Silk Therapeutics Nurture ++ Moisturizer Review

Did you know that your skin needs different skin care products not only based on your skin type, but also based on the region you live in? It's true. For example, your needs will be different in the dry-heat of Nevada than say someone who lives a place with high Read more

Smoothie Recipes from the Best Spas

If you are looking for delicious smoothie recipes from some of the best spas, we've compiled a list for you! So get ready to indulge your tastebuds without expanding your waistline with these vitamin and mineral rich smoothies! Potassium Punch: Set on a 1,100-acre rainforest, Los Suenos Marriott Ocean & Golf Read more

Pedicure How-To: Get Your Feet Sandal-Ready! #Sponsored

This post was sponsored by Amopé™ as part of an influencer activation for the #AmopeCrowd and Socialstars™. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review, but all opinions (and sandal-ready feet) are my own. Florals and citrus, a shorter hairstyle, light breezy dresses, sandals...warmer weather opens the doors to both Read more

Spa-Like Hair with Pai-Shau

This is likely the only time where you hear me rave about tea. I'm your coffee-obsessed kind of girl, but this hair care line by Pai-Shau based on a proprietary blend of concentrated steeped teas, is making my life right now. Pai-Shau is a vegan and cruelty free hair care line Read more

Garnier Olia® Hair Color Review #Spon

I’m sharing #MyOliaStory as part of a Garnier® sponsored series for Socialstars™. All opinions and hair color are my own (well... the hair color is Garnier®.) Looking to lighten, brighten or darken your natural hair color without the eye-burning smell of the chemicals involved? That's a common theme among at-home hair Read more

a girl’s gotta spa

DIY Exfoliating Face Mask


 

DIY Exfoliating Face Mask
My favorite beauty treatments are those that I can create myself with ingredients from my own kitchen.  Creating my own beauty treatments makes me feel good about what I am putting on my skin because I know exactly where the ingredients came from and I know that they won’t harm my skin.

This morning my sister greeted me at her door with bright, glowing, soft skin sans makeup.  And since my sister is a walking  beauty encyclopedia, I had to know what got her skin looking so amazing.  Turns out it was her own concoction of coffee grounds, honey and lemon. The coffee grounds exfoliates the skin, functions as an anti-inflammatory and contains antioxidants.  The honey is a really great  moisturizer and leaves skin feeling soft and supple.  The lemon brightens skin and minimizes the look of pores while getting rid of oil.  Read more

Posted on by Gail Lewis in beauty, DIY Beauty, skin care 4 Comments

True Blue Spa Pumpkin Renewing Face Mask

One of my many winter skin woes is dry, dull skin. Add a lot of travelling during the winter months to that equation and my skin takes a beating.  I honestly feel like I need a weekly peel to help my skin look refreshed, bright and smooth, but going into a spa every week for a peel is just not in my budget at the moment so I have to opt instead for at home skin renewing treatments. This, can of course, also get expensive depending on how you well you expect them to work.

Thanks to my amazing sister, I have in my possession a  renewing face mask that is only $12 and works great on my skin.  I am visiting my family in Minnesota at the moment and noticed the Pumpkin Renewing Face Mask by True Blue Spa in her beauty stash.  I, of course, had to try it. Especially since she seems to be crazy in love with it.  Read more

Posted on by Gail Lewis in anti-aging, beauty, skin care Leave a comment

Bodycology Sweet Love Nourishing Body Cream Review

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, a flowery scented body cream from bodycology.  From their new Sweet Love Fragrance collection, the Nourishing Body Cream contains notes of sweet mandarin, sparkling red pear and vanilla orchid. Fruity top notes dry down and give way to a floral heart of sweet rose and amber.  If you like very feminine fragrances, then this body cream will definitely appeal to you.

I generally prefer clean, light fragrances but did not mind the Sweet Love Fragrance.  I would however, only use one product at a time from this collection and would definitely not layer them as they might be too overpowering when used together.    When I first applied the Sweet Love Nourishing Body Cream, the fragrance was pretty strong, but throughout the day it became much softer and lighter.  I would certainly use this body cream when I want to embrace my girly, romantic side.  Read more

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

Boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser Review

I’ve found liquid gold…black gold to be exact. I was given a 1 oz sample of boscia’s newest face cleanser, Detoxifying Black Cleanser and I must say I’m glad I chose this cleanser over a lip gloss.

