6 Tips to Avoid These Summer Skin Problems

google_ad_client = "ca-pub-4557609382815411"; google_ad_slot = "7558438019"; google_ad_width = 468; google_ad_height = 15; Oh the summer skin care woes. From sunburn to body acne to sun parched skin, we've gathered expert tips for how to avoid them from Read more

5 Sun-Kissed Summer Prep Tips For Glowing Skin

If you're looking to get your skin Summer-ready, read on for tips from spas that give some skin advice you'll want to start using ASAP. Inflammation, Environmental Irritant Damage Tip: The wound healing herb, Calendula, is traditionally known to reduce inflammation and soothe irritation.  Create an at-home face mist, combine dried Read more

Getting My Hair Summer-Ready #MyOliaStory #Ad

Disclosure: I’m sharing #MyOliaStory as part of a Garnier® sponsored series for Socialstars™ The fabulous hair color is all mine. Keeping my hair color vibrant, healthy looking... and most of all, covering the grays, is important to me. It feels like post-pregnancy that the gray hair is coming out in Read more

A Girl's Gotta Spa! Partners with Lilly's Bathcarry

Lilly's Bathcarry is an online boutique that has been providing luxurious skincare and scent therapy products to customers since 2002. Lilly's Bathcarry has a wide selection of indie, emerging and established brands all with the same singular focus - seeking out the best pampering products on the market. Throughout Lilly's Read more

Does the Sun Really Age You? #Ad

Disclosure: Thanks to RoC® skin care with SPF I'm getting my skin ready for the Summer as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars #WomenWhoRoC Does the sun really age you? A question those without a single wrinkle or dark spot ask with skepticism. I'm pretty confident I never asked this Read more

a girl’s gotta spa

Speaking at Cosmoprof North America 2011

In about 24 hours I’ll be heading out to Las Vegas for Cosmoprof North America. If you are a fellow beauty blogger, editor, PR/CMO or beauty brand, I hope you’ll stop by the panel I am speaking on regarding social marketing (my topic is social shopping) on August 2nd at 11:00am. Cosmoprof is exciting to me because as a beauty blogger, I will be standing in awe of 750 beauty brands. I’m pretty sure I will be like a kid in a candy store stopping by each booth to hear what’s new and upcoming from these brands, but also have the opportunity to meet the people behind them. As a social media consultant with a focus on the beauty industry, it’s exciting to get to meet people face to face who are looking for help with their online efforts.

There are three people I am really looking forward to meeting while at Cosmoprof– Deborah Lippmann, Zoya Reyzis and Ada Polla. It is so exciting for me to be able to meet three female entreprenuers. If you haven’t already posted on A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Facebook fan page your questions for Deborah, Zoya or Ada, please be sure to do so and I will try my best to get them answered for you.

If you’ll be at Cosmoprof, please let me know. Otherwise be ready for a recap of the beauty products I discover while I am there!

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty 4 Comments

5 Summer Skin Care Tips from Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa

As temperatures rise and millions of people prepare to spend hours in the sun, exposing their skin to harmful UV rays, it’s crucial to be mindful of how to minimize the effects of prolonged sun exposure. Not only can the sun cause painful sunburns, rashes or even skin cancer, it is also the top cause for signs of aging. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, up to 90 percent of the visible changes commonly attributed to aging are caused by the sun and about 65 percent of melanoma cases are attributed to UV radiation.

Todd Leff, CEO of Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa, a 50-plus unit massage and facial spa franchise with a mission to bring massage, facial and waxing services to the masses, has developed the top five tips for people when thinking about their skin this summer:

1. Exfoliate your skin: By exfoliating, you can remove the dead, dull skin debris that cause congestion and hinder skin hydration. Mornings are the best time to exfoliate, prior to applying toner, moisturizer, SPF or makeup. Exfoliation makes for clearer, smoother skin for both women and men.

2. Stay hydrated: Just as your body needs water for hydration, your face also needs proper moisture to withstand the harmful effects of the sun. Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of plain, filtered water every day to maintain the needed moisture balance for your skin. Products such as masques can also be used once or twice a week, and boosters and toners can serve as an additional level of hydration before applying moisturizer.

3. Apply, apply again: A dab of sunscreen won’t do if you’re going to be on the beach or out in the sun for any extended period of time. Typically a teaspoon of sunscreen is sufficient for the face and as much as a shot glass worth is needed for the body. You should reapply every two hours and avoid the mid-day sun from mid-morning to late afternoon when possible.

