NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Do-It-Yourself Spa Day!

With today’s abundance of beauty treatment centers, it’s hard to believe that people used to polish their own fingernails and tweeze each other’s eyebrows in the kitchen. Although salons and spas are forced to compete for our business and even with coupons and package deals, sometimes the prices still seem outrageous. Many of these expensive treatments can be done at home with products from your local drugstore, supermarket or beauty supply store. Sure, it will take much longer to do it yourself, but if you collect your supplies before our next snowstorm, you could have a ball and one heck of a spa day. Not to mention you’ll be saving a ton of money. Let’s compare some prices.
Treatment Midscale salon Do-it yourself
Clarify and conditioning treatment for hair
$3 and up
Basic manicure
$5 and up
Spa pedicure
$5 and up
Basic Facial
$2 and up
Beach wave hairstyle
$3 and up

Some of the supplies you will need for your spa day may already be in your house or can be purchased at Dollar Tree or Sally Beauty Supply (for single application sizes). If you take the most frugal approach, you could pull this off for around $10-15. Here’s what you’ll need.

For clarifying and conditioning Treatment
Clarifying shampoo or sugar scrub and a basic shampoo
Deep conditioner or hair cholesterol
Shower cap or plastic bag

For beach wave style
7-10 hair clamps
Styling foam or a spray bottle with warm water and sea salt
Hair spray

For basic facial
Gentle cleanser
Scrub or mask
Wash cloth

Basic manicure
Plastic bowl (one that your hand fits in)
Hand soap or shampoo
Nail clippers
File or emery boards
Oil or specified cuticle oil
Top coat
Polish remover
White, cotton gloves or a clean pair of socks

Spa pedicure
A plastic dish pan
Hand soap or specified foot soak
Toenail clippers or large file
Callous file
Nail buffer
Toe separators or strip of cotton
Top coat
Polish remover

Now that you have your supplies, set up your playlist and get your spa day going. Best beauty tip: To make a versatile scrub (exfoliating product) that is safe for hair and skin you can create a mixture of granulated sugar or sea salt with any type of oil. Scrub recipes can be found at or a number of other web sites. Just remember, skin that has been treated with a scrub should be moisturized immediately.

Clarify and deep conditioning treatment
Step one: Wet hair thoroughly without shampooing.
Step two: Avoiding the scalp, apply your scrub to sections of hair in a downward stroking motion only (about ten times per section). Try not to scrape the product horizontally or back and forth as this could damage the outer (cuticle) layer of the hair strand. Think of the shingles on your roof; if you put too much pressure in an upward motion, they will break or come off. Once you have worked the product through all the sections, it’s time to rinse and shampoo.
Step three: On towel dried hair, apply a liberal amount of your deep conditioner from scalp to ends. If you tend to have a dry, itchy scalp massaging it with the product will help to ease those symptoms. Remember to use the pads of your fingers and not your fingernails.
Step four: Once your hair is covered with the conditioner, cover it with your shower cap or plastic bag and secure it closed with one of your hair clamps. The cap or bag will keep in the natural heat in from your scalp and will allow for better absorption of the product. Feel free to leave it on as long you want. As far as I’m concerned, there is no such thing as over-conditioning. Especially in the winter. However when you’re ready, go ahead and rinse. On second thought, now that your hair is all wrapped up and out of the way, let’s get going on your facial.

Basic Facial
Step one: Wash your face gently and dry thoroughly.
Step two: If you using a mask, apply to your face avoiding the eyelids and mouth. For an authentic spa experience, you could apply cucumber slices to your eyelids.
Step three: According to manufacturer’s directions, leave on for recommended time.
If you are using your homemade scrub, gently massage your face with the product (avoid your eyelids and mouth) and leave it on for desired length of time.
Step four: Soak a washcloth in warm water and ring out excess water.
Step five: Place wash cloth loosely on face. This will help loosen the product.
Step six: Gently wipe the product away and apply your moisturizer
Now you’re ready to rinse your hair or jump in the shower.
Beach wave hairstyle.
Step one: Apply styling foam or homemade sea salt spray to towel dried hair.
Step two: Take sections of hair with a 2”X 2” base and twist it around loosely until it eventually forms a bun shape and secure it with a clamp.
Step three: Once you have set all your hair in your clamps, allow to dry. ( this would be a good time for your mani/pedi).
Step four: After your hair is dry, simply remove the clamps and loosen up the buns with your fingers. Hair spray can be applied if desired.
Step one: Fill a dish pan about halfway with warm soapy water and soak both feet at the same time. (Usually 15-20 minutes).
Step two: Take out the foot you’re working on but let the other one stay in the water. It’s fun to keep switching. Trim toenails to desired length and smooth edges with a file.
Step three: If your bottoms of your feet are not extremely calloused, you can smooth the rough spots with a small, block buffer. However, some of us will require a large file with a handle. Be careful not to file too hard as you can cause a friction burn.
Step four: Massage each food with your scrub and rinse off.
Step five: Apply a liberal amount of moisturizer to your feet and cover with socks while you do your manicure. Don’t worry about the polish, we’ll get to that later.

Step one: Fill your small (hand sized) container with warm, soapy water. Soak one hand while you channel surf or take selfies with the other.
Step two: Trim fingernails to desired length and smooth edges with a file.
Repeat steps one and two on the other hand.
Step three: Wet your hands and gently massage both at the same time with your scrub. Rinse hands thoroughly and dry.
Step four: If desired, a small amount of oil can be massaged into the cuticles.
Step five: Apply a liberal amount of hand cream or moisturizer to your hands and cover them with a clean pair of socks or white cotton gloves for any length of time.
Step six: When you’re ready, separate your toes with cotton or foam separators and apply your polish to toes and fingers. The base (clear) coat will prevent the nails from being stained, two coats of the colored polish and then one top (clear) coat. I prefer Sally Hansen’s “Dries Instantly” top coat.
Step seven: If you have trouble staying inside the lines, you can put some polish remover on a cotton swab and erase the unwanted polish from your skin.
Wow, you look amazing! Don’t you feel great?