➧ BODY SPA
Looking for a fresh way to reconnect with your guy? Try a simple but deliciously sensual massage. "Too often, couples fast-forward to intercourse, which means they're neglecting about 80 percent of each other's bodies," says Gordon Inkeles, author of The New Sensual Massage. "Sensual massage encourages lovers to be generous with each other, to explore parts of the body that aren't overtly sexual." Here, a step-by-step guide to giving (or getting!) a totally indulgent massage.
A soft bed may be perfect for lovemaking, but the ideal massage area is firm, flat, and stable, so you don't bounce your partner around as you move. (Think how unrelaxing it would be to get a massage on a jiggly water bed.) For maximum comfort, have your guy lie down on a futon mattress or pallet of blankets and place pillows under his neck, knees, and ankles.
Besides making your hands soft and warm, massage oil reduces friction and makes it easier to knead, rub, and stroke your guy's tired and stressed muscles. Scented oils can be erotic but steer. Instead, try a light single scent, like jasmine, and warm the bottle in a bowl of hot water.
The tickling of loose hair or a lacy nightie might excite him (and you), but it can also take his focus off the deep, steady sensations of your massage. Tie your hair back and wear close-fitting clothes to minimize distractions. To avoid jarring chills, drape his naked body with sheets (uncover just the body part you're working on). If you play music, keep it soft and slow.
Pressed for time? Focusing on one part of his body — really focusing on it — can be even more decadent than a head-to-toe rubdown. If his back is in knots, concentrate on that. If he loves having his feet caressed, give them the royal treatment. Or keep it simple: Just ask him where he wants you to touch him.
To give a great massage, all you need to know are a few basic moves:
• Compression is an easy movement to master and great for many body parts, says Inkeles. Just lay one hand flat on, say, his shoulder, press the other hand on top of it, and rotate slowly.
• Stroking works wonders on areas both large (back and thighs) and small (neck and tops of feet). Keep your fingers together, thumbs parallel, and palms in full contact with the part you're working, and make long, gentle movements. Apply more pressure when stroking toward your partner's heart, less pressure in the opposite direction.
• Kneading is perfect for fleshy areas such as biceps, buttocks, and thighs. Simply lift and squeeze the area you're working, with your palms in full contact with your partner's skin.
• Friction is done without oil and loosens up deep muscles. Anchor the area you're massaging with one hand, and use the other to deeply press and rub. For smaller areas like the shoulder caps, soles of the feet, and palms, apply friction with your fingertips.
• You can put any or all of these moves together in any order, depending on what your partner needs and how he responds to each touch. Try this basic routine to start (but feel free to add your own personal touches): Have your guy lie facedown. Apply friction to his shoulder caps. Squeeze a few drops of oil onto your hands and stroke his back. Next, knead his buttocks and thighs and stroke his calves. Finish off with a little bit of friction on the soles of his feet.
Intimate massage isn't about perfection, so don't worry about doing it "right". Try to stay in the moment. The quality of your touch is more important than technique. Massage is about being emotionally present, touching your partner with intention, and paying attention to his reactions. What could be sexier than that?
Setting the mood helps you get intimate and the same can be said of massages.The basics for a good professional massage include dimming the lights, relaxing music, essential oils for aromatherapy, a heated table and a soothing vocal tone (from who's doing the massage).
When you're giving someone a therapeutic massage, be sure to use slow, relaxing strokes. "It's important to maintain contact when giving a massage. A break in contact equals a break in relaxation.All massage movements should move in the direction of the heart, increasing the circulation of the blood.
How you wash your hair and the products you use can go a long way toward maintaining smooth, shiny hair. Follow these simple tips from dermatologists to maintain healthy hair.
1. Wash oily hair more frequently. How often you wash your hair should be based on how much oil your scalp produces.
• If your scalp is oily, you may need to wash it as often as once a day.
• If you have chemically treated hair, your hair may be drier, so you may want to wash it less frequently.
• As you get older, your scalp makes less oil, so you may not need to shampoo as often. But if you see flakes in your hair, you may not be shampooing enough. This can lead to dandruff and other scalp diseases.
2. Concentrate shampoo on the scalp. When washing your hair, concentrate on cleaning primarily the scalp, rather than washing the entire length of hair. Washing only your hair can create flyaway hair that is dull and coarse.
3. Use conditioner after every shampoo unless you use a “2-in-1” shampoo, which cleans and conditions hair. Using a conditioner can significantly improve the look of damaged or weathered hair by increasing shine, decreasing static electricity, improving strength and offering some protection from harmful UV rays.
4. Concentrate conditioner on the tips of the hair. Because conditioners can make fine hair look limp, they only should be used on the tips of the hair and not on the scalp or length of the hair.
5. Choose a shampoo and conditioner formulated specifically for your hair type. For example, if you color your hair, use a shampoo designed for color-treated hair. If your hair is damaged or chemically treated, consider a “2-in-1” shampoo. Regardless of cost, many shampoo and conditioner brands provide the same benefits.
6. Protect hair when swimming. Protect your hair from the damaging effects of chlorine by wetting and conditioning your hair before swimming. Wear a tight-fitting swim cap and use a specially formulated swimmers shampoo and deep conditioner after swimming to replace lost moisture.
If you have questions about caring for your hair, you should make an appointment to see a dermatologist.
Here are brilliant face care tips to get that glow you've always wanted. Browse through our beauty secrets, tackle your skincare issues and follow our tricks regularly to get beautiful skin naturally. Excited, happy or stressed, it’s your face that gives you away. So we’ve rounded up expert tips on daily skin care, keeping blemishes at bay and enhancing your natural beauty. Whether you have time for intensive skin care or not, pamper yourself by acing the basics.
