Target the 5 Signs of Aging #ad

Disclosure: Thanks to RoC® MULTI CORREXION® 5 in 1 Chest, Neck and Face Cream, I’m targeting the 5 signs of aging as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars #WomenWhoRoC While the Summer wreaks havoc on my skin by aging it with damaging UV rays, the Winter is equally as Read more

Probiotic Skin Care: Miracle Ingredient or Marketing Hype?

As a consumer, my hope is that when a product comes to market, it delivers information that is true. I mean, we're all so busy, who has the time to fact check everything? For a while, we all believed the mascara commercials and ads where the spokesperson/model had the most Read more

Tips for Gray Hair #GrayAway

I hate to break it to you, but eventually gray hair will rule your mane. Chances are, if you are reading this article, you already know this to be true. When we go gray, and how much, is a mix of genetics and lifestyle. So while you may not be Read more

Charcoal Skin Care Products for Acne Prone Skin

Do you have oily or combination skin? You may want to consider incorporating charcoal into your skin care regimen. Sure, charcoal is totally on trend right now and may seem like a fad, but it's for good reason. Charcoal absorbs oil and draws out toxins and bacteria from the skin. Those Read more

Voluminous Beach Wave Hair

Little did I know when growing up on the beaches of Rhode Island, that the wavy hair that came naturally among the sand and surf, would be a hairstyle I would try so hard to achieve as an adult. While my hair does have a slight natural wave to it, Read more

a girl’s gotta spa

Review: Leonor Greyl Huile de Palme

Lately I’ve been becoming increasingly desperate in my search for a product that will improve the condition of my hair.  After trying a vast array of deep conditioning treatments and having none that I tried work, I decided to whip up a homemade deep conditioning treatment that was recommended to me by our celeb hair guru at A Girl’s Gotta Spa!, Pearson Knight.  While I did see  improvement in the condition of my hair,  I made such a mess in my apartment that I spent the following day cleaning avocado and oil off the floor and counters. I was getting very close to checking myself into a salon for professional help when my beloved FedEx guy showed up with a package containing Leonor Greyl’s Huile De Palme.

The Huile de Palme is a Pre-Shampoo treatment that you apply to the hair when it’s dry and leave in for ten minutes or longer to detangle, soften and protect it. This hair treatment is recommended for normal and dry hair, or hair sensitized by coloring, bleaching, straightening or perms.  My hair is highly sensitized from coloring and flat irons…not to mention salt water and the sun.

I applied the oil to my hair (smells awesome), put my hair in a braid and went for my nightly run. I think I left it in my hair for a total of two hours.  My hair felt softer as I was un-braiding and preparing to wash it, but I knew the true test would be what it looked like after it was blow dried.  Well it looked and felt amazing!  I don’t know why I have had no prior knowledge of Leonor Greyl or Huile De Palme but I think if I did, I would have saved my hair a lot of agony in the last few months.  The oil detangled my hair so blow drying was a lot less painful and damaging, my hair also felt a lot softer, and not as rough or dry.  After blow drying my hair, it was shiny and the ends no longer resembled straws…I actually think I can wait a few additional weeks beforel I get my next trim.  I have been applying a teeny bit to my ends at night and I also use it to smooth flyaways.

I would highly recommend this product for summer or for any other season for that matter…but especially if you plan on spending a lot of time in the sun and at the beach, it can be applied to hair before you go into the water (chlorine or salt.)  Also, if you have highly textured hair like me don’t be afraid to use a bit more than is recommended on the box…it will work wonders for your hair.  If you have naturally curly hair (which I do as well), leave it in and let your hair go natural, not only will it actually help to control your curls, but you will also be conditioning you hair at the same time.  I did notice on the box that the Huile De Palme can be combined with the Creme Aux Fleurs as well for a conditioning treatment. Can you tell what the next product that I will be purchasing will be?  I currently live with a hairstylist and cannot wait to see what he thinks about this oil and what it has done for the condition of my hair.

I can honestly say I am now a complete Leonor Greyl Huile De Palme devotee and something tells me once I try more products from the line, I may become  a Leonor Greyldevotee altogether. If any product deserves a cult following, it is definitely the Huile de Palme!

