Charcoal Skin Care Products for Acne Prone Skin

Shannon Smyth2 comments
Love these charcoal skin care products for acne prone skin via @agirlsgottaspa Do you have oily or combination skin? You may want to consider incorporating charcoal into your skin care regimen. Sure, charcoal is totally on trend right now and may seem like a fad, but it's for good reason. Charcoal absorbs oil and draws out toxins and bacteria from the skin. Those of us with this skin type know that excess oil leads to clogged pores, which leads to blemishes. Bacteria, transferred by way of constantly touching your face or even tampering with those blemishes, only leads to more blemishes. It's a vicious cycle my friends. I decided to give a few charcoal products a try (and my teen son's were also game to clear up their acne.) These are the current charcoal skin care products in my shower right now: Love these @michaeltoddskin charcoal skin care products via @agirlsgottaspa Michael Todd Charcoal Detox Cleanser: With a black, semi gel-like consistency, this cleanser comes in a pretty large bottle with a pump. I didn't notice a fragrance to it, but what was noticeable was how amazing my skin looked after using this for a few months. Even my oldest son, who is always broken out with acne all over his forehead, had a large decrease since using this cleanser. Aside from activated charcoal, this cleanser also contains aloe, which will help soothe acne flare-ups; tea tree oil, an anti-bacterial; and sugar cane, maple and bilberry extract for retexturizing the skin. Michael Todd Jojoba Charcoal Facial Scrub: This gritty, black facial scrub doesn't really have a smell to it. It's not greasy at all and the texture is like a paste. This activated charcoal facial scrub uses jojoba wax beads to exfoliate, which are gentler on skin and won't scrape it up (like say a scrub with apricot kernels would.) So while you slough off the dead skin, the charcoal is taking care of the excess oil and bacteria. This scrub also contains tea tree oil like the detox cleanser. (The tube pictured is trial size; the full size is much bigger.) @latherskincare charcoal skin care via @agirlsgottaspa LATHER Charcoal and Tea Tree Cleansing Bar: When is the last time you had a black bar of soap in your shower? My kids were perplexed when they saw it. You can smell the tea tree oil in this soap, but it's not overwhelming. Keep the bar away from water when not in use, and it will last a ridiculously long time. I've been using it for about 2 months now and it looks like I've barely touched it. Simply rub the bar in your palms and then massage onto your face and then rinse. LATHER Charcoal Konjac Sponge: Get one of these STAT. I've never used a konjac sponge prior to this, so I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. It looks like a pumice stone - even feels like one when you take it out of the package. However, the moment water touched it, it immediately became this silky sponge. You can use it alone or with a cleanser. When I pair it with my Michael Todd Detox Cleanser, it makes it lather (so use only a small amount.) When you're done, keep it out of water. It'll dry back to it's hard, pumice-like state. It is literally amazing and I love it. Obviously I don't use these products all at once, but I do consistently alternate them daily to keep my skin blemish-free. Have you tried any of these products? I'd love to hear from you! Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too! *Disclosure: press samples, affiliate links

Read more →

Customize Your Skin Care Routine with Paula's Choice

Shannon Smyth
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Paula's Choice.  All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Customize your skin care routine with @PaulasChoice - full review on @agirlsgottaspa #PaulasChoiceSkinCare Who can resist Paula's Choice in their skin care routine? Sorry, I couldn't help but make that joke, although I have to say that now that I've tried this skin care line, I'm pretty much hooked. Prior to this review, I hadn't tried any of Paula's Choice skin care, although I am very much aware of Paula Begoun, the founder, as the Cosmetics Cop who is all about truth in beauty, skin care, ingredients and proven research. In fact, I had the chance to interview her when Beautypedia launched several years ago. Her website has a full encyclopedia of advice for every type of skin care concern. She is a wealth of information! I am a true skin care junkie. I absolutely believe that it doesn't matter how much contouring and concealing you do or how much makeup you wear - if your skin is a mess, there is no hiding that! Besides, the better you treat your skin, the less makeup you'll have to invest in to fix your flaws. Customize your skin care routine with @PaulasChoice - full review on @agirlsgottaspa #PaulasChoiceSkinCare

