Cleansers for Natural, Textured, Curly Hair

Right now my hair looks and feels dry, lackluster and just downright sad. I know that I could've taken better care of my hair, but sometimes it's much too easy to neglect my hair care routine and just disguise less than stellar hair with a cute braid or bun. Agreed? I Read more

Winter Skin Care DIY

From your head to your toes, winter conditions are no fun for your skin. Not only does dry skin look unhealthy, it can be really uncomfortable, too. Did you know that everything you need to save your skin from winter is as close as your pantry or refrigerator? Below are Read more

Solid Lotion Bars from Faith, Soaps and Love

Know for their incredible handmade artisan soaps, Faith, Soaps & Love has another trick up their sleeves... or in this case, in their tubes. Good things come in 2 oz. packages. Don't let the small number fool you, as the Solid Lotion Bar tube is the size of my hand. Read more

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

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

Kiehl’s Continues to Give Back With Another Collaboration with Jeff Koons

Kiehl’s may not deliver the most bargain-friendly bath and body goodies around, but it’s comforting for us shopping addicts to know that our hard-earned money is not only going towards quality skin care and beauty, but also to a good cause to boot! The 160-year-old, New-York-based apothecary brand is no stranger to giving back, and their renewed partnership with Jeff Koons kicked off the recent holiday season with another limited-edition Creme de Corps collection – this time inspired by the artists’ legendary “Balloon Flower (Yellow)” sculpture.

While the holiday season is well over by now (*sigh of relief*), luckily it’s not too late to take part in the charitable cheer! Ranging in price from $29-72, plus a collectible bottle topper inspired by the original sculpture for $50, this collection donates 100% of its net proceeds (up to $200,000) to The Koons Family Institute, a branch of the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children. Plus, considering Creme de Corps has been lauded as the most hydrating of Kiehl’s extensive collection of moisturizers, it’s the perfect purchase to help you beat brittle winter skin!

- Alexandra Gambardella

*Guest beauty post from my friends at TheFind.com.

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

Get Your Glow On All Year Round With a Gradual Self-Tanner

While I wouldn’t say that I’m tanorexic, so to speak, and I never verge on the orange side of way too tan, I have to admit that I do enjoy my summer glow. It makes me look and feel healthier, sexier, thinner, and looks great against my favorite brightly-hued wardrobe pieces. But does it really have to be summer to rock a summer glow? Is being tan strictly a seasonal thing? Technically no, but there is something to be said about using self-tanner in moderation in the off-season!

Gradual self-tanners help you get and maintain that subtle glow without showing up at work one day looking an entirely different shade than the day before! Moisturize with a gradual self-tanning lotion and skin will be nourished, soothed, and firm while slowly but surely building an even sun-kissed tone. Let’s face it – unless you’re heading out to the tropics for the holiday season, you have no reason to look like you’ve spent a week at the beach in one go!

From left to right: St. Tropez Tanning Essentials Everyday Gradual Tan, Sisley-Paris Soleil San Soleil Self Tanning Lotion, purminerals Get a Little Self Tanning Lotion, and La Prairie Gradual Tanning Lotion.

- Alex Gambardella

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

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

Global Beauty with styleVISA

If you can believe it, I don’t own a passport. I’m envious of my friends jet setting around the world and bringing back unique fashion and beauty finds. But now I found a new online retail destination that brings those items to you. styleVISA features a distinct and eclectic assortment of home décor, personal accessories, beauty products and limited curations by artisans and designers from all over the world. Like a travel visa, the concept is to create an online passport to global culture and design…an assortment of those amazing finds you come across when globetrotting (sometimes near, sometimes far.) Not that I can speak from experience about globetrotting, but you know what I mean (side eye at my jet setting friends.)

Right now styleVISA is spotlighting designers and artisans from Africa, France, New Zealand, Mexico, Japan, Sweden and the US. I spy Kio Kio, a New Zealand bath and body company that’s been reviewed on A Girl’s Gotta Spa! before. There’s also a lotion bar from Etta + Billie that resembles the lotion bars I used to sell from Jordan Essentials (and if these lotion bars are as good as Jordan Essentials, then you definitely want to pick one up!) There’s also nail polish from Scotch Naturals, and while I have never heard of them, the colors look amazing.

So which visa stamp do you want? Take a trip, no passport required! styleVISA is offering A Girl’s Gotta Spa! readers 10% off  everything on their site until November 30, 2011. Use code STYLEPASSPORT at check out! www.stylevisa.com.

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

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

Slough Away Summer with Soap & Glory Body Polish

Now that the rare afternoons of the San Francisco sun are starting to become even fewer, as the closest thing we have to fall weather gradually rolls in, I’m finding it especially tough to keep up any semblance of a summer glow. And let’s face it – no tan at all is better than the unsightly, sickly-looking aftermaths of a dying tan: dull, flakey, dry skin. Yuck! The cast of Jersey Shore may not agree, but I’d rather be pale than look diseased. That’s why I’m putting my tan-preserving products away and embracing a new body polish to help slough away dry summer skin and unveil the healthier-looking epidermis underneath!

