My Top Five Beauty Products From Whole Foods

The only department in Whole Foods that I normally skip is the beauty department. It's true. I guess I've always just felt that the Whole Foods beauty department contained products that would be of little or no interest to me due to them smelling weird or my assumption that they were ineffective. Well we Read more

10 Year Blogiversary #Giveaway: Mischo Beauty

I am super excited to kick off our 10 year blogiversary month of giveaways with Mischo Beauty! I've known Kitiya since the beginning and I am so proud of her for launching her 5-free nail lacquer brand. The Diana Nail Lacquer Set pictured above is part of her Icons Collection. We're Read more

10 Years Blogging 10 Giveaways

Dear 2005 self, launching A Girl's Gotta Spa! ® was your best idea yet. I still cannot believe that 10 years later, I'm still here. All thanks to you, our readers, both old and new. Instead of re-hashing all that I have learned in 10 years (because you can just read Read more

Why Oral Health is Important

Disclosure: Thanks to LISTERINE® I’m practicing good oral care as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars #Listerine Is your mouth on your side? Poor oral health affects aspects of your life that you may not expect. While improper oral health practices deeply affect the health of your mouth, you may Read more

Susan Posnick COLORFLO Loose Mineral Foundation and Kabuki Brush

I know that this may sound somewhat contradictory, but I love wearing makeup that I can't really feel. I like knowing that it's there on my skin, but do not want to be reminded that it's actually sitting on my skin throughout the day. This is why I love wearing Susan Read more


Video Review: Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara

Do you know the number one reason why I don’t typically apply mascara to my bottom lashes? The applicators are usually too big and over sized mascara wands + clumsy = disaster! (If this applies to you too, raise your hand!)

Clinique‘s new Bottom Lash Mascara solves that problem while keeping it completely affordable as well! Available in February, but I found it already available on ($10). Check out my new video review and let me know what you think!  Read more

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

Look Lovely in Lavender Makeup Shades this Spring!

Normally I wouldn’t go recommend something quite so cliche as wearing uber-festive pastel makeup shades just to get into the pre-spring mood, but how can I resist rounding up a selection of appropriately-hued beauty buys when San Francisco keeps getting blessed with prematurely springy weather? Let’s face it — lavender is just waiting to be embraced, so you might as well jump on the beauty trend now before it grows overdone and stale!

Think of the shade as considerably easier to wear than full-on purple, yet a bit trickier than your average plum; the idea is to go for soft and pretty, not Grandma-“chic” or garish, which can be tough with such an Easter egg color. But just because the color is traditionally mild doesn’t mean it can’t edge things up — try Deborah Lippmann nail lacquer in Wicked Game, a smoky gray-lavender, or opt for a lavender version of the smoky eye, courtesy of Maybelline Smokes quads, for a cool take on the pretty shade!

Pictured above: Topshop Lip Polish in Lavender, Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish in Wicked Game, NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Lavender, Lancome Color Design Eye Shadow in Camisole, and Maybelline Expert Wear Eyeshadow Quad in Lavender Smokes.

– Alex Gambardella

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

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Beauty Discount, eye shadow, eyeliner, Makeup, Nail Polish, Spring Beauty 1 Comment

Sephora and Shopbop Team Up To Create the Ultimate Coordinating Palette!

Despite being the ultimate beauty addict, something about widely extensive all-inclusive palettes tends to overwhelm me, surprisingly enough. I mean, I rarely ever actually use every shade in a palette that boasts nearly every color in the rainbow and beyond However, the customizable, downsize-able, grab-it-and-go ability of Sephora’s new Color Play II 5-in-1 Palette is too conveniently awesome to pass up.

Created by a partnership of two shopping meccas of the beauty and fashion worlds, Sephora and Shopbop, the “Fashion Edition” Color Play Palette takes inspiration from the year’s hottest looks from Shopbop to create 5 interchangeable palettes that can be mixed and matched, or removed from the main palette and slipped into your purse for mid-day touchups! From Boho Bombshell (amped-up neutrals) to Black is the New Black (dramatic smokey eye looks), each of the 5 sub-palettes has its own unique color story, but can be worn and coordinated with shades of another palette to create your own signature look, depending on your mood or outfit of course.

Sure, I may not wear all 65 shades included, but for a mere $30, I’m certainly willing to experiment!

– Alex Gambardella

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

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Beauty Discount, eye shadow, Makeup 1 Comment

Lip Gloss Addicts Will Love Victoria’s Secret Beauty Rush Sets!

If you have a girl on your gift-shopping list who is all about lip gloss, feed her addiction with one of the gorgeous gloss sets from Victoria’s Secret Holiday Collection! With festive takes on their ever-popular Beauty Rush gloss, these sets make adorable stocking stuffers (or a cute ornament!), complete with limited-edition shades and flavors she may not otherwise be able to collect.

The Star Bright Beauty Rush gift set contains five limited-edition just-for-holiday shades — Double Truffle, Cookie Kiss, Hottie Cider, Sweet Gleam, Tiny Bubbles and Dandy Cane. Plus, as a sucker for cute packaging, I especially love the festive star case that practically presents itself — which is definitely a good thing, since it looks pretty impossible to wrap! It’s the perfect stocking stuffer for a girl who always needs to stay equipped with a to-go tube of gloss in every purse, and the variety of neutral and deeper tones will have her set for any occasion.  Read more

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Lancome Holiday Brush Set For The Practical Beauty On Your List

Normally, makeup brushes are hardly something to get excited about — whether you’re gifting them, unwrapping them, or buying them for yourself. Sure, they’re a great purchase, especially when you find quality at an affordable price (nice brushes get expensive!), but you don’t typically squeal with glee upon receiving them and run off to experiment. After all, they’re usually more of a makeup necessity (if you consider cosmetics application a necessity — I sure do!) than an indulgence; in other words, brushes are something you need as opposed to something you want. However, the holiday season always seems to have a knack for transforming those ‘blah’ necessities into a totally adorable gift.

