#EyeHeartNY Twitter Party 4/24 #ad

This summer I'll be 40. Wrinkles and fine lines know their way around my face like a road map. I wish what I know now about anti-aging, I knew 20 years ago so that I could take better care of my skin. However, since I can't literally turn back Read more

Beauty Benefits of Lime

It may sound silly, but even though I don't drink, those Corona commercials snag my attention every time. Sounds of the ocean, the sense of relaxation and the refreshing lime placed perfectly in the bottle neck. It's that lime that calls out to me saying, "Let me quench your Read more

Gail Lewis - SUPER Model

If you've read the bios of the A Girl's Gotta Spa! editors, you may stumble across the fact that Gail Lewis is a model. I don't mean model being kind, like Gail is attractive, I mean model like fierce, confident and in-demand. And of course, as in actually having Read more

#BeautyInspiration Twitter Party April 16th #shop

 Image credit: Hairspray & High Heels We have major love here at A Girl's Gotta Spa! for makeup. From makeup trends to makeup tips, when to spend and when to splurge, as well as the latest products for each season, you can count on us to bring that info to you. Read more

Spa Week 2014 A Girl's Gotta Spa! and Giveaway

It's that time of year again when spas lower their prices on some of their spa treatments, otherwise known as Spa Week! From April 21–27th, spas, fitness facilities and wellness centers across the country will be offering $50 spa treatments, including a few spas that we've reviewed like The French Read more

Nail Polish

Sally Hansen Laced Up Salon Effects Nail Strips: A Christmas Story


Last week I made my twice weekly trek to CVS. (I practically live in the beauty aisle.) Since my nails have still not recovered from all of the Shellac manicures, and any polish I have put on them quickly chips, I decided to opt for some Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Strips (or stickers as my 7 year old calls them.) Since they were out of Misbehaved, which completely brings the fishnet stocking clad leg lamp from A Christmas Story to mind, I opted for Laced Up, which is similar with a fishnet design and black floral. I was so excited to try these polish strips, I probably could’ve shot someone’s eye out.

The reason I adore nail polish strips is because they are so super simple to apply. There’s, of course, no dry time and your nails look professionally done. My boyfriend even asked me, “When did you have time to go to the salon?” Ha! That said, I was happy with the outcome and snapped a pic by some vintage looking Christmas plates I bought from Rue La La for steal. I did not, however, go stick my tongue on a freezing pole.

However, my excitement only lasted 24 hours, as by the next morning, each of my nails were chipped at the top. I chalked it up to working on the computer all day, until I took a shower that evening and came out missing the strip on my pinky nail. Now, I know how to apply nail strips the proper way, so I was stumped as to why a strip would come off in such a short period of time. I quickly went to the pack of strips I had placed back in the package, only to find they had all dried out and would no longer stick. I complained about how stupid I would look with only 9 polish strips on when my boyfriend suggested that I apply a thin basecoat of clear polish and then place a strip on top of it so that it would stick. Genius boy! That worked and I was back to beautiful 10 finger manicure.

Over Twitter @CVSBeautyClub made the recommendation that I apply a top coat over the strips to make them last longer. At first, I did not heed their advice as I felt it defeated the purpose of using nail strips in the first place. However, by day 3 of wearing them, I noticed that the edges were beginning to turn upward lifting away from my nails and kept snagging on my clothes and hair. I got out my handy Zoya Armour top coat and brushed a thin coat over them and went about my day. That evening, before date night with my man, I jumped in the shower and again emerged with a strip missing, this time from my index finger. I had no other extra strips to use that would fit that finger so I opted not to replace it. By day 4, more strips popped off and I succumbed to the fact that I would just have to remove them all.

Sally Hansen’s site says the strips can last up until 10 days. I have found this to be true of other strips I have used like Avon’s Instant Manicure (do they still sell these?) and Incoco’s Nail Applique (although Nail Fraud’s Nail Decals also didn’t last long.) But sorry, Sally, not yours. This is disappointing, as I really loved the designs and want so badly to have nice manicured nails again. Have you used Sally Hansen’s Salon Effects Nail Strips? How did they work for you?

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, holiday, Nail Polish 7 Comments

A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Holiday Gift Guide

If you survived Black Friday and are still in need of some holiday gift ideas for the family or friend who loves beauty products, then I know you’ll find our Holiday Gift Guide useful. Amanda, Gail and I put together some of our best and most favorite gift ideas (i.e. gifts we’d like to see under the tree) into a 13 page catalog. We opted not to create a multitude of holiday gift posts and thought a handy catalog that you can browse through and link directly to the product would make for a great all-in-one-place guide.