For those who haven’t heard or know anything about boscia, they are a preservative-free, botanically-based skincare line. “(boscia contains none of the 150 industry-recognized preservatives – not just parabens – that can irritate skin and cause blemishes, redness, eczema and more).” With the combination of cutting edge Japanese technology and active botanical ingredients, boscia’s philosophy is to achieve superior results without compromising skin health.   Read more

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

Acne Treatment Review: Rx for Brown Skin Hydrating Acne Lotion and Acne Spot Treatment

My skin, for the most part, is pretty problem free but every once in a while…or more like once every month without fail…I tend to develop a serious case of acne that always seems to appear right before a big event or a photoshoot.  As soon as I notice that tiny red bump or feel that all too familiar tender spot on my skin, I start to attack it with lotions and potions intended to treat and prevent those bumps from transforming into pimples.  This plan of attack has resulted in one of two scenarios thus far; either it does not work and I just deal with a ginormous pimple for a few days…or a full week, or it works but also turns my skin into a dry flaky mess.

During this month’s battle of the breakouts, I used Rx For Brown Skins’ Clear Luminosity Acne Lotion and Precise Clarity Acne Spot Treatment as my weapons of choice and am ecstatic to say that I emerged victorious from this battle…finally.  The Clear Luminosity Acne Lotion did not leave my skin feeling dry and flaky like every other acne treatment lotion I’ve used in the past.  It was actually very hydrating and left my skin feeling softer and smoother, it also seemed to soothe my skin instead of irritating it.  The Precise Clarity Acne Spot Treatment helped to clear up my pimples, and while it was noticeably more drying than the lotion it still did not leave my skin a flaky, irritated mess.  With both of these products, the suggested application frequency is one to three times daily but I only needed to use it once a day and I generally used it at night, which worked out really well for me.   Read more

Posted on by Gail Lewis in acne, beauty, skin care Leave a comment

Spa Review: Sphatika

As a beauty lover, I’ve been to a good amount of spas. There are the boujis, “better than you” spas, the super-busy “get your facial and get out” spas, and your standard but efficient salon/spa combination. Once in awhile, however, a girl is lucky enough to come across a spa or treatment that is a true standout, one that makes her feel special, relaxed, at peace. For me, that spa was Sphatika in NYC.

A tranquil oasis conveniently tucked behind a Starbucks in Columbus Circle, Sphatika is a truly a hidden gem.

Sphatika takes a holistic, sensory approach to the entire spa experience. All spas are meant to make you feel beautiful, but Sphatika places a very special emphasis on treating the whole you “mind, body, and soul.” Their welcoming staff encourages you to create an intention for your visit, one that you have a chance to reflect upon during your personal sauna that kicks off your treatment session.   Read more

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

Hair Color Review: John Frieda Precision Foam Colour



We’re heading into the colder months, which typically means making the switch from highlighted hair to warmer tones. My natural hair color is dark brown, but typically I lighten or highlight it in the summer months. Being that it is only 6 weeks until Christmas, getting my hair colored at the salon was not in my wallet’s vocabulary, so I opted to color my hair at home. I made my way to CVS and decided upon John Frieda’s Precision Foam Colour. I went with 4BG  (Dark Chocolate Brown.)

My highlighted hair before, colored immediately after and results 1 week later.

I have to say, I don’t typically read the warnings on home hair coloring kits because I have been coloring my hair since I was 13 and they typically all say the same thing. However, I noticed John Frieda’s included some things I have never seen before like you need to remove all accessories you are wearing and cannot use metal tools. Since there seems to be an issue with metal, I assumed that the accessories they meant were jewelry.  So I removed my earrings. It also says you shouldn’t use this product if you have a temporary black Henna tattoo, as it is likely to increase an allergy risk. If you wear contacts, you need to remove them also…however I’m not sure how you could put on your glasses since you can’t have metal around. If you’ve colored your hair previously with compound hennas, metallic dyes or color restorers you have to wait until your hair has grown out and then cut.

And don’t try to put the foam on your eyelashes or eyebrows because it may cause blindness.

