Hotel Spa Day, DIY Style

Published on October 6, 2015 by   ·   1 Comment

Spa 07Travelling is fantastic: you get to explore new places, see new people, and experience the rhythms and flows of a new place.  It’s also fucking expensive, and the more “tourist-y” your destination, the worse it gets.  On top of that it can be stressful: long lines and getting felt up by TSA at the airport, delayed hotel checkouts, crazy Uber drivers with poor navigational skills.  Nothing cuts through the stress better than a nice relaxing spa day, allowing your troubles to melt away in a soothing, restful environment.  But spas are a luxury that just adds cash monies onto an already expensive adventure.  Luckily, with a little planning and some bargain shopping, you can create an oasis of relaxation right in your hotel room.  Whenever I travel, I always have my “spa to go” tucked away in my luggage.

First, know that Sephora is your friend and plan accordingly.  I rarely shop in the store any longer; instead I but almost all of my products on the Sephora website so that I can maximize the free samples and promos.  Because I am VIB rouge, I get free Flash 2-day delivery – it’s like Amazon Prime.  Spa 03If you aren’t VIB Rouge you can sign up for only $10, and it won’t take too many shipments to make it a worthwhile proposition.  With the free 2-Day shipping, you can really get the most bang for your buck.

Depending on the promos available, I break my orders up and try to get as close to either $25 or $35 as possible; Sephora always has a small selection of promos available on $25 orders (usually a deluxe mini or a sample packet) and sometimes will have slightly bigger promos, some of which are VIB or Rouge exclusives, for orders over $35 that include little collections of deluxe minis and larger sampler collections.  Plus in every order, you can also pick 3 samples from their current (admittedly limited) selection of 12 products.  I might be ordering $100 worth of products at a time, but I break it into 3 or 4 shipments so that each one gets a promo and 3 samples.  Your product isn’t quite $25?  Always check out their sale section!  They have lots of great products that can easily add the few dollars you need to get to that minimum.  Yes, these can add up over time, but I’ve found some really good products in the sale section I might not have tried otherwise (and some that have made their way into my famous giveaways!).

Spa 06If you are looking to build up your travelling spa, stay away from makeup samples (unless doing up your face with new products is part of how you relax!).  These are great for the makeup divas out there, but if the goal is relaxation you want to get the right stuff.  Focus on quality skincare products – the higher end the better!  When there is a promo for a specific brand, I’ll look out for samples of that same brand in future orders so that I can try a little “mini buffet” of their products all at once – I’ve got a selection of Caudalie creams waiting for me in my Homewood Suites bathroom as I type this!  Face masks aren’t as common in the samples as other products, so if you see a sample or a promo, grab it!  Face masks are wonderful additions to any spa day.  I tend to stay away from hair products (because my boy hair is super short, and my girl hair is plastic!) though you may want to pick up a product or two to spoil your scalp at the same time as your face.  Look for whatever you think might make you look and feel relaxed and rested – and since you’re in the free samples, GO BIG!  Look for those designer brands you’d never dream of buying at full price!

Glam CleansersIn addition to the samples and promos, look to see if the brands you love or want to try sell travel sizes.  I think that GlamGlow is absolutely essential for any travel spa kit, and they have three of their gorgeous mud mask treatments, regularly $69, in smaller travel sizes good for 2 to 3 applications for only $19 each; two of their cleansers, normally $39, can be had for only $14 each in travel size.  They will also make up samples for you in the store of almost anything, but since these are being potted from open product containers, they can’t be stored as long as the sealed samples – best to do this in the 2 weeks or so before your trip.  The nice thing about going into the store is that they will usually make samples for you whether or not you actually buy anything, but be respectful of their time and energy and don’t wear out your welcome – they have sales goals to make too!  If you only go in to get free stuff and order absolutely everything online, they may start to dread seeing you walk in.  If I’m going in for samples, I always try to buy something, even if it’s just a cheap thing or two off the clearance display.  Pay it forward, beauty mavens.  And when you find things you love, share it with them!  Most of the people who work at Sephora do so because they love these products as much (or more!) than you do.  So if you’ve got a fabulous, must-have product you’ve discovered, even if it’s not a product carried at Sephora, let them know about it.  It’s good karma, you’ll get to talk about your new goodies, and they’ll know you do more than just freeload.

I give away a lot of samples and deluxe minis in my giveaways, and I do use a fair amount in my “everyday life,” but a lot of them get stockpiled and when I travel, they go into my shaving kit bag along with the few staples I can’t live without: cleanser, toner, and moisturizer.  Bring the basics in full sizes, the stuff you absolutely must have, and fill in the rest of your bag with your samples and deluxe minis.

Spa 04After you’ve got your sample game on point, start throwing a little money into the plan – and I do mean, a little!  Don’t discount the local dollar store: one of my favorite pamper products came from Dollar Tree: my gel bead eye mask.  If your room has a fridge you can throw it in there; if not, just toss it in the bottom of the ice bucket, fill it up, and wait about 15 minutes for it to cool off!  You can also run it under hot water, though I don’t find this as effective as using it cold.  My absolute favorite thing to do is put on some sort of mud mask and then strap on that gel bead mask over it to help with eye puffiness.  The dollar store will also have shower gels/bubble baths that may not be super high end, but will generally work if you want some bubbles for the hotel tub.  You can make the overall experience more luxurious by supplementing the bubbles with baby oil, scented bath oils, or even a few drops of perfume/cologne.

Other great beauty buys?  My favorite mud mask ever (bar none – and I’ve tried some pricey ones!) is still Queen Helene’s Mint Julep mask.  I used to be able to find it in Wal-Mart (sadly they don’t carry it anymore, at least not in Grand Forks) but now you can buy it online at Walgreen’s for only $3.99.  Target and Forever 21 both usually have single use sheet masks that can be nice and soothing, especially if you use one after doing an exfoliation or a peeling treatment.  Sort of like a makeup wipe cut into the shape of a face, the Forever 21 sheets are only $1, while the Target sheets are usually closer to $2.  You’re worth it, Big Spender!  Burt’s Bees also has some fantastic options like the apricot body scrub, though that is a pretty powerful exfoliator and should be used no more than once or twice a week.

Spa 05Finally, if you have access to a Lush, this is a great way to fill in any gaps you might have in your DIY spa kit.  Their prices are fantastic, everything is made fresh from really amazing ingredients, and I’ve found them to be really wonderful both in the pleasure of use and their effect.  I’ve got a more in-depth post coming about them soon, but for now I would say that I recommend their bath balls if you want a long soak in the tub, their shea butter massage bars (especially if you are travelling with someone you have sexytime feelings for – get naked and rub each other DOWN!), and their masks.  Gawd yes, their masks; most of them are less than $10 each.   I can’t wait to tell you all about them in that upcoming post, but for now, just know that Lush has some fabulous, affordable options for your DIY spa day.

Obvi, you can bring whatever products with you that you want, but to help create a special spa day experience, I recommend not just bringing your usual regimen.  This is about creating a new and unique experience!  Try something different.  You can have a fantastic spa day without the high prices if you just put a little effort into planning and shop smart!  That way you can still look fresh and on fleek while saving those pennies for tourist attractions, souvenirs, and happy endings from a sexy but detached escort.  I mean, that’s what I’ve heard.  Don’t judge me, whores.

Now Go Forth And Get Painted!

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