HASK Beauty

Mandy Lewis1 comment
Hask Beauty Macadamia Oil hair care review via @agirlsgottaspa Anyone who is of mixed ethnicities knows how hard it is to find shampoos and conditioners for our hair types. I'm always on the look out for products that will keep my hair healthy, smooth, moisturized and soft. My mixed ethnicity (Afro-Guyanese, Indonesian, Amerindian and Portuguese), sometimes makes it difficult to find a product that works well for my hair type. Although my hair is thick and coarse, most products that are extra moisturizing tend to leave my hair oily and flat or sometimes even adds more frizz and leaves it feeling dry. Not so with HASK products! With exotic oils like Argan, Macadamia and Manoi and using high quality ingredients, HASK provides "high performance, salon quality results at an affordable price." HASK shampoos and conditioners are free of sulfates, parabens, drying alcohols, phthalates, gluten and artificial colors. And of course they do not test their products on animals! My kit included the Macadamia Oil Shampoo and Conditioner, Moisturizing Shine Oil and Moisturizing Deep Conditioner. All of the Macadamia products are made especially for dry, thirsty hair, smells fabulous and actually works! Hask Beauty Macadamia Oil results via @agirlsgottaspa I used the shampoo and conditioner, which are both thick and luxurious, left my hair feeling soft, silky, healthy and smelling so wonderful. Then I let my hair stewed for a bit (about 4 days), before using the Moisturizing Deep Conditioner. It's recommended to leave it in your hair for at least ten minutes, but after using the shampoo, I left it in for twenty minutes. Usually after using most deep conditioning treatments and rinsing it out, I still end up adding more conditioner to my hair, but with the HASK Moisturizing Deep Conditioner I didn't have to. My ends were a bit brittle from styling and this deep conditioner worked to make them soft again. My hair is thick and long, but the packet was enough for two treatments. My absolutely favorite product from the kit would have to be the Moisturizing Shine Oil. It's lightweight and absorbing, doesn't leave my hair greasy and my hair felt smooth and soft every time I used it, which has been every day since receiving it. And a little goes a long way so it will last for a while. I took it with me to Florida for a girl's vacation and everyone ended up using it. It definitely stood up to the Florida heat and humidity! You don't have to spend a fortune to have beautiful, healthy hair. With HASK products, you're sure to find something for your hair type and be happy with the results. Have you tried anything from the HASK hair care line? 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. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too! Disclosure: Press sample, affiliate links

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Why Do I Get Eczema at Certain Times of the Year?

Shannon Smyth

Personally speaking, why do I only get eczema in the spring and summer? My husband and teen-aged son also have an onset of eczema at the same exact time as me, yet two of my younger sons only get eczema in the winter. But why?

I decided to go to the experts for answers because I can't imagine I'm the only one plagued with wondering why spring sets off two seasons of itchy bumps taking up residence on my elbows, inner corners of my arms and my hands - and the more I scratch, the more it spreads.

It was only in the last few years that I suddenly began to have eczema flare-ups and once the summer is over, my skin returns to normal... like it never even happened. Does this happen to you?

"In some ways, eczema is a bit of a mystery. It can pop up in all seasons for many reasons. Causes run the gamut from genetic to an auto-immune issue. In general terms, eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a non-contagious, recurrent inflammation of the skin. It is different from a true allergy, but eczema can get worse if a person is exposed to irritations." says Dr. Barney Kenet.

Fayne L. Frey, MD, FAAD of Dermatology & Dermatological Surgery tells me that to date, there is no cure (although plenty out there say they have the miracle cure.) Eczema is often found in individuals with asthma and hay fever. The exact cause of seasonal outbreaks is also unknown.

