Clear, Glowing Skin with SheaMoisture Mud Masks

In the skin department, Summer usually means oilier than normal skin for me. Which also means clogged pores, and at times, acne prone skin accompanied by dehydrated and irritated skin thanks to time spent in the sun and insane amounts of sunscreen. One of the best ways that I deal with summer skin Read more

Try These 3 Sulfate Free Body Washes That Still Lather

It's a common beauty myth - switch to a sulfate free body wash and you have to give up that luxurious lather that makes pampering so much fun. But it's not true. Sure, you won't be able to bury yourself under a mountain of bubbles, but you don't have to Read more

How To Lighten Your Hair #MyOliaStory

I'm sharing #MyOliaStory as part of a Garnier sponsored series for Socialstars™ Taking your hair color from dark to light is a not something that can be done in a day. Well, at least not when you are doing it on your own at home. You want to be really Read more

Citrus Crumble Cookie Bars Recipe

What a way to treat yourself! Delicious, soft cookie bars topped with citrus marmalade, made with orange, lemon, lime, and grapefruit essences, and of course, topped with sweet, crispy crumble. Hello everyone! It’s so nice to meet all of you, friends of A Girl’s Gotta Spa! I'm Lyuba and I Read more

Improve Your Brow Game with Chella

My brows are sparse and basically non-existent in some spots. They also do this caterpillar ish from years of plucking the wrong way when I was younger. I've considered getting permanent makeup with a brow tattoo, but to be honest, I'm not a fan of needles (which is also the Read more

bath and body

Review: DollyMoo Coconut Citrus Body Scrub & Body Oil

When New Jersey-based bath and body company, DollyMoo, contacted me about trying their organic scrubs and body oils, I was nervous. I love when indie beauty brands contact me, especially when they are quasi-local to me, but always feel the pressure that they are crossing their fingers I’ll love their product enough to write about it to help them garner awareness. That pressure is always there for me because I understand what it means to be a start-up beauty business…and I know what it means when your budget is ridiculously small when it comes to sending product out for review. Why do I feel the pressure? Because there have been many times that the product is just not something I can endorse for one reason or another and it makes me feel sooooo bad.

Thankfully, this was not one of those times.

DollyMoo is created by two sisters, Amy and Nicci. They sent me Coconut Citrus in both their Body Scrub and Body Oil to try. And let me tell you, the smell alone makes you long for the warm summer sun, sipping something cold and refreshing while taking in the scents of the beach…wearing your SPF of course! The scrub combats dry skin without much of a fight, although if you have any scratches or cuts at all avoid using the scrub in those areas as this is a salt scrub (i.e. cuts will sting). While the scrub sloughs off dry, flaky skin, the oils seal in moisture. (Tip: It’s great to use prior to shaving!)

Application of the Body Oil only requires 1 pump (per leg, arm, etc.) It’s best to apply it as soon as you get out of the shower without skin being completely dry. This helps the oil seal in that moisture that is so very necessary in the winter when fireplaces, wood stoves and thermostats set high dehydrate the skin. It will feel a bit greasy at first (it is an oil after all), but I found that it absorbed into my skin by the time I was putting on my clothes.

Definitely a product line that delivers on its promises. Your skin will be hydrated and healthy and it will smell so good! Check out their products at www.dollymoo.com.  Have you tried their collection?

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in bath and body, beauty, skin care Leave a comment

Review: Schick Intuition Limited Edition Razors

Living in a place like Miami is great for the most part.  After all there is not much I can complain about, it’s almost always sunny, I live a few blocks from the beach and the people watching here is amazing.  But one thing about actually living in a beach community is that shaving daily is a must.  Back in Minnesota I could get away with skipping a few days in between the razor, but not here.  I basically live in shorts and always have a swimsuit in my purse so missing even one day of shaving is just not an option for me.  Anything that would make shaving less time consuming is always appreciated.  So I was pretty ecstatic about the new Schick Intuition Limited Edition Razors.

The Limited Edition Razors are available in three colors and are the first razor that lathers, shaves and moisturizes all in one. The razor has four blades, skin moisturizing solid and an ergonomic handle.  Each razor package also includes two refill cartridges, a shower hanger for your razor as well as a travel cap. The first few times I used the razor I did not experience a very close shave, in fact there was an over abundance of the moisturizing solid on my skin which might have prevented it from shaving properly as I could still feel stubble after shaving.  However, after using it about five plus times, it  gave me a closer shave.  I think that once the moisturizing solid melts a little it allows for a closer shave.  The razor is definitely easy to grip in the shower and I love that it comes with a shower hanger which allows for easy and very convenient storage.  The travel cap however, sometimes get stuck on the moisturizing solid and I had to struggle with this a few times.

