Target the 5 Signs of Aging #ad

Disclosure: Thanks to RoC® MULTI CORREXION® 5 in 1 Chest, Neck and Face Cream, I’m targeting the 5 signs of aging as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars #WomenWhoRoC While the Summer wreaks havoc on my skin by aging it with damaging UV rays, the Winter is equally as Read more

Probiotic Skin Care: Miracle Ingredient or Marketing Hype?

As a consumer, my hope is that when a product comes to market, it delivers information that is true. I mean, we're all so busy, who has the time to fact check everything? For a while, we all believed the mascara commercials and ads where the spokesperson/model had the most Read more

Tips for Gray Hair #GrayAway

I hate to break it to you, but eventually gray hair will rule your mane. Chances are, if you are reading this article, you already know this to be true. When we go gray, and how much, is a mix of genetics and lifestyle. So while you may not be Read more

Charcoal Skin Care Products for Acne Prone Skin

Do you have oily or combination skin? You may want to consider incorporating charcoal into your skin care regimen. Sure, charcoal is totally on trend right now and may seem like a fad, but it's for good reason. Charcoal absorbs oil and draws out toxins and bacteria from the skin. Those Read more

Voluminous Beach Wave Hair

Little did I know when growing up on the beaches of Rhode Island, that the wavy hair that came naturally among the sand and surf, would be a hairstyle I would try so hard to achieve as an adult. While my hair does have a slight natural wave to it, Read more


Smashbox Photo Finish SPF15 with Dermaxyl

I have never really seen the point of primers and tended to regard them as a way for a cosmetic company to sell a product that is essentially superfluous. That is until I bought Smashbox Photo Finish SPF15 ($17) and discovered that it completely transforms the look and behavior of foundation to create a super smooth and long-lasting look. OK, I get it now. But there’s a lot more going on with this primer.

Smashbox Photo Finish SPF15 is an anti-aging version of its cult status foundation primer, Photo Finish. In addition to sunscreen ingredients, it boasts something called Dermaxyl, which makes this version of Photo Finish an anti-ager. Makeup morphing into skincare is a trend that we are going to see more of. In a way, this makes Photo Finish something of a BB cream, these new multitaskers that are all the rage in Asia and are taking off in the US. But do these additional bells and whistles really add up to much?

My guess is that Smashbox’s Dermaxyl is one of the collagen-boosting peptides that is known as Matrixyl 3000, palmitoyl oligopeptide, and antioxidant green tea and grape seed extracts. Plus there’s kola seed (which is a source of caffeine) and moisturizing ceramide-2. These are all worthwhile additions and I like the thought that a humble primer is doing my skin some good.

On the other hand, I would prefer Photo Finish SPF15 if Smashbox hadn’t decided to include a sunscreen at all. I can see why it wouldn’t choose chalky (but relatively safe) zinc oxide, but I wish it hadn’t opted for the toxin and estrogen mimicking, octinoxate (although researchers disagree on the concentrations needed before it becomes harmful). The other sunscreen used here is the relatively safe octisalate. There’s also diethylamino hydroxybenzoyl hexyl benzoate, a UVA absorber, which the EU has pronounced as harmless in concentrations up to 10%. So, all in all, it could be worse. There is, though, retinyl palmitate and this is increasingly being regarded as to be avoided if exposure to sun is expected as research has shown it to be carcinogenic.

There’s a ton of silicone here, but then it is a primer after all and that silky layer has to be achieved somehow. Most of the other ingredients, even the solvent methyl perfluroisobutyl ether, seem to be fairly benign.

Before buying this again, I’d prefer that Smashbox made a few formula alterations such as leaving out the retinyl palmitate and finding alternatives to phenoxyethanol and propylene glycol. But until then, Smashbox has given its cult primer a nudge in the right direction for those of us that want makeup to contribute to their anti-aging regimen.

