How to Hide Unwanted Facial Hair #GoConfidently

No matter your age, unwanted facial hair can become a true confidence problem. From genetics to mature skin, it can be difficult to feel beautiful when dark excess hair lingers around. Bleaching the hair is an option and if you haven't tried it before and are curious, read on. First, Read more

nyakio ABC African Beauty Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 20 Sunscreen

I'm always on the lookout for a BB or CC cream that not only matches my skin tone but also has SPF 20 and over, covers without feeling heavy or oily, helps to reduce the size of my pores and gives me a little glow. My skin could be described as medium to Read more

Lancome Visionnaire [1 Minute] Blur #PhotoPerfectSkin #ad

I upgraded my beauty routine with Lancôme Visionnaire [1 Minute] Blur as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars #PhotoPerfectSkin. All images and opinions are my own. Large pores, skin imperfections, fine lines, wrinkles - these are just some of the things that come with age (thanks 40.) Throw in Read more

Video: A Girl's Gotta Spa! Featured on Beyond the Vanity

Residents of Los Angeles may be familiar with LA Talk Live radio host, Indian Tyler, for her show Beyond the Vanity on Wednesday at 2pm PST. It's always fun and informative with a lot of beauty, wellness and fitness tips. I couldn't be happier to discover that Ms. Tyler Read more

Favorite Facial Masks - Makeup Wars

When it comes to skin care, I am very picky with what I put on my face. Since there's no hiding imperfections should a reaction to a product happen, I always do my research on ingredients and check out my fellow beauty blogger reviews. One of my favorites types Read more

a girl’s gotta spa

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

SHAPE Magazine’s Best Beauty Blogger Nominee: A Girl’s Gotta Spa!

“O.M.G…omg omg omg omg!”  I shrilled in my most 12 year old voice ever when I accidently came upon an incoming link from SHAPE Magazine naming A Girl’s Gotta Spa! a Top 20 Best Beauty Blog. I practically hyperventilated, then I called my boyfriend and then I told my friends also mentioned on the list. An email into SHAPE confirmed that I indeed was put on their list after being named by some of their readers as their favorite beauty blog.

WOW and holy freakin cow.

And I am SUPER excited!

Because you know what? A Girl’s Gotta Spa! turns 6 on October 24th! What better way to celebrate than to be given this accolade! But it doesn’t stop there, SHAPE is asking that of the 20 of us mentioned, YOU vote for ONE as the BEST. I’d like to hope and pray that my readers would choose me. (And tell their friends to vote for me, who tell their friends to vote for me…and so on!)

I have some pretty stiff competition. I am among a really incredible bunch and let me even say that my friend Kathryn of The Budget Fashionista is in there. Can I even begin to tell you how BEYOND that is for me? To even be named in the same category of fabulousness as her? Stick a fork in me, I’m done! Holy smokes!

So here is what I need you to do: Click on the link to vote A Girl’s Gotta Spa! as Best Beauty Blog. Then click the link that says “Vote for this blog!” It will bring up a voting form and then just click A Girl’s Gotta Spa! And that’s it! No registration is needed and you can only vote once. Voting ends on Oct. 28th.

If I make it as one of the 6 finalists (there are 6 categories, not only beauty) then I would win a $100 American Express Gift Card (which honestly I don’t plan to keep if I win it, but will instead gift it to a needy family here in Northeast PA), but if I am selected as the grand prize winner of the 6, then I have the opportunity to shoot a paid video series to be launched on Shape.com. (DUDE I totally want that!)

Thanks in advance for voting for me and thank you to whoever the SHAPE readers were who nominated me to begin with!

xoxo
~Shannon

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Pocono Spas & Salons 3 Comments

Review: Camille Beckman Tuscan Honey Bath and Body Products

What is a girl to do on a Friday night when it’s raining cats and dogs, she has absolutely no plans and there is nothing good on TV? Why enjoy an at home spa night of course!  I had just received an array of  Camille Beckman bath and body products and could not wait to try them and a rainy Friday night just seemed like the perfect time to give them my undivided attention…with some minor interruptions from a glass or two of red wine, of course.