Travel cap and initial overabundance of moisturizing solid aside, I really appreciate this razor.  I love not having to worry about applying a shaving cream or lotion, I just get my skin wet and can immediately start shaving away, definitely cuts down shaving time.  I also love that I have yet to drop this razor due to the thicker, easy to grip handle.  I would maybe suggest removing a bit of the moisturizing solid before your first use if you would like a closer shave.  But until I can afford laser hair removal, this is definitely my go-to razor.

Posted on by Gail Lewis in bath and body, beauty 3 Comments

Review: True Blue Spa 60-Second Manicure Hand Scrub & Smoothing Foot Scrub

Although going to the spa can never be an overrated experience, there is something to be said of being able to bring the spa to the comfort and privacy of your own home with you and a few of your closest girlfriends…or sometimes just solo.  The only problem with bringing the spa to your home is the quality of the spa products.  More often than not, spa products that I am able to get my hands on are never spa quality and being that neither me nor my girlfriends are professional estheticians, we need our products to do the job that we can not.  Which is why I love products from True Blue Spa by Bath & Body Works.  The brands products are spa quality without the spa prices, they really allow you to experience the true spa experience at home.

My two favorite True Blue Spa products are the 60-Second Manicure Hand Scrub and the Smoothing Foot Scrub.  The Hand Scrub is a sugar based exfoliating treatment that also contains moisturizing Shea Butter.  I love starting  my at home spa manicures with the scrub because it immediately softens my hands and cuticles and allows any moisturizing products that follows, whether it’s a hand lotion, masque or cuticle oil, to do a more effective job.  The scrub also has a great citrusy scent…like a blend of sugar and grapefruit.  Much like the hand scrub, the Smoothing Foot Scrub also smooths and softens, allowing moisturizing products to be better absorbed by the feet.  The foot scrub also has a great refreshing minty scent, due to the Peppermint Oil that is a part of the ingredients and that also stimulates tired feet.

I may never completely give up going to a spa in favor of spa-ing at home, but for those days when the spa budget is a bit too tight or if I just want to have a girl’s night in with my at home spa products and a bottle of wine, it’s great to know that I have two amazing products on hand that very closely captures the spa experience and results without the steep spa price tags or having to change out of my jammies.

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

Review: Dr. Teals Foaming Bath

Like a lot of you, I am getting ready for swimsuit season by cleaning up my diet and hitting the gym extra hard and the days when I don’t make it to the gym, I log in 3-5 miles running.  The endorphins that I get from running and super intense workouts have been great mentally, but physically my muscles feel fatigued and sore (I have an evil trainer who never seems to feel any mercy.)  It seems as though the only way to relieve my tired and sore muscles is by either easing up on my workouts (not going to happen if my trainer has his way) or get regular massages (can get pretty expensive)…which I was seriously contemplating when lo and behold Dr. Teal’s Foaming Bath made an appearance.

I was familiar with Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salts, but never knew they also had a Foaming Bath product.  The Foaming Baths combine Epsom salt with essential oils and are available in; Lavender (to soothe & sleep), Chamomile (to comfort & calm), Amber Vanilla (sensual & indulgent) and  Eucalyptus Spearmint (for relax & relief)…as in relaxing and soothing tense muscles. So on Friday night after returning home from a gym session that was two hours long, I lugged my completely exhausted body to the bath tub and emptied a good sized amount of the Eucalyptus Spearmint Bath Foam into my bathtub (the bottle said 4-5 capfulls, but every movement hurt so I figured I needed more than recommended.)

The scent was very relaxing, minty, but not overwhelming, I loved that my entire bathroom smelled like a spa, even after I had drained the water the scent still lingered, which was awesome, I wish they made candles as well in these scents.  Not only did my bath smell great, it was foamy and mildly moisturizing.  I soaked for twenty minutes and had a difficult time leaving the bathtub because I was so relaxed I could barely move.  My muscles did indeed feel less tense and fatigued without me having to dish out $100+ for a massage or having to negotiate with my trainer (not a fun process, since I know he would have traded a less intense workout for a more intense diet–perhaps I should start looking into Sensa for when he insists that I amp up my weight loss plan!)