Soap & Glory’s “Flake Away” Body Polish is the perfect happy medium between gentle but not too gentle; it’s seriously effective without irritating sensitive skin, and leaves my body feeling baby-smooth right out of the shower! The shea butter, almond oil, peach seed, and sea salt mixture helps rid my skin of its parched surface, while the bad-ass brand’s signature fragrance with mandarin, rose, jasmine, amber, and vanilla makes me feel like I’m experiencing a spa-worthy treatment right in my own bathroom. If anything could actually make me feel relaxed about losing my summer glow, it’s definitely this body polish!

- Alex Gambardella

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

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

Review: Kanshi Salted Coconut Body Scrub

I love exfoliating.  Something about scrubbing away all of those dead skin cells that makes me feel pretty productive. As a lot of you  already know, I am also in love with the aroma of coconuts, it just makes me feel good about life.  So it probably won’t come as a surprise that passing up a scrub with any hint of coconut in it is virtually impossible for me.  This uncontrollable tendency to consume any and all coconut scented scrubs has at times left me with dry, flaky, irritated skin…due  to scrubs that were so harsh and aggressive that the only thing pleasant about them was the aroma of coconut.  But I still find it difficult to not at least give a new coconut scented scrub a try, especially when that scrub not only smells like coconuts but is also natural, paraben free and contains sea salts and coconut shell.  I am of course referring to the new Kanshi Salted Coconut Body Scrub.

The Salted Coconut Scrub of course smells like coconuts but not overwhelmingly so.  The scent is more naturally coconut, not at all manufactured.  The scrub does a great job of exfoliating without feeling scratchy or irritating my skin.  The first time I used it, I applied it in the shower after my skin was already wet and to me it felt a bit slimy.  However, the second time I used it I rubbed it onto my skin before getting my skin wet and it worked a lot better for me, my skin was soft, smooth, moisturized and smelled great.  The slimy feeling that I experienced the first time was the natural oils in the scrub…which actually left my skin feeling a bit moisturized even after I rinsed it with warm water.  Now I can’t promise that I won’t try other coconut scented scrubs out there but I can promise that I am definitely keeping this one as a constant in my beauty drawer. Have you tried it?

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

Shop Salma Hayek’s Budget-Friendly Beauty Line at CVS

It’s no secret that drugstore beauty buys are typically hit or miss. It’s important to find that perfect sweet spot between “affordable enough” (because let’s face it – some drugstore brands aren’t even that cheap!) and “quality enough” to justify avoiding the high-end brands. After all, what’s the point of hittin’ up the drugstore makeup aisle instead of Sephora if you’re not going to score some beauty loot for less? Despite the suspiciously high-priced finds lurking on the Walgreens and CVS counters, some of us (myself included) will still compulsively go spelunking in the drugstore makeup racks in search of whatever we saw Drew Barrymore or Jessica Alba rockin’ in the commercials the night before, because a famous face makes even the most affordable beauty brands seem way more luxe. After all, that’s what drew me to Salma Hayek’s beauty line, Nuance, sold exclusively at CVS.

More than just a pretty promotional face for the brand, Salma calls on inspiration from her beautician grandmother (it helps to come from gorgeous genes!) to design a 100-piece line of skincare, haircare, and cosmetics, which retail from $7.99-19.99. Can’t be bothered to travel to one of the dozen CVS stores near you to check out the Nuance line in person? Browse the beauty buys online at CVS.com!

- 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, 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: Vitabath Heavenly Coconut Creme Body Wash

I know that we are still in the throes of summer…after all how could I possibly forget when I’m reminded every time I step outside thanks to my immediately sweat soaked clothing? But I still can’t help being excited about the arrival of fall and fall beauty products of course.  I love that beauty products seem to have more of a pampering feel to them during fall and winter months.  The scents become more comforting and rich, they feel more moisturizing and just downright luxurious.  That being said, of course I could not wait until Fall to try Vitabath’s Fragrance Collection.

The Vitabath Fragrance Collection is new for fall and features 16 body washes with four aromatic fragrance profiles; Spa Day, In Bloom, Fruit Fanatic and my absolute favorite, Cupcake Couture.  The body washes are all sulfate and paraben free and include a nourishing blend of Vitamins A, B3, C, E, Pro-Vitamin B5 and antioxidant-rich superfruits.  I am currently using the Heavenly Coconut Creme body wash from the Cupcake Couture fragrance profile and i’s absolutely decadent.  The scent reminds me of a cupcake I recently had while on vacation in Santa Rosa Beach, FL…toasty, creamy, delicious…just heavenly…weird because the name of the bakery that I bought the coconut cupcake from is called Heavenly Shortcakes.  Those of you who know me, know that every once in a while (or often), I have a tendency of tasting my beauty products if they smell delicious…well I had to really fight the urge not to taste this one because every time I open the bottle I am very tempted to just give it a quick lick, it just smells so amazing.  The lather is also very rich and luxurious and it leaves my skin feeling really moisturized.

Currently, my trainer has me on a strict diet of absolutely no carbs, sugar, cream…basically I can pretty much forget about having desserts of any kind, so now  whenever I am tempted to cheat on my diet with a cookie or cake pops, I just open the bottle of  Heavenly Coconut Creme body wash and take a whiff.  I kid you not, the scent it actually satisfies my cravings.  I love that this body wash is doing great things for my body in more ways than one.

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