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Posted on by Gail Lewis in beauty, Hair Care Leave a comment

Review: Homemade Deep Conditioning Hair Treatment

DIY Deep Conditioning Hair Mask #recipe #haircare
Lately I’ve been into creating my own beauty products…not completely from scratch, but more like mixing different colored nail polishes to create my perfect shade and doing the same with lipsticks and glosses.  I’ve also been mixing body scrubs with oils to create my own version of moisturizing body scrubs so it was only a matter of time before this obsession moved to my head. I am always obsessed with the condition of my hair and would love for it to always be strong, healthy and shiny, but it seems that lately my hair has been a bit challenged.  I blame it on sunny Miami…my hair seems to be taking a beating from the sun and feels really dry and brittle, it needs help big time.

I decided to take advantage of our new “Celeb Hair Guru” here at A Girl’s Gotta Spa!, Pearson Knight, and asked what would be a great at home deep condition treatment that would help (and that I could create myself) to improve the condition of my hair. Pearson recommended that I do “the olive oil/coconut oil/avocado treatment.” Basically this involves combining olive oil, coconut oil and avocados together to create a super moisturizing hair masque. I had the coconut oil and olive oil (as I mentioned earlier I have been into combining oils with other products to create ones that suit me perfectly…and sometimes I just use them as moisturizers by themselves), but I was missing an avocado so off to Publix I went. Of course the olive and coconut oil mixed together well…the avocado on the other hand….I should have gotten an avocado that was softer or should have blended everything in a blender (didn’t have one handy as we literally just moved into a new place.) Instead I mushed it with my hands…a fun process and I felt like a kid again.  However, when I started applying the mixture to my hair, there were chunks of avocado stuck in my hair and every time I moved my head they would go flying all around the apartment…I spent all day today cleaning the floors.

Hair after deep conditioning recipe on A GIrl's Gotta Spa! #haircare

I left the mixture in for about an hour then washed it in the shower (still had chunks of avocado all over the bathtub.)  My hair must have been extremely thirsty because I swear it sucked up the mixture.  After washing I used my regular conditioner, then blow dried.  My hair looked a lot less damaged and shinier…usually after blow drying my hair is really frizzy, but not this time.  I know that with the state my hair is in it will take a few more of these homemade deep conditioning treatments to get it to where I want to be, but the fact that after just one treatment I saw visible improvement makes me very hopeful. I will caution that if anyone decides to try this at home please be a lot more sensible than I was and use a blender…also don’t have something on the stove while you’re putting this in your hair or you might end up like me with healthier hair but a burnt dinner…

Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too!


Posted on by Gail Lewis in beauty, Hair Care 1 Comment

Review: Andalou Naturals Lemon Sugar Facial Scrub

Andalou Naturals Lemon Sugar facial Scrub #review #skincare

The arrival of Summer, for the most part, is a joyous occasion that always seems to have taken forever to make an appearance, but when it does finally arrive it is not without a few results of  beauty woes…I like to call them Summer’s Bummers.  One such woe is the breakouts that seem to be the result of sunscreen usage, of course I would much prefer to deal with a few pimples than to have a skin cancer scare, but I would love to be both protected from the sun and have a clear complexion. Read more

Posted on by Gail Lewis in acne, beauty, skin care 11 Comments

Citrus-Scented Pampering with Grapefruit-Infused Bath Products

Other than sunscreen and salty beach air, nothing smells quite like summer than light, refreshing, citrusy scents. True, the last thing you want to do in the sweltering weather is lounge in a bath for hours, but that’s no reason to skimp on pampering, and grapefruit bath products are on our radar to let you lather in a way that will leave you feeling clean and refreshed, even if you’re keeping your shower short, sweet, and on especially hot days, lukewarm.

Think of grapefruit as a sophisticated step up from the summer lemonade stands of your youth — it’s still sweet, punchy and summery, but with a bittersweet kick that keeps it wearable as a fragrance and not too sugary-sweet to lather up or lotion with. Plus, grapefruit itself has plenty of skin-boosting properties, from revitalizing vitamin C, moisturizing fatty acids, and toning oils. Whether you’re in it for its skin-smoothing abilities or just the summery aromatherapy, grapefruit will have you feeling refreshed and revitalized, no matter how hot the day!

From left to right: Niven Morgan White Grapefruit & Lime Hand Lotion, REN Neroli and Grapefruit Body Wash, Philosophy Blushing Pink Grapefruit Shower Gel, LaVanila Vanilla Grapefruit Body Butter, and The Body Shop Pink Grapefruit Puree Body Lotion.