Take the Lancome Holiday Brush Set, for example, a 5-piece set of brushes that covers all your bases (foundation, blush, contour, shadow, and blending) and comes in a pretty jeweled clutch! It’s perfect for the girl on your list who appreciates practical beauty gifts, but doesn’t necessarily want to be bored! And the best part? They’re recognizably holiday-festive with their shimmery grip and jeweled clutch, and therefore the ideal stocking stuffer, but not so much so that you’re unseasonably reminded of Christmas all year round! Read more

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Make Your Peepers Go “Pow” with a Foiled Shadow Look

Since the shimmery and glittery eyeshadow look is totally in right now, especially now that we’re in the midst of the holiday season when a little added shine is sweet and festive, using an ultra-sparkly shadow as the prime focus of your evening party look is a bit… well, expected. To amp up your makeup a step up on the glam scale, I suggest trying out the foiled shadow look. Think metallic but with a chrome-like sheen that reflects light and stands out and makes eyes pop in a dramatic yet seriously gorgeous way — the liquid metal look packs a punch without being too hard to pull off.

First and foremost, make sure to prep lids with a pigment-enhancing primer like Pop Beauty’s Magnet Primer to make the most out of the shadow you choose for maximum impact. Then swipe on a foiled shadow of your choice — opaque cream or liquid shadows like Revlon’s Molten Metal or Laura Mercier Metallic Creme Colour tend to naturally have more concentrated color than powder does. However, if you mix a loose or pressed shadow like Bobbi Brown Chrome Eyeshadow or BareMinerals High Shine Eyecolor with a bit of water, it will apply with a fierce intensity!

– Alex Gambardella

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

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Beauty Discount, eye shadow, giveaway, Makeup 3 Comments

Beauty Blogger’s Charity Auction to Benefit Doctors Without Borders

BeautyBloggers.orgLast week I donated a bunch of unused beauty products to my local domestic violence shelter, VIP. This month I also teamed up with 40+ bloggers and beauty brands for a charity auction to benefit Doctors Without Borders. My auction includes some items from Estee Lauder’s Extravagant Holiday collection. And I am pretty excited that it is already getting bids!

When Karla Sugar asked me to get involved, I decided that this was a great cause marketing campaign because 100% of the profit from each winning auction goes to charity. That means all products were donated and all of the beauty bloggers involved have agreed to pay for shipping the items.

Here’s what you need to know:  Read more
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Travel Beauty: Weekend in Rhode Island

Last weekend I returned to my home state of Rhode Island for a family event. As always I snapped a quick shot of the beauty products that came along for the ride.

Travel Beauty
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Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, blush, brows, concealer, eye shadow, eyeliner, Makeup, makeup remover, mascara, mineral makeup, skin care, teeth whitening, Travel Beauty 2 Comments

Guerlain’s Primer Is Worth Its Weight In Gold!

Guerlain Primer with Pure Gold

Gold-infused makeup products are undoubtedly luxe, naturally luminous, and perhaps borderline extravagant, but they’re not necessarily a novel idea. However, Guerlain’s new gilded makeup base takes beauty decadence to a whole other level! Infused with real 24-carat gold, Guerlain L’Or Radiance Concentrate is said to perfect the appearance of your complexion with its light-reflecting flecks, but isn’t just about luminous looks. The cooling gel also infuses moisture into skin and smooths out skin’s tone and surface, creating an even base that helps makeup glide on effortlessly and prevents it from settling into fine lines or pores. While the product itself certainly looks expensive, I’m curious to see if the gold flecks really are what make this Guerlain primer such a cosmetic success, or if it’s more of a selling point to lure beauty mavens who love to lave themselves in lavishness. In any case, at $70, it’s certainly not a product you can afford to simply test out on a whim, though I’m almost tempted to buy it just to see how gorgeous it would look on my bathroom counter!

-Alex Gambardella

Save on Guerlain at Sephora from TheFind’s coupon site.

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

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Beauty Discount, Makeup 1 Comment

Eyeliner Goes Glam Rock With The “Rock For Ever” Aqua Eyes Collection

I’ve been a faithful user of MAC Studio Fix powder for years now, and despite the fact that it’s been my go-to foundation (read: comfort zone) for awhile, I have to admit — I do need to have it on me at all times for frequent touch-ups throughout the day. So when a MAC foundation promises a whopping 15 hours of coverage “in any environmental condition,” naturally I’m going to be intrigued — flawless coverage that I don’t have to worry about checking up on every couple of hours? Sounds almost too good to be true.

Normally I like to stray away from liquid foundations precisely because they tend to not last long enough or appear too heavy on my combination skin, but the Longwear formula seeks to fight against most common liquid foundation shortcomings. The impressive promise of 15-hour coverage has yet to be tested to its limit (I’ll have to wait for a day that I actually need makeup on for 15 hours at once!), but at the very least seems to provide crease-free coverage that doesn’t budge or start to settle in fine lines or corners like my powder foundation often does by the time my afternoon coffee break rolls around. Plus, with a “natural” finish, it isn’t overly heavy and matte or, on the flip side, too dewy or shiny, and the medium coverage gives me a smooth base without appearing or feeling cakey. So far I’m impressed, but I’ve yet to test out this “marathon” makeup formula in more trying weather conditions!  Read more

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