Nine Things I've Learned in Nine Years of Beauty Blogging

A lot has happened since 2005. A Girl's Gotta Spa! began as a beauty blog intended to help other women, short on time, discover meaningful reviews and tips that they could incorporate into their daily lives. It was also a way for me to connect socially with women in Read more

Hydrating DIY Coconut Oil Foot Scrub

Feet are always in need of some restoration and hydration no matter the season. Whether you’ve had a long day at the office, you’re suffering from dry flip-flop feet, or you’re trying to break in a new pair of heels, there is nothing a DIY at-home foot scrub can’t Read more

GR8SKN Acne Spot Treatment

Teen skin issues are in full force in my house. Thankfully my sons have taken an interest in caring for their skin and always come to me with questions about how to clear up blemishes, moisturize and cleanse their skin, and for my oldest, asked my husband to show Read more

Lemon Ginger Lavender Spa Elixir

With the change of season it takes an extra dose of effort (and nutrients) to ward off dreaded colds. The Umstead Hotel and Spa (Cary, N.C.) is treating spa guests to a soothing seasonal Lemon Ginger Lavender Elixir that will be more pleasant on the palate than cough syrup! Chef Greg Gettles shares his recipe for a refreshing, Read more

NEOVA Copper Moisture Mask

Copper has many skin care benefits including the promotion of collagen and elastin production, as well as acting as an antioxidant. Copper peptides help to firm, smooth and soften skin, and it's said that copper can accomplish it in half the time compared to most other anti-aging skin care Read more

Brows

Best Tips for Tweezing

Best Brow Tweezing Tips #beauty

The biggest mistake people make is tweezing too much. Avoid over plucking as it can take months for brows to grow back. Follow these tips from Malynda Vigliotti, aka Boom Boom, to get the perfect brows every time.

Brows are sisters, not twins – they should be proportionate, but not identical. Tip: The space between brows should be equal to, or a little wider than eyes. Take a long eye shadow brush or pencil and hold it parallel to the side of the nose. Where the brush meets the brow is where brows should begin. To find the end, extend the brush diagonally from the nostril following the outside edge of the eye toward the brow. Where the inside edge of the brush hits is where it should end. If brows are too far apart, it can make the nose appear larger – yikes! (See the step by step brow guide with pictures.) Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, brows, brows Leave a comment

3 Simple Steps to Finding Your Brow’s Arch

Need some help in finding the perfect arch in your brows? It’s not complicated and brow guru, Malynda Vigliotti aka Boom Boom, breaks it down for us in 3 simple to follow steps.

What you’ll need:
Mirror
Makeup brush or pencil

The space between brows should be equal to or a little wider than eyes. Use a makeup brush or pencil to assess.

1. Start: Hold the brush parallel to the side of the nose, where the brush meets the brow is where the brow should begin.

Define your brow arch, here's how! #beauty #brows Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, brows, DIY Beauty Leave a comment

3 Brow Essentials

Brow Obsession: 3 Brow Essentials

Your brows are an essential part to framing your face. Having the right tools is a necessity.

There are plenty of products out there – from brow gels to brow tints, to brow pens and brow markers and so on. What I’ve noticed lately is that there have been three brow products that I always seem to reach for.

NARS Brow Perfector ($22): This brow pencil has a velvety feel as you fill in where hair is sparse and shape where necessary. It blends perfectly, not making my brows too dark (I used Brown) and filling them out without looking “sharp” in their appearance. This pencil doesn’t budge once blended in. Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, brows, highlighter, Makeup, makeup tips 3 Comments

STARLOOKS Starbox Review



A Girl's Gotta Spa! Starlooks Starbox #reviewDuring summer I like to scale way back on my makeup usage, as I do with almost everything else that’s beauty and fashion related.  It just becomes to difficult of a battle to try to prevent most makeup from melting, smearing and disappearing.  I still, of course, want to look put together for all those summer festivals, barbecues, graduations and weddings, but try to do so with the least amount of products possible.

For the past two weeks I have been in a very hot and humid Minneapolis for a wedding and to spend time with friends and family over the July 4th weekend and trust me when I say that trying to look presentable makeup wise in downright muggy situations was nearly impossible.  Had it not been for my STARLOOKS May Starbox, I might not have been able to post 90% of my pictures on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or anyplace else.  My STARLOOKS May Starbox contained “Emphasize” Cream Blusher,  “BS443″ Brow Shader, and  “Cinnamon Toss” Eye Pigment, which is perfect for me since I tend to stick to a groomed brow and blush with lip balm or lip gloss during the day and will add some eyeshadow for a night out. Read more

Posted on by Gail Lewis in beauty, blush, brows, eye shadow, highlighter, Makeup Leave a comment

Laura Mercier Eyebrow Pencil Review

You may be wondering why I’m bothering to write about an eyebrow pencil. It seems like such a drab product compared to  more colorful makeup like eye shadow and lipsticks. True, but if the eyes are the windows to the soul then the brows are the frame to a beautiful portrait–your eyes! It’s amazing how properly shaped, well groomed brows can make such a difference in making your eyes stand out.