Here’s what we covered: Hair care, skin care, bath & body, holiday kits, cosmetics, gifts that give back and spas and spa treatments that we love. There’s some nail polish mentioned in there too!

Many thanks to Kelli & Co. for creating the cover for our Holiday Gift Guide. When reading it, make sure you view it at 100%; it is a downloadable PDF.

Enjoy the catalog and please feel free to pass onto your friends! Download it by clicking this link: Holiday Gift Guide

Disclosure: Some of the links are affiliate links and 2 brands mentioned are clients.

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, holiday, Makeup, salon, Spa Leave a comment

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

Deborah Lippmann Waking Up in Vegas

Back in July while at Cosmoprof North America in Las Vegas, I had the pleasure (seriously) of meeting Deborah Lippmann. She took the time one morning to sit down with about 20-25 beauty bloggers and talk about how she creates colors for her collections, the chaos of working on set with celebrities and backstage at fashion week, as well as running a business with her husband. She honestly was one of the most down to earth and approachable beauty experts I have ever met. And best of all, I was lucky enough to get to sit right beside her as she spoke to the group (and we were both speakers on panels that week too.)

So I was totally stoked when I recently won Deborah’s Waking Up in Vegas one #ManiMonday on Twitter from @RealBeauties. What are the chances? I met her in Vegas and I win the nail polish she created from her time there.

The color is gorgeous. It’s described as a “putty” color. Although, I do find it curious that a polish named after Vegas was a subdued color and not one fraught with pizazz. I think of show girls and all of the glitz and glamour found on the strip. Regardless, it really is a beautiful shade and I even wore it when I was on PA Live.

Two of my readers had previously submitted questions for Deborah, which she graciously answered as well:

From Cady: After years and years of biting my nails, they just won’t grow anymore! How can I get my stumpy nails looking stylish (and kid proof)?

Deborah’s answer: A weekly manicure, even for short nails is key. Keeping the nails groomed is so important – nails snap and break when edges are rough, so keep them smooth by lightly buffing nails every few days with a tool like my Smooth Operator. The rough edges are also what make people want to bite the nail, so that’s another reason why keeping them groomed is important. You can also use a product like my Hard Rock Top and Base Coat to hydrate, strengthen and protect – put a layer on nails every few days to help them grow. You can also use polish on the nails, you don’t have to wait for them to grow to use polish. Sometimes people think that polish can hurt the nail, but, depending on the formula, it can actually help the nail with nourishing ingredients.

From Andrea: Is a base coat really necessary? All I get are bubbles and it doesn’t seem to make my polish last any longer than if I skip it?

Deborah answers: Always apply a base coat. The perfect technique is to apply one thin coat with 3 strokes down the nail, and 1 stroke across the tip to seal the lacquer. Never shake any nail product vigorously because it will cause bubbles and streaks in the finished manicure, instead roll the bottle gently between your hands.

Do you wear Deborah’s polishes? I’d love to hear about it.

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Nail Polish 2 Comments

Global Beauty with styleVISA

If you can believe it, I don’t own a passport. I’m envious of my friends jet setting around the world and bringing back unique fashion and beauty finds. But now I found a new online retail destination that brings those items to you. styleVISA features a distinct and eclectic assortment of home décor, personal accessories, beauty products and limited curations by artisans and designers from all over the world. Like a travel visa, the concept is to create an online passport to global culture and design…an assortment of those amazing finds you come across when globetrotting (sometimes near, sometimes far.) Not that I can speak from experience about globetrotting, but you know what I mean (side eye at my jet setting friends.)

Right now styleVISA is spotlighting designers and artisans from Africa, France, New Zealand, Mexico, Japan, Sweden and the US. I spy Kio Kio, a New Zealand bath and body company that’s been reviewed on A Girl’s Gotta Spa! before. There’s also a lotion bar from Etta + Billie that resembles the lotion bars I used to sell from Jordan Essentials (and if these lotion bars are as good as Jordan Essentials, then you definitely want to pick one up!) There’s also nail polish from Scotch Naturals, and while I have never heard of them, the colors look amazing.

So which visa stamp do you want? Take a trip, no passport required! styleVISA is offering A Girl’s Gotta Spa! readers 10% off  everything on their site until November 30, 2011. Use code STYLEPASSPORT at check out! www.stylevisa.com.

