Clear, Glowing Skin with SheaMoisture Mud Masks

In the skin department, Summer usually means oilier than normal skin for me. Which also means clogged pores, and at times, acne prone skin accompanied by dehydrated and irritated skin thanks to time spent in the sun and insane amounts of sunscreen. One of the best ways that I deal with summer skin Read more

Try These 3 Sulfate Free Body Washes That Still Lather

It's a common beauty myth - switch to a sulfate free body wash and you have to give up that luxurious lather that makes pampering so much fun. But it's not true. Sure, you won't be able to bury yourself under a mountain of bubbles, but you don't have to Read more

How To Lighten Your Hair #MyOliaStory

I'm sharing #MyOliaStory as part of a Garnier sponsored series for Socialstars™ Taking your hair color from dark to light is a not something that can be done in a day. Well, at least not when you are doing it on your own at home. You want to be really Read more

Citrus Crumble Cookie Bars Recipe

What a way to treat yourself! Delicious, soft cookie bars topped with citrus marmalade, made with orange, lemon, lime, and grapefruit essences, and of course, topped with sweet, crispy crumble. Hello everyone! It’s so nice to meet all of you, friends of A Girl’s Gotta Spa! I'm Lyuba and I Read more

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

Spa

Spa Week and Joy Bauer’s Fast Track to Health Giveaway

Spa Week has joined forces with two health and wellness powerhouses: The Today Show’s nutritional expert, Joy Bauer and America’s favorite kick-butt getaway, The Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge in Malibu, CA (where they actually film the hit TV show!). From now until Sunday, September 11, you can enter to win a complete lifestyle makeover package to get you on the Fast Track to Health. 

I recently sent them my #1 diet tip, which you can read on the Spa Week blog (along with many other great tips from fellow bloggers!) Find out all the details about their giveaway here.

*Image/beginning content (c) Spa Week.

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty Leave a comment

5 Summer Skin Care Tips from Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa

As temperatures rise and millions of people prepare to spend hours in the sun, exposing their skin to harmful UV rays, it’s crucial to be mindful of how to minimize the effects of prolonged sun exposure. Not only can the sun cause painful sunburns, rashes or even skin cancer, it is also the top cause for signs of aging. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, up to 90 percent of the visible changes commonly attributed to aging are caused by the sun and about 65 percent of melanoma cases are attributed to UV radiation.

Todd Leff, CEO of Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa, a 50-plus unit massage and facial spa franchise with a mission to bring massage, facial and waxing services to the masses, has developed the top five tips for people when thinking about their skin this summer:

1. Exfoliate your skin: By exfoliating, you can remove the dead, dull skin debris that cause congestion and hinder skin hydration. Mornings are the best time to exfoliate, prior to applying toner, moisturizer, SPF or makeup. Exfoliation makes for clearer, smoother skin for both women and men.

2. Stay hydrated: Just as your body needs water for hydration, your face also needs proper moisture to withstand the harmful effects of the sun. Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of plain, filtered water every day to maintain the needed moisture balance for your skin. Products such as masques can also be used once or twice a week, and boosters and toners can serve as an additional level of hydration before applying moisturizer.

3. Apply, apply again: A dab of sunscreen won’t do if you’re going to be on the beach or out in the sun for any extended period of time. Typically a teaspoon of sunscreen is sufficient for the face and as much as a shot glass worth is needed for the body. You should reapply every two hours and avoid the mid-day sun from mid-morning to late afternoon when possible.

4. Battling the burn: We’ve all been in the situation where you forgot the sunscreen, didn’t apply enough or missed a spot. The damage has been done, but applying cooling gels and soothing botanicals can reduce redness and inflammation. This should be done at the first sight of a pink glow, as one blistering sunburn can double your risk of melanoma. It is also recommended to get a yearly skin exam by a doctor to detect early warning signs.

5. Repairing and treating damage: Although a tan is commonly thought of as a popular summer look, it actually indicates skin damage. Receiving monthly facials, such as a hydrating facial, can help begin to repair the damage done by the sun by promoting healthy cell growth and stimulating collagen destructing enzymes.

Find a Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa near you at www.handandstone.com.

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Bucket List: The Beach House at Iruveli Maldives

Finally! The warmer weather seems like it’s here to stay, summer seems to be inching closer and that means it’s about that time that I start daydreaming of places I can vacation. Being the spa girl that I am, I 99.99999% of the time look for a resort that includes a spa. It just so happened that in the midst of staring out the window to the blue skies the other day that I received an email about De’ Spa at The Beach House Iruveli Maldives. I clicked the link for the resort’s website and I was magically taken in and forgot all about life for a few brief moments.

