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

Cosmetics

Summer Makeup from Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics

pauline_youngblood_mineral_cosmeticsA few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Pauline Youngblood-Soli, President and Founder of Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics, when I gave a presentation at the HBA Expo. Since my makeup bag seems to be overflowing with Youngblood products these days, I asked Pauline if she would contribute some thoughts on Summer makeup.  And she did!

Summer is the perfect season to lighten up your makeup routine. It’s all about effortless beauty. I recommend using products that feel airy, won’t clog pores and hold up to the heat and humidity.   Read more

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

Get Gilded With Real Gold-Infused Makeup Picks

Gold is already an iconic color of summer, from shimmering beach sands to glowing sun-kissed complexions. But what about real gold? As extravagant as it sounds, the mineral is popping up in all sorts of makeup, from 24k-infused lip glosses and luxe powder eyeshadows to even golden hair pomade! Believe it or not, the extra bling really does serve a purpose beyond just being an indulgent added ingredient — gold flecks give formulas enhanced shine, and appears more subtly shimmery than some Mica-infused products that can appear too glittery or chunky. Believe it or not, most 24k products aren’t much more expensive than their less luxurious brand counterparts, so be careful not to get swindled into paying big bucks for the extra glitz!  Read more

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Mascara That Doesn’t Smudge or Flake? Makeup Artist Roberto Morelli Answers

lancome_eyelashI received the same makeup question from two readers recently:

“Can you recommend a mascara that doesn’t smudge or flake?” Audrey in NJ and Jessica in PA.

I knew the perfect person to ask, none other than celebrity makeup artist, Roberto Morelli. You may remember Roberto worked with celebrity hairstylist Davide Torchio to give me my makeover this past February (summary: it was awesome.)

Roberto’s answer?  Read more

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Dr. Brandt Pores No More Primer Is Worth The Splurge!

Although I love makeup, I hate feeling like I’m hiding under layers of product (especially in the summer), and I rarely have the time to get into multi-step application processes (concealer, base, powder, etc). I usually just like to stick to the basics — foundation, a sweep of shadow, a swipe of gloss — to get my desired look and hit the road! However, ever since I received my first sample of Dr. Brandt’s Pores No More Pore Refiner, I’ve been totally addicted and just had to add face primer to my limited list of beauty routine essentials!  Read more

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Green Your Beauty Routine with Physicians Formula Organic Wear


Cosmetics are notorious for containing harsh chemicals, synthetic ingredients, and being sold in mountains of unnecessary packaging. Environmentally friendly cosmetics companies are starting to pop up here and there, but few have gone to the lengths that Physicians Formula have with their Organic wear line to ensure that they provide their customers with the best all-natural makeup solution on the market. The ingredients are free of synthetic preservatives, 100% cruelty free, and even the packaging is created with the earth in mind.  Read more

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Review: Avon MagiX Cashmere Finish Foundation & superExtend Mascara

In this beauty video review I’m dishing on Avon’s MagiX Cashmere Finish Foundation and superExtend mascara. MagiX Cashmere Finish Foundation is a weightless liquid mousse that creates a smooth, luminious finish. It’s as close to air brushing as makeup can get! superExtend mascara is a creamy formula (available in 4 shades) that claims to build long, sleek, separated lashes that create the look of lash extensions. But did they? Watch the video and find out!  Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Makeup, mascara 2 Comments

Purple Lab Lashionista Modelista

Karen Robinovitz Shannon Nelson Andrea LustigBack in October when A Girl’s Gotta Spa! had its 4 year blogiversary party in New York City, Andrea Pomerantz Lustig from Glamour and I had lunch with Purple Lab’s Creatrix, Karen Robinovitz. (Of course in full disclosure, if you know me and have read this blog long enough, you know that Karen is a friend and someone I work with.) While sitting across from her, we both couldn’t help but remark on her eyelashes. Andrea and I agreed that we thought she was wearing false lashes. And with a big grin Karen explained to us that it was her new eyelash product that would be debuting on HSN in February and she kept hush hush on the details. So I waited with baited breath for the launch.

The night Purple Lab took to HSN, I immediately placed my order online.  Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Makeup, mascara 4 Comments

Dior 5-Colour Eyeshadow – Extase Pinks

If you haven’t gotten around to updating your beauty look for spring, it’s time to get to it! Not only does your skin tone and texture change from season to season, but the clothing colors you wear change too. So you’ll want to experiment with new makeup tones that complement both your skin and your wardrobe. Now is also time to begin wearing sunscreen every day and to perhaps use a lighter moisturizer.

I’m a big fan of buying makeup sets. You may think that 80% of what you get in a set you’ll never use. But you’d be surprised how many different looks you can achieve with a palette of new shades to inspire you. It’s nice to have all those extra colors there when the creative urge strikes.  Read more

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

Josie Maran Natural Wonders Powder Palette

It’s time to start thinking of warming up makeup tones and leaving the cold drama of winter behind. With more bohemian and relaxed styles dominating right now, makeup is ranging from natural looks that enhance, to bright, funky colors that will welcome spring.

I kind of stuck with safe choices over the winter, so to be honest I’m ready to step out and do something bold now. Turquoise seems to be an imporant color for spring right. This Natural Wonders Powder Palette ($35 at Sephora) from Josie Maran has an iridescent turquoise right at the heart of it. Looking at the entire palette, there are definitely different combos here than what I would normally go for, so I’m looking forward to coming out of my shell a little bit. It includes five eye shadows , two blushes and a bronzer. A palette like this can be great if you’re ready to get over the winter blahs and move on to something more daring.

Save on your purchases at Sephora from TheFind.com’s coupon site.

*Guest beauty post from my friends at TheFind.com.

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

VS Beauty Soft Focus Liquid Foundation SPF 20

Recently I attended a media preview for Victoria’s Secret beauty and had the chance to try some products from the VS Makeup collection. The collection is inspired by backstage beauty products used by experts and supermodels both off and on the runway. The collection was created by a former makeup pro for M.A.C. cosmetics. I was impressed with the sleek packaging and high performance formulas. I decided to give the VS Soft Focus Liquid Foundation SPF 20 ($16 for .8oz at Victoria’s Secret) a try.  Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty 2 Comments