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in bath and body, beauty, skin care Leave a comment

Pros and Cons of Shellac and UV Gel Manicures



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

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 52 Comments

Deborah Lippmann Gets Festive with Holiday Glitter Polishes

As a nail polish addict, I’m a big fan of Deborah Lippmann – and I’m not alone! Deborah’s trend-making lacquers are always the “it” shades on every runway, cover shoot and red carpet, and if her lacquers are good enough for the finicky celebrities she’s turned into diehard fans, they’re good enough for me!

And Deborah doesn’t let any special occasion pass by without commemorating with some festive specialty shades! Just in time for the upcoming holiday season, the glitter-loving nail expert has created two gorgeous glitzy polishes – Shake Your Groove Thang (a glittering gold) and Do Ya Think I’m Sexy? (a gorgeous shimmering red) – perfect for jazzing up your holiday party look! Wear alone in multiple layers for an all-over chunky glitter look, or layer over coordinating or contrasting shades to serve as a gorgeously festive topcoat! They make great little stocking stuffers for the nail polish addict on your list… but don’t forget to stock up for yourself in time for all your pre-Christmas cocktail parties!

- Alex Gambardella

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

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

Highlighter Yellow Nail Polish: Funky & Fun Or Just an Eyesore?

As someone who actually watches the show, I’ll be the first to admit that Bad Girls Club probably isn’t the best place to look for beauty inspiration, but I have to give those crazy gals their props when due! After all, it’s where I first saw someone rock a highlighter yellow manicure… and actually look pretty cool doing it. Since then, as a rather adventurous girl when it comes to nail trends, I was convinced that I had to try it on myself, and I was pretty pleased!

It’s eye-catching, fun and festive for late summer, plus the ultra-neon hue pops against my pathetic excuse for a tan! In fact, it wasn’t until my roommates shrieked in surprise (or disgust) and shielded their eyes from my radioactive-looking manicure that I began to think: okay, maybe the rest of the world isn’t ready for this color. But if the world can accept seafoam green, oil-slick black and even leopard nail prints, what’s wrong with really bright? What do you think – would you rock a highlighter-inspired neon hue, or does the shade just give you a headache?

From left to right: Pop Beauty Nail Glam in Yellow, Essie Neon Nail Polish in Funky Limelight, and American Apparel Neon Nail Polish in Neon Yellow.

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

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty Leave a comment

Review: Duri Wine Tasting Party Nail Color Collection

Fall is my absolute favorite season.  I love everything about it, the leaves changing colors, fall clothing, the new flavors of lattes at Starbucks…mmm Pumpkin Spice. Everything just seems to become a bit richer and more luxurious in fall, including nail polishes.  While I had fun with the playful nail colors of summer, I look forward to the slightly more polished, sexy, sophisticated colors of fall and I am absolutely loving the nail colors in Duri’s Wine Tasting Party Collection.

The collection includes four colors; Cognac (a warm plum) , Bloody Mary (a very sexy red), Pinot Noir (a deep garnet shade) and Grape Swirl (shimmery violet.) The colors in the collection perfectly complement the color trends in clothing for fall as well.  My favorite of the collection is the Pinot Noir, for some reason it seems to bring out my inner vamp, color is just so daring.  It’s fun wearing the Pinot Noir and Grape Swirl at the same time…either mixing them or wearing one shade on my fingers  and the other on my toes.

I know it’s a bit early to be planning this far ahead, but I am pretty excited about wearing the Bloody Mary nail color during the holidays. Do you have any polishes from this collection? Which is your favorite?

Posted on by Gail Lewis in beauty, Beauty Trends, Nail Polish 2 Comments

HIPP x RGB Nails The Nude Polish Look With Nail Foundation

As any style-watcher knows, nude is the must-have shade for everything from heels, booties, lip gloss, nails, and beyond. However, despite its timeless popularity, the perfect nude nail lacquer can also be a pretty tricky hue to get one’s hands on; after all, it’s relative to your specific skin tone. But what if choosing your shade was as straight-forward as selecting the correct shade of foundation?

Eco-friendly nail artist to the stars, Jenna Hipp, along with her team at Nailing Hollywood LLC, has already has had her work featured in various magazines and on countless celebrity cover girls, but her recent collaboration with green enamel line RGB (and founder Gina Carney) takes trendy, eco-conscious manicures to the next level. With their recent Nail Foundation collection, the power duo seeks to help beauty mavens get that perfect nude shade just for you, no matter what your race – for graceful, elongated fingertips. In-the-spotlight stars Keira Knightly, Michelle Williams and Lea Michele, among others, have already rocked their own specialized ‘nude’ shades in the public sphere – are you curious enough to join them?

- Alex Gambardella

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

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