Aqua Spa Body Cleanser Review

I strongly believe that one should make time spent in the shower as relaxing and enjoyable as possible...even if it's one of those two minutes showers that seem to be occurring with more frequency as we are all continuously pressed for time. One of the best ways to turn shower time Read more

Pretty Woman Kingfisher Feather Polish Review

I love the look of textured nail polish. However, many textured polishes tend to scrape off easily making the effort of applying them practically useless. The Feather polishes from Pretty Woman are another story entirely. You can achieve a textured look that is still smooth to the touch minimizing Read more

Swisspers Twitter Party September 18th 8:30pm EST

Disclosure: Swisspers provided me with compensation for participating in this Twitter Party.  This Thursday, September 18th from 8:30-10:30pm I'll be participating in a #SleepNaked Twitter chat with Swisspers. If you are not familiar with the cotton products from Swisspers and all the benefits of sleeping naked (for your skin!), go Read more

Best Charities for Breast Cancer Research

As a beauty blogger, I'm inundated in the months leading up to and during Breast Cancer Awareness Month with pitches for all sorts of beauty products. Each brand aligns itself with the goal of raising funds by donating a certain percentage to the cause. I'm often discouraged when I Read more

A Girl's Gotta Spa! Partners with EveryCasa

It's an exciting time at A Girl's Gotta Spa! as we continue to expand our reach with new retail partners! We've just added EveryCasa.com to our list of retail partners - a company that covers all of your household needs for any person and any room, from the kitchen to Read more

a girl’s gotta spa

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?

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

*Disclosure


Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Nail Polish 62 Comments

A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Celebrates 6 Years of Blogging (and a Giveaway)

Monday, October 24th, was a pretty busy day. Then about 9pm it hit me…something amazing happened on this date 6 years ago. I opened a Blogger account and launched A Girl’s Gotta Spa! (<–This link takes you to the old site.) I sat back in my chair and welled up with tears. Do most people cry when celebrating longevity in their career? Maybe not, but when it is one that has changed your life and the path you were on, I think it’s reasonable to say it’s OK to cry. Happy tears of course. :)

Six years ago (if you are mathematically disabled like me–that is back in 2005) I just wanted to connect with other like-minded women from my home in rural PA (otherwise known as the Poconos.) I was still new to the area I was living in and didn’t know many people. A Girl’s Gotta Spa! gave me the ability to talk about my passion (beauty) while doing something I always wanted to do (write) and then hear from complete strangers from all around the world. I’ll never forget the day 2 years after launching when an editor for the Finnish magazine Trendi emailed me to tell me my blog was popular in Finland and they wanted to feature me in a story. I was like: holy smokes, someone in Finland knows who I am? That was mind blowing.

This blog, and my readers, have seen me through good times and bad–babies being born (Duncan and Brody), a divorce, a new happy and healthy relationship with an awesome guy, downsizing in a job, creating my own career for myself, being on the verge of broke to recovering and being financially stable…it has been one heck of a ride.

So I thought it would be appropriate to hold a giveaway. I know that is rare for this blog, I never want to be known for just constantly giving away stuff because I want your eyes for learning and connecting, not freebies. But amongst my pile of beauty overload, I have a bunch of products from MAC Cosmetics Wonder Woman collection. Fitting, no? Many of my friends and colleagues have referred to me as Wonder Woman (and Superwoman) so I thought it would make for an exciting giveaway.

(Image is not representative of all of the products listed, just some of them.)

Here’s what you’ll get (retail value of $600):
Wonder Woman Invincible Mirror
Utility Belt Face Brush Set
Bulletproof Blue Makeup Bag
2 Powder Blushes– Mighty Aphrodite and Amazon Princess
3 Lipglass–Athena’s Kiss, Secret Identity and Wonder Woman
2 Eye shadow quads–Valiant and Lady Justice4 lipsticks–Marquise d’, Russian Red, Heroine and Spitfire
2 Nail Lacquers–Obey Me and Spirit of Truth
4 Opulash Mascara–Victorious, Army of Amazons, Themyscira and Bad, Bad Black
2 Pigments–Marine Ultra and Bright Fuchsia
2 Reflects–Reflects Pearl and Reflects Bronze
2 Mineralize Skin Finish–Golden Lariat and Pink Powder

What you have to do:
Follow me on Twitter
Like me on Facebook
Subscribe to my blog

The rules (I’m a mom and all moms have rules.)
Must 18 years of age or older, you can only enter 1 time (I track IP addresses so don’t cheat or you will be disqualified), products are as is (although they are brand new and unused), products cannot be exchanged for cash, no product substitutes and I have the right to cancel this giveaway at any time with or without cause. And yes, this giveaway is open to everyone–even if you don’t live in the US.

