Improve Your Brow Game with Chella

My brows are sparse and basically non-existent in some spots. They also do this caterpillar ish from years of plucking the wrong way when I was younger. I've considered getting permanent makeup with a brow tattoo, but to be honest, I'm not a fan of needles (which is also the Read more

Diminish the Look of Fine Lines and Wrinkles #sponsored

Disclosure: Thanks to RoC® Daily Resurfacing Disks, I'm getting taking care of my skin as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars #WomenWhoRoC Are you looking for a simple way to cleanse and exfoliate your skin all in one beauty product? Do you have fine lines, wrinkles and sun damaged Read more

Honey Girl Organics Giveaway with Lilly's Bathcarry

A Girl's Gotta Spa! retailer, Lilly's Bathcarry, knows a thing or two about pampering. We're both on a mission of self care. We've partnered together for a giveaway so that you can treat yourself; there's not just one winner for this giveaway, but TWO. Lilly's Bathcarry will send two winners, chosen Read more

Best Body Washes for Acne-Prone Skin

Bacne. Something that is often dreaded when the warmer weather hits and you want to ditch the layers. While I personally haven't experience body acne, I do have keratosis pilaris on my arms and legs, so I know the feeling of having a skin condition I want to clear up Read more

5 Surefire Ways Pampering Helps Boost Your Mood (and Confidence)

Disclosure: I’m sharing #MyOliaStory #ad as part of a Garnier® sponsored series for Socialstars™ You've probably experienced this scenario yourself - you're in a rut and feeling meh when you decide to take a moment to yourself to rejuvenate. Sometimes it's something simple, like a bath or it's something a Read more

Nail Polish

Review: Nails, Inc. Neon and Nude Collection

I’m always on the hunt for new nail polish options, and though I’ve become a self-proclaimed slave to Essie as of late, I’ll still venture outside once in a while to try something new.

U.K.-based Nails, Inc. is a polish legacy, so I was immediately game to test out their products. Their Neon and Nude collection did not disappoint – the color selection was so on-trend and perfect for mixing and matching.

Part of the fun is what the varnish is actually called, too… with names like Notting Hill Gate and Portobello (my absolute favorite London marketplace), my inner travel bug was just dying with excitement.  Read more

Posted on by Amanda Huggins in beauty, Nail Polish Leave a comment

imPress Press-On Manicure Review

A long time ago I used to have my nails done with wraps, until one day while working at my day job with kids I almost lost a nail during a kickball game. I wound up in the ER and thankfully didn’t lose my nail entirely. From that point on, I only used polish or nail strips. But last week while making my weekly jaunt to CVS, I came across imPRESS Press-On Manicure. The packaging is what caught my attention. The nails come in what appears to be a nail polish bottle. (It’s not really a bottle though.) When I was little I tried Lee Press-On Nails and remembered how they would pop off all the time (and you had to put superglue on your nails.) imPRESS’ display stated they were different, so I scooped up “Shout” and decided to try it out.   Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Nail Polish 4 Comments

Nail Polish Review: China Glaze Eye Candy

The entire Eye Candy collection

 If diamonds are a girl’s best friend,  I have a feeling China Glaze’s new set of glitter nail polishes, Eye Candy, will be a very close second. The winter “Eye Candy” collection boasts dazzling shades of 3-D glitter inspired by the diva of all divas herself – Marilyn Monroe.

I tried two shades: Love, Marilyn and Blonde Bombshell.

 As a lover of all things red, I was catapulted into instant nail obsession when I tried the Love, Marilyn shade. With a name that is associated with old Hollywood glamour and decadence, the rich red sparkle with diamond flecks lived up to my expectations. It’s the perfect glitzy Christmas shade, and was a hit at a formal event I attended over the weekend.

As for the second shade I tested….

My new favorite shade, Blonde Bombshell

I cannot say enough good things about the Blonde Bombshell color. It’s a deliciously rich polish that makes your nails look like they are literally dripping with gold.  It looked awesome when paired with a gold oversized watch (as I’m sporting today), and stands out just enough. I’m going to stock up on this color without a doubt.

I highly recommend using 2-3 coats to get your desired sparkle and prepping nails fully before trying this polish out. The first time I tried the colors, I only did a quick rubdown with polish remover and didn’t use a base coat (shame on me!) Within a few minutes of drying, the polish literally popped right off my nails. I imagine a base and top coat would do the trick and seal the color better.