However, there seem to be many "triggers" that cause eczema to flare.  According to Dr. Frey, they are:

  • Dust mites (that hot forced air may blow around a home in the winter.)
  • Pets (cats & dogs)
  • Pollen (some people flare-up in the spring when pollen counts are high or in the fall when ragweed pollen counts are elevated.)
  • Hot weather (may cause summer flareups)
  • Low humidity (causes more water to evaporate from the skin which may lead to flare up in the winter)
  • Certain foods, like nuts, eggs, soy products, may trigger eczema flare ups (possibly a particular food is eaten seasonally to cause a flare up)
  • Hot showers or many showers (could account for flare-ups in the winter or summer for some.)
  • Wool in blankets and clothing

When it comes to my younger sons and their eczema onset every winter, it was clear that it was due to our wood stove and thermostat zapping the moisture from our house. It was easy enough to treat by eliminating baths (when they were really little), limiting their showers to every other day and making sure I kept their skin moisturized daily.

However, it wasn't until Dr. Frey mentioned pollen as a culprit that I realized that it must be the trigger for my eczema each spring. Like clockwork when my oldest son, who has severe seasonal allergies, starts with his allergy symptoms, my eczema seems to also appear. I have seasonal allergies, but just not as bad as my son. It all makes sense now that pollen is my trigger. Seasonal eczema - experts weigh in on why this happens and what to do about it. #eczema #skincare Liz Fuller of Makeup Artistry Inc. brought up the idea that eczema could be triggered by dairy, as well. She had suffered from eczema since she was a baby, but at 43 decided to go dairy-free and within two weeks her eczema was gone and has not returned for over a year now. (I'm not ready to give up my ice cream and frozen yogurt just yet.)

As a side note, dairy is also a culprit when it comes to cystic acne. Now that we know some of the possible triggers, I wanted to find out some of the ways in which we can treat eczema to either help minimize it or at best, prevent the itching that can lead to it spreading to more areas.

Dr. Elizabeth Rostan of Charlotte Skin & Laser suggests using a humidifier in the winter to add moisture back into the air to prevent the skin from drying out. She says that severe cases are helped with soaks in diluted bleach baths and with wet wraps overnight.

My one son and I are going to try AD RescueWear sleeves, which you can wear for wet wrap therapy. (Update: We LOVE this product, read our review!)

Dr. Chynna Steele of Steele Dermatology's recommendations for combatting eczema are: "It is best to keep the skin well moisturized year round to keep eczema flares at a minimum; also, to keep the skin covered (long sleeves and long pants) during the changes in season when environmental allergens are at their highest.

Taking an antihistamine during "allergy season" also helps keep the inflammatory cells in the skin under control and prevent eczema flares. Use gentle, moisturizing soaps and fragrance and dye free soaps, detergents, hygiene products to keep skin calm."

Dr. Barney Kenet says to look for products that say "emollient" and "fragrance free" when it comes to moisturizers. According to Debra Jaliman M.D., Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, you can also apply moisturizer containing glycerin, Shea butter or hyaluronic acid. Again, make sure they are fragrance free, as it can be irritating to your skin. Avoid all products with acid, such as lactic acid in glycolic acid.

When using a sunscreen, avoid chemical sunscreens and only use a physical sunscreen containing a high concentration of zinc oxide as this is more soothing to the skin.

Pregnant and have eczema? While an anti-histamine like Benadryl is considered pregnancy safe, you may not want to take any medications during those 40 weeks out of erring on the side of caution. Dr. Steele recommends pure shea butter as a moisturizer since it is an anti-inflammatory for the skin and completely natural.

She also suggests Vanicream, which has the seal of approval from the National Eczema Association, because it is also a great product that those with sensitive skin can use and they have some lighter weight options that are good for the summer.  (I couldn't determine if this was a cruelty free brand or not, though.)

Some other good cruelty free options are our very own natural body lotion, Waxelene (petroleum jelly alternative), Yes to Coconut Eczema Relief Spray and Nature's Gate Colloidial Oatmeal. I hope you found this article helpful! 

