SHAPE Magazine's Best Beauty Blogger Nominee: A Girl's Gotta Spa!

Shannon Smyth
"O.M.G...omg omg omg omg!"  I shrilled in my most 12 year old voice ever when I accidently came upon an incoming link from SHAPE Magazine naming A Girl's Gotta Spa! a Top 20 Best Beauty Blog. I practically hyperventilated, then I called my boyfriend and then I told my friends also mentioned on the list. An email into SHAPE confirmed that I indeed was put on their list after being named by some of their readers as their favorite beauty blog. WOW and holy freakin cow. And I am SUPER excited! Because you know what? A Girl's Gotta Spa! turns 6 on October 24th! What better way to celebrate than to be given this accolade! But it doesn't stop there, SHAPE is asking that of the 20 of us mentioned, YOU vote for ONE as the BEST. I'd like to hope and pray that my readers would choose me. (And tell their friends to vote for me, who tell their friends to vote for me...and so on!) I have some pretty stiff competition. I am among a really incredible bunch and let me even say that my friend Kathryn of The Budget Fashionista is in there. Can I even begin to tell you how BEYOND that is for me? To even be named in the same category of fabulousness as her? Stick a fork in me, I'm done! Holy smokes! So here is what I need you to do: Click on the link to vote A Girl's Gotta Spa! as Best Beauty Blog. Then click the link that says "Vote for this blog!" It will bring up a voting form and then just click A Girl's Gotta Spa! And that's it! No registration is needed and you can only vote once. Voting ends on Oct. 28th. If I make it as one of the 6 finalists (there are 6 categories, not only beauty) then I would win a $100 American Express Gift Card (which honestly I don't plan to keep if I win it, but will instead gift it to a needy family here in Northeast PA), but if I am selected as the grand prize winner of the 6, then I have the opportunity to shoot a paid video series to be launched on Shape.com. (DUDE I totally want that!) Thanks in advance for voting for me and thank you to whoever the SHAPE readers were who nominated me to begin with! xoxo ~Shannon

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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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5 Ways To Get a Spa Experience at Home

Shannon Smyth
Everyone loves to be indulged and to feel exceptional. Going to a spa can not only relax painful muscles but it can also relieve tension. While going to the spa can be nice, it is also expensive. Some people may be apprehensive about their budgets and spending money on a day at the spa may not be feasible. An alternative is to pamper yourself with an at home spa day. With these five simple steps, you can release your stress and calm your tender muscles, all without the high price tag. Here are a few guidelines to turn your home spa into a reality: 1. Taking a long, hot bath can be super relaxing. It can ease the muscles and provide a bit of rejuvenation. By slipping some lavender oil or bath salts into the water, you can wash your troubles away. Try putting an eye mask on, either hot or cold, as you soak. A bath pillow can also provide a great way to lounge in the tub. By lighting candles surrounding the tub, it creates ambiance and makes you want to linger. Another great tip: have someone throw your robe in the dryer for a few minutes. The warm robe feels wonderful after the bath! 2. Music can provide a peaceful calm after a long hard day. Put on some soft easy listening music and light some candles. Put your feet up with a glass of wine. Most spas concentrate on music and scents to create the mood for relaxation. Have a spouse rub your feet while listening to relaxing tunes. A foot rub is a great way to relieve pressure and can actually stop a headache. This is a great way to create a relaxing atmosphere in your own home, for free. 3. Getting a massage from a partner is another effective way to just diminish cares. Using essential oils and lotions, a massage can work out all those kinks in the neck and back and make you feel like a million bucks. Working essential oils such as lavender, Chamomile or Neroli into your skins can simply relax every bone in your body. 4. Doing home facial treatments, like mud masks or scrubs, are just the way to make your face feel fresh and clean. Spas focus on expensive mud treatments and body scrubs, for the ultimate poor cleansing and relaxation. Most of these products can be purchased at any beauty section in your local department store or even at your local drugstore. Mud masks come in many different types. For example, you can try a deep sea mud or a mud with honey, the choices are unlimited. 5. Manicures and pedicures keep a women looking fresh and coiffed. By trimming and painting nails it enhances a woman’s feeling of beauty. Pick a magnificent color to go with the seasons for a hip look. Manicures can be expensive to have done professionally, but cost little for you to do on your own. All you need is a simple nail file, some clippers, a beautiful nail polish and some time. The most important thing in creating your spa day is to make sure you are not interrupted. Let the relatives, friends, and especially the kids, know this is personal time. Turn off cell phones, TV’s, and all devices that can disrupt your perfect day. Everyone deserves to have a day of pampering, but who wants to spend hundreds of dollars, when it can be done for nearly nothing? By gathering a few basic items and clearing off a section of time, it can be possible to make your home a spa in a matter of minutes. About the author: Carleen Coulter publishes the beauty blog Beauty and Fashion Tech, including the popular buyer's guide on at home laser hair removal, with reviews of the top devices.