I decided to try the products from their Tuscan Honey line.  First up was the French Milled Soap.  I loved the really light fragrance of the soap and went insane for the super rich lather.  After cleansing with the soap I decided my feet needed some lovin so I exfoliated them with the Pumice Oval Exfoliating Stone.  The stone definitely left my heels feeling smoother and softer and I really appreciated that it has a string attached to the stone to prevent me from dropping it constantly.  I had a few sips of my wine and decided it was time to moisturize so I whipped out the Tuscan Honey Body Butter.  The body butter is very thick and rich and left my skin uber moisturized (it also contains 7% Shea butter.)

Since my feet received some extra lovin I felt like my hands might get a bit jealous, so I decided to give them some extra attention too and after exfoliating them I applied the Glycerine Hand Therapy.  Well my feet got jealous of my hands because the Glycerine Hand Therapy is just amazing.  It is beyond moisturizing…so I guess I would call it restorative…my hands immediately felt soft, pampered, loved and of course moisturized.  I tend to suffer from dry feet (thanks to living in flip flops 24/7…too hot for anything else) so I applied the hand therapy to my feet and they have been feeling and looking a lot more presentable lately.

All of the products I tried from the Camille Beckman Tuscan Honey line were just great.  They all had a very light, pleasant  and soft fragrance…never overpowering.  They were all very pampering and moisturizing and the packaging is absolutely charming.  Spending a Friday night with Camille Beckman was the best time I’ve had on a Friday night in a very long time.

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

Parents Magazine Best Blog Awards: A Girl’s Gotta Spa!

Right now Parents Magazine is holding a Best Blog Awards contest and thanks to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! reader, Madeline, I was nominated in the Best Mom Fashion Blog category…there was no category for beauty (gasp!) So although I don’t consider this blog a mom blog by any stretch, I am indeed a mom (of 4) who blogs. So if you don’t mind the registration process that Parents.com requires in order to vote, I would really be grateful for a vote from you. Just click the pink Parents 2011 nominee badge in this post and it will take you directly to my voting page (voting ends on October 15th.)

Thanks in advance! xx
Shannon

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty Leave a comment

A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Welcomes Marta Wohrle from Truth in Aging

As I look to expand my contributors here at A Girl’s Gotta Spa!, I am very excited to announce that Marta Wohrle from Truth in Aging will now be contributing a post here on a weekly basis. Why would I be so excited about this you ask? Because I have long been a fan of Marta’s blog and how she provides real and truthful reviews of products. She definitely is a great fit here! Some of Marta’s team will also contribute posts from time to time as well.

So please help me in welcoming Marta and the Truth in Aging team to A Girl’s Gotta Spa!

Interested in being a contributor here as well? Please submit your request and where I can find your portfolio via my Contact page and I will get back to you with the details.

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty Leave a comment

Spa Week’s Top 10 Spa Trends for Fall 2011


Spa Week Fall 2011, presented by Carefree, is happening October 10th-16th with the founding mission of making the spa lifestyle accessible to ALL. This Fall, 800 spas and wellness facilities across North America are participating, offering 2-3 of their top spa services for just $50 a piece (normally $75-$500). Massages, facials, acupuncture, fitness class packages, eyelash extensions, Botox… the options are endless! Booking has now begun. Browse all treatments in your city on www.spaweek.com. It is recommended to book as soon as possible for preferred treatments and time slots.

And now for Spa Week’s top 10 spa trends for fall:

1. Shirodhara
We know what you’re thinking: Shiro-whata? Don’t try this at dinner, but drizzling warm sesame oil onto one’s forehead is extremely therapeutic. Shirodhara, which dates back to India circa 5000 years ago, is now being incorporated into more and more spa menus, and seen as an add-on to Western treatments like body wraps and Swedish Massages.

