Easy Abstract Floral Nail Art Tutorial

I love nail art that looks really intricate, yet is effortlessly simply in application. I asked fellow beauty blogger and fellow Pennsylvanian, A Little Polish to create a tutorial just for A Girl's Gotta Spa! readers. If you're looking for some simple abstract floral nail art, here’s a tutorial to Read more

Wrinkle Reducing Products

When we're young, we take our flawless skin for granted, never considering that what we do early on will affect us when we're older. We try to rush things, like wearing makeup (and always forgetting to take it off), skip things like sunscreen and make poor choices like smoking. Read more

Onsen $1000 Gift Card Giveaway

It's my birthday week and I am turning the big 4-0. What better way to welcome in my 40's than with a giveaway for an amazing anti-aging skin care line? Inspired by the countryside baths of Japan, Onsen skin care products are made with the same restorative minerals found at Read more

Best Body Lotions

  The best body lotions are the kind that leave your skin feeling soft and hydrated, not just for hours, but for days at a time. I am incredibly picky when it comes to my beauty products, and when it comes to body lotion, I need something that delivers. Here's a Read more

Favorite Black Eyeliners

There's something that a black eyeliner conveys that brown or even brightly colored or metallic eyeliners can't duplicate. Black says bold, daring, classic, sexy. While there are times that I opt for brown or grey, a good black eyeliner is always my first choice. Some of my favorites include CoverGirl liquiline Read more

Cosmetics

Banish Brittle Nails With Perfect Formula Pink Gel Coat

Despite the sad natural state of my nails, I’ve always loved trying to make them look as pretty as possible (no matter how futile my efforts) — acrylics, flattering polish shades, various “treatments” that hardly made much visible difference, etc. The truth is, my nails are already brittle to begin with, and my recent obsession with disguising their less-than-healthy surface with the latest trendy shade has now given them a slight yellowish tinge too. Gross, I know… but I’m not the only one who suffers from discolored, chip-prone nails! Enter Perfect Formula Pink Gel Coat, available at Sephora, which works to provide protein-rich protection to help grow tough, beautiful nails that will be less likely to break or peel. The best part? The pink tint helps filter out the yellow appearance of nails, so your tips look healthier and cleaner without having to pay for a manicure! Even if your nails don’t need serious protection like mine do, the gel coat is great for perfecting the look of a French manicure by disguising discoloration and making your polish stay put longer!  Read more

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3 Must-Have Products from Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics

Youngblood Mineral CosmeticsSure I could’ve cleaned up the Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics products in this picture before snapping it. But that would defeat the purpose of this beauty review…because this is must-have makeup, which means I really do use them. What you see here is Youngblood’s Hi-Definition Hydrating Mineral Perfecting Powder in Translucent (bottom), Ultimate Concealer in Medium, and Pressed Individual Eye Shadows in Orca (top) and Jewel (the teal color.)

Eye shadows: The highlighter is “Orca” and the contour “Jewel.” (On the lid you would wear more of a nude/natural color.) I have hazel eyes, so Jewel really makes my eyes pop. It also creates more of a smoky eye look, as well. I can say that at first when I saw Jewel I was nervous because I immediately had a flashback to a bad 80′s blue eye shadow experience.  Thankfully, this teal colored shadow is gorgeous. If Youngblood’s Ultimate Concealer is applied first to your eye area, these shadows won’t crease.   Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, concealer, eye shadow, Makeup, mineral makeup 2 Comments

Make Lids Pop With Watercolor-Inspired Palettes!

I don’t know about your beauty regime, but I’ve spent most of the season taking advantage of my summer tan and going the “bronzed goddess” route — chocolate shadow, golden highlighter, bronzer, nude lips — with the occasional monochromatic smokey eye for those more dramatic nights out. As a result, as much as I love amped-up neutrals and sparkly skin tones, my makeup look is starving for some hardcore color. As wild as it looks, I’m totally loving the watercolor inspiration trend for fall — multi-toned and gradient shadow, candy colors that pop despite the impending dreary weather, and rainbow shades that a conservative gal would normally steer clear from!

Mix and match your shadow and liner with a coordinating bright duo, like Sephora Collection’s Colorful Duo Eyeshadow in Tropical Blue, or if full-on neon shadow isn’t your thing, go neutral on your lids while making liner pop with a colorful swipe of one (or two!) of the shades from Illamasqua’s Liquid Metal Palette! Face painting never looked so chic! Make sure not to incorporate a whole art gallery’s worth of color on your face at one time, however; it’s definitely possible to go overboard with this trend!  Read more

