Mandara Spa Aboard Norwegian Cruise Line

Candyce Ross
Mandara Spa on Norwegian Cruise Line, London review via @agirlsgottaspa Picture this – You’ve just started your holiday. Before you know it, you're whisked away to a luxury spa and are being pampered with the view of the open sea in front of you and not a worry in the world! Everything is being taken care of and all you’re in charge of doing is sitting back and relaxing because it's only smooth sailing from here. Literally - because you're on board a Norwegian Cruise ship and being treated like a princess in their Mandara Spa. Mandara Spa is on board every Norwegian Cruise ship and I was given a taste of this experience when I recently escaped winter for the afternoon at the Mandara Spa at Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge in London. View of Big Ben in London from Norwegian Cruise ship via @agirlsgottaspa Mandara Spa review via @agirlsgottaspa As I sunk into the massage table and enjoyed a Balinese massage and mini facial, I closed my eyes and imagined watching the vast deep blue as if I was cruising. My therapist carefully chose the most suitable Elemis products to hydrate my skin, which needed a little boost after being exposed to the cold winter weather. Mandara Spa, London via @agirlsgottaspa The spa uses signature Mandara, Elemis and Bliss products and has an indoor swimming pool, fitness centre, sauna, manicure and pedicure area. In addition, there is also an amazing salt grotto which is surrounded with layers of body cleansing salt crystals and is said to help skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, as well as colds, allergies and respiratory ailments. Spa treatment at Mandara Spa in London via @agirlsgottaspa Norwegian Cruise line has been voted the World’s Best Cruise Spa by the World Spa Awards so you know that you’re in the right hands when it comes to choosing a holiday focused on a little “me” time. What I like about the idea of cruising with a luxury spa on board is that you can have a week (or two!) of trying different treatments, seeing different destinations and you only have to unpack once! Foodie indulgence aboard Norwegian Cruise ship via @agirlsgottaspa Norwegian Cruise ships also have a large selection of entertainment and restaurants on board to cater for all interests and taste buds. From waterfront bars to specialty restaurants, you are spoilt for choice. There are also many healthy dining options available, so for those who are worried about returning from a week of indulgence looking like a house – fear not! What better way to see the world than replacing stressful flights with days spent looking out to sea. Beach hair, sun kissed skin and a trip to the spa to top it off...dreamy! Have you had the chance to spa at sea 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. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too!

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How to Remove Blackheads

Shannon Smyth
How to Remove Blackheads #beauty #skincare Blackheads. Simply put - they are the bane of our existence. Our teen years are when our pores become defined, which is dependent on using the right skin care products and using them consistently. How we take care of our face during our teen years determines how large or small our pores will be (mainly just how much they'll hold tightly to dirt and debris as we age), but yet it is during these same years that we seem to lack the knowledge (and motivation) to implement a preventative beauty routine that will save us the grief from our older selves. Oh Marty McFly, why can't time machines be real?! Since I can't turn back time, all I can do now is learn how to properly extract and remove blackheads, and try to minimize just how often those little skin pockets fill up with gunk. If you are younger and reading this, take heed now and do yourself a favor: keep your skin well-maintained. There are a few ways to remove blackheads:
Get a Professional Facial to Remove Blackheads This is your best method for extracting blackheads. An esthetician will use steam directly pointed to your face to help loosen up the hardened oil in your pores. During this time they will also cleanse the skin, exfoliate it with a scrub, and apply a glycolic mask. Once all of that has been completed (and you may or may not be treated to a scalp, arm, hand and shoulder massage - quite the added bonus), the esthetician will cease the steam and use a magnifying mirror to begin locating the congestion in your pores. Once identified, a blackhead extractor tool will be used. This tool has a loop on the end, that when pressed down, will push the loosened debris to the surface. The esthetician will then wipe it away with a tissue. Facials should be done monthly, and while the extraction portion of the facial can be a bit uncomfortable at times, the entire experience is worth it. Check out some of our professional facial reviews: Woodhouse Day Spa Breathe Salon & Day Spa Willow Stream Spa at The Fairmont in Aventura Florida Remove Blackheads at Home When you don't have the time or money to have a facial once a month, you can also maintain your pores at home. For this you will need a facial steamer, blackhead extraction tool (one that does whiteheads is an added bonus), magnifying mirror and tissues. Prior to using the facial steamer, you'll want to look at your face in the magnifying mirror. Yes, it can be a bit scary to see your skin so close up...and a bit gross looking at your clogged up pores. However, it is essential to know where the steam should be focused at so that you get the most out of your at-home facial. Next, you'll want to cleanse your skin, especially since you'll be softening the hardened oil in your pores, you don't want to clog them with any more debris. Make sure you fully read the instructions on your facial steamer so that you don't over-fill it or burn yourself. You'll want to have the steamer doing its job on your face for about 10 minutes. Once your steam session has commenced, use the magnifying mirror again while placing the extraction tool over each affected area and gently press down. Do not use your fingers to wipe away the debris, as your hands carry a lot of bacteria and you don't want to further spread it around your face. Instead use a tissue to wipe it away. Once you're happy with your work, cleanse your face again, and use a toner, serum and moisturizer to complete the process. Don't forget to clean your extraction tool as well. You don't want it hanging onto any bacteria when you use it again in the future. Sidenote: While steam from a hot shower also helps to liquifey blackheads, it does not do as in-depth a job like a facial steamer would. However, in a pinch, it is still a good option. Check this DIY Pineapple Strawberry Enzyme Mask, it's a great chemical exfoliant you can make for yourself with ingredients from your kitchen. We also have a great post on 5 Ways to Minimize Pores and the Benefits of a Lemongrass Facial Steam. Now that you have the knowledge on how to remove blackheads, share this post with others so that they can properly take care of their skin as well! 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+