For more honest reviews and information about beauty and personal care products, visit

Active Ingredients: 7.5% octinoxate, 5% octisalate. Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, dimethicone crosspolymer, dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer, methyl perfluroisobutyl ether, methyl perfluorobutyl ether, diethylamino hydroxybenzoyl hexyl benzoate, safflower seed oil, cola acuminata seed extract, green tea, grape seed extract, c12-15 alkyl benzoate, tribehenin, ceramide-2, PEG-10 rapeseed sterol, palmitoyl oligopeptide, tocopheryl acetate, retinyl palmitate, water, ethyl trisiloxane, caprylyl methicone, methicone, silica, silica silyate, hexylene glycol, propylene glycol, triethoxycaprylysilane, caprylyl glycol, ethylhexylglycerin, phenoxyethanol, (+/- iron oxides, titanium dioxide)

Posted on by Marta Wohrle in anti-aging, Makeup, Primer Leave a comment

Givenchy’s Mister Right Collection Helps Kiss Your Beauty Woes Goodbye

Who needs a man when you have something better: the perfect product to help fix your biggest beauty woe. As if the fashion giant’s beauty line needs any help getting acknowledged, their newest Mister Right collection deserves some extra props. No matter what epic beauty problem you’ve struggled with for years, whether it be under-eye circles, a dull complexion, unsightly shininess, or blemishes, Givenchy’s line has your dream fix-it product!

Throw out your other insufficient remedy products that only seem to make your woes worse and take your pick from the selection to find your perfect ‘Mister’ match! Mister Eyebrow helps tame even the most unruly brows and help achieve your ideal shape, Mister Bright helps lighten up dark circles to conceal dark, tired circles, Mister Mat helps de-shine and de-slick an oily T-zone, Mister Radiant helps brighten up your skin for a younger, more awake appearance… and that’s just the beginning of Givenchy’s selection of beauty problem solvers! What product is your Mister Right?

– Alex Gambardella

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

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, brows, concealer, Makeup 2 Comments

Bite Beauty’s Set of 5 Luminous Lipsticks: Even Sexier Than It Sounds

bite beauty lipstickIf you’re a sucker for testing new, up-and-coming beauty brands, you’re definitely due to take a bite of Bite Beauty! Don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of the show-stopping lip-focused company; the Canada-based brand isn’t only a newcomer to the Sephora shelves – it’s a brand-new company!

Sold exclusively at Sephora, Bite seeks to infuse all the most natural and healthiest ingredients around like shea butter, superfoods, and antioxidants to pamper your pucker while refusing to skimp on highly-pigmented, long-lasting color. After all, when it comes to lipstick, what good is a moisture-packed product that doesn’t actually deliver in the color department? Can’t decide which color to try, or can’t decide if you want to commit? No problem! Their 5-piece set of Luminous Creme Lipsticks lets you dabble in all sorts of shades, from shimmering champagne to sultry plum, with three multi-flattering hues in between. For only $25 for a set of 5 (one regular-sized lipstick is $24!), this is a must-have value set for any lipstick addict!

– Alex Gambardella

Guest beauty post from my friends at

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, lipstick, Makeup Leave a comment

mark Celebrity Makeup Artist Mai Quynh 3 Steps to Summer Makeup

We’re now in the throes of summer (I’m sure Back to School commercials will begin playing any day now…) and that means dry heat, humid weather, finding a way to make your makeup last from day until night. I recently asked Mai Quynh, mark Celebrity Makeup Artist, if she could pass along 3 summer makeup tips (which would include mark makeup of course!) Read on…

Summer makeup should be easy and effortless. Definitely wear sunscreen all year round, not just in summer.  Try mark Get a Tint Tinted Moisturizer, it has a built in SPF 15 and it has light coverage which is great for evening out the skin. Lightly dust, mark Matte-Nificent Oil-Absorbing Powder on the t-zone to set.

For the eyes, stick to waterproof formulas  This will help keep your makeup on longer and it will stay put.  I love mark Keep It Going Long Wear Eyeliner and Eye Shadow Duos. They come in plenty of colors and they do not budge! They seriously last all day.

My other favorite product for summer are the mark No Place To Run Eyeliner pencils. They are very creamy eyeliners and they go on smoothly, but they also don’t budge. They stay on for many hours.  Also, use mark Lash Splash Waterproof Mascara. This will guarantee that you won’t have smudges or runs from hot, humid weather. Lastly, my other summertime fave are the new mark Lip Click Color Shine Lipsticks. They are sheer but give a hint of color and they have an SPF 15.