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A Girl's Gotta Spa! in VOGUE Australia and Real Beauty

Shannon Smyth
Sometimes I get so busy writing reviews, that I often forget to post here when A Girl's Gotta Spa! has gotten some love from the press. So just a quick post to tell you about two exciting press hits this month! Print: It appears VOGUE Australia mentioned me in their August issue (along with fellow friend and beauty blogger, Julia Coney from All About the Pretty.) When Julia emailed me to let me know, my jaw hit the floor. Not sure just yet what the article is about (besides beauty bloggers) but here's a picture where you can see me mentioned! Online: RealBeauty.com asked 33 blogger's for their money saving tips when it came to beauty products and you can find my tip mentioned on slide 32! I'm very grateful to have gotten noticed! *Photo sourced from fashionablymarketing.me.

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A Spa Cleanse at Home: Expert Tips from Mirbeau Inn & Spa

Shannon Smyth
A seasonal detox is an effective way to clear toxins out of one's system to speed up metabolism, and to enhance overall health. On the heels of its successful Fresh Start Cleanse Retreat this spring, the award-winning Mirbeau Inn & Spa offers up a do-it-yourself detox for those who seek to continue its health benefits at home. While I've never been to Mirbeau, I hear it is only about 3 hours from me and I've heard amazing things about it...I may just have to take a trip up there one weekend... Here are Spa Director Matt Dower's top tips for an at-home cleanse:
  • Start your morning with a tall glass of water with the juice of ½ of a lemon. Lemon helps re-hydrate the system and promotes digestion, which will help the flow of waste out of your body.
  • Decrease your sugar intake, including honey, molasses and artificial sweeteners. If you eat more sugar, you ask your body for more insulin, straining your pancreas and wearing yourself out. In the long term, this kind of habit can cause you to become chronically fatigued, diabetic, develop cancer, and pack on excess weight.
  • Eat more rice products and less wheat and processed grain. Eat more garbanzo and mung beans. Certain foods contain nutrition that enhances the liver's ability to clear toxins from the body.
  • Eat as much fresh organic fruits and vegetables as possible, especially leafy greens, carrots, beets, broccoli, cucumbers, garlic, onions, artichokes and peppers. Certain foods contain nutrition that enhances the liver's ability to clear toxins from the body.
  • Use unheated flax seed oil instead of other cooking oils.
  • Eat vitamin C-rich foods to help detoxify your liver and strengthen the immune system against toxic exposure.
  • Make sure you have adequate amounts of vitamins D, E and K in your diet. Many people are deficient in these vitamins that play a key role in antioxidant function.
  • Sweat. Sweating is a natural way for the body to get rid of toxins. Whether through aerobic exercise, heated yoga, a sauna or otherwise, sweat daily.
  • Make sure you drink plenty of filtered water during and after your workout to replace the water loss.
  • Eat more foods with amino acids such as grass-fed meat, wild fish, cage-free eggs, milk and legumes. Amino acids have a special ability to attach themselves to toxins and drag them out of the body.
  • Meditate. Creating a quiet, calm and focused mind helps eliminate toxins that build up in the mind.
  • Exercise. Regular exercise encourages circulation in the blood and lymph system, enhances digestion, reduces tension, lubricates the joints, and strengthens the body. People who exercise regularly have far fewer total toxins in their systems.
Spa-goers can complement their at-home cleansing rituals with a variety of detoxifying spa treatments at Mirbeau Inn & Spa. These include: Aromatherapy Ritual (lymphatic drainage massage): A personalized aromatherapy experience and fusion of eastern and western massage techniques promotes balance of mind, body and spirit. Pinot Noir - Body Polish & Wrap (Vinotherapy treatment): Pinot Noir Body mask is applied and exfoliated off to expose fresh nourished skin. The body is then wrapped with a Shiraz Firming Cream to tighten, nourish and hydrate. Nature's Most Pure Facial: Blue lotus symbolizes purity of mind and body. Restore balance, clarity and radiance to skin with this deep cleansing facial. A Spirulina Mask is used to draw out impurities and aid with extractions. (From what I hear, they use Amala skincare products for this facial...which I am very partial to. In full disclosure, I also work with Amala--which is why I know they have amazing skin treatments!) Have you ever been to Mirbeau Inn & Spa? Please leave a comment! Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! for more beauty reviews! Watch our reviews on YouTube. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too!  