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

Safeguard Your Makeup Look With a Smudge-Proof Setting Spray

Given the many steps required for a complete makeup look (you know, foundation, bronzer/blush, shadow, liner, mascara, lip gloss — the works), combined with this late summer heat, your beauty regime hardly stands a chance when it comes to braving the elements and still looking fresh by the day’s (or night’s) end. Even though I’ve recently become a serious primer addict — which definitely improves the situation — my makeup still requires some major touch-ups by the time 3 o’clock rolls around, not to mention happy hour. Think of setting sprays as your “post-application primer”… or something like that. Instead of just prepping your skin and creating a smooth canvas for you to apply your makeup, setting sprays finish off your look and give it an invisible, lightweight “veil” or seal after it’s already been applied — giving it that waterproof, crease-proof, budge-proof shield that it needs to withstand your day’s trials and tribulations (even if that only involves some pesky wind or humidity). To get you started, Make Up For Ever’s Mist & Fix is a popular favorite because it’s ultra-sheer and doesn’t make you feel like you’re wearing an addition layer on your face, but I have to say I’m especially intrigued by Urban Decay’s All Nighter, which boasts a whopping 16 hours of staying power!  Read more

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Protect While You Polish With Dr.’s Remedy Nail Polish

As a girl with weak, brittle, sad nails, my nail polish fetish is a bit, well… under utilized. That’s why I can totally appreciate polish that boasts nail-boosting qualities to help strengthen and protect them from breakage, not only helping me grow my nails to their long, healthy potential, but also giving me more of an excuse to paint my stumpy excuses for nails! Dr.’s Remedy brand, founded by podiatrist Dr. Cirlincione, didn’t necessarily have the most novel idea by deciding to create a polish using natural ingredients that’s free of harsh chemicals, but the fact that the brand boasts the benefits of a non-toxic, nutrient-enriched polish along with the staying power, color saturation, and variety of shades of our favorite salon brands is a pretty impressive feat!  Read more

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Choose a Tinted Moisturizer For Lightweight Summer Coverage

In the hot summer months, when you’d like your beauty regime to be as simple and lightweight as possible, sometimes it ends up being the complete opposite. The harsh sun requires some hardcore SPF, while the constant heat calls for some serious moisturizer. Then of course you need your usual concealer, foundation, powder, bronzer and what-have-you, depending on how high-maintenance your normal beauty routine, but let’s face it — summer beauty should be easy, lightweight yet pretty, and if possible, a single-step process! Enter tinted moisturizer — the perfect 3-in-one product for keeping skin soft, protected, yet also presentable!  Read more

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

NARS “So Famous” Set For Subtle Summer Shimmer

I have to admit, though while I’m always intrigued by NARS products for all their hype and blog-worthy praise (namely the ever-popular Orgasm blush), I don’t have many of the brand’s products. After all, I am a bit of a recessionista (not so much when it comes to makeup, but I try!), and NARS is definitely on the higher end of the beauty spectrum. However, the normally high price tag is only more reason to indulge in a value set when the opportunity arises, because they not only provide a selection of fan-favorite products for a well-worth-it bargain, but they also highlight shades and products you may not have normally tried out on their own. While the “So Famous” set, which features flattering shimmery shades for eyes, lips, and cheeks, is marketed as a “gift set,” I think it’s perfectly suitable for some self-gifting! The soft pinks are totally wearable for any season, so you can’t go wrong in caving in and splurging on this set!  Read more

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Cheeks Stains Are The Way To Go For A Lightweight Natural Flush!

In the summer months ahead, the last thing you want for your hot-day beauty look is a heavy, powdery finish and an overall cake-y appearance. The idea of packing on foundation, powder, and blush, all topped off with a layer of sunscreen is just a sweaty-face disaster waiting to happen (in fact, it’s making my own makeup crease just thinking about it), so instead of renouncing makeup altogether, it’s time to rethink your product formulas. For summer, swap your favorite pressed powder blush for a gel-based cheek stain — the result is not only more lightweight and less drying, but it also gives your face a breather and provides a much more natural flush.  Read more

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

MAC & Alice + Olivia Is A Match Made For Color Mavens!

If you haven’t heard, Alice + Olivia designer Stacey Bendet has teamed up with MAC to create a limited edition collection that launches July 8th and will be available through August. The result is perfectly MAC-appropriate with highly-saturated, peacock-inspired shades — deep navy pigment, sparkly purple and matte turquoise nails, chartreuse and fuchsia Dazzleglasses, and more. Anyone who is a fan of MAC’s less “practical” shades is bound to be a fan of this collabo, but ultra-girly followers of the clothing line alone may find these shades better suited on a blouse of printed skirt instead of on their face!  Read more

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Scott Barnes Body Bling Adds Color and Shimmer Without Streaks

If you haven’t heard of Scott Barnes, it’s certainly not because he’s not worth knowing about. The successful makeup artist has created looks for the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Mariska Hargitay, Kim Kardashian, and has recently released a book, About Face, which gives insight on the secrets behind his most famous beauty transformations. He believes that the key to a gorgeous look is first and foremost a healthy, glowing complexion, and his widely popular Body Bling is what he considers to be the perfect way to achieve it without harmful rays or an unflattering orange hue.  Read more

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