How to turn your space into a home spa

These nine Toronto brands sell all the products you need to pamper yourself, disengage and relax


We’re way past cabin fever. We’ve reached a point in this pandemic where we’ve outfitted our living rooms into makeshift gyms and yoga studios and turned our bedrooms into offices. If you live with other people, it can feel like you never have space to yourself. 

Below the surface of the daily grievances of lockdown life, we are living through an incredibly traumatic event. The psychological effects are already starting to show, with lockdown fatigue and burn out, feelings of helplessness and anxiety around surviving financially and mentally.

It may seem trivial, but now more than ever we should be prioritizing acts of self-care. For those lucky enough to have some free time at the end of the work day, or parents who can squeeze 30 minutes of me-time in between Zoom school and dinner, I’ve put together a ritual of sorts to help you feel pampered and fully relaxed.

With spa visits off the table for the foreseeable future, it’s time to create an oasis at home. 

A woman sits with a face mask on, holding a cup of tea
Courtesy Sensitiva

A woman indulges in some relaxation, with a face mask from Toronto CBD skin care brand Sensitiva

Setting the mood

It’s hard to feel relaxing energy in the same room where you had a conference call (that could have been an email) an hour ago. Shifting the mood is the first step in creating a calm space. Turning the lights off, lighting a few candles and burning some incense can go a long way. Find a calming playlist or some nature sounds and play them on loop. It’s so simple but it will completely change your mood. You can even go as far as setting out a platter of snacks and infused water for the full home spa experience. Light a joint or pour a glass of something you love to settle in deeper. 

Lohn’s Oro candle ($39, shoplohn.com), with notes of mandarin, pink pepper, chamomile and jasmine, is bright and floral for a crisp and serene experience. For something a bit more sensual and warm, 100 Years of Love’s Eyes Wide candle ($32, 100yrsoflove.com) is potent with luxurious black amber and spiciness. Incense engulfs a room quickly, and Province Apothecary’s Lavender Essential Oil ($16, provinceapothecary.ca) incense will make your space calm and relaxing, helping to release worry and anxiety.

Pick your own adventure

Decide beforehand what sorts of treatments you want to give yourself. Are you going all out with a salt soak, facial and intense body scrub? Make sure you allot time in your schedule to do so uninterrupted. Turn your phone off. Doomscrolling on Twitter is the antithesis to relaxation. 

You may only have time for a quick face mask, but whatever you plan on, make sure you don’t feel rushed. If you live with other people, have them join you and make it a communal bonding experience. The three easiest treatments to do at home are facials, massages (if you have company) and exfoliating baths. 

DIY facials

The trick to having a luxurious facial at home? Boil some water, add your favourite essential oil and then steam your face. Get out the impurities of the day and activate all your senses. Figure out whether your skin needs moisture, exfoliation or a deep cleanse and get a mask that addresses your concerns. This is the time to use fancy face oils, serums and essences. Apply everything as if you’re applying it to someone else’s face; this will remind you to be gentle with yourself. 

Evio Beauty’s R+R Duo ($41, eviobeauty.com) comes with a rejuvenating mask and an oil serum with sativa oil to revitalize skin. jELN’s Balance toner ($34, yourjeln.com) and Rich facial moisturizer ($66.50, yourjeln.com) are a nourishing final step to any skin care regimen. Sensitiva, a skin care company devoted to all things CBD, makes a detoxifying face mask ($75, sensitiva.ca) with 750 mg of CBD to replenish while extracting impurities. 

At-home massages 

Does anyone else feel like they’re holding extra tension in their bodies these days? We go about with backs hunched and jaws clenched – no wonder our necks and shoulders are sore. If you have a massage partner that can help you out, grab some massage oils and work out each other’s kinks. If you’re living solo, practise stretches or light yoga. Either way, spritz a bit of aromatherapy spray into the air before you begin. Scent is crucial to the home spa experience.

Lohn makes essential oil blends for diffusing in the air, like the fresh Este blend ($24, shoplohn.com), with grapefruit, lavender and chamomile. (It’s also available at The Detox Market, thedetoxmarket.ca.) Province Apothecary’s Lover’s Oil ($32, provinceapothecary.ca), is a blend of rose absolute and cedar oil made with a base of coconut oil, great for a deep-tissue massage. 

Relaxing bath soaks 

My skin is never softer than when I’ve spent some time in the sea. I recreate that at home, during the dreary Toronto winter, by filling my bath with a high concentration of Himalayan pink salt. It should be salty to taste. Thirty minutes in and your dead skin will be gone. Follow up with a nice scrub to attain baby soft skin and finish with a rich moisturizer. 

SSSOAPS (sssoaps.co) is a project by multimedia artist and soap aficionado Sandro Sergio Petrillo. His bars are works of art and he drops limited batches, like Batch 044, made with ochre and indigo with citrus and ginger. Naked Beauty Bar launched their skin care line recently, including their body scrub ($32, nakedbeautybar.com) made with dead sea mineral salt and cocoa, and a shea butter body balm ($38, nakedbeautybar.com). Céla is a brand created by Hammam Spa and their home care kit ($40, hammamspa.ca) includes an exfoliating mitt, Moroccan black soap and a sweet jasmine, peach and rosewater cream.

@kelseyxadams

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