I plan on keeping the Eucalyptus Spearmint Bath Foam on hand long after I have reached my goal for swimsuit season and will definitely give the other bath foams a try as well, at $5.99 a pop they may be the most affordable physical and mental therapy I will ever undergo. Now how do I convince them to start producing candles?

Posted on by Gail Lewis in bath and body 7 Comments

Review: OrganicaPure Cocoa + Honey Body Lotion

Stop by my house and at any given time there is chocolate somewhere in the cabinets. That not only goes for food, but my beauty products too. Chocolate is not only my escape to my happy place, but the cocoa bean is a great anti-aging ingredient in skin care.

My newest love is OrganicPure cocoa + honey body lotion. The scent is unique, smelling sweet and like something deliciously decadent. The body lotion is just the right consistency in that it is not too thick, but not too thin when you apply it. It’s non-greasy and absorbs quickly…drenching your skin in hydration and making it feel incredibly supple. The fragrance is not overpowering, but has enough strength that it lasts all day. I don’t know about you, but my main reason to wear lotion besides moisturizing my skin, is for the fragrance. And there’s nothing worse than to fall in love with a moisturizer with an amazing scent that only dissipates shortly after applying it. So I’m glad to have found one that keeps my skin healthy and vibrant all while retaining its blissful scent all day long.

Have you tried this body lotion or any of OrganicaPure’s other bath and body products? You can view them all at www.organicapure.com.

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in bath and body 4 Comments

Unlikely Pair: Dove Softening Body Wash + Litya Lemon Myrtle Desert Salt Polish

Have you ever mixed and matched products? I do it all of the time and decided that a new feature here on A Girl’s Gotta Spa! will be a series called Unlikely Pair: Products that work well together but would never be sold together. Today I’m featuring Dove’s new Visible Care Softening Creme Body Wash and Li’tya’s Lemon Myrtle & Desert Salt Polish.

You’ve seen the commercials for Dove’s Visible Care line of body washes…the ones where the women have pictures of their skin on display in a gallery to exhibit the difference in their skin. One of the main ingredients in this line is glycerin, which is a humectant (draws moisture to your skin.)  The Softening Creme Body Wash has a nice fresh, just out of the shower fragrance. The body wash is also thick and creamy in texture…the perfect substance to mix in Lit’ya Lemon Myrtle & Desert Salt Polish. This exfoliator doesn’t have a strong lemon scent, so the two products don’t clash when it comes to smell. Lit’ya is an Australian brand and the salt is from the Australian Desert (so you feel a bit exotic using it, but don’t talk with an accent because that would be weird.) The salt polish comes as is without any oils added to it, so it’s perfect to add to virtually any body oil, shower gel or body wash.

Due to the thickness of Dove’s body wash, it holds the salt well as you smooth it over your skin cupped in the palm of your hand. Rub in circular motions and then rinse. The smell is lovely and your skin will feel so silky smooth. I love it!

You can find Dove at virtually any drugstore or supermarket and Li’tya can be found at www.litya.com.

Do you have an unlikely pair? Email me about them and we may feature it in a post!

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in bath and body Leave a comment

AHAVA Mud Exfoliator and Borghese Fango Active Mud

When I was younger, my brother and I used to make mud pies, place them into our Radio Flyer red wagon and then convince our younger sister to eat them. (We told her it was chocolate.) I always liked playing in the mud…but hated getting dirty (my mother will attest to this!) Do you know what I love? That I can still play with mud AND be doing something good for my skin at the same time.

AHAVA Mud Exfoliator: Specifically for your face, the combination of dead sea mud and minerals gently exfoliates your skin while ridding it of any oily residue. There’s no fragrance to it and it feels wonderful on your face. Simply massage in circular motions for about 30 seconds to 1 minute and rinse. Your skin will look and feel refreshed.

Borghese Fango Active Mud: Targeted for both face and body, Fango is a very mineral-rich and thick mud. (You can tell the difference in the photo above.) It does have a botanical fragrance to it that reminds me of stepping into the spa. Applied to your face, your skin will tingle, however, when I applied it to my body it didn’t render the same sensation. Regardless, I LOVE this mud and how it softens my skin. Apply in a thick layer to your skin and leave on for 5 minutes (don’t let it dry) and then rinse.