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Spongelle Body Wash Infused Body Buffers

Gail Lewis16 comments
Spongelle Body Wash Infused Buffers review via @agirlsgottaspa I am an absolute devotee of beauty products that are able to multitask. For me multitasking beauty products are an absolute godsend, so whenever I catch wind of one of these products I HAVE to try it, which is why I had to try Spongellé Body Wash Infused Buffer and Pedi Buffer. The Spongellé Body Buffer is infused with a shower gel containing  skin care ingredients to cleanse, exfoliate, stimulate circulation, and moisturize skin. Each buffer has its own one-of-a-kind fragrance blend. In addition to body buffers, Spongellé also has pedi buffers to prevent dry, rough feet by buffing away calluses. I tried and am still using the Bulgarian Rose Flower Body Buffer and the Mandarin Mint Pedi-Buffer.  The Bulgarian Rose Flower Body Buffer has a really pretty floral scent that leaves my skin and shower smelling amazin,g but still manages not to be overpowering.  The buffer felt a bit rough at first, but once I ran it under water and squeezed, the texture became a lot more gentle and felt great on my skin, not at all abrasive.  My skin definitely felt softer and smoother after using the body buffer.  Each body buffer, depending on the size, can be used for 10-14+ washes. The Mandarin Mint Pedi Buffer also has a great scent that's minty and citrusy at the same time...a very rejuvenating and energizing scent.  The Pedi Buffer feels a lot more textured than the body buffer and definitely did a great job of exfoliating my feet.  I think that using the Pedi Buffer on a daily basis, especially after a professional pedicure, will extend the life of my pedicures and have my feet sandal-ready year round.  The Spongellé Pedi Buffer has up to 30 uses. The Spongellé Body Buffers are going to make great travel companions because even though they also come in travel sizes, the regular sized body buffer can be easily  transported in my carry-on and is definitely TSA approved.  I only wish I would have known about this multi-tasker  last year when I was on an airplane more than I was at home! Spongellé is made in the USA, is cruelty free and uses only premium skin care ingredients. Have you tried any of their products yet? 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 sample

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Lasting Smiles Lip Balm for a Charitable Cause

Shannon Smyth
Lasting Smiles Lip Balm contributes to life changing cleft palate surgeries. Story via @agirlsgottaspa #beauty #charity I love great brand stories and the cause behind Lasting Smiles lip balm is one of them. Not only is it amazing to me that the Founder and visionary behind Lasting Smiles is only 21 years old, but that she began her company - whose main goal is to provide the funds for life changing mouth surgeries - by selling door to door. That's passion for a compassionate cause. That's something I can get behind. Lasting Smiles, which recently launched nationwide in Nordstrom and Whole Foods and online at Walgreens and Drugstore.com, is the only US FLO fairtrade certified cosmetic brand. They work to support organic small scale farming communities around the world. Lasting Smiles is also 100% vegetarian and Leaping Bunny certified cruelty free. For every 1000 lip balms sold, one child receives the gift of a cleft lip or cleft palate surgery in the same countries Lasting Smiles sources their ingredients. Lasting Smiles is partnered with Smile Train, the world’s largest international children’s cleft charity. This is such a worthy cause and it's amazing that something so simple as lip balm can help transform the life of a child. Lasting Smiles lip balm comes in 5 flavors: Simply Moisture - which is flavor-free Passionfruit Mango Pure Pomegranate Peppermint Creme Peach Blossom I've been using them all frequently, because during the course of a normal day I am wearing neither lipstick or lip gloss, but instead opting to hydrate my lips with these cause-worthy lip balms.  They are hydrating and taste delicious. Let me know if you've tried them! I'd love to see this brand really take off! 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

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Beauty Tips to Beat Dreaded Winter Skin