So, basically, by the time I was done reading that I was freaked out. Then I went on to read how to mix the product. It says you cannot shake the mix (you need to gently tilt it 5 times,) you cannot use the pump but instead have to squeeze the bottle to make the foam come out of the pump…which is psychologically confusing because you are holding a bottle with a pump…that you cannot pump. The bottle needs to remain upright at all times and you can only apply the foam to your hands first (in gloves of course) and not directly onto your hair.

So basically I felt I was going to mess this up big time.

Application was tricky because the instructions state that you cannot get the foam on your face or ears at all. My hair is shoulder length, so good luck with that Shannon! Trying to prevent the foam from touching my skin, while trying to keep the bottle upright and not pump it was like playing a game of Twister.  Additionally your hair needs to be “frothy” with foam in order to be “done.” Ok, guess what? Foam evaporates or absorbs into your hair. Especially if you have long-ish hair and are trying to make sure you get each section equally. Wait time from this point is 30 minutes.

I rinsed my hair, applied the conditioner, rinsed that out after 3 minutes and then blew it dry. I was pleasantly surprised with the color. I loved it. Tweeted about it. My 7 year old snapped my pic for me and I was happy I was still alive with great looking hair.

Fast forward 1 week and while my hair is still brown, as you can see from the picture…the color has significantly faded. Ugh. I do not wash my hair everyday, in fact I usually only wash it every other day. I also used sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner, so I know it wouldn’t have been the culprit to strip my hair color. I also hadn’t washed my hair 24 hours before applying the foam as the instructions stated and I did not have any product build-up to prevent the color from adhering.

So was it worth it to save myself the $60-$75 of coloring my hair at the salon? Not really.

Have you used John Frieda’s Precision Foam? I’d like to hear about your experience (good or bad.)


Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Hair Care 12 Comments

Winter Weather Skin Care Tips from The Spa at Ravella

Guest post from The Spa at Ravella located at Ravella at Lake Las Vegas:

Cooler weather can lead to dry, flaky skin. Here are two tips from The Spa at Ravella, one for a spa visit and one for at home, to help keep skin soft and supple until warmer weather returns!

Next time you splurge on a spa treatment, The Spa at Ravella recommends choosing a facial treatment that uses serums or enzymes. You can talk to a spa professional when booking a treatment and discuss further with your skin therapist once you arrive. Serums provide a powerful dose of nutrients and bioactive ingredients that penetrate deep into the layers of your skin much farther than moisturizers can, and work intensely to bring oil and hydration into balance, strengthen your skin, increase visible firmness and give a youthful glow. Enzymes help slough away dead skin cells and encourage cellular growth, leaving the skin feeling great and looking dewy and bright.

For similar results at home, The Spa at Ravella suggests creating a pumpkin enzyme mask – just mix left over pumpkin pulp with an egg, apply to face and let sit for 6 – 8  minutes. Tingling is normal but if feels strong, less time may be needed. Pumpkin is a strong exfoliant that brings the blood to the surface of the skin creating a detoxifying effect. The lecithin from the egg yolk will tighten the skin while the enzymes in the blend will stimulate cellular growth, allowing skin to look its best.

In addition to these tips, The Spa at Ravella is offering two seasonally-inspired treatments designed to keep skin in tip-top shape throughout the next few months:

Scrumptious Spice Wrap

Enjoy this aromatic concoction of fragrant fall spices. Cinnamon and nutmeg are mixed with organic brown sugar and vanilla to gently polish your skin. Relax with a soothing scalp massage while your body is enveloped with deeply hydrating body butter for ultimate smoothness and hydration. 50 minutes…$89

Pure Results Facial

This active organic facial uses high performance herbal enzyme peels such as pear fig, pumpkin or sweet cherry to target signs of aging with proven ingredients to deeply repair and hydrate the skin, Ideal for all sin types, including sensitive. 50 minutes…$99

Have you tried their at home treatment? Let us know in the comments!

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, skin care, Spa, Winter Beauty Leave a comment

Makeup Review: Boots 17 Falsifeye Mascara

I am a mascara addict. If there is one thing I will not leave the house without, it is a quick coat of mascara on my lashes. I’m fine with nothing else on my face. So I am always happy to be given the chance to try out any new mascara that comes onto the market and was therefore excited when I received a tube of Boots 17’s Falsifeye mascara, having heard good things about the product itself and already loving the brand anyway.