Paula's Choice Skin Care Consultation

My relationship with Paula's Choice began with a personalized skin care consultation. Paula’s Choice is committed to customer advocacy, education and helping people find the best products for their skin. In fact, everyone can receive a FREE personal skincare consultation by calling this number: 1-800-831-4088. I spoke with Moniqua, who asked me to briefly explain my skin and routine to her. She asked follow up questions to further clarify my skin type and changes I am seeing in my skin. Over the years my skin has changed a lot. In my youth (or back in the olden days, as my kids would say), my skin was oily. Throughout most of my adult years, it transitioned into combination (normal to oily.) When I moved to the Pocono Mountains in 2003, it became dry in the Fall and Winter and then back to combination for Spring and Summer. (Where you live can have a major impact on your skin.) However, during my recent pregnancy and post-partum AND now being considered to have "mature" (UGH) skin, it has again transitioned to normal to dry. Trying to find products that work well have been close to impossible. Trying to figure out the circus that is my skin has become incredibly frustrating, so I appreciated having a skin care expert to chat with to get a customized skin care regimen in place for me. Paula's Choice offers a 100% money back guarantee (within 60 days) - so I liked that safeguard when choosing products. Paula's Choice is also cruelty free and does not contain irritating dyes or fragrances. Their product line includes something for everyone, acne, rosacea, aging, pores. They treat it all. On their website, you can choose from a menu of skincare concerns you’d like to treat and for me that was sun damange (hyperpigmentation), uneven skin tone, balancing my skin so that it was not dry yet not oily, treating the occasional blemish, the always annoying blackheads and diminishing the signs of aging (fine lines, wrinkles.) You could say Moniqua had her work cut out for her to find me Paula's Choice products that could meet all of my needs. Customize your skin care routine with @PaulasChoice - full review on @agirlsgottaspa #PaulasChoiceSkinCare

Paula's Choice Skin Care for Mature Skin

The Paula's Choice skin care regimen that was suggested were products from the Resist line. One of the major standouts for me about this line is the texture. I am not a big fan of heavy creams and serums, and the Resist line is very lightweight. From the toner to the serum, BHA and moisturizer, I am thrilled at how each product applies and despite all of the layering, it doesn't feel that way. Customize your skin care routine with @PaulasChoice - full review on @agirlsgottaspa #PaulasChoiceSkinCare In total, my morning and night skin care routine contain 6 products: Resist Perfectly Balanced Foaming Cleanser, Resist Weightless Toner, Resist Daily Pore-Refining Treatment 2% BHA, Resist Moisture Renewal Oil Booster, Resist 25% Vitamin C Spot Treatment, Resist Daily Fluid SPF 50 (day), and Resist Anti-Aging Clear Skin Hydrator (night.) Once a week I swap out the 2% BHA for the Resist Weekly Retexturizing Foam 4% BHA. Right now I'm using the Oil Booster, but once my skin has finally balanced out, I plan to use the Resist Hyaluronic Acid Booster, which is for all skin types. Now you may ask, are all of those products really necessary? Here's my stance - most people will try to skip a product or two in order to save time and money, but then end up spending it on cosmetics to conceal whatever issue wasn't addressed. When those cosmetics aren't enough, they think it's the skin care products they're using and go onto try something else. By the time it's all said and done, you've spent more money than you've intended and more time trying to fix a problem that could've been easily solved to begin with. I encourage you to give Paula's Choice a try and set up a consultation so that you get the right products in your hands. Have you tried Paula's Choice? I'd love to hear about your experience in the comments. Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too!

Read more →

Eumora Facial Bar Review

Shannon Smyth4 comments
Eumora Moor Facial Bar #review via @agirlsgottaspa #facial #soap #skincare If you are part of the sisterhood that is combination/oily skin, then you'll want to learn more about Eumora, a facial bar made of moor and HmA. For as far back as I can remember, my skin has never been gifted as "normal" and transitions from combination in the Fall/Winter to oily in the Spring/Summer. This means I am forever trying out skin care products that will help keep my skin in check. Great moor facial soap for combination skin via @agirlsgottaspa #skincare #beauty Eumora comes in a small box that contains 4 facial bars. The bars have no fragrance to them and they are the average size of a traditional facial bar. The bar is comprised of moor clay, an ingredient they call HmA (hydration microAlgae factor), olive oil, chamomile extract and glycerin.  Eumora is natural, vegan and cruelty free. However, it does contain wheat, so if you have a gluten sensitivity, ask your dermatologist before using. The ingredient label is very straightforward and the ingredients themselves are few (less is always better!) With my understanding of skin care, I could tell that this facial bar would not only absorb oil, dirt and impurities via the moor clay, but would also be replenished with moisture from the olive oil and glycerin, provide antiseptic qualities (read: aid in decreasing acne) due to the algae and soothe skin with the chamomile. Eumora facial soap review via @agirlsgottaspa #skincare #beauty A deeper look into the two main ingredients: Moor and HmA: HmA (Hydration microalgae factor) is formulated and derived from microalgae cultivated in the fresh water lakes. It includes a component that is similar to the structure of hyaluronate 3D mesh structure, which aids in moisture absorption. With a unique concentration of natural active ingredients, extracted from the essence of microalgae, it is an effective hydrating agent and why your skin won't feel stripped after using it. HmA doesn't irritate, so it is safe for sensitive skin. Moor is a rare form of nutrient-rich peat from Austria created by the gradual transformation of herbs, plants and flowers which have been permanently submerged under water or underground. Free from the decaying effects of oxygen and in the correct climatic and biological conditions, the plant matter undergoes a 'ripening' transformation process over thousands of years to produce a homogeneous dark substance called Moor. Moor is an antiseptic, which is why this facial bar is great for those who suffer from acne or the ocassional blemish,  it's detoxifying, an anti-inflammatory and hypoallergenic. To use Eumora, simply wet your face, work the bar into a lather in your hands and apply the lather to your face. Let the lather lie on your skin like you would a mask, for about 3 minutes and rinse. I noticed right away how clean my skin felt (without that completely stripped of moisture feeling) and how soft it was. While the Eumora website says you won't need a toner, serum or moisturizer when using the bar, I don't really buy into that because you always need a second method of hydration. Bars are meant to cleanse, and can hydrate, but not in the same way a moisturizer would. Regardless, you always need to cleanse your skin, and I do like how this facial bar was effective for my skin type. Eumora #soap review via @agirlsgottaspa #beauty #skincare Despite the bar's small size, it seriously lasts a long time when stored properly (aka don't let it sit in water.) Only needing lather to get the job done, each Eumora bar lasts about 6 weeks+. While I have combination/oily skin, Eumora is good for all skin types and can be used as part of your morning and evening beauty routine. If you go to, you can request a free product sample, just pay shipping and handling ($4.95.) For a limited time only, visitors who request the free trial will also have the ability to get a 30% discount off their first box ordered of Eumora Classic plus get free shipping. Have you tried this product? Let me know in the comments! Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle tooShannon on G+ a

