A Girl's Gotta Spa! Joins Amazon Indie Beauty

Shannon Smyth
Amazon Indie Beauty There's big news here at A Girl's Gotta Spa! Our brand recently joined Amazon Indie Beauty and I am stoked! The beauty space is vast and it is so hard to compete for eyeballs when you don't have the big marketing budgets that large brands do. Being a small business means having to find creative ways to get the word out about our super fab, cruelty free products. So the opportunity to be featured on Amazon's curated Indie Beauty page is a big deal! I'm still rubbing my eyes expecting to wake up from this dream. If you are an indie beauty supporter - thank you! Brands like us know who each of our customers are by name and we are so grateful for you. So if you're shopping Amazon, please pop over to Amazon's Indie Beauty featured brands and click through to see all of the brands, including ours, ready to offer you top notch beauty products! P.s. While our rollerball perfume is waiting to also be included, you can find it here: https://amzn.to/2vOFzNp To stay in the loop regarding our bath and body line and perfume, please subscribe to our mailing list. Please also see our list of retailers.

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Microblading - The 6 Most Asked About Questions

Shannon Smyth

With age comes thinning brows, and I fully admit, I've considered microblading to help me tackle this issue.

Prior to its popularity making it more main stream, it was just know as semi-permanent makeup and was often found on the menu at your local spa or esthetician's salon. But we are all obsessed with our brows - having full, perfectly arched brows is the holy grail and this has prompted stand alone brow bars to pop up across the country. While so many people are intrigued to have it done, many don't actually understand what is involved or what microblading really is.

Microblading is a semi-permanent procedure (similar to tattooing) that uses a special tool to create hair-like strokes on the brow line that give the appearance of thicker, fuller brows. Kait Paige, microblading expert, at Boom Boom Brow Bar (30 Greenwich Avenue in NYC), outlines the 6 most asked about questions for us below:

Who should get microblading?

Those who want to redefine their eyebrows by filling in gaps, finessing the length, width, density and color, and it’s great for sculpting a beautiful arch.  It looks completely natural.

 What is microblading?

A temporary pencil is first used to map out the shape of each brow.  Then, a topical numbing cream is applied and a special microblading pen is used to draw on semi-permanent individual fine strokes of color on the skin that look like natural hair.

Does it hurt?

The pain can be similar to waxing, threading or plucking, but the numbing cream reduces discomfort.

How long does it take?

Approximately 1.5 to 2 hours for the first service, and a 1 hour 15 minute touchup is required after 6 weeks.

What is the maintenance?

The area must heal, peel and fade which takes up to 10 days; Do not touch the area, except to clean and dab with a damp cotton to prevent scabbing; Apply oil Vitamin E to area to promote healing and retain pigment; No makeup, tinting of lashes/brows, sun, soap, sauna, steam, Jacuzzi, swimming for 10 days; Once healed, wear sunblock to protect color; Do not use products that contain AHA’s, Vitamin A, Retinol, glycolic or lactic acids – pigment will fade.

How long does it last?

1 year - excessive sun exposure, exfoliants, oily skin and smoking tend to cause fadage earlier.

You can schedule an appointment with Kait @ 516-972-7406, follow her on Instagram @kaitpaigebeauty. The cost for microblading with Kait is $500 and includes one time touch up scheduled 6 weeks after initial service (for maximum results.) Have you had microblading done? What was your experience like? 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! Or check out our natural bath and body line!

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Trophy Skin RejuvaliteMD Before and After Photos

Shannon Smyth

Disclosure: This post is Sponsored by Trophy Skin. All opinions on their RejuvaliteMD are my own.

