Sugar: This fine granule is used as a scrub and exfoliant. But when combined with essential oils such as lavender, it becomes absorbent. Fine white sugar is best for facials and sensitive skin, while thick brown sugar scrubs are kept for arms and legs, and coarse raw sugar for hands and feet. “Those oils in that sugar helps penetrate into and rejuvenate the skin,”says Amanda Schwartz, massage therapist at the Spa at Glenmoor.
Bamboo: When finely chopped and paired with essential oils, this woody plant, rich in texture, works best in intense body scrubs to remove dead skin from sensitive areas such as feet and hands. “Nothing can penetrate when you have all this dead skin and junk clogging your pores,” Schwartz says. “You could be moisturizing all the time, but if you’re not removing that top layer, nothing is penetrating your skin.”
Seaweed: Seaweed may be a little slimy, but like essential oils, it provides nutrients such as calcium, iron, potassium, zinc and magnesium when wrapped tightly around your body in 20-minute increments. “It’s a direct effect, because it’s all getting absorbed through the biggest organ in your body,” she says.
Mud: Sometimes you have to get downright dirty to detoxify and nourish dry skin and open your pores. Often used in face masks and painted on as a thin layer before body wraps, deep-sea mud enriched with algae offers an extra layer of security for your skin. “Your skin is protecting your whole body,” says Schwartz. “If you’re not protecting your skin, the rest just goes down.”
Himalayan salt: The power of this pink rock works best in a 15- to 20-minute salt bath. A soak in Himalayan salt offers a powerful detox and decompression because it helps relax muscles and lower blood pressure. “It’s giving you a peace of mind and bringing you to a different kind of space,” says Schwartz. “It’s helping you relax and decompress from the world.”