Dearest readers, I have missed you. Because I’ve been gone so long, I decided, even before I sat by my laptop, that today’s post ought to have something to do with chocolate. Given my general obsession with the stuff, it seems appropriate. “But which specific chocolate-related adventure shall I write about first?” I wondered. After all, since my last post, I’ve made three new kinds of truffles, baked a new type of cake and discovered a new chocolate store. After thinking about it for a long while, I decided to write a DIY guide to a delicious chocolate themed facial.
You see, the other day I was sitting on the couch bemoaning the fact that I hadn’t had a facial in a while. I love going to day-spas, where one can get massages and facials, sit in a sauna, jump into a cold plunge pool and/or relax in a hammam (turkish bath), amongst other heavenly activities. But being a poor grad student (who is trying to get her doctorate in something non-chocolate related) (not that this has anything to do with my story), I can hardly ever afford to go to a nice day spa, or even, for that matter an ugly, dingy one. So I decided I was going to give myself a spa-treatment at home. It felt so wonderful and the process was so relaxing and easy, that I thought I’d share it with you.
Sidebar: I have avoided writing about ‘beauty stuff’ on this blog so far, partly because I think beauty is a loaded and complicated issue. I write about ‘silly’ things here, silly things that I am oddly passionate about; this isn’t a blog about how to save the world after all, unlike my 400 page dissertation which is (about saving the world I mean) (I should have said “which will be about saving the world'” instead, that would have been clearer, because I don’t mean that my dissertation ‘is”, although, I wish it were ‘is’ because that means it would be all written…god I hope neither my supervisor, nor a grammarian is reading this!). The real problem is that I write in superlatives, with a great deal of energy and well, I don’t think I’d come across like I had a lukewarm take on any issue. So if I write about some cream that I believe will prevent me from getting wrinkles, or about how one could lose weight, I’d feel like I was endorsing a pre-occupation with these concerns. This would cause me to clarify my position and present feminist critiques of contemporary and perhaps even older conceptions of beauty. I might even feel tempted to refer to post-colonial critiques of the same. I do worry about wrinkles and things on and off, but I don’t obsess and more importantly, I don’t want this blog to be about those sorts of things, things I don’t want to be worrying about I mean.
This post however, fits squarely within the mandate I have defined for this blog, it’s weird, it makes me happy and/or it involves chocolate.
Disclaimer: Now bear in mind, I am no skin care expert. This entire blog post is based on internet research and years of going to spas; I’ve had absolutely no training as an esthetician or dermatologist.
Now that I’ve got those clarifications out of the way, let’s get to my yummy spa afternoon:
I think a facial has three important stages, exfoliation, a treatment mask and then of course hydration.
Step 1: Exfoliation
Ingredients: Green or black tea from a used tea-bag and yoghurt for the face scrub. Also, wine, chocolate and a good book as accompaniments in the bath.
Method: I think the best way to steam your face and open up your pores at home is to draw a bath and sit in it. So that’s what I did: I drew myself a nice warm bath with lavender perfumed epsom salt, and settled into the tub with a good book, a bar of delicious dark chocolate and a glass of wine. After about 20 minutes, I very gently and carefully scrubbed my face with a mixture of tea and yoghurt. I got the tea out of a bag I’d used earlier to brew up a cup of tea. This is important because I find that fresh tea is too rough on my skin, whereas tea that has absorbed moisture is less like sandpaper. It’s a great scrub because the caffeine gives me a little kick. It might do nothing for habitual chain coffee drinkers though.
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon of organic cocoa powder, about a teaspoon of honey (make sure it’s organic, raw and un-pasteurized), the juice of a strawberry and a lot of self control. (For strawberry juice, mash up a strawberry with a spoon and then get the juice out of the pulp with a strainer. You could also process a strawberry or two in a mixer or food processor and add the juicy pulp to the mask.)
Method: I mixed the above ingredients. I recommend using as much honey as you need to get the consistency you’d like.
Next I applied this paste to my face and then, I spent the next 20 minutes trying NOT to lick it off.
Image from catworld.com, available at: http://www.cat-world.com.au/chocolate-poisoning-in-cats
To relax and distract myself from the chocolate, I gave myself a massage with my homemade delicious cocoa butter body butter, the recipe for which you will find here.
Step 3: Hydration
The final step was washing the mask off and applying some toner and moisturizer.
I felt and smelt pretty good for the rest of the day 🙂