The Beach House Iruveli Maldives has 83 villas, all of which are on the beach or on the water. The imagery on the website will take your breath away. Due to growing up in Rhode Island, and as I’ve mentioned countless times before, I have a long-term love affair with water. I cannot even begin to image my happiness quotient if I were to find myself in any one of their many luxurious, water-view villas like the one pictured here.

The De’ Spa is an open-air spa with ten massage pavilions dotted among lush tropical greenery linked by winding pathways flanked by a bubbling stream. The spa uses Aromatherapy Associates products in its Ayurveda and traditional Maldivian philosophies and offers a range of exclusive treatments harnessing the qualities of 100% natural essential oils. Two that caught my eye?

Fresh Coconut Scrub (45 min): Freshly shredded and locally grown coconut gently exfoliates the skin, smoothing away the effects of the salt water and sun. Your body will then be soaked in an intensely hydrating fresh coconut blend, leaving your sun-kissed skin soft and supple (and probably smelling good enough to eat.)

After The Sun (60 min): Relax as a unique infusion of lavender oil delivers intense healing properties, peppermint oil cools the skin and regenerative rose oil rescues a distressed skin. A hydrating mask is applied to the face while the body is lathered in nourishing shea butter and hydrating rose gel. To finish, an Ayurvedic scalp massage releases tension for an all-over relaxing, restorative treatment. (And hopefully your “before the sun” treatment was applying a broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen SPF 30+!)

Since this resort and spa meets my “beyond my wildest dreams” criteria, I’m adding this to my bucket list of resorts I’d like to vacation at sometime in the future. What about you? Have you ever been here?

You can learn more about them at www.beachhousecollection.com.

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Spa Living: Healing Lifestyles & Spas

Looking to connect with a greater purpose? A way to infuse nature into your life while feeling more balanced with the least amount of stress? If you said yes, and I’m pretty sure you did, Healing Lifestyles & Spas, the website known for locating the perfect spa and being a wealth of info. on the spa lifestyle, offers a daily email that focuses on integrating healing remedies, alternative medicine, natural living, spa wisdom, and nature into our lives, providing tools and inspiration to lead a more healthy and healing lifestyle. Healing Lifestyles & Spas believes that spa living is a day-to-day experience, not an occasional practice and I couldn’t agree more. We all need to slow down, press pause, and nurture this absolute need to give back to ourselves. Living a healing lifestyle means taking care of the Earth and its people, and HLS emphasizes environmental awareness and sustainable living as a necessary component on this path.

HLS’ daily email, Daily Retreat & Renewal Tip, covers a different topic each day. Topics include Spa & Beauty, Health, Eco-Living, Food & Nutrition, Travel, and Mindful Living. Many tips also include at-home spa tips, recipes, many other natural remedies. They also do giveaways and who doesn’t love a freebie?

If you haven’t yet heard of them, check them out at www.HealingLifestyles.com and you can sign up for their daily email by clicking the image in this post.

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Las Ventanas’ al Paraíso New Spa Pods

If there is anything that continually nudges me to get my passport, it’s hearing about resorts abroad that offer magical spa treatments. Like Las Ventanas al Paraíso, in Los Cabos Mexico, newest Spa Pods. (Anytime I hear the word “pod” it makes me think about the New York City hotel called The Pod that I’ve stayed in.)

These Spa Pods combine steam, water therapy delivered by 22 jets and radiant infrared heat in an encapsulated environment that is uniquely nurturing and rejuvenating, offering benefits like significantly increasing Basal Metabolic Rate, natural cleansing of the body of unwanted toxins and impurities, relief of muscle and joint aches, pains and fatigue, and weight loss by eliminating excess fluid and alleviating bloating and/or water retention.

With only the head outside the pod, while enjoying more freedom of movement and comfort than a traditional body wrap, spa podder’s may take advantage of a full range of techniques from vibratory massage to foot-spray massage and vitamin therapy – while a full-spectrum fiber optic LED light Colorbathâ„¢ delivers a rainbow shower of color, enhancing balance and relaxation.

Other benefits of the spa pods? Increased lymphatic metabolic circulation; stress reduction; re-mineralizing, moisturizing and hydrating; detoxification; and anti-aging treatments. The system can increase Basal Metabolic Rate equal to the energy expenditure of a 6-to-9-mile run that burns 900-to-2,400 calories. Um, yes please. I would love to simply relax yet have my body think I just ran 9 miles….without the actual running.