Do: Make sure you always (and we mean always) remove your makeup before hitting the sheets. The skin needs to breathe overnight. And makeup prevents that, as leaving it on overnight clogs the pores which may cause blemishes and/or blackheads. Don’t possess a makeup remover? Just put some olive oil on a cotton pad and gently massage the oil onto your face to get rid of the makeup and dirt.
Don’t: Forget that exfoliation is indispensable. At least once or twice a week, exfoliate your skin to remove the layers of dead skin, sure to leave you with a more healthy glow and brighter skin. You can also apply a paste of walnut in powder form with yogurt to exfoliate your skin, as the antioxidants present in walnuts help remove dirt and promote radiant skin.
Do: Apply sunscreen with SPF of at least 15 that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Since a lifetime of sun exposure can cause wrinkles, age spots and other skin problems, you have to protect your skin from the sun. Make sure the label reads ‘noncomedogenic’ or ‘nonacnegenic’ so that the product does not tend to block pores.
Don’t: Skip the sunscreen, whether it's cloudy or cold outside (no excuses). If you’re heading to a beach or around reflective surfaces like snow or ice, lather your skin up with some more sunscreen with SPF of at least 30.
Do: Keep a note of what you put on your plate. Eat fresh fruits, greens, sufficient protein and vitamins. A diet rich in vitamin C and low in fats and sugar promotes radiant skin. Consider a low-sugar diet, which can keep insulin levels down, allowing cells to maintain a healthy balance.
"Don’t: Eat spicy and fermented foods, salt, citrus fruits, fried food. Instead favour blander foods such as rice, oatmeal and applesauce”, advises American author and Ayurvedic physician, Vasant Lad, in The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies.
Do: Exercise regularly. Running, jogging and yoga will give your body the necessary blood circulation, and also accelerate the cleansing process of your entire body. You will notice a glow on your face after working out. Racing against time? Just take a brisk walk around the block.
Don’t: Skip skincare before and after a workout. Apply a toner to help minimize oil production before heading out. Exfoliate after, and then apply shea butter or olive oil to moisturize the skin.
Do: Try to sleep at least 8 hours every night. If you don’t get enough shut eye, your skin gets tired just like you - it sags and you get bags. So don’t risk it. You can also apply honey on your face twice or thrice a week to naturally soothe and heal your skin.
“Don’t: Forget to wash and moisturize your face before going to bed”, recommends Dr. Rahul Nagar, Dermatologist, Max Hospitals. “For dry skin, use milder cleansers that are free from alcohol. Apply lots of moisturizer, and avoid hot water as it dries out the skin excessively.”
Do: Hydrate yourself. Drink lots of water daily, at least 8 glasses if not more. Also, eats fruits and vegetables that have a high water content such as watermelon, cucumber, orange, strawberry, grapefruit and cantaloupe. Ayurvedic physician, Vasant Lad recommends to “drink water from a blue coloured bottle”, since it has a cooling effect.
Don’t: Ignore rose water. It helps prevent and reduce eye puffiness in the morning, maintains pH balance and naturally hydrates your skin if you spritz it on during the day.
“Do: Wash your face with warm water, three times a day, and gently massage your face in circular motions, ensuring that the cleanser contains alpha hydroxyl acid or beta hydroxyl acid. Face packs that contain multani mitti (fuller’s earth) work really well too. After cleansing, pat dry and apply a lotion which contains benzoyl peroxide”, suggests Dr. Zaheer Ahmed, Dermatologist, Max Hospitals. Benzoyl peroxide appears to be effective due to its antibacterial actions.
Don’t: Pop pimples because it can lead to more swelling, redness, and even scarring. Feel a pimple is on its way? Just clean the area with rose water, and place a chilled green tea bag for 10 minutes. Also, if you wear glasses or sunglasses, make sure you clean them frequently to keep oil from clogging the pores around your eyes and nose.
Do: Use Ayurvedic scrubs to nourish the skin, and help it breathe better. Luckily for you, everything you need is already in your kitchen. 2 tbsp chickpea flour, ½ tsp turmeric powder, a pinch of camphor and sandalwood with some rose water/milk/water is your perfect skincare pack. Yes, the secrets of beauty lies in ancient Ayurveda.
Don’t: Neglect the basics. Make Sudarshan Kriya your beauty mantra. Yes, it’s that easy. Just breathing right could rid you of spots and pimples. Nidhi Gureja, Art of Living, says “Sudarshan Kriya is a breathing technique which incorporates specific natural rhythms of the breath that harmonize the body, mind and emotions. This helps releasing accumulated stresses, and each individual’s experience is different.”
Do: Have a regular skin care regimen. “For dry skin, use a fresh cherry mask. Apply the pulp of fresh cherries on your face before going to bed. Leave for 15 minutes and wash with lukewarm water”, adds American author Vasant Lad.
Don’t: Forget to pamper yourself. A gentle facial massage with oils could work wonders. Depending on your skin type, choose oils from mustard, coconut, almond or Kumkadi as they are excellent nourishing agents which help to get glowing skin. Better still – switch on some soothing instrumental music. After 20 minutes, what do you have? Beautiful skin and a relaxed you.
Do: Take out time for yourself, and try to avoid stress as much as possible. Have you ever noticed that when you are stressed, you tend to break out more? This is because stress causes your body to produce cortisol and other hormones, making the skin more oily. Practice stress management techniques like breathing exercises, yoga and meditation. The more you meditate, the more you radiate.
Don’t: Neglect your jawline and facial muscles. For just 5 minutes a day, perform a few facial exercises. You can jut out your lower lip in such a way that wrinkles are created on the chin, then lower your chin to your chest. Another exercise that works wonders is to look up towards the ceiling and pout. It stretches out the muscles making the skin more firm. “18 till I die”, why not?
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