Read more →

Teaching Your Son the Importance of Proper Skin Care

Shannon Smyth1 comment
Teaching Your Son the Importance of Proper Skin Care #boys #skincare Proper skin care is not something that you only teach your daughter or the female in your life, but is something I feel boys need to learn, as well. Of course, I'm biased having four sons and all. Yet, we know it's true. Where are the ads on TV or in magazines marketing exfoliators, moisturizers, serums and sunscreen to men? (With the exception of acne products like Proactiv, of course.) When have you ever seen teen boys incorporated in skin care commercials? You simply don't. So how does a young man know how to treat blemishes, or how to exfoliate his face or know the right products for his skin type? Moms: It begins with you. When my oldest son, Gavin, was about 13, I began to explain the importance of washing his face both day and night. "No, Gavin, putting your face under the water in the shower doesn't count," I told him. I sat him down and explained the difference between cleansing his face and exfoliating his face, as well as how often he should be doing each (cleansing everyday, exfoliating 1-2x per week.) Directing him to wet his face first, I demonstrated for him how much product to use - because let's face it, kids POUR stuff out of the bottle. I showed him that you pump out about a pea-sized amount of product onto your finger tips, then tap them to your other hand and massage onto your skin in a circular motion. I then told him that he needed to rinse his face with cooler water (because I could totally visualize a screaming teenager saying "MOM! I just burned my face!" and no thanks.) Teaching Your Son the Importance of Proper Skin Care The beginning was trial and error. As with any teenager, he was half listening to me, so the first few times he used products in the shower he would use way too much. Or he would conveniently forget to wash his face at all and later complain that his face was an oil slick. Or he'd glob on the moisturizer. I also explained to him how important it was to wear a moisturizer, day and night, as well as sunscreen. We're working on the sunscreen part still because he is in the typical "My skin will be just fine because I never go outside" phase. He's good most of the time about applying moisturizer at least once a day. What's he's best at is taking care of and treating the occasional blemish that erupts. He knows not to pick at his skin and I taught him how to gently extract whiteheads (washing his hands first then using a tissue and light pressure - and only once it is really ready - otherwise, hands off!) He knows that aloe and/or an ice pack will help decrease the inflammation. And he also has his favorite acne products: Renee Rouleau Anti-Cyst Treatment and CoralActives Penetrating Acne Serum Gel.

Teach Your Son the Importance of Skin Care

Last week, Gavin (who is about to be 15 now) pointed out to his brother Connor (12) the blemish on Connor's nose, saying, "Look who's in puberty!" I expected the hazing to go further than that, but it didn't, and to my surprise (and pleasure) Gavin began talking to Connor about taking care of his skin and how to handle blemishes. It was definitely a proud moment for me as a mom and skin care fanatic. Connor, Gavin and I then had a great 20 minutes bonding and talking about about skin care. Connor asked a lot of questions and many times Gavin was quick to answer before me. When Connor asked me what pores were, I basically had to dish about the large pores on my nose and show him what happens when you don't start taking care of your skin from a young age. I feel good watching my boys invest in their skin and I like knowing that Gavin and Connor will also be share their knowledge when the time comes for Brody and Duncan to start taking care of theirs, too. Have you taught your son(s) the importance of proper skin care? If you found this post helpful, please Like, Share and Pin it! Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle tooShannon on G+

Read more →