4. Battling the burn: We’ve all been in the situation where you forgot the sunscreen, didn’t apply enough or missed a spot. The damage has been done, but applying cooling gels and soothing botanicals can reduce redness and inflammation. This should be done at the first sight of a pink glow, as one blistering sunburn can double your risk of melanoma. It is also recommended to get a yearly skin exam by a doctor to detect early warning signs.

5. Repairing and treating damage: Although a tan is commonly thought of as a popular summer look, it actually indicates skin damage. Receiving monthly facials, such as a hydrating facial, can help begin to repair the damage done by the sun by promoting healthy cell growth and stimulating collagen destructing enzymes.

Find a Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa near you at www.handandstone.com.

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Spa 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…

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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

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 www.beachhousecollection.com.

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

2nd Review: eco-armour Shaving Foam

A few  months ago I reviewed eco-armour Shaving Foam and my review was less than stellar.  After using very creamy shaving lotions, creams, foams and gel, I was just not prepared for the consistency and feel of the eco-armour shaving foam…it was just too much of a radical departure from the “creamy crack” (to borrow the the terminology from the documentary “Good Hair.”) Yes the eco-armour foam smelled amazing, is great for the environment, extended the life of my blade and (after using it just twice) visibly reduced my razor bumps….but in my mind there was something amiss…there was no creamy coating on my leg that I might almost slip on upon entrance or exit into the shower, and creamier equals moisturizing…right? So I equated the absence of any non-creamy substances in the eco-armour foam as the foam not being moisturizing and just being drying…this was my story and I was sticking to it…

But I still had two bottles of the shaving foam and  I was not going to let it go to waste, plus I wanted to further investigate the reduction in the number of razor bumps on my legs.   I kept using the eco-armour shaving foam for the next month…and have been using it since.  This stuff is amazing!  I have not experienced razor bumps on my leg at all and this is without following the directions on the bottle (which suggests that the foam sit on the leg for a minute if you have  razor bump issues.)  I am not sure for how long the foam is supposed to extend the life of my blade, but I used the same razor for weeks (yes I know probably not a very hygienic practice…but I was on the road and drug stores were few and far between.)  I will admit it took me a little while to get used to the foam being more, well foamy than creamy, but now I absolutely love the feel and my razor does not get all clogged up with oil (neither does my shower drain), which gives me a much closer shave.

And just when I thought this foam could not get better…it did.  I just recently found out that you can also use the foam as a face and body wash.  This past weekend I was in St. Augustine, Fl visiting friends and thought this would be the perfect time to test the multiple functions of the foam.  For three days I used the foam as my face and body wash as well as my shaving foam of course and I loved it as all three.  The only drawback was that I pretty much used up my entire bottle of the eucamint foam (my absolute favorite…smells heavenly!)

Now with the arrival of shorts and swimsuit weather in Northern Florida, I am very pleased with myself for giving eco-armour a second chance.  Besides the benefit of having smooth, razor bump free legs and underarms as well as having a product that serves multiple functions (multiple functions also means less weight and space for my suitcase), I feel like I’m doing my little part for the environment by cleaning up my beauty act with the shaving foam. Which makes me ponder: can purchasing beauty products that are not harmful to the environment be a tax write-off?

Find it at www.eco-armour.com.

Posted on by Gail Lewis in bath and body, skin care 1 Comment

Las Ventanas’ al Paraíso New Spa Pods

If there is anything that continually nudges me to get my passport, it’s hearing about resorts abroad that offer magical spa treatments. Like Las Ventanas al Paraíso, in Los Cabos Mexico, newest Spa Pods. (Anytime I hear the word “pod” it makes me think about the New York City hotel called The Pod that I’ve stayed in.)

These Spa Pods combine steam, water therapy delivered by 22 jets and radiant infrared heat in an encapsulated environment that is uniquely nurturing and rejuvenating, offering benefits like significantly increasing Basal Metabolic Rate, natural cleansing of the body of unwanted toxins and impurities, relief of muscle and joint aches, pains and fatigue, and weight loss by eliminating excess fluid and alleviating bloating and/or water retention.