Shannon Smyth
How to Beat Dreaded Winter Skin via @agirlsgottaspa #skincare #skintips Preventing dreaded winter skin can be a challenge, and harsh climates do little for the appearance. However, those looking to stay radiant this season can turn to ESPA at Vdara Hotel & Spa. This relaxation destination houses several beauty experts, including Lead Aesthetician Alisa Vidaurri who comes withan arsenal of beauty tips, whether it’s within the luxurious Las Vegas spa or from the comfort of your own home. Below are some winter care remedies, including both sophisticated treatments available at ESPA and do-it-yourself home regimens to protect and invigorate the face, scalp and immune system from winter’s winds: Face: · Indulge: ESPA’s Advanced Enzyme Facial, an exfoliation and anti-inflammatory treatment, uses organic elements to sustain the skin’s natural glow. This gentle peel won’t irritate the skin and includes all natural ingredients, including Australian wild lime species and sugar cane, to reveal a smooth, illuminating glow. · DIY: Alisa’s top tip for brightening winter skin? Exfoliate! This can be as simple as using a washcloth to wipe away dead skin, or trying natural products such as pumpkin, which is the main element infused in the Advanced Enzyme Facial at ESPA. Scalp: · Indulge: In the absence of humidity, the intensive Pink Hair & Scalp Mud at ESPA leaves the scalp feeling refreshed and hair soft and shiny. ESPA’s signature conditioner’s key ingredients include red clay and apricot kernel oil to soothe and nourish the scalp. · DIY: Snow isn’t the only white flake that comes around during the winter. If a trip to the spa isn’t an option, Alisa says treating these flakes at home can be done by combining coconut, olive and tea tree oil. After mixing the three components together throughout damp hair, leave the treatment in for 20 minutes and rinse with cool water.The scalp will be thoroughly conditioned to prevent dandruff. Immune System: · Indulge: The common cold doesn’t only bring the sniffles, but can leave the brightest face looking lackluster. ESPA’s Resistance Bath and Body Oil is a non-medicinal blend of tea tree and eucalyptus essential oils in an almond base used to heal dark eye circles and brighten dull skin. This balance of ingredients not only cures ailing skin, but also supports and strengthens the immune system. · DIY: To boost the immune system and create cold-resistant skin, Alisa suggests home ingredients such as almonds, which are filled with vitamins to prevent inflammation. Another remedy is indulging in a daily dose of red wine, packed with antioxidants to fight off sickness. If you felt these tips were helpful, be sure to Like, Tweet and Pin this post! 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!

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The ColorBAR at dpHUE Los Angeles

Gail Lewis1 comment
colorBAR dpHUE Los Angeles via @agirlsgottaspa #haircare We are all well aware of and seriously addicted to salons that cater to long-lasting blow outs. Now let me introduce you to what is sure to be your new addiction, from the custom hair color retailer, dpHUE,  the ColorBAR at dpHUE.  The ColorBAR at dpHUE is the first to offer clients hair coloring services only, similar to the dry bar concept and has just recently opened its doors in Studio City on Ventura Boulevard. The ColorBAR is a multi-service hair color bar that offers guests color application including highlights, semi-permanent color, deep-condition and replenishing treatments in addition to blow dry styling.  dpHUE  is known for offering do-it-yourself haircolor and the ColorBAR is an extension of those services.  One of Hollywood’s most sought-after color experts, Justin Anderson, is the Creative Director for the brand, combine that with the fact that color is what they do, you know you're in the best of hands.   In addition to hair color, dpHUE also provides hydrating shampoos, conditioners, masques and oils; basically an entire arsenal of products to maintain your gorgeous dpHUE color and leave you with incredibly beautiful hair, which is exactly what I left the ColorBAR with after my visit this past Saturday. dpHUE LA #colorbar via @agirlsgottaspa Service areas inside include: GORGEOUS. TO. GO.
  • Personal consultation with dpHUE hair color professional
  • Custom formulated HUE (color)
  • One-on-one guidance and application instructions for guests to apply hair color at home
  • Services included with GORGEOUS. TO. GO.
  • Hair color is applied at dpHUE by the guest with COLOR COACH guidance
  • dpHUE’s tools and products are available for use
  • Services included with GORGEOUS. TO. GO.
  • Color application, shampoo and condition provided by dpHUE hair color professional
colorBAR at dpHUE LA review via @agirlsgottaspa #beauty #haircolor I've had highlights for quite a while and wanted to go darker, shinier and more rich for fall, which is exactly what my ColorBAR colorist Rita, expertly executed.  My hair actually looked and felt a ton healthier after it was colored, which is a first for me .  Now that I've consulted with a professional ColorBAR colorist and know how to mix and apply my color of choice, I have the option of  having the ColorBAR apply my color or doing it at home on my own.  I can even order my color online since dpHUE has my color information in their system. Unlike do-it-yourself drug store colors that can wreak havoc on your hair and leave it looking brittle and stripped, dpHUE's color formulation is professional color that is incredibly gentle, luxurious, effective and long-lasting...it doesn't get much better than that...actually it does, no appointments are ever necessary for your ColorBAR at dbHUE visit! If you visit ColorBAR, please leave a comment and let us know about your experience! 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 too! *Disclosure: Comp service