As a mom, I sometimes feel guilty to take a moment (or 2 or 3) for myself. However, in order to really have my act together, it's a necessity. Mind, body - and skin! About a month ago I wrote about taking 5 minutes a day to myself to focus on my skin and minimize the appearance of wrinkles with Trophy Skin's, RejuvaliteMD. This is a follow up post to show you how, even just a few minutes a few times per week, can make a big difference. I even surprised myself when I put my before and after pictures side by side! It's funny the things you learn when you decide it's OK to take time for yourself - some things I learned were:
  • You can achieve a lot with consistency
  • Focusing on just one thing at a time can make a big difference
  • Even small things add up over time
  • Doing something for yourself can improve you physically
I'll be honest, I was skeptical that I would see a difference in my skin for what would add up to be about 20 minutes per week using RejuvaliteMD. Relaxing on my bed as the red light therapy went to work felt way too easy. The time went by in a snap and all that was required of me was to make sure my face was cleansed before using it. Since I look at my face daily, it's hard to notice changes that slowly evolve. Which is why when I placed the two unedited photos of before and after side by side, I was pleasantly surprised at the difference, mainly how the fine lines that seemed to be stacked vertically down the side of my cheek, had disappeared. Seeing the difference has encouraged me to keep going - not that I really needed a reason to take that little bit of me time daily. Right now Trophy Skin is offering A Girl’s Gotta Spa! readers a 15% off discount on any item from their store. This is in addition to also receving free shipping to any U.S. address. Use GOTTASPA at check out. The promo code expires on June 30, 2018. There is a 60 Day Guarantee on all items purchased on TrophySkin.com. If you've used RejuvaliteMD, what differences did you notice in your skin? 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! Or check out our natural bath and body line!

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Skin Benefits of Lemon

Shannon Smyth

That sour little fruit has a lot of amazing skin care benefits. Bright and colorful, lemons will do wonders if you are prone to blemishes, is great to detox and is refreshing and brightening to your skin.

The thing is, I hadn’t really known all of the benefits (with the exception of lightening my hair in the summer) until a few years ago I made the switch from flavored water to spring water with fresh lemon in it.

While switching up how I was eating, it was suggested to me that my favorite Pure Life flavored water may be preventing my weight loss (preservatives, etc.) It was recommended that I opt for regular spring water and add fresh, sliced lemons to it.

I’ve always drank a lot of water, with my only downfall being 2 cups of ice coffee in the morning, but never added fresh fruit simply due to the wait time for it to diffuse. (I am a want-it-now kind of girl.) About 3 months into drinking strictly fresh lemon in my water I noticed that I hadn’t gotten a blemish the entire time.

This is highly unusual, especially since I am prone to them at least once a month (if you know what I mean!) Also, because sometimes I don’t follow my own advice and end up forgetting to wash my face before bed forever clogging my pores.

I’m very good about a daily skin care routine (exfoliate, serum, moisturize, etc.), but not so good around 10pm when I’m tired (especially on weekends.)

So now 6 months into doing my usual skin care routine and drinking a lot of fresh lemon water, I have been blemish-free the entire time. In fact, when I just had a facial at The Lodge at Woodloch, the esthetician told me that I didn’t really have much congestion in my pores. Score! Lemon essential oil is amazing as an ingredient in skin and body care products too. It serves as an antiseptic, is cooling to the skin and is also quite a way to wake up your senses with its invigorating fragrance.

In fact, it’s part of A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Energizing Citrus body wash, body lotion and salt scrub. With antioxidants and minerals like calcium, magnesium, Vitamin C and potassium, your skin will reap the benefits when applied topically as part of a skin care product (I never recommend applying the essential oil alone to your skin as it can cause photodermatitis.) Of course, it also has wonderful health benefits when consumed via a healthy diet.

When applying products that contain lemon in it, just be sure to wear a good broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen, as you may burn a little more easier than others when exposed to direct sun light.

Also, in case you were wondering if lemon juice can fade acne scars, this is a great post to read: Does Lemon Juice Fade Acne Scars?

The one downside is that citric acid is very harsh on your tooth enamel. Definitely make sure you brush your teeth with a flouride toothpaste twice per day. Wait at least 30 minutes after drinking or eating fruit, as this is when your teeth are most vulnerable.

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Are You Ready for This Jelly (Highlighter)?