– Alex Gambardella

*Guest beauty post for A Girl’s Gotta Spa! from my friends at

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in bath and body 1 Comment

Review: Quench Bath & Body

One of the reasons I get insanely excited about Spring and Summer…besides the obvious warmer weather of course, is that this is the time of year when I actually have multiple and very valid excuses to go shopping for not only a new wardrobe but also new makeup and beauty products.  I mean you can’t really expect a girl to venture into Spring/Summer with products that are strongly scented and feel heavy.  While they might have been great for Fall/Winter, when used in Spring /Summer they might attract some very unwanted attention (ever been chased by Bees?) and can also leave you looking a hot mess…literally.  So I was looking forward to trying out a new line of bath and body products called Quench Bath & Body from Around the World (the around the world part comes from the fact that their formulations are based on beauty “secrets” from around the globe) that launched this month in the hopes that it would be my go to line for the warmer months. I also figured you can’t really go wrong with any beauty products that launch in Spring or Summer.

The products I tried were the Almond Sandal Facial Masque, the Saffron Herbal Body Wash, the Saffron Herbal Body Lotion, the Sandal Honey Body Butter and the African Black Soap All Over Wash.  First off everything smelled incredible.  None of the scents are overpowering or too strong for Summer, nothing was overtly fruity or flowery, and the scents were all unique and sophisticated but still very light.  My favorite scent was the Saffron Herbal Body Wash and Lotion…the scent is feminine, pretty and soft, in fact I wanted to slip on a sundress after using both.  A little bit of the wash does go a long way, which is always appreciated.

I absolutely LOVED the feel of the Sandal Honey Body Butter.  I was skeptical about using body butter in Miami…it’s only May and temps have already hit the high 90s, but this body butter worked great.  It moisturized without leaving me a sweaty, clammy mess.  The Almond Sandal Facial Masque was great too, it left my face feeling clean without stripping any moisture…my face was also noticeably softer after using the masque.  The African Black Soap All Over Wash however was not my favorite.  The scent was great, but my skin felt a bit dry after using it.

So far my first round of beauty product testing for summer has been successful.  I found a new body butter and body wash that I’m excited about, a definite plus that they not only make me want to bring out my girly side and wear pretty sundresses, but I also feel like I am doing my small part by purchasing products from Quench because the company employs small companies and co-ops, often from native communities and they also seek to foster fair trade.  They never use animal based ingredients in any of their products and never test on animals.  I have a few bridal and baby showers this summer so will most definitely be purchasing a few of the Quench gift sets so I can share the love with my girls.

Posted on by Gail Lewis in bath and body Leave a comment

A Girl’s Gotta Spa! 4th Annual Mom Get Glamorous Contest

Announcing the kick off to the 4th annual Mom: Get Glamorous contest! This year I am partnering with the lovely ladies from my home state of Rhode Island, Mom Generations, to find the most deserving mom to award the grand prize.

A Girl’s Gotta Spa! and Mom Generations are seeking nominations for moms across the U.S. who have overcome adversity, boldly negotiated impossible odds, triumphed over tragedy, went above and beyond or is a pillar of her community. Simply put: a woman of fortitude and strength, someone deserving of the recognition and undeniably in need of some pampering. Is this you? Do you know someone who fits the description? Then you have until May 25th to submit a nomination and put her on our radar for an amazing prize package!

One very lucky mom will win $870-worth of beauty products:

Three Custom Color: A Century in Red Lip Palette, Cool Mom on the Go Lip & Cheek Stain, Aurora Creme Eye Definer, Eye Liner Brush (retail value: $108)

Zoya Nail Polish and Treatments
: Zoya Nail Polish Color WardrobeZoya Color Lock System, Zoya Sunshine Collection, Zoya Summertime Collection, Zoya Tasha (retail value: $152)

Lierac Skincare
: Sensorielle Oil, Initiatic Fluide (retail value: $82)

: Extreme haircare collection– Extreme Shampoo, Extreme Conditioner, Extreme Anti-Snap, Extreme CAT treatment, Extreme Strength Builder, Extreme Strength Builder Plus (retail value: $91)

Meaningful Beauty
: Wrinkle Smoothing Capsules, Glowing Serum, Lifting Eye Cream (retail value: $176)

Spa Week
: $75 Spa Gift Card – indulge in the gift of health with massages, facials, mani-pedis and more at over 3000 spas and wellness centers nationwide. (Get incredible spa deals all year long, too!)

