A Girl's Gotta Spa! Leaping Bunny Certified as Cruelty Free

Something I've learned in my 8+ years of beauty blogging, is that many brands like to say they are something without any proof to back it. Brands say they are natural, but the ingredient label tells a different story. Brands say they are organic because they assume you won't Read more

Name Your Own Nail Polish with Pretty Please

Here's a cute gift idea for those of you who like to impress the beauty addict in your life with something unique. Pretty Please nail polish allows you to choose a polish color and name it yourself. My head ran wild with all of the possibilities for gifting - from Read more

#Eyes4NYC Twitter Party 4/24 #ad

This summer I'll be 40. Wrinkles and fine lines know their way around my face like a road map. I wish what I know now about anti-aging, I knew 20 years ago so that I could take better care of my skin. However, since I can't literally turn back Read more

Beauty Benefits of Lime

It may sound silly, but even though I don't drink, those Corona commercials snag my attention every time. Sounds of the ocean, the sense of relaxation and the refreshing lime placed perfectly in the bottle neck. It's that lime that calls out to me saying, "Let me quench your Read more

Gail Lewis - SUPER Model

If you've read the bios of the A Girl's Gotta Spa! editors, you may stumble across the fact that Gail Lewis is a model. I don't mean model being kind, like Gail is attractive, I mean model like fierce, confident and in-demand. And of course, as in actually having Read more

beauty

Zolani Organics: Fair Trade Fabulous

It has always been a part of A Girl’s Gotta Spa! MO to highlight beauty brands that give back. We love philanthropy.

This week, we are loving Zolani Organics, a skincare brand dedicated to creating products that are not only high in quality, but help sustain economic income for needy families in Ghana, West Africa.

As someone whose full-time employment lies in nonprofit communications – a nonprofit dedicated to providing aid to Ghana, specifically – I felt an immediate connection to Zolani Organics.   Zolani is a company I like to call Fair Trade Fabulous as all products contain lush, locally-harvested ingredients and a portion of each sale goes towards sending books and school supplies to children in West Africa.

Zolani Organic products are heavily reliant shea butter, a nut extract from the locally-grown African tree. Shea butter is a luxurious moisturizer, is rich in vitamins A, E, and F, and the collagen-boosting properties have even been connected to fading unsightly stretch marks. If you haven’t treated yourself to a rich shea butter product yet, this is the product to try,  you’ll feel fabulous inside and out, knowing you are helping a child continue his or her education.

Visit Zolani’s “About Us” page for more information on the brand’s mission, and be sure to check out their blog to learn more about current fundraising goals.

Posted on by Amanda Huggins in beauty, Philanthropy, skin care 1 Comment

For Dry, Chapped Lips Try These Lip Balms

These are just some of the lip balms I’m carrying around in my handbag right now. For one, winter always wreaks havoc on my lips, even though this hasn’t been much of a winter here in Northeast PA. Warm one day and then freezing rain the next…my skin is going a little crazy. Second, I love that none of these lip balms smell alike. I adore scented lip products and depending on the kind of mood I’m in, each of the lip balms pictured always suits me perfectly.

eos Smooth Lip Balm Sphere: Not only do I love the scent of this pink sphere (Strawberry Sorbet), my 4 year old Brody, loves it too…and has been known to sneak some when I am not looking. It’s comprised of shea butter and Vitamin E. It’s 95% organic and 100% natural. It gives long lasting hydrating and I LOVE it.

NouriSHEA Lip Balm: This is another 100% organic shea butter and essential oil lip balm. The scent is Mango, which I typically don’t tend to gravitate to, however, it does smell good and the lip balm is very moisturizing.

Pacifica Coconut Pearls Luminizing Lip Quench: This is by far my favorite of the bunch.  It is 100% vegan and uses coconut oil, avocado oil, cocoa seed oil and Vitamin E to nourish dry, cracked lips. It gives a beautiful iridescent sheen to your lips as well, so many times it doubles as my “lip gloss.” The coconut fragrance is heaven. This is also a very large lip balm and has lasted me about 8 months so far (it looks like I’ve barely used it!)

Barista Bath and Body Indulgent Lip Balm: I love coffee. No, I mean I LOVE coffee. I have a Keurig that gets so much use, you’d think I’m the area Starbucks. I found Barista Bath and Body while at Cosmoprof North America last summer. They have a complete line of coffee-branded products, but froth is my favorite. It smells of peppermint and coffee, is vegan, and uses olive oil, shea butter and jojoba oil to moisturize the skin. Yum.