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Breathe Salon and Day Spa Facial Review

Shannon Smyth
Review by Courtney Smith “You should get a facial,” I would hear my sister-in-law say to me over the past few years, “they are so great, so relaxing.”  It sounded nice, but other than imagining mud plastered over my face, I really did not know what a facial was or what kind of benefits to expect from getting one.  Low and behold as I made my daily drive past Breathe Salon and Spa of Lansdale, PA I noticed a big sign that hung promoting anti-aging facials. Weeks away from thirty-five and with enough fine lines on my face to show it, anti-aging sounded fantastic to me. I have had the pleasure of enjoying Breathe Salon and Spa’s knock out cut and colors in the past and thought this would be a terrific opportunity to explore one more, of the many, self-care aspects that the salon and spa has to offer.  Per usual the staff was friendly and welcoming, the environment was creatively inspiring and offered a sense of serenity, and upon meeting Maureen Barnes, Breathe’s premier certified Esthetician, who is filled with 20 years of cosmetology wisdom, I was provided with a tour of the room where my facial would be done, as well as educated on what to expect from our time together.  Maureen displayed confidence, professional and practical knowledge, and her presence emitted calm energy that placed me in a mood of ease for the hour we spent together. She was able to answer all my questions and then some and offered me some simple tips to assist me in dealing with the season’s harsh effects on my skin and for my my anti-aging  (appearance) journey.   The facial was so much more than mud on my face.  It was an investment into myself that I am seeing positive effects weeks later. Since I write from the every day woman’s/mom’s perspective, as well as with the eye of a healthcare professional as an RN, I feel it is pretty realistic to say many everyday woman have NO idea what a facial has to offer or what is involved. With that said I want to equip you with some well rounded know-how and encourage you to go indulge in a facial!  Yes ladies, just because we are tired and perhaps a little worn from all of our daily duties does not mean we have to look it, and when we begin to take even a little time for ourselves we can get some release from feeling it too! My view of the top 10 benefits of a facial:
  1. Relaxation
  2. De-stressing of skin, emotion, and over-all mind, body, spirit
  3. Increased circulation to the skin on our face (this has enormous health benefits)
  4. Decreased sinus pressure
  5. Release of toxins from our skin (if you only could have seen mine, whoa!)
  6. Minimize the appearance of pores
  7. Decrease in fine lines and wrinkles
  8. Increase in moisture balancing
  9. Decrease appearance of age spots
  10. Firmer skin with an added glow
Maureen Barnes 10 steps to an awesome and effective facial: 1. Cleanse. Facials are different from regular at-home cleansing because they deep clean, removing toxins caused by pollution, grease and dirt found in your everyday environment. 2. Analyze.  This tells what skin type you are working with or any concerns. i.e. large pores, sun damage, dry patches. oily patches. 3. Exfoliate. This gets rid of dead skin and improves the look of the skin. It also helps any product you use work better. 4. Steam the skin and loosen the debris in the pores. The oxygen helps the immune system and heat from the steam help the hardened, clogged oil in the pores to soften therefore becoming easier to extract. 5.  Extraction.  Is the removal of whatever may be clogging pores. 6. Massage. This increases circulation and helps products to sink into the skin, It helps soften the look of lines, and has emotional benefits of touch. It also assists with digestion and metabolism. It de-stresses you period, which has a long list of health benefits. As part of the facial, the scalp (which helps with hair growth), face, chest, shoulder, arm, and hands are massaged. 7. Mask. There are the highest amounts of nutrients and minerals in this product and designed to work with different skin types. 8. Skin booster. This is a potent serum (there are a variety), which give a strong boost to the skin and assist in alleviating skin issues. 9.  Mini massage with the serum. 10. Moisturize.  Moisturize, moisturize and your done! Now go get your facial and reap the benefits! Book your facial with Maureen Barnes at Breathe Salon and Day Spa by calling 215-362-1277. Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! for more beauty reviews! Watch our reviews on YouTube. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too! *Disclosure