Shannon Smyth
With the makeup world filled with so many forms of highlighters (liquid, powder, solid sticks & now jelly), we can question: Do they all offer similar looks? Do we apply them in the same manner? How do I achieve the best results? What shades should I use? If you are looking for more ways to apply your highlighter, trust us you’re not alone. You and a million other women out there have sat in front of a mirror with their highlighter in hand and thought to themselves, what now? Nuest Cosmetics has come up with 10 Things to Know About Highlighting Your Face & Body using their newest form: the jelly highlighter! Available in 5 shades, Pink Luster, Metallic Bronze, Gold Rush, Ruby Kiss & Twinkle Star, the range of Nuest Cosmetics’ Magical Jelly Highlighters will help create your own personal glow. 1.  Want a Natural Look? For a simple, natural look, moisturizer is your best friend. Apply your favorite and allow it to set in. Then, apply a small amount of Nuest Magical Jelly Highlighter to key areas such as under the brow bone or diagonal along the cheekbone. This will give you a dewy finish that catches the light in a subtle, yet natural way. Twinkle Star is best because it has just enough pigmentation which is perfect for a natural glow. Nuest jelly highlighters set like powder that will resist fading, rubbing off or moving. 2.  Opting for Full Glam from Head to Toe? Nuest offers many options. Their jelly highlighters may be mixed with your favorite moisturizer or foundation for an all over subtle glow. Next, you can add additional highlighter using their Silisponge or your fingers and begin dabbing the top of your cheek and brow bones. Accentuate your cupid’s bow, down the center of your nose and on the tip of your nose, plus, around your temples. For added glimmer, dab a small amount to your shoulders, upper chest area, arms and even your legs. For a softer shimmer you can mix a jelly highlighter with your favorite body moisturizer. Their Gold Rush is perfect for that royal glow. 3.  Want Your Eyes to Look Larger? Emphasizing the size of your eyes is easy! You want to apply highlighter just under your brow bone, but above the crease in your eyelid and then dab a small amount in the center of your eyelid. Gold Rush or Twinkle Star are a favorite eye opener. 4.  Want your Face to Glow? Apply a small dot of highlighter in the center of the apple of your cheek over blush and blend in a circular motion. Pink Luster or Ruby Kiss will add just the right hint of blushing glimmer. 5.  Need to Re-Shape Your Nose? Apply highlighter along the bridge of your nose and gently blend foundation or contouring cream a shade or two darker than your natural skin tone on the sides to make your nose appear to be slimmer or hide flaws. Twinkle Star is best since there is less color pigmentation which will not interfere with your contouring. 6.  Want to Look Refreshed? Just add just a pinch of highlighter to the inner corner of your eyes to brighten up an otherwise dark area. Then, apply a small amount in the center of your eyelid to add brightness. We recommend Gold Rush to wake up your look like the morning sun. 7.  Want Your Cheekbones to Pop? Apply highlighter on the cheek bone in a diagonal line from just beneath the center of your eye socket up towards your hairline and blend with a Silisponge. Pink Luster or Twinkle Star are the perfect shades to catch the light. The glimmer of the highlighter, will give your cheeks a pop and glistening glow. 8.  Give You Lips for Days? Applying a little bit of highlighter to your cupid’s bow using a concealer brush. Also, you can dab a small amount on your bottom lip right in the center or add a jelly highlighter over our favorite lip gloss or lipstick for a real statement. Try Ruby Kiss to achieve those kiss-able lips. 9.  Would You Like a Summer Glow for Face AND Body? Without having to bake in the sun, simply add our Metallic Bronze to your foundation or moisturizer and apply on your face. Use our Silisponge to create that perfect blend. Feel free to add it to your body moisturizer for an all over summer glow. 10.  What Areas Can You Highlight? Highlighting can be done anywhere you would like to accentuate - besides the traditional cheeks, eyes and lips. You can go beyond and add jelly highlighter to your body lotions to add shimmer to our shoulders, legs and arms. You can even contour or add glisten to your chest when wearing a strapless or plunging neckline. Contouring your knees or legs are an option as well especially during the summer months. Simply dab a small amount to the center of your knees or a horizontal line down the front of your calves. Nuest Cosmetics are vegan and cruelty free. Check them out at www.nuestcosmetics.com. 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! Or check out our natural bath and body line!

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Sara Happ x Sprinkles The Lip Scrub Review

Shannon Smyth
Sara Happ makes the most decadent lip scrubs, so it's no surprise to hear that her newest scrub is inspired by Sprinkles most popular flavor - red velvet. Who is Sprinkles you ask? Surely you've heard of the super popular cupcake bakery where people would wait in line for hours just for a bite. No? OK, then maybe you've seen them mentioned in the media for having cupcake ATM's? Now that is one withdrawal that I would not mind one bit(e). Sadly, I don't live near a Sprinkles location nor have I ever had the opportunity to taste their haute cupcakes or creamy ice cream. (Except I now just learned I can have them shipped to me...hello, where's my wallet??)
Sara Happ x Sprinkles red velvet the lip scrub helps me get a good idea of why this flavor is so popular. The lip scrub is crimson-colored and upon removing the lid, the sweet scent of cream cheese frosting wafts through the air. If you are on a diet, you'll be like, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS CUPCAKES I NEED TO SLATHER THIS ALL OVER MY ENTIRE BODY. Just sayin.
I'm getting so distracted writing this review as the scrub sits opened on my desk because the frosting/chocolate combination smells SO good. I won't take any responsibility for it forcing me to go order a bunch of cupcakes when I'm done... Moving on... a small scoop of this scrub is all you need to gently exfoliate your lips. You can smell (and taste) the sugary goodness working its magic. Just a few firm circular massages is all it takes and simply wipe off. Now pair this with Sara's Sweet Clay Mask, and your lips will be in complete heaven. Have you tried it? (Hint: you need to!) 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! Or check out our natural bath and body line!

