A Girl's Gotta Spa! Leaping Bunny Certified as Cruelty Free

Something I've learned in my 8+ years of beauty blogging, is that many brands like to say they are something without any proof to back it. Brands say they are natural, but the ingredient label tells a different story. Brands say they are organic because they assume you won't Read more

Name Your Own Nail Polish with Pretty Please

Here's a cute gift idea for those of you who like to impress the beauty addict in your life with something unique. Pretty Please nail polish allows you to choose a polish color and name it yourself. My head ran wild with all of the possibilities for gifting - from Read more

#Eyes4NYC 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

Nail Polish

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

Meeting Zoya Reyzis of Art of Beauty

Recently I had the great privilege of being asked to speak at Cosmoprof North America. Not regarding my work as a beauty blogger, but on the social media side of things that I do for my day job. While I was there I decided to seek out brands I knew and loved, as well as up and coming brands that I know YOU would want to know about. If you’ve been reading A Girl’s Gotta Spa! forever or are a fan of us on Facebook, then you know I LOVE Zoya Nail Polish (part of the Art of Beauty family.) I’ve met Leo and Michael Reyzis before, but this time I had the opportunity to sit down 1:1 with Zoya herself. WOW. What an honor, not to mention what an amazingly talented and savvy woman she is.

Our conversation began with Zoya asking me what I liked about Zoya Nail Polish. I explained that a brand gets my loyalty when they can deliver a product that actually works. I told her that of all of the nail lacquers I have tried, Zoya Nail Polish has not only lasted the longest, but has an amazing product that I shout from the rooftops about: the Color Lock System. She seemed surprised that my focus was just on functionality and not on the color assortment or the collections themselves. To me, while I feel Zoya really has some great colors and I love the collections, as someone who is constantly sent the next “miracle” product that turns out to be not so much, at the end of the day, how a product performs is what sells me on buying it again, writing about it and telling all of my friends and family about such an awesome product (would you agree?)

I had the opportunity to hear the background of Zoya herself and how her nail care collection came to be. Did you know she is a classical musician? It is because of this training that Zoya Nail Polish has that air of artistic expression. When she came to this country there wasn’t a viable job opportunity as a classical musician, so she began to work at a beauty salon. During that time, hair care with a nail salon is what the trend was…you never found a business that was solely a nail salon without the hair care component.  At the time (1980′s) polishes were made with formaldehyde, and Zoya was pregnant with Leo (pictured with me) and knew there had to be a healthier, toxin-free alternative. Since her husband Michael was a chemist, she asked him to develop what is now today the Zoya Nail Polish formulation. It was then that Zoya opened a nail salon and was told she would never make it. But here she is, and I hope she is saying, “How do you like me now!”

Another way in which Zoya chose to be different is in the manner in which she named her polishes. Her 1st line was named after famous women such as Carmen, Cleopatra, etc. She felt there was only so many ways you can describe a plum or a red, as the other major players in the industry were doing at the time. She wanted women to be able to relate with another strong, intelligent woman because the color of your polish says a lot about you. She had me select colors that I wear, in which I choose many neutral and “safe” colors. She responded, “You live in a conservative area.” She’s right. Then she observed the colors I was wearing on that particular day–my Skagen Denmark watch with a bright orange band and my glistening peridot ring from Leela Bijoux. She said, “You are a generally happy and very positive person. You can see that in the bright colors you wear…and orange also means you have wisdom.” And she’s also right here. Have you thought about the colors you wear and how that projects portions of your personality to how others perceive you?

I was really impressed with Zoya and I left the Art of Beauty booth with a deeper appreciation of female entrepreneurs. And the feeling that maybe I should wear a bolder nail color my next go around.

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

RGB Nail Polish For Shiny Shades That Are Brilliant & Safe

Usually when it comes to nail polish, you’ll often find formulas that either boast natural, chemical-free ingredients that keep your nails in tip-top shape and protect against damage, or brilliant color payoff. But a brand that takes pride in delivering both?! It’s rare… but it certainly exists, and RGB won’t settle for anything less!

With high-shine, chip-free formulas that are free of Formaldehyde, Toluene, DBP (dibutyl phthalate), Formaldehyde Resin, and Camphor (trust me – you won’t miss ‘em!), these no-nonsense polishes come in classic colors and the latest must-try trends to boot! At $14-16 a pop, RGB polish is definitely more on the high-end side of the spectrum, but if you’re a shopper who’s mindful of taking better care of your nails, are typically unsatisfied with drugstore-quality formulas, and already have a specific color in mind that you can’t wait to add to your polish collection, RGB lacquers are worth every penny! Shop the newest colors on the official RGB online shop!

- Alex Gambardella

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

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

Sephora by OPI Has Crackle Polish Fever Too

When crackle polish top coats first reemerged on the nail trend scene courtesy of Katy Perry’s OPI collection, our inner junior high schoolgirl totally beauty-geeked out. I remember how cool it was back in the day — raiding my mom’s lacquer collection to experiment with all sorts of contrasting shades underneath my very punk-rock black crackle top coat. Katy Perry’s collection was cool, but I couldn’t help but think, is it really back, or is this just a gimmick?