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Review: Miracle Skin Transformer SPF 20

Gail Lewis
Miracle Skin Transformer Face SPF 20 #skincare #SPF #review I am not someone who enjoys wearing foundation or face powder. All of the brands that I have tried...or that have been applied to my skin on shoots by professional makeup artists, have left me feeling like I had a veil of some kind on my face, which is not an enjoyable sensation.  Even those foundations that have claimed to be invisible or weightless, still felt heavy to me. So unless it is a working situation like a photoshoot, TV or video shoot, I normally forgo any and all foundation, concealer and face powder. This is unfortunate because there are times when I would like to look a bit more polished than normal, but even then having a veil of foundation on my face is not worth it to me.  I have tried a plethora of tinted moisturizers in the hopes that they would feel lighter on my skin but those have just ended up looking and feeling greasy, even the non-oily formulas.  What I would really love is a product that is not as heavy as a foundation, has a matte finish, but does not make my skin look dry and is actually weightless, especially in the summer.  Well I now have a product that does all of the above and then some... For the last two weeks I have been wearing Miracle Skin Transformer with SPF 20 and this stuff is absolute genius.  It's like an uber performing tinted moisturizer, but is actually called a Hydrating Tinted Skin Enhancer with UVA/UVB SPF 20. The Skin Enhancer has a great, velvety, matte texture.  It does not feel oily or greasy at all...in fact it felt like I had applied a very lightweight serum to my face.  In addition to feeling great, it performed magnificently. The Miracle Skin Transformer covered my imperfections and evened out my skin tone.  My skin also looked and felt smoother and I loved that it still looked like skin and not skin plus a veil of makeup. Even though it leaves a matte finish and has a matte, velvety feel, it still manages to hydrate my skin and leave it looking radiant.  A HUGE added bonus is that it also contains SPF 20 so that while it's doing all that other stuff like making my skin look flawless while also hydrating and improving it, it's also protecting it from UVA/UVB rays.  Oh and in case I forgot to mention, best of all...I can apply it with my fingertips and it literally takes about ten seconds max...talk about time saving.  I wore the Miracle Skin Transformer on a fourteen hour day move shoot as well as a twelve hour day commercial shoot and it definitely stood up to the test and kept right on performing. Miracle Skin Transformer #review #skincare #SPF The Miracle Skin Transformer SPF 20 is touted as a 3-in-1 formula...meaning it hydrates, enhances and protects the skin, but I think it should just say "everything you have ever wanted or needed in your makeup and skincare in this one lovely tube"...okay now I know that would be a mouthful but it really does seem to do EVERYTHING.  I'm not sure how founder Sarah McNamara managed to create a product that does so many amazing things for your skin simultaneously, while making you feel beautiful and comfortable in your own skin...I guess we will chalk it up to her being a miracle worker. 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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Review: True Blue Spa 60-Second Manicure Hand Scrub & Smoothing Foot Scrub

Gail Lewis
Although going to the spa can never be an overrated experience, there is something to be said of being able to bring the spa to the comfort and privacy of your own home with you and a few of your closest girlfriends...or sometimes just solo.  The only problem with bringing the spa to your home is the quality of the spa products.  More often than not, spa products that I am able to get my hands on are never spa quality and being that neither me nor my girlfriends are professional estheticians, we need our products to do the job that we can not.  Which is why I love products from True Blue Spa by Bath & Body Works.  The brands products are spa quality without the spa prices, they really allow you to experience the true spa experience at home. My two favorite True Blue Spa products are the 60-Second Manicure Hand Scrub and the Smoothing Foot Scrub.  The Hand Scrub is a sugar based exfoliating treatment that also contains moisturizing Shea Butter.  I love starting  my at home spa manicures with the scrub because it immediately softens my hands and cuticles and allows any moisturizing products that follows, whether it's a hand lotion, masque or cuticle oil, to do a more effective job.  The scrub also has a great citrusy scent...like a blend of sugar and grapefruit.  Much like the hand scrub, the Smoothing Foot Scrub also smooths and softens, allowing moisturizing products to be better absorbed by the feet.  The foot scrub also has a great refreshing minty scent, due to the Peppermint Oil that is a part of the ingredients and that also stimulates tired feet. I may never completely give up going to a spa in favor of spa-ing at home, but for those days when the spa budget is a bit too tight or if I just want to have a girl's night in with my at home spa products and a bottle of wine, it's great to know that I have two amazing products on hand that very closely captures the spa experience and results without the steep spa price tags or having to change out of my jammies.