Not Soap, Radio lip balm: The bottom two pictured are lip balms from Not Soap, Radio. The first one, Cherry Cordial, is from their Cocoa Nostra Confectionery collection. It’s vegan, natural and contains cocoa and fruit extracts. Cherry Cordial smells of milk chocolate and cherries and is yet another lip balm Brody steals from me (who can blame him?) The second lip balm is You’re the Cutest from their Greeting Card collection. It’s hard to pin down exactly what flavor this is as it is different in every batch (according to their website), but the one I have tastes to be a strawberry-cherry combo. The greeting card lip balm has a little more weight and lasts longer than Cherry Cordial, but both serve their purpose.

Have you tried any of these lip balms? Which is your favorite?

*Disclosure

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, skin care 3 Comments

Luminous Skin for Under $5 with Calgon Ageless Bath Pearls

January is National Health Month, and at the close of the season A Girls Gotta Spa! discovered an inexpensive treat that will keep your skin looking young and fresh during the winter months.

At under five dollars per product, Calgon’s  Ageless Bath Collection is an affordable, easy way to give your skin the antioxidant protection it deserves.

I’m an unashamed bath product enthusiast, so I was excited to try the Luminous Bath Pearls.  Calgon’s exclusive Vita-Pearl technology includes Vitamin E and collagen to moisturize, while the pearl powder blend imparts a luminous glow.  The scent, though slightly overpowering at first, was quite nice and refreshing, and my skin had a soft shimmer once I dried off.

If you have ultra-dry winter skin, I would advise against using this product alone as a moisturizing agent – it’s best to pair it with a richer lotion for dry skin relief. Overall, the Ageless Bath Collection is wonderful little treat that feels much more decadent than the price tag would lead you to believe.

Learn more about Calgon’s Ageless Bath Pearls and kiss your dull winter skin goodbye! Have you used this product?

Posted on by Amanda Huggins in anti-aging, bath and body, skin care 1 Comment

DIY Pineapple Strawberry Enzyme Facial Mask

DIY Pineapple and Strawberry Enzyme Pulp Mask #beauty

I’ve been longing for a juicer for a really long time and finally got one.  Now I know a ton of people who have visions of daily juice-fests, they envision the vast varieties of fruits and veggie juice they’ll produce on a daily basis…then a month goes by and the juicer ends up in the back of some kitchen cabinet only to see the light of day the next time its owners are struck by another health kick.  I knew I would not be one of those people and so far I have not been.  I juice just about everyday and store jugs of juice for the days when I get too busy to whip out my new best friend, Jack Lalanne.  The only issue I’ve encountered so far with juicing has been what to do with the pulp of the fruits and veggies I am juicing.  I always feel like I am wasting good stuff that I should be finding some use for.

My very helpful boyfriend tried to use the pulp of a few juiced veggies to make a veggie patty, but I could barely look at his attempt at a veggie patty without gagging– eating it was not an option. His attempts at veggie patty making did, however, give me a great idea.  Fruit enzyme facial masks and peels are EVERYWHERE these days, I’ve used a few and loved the results so why not make my very own facial mask with the leftover fruit pulp from juicing?

My first DIY fruit enzyme facial mask was a combination of pineapple and strawberry pulp from my juice of the same combination.  I have to admit when I first laid eyes on the pulp I was a bit grossed out…it did not look very appealing, it did smell great though.  Just 30 seconds after applying the mask I felt a bit of a tingling sensation, this lasted only for about a minute.  I left the mask on for ten minutes then rinsed and was I in for a pleasant surprise.  My skin actually looked brighter and felt smoother. The mask can get a bit messy so it’s best to not walk around too much after applying it unless you want pieces of pineapple and strawberry pulp all over your floor.  I definitely plan on trying a few more DIY facial masks in the near future.  I noticed that Sephora is carrying a Black/Blueberry Enzyme Mask and both fruits just happen to be residing in my refrigerator at this very minute…

Have you created DIY facial masks from your juicer? Share your recipes with me so that I can give them a try!

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Posted on by Gail Lewis in anti-aging, beauty, DIY Beauty, skin care 7 Comments

Review: Repechage Bath & Body

In the last year I have had to drastically cut back on visits to the spa.  My normal routine would  include monthly waxing, facial, threading, microdermabrasion and a few other treatments. In the last year my budget has just not allowed me the luxury of my ”normal monthly beauty routine”, so like any good recessionista I’ve had to find at-home spa alternatives. And I did a few months back when I discovered Repechage, a professional line of skincare products  available at spas around the globe.  I tried a few skincare products from this line and they performed great, spa quality results at home.  I was excited to find out if their bath and body products would also give me that at-home spa feeling.