It’s the good kind of oil spill: The ritual’s steady spilling brings physical and emotional balance while giving hair an extreme conditioning. Shirodhara is known to calm nerves, release stored emotions, purify the mind, and fight fatigue, anxiety, insomnia and headaches.

2. Bamboo Massage

De-knot your body by getting rolled out like a sugar cookie with a Bamboo rolling pin-esque Massage. The massage therapist will knead, glide and roll a Bamboo reed along shoulders, back and legs to pamper and penetrate tense muscles.

The benefits of Bamboo-ing: Bamboo Massage promotes blood circulation, improves sensory nerve perception, and does lymphatic drainage. Bamboo also symbolizes longevity, luck and strength, making it a somewhat spiritual spa experience.

3. Cupping and Gua Sha
Did you ever wish you could literally suck or scrape the pain and soreness right out of your body? With the ancient Chinese healing therapies of cupping and Gua Sha, you can!

How it works: Cupping uses suction on the skin’s surface to “suck” stagnant blood from deep beneath the surface, and Gua Sha “scrapes” the skin to mobilize blood flow in a similar fashion. Both alternative therapies provide extreme pain and tension relief, especially on the back. These therapies are becoming more and more mainstream, despite the temporary bruising it causes, as new consumers experience their drastic benefits.

4. Acupressure
No pressure to get pricked here. Acupressure employs the concept of acupuncture, (the granddaddy of healing) only rather than needles, it uses physical pressure of hands, elbows and other devices. Practitioners target specific points along the body’s energy pathways, or “meridians,” to encourage healing and balance in the individual.

What it’s good for: Relief from allergies, chronic arthritis pain and migraines; pain-sufferers can reap the benefits of this ancient Chinese medicine without fear of being poked.

5. Boozing with Benefits
It’s always happy hour at the spa, but more and more spas are incorporating alcohol into their treatment offerings.

On the cocktail menu: Champagne and wine-infused treatments can smooth skin tissue, stimulate blood flow and are a powerful ingredient in anti-aging. Beer yeast is rich in elements that increase skin elasticity and improve acne by suppressing sebum. Even Scotch Whiskey is showing up on the spa scene; it’s full of sugars, minerals and vitamin B6, giving it excellent hydrating and anti-inflammatory properties.

6. Shellac Attack
There’s been a lot of hype around UV Manicures, especially the popular Shellac Manicure since it first launched last Spring – the hard lustrous finish! The zero dry-time! The 14-day no chipping/smudging/denting promise! And did you see the Shellac flash mob? A cross between gels and a regular manicure, products like Shellac and Axxium are certainly no fad, as the color selection gets larger and trendier each season.

Why Shellac? Spa-goers love Shellac Manicures because they get a long lasting, no-mess result, and spas love them just as much because it brings in new clients and revenue, without increasing the service time. Shellac Manicures are a win-win!

7. Men’s Treatments

Did you know men make up for 31% of active spa-goers? And did you know the most common spa packages offered are for men, with 45% of U.S. spas offering such a package? By incorporating no-frills, guy-friendly scents like sandalwood, mustard seed, eucalyptus and thyme, spas are able to successfully market to men.

What services are considered guy-friendly? Hot Shaves, Gentlemen’s Facials, Golf Ball Massages and more have enticed male consumers to experiment and experience the health benefits of the spa just as frequently as their female counterparts (who, oftentimes, are the ones who got them hooked!)


8. Mobile Spas  (not to be confused with Spa Week’s Mobile App)With more and more mobile food establishments rolling around the country serving gourmet dishes and desserts, spas aren’t far behind. One of the emerging trends is getting your massage, facial, or other spa service street-side, in a spa on wheels.

Why go mobile? Mobile spas are in high demand as they conveniently bring the day spa experience right to your home, office or venue. With gas prices at an all-time high, the mobile spa experience saves time and money, and is now a popular and sought-after addition to wellness and bridal parties and even corporate events.