Contest begins today, October 25, 2011 and ends November 2nd at 12:01am EST. I’ll announce the winner on November 3rd.

Good luck my pretties and thank you for 6 great years!

xo Shannon

Contest is over. Winner is Jennifer B. and she was notified–congrats Jen!

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, giveaway, Makeup, Pocono Spas & Salons 18 Comments

7 of the Top Bloggers: Where Are They Now?

As you know, this month marks 6 years that I have been writing A Girl’s Gotta Spa! To have not only survived the blogosphere, but weather many personal and professional ups and downs all these years seems like a major feat in and of itself. One thing I feel very blessed about, is that I am still in contact with many of the beauty bloggers from back in the day. I consider them good friends and often turn to them for advice or for an objective opinion. I am so proud of all that they have accomplished over the years and wanted to be able to spotlight just how far we’ve all come.

From earliest year launched, here they are:

Kathryn Finney: The Budget Fashionista
Began: 2003
Life changes: People recognizing me at Disney World (which is awesome, except when you just came off Splash Mountain) and being listed as a famous Minnesotan (along with Prince).
Career Advancement: One of AOL’s Top Women in Money. Listed by everyone from WWD to Wall Street Journal to Instyle to People as top blog for women. First fashion blogger (and one of the first women bloggers) to receive a major book deal, over 1000 press mentions and profiles from New York Times to Essence to USA Today, lots of TV segments (Today Show, GMA, etc), keynote speaker (Blogher, SXSW, etc), head of my own TV production company, TV development deal (as star and Executive Producer), adviser to cool start ups, and only independently owned top ten fashion blog.
One thing Learned Along the Way: To Thine Self Be True.
One Goal I Still Want to Meet: To find the perfect pair of red pumps.

Carla Maganinho: Product Girl
Began: 2005
Life Changes: The biggest change in my life is the traveling. In the last few years I’ve made an effort to visit New York and LA a couple times a year to attend things like NYFW and shows like The Makeup Show. It’s really important to me because it gives me a chance to see my other beauty blogging friends as well as keep in touch with important people that allow me to keep doing what I do. Otherwise, beauty products now take over my life more than ever. Almost every surface of my apartment has some sort of product on it that I need to devote some attention to. Things definitely did not start out that way but it’s fun to play with everything.
Career Advancement: I’ve always had a day job in a completely separate industry for years now. For most of the last 6 years, I’ve worked at a small door company in their A/R department handling their billing and collections. This week I’m making the leap to a completely new industry and my day job will finally align with my passion. On Thursday, I will be starting as a beauty social media specialist for Nordstrom tweeting as @nordstrombeauty and engaging with customers on Facebook as well. I would never be able to much such a career change if it wasn’t because of my blog and I’m so grateful that fate led me in this direction.
One Thing I Learned Along the Way: This isn’t really something I learned, but more of something I gained along the way. I am a bit of a shy person when I’m in unfamiliar territory and through the blog, I’ve had to speak up and be more vocal than I normally would be. This gets me out of my comfort zone a bit and has given me more self-confidence than I’ve had before. It’s a good feeling to look back and think of how I’ve put myself out there in ways that I wouldn’t ordinarily have done before I started Product Girl.
One Goal I Still Want to Meet: One day I’d love to see a product I helped create on store shelves. That goal was almost within reach earlier this year with the MAC Blogger’s collection but sadly it wasn’t meant to be. Although, the ladies who did work with MAC on the Bloggers Obsession collection had some amazing shades. I’ve dreamt of having my own perfume since I was a little girl but now I’d also love to collaborate on makeup; either with eyeshadow or lipstick. I’m hoping one day I’ll get a chance to make that dream come true!
Shannon Nelson: A Girl’s Gotta Spa!
Began: 2005
Life Changes: Being ingrained deep in the social media world helped me create a job for myself when I needed it the most and now I have an incredible social media career. As a single mom of 4  boys, I’m proud to be an example to my kids that you can do anything you want to in this life if you put your mind to it. Being a positive role model to my boys is really the most important thing and highest honor I can ever achieve.
Career Advancement: Guest speaker at the HBA Expo 2009 and 2010; guest speaker at Cosmoprof North America 2009 and 2011. Freelance articles written for American Spa and Times-Tribune.  Hired by a NYC PR firm and feel incredibly blessed that they have taught me so much and continue to allow me to work towards my dreams and support me along the way (Thank you Pierce!) Became an independent social media consultant working with both well established beauty and fashion brands, as well as start ups. Named both a Top 50 and Top 20 Beauty Blog, nationally and globally (Hello Australian VOGUE)…most recently by SHAPE Magazine. Social Media expert for PA Live (being on TV is awesome.) Being recognized at events and seeing people get excited to talk to me really makes my lifetime.
One Thing I’ve Learned Along the Way: Fail forward. The most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who made mistakes on their journey to the top.
One Goal I Still Want to Meet: To create my own bath & body line or partner with a brand to do so. I’d also really like to meet Kathy Ireland. She inspires me.