Artisan Naturals: Ultra-C Antioxidant Treatment Serum, Tangerine Exfoliating Creme Cleanser, Environmental Defense Antioxidant Face Creme (retail value: $98)

NouriShea: Mango Shampoo, Mango Conditioner, Mango Body Wash, Mango Shea Body Creme (retail value: $88)

Contest Rules and How To Enter:

First, the person being nominated must absolutely 100% be a mom, age 18+ and a legal US resident. You can nominate yourself or nominate someone else. Your nomination must be a picture of the mom with her kids, as well as a 600 word or less written nomination telling us why this mom is so amazing. All entries are to be submitted via the Contest tab on the A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Facebook fan page. You must Like the page in order to have an eligible entry (as well as Mom Generations fan page.)

By entering the contest, should you (or the mom you nominate) be chosen as the winner, you are giving me the right to post this information and letter of nomination in the winning announcement on A Girl’s Gotta Spa! and Mom generations.  Contest begins May 12, 2011 taking submissions until May 25, 2011 at 12pm EST. Mom Generations and A Girl’s Gotta Spa! will select the top 3 entries to put up for a public vote until May 30th. Winner (1) will be announced on May 31st. Retail value of the prize pack is $870. All products are brand new and unused and come “as is” without warranty. There are no cash or product substitutes. I retain the right to revoke or cancel the contest and prizes without warning. Myself and the product sponsors are not liable if you do not like the products, if they cause an allergic reaction and the like. All information submitted via the app (phone #, email, etc.) will not be rented or sold by A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Previous winners are Jo Coiner Burzyki, Trina Davidson and Gerry Morrison.

Good luck!

*Image created by Weston Carls.

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, giveaway, Philanthropy 5 Comments

Bucket List: The Beach House at Iruveli Maldives

Finally! The warmer weather seems like it’s here to stay, summer seems to be inching closer and that means it’s about that time that I start daydreaming of places I can vacation. Being the spa girl that I am, I 99.99999% of the time look for a resort that includes a spa. It just so happened that in the midst of staring out the window to the blue skies the other day that I received an email about De’ Spa at The Beach House Iruveli Maldives. I clicked the link for the resort’s website and I was magically taken in and forgot all about life for a few brief moments.

The Beach House Iruveli Maldives has 83 villas, all of which are on the beach or on the water. The imagery on the website will take your breath away. Due to growing up in Rhode Island, and as I’ve mentioned countless times before, I have a long-term love affair with water. I cannot even begin to image my happiness quotient if I were to find myself in any one of their many luxurious, water-view villas like the one pictured here.

The De’ Spa is an open-air spa with ten massage pavilions dotted among lush tropical greenery linked by winding pathways flanked by a bubbling stream. The spa uses Aromatherapy Associates products in its Ayurveda and traditional Maldivian philosophies and offers a range of exclusive treatments harnessing the qualities of 100% natural essential oils. Two that caught my eye?

Fresh Coconut Scrub (45 min): Freshly shredded and locally grown coconut gently exfoliates the skin, smoothing away the effects of the salt water and sun. Your body will then be soaked in an intensely hydrating fresh coconut blend, leaving your sun-kissed skin soft and supple (and probably smelling good enough to eat.)

After The Sun (60 min): Relax as a unique infusion of lavender oil delivers intense healing properties, peppermint oil cools the skin and regenerative rose oil rescues a distressed skin. A hydrating mask is applied to the face while the body is lathered in nourishing shea butter and hydrating rose gel. To finish, an Ayurvedic scalp massage releases tension for an all-over relaxing, restorative treatment. (And hopefully your “before the sun” treatment was applying a broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen SPF 30+!)

Since this resort and spa meets my “beyond my wildest dreams” criteria, I’m adding this to my bucket list of resorts I’d like to vacation at sometime in the future. What about you? Have you ever been here?

