It’s hard to believe that Christmas is just days away and, soon after, it will be 2017! The Holiday season always seems to zoom by, probably because of what a busy time of year it is for so many of us. And yet, there usually is little bit of downtime before the 25th, like a calm before the storm, if you will. My holiday shopping is done, my Christmas tree is beautifully adorned with ornaments and glowing from the lights wrapped around its branches, and the gifts are all wrapped and ready to be warmly presented to their recipient.

Last week, I discussed what you can do to take care of your skin while you are traveling. This week, I wanted to focus on what you can do to take a little time to unwind once you get to your destination. Of course, if you are staying home for the holidays like me, this ritual is just as wonderful. Take advantage of the bit of downtime that you have and take a luxurious, well-deserved bath. My clients often tell me that they just don’t feel like they have time for self-care rituals in their day-to-day lives. I understand that we all get busy. But especially this time of year, it is key to take some time to relax and renew so you don’t start the New Year already feeling burnt out and exhausted.

Here are 7 steps to make your bath a true escape rather than another necessary task:

1.) Dry Brush

Prior to getting into the bath, use a dry brush in order to exfoliate and get rid of dry, wintery dead skin. Not only is dry brushing great for your skin, but also, it helps to reduce cellulite, eliminate toxins, and stimulate your lymph system. Here is a quick brush up on how to properly dry brush from our previous blog post on the subject:

Use a natural or soft bristle brush and be sure your body is dry. Start from your feet to your head for 3-5 minutes. Use long sweeping strokes to cover the whole body. Always brush towards the heart. As you dry brush, you will feel a tingling sensation. This is just a sign that your skin is being stimulated.

2.) Light a Candle

The next thing I like to do to set the mood for relaxation before even running the water is light a beautiful scented candle. My current favorite is my limited edition Cecilia Wong Skincare Black Currant Candle. Unfortunately, this candle cannot be bought but it can be won if you enter our Instagram Giveaway!

3.) Dissolve Magnesium Bath Flakes into the Water

Next, while you are filling up the bathtub with warm (not hot!) water, add a few cups of pure magnesium flakes, which can be found at most natural foods store in the personal care section. Magnesium baths help to hydrate your skin, heal wounds quicker, and reduce inflammation. In particular, I find magnesium baths help when I’m feeling sore or achy, as they magically help me wake up the next day pain-free.

4.) Add Essential Oil to the Bath

Aromatherapy is an excellent facilitator of relaxation. By adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the water, you are literally enveloping your body in the scent. Feel free to get creative and mix a few different oils together to make your own custom blend. I like to add some chamomile essential oil and lavender essential oil, both of which are specifically known to promote relaxation.

5.) Apply a Face Mask

I’ve discussed before about how great multi-tasking beauty rituals can be, so of course I wanted to include one of my favorite ways to take care of my skin while relaxing. Applying a face mask, such as our Blemish Peel Mask, while in the tub will have you finish your ritual feeling totally relaxed with glowing, bright, clear skin.

6.) Sip on a Cup of Tea

Bringing a cup of tea with you into the bathtub may seem odd to some, but I find that it just adds to the serene experience. Depending on what tea you choose, you can drop further into a state of relaxation. I like steeping loose dried chamomile flowers in hot water and sipping on the comforting tea to attain its calming and anti-inflammatory benefits.

7.) Give Yourself a Massage using my DIY Body Oil

The final step that will seal in all the benefits of taking some time to unwind is to preform self-massage using my DIY Body Oil recipe. I use this custom oil blend during treatments in our Fifth Avenue Spa and always have clients asking for the recipe. The measurements are left up to you so that you can make it for a one time use or whip up a large amount to use all winter long. This also makes a great last minute DIY gift to give your loved ones. Just pour the mixture into a beautiful amber glass bottle and voila! You can give the gift of beautiful skin!