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DIY Citrus-Infused Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub

Shannon Smyth2 comments
DIY Citrus-Infused Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub via @agirlsgottaspa #DIY #beauty #scrub #bathandbody To take advantage of the tropical weather in South Florida, co-founder of the Caribbean Spa Association, Florida’s Spa Superhero and Viceroy Miami’s Spa Director, Alena Stavnjak, likes to use ingredients that are indigenous to the area in her homemade sugar scrubs. One of Alena's favorite DIY spa treatments is a citrus-infused coconut oil sugar scrub that leaves the skin feeling hydrated and soft. We adore citrus at A Girl's Gotta Spa! for its energizing fragrance that is sure to boost your mood year round. Coconut oil is high in vitamin E, penetrates the skin better than any other oil and is also good for nails and hair. Best of all, this citrus-infused coconut oil sugar body scrub is simple to make at home! Here is the recipe: Ingredients: ¼ c. granulated brown sugar ½ c. coconut oil 1 T. citrus fruit zest (grapefruit, lemon or orange) Preparation: Mix ingredients together and use about a handful to exfoliate the skin based on preference. Remove in the shower, pat dry and then moisturize skin. (Alena recommends the Mimosa Champagne oil by Eminence Organics.) This scrub will create a slippery surface in your bathtub, so use caution. Let us know if you try it! You might also like A Girl's Gotta Spa! Energizing Citrus Salt Scrub. 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 too!

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NEOVA Copper Moisture Mask

Shannon Smyth
Neova Copper Moisture Mask #Review via @agirlsgottaspa #skincare Copper has many skin care benefits including the promotion of collagen and elastin production, as well as acting as an antioxidant. Copper peptides help to firm, smooth and soften skin, and it's said that copper can accomplish it in half the time compared to most other anti-aging skin care ingredients. Copper peptides are also beneficial when it comes to treating scars, as well. NEOVA has a Copper Moisture Mask as part of their Treat line of products. Skin care products in this collection aim to reduce the signs of photoaging, rejuvenate the skin and soothe irritation. The NEOVA Copper Moisture Mask has the consistency of a thick gel, which is lightly tinted blue and has a light fragrance that I can only describe as sweet almond in nature. Prior to applying the mask, cleanse your skin. The sample I was provided with came with a ceramic spoon, however I'm unsure if that was extra or if it comes with the mask. The reason I mention it, is because it's important not to stick your fingers into the gel to prevent bacteria transfer. Use a spoon or spatula that you can clean with hot water after using. The gel has a cooling effect and due to its thickness, it won't slide off your face. You really don't need a lot of product to get the job done. Leave on for up to 20 minutes, however you might find that you need to remove it sooner as the gel begins to dry and makes your skin taunt. (I chose to remove mine after 10 minutes.) Use warm water and a cloth to remove the mask. (I used my Swisspers Cleansing Cloth.) Removal is a little tricky, as the water to remove it seems to reactivate the mask from thin and dry back to gel. It took a few swipes of the cloth to remove it. Once you've removed the mask, apply your toner, serum and moisturizer as usual. Your skin will feel incredibly supple. Hydrated skin always improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. After about a month of use, I did notice a slight fading of the photodamage on my face. Would love to  hear if you've used this mask or have a question! 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 too! *Disclosure: Press Sample