Lianne Farbes: The Makeup Girl
Began: 2006
Life changes: Being recognized in places (I was mobbed at The Makeup Show! LOL) and traveling more (being away from home is hard but she works hard for the money honey!)
Career Advancement: I always feel like I have 14 jobs and in a way…I kinda do. My career as a blogger has taken on many different forms and I love them all. Being listed in InStyle was a huge moment for me….it was like YES validation!! I have also created a thriving Social Media/Online Marketing practice for myself in the process. By doing so, I kind of created a job for myself when there were none available – that feels really great to have accomplished that. This past year I was honored to have been chosen to create an eyeshadow shade for MAC cosmetics in a capsule collection entitled “Bloggers Obsessions” I honestly didn’t realize what a huge moment it was for me and that the experience was something that I actually wanted for myself and my brand. It was a priceless experience that I will always remember. Then there is Cocktails and Couture, my social media networking event. I love that people look forward to the event each season for fashion week and I LOVE bringing new and interesting brands to the table as sponsors. All in all…I have to say I love my job! (or jobs….LOL)
One thing I Learned Along the Way: Be Yourself, love yourself and everything else will fall into place.
One Goal I Still Want to Meet: I already made the perfect smokey eyeshadow so now I want to make the perfect nude lipgloss.

Patrice Yursik: Afrobella
Began: August 2006
Life changes: Being a blogger changed my life in every way! Putting in solid work blogging enabled me to quit my job to work for myself full time, it’s allowed me to move to a more advanced city where more opportunities are available. Because of blogging, I’ve been able to write for just about every magazine or website I’ve ever wanted to write for — my blog makes a great virtual resume! And now I need to make sure I look super cute before I leave my apartment because I get recognized pretty often. And it’s always done with love and admiration, which just makes me realize I was meant to do what I’m doing!
Career Advancement: I have a career, first of all! I’ve won more than ten online awards for my blog, including Best of Beauty from Glam Media and I’m now officially in the Black Weblog Awards hall of fame because I won so many times. Because of my blog I am hired for speaking engagements and appearances, I’ve freelanced for a wide variety of publications, and dreams I never even had before, have come true. I was part of MAC’s Blogger’s Obsession collection and my lipglass All Of My Purple Life sold out twice, I did an online ad for Lancome, and I’ve appeared in a variety of magazines in both featured articles and advertisements. My blog has put me on a path to greatness, but it isn’t a predestined path. It’s amazing how much my life has changed and how much my career has advanced. Almost every day I am told that I’m a role model or an inspiration to someone, and that means the world to me.
One Thing I Learned Along the Way: It is always a good look to be gracious and sweet and welcoming and kind. The person who you dismiss today could wind up being your best possible contact tomorrow! Also, beauty shines from within, so if you live your life in a beautiful and loving way, only beauty and love will come back to you.
One Goal I Still Want to Meet: I dream of collaborating with a brand I love on a full makeup collection, and of finally finishing and publishing my book!

Julia Coney: All About the Pretty
Began: 2006
Life changes: Having my name called in the DC subway. Crazy.
Career Advancement: Being blessed to have press from the Washington Post, Washingtonian magazine, Glamour Magazine, Ebony Magazine, Essence Magazine, a Top Ten Beauty Blog from WWD, and Australian Vogue. Travel writing for my blog, BlackAtlas.com, and a others.
One thing Learned Along the Way: Know who you are and write from the heart.
One Goal Still Want to Meet: Just one! Attend Paris Fashion Week and visit Antarctica and Australia. Only 2 continents I haven’t visited.

