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

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

Beauty Trends

Top 10 Radiant Orchid Products for Spring 2014

Top Ten Radiant Orchid #Spring2014 #RadiantOrchid

Spring’s hottest color in beauty, Radiant Orchid, is hands down one of my favorite beauty trends in YEARS. I’ve been wearing purple hues since I was first allowed to wear makeup (of course it wasn’t as chic back then and very 80′s.)

Below are my top ten for this season and I’d love to know if they are yours too! Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Beauty Trends, eye shadow, Fashion Week Beauty, lipstick, Makeup, makeup tips, mineral makeup 10 Comments

What I’m Loving Right Now

10 Products I'm Loving Right Now! #SpringBeauty

Color. Something that the winter has left us devoid of and something I long for.

Scent. I simply cannot wait until the blossoms of Spring lend their fragrance.

What I’m loving right now has everything to do with color and floral scents. Honestly, I’m spending a lot of time on Pinterest simply staring at flowers, warm climates and pinning colorful cosmetics. There’s something about the power of color and fragrance that can uplift your mood. How many days until Spring again?

Tom Ford Spring 2014 Lip Color Sheer in Summer Fling: Feminine and perfectly subtle for Spring.

Tory Burch “Divine” Bronzer, Blush and Highlighter: Love products that offer multi-tasking benefits.

Marc Jacobs Enamoured Hi-Shine Nail Lacquer in Magenta Violet: Eye catching and bold.

Chantecaille Save the Bees Eyeshadow Palette: The perfect romantic looking eye.

Nest White Narcisse Body Wash: Who needs to frolic through a field of flowers when you can find it in your shower? Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in bath and body, beauty, Nail Polish, perfume, Spring Beauty 3 Comments

Red Beauty Trend: The New Neutral

Red lip palette. Red beauty trend.

Red has always been a classic you can’t go wrong with, but this Fall 2013, red is all the rage. Neiman Marcus is painting red as the new neutral for clothing , and the LA Times is talking about how, “this Fall’s bold new lipstick shades put the pout back into your pose.” Despite red lipstick’s sultry yet elegant look, most women think they simply can’t wear red and that’s not true.

Hollywood Red Lip Palette from Skinn Cosmetics is a fantastic buy because is gives you your choice of six different red hues that you can wear alone or mix and match to produce your favorite fit. It’s moisture rich and contains collagen-boosting peptides that help your lips appear full and lustrous. With so many different reds to choose from, there’s at least one that suits your skin tone. Read more

Posted on by Courtney Smith RN BSN in beauty, Beauty Trends, lip gloss, lip stain, lipstick, Makeup, makeup tips Leave a comment

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

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

Starry Night Inspired Beauty Straight From The Rodarte Spring 2012 RTW Runway

The Mulleavy sisters, aka the masterminds behind Rodarte, don’t normally need any help conjuring up genius show-stopping ideas, but for their Spring 2012 RTW show, they called on a little classic inspiration. Van Gogh’s tell-tale swirly stars adorned the show’s impressionist-inspired spring line, and the painter’s influence didn’t end there! The show’s beauty looks also called the Starry Night treatment, with smoldering midnight smoky eyes that seemed to peer right into the audience’s soul and make us covet everything that walked the catwalk!

Get a similarly sultry look with NYX Eyeshadow in Frosted Ocean, a sparkly midnight blue, and line eyes with a navy glitter pencil like Pop Beauty Glitz Blitz Eyeliner in Blue Beam. Additionally, the models’ hair got a sexy wet textured look (you can too by styling damp hair with Oribe Creme For Style), and cheeks were given just the faintest dewy glow (don’t want to upstage the eyes!) with a mauve cream blush like Estee Lauder Signature Satin Creme Blush in Mauve Light. And don’t forget to finish the look with matching navy nails, thanks to Deborah Lippmann’s Lady Sings the Blues!

- Alex Gambardella

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

*Photo Credit: Style.com

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Beauty Trends, blush, eye shadow, eyeliner, Fashion Week Beauty, lipstick, Makeup Leave a comment

Review: Duri Wine Tasting Party Nail Color Collection

Fall is my absolute favorite season.  I love everything about it, the leaves changing colors, fall clothing, the new flavors of lattes at Starbucks…mmm Pumpkin Spice. Everything just seems to become a bit richer and more luxurious in fall, including nail polishes.  While I had fun with the playful nail colors of summer, I look forward to the slightly more polished, sexy, sophisticated colors of fall and I am absolutely loving the nail colors in Duri’s Wine Tasting Party Collection.

The collection includes four colors; Cognac (a warm plum) , Bloody Mary (a very sexy red), Pinot Noir (a deep garnet shade) and Grape Swirl (shimmery violet.) The colors in the collection perfectly complement the color trends in clothing for fall as well.  My favorite of the collection is the Pinot Noir, for some reason it seems to bring out my inner vamp, color is just so daring.  It’s fun wearing the Pinot Noir and Grape Swirl at the same time…either mixing them or wearing one shade on my fingers  and the other on my toes.

I know it’s a bit early to be planning this far ahead, but I am pretty excited about wearing the Bloody Mary nail color during the holidays. Do you have any polishes from this collection? Which is your favorite?