So there you have it! (Most important tip here for me is lip gloss with SPF!) Have you used any of mark’s products?

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, eye shadow, eyeliner, lip gloss, Makeup, makeup tips, mascara Leave a comment

Review: LipSavvy Lip Gloss

I absolutely love lip glosses. They are the one beauty item that you will never find me without.  For  someone like me, who struggles with most types of  makeup application, they are just so easy and foolproof.  Application of glosses does not require absolute precision (like eyeliner and mascara), it does not require much blending (yes I am referring to you foundation, eyeshadow and blush) and usually does not require that you have a mirror handy; lip glosses are just so user friendly.  So most of you can of course understand why I would have multiple lip glosses in the same shade of pink…or nude…or berry, okay you get the idea…I am insane about lip gloss. So it’s no surprise that whenever I find out there is a new lip gloss on the market, I just HAVE to get an introduction.  The most recent introduction occurred between me and LipSavvy Star Studded Shine Lip Gloss in Sho Bunny.

Based solely on appearance, I liked LipSavvy immediately. The design of the LipSavvy gloss pen is really fun and girly, it’s a colorful cheetah print (purple, white, lavender and gold), that stands out from most gloss pens I’ve seen lately, which are for the most part just a single color or clear.  I also love how the gloss smells, sort of like fruity bubblegum, which briefly took me back to my high school days.  The LipSavvy lip glosses are supposed to be anti-aging, plumping and hydrating.  It was definitely hydrating, but without feeling really heavy and sticky.  My lips did appear fuller after I applied the gloss, but I am not sure whether this was from how sparkly the gloss is or from the plumping ingredients it contains…maybe it was both. While the gloss felt great on my lips and smells great, I unfortunately did not like how sparkly it is.  After using it, sparkly residue kept showing up on different places on my face.  My boyfriend also was not a fan because after kissing me he ended up with sparkly stuff all over his lips and chin which was a pain to remove for some reason.  I was pretty bummed because I loved everything else about the gloss.

I think this is one of the times I chose the right brand, but just the wrong product.  The LipSavvy glosses do come in two formulas, ColorGlam and the one I chose, Star Studded Shine.  I am hoping that ColorGlam will have everything I loved about the Star Studded Shine gloss in Sho Bunny with the exception of all that “star studded shine.” Have you tried this product?

Posted on by Gail Lewis in beauty, lip gloss, Makeup 3 Comments

Bailey Cosmetics 5 Easy Piece Kit from Beauty Never Sleeps

In this video, I review Bailey Cosmetics 5 Easy Piece Kit ($129) from Beauty Never Sleeps. I love this kit for a variety of reasons: the blush is the only one that has ever been perfect for my skin tone, the foundation powder is really lightweight, the lip gloss is gorgeous and I love the mesh pouches that can be easily removed and sorted. I do also love the eye shadow duo that comes with this kit (it’s a taupe color and darker brown), but the only flaw was that it does crease.

Nevermind the jean jacket and sweater you see here (since I am posting this in July), I made this video in March when I switched cameras and only figured out how to upload it now.

If you’ve used this line, please let me know what you think of it!

You can see more of my video reviews on A Girl’s Gotta Spa! YouTube channel. Want more video reviews? Just let me know!

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in blush, bronzer, brows, eye shadow, eyeliner, foundation, lip gloss, Makeup 1 Comment

What’s Your Favorite Three Custom Color Product?

Many thanks to Three Custom Color Specialists for featuring me in their newsletter today! Three Custom is allowing me to give away a special code to receive $10 off any product on their site to the first 30 people to comment on this post. In your comment you must tell us which 3C product is your favorite OR which 3C product you are dying to try. (*US only, age 18+. Only one entry per person/per household/per email address.)

For me? I love their Light Clarifier Pencil, Mini Pressed Cool Bronzer and Twinkling Rose Gloss.

Comment away–and I will email the first 30 the code!

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in bronzer, eyeliner, giveaway, lip gloss, Makeup 41 Comments

Review: Illuminare Beyond Black Everlasting Eyeliner

Guest beauty review from Marcia who writes the beauty blog, Beauty Info Zone, along with her blog partner Lisa. She’s been writing about cosmetics for 11 years, but has been a beauty aficionado for decades (and decades.) She used to have nightmares about being without eyeliner so you’ll find a lot of eyeliner reviews from her on her blog.