The China Glaze Eye Candy collection comes in six glam colors with equally fabulous names. Each polish retails for a humble $8. Go online here to select your favorite shade.

Have you tested any of China Glaze’s new colors? Which shade are you dying to try?

Posted on by Amanda Huggins in beauty, Nail Polish Leave a comment

Pros and Cons of Shellac and UV Gel Manicures


 

Pros and Cons of Shellac (TONS of comments on this post - good and bad!)

When I first heard about Shellac, UV and LED gel manicures, I was over the moon excited. I could finally have polish on my nails sans chipping and polish peeling for more than 3 days and all without having to apply fake nails. In August, while at Cosmoprof, I received an awesome manicure from CND in Hot Pop Pink (pictured below.) The manicure took just as long as having acrylic nails or wraps put on (an hour) and the result looked just as amazing. I remarked to the manicurist just how gorgeous her own nails looked, as they were long and it didn’t even appear to be naturally her own. She told me they were and that wearing the Shellac helped her achieve the length. I believed her, until my own experience has led me to believe otherwise.


My CND Shellac lasted me 3 weeks. I was ecstatic. I applied CND’s SolarOil to my cuticles and under the tips of my nails on a daily basis as instructed by the manicurist. My nails had grown a bit during this time and I was excited to go for round two of another CND Shellac at my local salon. This time I went for a French manicure CND Shellac. My nails were finally long enough to adorn some white tips and I was stoked. I went about applying the SolarOil again daily, but this time it only took 3 days for one of my nails to peel and the Shellac to come off. Day 4, one of my nails broke and it became clear how brittle my nails were becoming. By day 5, all of my nails were either peeling (the nail itself, not the polish) or breaking.

 

Looking at my very soft, peeling nails, I decided to not apply any polish at all for 2 weeks, but continued to put the SolarOil on them. But sadly, they didn’t seem to recover. In the meantime, I had been sent the complete Red Carpet Manicure LED Starter Kit and as I was about to have my first television appearance, I knew my nails had to look amazing. So I used the kit, which comes complete with a portable LED light and is a DIY home LED manicure kit. Colors were gorgeous, time was still about 1 hour to complete the manicure and I used their Revitalize cuticle oil daily. But by day 3, my nails were peeling and even more brittle. I now had stubs for nails (even shorter than pictured above.) Finally I asked fellow friends in the salon business and fellow bloggers if they experienced the same of gel manicures, and it was a resounding yes.

Pros:

Manicure can potentially last up to 3 weeks
No chipping
Manicure is instantly dry upon last UV go round
Mirror finish (nails look wet, but aren’t)
Can DIY and look just as amazing as at the salon
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous

Cons:

Very drying to your nails
Repeated application (without a breather) will result in brittle and peeling nails
Wear time gets less and less with each application
If you don’t apply the cuticle oil daily, your nails will dry out a lot quicker
Costs add up, especially if the manicure doesn’t last 2-3 weeks
CND Shellac requires it’s own Remover Wraps
According to some doctors, the UV lamps can cause skin cancer (but the jury is still out on this)

So it appears that, at least for me, a CND Shellac or UV gel manicure will only happen for special events (like holidays, TV appearances, events) and cannot be worn all of the time. Unless I want to continue having man hands with my stubby nails.

In the meantime, I will be in nail re-cooperation with Qtica’s Cuticle Repair Balm and Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator to regain my length.  I’d love to hear from you: what has your experience been with UV gel manicures?

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Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Nail Polish 71 Comments

Salon A.K.S. Manicure Trends for Spring and Summer

One of the events I had the pleasure of attending during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week was a Manicure Trend Event hosted by Salon A.K.S to showcase their custom blended nail creations for Spring and Summer.  With a lot of their clients embracing bolder nails (thanks to the likes of fashionistas like Rihanna and Fergie),  for Spring and Summer the Salon A.K.S nail team went for a modern twist on the French Manicure and produced six amazing (three for spring and three for summer) looks that have me peeking down random holes for any sign of a Groundhog.  All six looks were the result of custom blended nail colors from Essie and Deborah Lippmann by the three A.K.S Nail Technicians Kelly, Doris and Rita.

For Spring the looks were very soft, feminine and ethereal.  The three custom blended shades for Spring are Greek Goddess, Baby’s Breath and Lilac in the Tuleries…I feel ethereal just saying them out loud.