Posted on by Gail Lewis in beauty, Beauty Trends, Nail Polish 2 Comments

Men’s Grooming and Fashion Trends from Pearson Knight


Trends in men’s grooming, fashion and…motorbikes from Celebrity Hairstylist, Pearson Knight.

Many years ago men were known for  getting groomed, talking trash, and hanging out at Barber Shops whether urban or suburban. In more recent years, the metro-sexual movement and the boom in hair and fashion reality TV shows have given everyday men comfort and being drawn into salons world wide. This may have been a bit annoying for the ladies in their own temple of feminine freedom. I mean how are they supposed to talk about how their man screwed up AGAIN with the neighbor’s husband in the chair next to them? Not cool.

There is hope! A new trend we are seeing and will continue to see boom, is the return of barber shops. The reason for the movement to salons was the variety of style and education on new trends that most stylists were equipped with. The old school barber just wasn’t ready for David Beckham. The modern barber shop, from the ones I have gone on site to check out, are designed with style and masculinity. They are equipped with salon education as well as old school straight razor shaves, manicures, and grooming. I am very excited to see these launch and become a cultural influence once again. I am personally working on some training on the art of men’s hair and participating as a guest artist periodically on my travels at www.gentcg.com in MPLS. I have the luxury of splitting my men and women being a guest artist at lounge.smartandchicbeauty.com in MPLS, as well.

In regards to men’s hair, I am currently participating in the look of the high fashion man ranging from a sleek Mad Men to the untamed pompadour. The modern pompadour can be completely clean and groomed or have variation of texture and size. I think James Franco shows this well with the sides being a bit unruly and the top wavy in texture. I recently had the honor and excitement of being on the other side of the lens during a shoot with the talented Miami based photographer www.facebook.com/ALisaRaunerPhotography. The theme for the shoot was late 1960′s James Dean feel. We used a 1964 Lincoln Continental just like Drama’s from Entourage. It was so fresh, my favorite part was cranking it up and driving it a bit. Along with the movement of hair change, we are even taking long men’s hair and shorting it up a bit. This reminds me about facial hair. Not so much on the long beard and crazy handle bar mustache (although I participated in this for years!) We are taking it to a clean shave and groomed low cut mustache to a 5 o’clock shadow. We are still working that facial hair but just cleaned up all around.

Speaking of cleaning up, men’s fashion has been and will continue to be versions of the geek or nerd if you will. This means tucked in plaid shirts with mismatched pattern ties, sweater vests, leather belts and suspenders. Color schemes this fall are going to lean a little more towards lavender or hues of magenta and away from honeysuckle pink from spring etc. For more visual explanation this can be researched in any current Details or GQ magazine. The main interest this fall is boots, any boot. I am talking mid/low/high cut boot, motorcycle, Doc Martens you name it. As far as me personally, I have been inspired and will not be looking as put together and clean as most. I am totally inspired by Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars and Han Solo in Empire Strikes Back. I am wearing utilitarian style pants and shirts with a color scheme of desert tan, light brown, off-white cream, olive to army green, different light greys, and hints of orange. I will be topping it off with some Harrison Ford from Raiders of the Lost Ark. That means the more distressed and dirtier the better. I am pulling out all of my stained white undershirts full of motor grease and dirt. All of the pants that should have become a garage rag by now and flexing them like they’re fresh~!

Motor oil? Garage rags? That is an easy chance to mention this motor oil fans…put away your Super bikes and Harleys and get some fresh fall air on a new Cafe Racer. This can also be achieved by stripping down your sport bike and tossing on a straight bar if don’t want to part with your honey or add more to the entourage in the garage. I am seeing a ton of these race around my home based neighborhood in Miami. I almost thought I was in Europe or something. Some seemed to be tricked out and custom, some new, and some straight up real vintage. This is a ton of fun. I love helmets and going too fast~!!!

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in Beauty Trends, men's grooming 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

Violet Cat-Eye Liner Puts a Funky Spin on the Classic!

Colorful liner is definitely having a major moment, but swapping a bright color for your tried-and-true black or brown and actually having the guts to pull it off is easier said than done for some. However, with the right shade, the right trend, and the right balance with the rest of your makeup, you’ll see that a little beauty risk can go a long way this season, whether you’re looking to amp up your dull daytime look or put a fresh spin on your go-to going-out makeup.

One look I’m loving is the violet cat-eye. Though a bit dramatic in appearance, cat-eye liner is actually quite minimalist in style — one enthusiastic swipe of your liner and an otherwise bare lid makes for a pretty easy-to-do, yet statement-making look. Modernize this classic Old Hollywood style by giving it a violet spin with bold liner. Since violet is such a bold hue, soften the look by using a smudge-able pencil or gel liner for better control of exactly how bright you want your results, or apply a bright shadow with a wet brush for maximum color pay-off. Or if you have a steady hand and are ready to jump right in with bright violet liquid liner, try Dior Style Liner in Sparkling Purple!

Also pictured: Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Gel Eyeliner in Stay Violet, Clarins Single Eyeshadow in Vibrant Violet, Estee Lauder Eye Pencil in Untamed Violet, and Smashbox Limitless Eyeliner in Black Violet.

- Alex Gambardella

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

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Posted on by Shannon Smyth in eyeliner, Makeup Leave a comment