Body wraps are popular in spas these days; they help tone and tighten the skin and can soothe minor skin ailments. (They’re also reported to help “detoxify” the body and eliminate cellulite but I haven’t actually seen any scientific studies on that so I wouldn’t necessarily expect miracles.) A spa visit is expensive, but the ingredients for a homemade body wrap are cheap and easy to obtain. Most of the ingredients are available at the grocery store, and the others can be found at soap supply companies (like Majestic Mountain Sage or Snowdrift Farm), some health food stores, or Amazon.
- Wrap sheets – You can purchase “mud sheets,” but thin towels or even Ace bandages are fine.
- A mixing bowl.
- A nonreactive (stainless steel or enamel) pot with at least a gallon capacity.
- A nonreactive (stainless, plastic, or wooden) spoon.
- 8 cups (2 quarts) of water
- 2 cups of cosmetic clay – Choose Bentonite if you have oily skin and Kaolin if your skin is dry.
- 1 cup of salt – Any kind will work: Sea salt (which may include additional minerals), “cosmetic” salts like Hawaiian Red or Himalayan Pink, or plain old kosher salt. Don’t use table salt that has an anti-caking agent added. You can also replace some or all of the salt (sodium chloride) with epsom salts (potassium chloride).
- 1 cup of powdered seaweed – Use one or a mixture of kelp, Irish moss, bladderwrack, or other seaweeds.
- 1 cup of powdered herbs – Use one or a mixture of herbs such as green tea, peppermint, lavender, chamomile, or rose petals. You can powder dried herbs yourself in a blender or food processor. Take care when using flowers (such as chamomile) if you tend to have pollen allergies, and if you’re pregnant make sure you research whether your chosen herb can cause health problems (goldenseal, mugwort, and pennyroyal can call cause uterine contractions, for instance).
- Bring the water to a boil, remove from heat, and add all of the ingredients. Let sit 15-20 minutes or until it is comfortable to the touch.
- Once cooled, you can add any of these optional ingredients:
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar (reduce the amount of water used by 1 cup) – Tones and tightens skin.
- 1/2 cup colloidal oatmeal powder – Softens and soothes irritated skin.
- 1/2 cup milk powder (buttermilk, goat’s milk, or whole milk) – Helps moisturize skin.
- 1/4 cup honey powder – Acts as an antibacterial and humectant.
- 1/4 cup liquid lethicin – Helps condition and moisturize skin.
- 1/2 cup yogurt or cucumber puree (reduce the water used by 1/2 cup) – Soothes irritated skin.
- Several drops of essential oil – Lavender, lemon, rosemary, lemongrass, patchouli, rose, bergamot, etc. Make sure that the oil is skin-safe (instead of the “fragrance oils” used for scenting things like candles), and again double-check for usage if you’re pregnant.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable/seed oil – Sweet almond, apricot kernel, avocado, grapeseed, jojoba, olive, etc. Helps with dry skin. Don’t use more than 2 Tbsp or the wrap won’t be as effective.
- A few drops of Vitamin E oil – Moisturizer and antioxidant.
- Mix thoroughly.
- Brush down your skin with a body brush or dry loofah, or take a warm shower (don’t shave your legs immediately before a wrap, because ouch).
- Dip the sheets into the wrap mixture one and a time and wrap your body, starting at the ankles.
- Keep warm and relax for an hour.
- Unwrap and take a warm (not hot) bath.
Much cheaper than a spa treatment, and you don’t have to have a stranger see you naked. Unless you want to. I won’t judge.
A body wrap kit also makes a lovely gift: Mix the dry ingredients and package in a tea tin or pretty plastic jar (it’s not a good idea to package bath products in glass) and include measurements for any perishable ingredients and instructions for use. An at-home spa treatment might be a fun “bridesmaids’ day out” too: Provide a selection of ingredients, instructions for mixing their own personal blend, and lots of towels.