Falsifeye claims to “create wow effect eyelashes.”

I gave the mascara its first real outing for brunch with my girlfriends. Wearing nothing else on my face, just a lick of blackest black mascara. The brush is pretty big and looks like a mass of unruly bristles when covered in mascara but I wasn’t deterred and I was pleasantly surprised by the look it created: My lashes were left defined and curled* right to my little lashes at either side.


For a mascara that comes in at under a tenner I’d say I’ll be buying it again! Which is your go-to budget mascara? Or are you only a top dollar girl when it comes to your lashes?

Thank you to Shannon for letting me loose on her blog again!

You can find my beauty blog at http://the-eyeofthebeholder.tumblr.com and my fashion and lifestyle blog here http://sugar-and-spice.com.

*I should add, I do use a curler too as my lashes are flat, flat, flat!

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Makeup, mascara 2 Comments

Pros and Cons of Shellac and UV Gel Manicures


Pros and Cons of Shellac (TONS of comments on this post - good and bad!)
When I first heard about Shellac, UV and LED gel manicures, I was over the moon excited. I could finally have polish on my nails sans chipping and polish peeling for more than 3 days and all without having to apply fake nails. In August, while at Cosmoprof, I received an awesome manicure from CND in Hot Pop Pink (pictured below.) The manicure took just as long as having acrylic nails or wraps put on (an hour) and the result looked just as amazing. I remarked to the manicurist just how gorgeous her own nails looked, as they were long and it didn’t even appear to be naturally her own. She told me they were and that wearing the Shellac helped her achieve the length. I believed her, until my own experience has led me to believe otherwise.


My CND Shellac lasted me 3 weeks. I was ecstatic. I applied CND’s SolarOil to my cuticles and under the tips of my nails on a daily basis as instructed by the manicurist. My nails had grown a bit during this time and I was excited to go for round two of another CND Shellac at my local salon. This time I went for a French manicure CND Shellac. My nails were finally long enough to adorn some white tips and I was stoked. I went about applying the SolarOil again daily, but this time it only took 3 days for one of my nails to peel and the Shellac to come off. Day 4, one of my nails broke and it became clear how brittle my nails were becoming. By day 5, all of my nails were either peeling (the nail itself, not the polish) or breaking.



Looking at my very soft, peeling nails, I decided to not apply any polish at all for 2 weeks, but continued to put the SolarOil on them. But sadly, they didn’t seem to recover. In the meantime, I had been sent the complete Red Carpet Manicure LED Starter Kit and as I was about to have my first television appearance, I knew my nails had to look amazing. So I used the kit, which comes complete with a portable LED light and is a DIY home LED manicure kit. Colors were gorgeous, time was still about 1 hour to complete the manicure and I used their Revitalize cuticle oil daily. But by day 3, my nails were peeling and even more brittle. I now had stubs for nails (even shorter than pictured above.) Finally I asked fellow friends in the salon business and fellow bloggers if they experienced the same of gel manicures, and it was a resounding yes.

Pros:

Manicure can potentially last up to 3 weeks
No chipping
Manicure is instantly dry upon last UV go round
Mirror finish (nails look wet, but aren’t)
Can DIY and look just as amazing as at the salon
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous

Cons:

Very drying to your nails
Repeated application (without a breather) will result in brittle and peeling nails
Wear time gets less and less with each application
If you don’t apply the cuticle oil daily, your nails will dry out a lot quicker
Costs add up, especially if the manicure doesn’t last 2-3 weeks
CND Shellac requires it’s own Remover Wraps
According to some doctors, the UV lamps can cause skin cancer (but the jury is still out on this)

So it appears that, at least for me, a CND Shellac or UV gel manicure will only happen for special events (like holidays, TV appearances, events) and cannot be worn all of the time. Unless I want to continue having man hands with my stubby nails.

In the meantime, I will be in nail re-cooperation with Qtica’s Cuticle Repair Balm and Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator to regain my length.  I’d love to hear from you: what has your experience been with UV gel manicures?

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*Disclosure


Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Nail Polish 71 Comments