If you like to play with mud like I do, have you used either of these products? Share your experience in the comments!

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Posted on by Shannon Smyth in bath and body, beauty 7 Comments

CND Hand & Body Scentsations

Whether you are doing a DIY manicure or getting one at the salon, your manicure only looks as good as your hands. Not only do dry, cracked hands completely steal the spotlight from an out-of-this-world nail color, but your hands are one of the first areas that show the signs of aging. (Heck you can get all of the facelifts you want, but your hands will be screaming “Yes, I am really 30 years older than my face looks!“)

I received CND’s Hand & Body Scentsations lotion in Peach & Ginseng back when I attended Lucky Magazine’s FABB conference (the one where I was in a video for Revlon and met Joan Rivers.) It was love at first application with this quick absorbing hand lotion. It literally sinks deep into your skin so fast that within seconds, your hands feel like velvet without a trace of that typical lotion feel…yet leaving behind a pleasant scent (and I am not one for peach scents, but this one is lovely.)

So technically, if you want your guy to think your hands are magically that soft (like you are an angel from the heavens) then there’s no need to reveal your secret. But if your girlfriends want in on the magic, be sure to tell them all about this handy little trick.

You can find CND Scentsations at Ulta, Sally Beauty Supply and Time to Spa. See there website for complete locations: www.CND.com.

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in bath and body Leave a comment

Ambre Blends Olive Oil Soap and Body Cream

You’ve asked for it, reviews from brands you may not otherwise know about. Let me introduce you to Ambre Blends. This is a natural fragrance company that uses ambre oil as their primary ingredient with other organic essential oils. I had the opportunity to review their essences in their Olive Oil Soap and Body Cream. (Also pictured is their pure essence oil.)

invoke essence Pure Olive Oil Soap ($14): The sensual scent of ambre oil mixed with jasmine, neroli, sandalwood and a hint of rose, this scent has a clean yet sexy fragrance. If kept from sitting in a water prone spot in your shower in between washes, this soap lasts a while. It definitely left a light scent on my skin and I loved how moisturizing the olive oil was.

solace essence Body Cream ($20 for travel size): Upon first look at the texture of this body cream in it’s jar, I was reminded of Elmer’s Glue. I know that sounds like the weirdest description ever, but it was that white and creamy looking. However, it’s clear upon using it that this body cream applies easily and is a thin and aromatic moisturizer. It’s a combination of Ambre Essence with vanilla and a “rare special ingredient.” My non-professional nose tells me it smells of musk or Patchouli. (Either way it reminds me of the oils my sister Courtney used to wear.) The body cream contains shea butter, vitamin E, jojoba oil and green tea.

Ambre Blends are meant to change a bit when working with your own body chemistry, so these fragrances may smell a bit different when you wear them. Have you tried them?

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in bath and body, perfume Leave a comment

New Zealand Skin Care: Kio Kio Pacific Tiare & Ti Kauka Body Wash and Lotion

There’s something exotic about using products from a foreign land. I’ve never been to New Zealand myself, but I’d like to think the scent that fills my bathroom with the floral and citrus fragrance of Kio Kio’s Pacific Tiare & Ti Kauka Body Wash and Body Lotion is like having the paradise that is Auckland right here in the Pocono Mountains. Both have natural beauty, both have pristine waters and both hold nature in high regard.

Kio Kio Pacific Tiare & Ti Kauka Body Wash ($31) is richly fragrant, luxuriously foaming (without sulfates) and gently cleanses the skin. You don’t feel like you are in a perfume factory, rather sitting on the sand by the Pacific Ocean. The Ti Kauka flower is a white flower that grows on a palm tree. Ancient people regarded this palm tree as a plant of good luck and fertility. My oldest son is about to turn 12…so that fertility part is a bit unnerving…I better use it sparingly!

Kio Kio Pacific Tiare & Ti Kauka Body Lotion ($35) is thin in texture with a low profile fragrance. A few minutes after applying it, the scent dissipates and only those who snuggle in close to you can smell it. I do wish the scent was a little more powerful because it is that lovely. It’s the kind of fragrance you wish came in a perfume.

You don’t have to jetset to New Zealand to try Kio Kio’s range of bodycare products because you can get them online at www.RonRobinson.com (an LA-based company.) Have you tried them?

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in bath and body 2 Comments