I tried their line of Sea Spa bodycare, which included the Sea Spa Body Wash, Sea Spa Bubble Bath and the Sea Spa Massage, Bath & Body Oil.  All of these products are infused with essential oils and sea plants and they all have a really soothing fragrance.  The body wash is a soap-free foaming gel that left my skin feeling clean but not dry.  The bubble bath is also soap and sulfate free and contains essential oils that are combined together to help detoxify, ease tension and  relax muscles.  The fragrance of the bubble bath definitely helped me to relax and my skin did not feel as dry as it normally does after soaking in a bath for 20 minutes, I was a bit disappointed that the bubbles dissolved rather quickly, though.

My favorite is definitely the Massage, Bath & Body Oil.  It left my skin feeling smooth and silky and contains no artificial color or synthetic perfume.  These bath and body products did not disappoint, they performed just as well as the skincare products that I’ve tried from this line.  Just the fragrance alone was enough to make me feel like I had created a spa in the privacy of my own bathroom, the only thing missing from the equation was a thick, plushy spa robe…make sure you have one handy before beginning your Repechage spa experience at home.

Posted on by Gail Lewis in bath and body, beauty, skin care Leave a comment

Sensitive Skin Solutions: Lara Beauty

I have notoriously sensitive facial skin and am always searching for the next best solution to my winter woes.  Thankfully, I recently came across Lara Beauty, a great fragrance-free skincare collection catered towards those with sensitive skin.

The collection combines natural ingredients with anti-aging compounds to create powerhouse products that aren’t abrasive or damaging.  As a girl who has gotten more reactions than results from many name-brand lotions, I was eager to find out if Lara Beauty lived up to its name.

Toners have always been especially damaging for me and I used to go to bed with red blotches and painful stinging after my daily cleansing ritual– not an ideal beauty regimen!  Lara’s Revitalizing Daily Toner is the first toner that I continue to use and didn’t leave me wincing when I applied it to my face.

My skin was left perfectly prepped for Step 2: Lara’s Anti-Aging Daily Therapy for Sensitive Skin. This moisturizer was thicker than I expected, but it absorbed easily and after about two weeks of use I noticed a very real difference in my normally-dull skin’s radiance.

I’m so happy to find a product that doesn’t irritate my winter skin (and it doesn’t hurt to throw a little anti-aging protection in there, either!) Visit Lara Beauty to learn more about the collection. Have you used any of their products?

*Disclosure, press sample

Posted on by Amanda Huggins in anti-aging, skin care Leave a comment

Review: Kohana Skin Care Body Wash & Body Buff

As I write this, it is snowing here in the Poconos. What better time to write about a skin care line based out of Hawaii? The best part was taking the picture of the tropical products in the snow!

I had the opportunity to try Kohana’s Wild Ginger Moisturizing Body Wash from their Hawaiian Rainforest Collection and Bamboo Lemongrass Body Buff from their Palaau Spa Collection. The Wild Ginger Moisturizing Body Wash smells of ginger and lime. It’s a scent that tends to awaken the senses. I love that the main ingredient is aloe–that told me from the start that this body wash was going to be soothing to my skin. And the Bamboo Lemongrass Body Buff is a delicious mix of what smells like lemon zest and sugar. The sugar, bamboo powder and oil concoction of Macademia Seed Oil, Coconut Oil, Kukui Nut Oi and Lemongrass Oil create a medley of awesomeness.

All products from Kohana are natural, vegan, organic and cruelty-free. See all of their products at www.KohanaSkin.com. Have you used any products from their line?

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in bath and body, beauty, skin care 2 Comments

Mitsuwa Marketplace in Arlington Heights Chicago

Over the years I’ve come to learn that amazing beauty products are not only found in traditional beauty/cosmetics stores, but in out of the way places you wouldn’t normally consider.  My most recent great findis Mitsuwa Marketplace.  This place was recommended to me by Ji Cho, owner of Nami Restaurant in Minneapolis, MN and beauty product guru…seriously the woman is insanely knowledgeable about every and anything beauty related.  Mitsuwa Marketplace is the largest Japanese Supermarket in the U. S. They are mostly located in California with one in New Jersey and the one I visited in Chicago. This place is awesome and carries a wide variety of Japanese groceries, general items, electric appliances and beauty products.  They even have a bookstore as well as a food-court with fantastic Japanese food.

