As part of my loving, self-care ethos, I try to pamper myself in small ways every day—a coconut oil foot massage, a bright red manicure, ten minutes of herbal tea and silence… In my attempts to be a resourceful Recessionista, I do all of my pampering at home. This weekend I attended my home spa (a.k.a. my bathroom) for an extended pampering session.
This was the perfect time to try some of the innovative, natural products from Shea Terra Organics. Shea Terra Organics works with African cooperatives and conservation groups to sustainably share some of Africa’s incredible beauty ingredients with the rest of the world while supporting the native communities who harvest them.
1. I began my morning at the spa with a Somali Qasil mask ($28). In other words, I washed my face with a leaf! (Qasil comes from the desert-growing gob tree). For youthful, clear skin, the women of Somaliland pulverize Qasil leaves, mix the grounds with water, and apply the mixture to their skin for a soap-free wash. Qasil is also used for sun protection.
The grounds have a sharp, earthy scent that reminds me of my mother’s spice cabinet. I am always a little nervous about applying new products to my somewhat reactive skin, but the qasil mask is so gentle—no stinging, burning, or “cooling” sensation. Unlike many commercial masks that promise to absorb excess oil, this simple blend of leaves and water is not overly drying. (Tight skin does not feel pampered!) The most exciting result of the mask is how bright my skin looked—even in the less-than-flattering lighting in my home spa!
Directions: Mix ½ teaspoon with enough water to make a spreadable mask. Apply to face and set for five minutes. Gently wash away. May be used daily.
2. Once in the bath, I exfoliated with Argan & Olive Nourishing 2-in-1 Body Scrub in “menthe-tea vanilla” ($18). Rich with ECOCERT certified organic Moroccan argan oil and extra virgin olive oil—two serious skin plumpers—and packed with organic sugar granules, this cream-scrub combo leaves skin ultra soft and muy touchable. Both oils contain skin-loving fatty acids and antioxidants. The scrub/cream is also fortified with organic aloe and shea butter.
Bonus: The nourishing scrub is naturally colored with chlorophyll for a beautiful minty green.
Directions: Massage wet skin with cream-scrub and thoroughly exfoliate. Rinse well and pat dry.
3. Finally, I concluded my home spa routine with a generous face misting using Rose Water Ester-C Collagen Regeneration Facial Mist ($18). Applying toner after cleansing is an oft-undervalued step in a healthy skin regimen. Facial cleansers can strip skin’s natural acid mantle—important for a balanced complexion; toner helps restore it.
The patented Ester-C formula delivers time-released vitamin C—a method that ensures the stability of this powerful antioxidant. (Many liquid vitamin C formulas lose their potency when exposed to air). Vitamin C helps boost collagen, which maintains plumb, youthful skin. Moroccan rose water makes a beautiful, soothing base for this hydrating mist. In fact, hours after application, I could smell a faint hint of rose in my hair where some of the mist landed.
Directions: Mist on face, neck, and chest after cleansing and gently drying skin and before applying serum and moisturizer. May also be used to set mineral powder or applied throughout the day to refresh skin.
Related: 10 Best Anti Aging Beauty Tips
12 Amazing Uses of Essential Oils
Also by Mary: Get the Look – Tauriel Hair and Makeup Tutorial
Photos: Mary Hood, Gill G 01 via Flickr, theboybg via Flickr.