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7 Summer Makeup Tips

Shannon Smyth
Guest beauty post from Prime Beauty Blog Summer is in full swing and whether you're having a picnic in the park, watching a baseball game or splashing with the kids in the pool, you want your makeup to stay put and not end up dripping down your face. Lighten up your makeup routine for the summer months with these waterproof products: 1. Ditch your regular foundation and opt for a tinted moisturizer. A tinted moisturizer serves a dual purpose providing much needed moisture and sheer color. It looks and feels lighter on your skin and eliminates the need for a separate moisturizer saving time for summer fun! Make sure to choose a tinted moisturizer with at least a SPF of 15. My picks: Urban Decay Urban Defense, SPF 20($30) and FusionBeauty Prime Results ($40). If you're looking for for more coverage, Laura Mercier's Tinted Moisturizer can't be beat! 2. Try waterproof eyeliner. There is nothing that can make your eyes pop and come alive like colored eyeliner. Make Up For Ever Aqua Liners ($23) come in 15 colors so you're sure to find a shade right for you. Aqua Liners are available in three finishes; Matte, Diamond and Iridescent. Go from a classic matte black cat eye look to a bright purple sparkling eye. These are completely waterproof and last through heat, humidity and a dip in the pool. They do NOT come off until you take them off. The stiff pointed tip applicator makes eye lining easy-peasy! 3. Use a waterproof mascara so you don't end up looking like Snookie. I like L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Waterproof Mascara for long length. Although I haven't personally tried the new Urban Decay Cannonball ($20), it's getting fantastic reviews--no more raccoon eyes. 4. Benefit Cheek Stains ($29) come in three smudge-proof, budge proof shades. I'm partial to the new Coral-ish Cha Cha Tint, (no surprise there), Posie Tint is a sweet pink and the original Benetint imparts a pretty natural red flush. The texture is a lightweight watery gel that gives yo time to blend. The packaging: a small jar with a brush applicator is the same for all three. Those who know me well know that I am a coral freak, however I really like the original Benetint for summer. It gives the cheeks such a nice natural glow--like you've playing beach volleyball/golf/tennis (insert your favorite sport here) in the sun. Pat several small dots along the cheekbone and blend with your fingers. These are supposed to be suitable for the lips too, but I find Benetint too thin for that. 5. A Waterproof Bronzer? You betcha! Although I don't particularly advocate a full face of makeup for the beach or pool, but if you're super pale like me or are watching your sun exposure, you may want to use a bronzer. Get the Bronzed Goddess look without the sun damage with Tarte Park Ave. Princess Matte Waterproof Bronzer ($29). This bronzer lives up to its claim, it truly is waterproof--I know I tested it in the shower! This is my favorite bronzer for fair skinned beauties like me so I was thrilled when they came out with a waterproof version last summer. For darker toned skin, Hourglass also makes a waterproof bronzer. 6. Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Cream Eyeshadow ($22.80). They last all day, absolutely do NOT crease and come in five gorgeous shades. My favorites are Beach Bronze, Moss, Seashell Pink, Slate and Shimmering Plum--oops that's all of them! Again, while you probably wouldn't apply a full face of makeup to go to the beach, but how about when you're baking in the sun at a neighborhood BBQ? Or cocktails at a sidewalk bar?  You may be melting in the heat, but your makeup will look fresh! 7. Stila Crush Lip and Cheek Stain ($24) these stains are fantastic! The texture is very thin, almost watery and they last and last. They come in 8 shades from the bronzy Coconut Crush to the bright Raspberry Crush. I love Mango or Raspberry, bright, summery shades that look great with a tan! My Summer Beauty 5 minute face--A good tinted moisturizer with SPF, Tarte Park Ave. Princess Waterproof Bronzer on the high planes of the face, (where the sun would normally hit), a touch of Benetint blush, Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Cream Eyeshadow in a neutral shades, Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner in a bright shade, Urban Decay Cannonball Waterproof Mascara & Stila Mango Crush Lip Stain. Now I'm prepared for summer heat, humidity and maybe getting throw in the pool!