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Sunscreen That Won't Destroy the Coral Reefs

Shannon Smyth
Your sunscreen is killing the coral reefs around the world. That's not an exaggerated statement. But wait, if I can't wear sunscreen in order to protect the coral reefs, how am I supposed to protect myself from sun damage and skin cancer? Turns out it is two specific ingredients in your sunscreen that are doing the damage, and there are alternatives! Scientists have identified the culprits to be oxybenzone and octinoxate, both really great at doing their job to protect you from UV rays, not so much when it comes to marine life and coral reefs. These two ingredients act parasitic in nature by robbing the reefs of nutrients. As the reefs die, so does the ecosystem it had sustained. Considering that most of this earth is made up of ocean and it is a vital resource, it's pretty important to act now that we are aware of one contributing factor. Oxybenzone and octinoxate are not only in sunscreen, but are often the sunscreen in your favorite moisturizer. But for the sake of this article, we'll focus on providing an alternative to the sunscreens that have become a Summer staple in your beach bag. To do your part, look for sunscreens and moisturizers with titanium oxide or zinc oxide and that are biodegradable. Sunscreens that are coral reef safe: Coral Safe All Natural Biodegradable Sunscreen, SPF 30 Beauty by Earth Mineral Biodegradeable Sunscreen SPF 25 Stream2Sea Biodegradeable Mineral Sunblock SPF 30 Reef Safe Biodegradable Sunscreen Lotion SPF 45+ These are just a few coral reef safe sunscreens, but there are plenty at varying price points on Amazon. Many do appear to be a bit more expensive than the kind you'd find at the drugstore, but if it means helping to save our oceans, it's worth it to do your part. Do you have a favorite reef safe sunscreen not mentioned? Please feel free to tell us 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. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too! Or check out our natural bath and body line!

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Benefits of Red Light Therapy with RejuvaliteMD

Shannon Smyth

Disclosure: This post is Sponsored by Trophy Skin. All opinions on their RejuvaliteMD are my own.

How many times have you said in complete and utter exasperation, "I just need 5 minutes to myself" as you get asked to taxi your children for the hundreth time, are the "finder" for all of the lost things in the house, or when you find yourself having to actually "schedule in" a shower?

And exactly how many times have you actually taken those 5 minutes? Well, it's time to take care of you, mom. And it's something that can be done in 5 minutes. Don't get me wrong, I love being a mom and I love my children, but often times our needs get put by the wayside and one day you look at yourself in the mirror and you barely recognize the person staring back (literally and figuratively.)

It's surely happened to me and I more aware than ever of my age spots and wrinkles from sun damange and acne scars from all of those years of pimple popping. Ugh.

When Trophy Skin approached me to review their RejuvaliteMD, without reading much about it, I thought, "Great, I'll have to find more time in my day for yet one more thing," but quickly learned that their red light therapy only needs 5 minutes of your time daily. (Twice a day if you are super ambitious - and I am!)

If you are not familiar with red light therapy, the benefits are numerous. It stimulates collagen, therefore minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Since collagen re-plumps your skin, this also helps if you have indented acne scars. It can help to prevent breakouts by using UV-free wavelengths to kill acne-causing bacteria. It helps to improve skin texture and tone, and it's known to also help with depression.

How RejuvaliteMD works: With 120 bulbs omitting UV-free wavelengths of red, yellow, amber, and infrared light, you simply cleanse your skin, put on the white goggles (included) and position the bulbs 4 inches from your face for 5 minutes.

RejuvaliteMD has a built-in timer, so all you do is simply sit there and relax. That sounds too easy, right? It is honestly that simple. I chose to use my RejuvaliteMD in my bedroom by placing it on my bedside table. I laid down for those 5 minutes when starting my day and after my kids went to bed.