9. Deep Sea Spa-ing

The word “spa” is derived from water, so it is a wonder that water-based spa treatments are so often overlooked. The Jacuzzi is perhaps the most well-known version of “hydro-therapy,” but more and more aquatic treatments like Hammam Rituals, Vichy Showers and Watsu are a booming trend, especially in hotel spas.

How to H2O: Each of these water treatments utilized hydro-thermal therapy to relax tight and sore muscles and promote smooth and cleansed skin all while stimulating blood circulation to promote healing. Hammam Rituals combine heat, aromatherapy, steam, bubbles, water and mud to cleanse the skin and detoxify the body. A Vichy Shower is a unique aquatic therapy that invigorates your body while laying flat under powerful water jets, inspired by treatments used in the French city, Vichy. Watsu, short for water Shiatsu, is a massage performed in a warm, shallow pool.  As the water gently cradles the guest so the massage therapist can work the full 360 degrees of your body.

10.  Spa with a Conscience
“Green” spas and treatments are thriving right now in the industry; spa owners are making critical revisions by incorporating renewable energy, holistic and eco-friendly services and indigenous ingredients into their businesses, and it’s paying off in the long run.

But how? More and more consumers are considering a spa’s environmental philosophy, along with price and location in their decision to visit a new spa. Spas are practicing conservation by purchasing organic linens, biodegradable aesthetic gauze and eco-friendly cleaning supplies to keep each guest sanitary and safe during their appointment. How’s that for a feel-good spa day?

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

5 Ways To Get a Spa Experience at Home

Everyone loves to be indulged and to feel exceptional. Going to a spa can not only relax painful muscles but it can also relieve tension. While going to the spa can be nice, it is also expensive. Some people may be apprehensive about their budgets and spending money on a day at the spa may not be feasible.

An alternative is to pamper yourself with an at home spa day. With these five simple steps, you can release your stress and calm your tender muscles, all without the high price tag. Here are a few guidelines to turn your home spa into a reality:

1. Taking a long, hot bath can be super relaxing. It can ease the muscles and provide a bit of rejuvenation. By slipping some lavender oil or bath salts into the water, you can wash your troubles away. Try putting an eye mask on, either hot or cold, as you soak. A bath pillow can also provide a great way to lounge in the tub. By lighting candles surrounding the tub, it creates ambiance and makes you want to linger.

Another great tip: have someone throw your robe in the dryer for a few minutes. The warm robe feels wonderful after the bath!

2. Music can provide a peaceful calm after a long hard day. Put on some soft easy listening music and light some candles. Put your feet up with a glass of wine. Most spas concentrate on music and scents to create the mood for relaxation. Have a spouse rub your feet while listening to relaxing tunes. A foot rub is a great way to relieve pressure and can actually stop a headache. This is a great way to create a relaxing atmosphere in your own home, for free.

3. Getting a massage from a partner is another effective way to just diminish cares. Using essential oils and lotions, a massage can work out all those kinks in the neck and back and make you feel like a million bucks. Working essential oils such as lavender, Chamomile or Neroli into your skins can simply relax every bone in your body.

4. Doing home facial treatments, like mud masks or scrubs, are just the way to make your face feel fresh and clean. Spas focus on expensive mud treatments and body scrubs, for the ultimate poor cleansing and relaxation. Most of these products can be purchased at any beauty section in your local department store or even at your local drugstore. Mud masks come in many different types. For example, you can try a deep sea mud or a mud with honey, the choices are unlimited.

5. Manicures and pedicures keep a women looking fresh and coiffed. By trimming and painting nails it enhances a woman’s feeling of beauty. Pick a magnificent color to go with the seasons for a hip look. Manicures can be expensive to have done professionally, but cost little for you to do on your own. All you need is a simple nail file, some clippers, a beautiful nail polish and some time.

