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

Diminish the Look of Fine Lines and Wrinkles #sponsored

Disclosure: Thanks to RoC® Daily Resurfacing Disks, I'm getting taking care of my skin as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars #WomenWhoRoC Are you looking for a simple way to cleanse and exfoliate your skin all in one beauty product? Do you have fine lines, wrinkles and sun damaged Read more

Honey Girl Organics Giveaway with Lilly's Bathcarry

A Girl's Gotta Spa! retailer, Lilly's Bathcarry, knows a thing or two about pampering. We're both on a mission of self care. We've partnered together for a giveaway so that you can treat yourself; there's not just one winner for this giveaway, but TWO. Lilly's Bathcarry will send two winners, chosen Read more

Best Body Washes for Acne-Prone Skin

Bacne. Something that is often dreaded when the warmer weather hits and you want to ditch the layers. While I personally haven't experience body acne, I do have keratosis pilaris on my arms and legs, so I know the feeling of having a skin condition I want to clear up Read more

5 Surefire Ways Pampering Helps Boost Your Mood (and Confidence)

Disclosure: I’m sharing #MyOliaStory #ad as part of a Garnier® sponsored series for Socialstars™ You've probably experienced this scenario yourself - you're in a rut and feeling meh when you decide to take a moment to yourself to rejuvenate. Sometimes it's something simple, like a bath or it's something a 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

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

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 Leave a comment

Salon A.K.S. Manicure Trends for Spring and Summer

One of the events I had the pleasure of attending during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week was a Manicure Trend Event hosted by Salon A.K.S to showcase their custom blended nail creations for Spring and Summer.  With a lot of their clients embracing bolder nails (thanks to the likes of fashionistas like Rihanna and Fergie),  for Spring and Summer the Salon A.K.S nail team went for a modern twist on the French Manicure and produced six amazing (three for spring and three for summer) looks that have me peeking down random holes for any sign of a Groundhog.  All six looks were the result of custom blended nail colors from Essie and Deborah Lippmann by the three A.K.S Nail Technicians Kelly, Doris and Rita.

For Spring the looks were very soft, feminine and ethereal.  The three custom blended shades for Spring are Greek Goddess, Baby’s Breath and Lilac in the Tuleries…I feel ethereal just saying them out loud.

The looks for Summer are flirty, fun, edgy and sexy…I can definitely picture them on the likes of Rihanna,  Katy Perry and even Lady Gaga.  Of the three shades (Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Polka Dot, Sizzling Summer Pink and Hot Poppy) my favorite is Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Polka Dot (try to guess which one that is from the pic).

Of course one simply cannot attend a Manicure Trend Event without sampling one of the trends.  The shade I chose was Lilac In The Tuleries…with the exception of the white tip.  The shade looked great on my skin tone and although it was Lilac it seemed to go with everything I wore that week.  I also left with tips from my nail technician, one being that the white spots  nails do not indicate a calcium deficiency as many people think, but is actually a sign of dehydration, the other tip was that miniaturization right before bed is necessary in the prevention of dry cuticles and hang nails.

With this winter seemingly being one of the worst I can recall in a very long time, it was great to experience (if even very fleetingly) a taste of early Spring.

Posted on by Gail Lewis in Beauty Trends, Nail Polish, salon, Spring Beauty, Summer Beauty 4 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

Tommy Hilfiger’s Fresh Makeup Look for AW11

Fresh, luminous, gorgeous skin was on display at Tommy Hilfiger.  Moisturizer with concealer as needed was applied to the skin, as well as Blot Pressed Powder to the t-zone for a matte finish.  “The Perfect Cheek” Blush was applied to the apples of the cheek.  Groundwork Paint Pot was applied to the lids, crease and under the eye,  a copper gloss was applied  on top of that and Clear Lipglass layered on top of that.  Lip Conditioner was  applied to the lips to complete the look, which was very “All American”…exactly what Tommy Hilfiger exemplifies.  Read more

Posted on by Gail Lewis in Fashion Week Beauty, 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

Easy, Glamorous Hair at Carmen Marc Valvo AW11

Lead stylist (and Ted Gibson protege)  Devin Toth created easy, simple, clean but glamorous hair at Carmen Marc Valvo AW11.  The look was inspired by a ballerina, but softer.   Ted Gibson Styling Sheets were used to remove any excess oil in the hair, it was parted half up, half down, the top part was then finger combed to the back, twisted into a bun and secured with pins.  It was very pretty, but not too elegant.  Read more

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