There is nothing quite like a black eyeliner. It goes with everything and just about everyone needs one in their life (I’m speaking about you beauty lovers of course.) Through my blog partner I’ve learned about one that has blown her socks off so of course I had to buy it for myself and see what she was raving about. Now my socks are blown off too so it’s a good thing it’s not winter in my part of the world. That eyeliner is Illuminare Beyond Black Everlasting Eyeliner.

This is the blackest of any black eyeliner I’ve ever tried and I’m sure I’ve come close to trying them all. I love eyeliner and don’t go a day without it. My two favorite kinds are gel liners and liquid eyeliners. The texture of Illuminare’s Beyond Black is unlike any in my collection. It’s very creamy, actually it’s more like a mousse texture. The first time I dipped my brush into it I was surprised at the softness of it. Because it’s so soft you have to be careful with the amount you pick up so you don’t overdo it.

I use the Paula Dorf Eyeliner brush (holy grail item for me) since I like a fine line. The application of Beyond Black with this brush was the smoothest I’ve ever tried. It is so soft and so silky yet it dries down instantly. If you make a mistake with it you need to work quickly since it sets up so fast.

I don’t normally wear liner on the waterline but I decided to try it out for the sake of review. This black is so intense that it was more obvious than any I’ve tried before therefore it was too much for me, but I admire how it looked and lasted. The day I tried that I removed it after 6 hours and other than one area on my waterline where it was patchy, it was as black as when I started. On a normal day of wearing Beyond Black Everlasting Eyeliner it lasts the entire day, top and bottom lash line. You’d think with that kind of wear it would be a bear to remove, but that’s not the case at all. I use Mary Kay Eye Makeup Remover and it came off quickly and cleanly.

You can find Illuminare on their website but I bought mine from Dermstore since I love their policies (including free shipping). If you are a black eyeliner lover and haven’t tried Illuminare’s out, you are in for a treat. I wonder if my black gel liners will get much use now that I’ve got this.

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in eyeliner, Makeup, mineral makeup 3 Comments

4 Coral Blushes from tarte, Le Metier de Beaute and Benefit Cosmetics

Hi! I’m Cindy, the editor of Prime Beauty, a beauty blog for women 40 & over and in the prime of their lives! Prime Beauty is packed with articles on skincare, makeup, product reviews, new product launches, makeup tips and tricks, and giveaways! Features include Frugal Friday’s inexpensive drugstore beauty finds and Prime Buzz, the latest in beauty news. In addition to looking good on the outside, I hope to encourage, inspire and celebrate women over 40!

Tarte’s Achiote Cheek Tint & Lip Luster Duo

Pick the Fruit of the Lipstick Tree! Tarte has an awesome two-piece QVC spring exclusive–a cream blush and a lipstick, both in the shade Achiote, a peachy coral. The achiote has long been used by American Indians to make body paint, especially for the lips, which is the origin of the plant’s nickname, lipstick tree. I need a lipstick tree in MY backyard!

I love cream blushes for over 40 women as it gives a youthful glow to the cheeks. The blush is a little sticky, but once on cheeks it’s doesn’t feel sticky at all. It blends beautifully and can be applied for a sheer wash of color or built up. I use my duo fiber brush to blend for a completely natural “I’ve been playing outside” look. Lighter skinned beauties will appreciate the touch of pink in this blush so as not to appear too orange and darker beauties can control the application to choose the intensity they prefer.

The Tarte Achiote cheek tint and lip luster duo is available at QVC and retails for $35. I do wish Tarte would make these, the blush and the lip luster, part of the permanent line.

Le Metier de Beaute Radiance Powder Rouge

Le Metier de Beaute Radiance Powder Rouge in Echo is very finely milled, very pigmented and has a buttery texture. The color is an amalgam of pink and coral, perfectly balanced to not appear too pink or turn orange. There a slight golden sheen that imparts a subtle glow complimenting warm skin tones beautifully. ‘Radiance’ is a fitting description; there is no glitter or apparent sparkle, just a pretty golden sheen that adds luminosity to the face. I DIE! This is what I thought NARS Orgasm would do for me, but instead it was a glittery mess.
The quality of this blush is also evident in the lasting power–no fading even after 15 hours of wear. It seems to melt into the skin rather than sitting on top and looking powdery. Echo is truly stunning; a perfect choice for us women over 40 to get our glow back!