Well, a couple of months later and now Sephora by OPI is rolling out their own crackle polishes — eight to be exact, including three metallic-based top coats (pictured) to edge up your typical summer corals and candy pinks. The Blasted Nail Colour collection boasts “an effect that appears to blast apart on your nails.” In other words, it’s totally crackle polish “but not,” in a new, modernized package. I’ve yet to try these Blasted shades myself, but I’ve seen them on others and I have yet to decide how I feel. The black crackle is so crackly, it ends up just appearing chipped from far away — but I do love the way the chromed-out silver and glittery gold give a cool, mirrored metallic effect over summery colors!

- Alex Gambardella

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

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in Nail Polish 4 Comments

Sephora by OPI’s Safari Luxe Collection Looks Like a Million Bucks!

Despite the fact that most of us have never set foot on the savannah, the whole “safari chic” trend that arose a few years ago is still on the prowl on all the hottest runways, and the fad shows little signs of stopping! From khakis and belts and clean, crisp collared shirts to wild animal inspired prints (jazzed up with a little tribal jewelry, of course), the safari look isn’t complete without coordinating polish!

Leave it up to Sephora by OPI to create a whole collection to suit the occasion — appropriately named Safari Luxe — which contains six summery shades from both the neutral and the bold-and-bright sides of the trend spectrum! Inspired by not only the safari theme itself but also by the most fun aspect of the trend — leopard-print fabrics, snakeskin pumps, chunky gold jewelry — the collection reads less literal and more coordination-appropriate for going with the trend’s hottest looks instead of making it too costume-y!

From left to right: Caught with my Khakis Down, Wild About Shimmer, I Don’t Bite, A Color That Can’t Be Tamed, Once a Cheetah Always a Cheetah, and Don’t Feed the Hand Models.

- Alex Gambardella

CATALOGUE from TheFind is a new way to browse through all your favorite store catalogs in one easy-to-use iPad or Android app. CATALOGUE includes the latest catalogs in fashion, beauty, home and more! Download it here.

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

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in Nail Polish Leave a comment

Sula Paint & Peel Polish Duos For a Blast-From-The-Past Manicure!

I remember back in the day when the closest thing I could get to my mother’s glamorous red manicure was Barbie pink peel-off nail polish. Even as a kid, I was annoyed by the lack of staying power (though arguably that was the point of peel-off nail polish), but it was undoubtedly more fun to peel off than paint on in the first place. Despite my childhood frustrations with “kiddie” lacquer, given how often I switch my polish nowadays (sometimes multiple times a day!), the old-school concept is starting to sound less lame and more just-plain-practical.

Take Sula Beauty, for example, who is working to reinvent peel-off polish into something modern, convenient, and polish remover free! Their double-sided Paint & Peel nail duos include both an enamel and a top coat, ensuring that the shade stays put for days until you want it to come off… in which case, you peel away! This isn’t the crappy, chip-prone, peel-off polish of your past — this is some pretty genius revamped polish of the future! Would you revisit the peel-off trend if it meant kicking nail polish remover to the curb for good?

- Alex Gambardella

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

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in Nail Polish 2 Comments

Deborah Lippmann Goes Back to Basics With Her “Get Nailed” Manicure Essentials

Reigning nail polish queen of the Fashion Week runways, Deborah Lippmann, is known for her trend-setting neutral shades and show-stopping, in-your-face glitter polishes. But just because a lady knows how to turn heads doesn’t mean she can’t take a step back and provide some much-needed essentials for us girls who just want a darn-good manicure. After all, awesome-looking nails starts with the basics, and Deborah Lippmann’s got our back (and our tips!) with her Get Nailed Manicure Essentials Set.

At $49, the set includes The Stripper, her lavender anti-bacterial polish remover, Ridge Filler base coat for smooth application, Addicted to Speed quick-dry top coat, and Before He Cheats and It’s Raining Men lacquers (so you can switch it up between naughty and nice)! The kit is a must-have for all Deborah Lippmann fans, those just starting out, and gals who don’t mind paying a little extra for quality at-home manicure basics. It also makes a great gift for fellow beauty addicts that like to enjoy a little pampering in the comfort of their own home!

- Alex Gambardella

Something’s new at TheFind, have you seen it yet? Just launched Visual Search will make it easier to discover what you want to buy (like those fab Vera Wang ankle booties!) and where you want to buy it.

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

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in Nail Polish 1 Comment

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 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

Look Lovely in Lavender Makeup Shades this Spring!

Normally I wouldn’t go recommend something quite so cliche as wearing uber-festive pastel makeup shades just to get into the pre-spring mood, but how can I resist rounding up a selection of appropriately-hued beauty buys when San Francisco keeps getting blessed with prematurely springy weather? Let’s face it — lavender is just waiting to be embraced, so you might as well jump on the beauty trend now before it grows overdone and stale!

Think of the shade as considerably easier to wear than full-on purple, yet a bit trickier than your average plum; the idea is to go for soft and pretty, not Grandma-”chic” or garish, which can be tough with such an Easter egg color. But just because the color is traditionally mild doesn’t mean it can’t edge things up — try Deborah Lippmann nail lacquer in Wicked Game, a smoky gray-lavender, or opt for a lavender version of the smoky eye, courtesy of Maybelline Smokes quads, for a cool take on the pretty shade!

Pictured above: Topshop Lip Polish in Lavender, Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish in Wicked Game, NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Lavender, Lancome Color Design Eye Shadow in Camisole, and Maybelline Expert Wear Eyeshadow Quad in Lavender Smokes.

- Alex Gambardella

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

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