days though will only roughen your skin and you'll not get a good clean shave, either.  I recommend a proper shave at least once a week.  If you happen to nick yourself a bit of astringent will stop the bleeding.  Witch hazel is the classic and doesn't sting as much as other products might.  Often enough you can get a great buy on a shaving cream with coupons and sales.  And you don't need to buy loads of this.  A little goes a very long way.  I find I prefer a women's shave cream only because of the difference in scents.  Regular shaving cream will do as well.  It might smell a little like aftershave but it's shaving cream just the same, isn't it?

As for deodorant following a shave, I find that a solid form of deodorant works best, though I prefer a roll on or gel type deodorant as a rule.  The solid form doesn't sting and seems to work better overall.  I keep a small trial size solid deodorant on hand just for this purpose.  It doubles as my travel deodorant.

And don't discount the use of a loofah.  It really does a great job of exfoliating and smoothing the skin.  You shouldn't use it more often than once a week.  Be sure and let it dry thoroughly between showers and by all means don't be afraid to soak it in bleach water to deter mildew and keep it hygienic.

I was much surprised at how well satisfied I felt with life in general after this bit of pampering.  It's well worth the time and effort it takes.  Do you commit to a weekly pampering session?  I'm going to resolve to make time for this at least once a week.  I think I'll appreciate that investment of time.


Lana said...

I have more of a tendency to do these things bit by bit over the week since I either am getting hubby out the door or he is home every day of the week. I love my peppermint cream that I order from for my feet at bedtime. My Mom's podiatrist was shocked at how good her feet were after using this for a few weeks. She was using a prescription ointment at $90 for a tiny tube with little results. We both feel like it is very calming and helps us sleep better too. I am going gray on purpose so I have never colored my hair. People often ask me about my skin and I have used Lubriderm fragrance free lotion on my face for a decade or more. No need for expensive moisturizers!

Anonymous said...

Luxury! Priceless. How often I just jump in the shower, shampoo, condition, lather up, rinse off, jump out of the shower, grab the hairdryer and a bit of makeup, grab slacks if the legs are hairy, shoes instead of sandals if the pedicure needs redone, and run. But the same thing, as you said, done intentionally and with full concentration on yourself does feel luxurious. Amazing how luxury can be so inexpensive. You better put that savings down for a big savings. Can you imagine the cost of having that all done at a salon? Great post! You just gave me a great idea for a short talk I do at our Moms of Preschoolers group that meets at our church. Thanks! You will make me look good. LOL Gramma D

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