You can learn more about them at

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in Spa, Travel Beauty Leave a comment

Review: Smart & Chic Beauty Lounge

What is a model to do when the opportunity to shoot with an awesome photographer pops up last minute, but finding a great makeup artist to be on set at the last minute …on a Saturday…in the middle of Minneapolis Fashion Week…and in the beginning of wedding season, proves impossible…

Well in my case, she gets her makeup done before the photo shoot and hopes that it looks great on camera, stays put and goes with the hair and wardrobe once on set…that’s a lot of hoping!  I just could not leave that much to chance.  I needed to find a place to have my makeup done A.S.A.P and a department store makeup counter was not an option…nothing against department store makeup counters but I was already “hoping” that a lot of things would work out for the best and I did not want to “hope” that I would end up with an experienced makeup artist.  As luck would have it, during Minneapolis Fashion week I had the opportunity to be a part of a fashion show that was co-produced by  Smart & Chic Beauty Lounge and the makeup look they created for the show was absolutely amazing so I knew that’s where I needed to go to have makeup done…if they could fit me in at the last minute of course…and thanks to the founder of Smart & Chic, Julie Swenson, they did.

Smart & Chic Beauty Lounge is a Bridal Studio, Beauty Boutique and Blow Dry Bar that also carries some pretty amazing beauty brands as well as hair accessories and purses…I HAD to have the lip slip by Sara Happ and my new favorite makeup bag item; my love and toast roller perfume in candied citron…frankly I am still shocked that I only left with two items because I had my eye on a lot more.  Smart and Chics’ atmosphere is very warm, inviting, comfortable and feminine, thanks to the furniture and decor that are all either heirlooms of Julies’ grandmother or were acquired from local antique shops.  I was actually pretty bummed that it took makeup artist, Asia Schulz, less than an hour to create the look because I just did not want to leave my new happy place.

The makeup that Asia expertly applied was exactly what I had in mind for the shoot, it also lasted for the duration of the shoot and would have lasted longer had I not removed it (photo shoot makeup can be a bit much when you’re having dinner at a family restaurant). While I was getting my makeup done I also caught glimpses of hair and make up that was being created all around me and I can definitely see why it is a local favorite for bridal and special occasion hair and makeup.  I will be back in MN in July for a friends’ wedding and will definitely be making an appointment at Smart & Chic to have my makeup done…I also need to grab the rest of those fabulous  beauty products that I missed on the first round.

Posted on by Gail Lewis in beauty, Fashion Week Beauty, Makeup, salon 3 Comments

Keep Brows Tame & Defined With a Tinted Brow Gel

As my experience with makeup has progressed from my blue eyeshadow and roll-on glitter phase (what? I was in 6th grade!) up through my more modern love for shimmery bronzer and eyeshadow primer, I’ve always had that one staple I can’t live without — my “desert island” makeup item. It used to be concealer, back in my teenage years of unpredictable skin, but then I unofficially switched to black eyeliner when I went through my more “artsy” days in college.

Nowadays, however, tinted brow gel is my new favorite beauty staple. Given the thin yet wiry (and extremely stubborn!) nature of my brows, I love how this product serves double duty by adding subtle tint (without the whole over-penciled “coloring book” effect), defining my brows’ shape, and keeping them orderly the whole day through. It’s amazing how much of a difference neat brows can make in the overall look of my face, and I love how tinted gel does wonders in making them look put-together in just a few simple swipes!

Clockwise from top left: Dior DiorShow Brow Fixing Gel, Stila Brow Polish, Laura Geller Brow Tint & Gel Tamer Duo, and Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel.

– Alex Gambardella

*Guest beauty post for A Girl’s Gotta Spa! from my friends at

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, brows Leave a comment

What is your Power Color? Revlon + A Girl’s Gotta Spa!

This past February I attended Lucky Magazine‘s FABB conference where Revlon was there in full force with makeup artists on hand to touch up our makeup before a photo shoot and on camera interview to discuss our power color. (Did I mention I met Joan Rivers?) If you saw my recent Travel Beauty post, it had a few of the Revlon items I picked up and fell in love with while at the conference.

I’m only in the video for 5 seconds, but I essentially said my power color is black. To me black is bold, sexy, powerful, strong, slimming and alluring. The product I grab in this power color is mascara. Always. Mascara makes your eyes stand out and draws attention to them. Your eyes speak volumes–joy, sadness, flirtiness…

What’s your power color and which product do you reach for in it?

Here’s Joan Rivers and I!

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in Makeup, mascara 2 Comments