Christine Mielke: Temptalia
Began: 2006
Life Changes:  I didn’t know what I wanted to do before, but now I’ve found my dream!
Career Advancement: Graduated JD/MBA from Santa Clara University.  Speaker at beauty conferences like Cosmoprof and The Beauty Social.  One of the top ten beauty blogs.  Named Most Influential Beauty Blog by Konector. Part of MAC Cosmetics Blogger’s Obsession collection.
One Thing I Learned Along the Way:  Readers are #1, which means honesty, credibility, and integrity are core to success.
One Goal I Still Want to Meet:  To be better tomorrow than I was yesterday.

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Makeup 6 Comments

Highlighter Yellow Nail Polish: Funky & Fun Or Just an Eyesore?

As someone who actually watches the show, I’ll be the first to admit that Bad Girls Club probably isn’t the best place to look for beauty inspiration, but I have to give those crazy gals their props when due! After all, it’s where I first saw someone rock a highlighter yellow manicure… and actually look pretty cool doing it. Since then, as a rather adventurous girl when it comes to nail trends, I was convinced that I had to try it on myself, and I was pretty pleased!

It’s eye-catching, fun and festive for late summer, plus the ultra-neon hue pops against my pathetic excuse for a tan! In fact, it wasn’t until my roommates shrieked in surprise (or disgust) and shielded their eyes from my radioactive-looking manicure that I began to think: okay, maybe the rest of the world isn’t ready for this color. But if the world can accept seafoam green, oil-slick black and even leopard nail prints, what’s wrong with really bright? What do you think – would you rock a highlighter-inspired neon hue, or does the shade just give you a headache?

From left to right: Pop Beauty Nail Glam in Yellow, Essie Neon Nail Polish in Funky Limelight, and American Apparel Neon Nail Polish in Neon Yellow.

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

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty Leave a comment

What I Wore: From Beauty to Fashion on PA Live

Today I was on PA Live on WBRE talking about the music app, Spotify, which is now a I can’t live without it music site for me.  By day I am a social media consultant, which is why I was on the show. More importantly, so much prep went into what I was going to wear, from beauty to fashion, for my television debut. Each time I go on TV, I’ll be posting all the details here.

Pictured with me here is Ralphie Aversa, who I totally messed up tweeting by spelling his last name wrong. Sorry Ralphie. He’s a pretty cool guy and can be heard on 97.5BHT here in NEPA, Q105FM in Connecticut and also in my home state of Rhode Island on 92PRO FM. Ralphie–if you ever need anyone to talk beauty trends, I’m your girl.

 

Now here’s the lowdown on what I wore today:

Fashion:

Dress: Petal Sleeve Tweed 2-in-1 Dress from The Limited
Boots: Franco Sarto Upton Boots from Macy’s
Tights: No Nonsense Great Shapes, Shaping Tights in Espresso
Earrings and Necklace: Sea of Change collection from DeAnna Cochran
Ring: Peridot Green Crystal Ring Swarovski in Sterling Silver from Leela Bijoux (this was the one on my right hand, on my left was a ring my boyfriend’s mom gave me. I don’t know the brand.)
Watch: Jewelry Design with Pearls from Skagen Denmark (make sure to Like their fan page!)

 Beauty:

Hair care: phytokeratine reparative shampoo, conditioner and serum; Redken rootful 06 Root Lifting Spray; Zerran Radiant Finish Diamond Mist
Nails: Waking Up in Vegas from Deborah Lippmann
Skin Care: AHAVA Mud Exfoliator followed by InviCible (has Vitamin C in it)
Foundation: GlamNatural Hydrating Foundation also contains Shea Butter so it is also my moisturizer (only available for pre-order, but the first 500 customers get 50% off for LIFE!)
Powder: Napoleon Pardis Mattifying Mineral Primer and Christopher Drummond Beauty Finale Finishing Powder in Branca
Blush: You Make Me Blush Cream Blush from GlamNatural (not yet available to the public)
Lip Color: Ashley! Ashley! Cream Blush from GlamNatural–yes the blush is great as a lip cream! (not yet available to the public)
Eyeshadow: Sweet Innocence CustomEyes from Revlon (did you see me in this Revlon video?)
Eye liner: Black Pearl GlideLiner by Xtreme Lashes and on my lower lid Three Custom Color Cosmetics Light Clarifier Pencil
Brows: Anastasia Brow Pen from Sephora
Mascara: Volum’ Express the Falsies Blackest Black from Maybelline
Bath & Body: DollyMoo Coconut Citrus Body Scrub and Body Oil

My photo editing software would not remove my red eyes! Hopefully you discover something new from this list of beauty and fashion brands. Crossing my fingers that PA Live will have me back again. I had such a blast! Here is the link to the video of my segment: Shannon Nelson on PA Live I’d love to hear what you thought of it!