Read more

Posted on by Cindy in beauty, brows, Makeup Leave a comment

IT Cosmetics Universal Brow Power Review

I’ve mentioned a few hundreds of times my affection for IT Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Eyebrow Pencil ($24).

I have gone through no less than 4…count ‘em…4 tubes of this eyebrow pencil.  This pencil provides a wonderful solution to a real problem. Weather you have sparse, overplucked or just thinning  brows, Brow Power can help.  As we get older, our brows as well as our lashes get thinner.  Developed with leading plastic surgeons, these brow pencils infuse a blend of brow-conditioning ingredients including saw palmetto, nettle extract, green tea, biotin, lecithin, grape seed, panthenol, and vitamins A, C, E.  Your brows really do make a difference and can frame your eyes beautifully.  Read more

Posted on by Cindy in beauty, brows, Makeup Leave a comment

Brow Q&A with Christina Snead of blink in Minneapolis, MN

It seems like thicker, fuller brows are suddenly EVERYWHERE…eyebrow implant procedures are becoming more popular by the minute, so for those of us who crave thicker, fuller brows but were not born with the brows of Arizona Muse and cannot afford eyebrow implants, I decided to ask Christina Snead of blink  in Minneapolis, MN for her recommendations on how to begin the process of growing our brows out.  blink is a brow beauty boutique in Minneapolis that specializes in waxing/threading, makeup application and facials.  Christina Snead Snead is one of the partners in beauty at Blink (the other is Brook, who is also amazing) and has been in the aesthetics for over 12 years and she is the only person I trust with my brows.

Q: First of all, how does one even begin the process of growing their brows out?  Read more

Posted on by Gail Lewis in beauty, beauty interview, brows Leave a comment

Mitsuwa Marketplace in Arlington Heights Chicago

Over the years I’ve come to learn that amazing beauty products are not only found in traditional beauty/cosmetics stores, but in out of the way places you wouldn’t normally consider.  My most recent great findis Mitsuwa Marketplace.  This place was recommended to me by Ji Cho, owner of Nami Restaurant in Minneapolis, MN and beauty product guru…seriously the woman is insanely knowledgeable about every and anything beauty related.  Mitsuwa Marketplace is the largest Japanese Supermarket in the U. S. They are mostly located in California with one in New Jersey and the one I visited in Chicago. This place is awesome and carries a wide variety of Japanese groceries, general items, electric appliances and beauty products.  They even have a bookstore as well as a food-court with fantastic Japanese food.

I went to Mitsuwa Marketplace with the intention of getting a deep conditioning treatment and a cream for my ends…I came out with shampoo, conditioner , conditioning hair treatment, cleansing face oil and brow pencil and this was after I decided to put some products back on the shelf!  The selection of cosmetics and beauty products were just amazing.  They had products for your hair that I never even knew existed.  The shampoo and conditioner that I bought were both from Shiseido and they’re absolutely wonderful, very moisturizing and an absolute steal!  I paid just $18.99 for both 550ml bottles (they were on special that day.)  The conditioning treatment is also pretty amazing, the brand is called IchiKami and that is about all I can decipher because everything else is in Japanese.  I love the cleansing face oil, it’s very gentle on my skin but still thoroughly cleans my face without making it feel dry.  I keep the brow pencil that I bought from there in my make-up bag at all times.  It has two sides, one side is your traditional brow pencil with a much finer tip for a really precise application and the other side is more like a liquid liner…but for your brows.  The pencil  fills in my brows, but they never look overdone and I have to wash my face to remove it because I’ve been to the gym a few times after having applied the brow pencil and it stayed put through my entire workout…and my workouts are pretty intense ones that produce buckets of sweat.

I regret not getting some of the other products I had my eyes on, like the liquid liner (my beauty guru Ji said that the Japanese liquid liners have a finer more precise tip than their American counterparts, she also suggested the fake eyelashes which are apparently pretty great.) I did discover that  Mitsuwa Marketplace does have an online store which made me pretty ecstatic, but the selection of beauty products available online is kind of limited compared to the store, lucky for me I will be spending this summer in Minnesota which means I will have plenty of opportunity to try every product  I had my eye on. Have you been there and discovered some great beauty brands yourself?