Le Metier de Beaute blushes weigh in at 0.13 oz. and retails for $30.

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 hour blush in Tipsy

This spring Tarte introduced an amazing product– the Amazonian Clay 12 hour blush, a collection of eight shades infused with Tarte’s new miracle ingredient Amazonian Clay. The clay, harvested from the banks of the Amazon River is supposed to keep your skin in balance, absorbing oil and hydrating dry areas making it suitable for every skin type and age! I’m a fan of the Amazonian Clay Foundation so I wanted to give the blush a try. Inspired by Tarte’s best-selling shades of cheek stains and lip tints, the colors range from soft to vivid and are supposed to last an amazing 12 hours.

Tarte also boasts the formula contains Vitamins A and E, two natural preservatives that act as anti-inflammatory emollients and protect against free radical damage, Vitamin C, an antioxidant that fights free radical damage and prevents oxidative stress and premature signs of aging, while brightening the skin.  I don’t know about all that, but I know Tarte really delivers on its promise with these blushes; the quality is excellent, they are highly pigmented and really do last for 12 hours. Having dry cheeks, these blushes do not look dry or cakey on my skin and in reading reviews on the Sephora website, they seem to last just as well for oily skin types.

Tipsy is my favorite – helloooo, its coral! The compact is orange, but it’s a really nice pinky coral that imparts a lovely pinky peach flush. Apply with a skunk brush or very light hand! These blushes are some of the most pigmented I own. If your blush fades quickly and you like natural cruelty-free products with good-for-your skin ingredients, this blush is for you! I suggest going to Sephora to test the shades, they apply differently than they look in the pan and read on a computer screen. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blush retails for $25.

Benefit Cha Cha Tint ($29)

Cha Cha Tint a mango-tinted lip & cheek stain, joins her sisters Benetint and Posie Tint in the Benefit lineup of cheek and lip tints. In fact Posie Tint and Cha Cha Tint may well be twins as they both have the same liquid gel texture. The texture makes it so much easier than the original watery Benetint; the thicker gel gives you more time to blend. The packaging is a small jar with a brush applicator is the same for all three. It’s scary bright orange when you open the jar, but rest assured it’s much subtler when applied. I use it by patting several small dots along the cheekbone and blending with my fingers; for more intense color, you can build by applying another layer.

Cha Cha Tint is a great product for the hot humid summer months, since it is a stain, it won’t melt off or look dry and cakey. It lasts all day and gives a soft, peachy coral flush that really does look natural. It can also be used on the lips, although I haven’t tried that yet.

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Posted on by Shannon Smyth in blush, lip gloss, Makeup 4 Comments

Soothe While You Shine with These Lip Balm/Lip Gloss Hybrids!

As the weather warms up and we’re slowly but surely getting enticed to brave the sunny outdoors for summery activities, it’s always important to make sure to be adequately protected from the sun. And while it may be easy to remember slathering on SPF for all your vital exposed skin, it’s also important to give proper attention to extra-sensitive areas like your lips! Having chapped lips is one of the #1 summer beauty woes (not to mention that fact that it makes sipping salt-rimmed margaritas much more painful than necessary!), and lets face it — regular gloss often just doesn’t cut it when it comes to providing the moisturizing power you need.

My quick remedy is usually to layer balm and gloss to make sure I have my bases covered, but why not opt for a multi-tasking gloss-balm hybrid that shines while it soothes and protects? Perfect for girls who want a little sheen and color, don’t want to skimp on protection, and also want to lighten the load in their purse, these balm glosses are bound to be your #1 beauty must-have for the summer!

From left to right: Anastasia Hydrafull Gloss, Philosophy Kiss Me Very Emollient Lip Balm, By Terry Rose Balm Gloss, Clinique Superbalm Moisturizing Gloss, and Givenchy Gelée D’Interdit Smoothing Gloss Balm.

– Alex Gambardella

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

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in lip gloss, lipstick, Makeup 3 Comments