Sabon Loofah Soap

// // Exfoliating my body is one of those acts of beauty that I try to perform about twice a week. I love how soft, smooth and radiant my skin feels and look after exfoliating.However, as much as I love freshly exfoliated skin, sometimes I am just too lazy Read more

A Girl's Gotta Spa! Natural Bath and Body Products on Amazon

A Girl's Gotta Spa! natural bath and body products can now be found on Amazon.com via etailz. I'm beyond thrilled at the exponential growth we're having with our retail partnerships! Amazon.com strives to be Earth's most customer-centric company where people can find and discover virtually anything they want to buy Read more

DIY Cooling Cucumber Mask

During my two month stay in Bali, a significant amount of time was spent at Amo Spa in Seminyak.  I enjoyed the most amazing spa treatments that I've every experienced and though I have only been back in the US for a week, I am going through serious Amo Read more

#SummerizeYourLegs Twitter Party 7/22/14 8pm EST #shop

Do you love a good Twitter Party? You know we do and we’re excited to host a party about summer legs! On July 22nd at 8:00pm ET, please join us for the #SummerizeYourLegs Twitter Party where we’ll be discussing women’s razors and shaving tips, and giving you a chance to win prizes! No matter your Read more

SolScents Sunscreen Review

I absolutely love trying new sunscreens! My ongoing battle with Melanoma has forced me to love sunscreen and I can safely say I’ve tried mostly every sunscreen that’s out there. While I don’t have a problem with the way sunscreen usually smells, I was excited to learn that there’s 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 1 Comment

Zoya Nail Color Blogger Collection by Birchbox

Zoya, my all-time favorite brand of nail polish teamed up with Birchbox and several bloggers to create  the Blogger Collection, three exclusive limited edition nail polish shades. First, each blogger made a mood board capturing her favorite spring/summer colors. Next, Birchbox Facebook fans were asked to vote for the top three boards, which the polish experts at Zoya used to custom-design this stunning trio. Kate is a pinkish grapefruit that comes courtesy of The Small ThingsEleventh Gorgeous created Coraline, a warm juicy tangerine. Capitol Hill Style is the force behind Belle, a coppery pink which features microscopic bits of iridescent glitter. They are ALL gorgeous and right on trend for summer!   Read more

Posted on by Cindy in beauty, Nail Polish 1 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 Down Your Perfect Shade with GelColor by OPI

If all these new developments in nail technology, from Axxium to Shellac and beyond, have you feeling dissatisfied with your typical run-of-the-mill spa treatment, you’re not alone in wanting more from your mani! OPI has answered your prayers with yet another way to boost lasting power for your lacquer, and after much speculation and anticipation, the brand’s brand-spanking-new GelColor shades are slowly but surely arriving at a salon near you… if you’re lucky!

After just 30 seconds under a salon’s LED lamp, you’ll have glossier color pay-off and a tough-as-nails finish that doesn’t feel any thicker than your regular manicure. For the trend-spotters who can’t wait to get gel versions of the most recent collections, you may be out of luck for now, but the good news is, GelColor comes in 30 of the brand’s most popular classic shades, including Lincoln Park After Dark, You Don’t Know Jacques, and I’m Not Really a Waitress. And there’s no better way to improve on the original than with a long-wearing gel coat that’ll keep your favorite shades chip-free for several weeks!

- Alexandra Gambardella

Guest beauty post from my friends at TheFind.com.

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

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


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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*Disclosure


Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Nail Polish 60 Comments