 

Posted on by Gail Lewis in beauty, brows, Hair Care, Makeup, skin care Leave a comment

Brow Review: Gee Beauty at Bal Harbour Shops, FL

It’s no secret that since moving from Minnesota to Florida exactly one year ago I’ve experienced my share of brow challenges. Not knowing where to go, I’ve taken the advice of other people and ended up with insanely thick and overly arched brows, as well as, brows that were a lot shorter and gave me an E.T. like appearance.  I was resigned to either waiting until fashion week so that I could have them done by a studio I trusted in New York or magically having the finances to book a trip to MN every eight weeks to visit my usual brow studio there…neither option was very realistic, so I was relieved if not a bit anxious when I heard about Gee Beauty in Bal Harbour Shops…a mere fifteen minutes away from where I reside.

Gee Beauty was founded in Canada and have only recently opened their second location in Bal Harbour in August. As previously mentioned, I was a bit hesitant to try yet another brow studio in Miami due to my not so pleasant experiences, but my anxiety all but dissipated upon a brief visit to the Gee Beauty website.  I was instantly assured that my brows would be in expert hands as soon as I saw that they offered a service called Brow 911, which is specifically designed to “rescue your brows,” I could barely contain my excitement the day before my appointment , I just knew I would leave with much improved brows and Gee Beauty did not disappoint at all.

The space is absolutely beautiful, modern, clean, inviting and very chic. Besides being incredibly attractive with gorgeous brows, the staff was really friendly and seemed very knowledgeable about the products that they carry (based on conversations with other customers that I overheard.) My appointment was with Natalie Gee, co-founder of Gee Beauty and brow magician…also incredibly attractive with very expertly applied make up and brows to die for. Natalie explained that she would be threading my brows…which I always prefer over waxing since I always tend to break out after a brow wax and about fifteen minutes later she sat me up in front of the mirror and I swear I just about teared up at how amazing my brows looked…trust me you would have too if your brows had undergone any of the pre-Gee Beauty torture mine experienced. My brows looked incredibly well groomed, they were thick, just the right length and the arches were absolutely perfect, I could not have been happier.

In addition to brow services such as brow tinting, clean up, shaping and complete brow overhaul, Gee Beauty also offers a vast array of beauty services such as makeup application and lessons, facials, tanning, faux lash application and tinting as well as an entire menu dedicated specifically to the fellas…if I were a fella I would definitely go for a service called The Sean Connery.  Gee Beauty also carries some pretty amazing and hard to find beauty brands such as SkinCeuticals, Malin + Goetz, Rodin Olio Lusso, St. Tropez Tan and Talika…to name a few.

With the season in Miami getting in full swing and the holidays right around the corner, I can’t help but feeling like I got wind of Gee Beauty just in time.  I mean the brows I had before seeing Natalie would have been just fine for Halloween but I would have faced some difficulty explaining them after October 31st and I am ecstatic that now I won’t have to.

Posted on by Gail Lewis in beauty, brows, brows 5 Comments

Review: Anastasia Beverly Hills Holiday 2011

 “If your eyes are the windows to your soul, your eyebrows are the curtains.”

I’d like to thank the anonymous beauty babe who came up with that bit of wisdom – and I’m sure eyebrow expert to the stars Anastasia Soare of Anastasia Beverly Hills would, too.  Anastasia has built a legacy creating products that cater to the brow-obsessed, and her 2011 Christmas Holiday Gift Sets do not disappoint.

 I’ve been a longtime fan of Anastasia Beverly Hills, but up until now had only used a select few products. Naturally, I was psyched to see what the Holiday Sets had in store…

BRIGHT EYES, BIG CITY – Nordstrom, $39

This kit is awesome. It’s a great sampling of products that contains everything you need for a perfectly polished brow: clear eyebrow gel, tweezers, brow powder, and a selection of illuminating products that keep your eye area looking dewy. If you’re just jumping into brow shaping, this is the kit for you.

ALL EYE WANT PALLETE – Sephora, $32

This eyeshadow kit comes complete with 9 stunning neutrals, a mini mascara, and the Anastasia signature clear brow gel. The shadow lasted me through a workday, and it was easy for me to transition into a nighttime look by playing around with the colors a bit.

KISSES ON MY LIST – Sephora, $30

This limited edition gift set comes with six lip glosses in a spectrum of pouty pinks and neutral shades. Perfect for the holiday season, you’ll be looking kissable when standing under that mistletoe.

Ultimately, my favorite set was “Bright Eyes, Big City”, but any of the kits are a great way to introduce a friend (or treat yourself!) to the brand. The eye sets have a nice variety of products, with shadow highlighters and colors that suit all skin tones, and the lip gloss collection will leave your lips plump and color-perfect.

Do you use Anastasia’s products? Share your experience in the comments!

Posted on by Amanda Huggins in beauty, brows, brows, lip gloss, Makeup 1 Comment