Easy Abstract Floral Nail Art Tutorial

I love nail art that looks really intricate, yet is effortlessly simply in application. I asked fellow beauty blogger and fellow Pennsylvanian, A Little Polish to create a tutorial just for A Girl's Gotta Spa! readers. If you're looking for some simple abstract floral nail art, here’s a tutorial to Read more

Wrinkle Reducing Products

When we're young, we take our flawless skin for granted, never considering that what we do early on will affect us when we're older. We try to rush things, like wearing makeup (and always forgetting to take it off), skip things like sunscreen and make poor choices like smoking. Read more

Onsen $1000 Gift Card Giveaway

It's my birthday week and I am turning the big 4-0. What better way to welcome in my 40's than with a giveaway for an amazing anti-aging skin care line? Inspired by the countryside baths of Japan, Onsen skin care products are made with the same restorative minerals found at Read more

Best Body Lotions

  The best body lotions are the kind that leave your skin feeling soft and hydrated, not just for hours, but for days at a time. I am incredibly picky when it comes to my beauty products, and when it comes to body lotion, I need something that delivers. Here's a Read more

Favorite Black Eyeliners

There's something that a black eyeliner conveys that brown or even brightly colored or metallic eyeliners can't duplicate. Black says bold, daring, classic, sexy. While there are times that I opt for brown or grey, a good black eyeliner is always my first choice. Some of my favorites include CoverGirl liquiline Read more

TheFind

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

Soothe While You Shine with These Lip Balm/Lip Gloss Hybrids!

As the weather warms up and we’re slowly but surely getting enticed to brave the sunny outdoors for summery activities, it’s always important to make sure to be adequately protected from the sun. And while it may be easy to remember slathering on SPF for all your vital exposed skin, it’s also important to give proper attention to extra-sensitive areas like your lips! Having chapped lips is one of the #1 summer beauty woes (not to mention that fact that it makes sipping salt-rimmed margaritas much more painful than necessary!), and lets face it — regular gloss often just doesn’t cut it when it comes to providing the moisturizing power you need.

My quick remedy is usually to layer balm and gloss to make sure I have my bases covered, but why not opt for a multi-tasking gloss-balm hybrid that shines while it soothes and protects? Perfect for girls who want a little sheen and color, don’t want to skimp on protection, and also want to lighten the load in their purse, these balm glosses are bound to be your #1 beauty must-have for the summer!

From left to right: Anastasia Hydrafull Gloss, Philosophy Kiss Me Very Emollient Lip Balm, By Terry Rose Balm Gloss, Clinique Superbalm Moisturizing Gloss, and Givenchy Gelée D’Interdit Smoothing Gloss Balm.

- Alex Gambardella

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

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in lip gloss, lipstick, Makeup 3 Comments

Be Good To Beached-Out Tresses with Bumble and Bumble’s Seaweed Products

You may be well past those childhood days at the beach when you used to jump into the salty spray and emerge with a tangled pile of seaweed that you’d then wear as a wig (or maybe that was just me), but it’s time to embrace kelp into your beauty routine in a much more sophisticated way!

Hair-care mavens Bumble and bumble’s seaweed-infused shampoo and conditioner is your perfect go-to shower staples for summer hair, as it allows for frequent washes without stripping or drying out hair. The shampoo maintains that difficult balance between gentle enough for daily use, yet fully cleansing for all the build-up from your summer activities, while the conditioner gently moisturizes without weighing the hair down or feeling greasy for frequent bathers. The nourishing seaweed particles help soothe the scalp and feed roots for healthy growth, and the result is hair that’s clean, soft, and shiny, no matter how many times you feel the need to wash throughout the day!

- Alex Gambardella

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

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in Hair Care 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

Keep Brows Tame & Defined With a Tinted Brow Gel


As my experience with makeup has progressed from my blue eyeshadow and roll-on glitter phase (what? I was in 6th grade!) up through my more modern love for shimmery bronzer and eyeshadow primer, I’ve always had that one staple I can’t live without — my “desert island” makeup item. It used to be concealer, back in my teenage years of unpredictable skin, but then I unofficially switched to black eyeliner when I went through my more “artsy” days in college.

Nowadays, however, tinted brow gel is my new favorite beauty staple. Given the thin yet wiry (and extremely stubborn!) nature of my brows, I love how this product serves double duty by adding subtle tint (without the whole over-penciled “coloring book” effect), defining my brows’ shape, and keeping them orderly the whole day through. It’s amazing how much of a difference neat brows can make in the overall look of my face, and I love how tinted gel does wonders in making them look put-together in just a few simple swipes!

Clockwise from top left: Dior DiorShow Brow Fixing Gel, Stila Brow Polish, Laura Geller Brow Tint & Gel Tamer Duo, and Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel.

- Alex Gambardella

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

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, brows Leave a comment

The Coolest Trend In Lip Gloss Is Crystal Clear!