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NuFace Lifting and Toning Facial at The Woodhouse Day Spa, Kingston PA

Shannon Smyth
I am a big believer in monthly facials. I wasn't gifted with perfect skin and in order to keep a younger looking appearance sans plastic surgery, taking care of my skin is a priority. I love going to The Woodhouse Day Spa in Kingston, PA (and there are others around the country too) and have had their Four-Handed Massage and Minkyti Facial before, so I was all for experiencing something new. As I just turned 37, I became most interested in a new facial they are performing there involving the NuFace toning device. I've heard a lot about NuFace and I'm familiar with microcurrent technology, so I was ready to see if it would work for me. This facial starts off like any other facial at The Woodhouse Day Spa, using products from Amala skincare to cleanse and exfoliate (from the Rejuvenate collection), then NuFace's Conductivity Gel is applied. As the esthetician smoothed the NuFace device ($325) on the right hand side of my face and under my chin, I felt absolutely nothing. I even began to wonder if it was on, assuming I was supposed to feel my skin tingling. However, once she got near my hair line, especially my eyebrows, that's when I began to feel a tinge here and there. Whenever you are getting a facial (or any spa treatment) it's good to speak up if you feel any discomfort so that the treatment can be adjusted. Once I told my esthetician that I was feeling small pin pricks, she applied more gel and that remedied the situation. The esthetician moves the device with the contour of your face and the microcurrent is delivered to lift and firm the skin. As we age, we lose about 1% of our skin's elasticity each year. So if you want to avoid going under the knife, this is a great way to reprogram your muscles. (I asked if it would work on my chest too, but she just laughed. I was serious though!) After about 10-15 minutes of using the device, she then spritzed my face with the Optimizing Mist and applied Amala's Rejuvenating Face Cream. I was told that it takes about 8 treatments to see a complete difference, then maintenance with the device about 1-2 times per week. However, I did notice that my skin felt a bit tighter, especially above my eyebrows and in between them. I had the esthetician take a before and after picture and you can see that the wrinkle I have between my eyebrows is much less and that the skin above my eyebrows does appear to pull them up slightly. While I didn't purchase NuFace (the kit is about $325) I was still happy with the results. The facial itself is $70. What do you think? Have you tried NuFace for yourself? If you are local here in Northeast PA, please visit The Woodhouse Day Spa via their website or Facebook fan page. If you happen to book a spa treatment, let them know you heard about them from A Girl's Gotta Spa! Not local? You can still find The Woodhouse Day Spa nearest you by visiting their corporate website. Ps. They sell Farmhouse Fresh products in their boutique! I've tried their Honey Heel Glaze....AMAZING.

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