The treatments that now incorporate the Spa Pods are: Desert Sports for Men, Desert Healer, Sea Enzyme Body Wrap with Green Tea & Ginger, Nopal Detox Desert Wrap, Phyto-Marine Mask & Slimming Wrap, and Desert Flower for Women. And some of the new Spa Pod Packages include: Walking on the Clouds, combining Spa Pod, Raindrop Therapy and a Pedicure; Dreaming in Nirvana, with Spa Pod, Grounding Equilibrium Shirodara Therapy and Ultimate Hot Stone Mini Facial; Cleopatra Ceremony, blending Spa Pod, Dry Brushing, Honey and Yogurt Wrap, Milk Bath and a Nourishing Body Massage; Full Day of Wellness, with Spa Pod, Ultra-Rich Citrus Exfoliant, Body Massage, Mini Facial, Pedicure & Manicure; Half-Day Retreat, combining Spa Pod, Masaje de la Casa and a Manicure; and Just for You, with Spa Pod, Ultra-Rich Pineapple & Grape Exfoliant and Hot Stone Massage.

Have you booked your trip yet???

You can learn more at www.lasventanas.com. (Now on my bucket list of resorts to visit.)

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Girlfriend Spa Getaways at Cara Mor Spa Retreat in Spruce Creek, PA

While spa vacations have always been popular, spa retreats designated specifically for a girlfriend getaway has picked up speed in the last year. Just about 3 hours from me, in Spruce Creek PA, Cara Mor Spa Retreat is the latest luxury health spa to open…but not only just for women–but private parties of women. That means you and your friends get the entire place to yourself. Talk about personalized service!

Cara Mor is tucked away in a serene setting with 3 different lodges to accommodate the needs and size of your private party. Chef Rock is your personal Chef, who’ll whip up some comfort food–whether it is organic or a midnight snack, for you and your friends. During your stay, 7 hours at the spa is split between you and your guests each day…can you imagine getting a massage or facial on your time line and not based on the spa’s availability to squeeze you in? Read more

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SpaFinder Names Top 10 Global Spa Trends for 2011

Calling all spa girls! Want to know what’s on trend for 2011 when it comes to spas and their treatments? Susie Ellis, SpaFinder President, author of the SpaFinder blog and column and a contributing editor to NewBeauty magazine, has developed a global trend report that I’m going to republish below. Which of these trends do you think will take off the most? I personally like trend #5.

Additionally, check out the SpaFinder blog for “Hot and Getting Hotter Spa Trends 2011.”

2011 SPA TREND REPORTâ„¢ Read more

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

Tips For Planning a Spa Vacation on a Budget from Travel Expert Nicole Hockin

I could seriously take a spa vacation right about now. But having never planned one myself…least alone with my budget in mind, Hotels.com‘s travel expert Nicole Hockin of their Travel Smart Blog, offered up some great money saving tips along with her picks of a few spa resorts nationwide:

fairmont-orchid-spa-without-walls

With the increasing popularity of spas, resorts are competing with each other to offer the most luxurious and exotic treatments for both men and women. In fact, even teen spas are popping up in resorts around the country offering hip treatments for the coolest teens. For example, Hawks Cay Resort in the Florida Keys is a 60 acre island resort in that features a Teen Spa, which caters to the teen traveler offering really great treatments and experiences for kids 12-18.

Your first spa visit can still be somewhat overwhelming. The many activity choices can make you feel like a kid on your first day at summer camp. Remember, you can’t do everything. Pick a focus based on what you need such as: pampering and pleasure; health and wellness; spiritual journey, or fitness – and let that guide your choice of activities.

Destination spas can also vary a great deal in price. If you want to take a spa vacation but wonder how to get the best deals or how to make it more affordable, consider these options: Read more

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Four-Handed Massage at The Woodhouse Day Spa in Kingston, PA

vichy showerWhether you are a local in Northeast PA or just visiting on a seasonal basis, there are some great spas in the area worth checking out. While tweeting with fellow NEPA’ers on Twitter a few months ago, I asked which spa was the best in the area. The Woodhouse Day Spa in Kingston was mentioned a few times. Seeing that A Girl’s Gotta Spa! (sm), I knew I had to make the hour-long trip from where I am in the Poconos over to Kingston to experience what they call the “four-handed massage.”

The Woodhouse Day Spa can be found on the very bustling Wyoming Avenue just off Rt. 309. But don’t be fooled by the busy road as the spa, set in a Tudor-style house, has no sights or sounds of the road once inside. Once you walk through the over-sized doors, you are welcomed with the aroma of lavender in a dimly lit retreat full of soothing sounds. I could honestly feel the difference from the stress of the outside world to a more relaxed state once inside the spa.  Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Pocono Spas & Salons, skin care, Spa 2 Comments

SpaFinder’s Deal Days: Le Spa Foret

French Manor Inn and spaIt’s that time of year again, SpaFinder is holding their Deal Days March 8th-14th where you can receive select spa treatments for $50. Living out in the beautiful Pocono Mountains, I wanted to spotlight a local spa that is participating and lucky for me Le Spa Foret at The French Manor (only 25 minutes from me) is one such spa.

Le Spa Foret is offering the following two 50-minute treatments for $50 each:  Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Beauty Discount, Pocono Spas & Salons, Spa Leave a comment