Ps. Don’t forget to vote in the SHAPE Magazine Best Beauty Blogger contest!

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Pocono Spas & Salons 5 Comments

Shannon Nelson to Appear on PA Live Thursday October 13

That title feels weird talking in 3rd person like that, but I am excited to say that on Thursday, October 13 I will be appearing on PA Live. I know I’ve been talking a lot lately about PA Live, but that’s because back in August Michelle from NEPA Blogs alerted me that WBRE was launching a new show and was looking for local talent to appear on TV. So I contacted one of the hosts, Dave Kuharchik, and he had me do a phone interview, which turned into me going down to the station and doing a screen test. After my 3-minute test run, I was told I did great and could come back.

YES!

I won’t be talking about beauty though. I know, that makes me sad because I really want to be able to talk about beauty trends…BUT I will be talking about my second love, social media. So for that, I am very grateful! Those who know me know that it has been a goal of mine to be on TV, so I am excited that WBRE is giving me the chance to do that. Plus now my kids think I am a celebrity, but I had to remind them that it won’t get them out of doing homework no matter what. :)

My first topic will be something that is a passion of mine: music. I’ll be featuring Spotify, so if you want to learn about it or just want to support my first time on TV, please tune into PA Live between 4pm-5pmEST or you can watch the live stream from PAhomepage.com.

xx ~Shannon

Ps. This is me and Dave at the WBRE studio back in August.

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Pocono Spas & Salons 1 Comment

Beauty Q & A with Amanda from 98.5KRZ

98.5KRZ is one of the local radio stations I listen to here in Northeast PA (especially when I need some Adam Levine in my life.) She is the second (and prettier) half of The Jeff Walker Show (sorry Jeff, she is pretty!) and I thought Amanda would be a great candidate for a beauty Q & A, which she happily obliged. (Thanks Amanda!)

Shannon:  At what age did you first start wearing makeup?

Amanda: Oh wow. I’m not proud of this, but when I was 12, I started wearing WHITE EYELINER! (Top lid only!) Soon after, I started swiping pink eyeshadow over it to create pink eyeliner. At the time, I thought I was quite the trendsetter!

Shannon:  Do you remember what the very first beauty product that you coveted was?

Amanda: MASCARA! I’m still obsessed. Every time a new kind comes out, I try it immediately and give a review on my blog at 985krz.com. Why should we ALL waste $10 on new mascara if it’s not going to work better than that trusty hot pink and green tube of $5 Maybelline mascara?!

Shannon: If you were to walk into the perfume section of a department store at the Viewmont Mall and immediately thought of high school, which fragrance would bring that to mind?

Amanda: Tommy Girl! The scent makes me sick now, but in high school it was my signature scent. I also loved Gap’s So Pink. (I graduated HS in 2003.)

Shannon:  If you looked in your handbag right now, how many beauty products would there be?

Amanda: I only apply makeup in the morning, so my bag is full of only lip products and moisturizers. Lip stain and gloss. 2 stains and probably 6 glosses.

Shannon: What are your 3 must-have beauty products that you absolutely can’t live without?

Amanda: Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm (Pink Blossom is my fave!)  Clinique twist-up eyeliner and of course mascara. I’m not brand loyal mascara-wise because I love trying all of the new ones.

You can also see Amanda on PA Live every Wednesday with Jeff. They usually answer dating questions on the show from their listening audience and wear clothes sponsored by Old Navy!

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Makeup, Pocono Spas & Salons Leave a comment

Gold: Is it Worthy of a New Standard in Skincare

Gold is the new black given just about every other investment is enfeebled by the economy. It might be a better bet than government bonds, but other than a gold tooth – an acquired taste – should gold be considered an essential part of your beauty arsenal. Every now and then cosmetic formulators venture into alchemy and go for gold (E’shee, Nutra-Lift and just the other day it was mentioned in our interview with Cherie Dobbs, founder of Dermastart). But I can’t help but wonder: what is its true value in skincare?