The looks for Summer are flirty, fun, edgy and sexy…I can definitely picture them on the likes of Rihanna,  Katy Perry and even Lady Gaga.  Of the three shades (Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Polka Dot, Sizzling Summer Pink and Hot Poppy) my favorite is Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Polka Dot (try to guess which one that is from the pic).

Of course one simply cannot attend a Manicure Trend Event without sampling one of the trends.  The shade I chose was Lilac In The Tuleries…with the exception of the white tip.  The shade looked great on my skin tone and although it was Lilac it seemed to go with everything I wore that week.  I also left with tips from my nail technician, one being that the white spots  nails do not indicate a calcium deficiency as many people think, but is actually a sign of dehydration, the other tip was that miniaturization right before bed is necessary in the prevention of dry cuticles and hang nails.

With this winter seemingly being one of the worst I can recall in a very long time, it was great to experience (if even very fleetingly) a taste of early Spring.

Posted on by Gail Lewis in Beauty Trends, Nail Polish, salon, Spring Beauty, Summer Beauty 4 Comments

Grown Up Grunge and Aristocratic Fantasies at Jenni Kayne

At Jenni Kayne AW11, the inspiration for the collection was the idea of an urban woman who would have been in her 20’s  in the 90’s, revisiting her childhood home in the country…simple but luxurious clothing with a lot of  “noble” fabrics like fur, silk and feathers.

Makeup artist Lynn Desnoyers for MAC created a look that was both glamorous and polished but had an easiness to it that reflected both the richness and easiness of the collection.  The look consisted of a very strong magenta lip, peach toned blush for a fresh but contoured cheek, “pantyhose colors” on the eyes, brown mascara on just the top lashes and creamy foundation set with powder.  She wanted every detail to look completely honed…her fantasy of  “New York aristocracy.”

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Posted on by Gail Lewis in beauty, Fashion Week Beauty, Makeup, Nail Polish Leave a comment

Which Nail Polish is Good for Vacation?




Reader question - what's the best nail polish color for vacation? via @agirlsgottaspa

The warmer weather is here, which means no more hiding our hands in gloves and instead finding some great nail polishes to show off our jazz hands. And just in case you haven’t noticed, nail polish has now trumped lipstick as the recession staple. So when I received a question about nail polish recently, I thought it was a good break from some of the hair care questions the blog has been receiving lately.

“What are your suggestions for a good vacation nail polish? (My swimsuits are aqua and navy.) Kathryn, Rhode Island”

This is a great question because honestly how many of you have applied your most favorite polish only to have it chip a few days into your time away? I guess if you are going for the Chris Isaac/Helena Christensen “Wicked Game” video look then you are all good, otherwise it is very frustrating. Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Nail Polish Leave a comment

Zoya Color Lock System Review




Must-have: Zoya Color Lock System via @agirlsgottaspa

As a mom I can tell you that I chip nail polish like nobody’s business. Not to mention working at my computer all day typing away at the keyboard. Not only was my nail polish chipping within a day of applying it, but my nails were always splitting and cracking. I ended up throwing in the towel. I gave up. No more nail polish for me. Until I met Leo and Michael Reyzis of Art of Beauty at Cosmoprof North America. (Art of Beauty is the parent company to Zoya Nail Polish and Qtica.)

I had long heard my friend Michelle of All Lacquered Up talk about Zoya, but sometimes I have a tendency to read beauty reviews then get so busy that I forget all about a product. It’s a bad habit I need to break. So when Leo had the team at Zoya send me some polishes along with their Color Lock System, I was intrigued, but quite honestly expected my experience to be the same as with every other nail polish brand I had tried before.

Boy was I wrongRead more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Nail Polish Leave a comment

Summer Nail Trend: Nude Nails

china_glaze_nude_polishWith summer just around the corner, more and more Hollywood starlets are being spotted with the hottest trend in footwear: Nude heels! It’s no secret that if you’re able to choose a shade that’s close to your own skin tone, the heels will elongate your legs, creating a sexy and lengthened silhouette! Interestingly, this trend isn’t just limited to feet, but is great for complementing the hands as well! What complements a set of nude heels better than a set of nude hands? To match these nude heels, nude nail polishes are creating a perfect complement and illusion of long, sexy, and elegant hands!

China Glaze offers up a great selection of nude polishes that can complement any skin tone. Some favorites include:

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Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Beauty Trends, Nail Polish 1 Comment