I went to Mitsuwa Marketplace with the intention of getting a deep conditioning treatment and a cream for my ends…I came out with shampoo, conditioner , conditioning hair treatment, cleansing face oil and brow pencil and this was after I decided to put some products back on the shelf!  The selection of cosmetics and beauty products were just amazing.  They had products for your hair that I never even knew existed.  The shampoo and conditioner that I bought were both from Shiseido and they’re absolutely wonderful, very moisturizing and an absolute steal!  I paid just $18.99 for both 550ml bottles (they were on special that day.)  The conditioning treatment is also pretty amazing, the brand is called IchiKami and that is about all I can decipher because everything else is in Japanese.  I love the cleansing face oil, it’s very gentle on my skin but still thoroughly cleans my face without making it feel dry.  I keep the brow pencil that I bought from there in my make-up bag at all times.  It has two sides, one side is your traditional brow pencil with a much finer tip for a really precise application and the other side is more like a liquid liner…but for your brows.  The pencil  fills in my brows, but they never look overdone and I have to wash my face to remove it because I’ve been to the gym a few times after having applied the brow pencil and it stayed put through my entire workout…and my workouts are pretty intense ones that produce buckets of sweat.

I regret not getting some of the other products I had my eyes on, like the liquid liner (my beauty guru Ji said that the Japanese liquid liners have a finer more precise tip than their American counterparts, she also suggested the fake eyelashes which are apparently pretty great.) I did discover that  Mitsuwa Marketplace does have an online store which made me pretty ecstatic, but the selection of beauty products available online is kind of limited compared to the store, lucky for me I will be spending this summer in Minnesota which means I will have plenty of opportunity to try every product  I had my eye on. Have you been there and discovered some great beauty brands yourself?

 

Posted on by Gail Lewis in beauty, brows, Hair Care, Makeup, skin care Leave a comment

Review: DollyMoo Coconut Citrus Body Scrub & Body Oil

When New Jersey-based bath and body company, DollyMoo, contacted me about trying their organic scrubs and body oils, I was nervous. I love when indie beauty brands contact me, especially when they are quasi-local to me, but always feel the pressure that they are crossing their fingers I’ll love their product enough to write about it to help them garner awareness. That pressure is always there for me because I understand what it means to be a start-up beauty business…and I know what it means when your budget is ridiculously small when it comes to sending product out for review. Why do I feel the pressure? Because there have been many times that the product is just not something I can endorse for one reason or another and it makes me feel sooooo bad.

Thankfully, this was not one of those times.

DollyMoo is created by two sisters, Amy and Nicci. They sent me Coconut Citrus in both their Body Scrub and Body Oil to try. And let me tell you, the smell alone makes you long for the warm summer sun, sipping something cold and refreshing while taking in the scents of the beach…wearing your SPF of course! The scrub combats dry skin without much of a fight, although if you have any scratches or cuts at all avoid using the scrub in those areas as this is a salt scrub (i.e. cuts will sting). While the scrub sloughs off dry, flaky skin, the oils seal in moisture. (Tip: It’s great to use prior to shaving!)

Application of the Body Oil only requires 1 pump (per leg, arm, etc.) It’s best to apply it as soon as you get out of the shower without skin being completely dry. This helps the oil seal in that moisture that is so very necessary in the winter when fireplaces, wood stoves and thermostats set high dehydrate the skin. It will feel a bit greasy at first (it is an oil after all), but I found that it absorbed into my skin by the time I was putting on my clothes.

Definitely a product line that delivers on its promises. Your skin will be hydrated and healthy and it will smell so good! Check out their products at www.dollymoo.com.  Have you tried their collection?

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in bath and body, beauty, skin care Leave a comment

Kiehl’s Continues to Give Back With Another Collaboration with Jeff Koons

Kiehl’s may not deliver the most bargain-friendly bath and body goodies around, but it’s comforting for us shopping addicts to know that our hard-earned money is not only going towards quality skin care and beauty, but also to a good cause to boot! The 160-year-old, New-York-based apothecary brand is no stranger to giving back, and their renewed partnership with Jeff Koons kicked off the recent holiday season with another limited-edition Creme de Corps collection – this time inspired by the artists’ legendary “Balloon Flower (Yellow)” sculpture.

While the holiday season is well over by now (*sigh of relief*), luckily it’s not too late to take part in the charitable cheer! Ranging in price from $29-72, plus a collectible bottle topper inspired by the original sculpture for $50, this collection donates 100% of its net proceeds (up to $200,000) to The Koons Family Institute, a branch of the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children. Plus, considering Creme de Corps has been lauded as the most hydrating of Kiehl’s extensive collection of moisturizers, it’s the perfect purchase to help you beat brittle winter skin!

- Alexandra Gambardella

*Guest beauty post from my friends at TheFind.com.

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in bath and body, beauty, skin care Leave a comment