Dermastart has a serum called AU 24K Gold and I am just starting to test it. Cherie Dobbs says that “gold works with our own body makeup and helps with blood flow and oxygen.”  I haven’t been able to find any specific evidence for that but claims for the medicinal benefits of gold date back many of thousands of years and ancient Indian, Egyptian and Chinese medicine used gold-based medicinal preparations for such ailments as smallpox, skin ulcers and measles.

The use of gold compounds in medicine is called chrysotherapy. One of its modern applications is the soothing arthritic symptoms. Gold salts (the ionic chemical compounds of gold) are injected to reduce inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. Gold nano-bullets are being used, according to Science magazine, as a cure for cancer. And isotope gold-198 is used in some cancer treatments and other diseases.

As far as skincare is concerned, gold is said to minimize collagen depletion and boost elasticity. There’s even a gold thread face lift in which a 24K gold mesh framework is inserted permanently under the surface of the skin where it is supposed to stimulate collagen production which then plumps and firms up the skin and reduces wrinkles.

I can’t find independent research on gold and improving the skin, but there might be a clue to gold’s plausibility as an anti-ager in its used against arthritis. This is an inflammatory disease and chronic inflammation is believed to one of the causes of aging. So, theoretically, gold could help the skin by being an anti-inflammatory.

Except that the mechanism by which gold drugs operate to treat arthritis is a matter of scientific debate. Harvard Medical School thinks it’s not an anti-inflammatory and that gold works by making the proteins associated with autoimmune diseases inactive. Other theories are that gold helps in the transportation of drugs to their sites of action.

Also there’s much debate around the kill or cure theme. Once absorbed into the cell, gold is proposed to be linked to anti-mitochrondrial activity and induced cell apoptosis, so it might be affecting healthy cells as well as unhealthy ones. On the other hand, research indicates there’s an anti-inflammatory action from ionic gold nanoparticales with little or no toxicity. Although research on rats had less positive results. ). After a lot of burrowing around on academic websites, I did turn up some evidence that gold salts boost collagen lll.

All this contradictory research is a bit frustrating. As is finding out that the most common reaction to oral gold medication for rheumatoid arthritis is, ironically, a skin rash (source).

For more honest reviews and information about beauty and personal care products, visit Truthinaging.com

Posted on by Marta Wohrle in anti-aging, beauty, Beauty Trends, skin care, Spa Leave a comment

Suffering From a Bad Hair Day SOS? Zotos Hair Rescue Kits Have You Covered

Whether your hair is fine, frizzy, finicky or typically low-maintenance, everyone has their share of bad hair days. And if your particular hair emergency is a bit more deep-rooted than your average cowlick or other beauty woe that can easily be disguised with a hat, headband, or haphazard updo, haircare brand Zotos has a remedy that will help treat hair for the longer haul – not just a last-minute desperate fix!

With a three-step single-use Hair Rescue Kit, Zotos delivers fast help for hair disasters, targeting everything from hair breakage, crazy frizz, dry scalp, split ends, and more! Sure, hair hang-ups like these may benefit from further treatment to ensure long-term lushness for your locks, but if you’ve got a special occasion on the horizon and no time to spare to get hair back into gorgeous shape, these kits will save your coif from a temporary crisis and set the tone for better hair health to come! And the best part? Each kit retails for only $10, so as long as you don’t make these quick fixes a regular habit, they definitely beat an emergency trip to the salon!

- Alex Gambardella

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

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Hair Care 1 Comment

PA Live and NEPA Blogs to Feature A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Tuesday October 11

It’s an exciting week around here at A Girl’s Gotta Spa! This Tuesday between 4pm-5pm EST, NEPA BlogsHarold Jenkins will be featuring A Girl’s Gotta Spa! on PA Live (check your local provider for channel.)

NEPA Blogs is a clearinghouse of blogs that are either about Northeast PA or are written by people who live in Northeast PA (that’s me!) PA Live is Northeast PA’s newest live lifestyle show and can be seen on WBRE (an NBC affiliate.) I’m so excited for my local area to get to know me and my passion for beauty (and people!) And it couldn’t come at a better time with the SHAPE Magazine Best Beauty Blogger Awards going on right now! (I really need your vote!)

Even if you are not local here in NEPA (i.e. Scranton-yes home of The Office, Wilkes Barre-recently on the news for the flooding from Irene/Lee and the Poconos-I live by a beautiful spot known as Lake Wallenpaupack), you can still watch the live stream of the show on PA Live’s website.

Thank you to NEPA Blogs and PA Live for the press! I’m so grateful! xx

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Pocono Spas & Salons 1 Comment