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Cate McNabb Cruelty Free Red Lipstick

Shannon Smyth2 comments
@CateMcNabbPins #CrueltyFree red lipstick in Be Mine. <3 Ever since I decided to make the leap into wearing red lipstick, I've become obsessed. While I know that self-confidence comes from within, the perfect red lipstick can get you there a little quicker. Cruelty free cosmetics brand, Cate McNabb, has some incredibly hydrating lipsticks and Be Mine basically begged to be worn. It's a pink-based satin red that screams I got this. Or like a boss (as my kids would say.) Years ago I wasn't much of a lipstick fan in general simply because lipsticks tend to dry out my lips. Then I look older than I am and ain't nobody got time for that. Not to mention all of the wrinkle-minimizing products I use...only to have my lips shout OLD? No thanks. I'm happy to report that Cate McNabb's lipsticks don't dry you out. With nourishing ingredients like shea butter, sunflower seed oil and olive oil it's virtually impossible to do anything but hydrate your lips. Cate McNabb red lipstick swatch in Be Mine As with any red lipstick, make sure to wear a lip liner to help prevent color bleed. The color itself was long-lasting, with the exception of eating and drinking of course (but that goes for any lip product in general.) Have you tried Cate McNabb's lipsticks? I'd love to hear from you 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 too! *Disclosure: Press Sample

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Solid Lotion Bars from Faith, Soaps and Love

Shannon Smyth
Solid Lotion Bars from @faithsoapsnlove via @agirlsgottaspa Know for their incredible handmade artisan soaps, Faith, Soaps & Love has another trick up their sleeves... or in this case, in their tubes. Good things come in 2 oz. packages. Don't let the small number fool you, as the Solid Lotion Bar tube is the size of my hand. If you've never tried solid lotion before, it is a different experience than fluid lotion and has its benefits. These particular lotion bars are comprised of shea butter, coconut oil, beeswax, fragrance or essential oil. Simple ingredients and completely convenient packaging. While the shea butter and coconut oil hydrate your skin, the beeswax locks in the moisture. It's best used on your elbows, knees, heels of your feet - which is also another reason the packaging is super convenient. I've used lotion bars in the past, but they came in a tin and I'd have to hold them in my hand to apply. It would become tricky because the heat from my hand would soften the bar and my hands would become a little greasy. Utilizing Faith, Soaps & Love's solid lotion bars in the tube totally takes the messiness out of the equation. I love that. I'm not the only one in my house using these solid lotion bars, as my oldest son began using them on his eczema. His elbows get really bad and he tends to scratch it, making it worse (and spreading.) I've tried encouraging him to use body oil sprays and lotions, but he always foregoes it (i.e. he ignores me.) I've mentioned it before, and if you are a long time reader you may already know, that my oldest son is on the Autism Spectrum. With his sensory issues he found that the solid lotion in a tube is perfect for him. Better still, his eczema has diminished significantly. While I can't go making bold claims that it cures eczema, it definitely helps. He now uses it on his legs and arms, too. The solid lotion bars come in a variety of scents and are only $6.50 each. They do also sell non-tubed heart-shaped lotion bars in a variety of fragrances as well (set of 4 is $6.) As with their handmade soap, the tubes each have a scripture verse on them. Have you tried solid lotion before? 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+ *Disclosure: Press Samples

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