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Jewish World Review August 31, 2004 / 14 Elul, 5764

Everyday Cheapskate

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A trip to the spa is shorter than you think -- If you don't happen to have an extra $70 to enjoy a day at the spa, don't sweat it! There are lots of ways you can be a penny-pincher and still pamper yourself.

SALT RUB: You can pay as much as $30 for a 16-ounce jar of Salt Rub by Origins, or make your own for about a dollar. Find a nice container (a small glass jar with a tight-fitting lid works well) and fill it three-quarters full with Epsom salt. Now, slowly mix in either almond oil or baby oil and stir until the mixture looks like wet snow (almond oil is better; baby oil is cheaper). You can also add your choice of aroma-therapy oil for scent. To use, massage over wet skin in a hot shower with your hand or a washcloth. Rinse, and scratchy, scaly skin is suddenly smooth and gorgeous. Do not use on broken or freshly shaven skin.

PUFFY EYE TREATMENT: Here's an offbeat yet highly effective way to deal with morning-eye "puffiness." In fact, it's more effective than all of those high-priced department-store eye cream products. Upon rising first thing in the morning, wash your face as usual, and then apply Preparation H cream (not ointment) to your eyelids and underneath your eyes, being careful to not get it in your eyes. Now, go about your other morning duties and allow the H to do its work. Rinse with cold water before applying makeup.

CHEAP FACIAL MASK: If you've ever had a pricey clay mask facial treatment, you know that natural clay has the ability to gently draw out impurities and excess oil that can dull skin and clog pores. Clay is known to improve healthy circulation, tighten pores and tone your complexion. You can spend a lot of money for a commercial clay facial product or make your own with a generic brand of 100-percent clay, non-clumping cat litter (don't panic). Just mix two tablespoons of the product with enough warm water to create a paste, and presto: a clay mud mask. Apply the mask to your face and neck, avoiding contact with your eyes; let it dry and gently remove with a wet washcloth. Your face will glow.

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TREATMENT FOR TROUBLED SKIN: Karen J. visited an exotic day spa for a massage and facial. During the procedure, the technician taught her how to care for her troubled, blemish-prone skins for less: Milk of Magnesia. Smooth the product over blemishes before bed. Smooth a bit more over your face in the morning, then remove the residue in the shower. It helps to keep your skin clear, smooth and soft. (Karen swears by this home treatment. However, no one should attempt self-treatment of a medical condition without first checking with their doctor.)

ELBOWS: Elbows get lots of wear and tear, and often show it. Here's the perfect way to give them the attention they deserve: Cut a lemon in half and rest an elbow in each section for at least 10 minutes. Sure, you'll look ridiculous, and that's why you're not going to do this in the middle of an important meeting. The lemon juice will actually remove the stains that make elbows look dirty. Jump in the shower, wash as usual and then use those lemon halves to do a final body scrub. Towel dry, follow with lotion and you'll think you've just visited an expensive spa.

Mary Hunt is the author of 12 books, including "Debt-Proof Living,"    "Tiptionary,"   "Cheapskate Gourmet" and   "The Financially Confident Woman." Comment or ask a question by clicking here.


© 2004, NEA