The most important thing in creating your spa day is to make sure you are not interrupted. Let the relatives, friends, and especially the kids, know this is personal time. Turn off cell phones, TV’s, and all devices that can disrupt your perfect day. Everyone deserves to have a day of pampering, but who wants to spend hundreds of dollars, when it can be done for nearly nothing? By gathering a few basic items and clearing off a section of time, it can be possible to make your home a spa in a matter of minutes.

About the author: Carleen Coulter publishes the beauty blog Beauty and Fashion Tech, including the popular buyer’s guide on at home laser hair removal, with reviews of the top devices.

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

A Girl’s Gotta Spa! in VOGUE Australia and Real Beauty

Sometimes I get so busy writing reviews, that I often forget to post here when A Girl’s Gotta Spa! has gotten some love from the press. So just a quick post to tell you about two exciting press hits this month!

Print:

It appears VOGUE Australia mentioned me in their August issue (along with fellow friend and beauty blogger, Julia Coney from All About the Pretty.) When Julia emailed me to let me know, my jaw hit the floor. Not sure just yet what the article is about (besides beauty bloggers) but here’s a picture where you can see me mentioned!

Online:

RealBeauty.com asked 33 blogger’s for their money saving tips when it came to beauty products and you can find my tip mentioned on slide 32!

I’m very grateful to have gotten noticed!

*Photo sourced from fashionablymarketing.me.

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty 2 Comments

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

Relax at the Spa Like a Star: Popular Spa Treatments of Celebrities

Guest beauty post from Jessica Krznaric

Are you maximizing your inner celebrity spa treatment? We all try to replicate celebs and their trends from where they’re shopping to how their beautifying, but what about what they are ordering at the spa? I know when I visit the spa, my number one priority is to relax, but I also like to feel as if I’m getting top-notch treatment. When considering how to spend your next spa day, here is a helpful list of spa treatments some of our beloved stars are getting to add a little R&R into their lives:

Lash Extensions
Often a best kept spa secret, lash extensions transform your lashes into a fuller, thicker look. Usually made of a synthetic material, extensions are applied one by one on upper and lower lids. Non-damaging to your natural lashes, the extensions stay on for roughly four to six weeks and fall out on their own. I have to admit, getting lash extensions sounded somewhat painful to me. I envisioned hair extensions but on the eyes. Eek! After my sister-in-law got the lash extension treatment done recently, the entire process had me intrigued. Her lashes were definitely longer, fuller and thicker. She 100% rest assured, it did not hurt at all to apply, and reiterated that they fall off naturally on their own. The “naturally on their own” part was what really changed my mind about them.

Detox
Known as a way to lose weight and become energized, detoxing targets the toxins in your body and breaks up fatty deposits. A common way the stars get their detox on? Seaweed body treatments! Your skin absorsb the minerals in the wrap. The minerals work to make your skin smooth. Detox treatments are great for targeting cellulite or after giving birth. I’ll save this one for after I’ve had a child!

Holistic Facial
The mind, body and spirit focused facial takes your entire body into a deep state of relaxation. Sounding the most appealing to me out of all the celebrity spa treatments, this spa treatment not only beautifies my face but targets my inner self. Based on Chinese traditions, the holistic facial uses “chi” energy to target nerves in the body for incredible revitalization.

Other treatments spotted being purchased by celebs include Oil Massages, the Caviar Pedicure, which uses fish eggs to replenish the skin, and the Geisha Facial. More commonly known as the Bird Poop Facial, this Japanese traditional spa treatment uses natural ingredients including nightingale droppings to improve the skin’s complexion. I think I’ll pass on that last one.

Make sure when you are visiting a spa to look and check if your beauty pro has graduated from cosmetology school or beauty school and has received their cosmetology license. Many salons showcase this in the windows or on their desk, It is better to be safe than sorry, so if I don’t see it, I ask! Now, who’s ready for a spa day!

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in Beauty Trends, Celebrity Beauty, Spa 1 Comment