With only the head outside the pod, while enjoying more freedom of movement and comfort than a traditional body wrap, spa podder’s may take advantage of a full range of techniques from vibratory massage to foot-spray massage and vitamin therapy – while a full-spectrum fiber optic LED light Colorbathâ„¢ delivers a rainbow shower of color, enhancing balance and relaxation.

Other benefits of the spa pods? Increased lymphatic metabolic circulation; stress reduction; re-mineralizing, moisturizing and hydrating; detoxification; and anti-aging treatments. The system can increase Basal Metabolic Rate equal to the energy expenditure of a 6-to-9-mile run that burns 900-to-2,400 calories. Um, yes please. I would love to simply relax yet have my body think I just ran 9 miles….without the actual running.

The treatments that now incorporate the Spa Pods are: Desert Sports for Men, Desert Healer, Sea Enzyme Body Wrap with Green Tea & Ginger, Nopal Detox Desert Wrap, Phyto-Marine Mask & Slimming Wrap, and Desert Flower for Women. And some of the new Spa Pod Packages include: Walking on the Clouds, combining Spa Pod, Raindrop Therapy and a Pedicure; Dreaming in Nirvana, with Spa Pod, Grounding Equilibrium Shirodara Therapy and Ultimate Hot Stone Mini Facial; Cleopatra Ceremony, blending Spa Pod, Dry Brushing, Honey and Yogurt Wrap, Milk Bath and a Nourishing Body Massage; Full Day of Wellness, with Spa Pod, Ultra-Rich Citrus Exfoliant, Body Massage, Mini Facial, Pedicure & Manicure; Half-Day Retreat, combining Spa Pod, Masaje de la Casa and a Manicure; and Just for You, with Spa Pod, Ultra-Rich Pineapple & Grape Exfoliant and Hot Stone Massage.

Have you booked your trip yet???

You can learn more at www.lasventanas.com. (Now on my bucket list of resorts to visit.)

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

Hairstylist, Rodnei Ferby and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model, Damaris Lewis

In the middle of all the Fashion Week madness last week, A Girl’s Gotta Spa! took some (much needed) time out to tag along with amazing hairstylist (and Odile Gilbert protege) Rodnei Ferby as he styled the hair of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model, Damaris Lewis, for the 2011 issue release party.  Rodnei was requested by Damaris herself and has worked with her  in the past at various shows including Baby Phat (they were both  broadcast all over Times Square on the jumbo-tron for the live feed of the Baby Phat Spring/Summer 2010 show.)

Rodnei arrived (fresh from assisting Odile Gilbert at the Rodarte Show) with the look he wanted to create for Damaris in mind. He wanted a style that was flirty yet sophisticated and since  she is so young he also wanted the hairstyle to be cute and discreet…but she IS a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model, so the style had to be flirty and sophisticated as well.  He wanted to show her neck (but not too much of it) as well as frame the magnificent earrings she was wearing that night.

And being as kind as he is talented, Rodnei gave us a step by step on how to achieve the look using products by TRESemmé. Read more

Posted on by Gail Lewis in beauty interview, Celebrity Beauty, Fashion Week Beauty, Hair Care 2 Comments

Alice + Olivia Punk Makeup & Hair for AW11

The make up look at Alice & Olivia was all about the punky eye.  According to lead makeup artist , Polly Osmond for M.A.C, there was no specific reference for the look, it was just the “street version of the punky eye.” To achieve the look; Fluidline in Blacktrack was used on the lids to create a thicker/rounder line around the eyes, the brows were penciled in, Haute & Naughty Lash Mascara on the top lashes, a bit of highlighter on the cheeks and Runway Lipstick on the lips.  A lot of edginess on the eyes and a very glamorous lip.  Read more

Posted on by Gail Lewis in Fashion Week Beauty, Hair Care, Makeup Leave a comment

Strong Eyes and Pale Lips at ADAM AW11

Lead makeup artist at ADAM, Romy for MAC Cosmetics took the attention to the eyes.  Black creme liner (a full, thick line) was applied to the lids in a winged shape along with two coats of Haute & Naughty Lash Mascara to the upper lashes only.  Face And Body Foundation as well as concealer was applied to the face as needed, on the cheeks Posey and Laid Back Blush Cream were mixed and applied to the apples and the lips were left very subdued with just lip conditioner applied using the fingertips.  Read more

Posted on by Gail Lewis in Fashion Week Beauty, Makeup Leave a comment