While I have a fairly extensive stash of what I consider my go-to lip colors — soft pinks, tawny neutrals, barely-there nudes — I often forget about the most versatile gloss “shade” of them all: clear! There’s something refreshing and effortlessly sexy about clear gloss, and while it definitely has a reputation for being totally “blah” and *gasp* plain, the right ultra-shine formula can make your pucker look anything but boring.

Clear lip gloss puts a whole different meaning to the term “nude lips,” since it really does enhance your natural lip color, just with a glassy, glossy finish. It’s fresh and pretty without ever looking overdone, and let’s face it — you never have to worry about it clashing with your eyeshadow! For example, MAC’s basic Clear LipGlass has always been a favorite of mine because of its high-impact shine and long-wearing formula, but it’s definitely not the best choice for a windy day when you’ve got your hair down! For a little extra shine, try Yves Saint Laurent Smoothing Lip Gloss, which packs some subtle shimmer on top of its glassy shine.

Clockwise, from top: Urban Decay XXX Shine Lip Gloss in Ozone, MAC Clear LipGlass, Bobbi Brown Crystal Lip Gloss, Yves Saint Laurent Smoothing Lip Gloss in #15 Clear Shimmer, Elizabeth Arden Crystal Clear Lip Gloss, and Cover Girl WetSlicks Lipgloss in Clear Radiance.

- Alex Gambardella

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

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in lip gloss, Makeup Leave a comment

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

Rita Hazan Root Concealer: Banish Roots & Grays with Just a Spritz!

As someone who has a tried-and-true hairstyle that doesn’t quite come naturally (in other words, plenty of products, irons, and time spent in front of the mirror are often required,) I’ve definitely become a lover of quick hair fixes. Dry shampoo for greasy bangs, root-lifting spray for limp second-day washes, etc. — if it’s a shortcut that will preserve my ‘do and save me some precious time, consider me a fan.

You can also add Rita Hazen Root Concealer to the list of convenient hair-savers — with a quick spray to your grays or pesky growing-in roots, this handy color-reviver disguises your discolored ‘do while you wait to pencil in your next touch-up, and stays put until you wash it out. While I have yet to try it myself, I’m fascinated by the advanced color technology that it boasts — with only 4 broad shades to choose from (blonde, red/auburn, light brown, and dark brown/black), this product claims to have any shade covered and blended seamlessly so well that even you might forget that you’re in dire need of a touch-up!

- Alex Gambardella

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

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in Hair Care Leave a comment

Get Your Pre-Summer Glow On with an All-Over Highlighter

It may be a tad too early to get a naturally sun-kissed glow (I suppose that will have to wait until after Spring Break), but that’s only more of a reason to fake it in the meantime! For the pre-Summer season, put the full-blown tan on hold and opt for a subtle neutral-toned shimmer that strategically highlights your best features — eyes, cheekbones, decolletage, etc. — without looking out of place or out of season in the rainy weather. Thanks to these handy all-over highlighters, you can multitask by playing up multiple features at once and cover larger surface areas like shoulders or legs (but be careful not to over-luster!), or pin-point smaller features for maximum impact like the inner corners of eyes or just underneath the brow.

For extra sheen (or if you’re prone to flaky skin), use a cream-based highlighter like Edward Bess All Over Seduction highlighter or Trish McEvoy Highlights All Over Face Color, or for a pretty all-over shimmer, dust Victoria’s Secret Brilliant Shimmer All-Over Powder to speed along shorts season with glowing gams! MAC Special Reserve Highlight Powder is the perfect universally-flattering sheer champagne hue for a luminous glow, or customize your perfect shade of shimmer with Stila All Over Shimmer Duo!

- Alex Gambardella

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

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in brows, Makeup, mineral makeup Leave a comment

Natural Precision Comes Easy Thanks to These Brow-Defining Pens

Not to state the obvious, but not everyone is blessed with lush, full brows a la Jordana Brewster or Brooke Shields. Of course, some gals may consider bushy brows more of a curse, but take it from a girl who’s sadly brow-challenged — I wish I had a little more to work with. After all, it can be tough to master the skill of filling them in and faking it like a pro, especially when it’s easy for brow pencils and tints to look too “drawn on” upon application, especially for darker-haired girls. So not cute.

Now, the idea of eyebrow pens may seem more problematic than helpful when it comes to avoiding the whole “cartoonish” brow look, but the truth is, felt-tip tints are an easy way to maintain precision and shape while still providing a more natural, softer tint than a pencil. The pen-inspired applicator gives you more fill-in control than, say, a pressed powder and brow brush, and the tint is less harsh than most pencils. Of course, it’s important to still apply wisely — use feathery strokes rather than simply “coloring” in brow shape to maintain the natural look and avoid looking too severe!

From left to right: Laura Geller Brow Marker, Sephora Collection Brow Tint, Anastasia Brow Pen, and MAC Penultimate Brow Marker.

- Alex Gambardella

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

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in brows, Makeup 1 Comment