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Review: Blink For Beauty, Minneapolis MN

Gail Lewis
The importance of well groomed eyebrows should never be underestimated.  After all, eyebrows frame our face and also has the power to transform it.  Yet there are still many of us out there, who will invest in facials and top of the line skincare and makeup, but then kind of forget about the brows...or worse yet go to an inexperienced aesthetician and get our brows completely hacked in five minutes after we have spent the last three months growing them in...ok I digress. I was given a referral (from a pretty reputable source) of a place to get my brows done before a photoshoot and ended up having a good amount of my eyebrows waxed off in a few minutes and left with horribly thin and dramatically arched brows that I have to constantly fill in (which for someone who likes to spend 5 minutes or less on her daily makeup routine, is very annoying.)  Plus I cringed every time I looked in the mirror because I looked like I was constantly surprised or tired and older...sometimes all three at the same time.  Being that I had just moved to South Beach and knew absolutely no one, I had no idea of where I should go to get them fixed, if that was even possible nor would I have trusted another "referral."  My only option was to continue filling them in and hope that since I was in the Sunshine State my eyebrows would grow in faster...because everything grows faster in the sunlight...right?

My brows did start growing in...to their natural shape and not the hyper arched scrawny line that was waxed on to my face.  While I was ecstatic (and still continue to be) about my brows growing in, they now looked a hot mess.  I needed a major brow overhaul.  Lucky for me a trip to my hometown of Minneapolis, MN for my friend's wedding was in my near future so instead of taking my chances on an unknown salon/spa and have my brows defiled, I decided to wait until I was in Minneapolis to go to the only person who understood my brows and their needs (she was actually the first person to clean and shape my brows to perfection) and immediately after booking my Flight to MN, I booked at appointment at Blink For Beauty to see THE brow guru herself, Christina Snead. Christina has been in the aesthetics and fashion industry for 12 years and is an absolute expert, you only have to glance at her brows to know that you will be in the best of hands. The first time I saw Christina was after a makeup artist shaved off most of my eyebrows and filled them in with brow powder to hide the deed (imagine my surprise after I got home and washed my face!)  I don't know how she did it, but Christina saved me from looking like something out of Star Trek and I've never looked back since.  I was hoping that she would again be able to work whatever magic it is she does and save my brows for the second time. The next morning after my flight to Minneapolis, I woke up and headed straight to Blink For Beauty (I would have gone right after my flight landed but the studio is not open at 11pm).  Upon walking through the door I immediately felt reassured and relaxed.  The space is absolutely breathtaking. It is modern and sleek yet very relaxing, warm and welcoming...much like Christina herself.  It's always a great idea to get there a bit early to browse the great selection of jewelry, dresses and beauty products that Blink For Beauty carries, I especially love the wrap bracelets and products from Coola. I didn't even need to explain the torture that my brows underwent in Miami; Christina pointed out where too much had been waxed off  and explained to me what she would be doing to clean them up as well as to make sure they would grow back into their natural shape.  In twenty minutes my brows were transformed...as well as my entire face.  No longer did I look like an surprised, angry, tired Klingon, but my face somehow looked cleaner and more refreshed.  I swear her chair has magical powers because although she is removing hair from your face, she manages to make the process absolutely relaxing and painless.  I always get a bit sad when the service is over because I absolutely love being in the Blink For Beauty studio surrounded by calming music, relaxing scents, the nicest aestheticians I have ever met and the pretty great, but hard to find beauty products.  When I did manage to tear myself away from Blink For Beauty, I of course, had to leave with a bracelet... In four weeks, when my brows are again ready for a tune up, my plan is to fly to Minneapolis and once again head straightaway to  Blink For Beauty.  I am convinced that paying for a plane ticket is a much better choice than walking around and having people speak some weird language to me because they honestly think I might be a Klingnon (thanks to my brows) and to be honest Blink For Beauty is definitely worth the plane ticket, after all they have transformed hair removal into an art form.  Now, if only I can convince founders Christina and Brook to start traveling and teaching their "art of hair removal" secrets to the rest of the nation...first stop of course would be Miami.

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

Shannon Smyth
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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