Since I couldn't use my phone to scan social media, couldn't talk on the phone or text, couldn't watch TV, it literally gave me 10 minutes a day of complete solitude and chance to literally clear my mind. IT.WAS.AWESOME. For the above photo, it's not positioned 4 inches from my face just so that the photo could be taken. You'll have the lights closer than this. I wanted you to be able to see how focused the lights are on areas of your face.

The lights so close to your skin are not hot, your skin won't feel any tingling or any sensation at all. You almost feel guilty that you're not really working for the anti-aging benefits of this skin treatment because you feel more pampered than anything else. Something to note is that 3 rows of lights will not appear lit - however that is the light that is not visible to the human eye. I'll be using RejuvaliteMD for a full 8 weeks to give you a complete review (I've already been using it for about 3 weeks.) So be sure to subscribe to my blog to be notified when that happens. I'll have before and after pics for you. For now, here is my before pics, which takes a lot of courage to post with flaws and sans makeup. To sum it up - 5 minutes daily is all it takes to see anti-aging benefits from red light therapy - but also to take time for yourself. You deserve it and you deserve to feel good in your own skin.

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Get Baby Soft Feet - Get Fresh

Shannon Smyth
Regardless of the season, dry feet can happen any time of year. They snag your sheets, tug in your socks and make you avoid wearing sandals. If the cost of bi-weekly pedicures aren't in your budget, I have the next best alternative to get baby soft feet. Everyone in my house knows I can't live without my Amope Wet & Dry Pedi Perfect to file away the layers of dry skin on my feet. And let's be honest, dry skin on your feet is a thick mess. I love the convenience of this foot file and tend to use it while I'm watching my favorite shows (why not? It's adding a little more me to your me time.) But it doesn't end there because now your feet will more easily absorb creams and lotions to hydrate and soften the skin. Right now my favorite two foot care moisturizers are by get fresh. I love their Rescue Me Intensive Foot Repair Creme and their Poor Soles Moisturizing Stick. get fresh Poor Soles: I love this handy little moisturizing stick. Not only is it mess-free, it's the perfect size for traveling. Poor Soles is a solid lotion comprised of Vitamins A and E, Avocado, Sweet Almond Oil, Apricot Kernel, and Shea Butter. Both foot care products have lemongrass in them, which a natural deodorizer. I don't know about you, but smell is an issue I am always combatting in the warmer weather when my feet are sweating. I can't wait to give this a try to see if it helps to make a difference. get fresh Rescue Me: I mentioned this on my Instagram when I first started using it - it smells like Lemonheads. If you grew up in the 80's, this was a staple in your candy stash (or at least mine.) It's a creamy, refreshing lemon zest of fragrance. This creme is rich without being too thick, it's lightweight while still being moisturizing. Its ingredients include Shea Butter, Aloe Vera, Avocado and Soybean oils. It also has alpha hydroxy fruit acids to exfoliate. As you can tell from the ingredients, both of these products are incredibly hydrating. After using my Amope, I apply the get fresh creme or stick, and voila! My feet are baby soft. If your feet are in desperate need of some moisture - give these a try! 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! Or check out our natural bath and body line!

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Mantras That Will Improve Your Mindset

Shannon Smyth
Pocket Mantras Words are powerful and have the ability to shape our thoughts, change our perception, connect with others, and provide comfort in our daily lives. Every year I have a word or phrase I focus on the entire year and try to keep everything I say and do in alignment with what my mantra is for those 12 months. This year it is bold abundance. I'm becoming increasingly more mindful about how my thoughts and the words I speak convert to actions (good or not so much.) By nature I am a pessimistic person and I struggle with anxiety. So I've been experimenting with different forms of meditation lately to help me shift my mindset, and repeating mantras is one that My Pocket Mantras has made easy for me. Stress relief mantra I don't know about you, but I have a difficult time coming up with phrases on my own. What I like about My Pocket Mantras is that it contains 150 simple phrases that are broken down into 8 categories - Starting Your Day, Stress Relief and Anxiety, Self-Love, Healing, Success, Abundance, Transformation and Bedtime. It's super easy to find a phrase to inspire and uplift you without fumbling for the right words on your own. Success mantra With short, rhythmic phrases that are easy to recite and repeat, each mantra includes insights into how to direct your thoughts and experience its benefits. Each page has the mantra at the top in large letters, then details on how and when to repeat it, and an explanation on how it will help you. They aren't time consuming, and even if you are a beginner, you'll find it very easy to follow along. I keep this book on my office desk within reach and when I'm traveling for a few days, it's small enough to toss into my handbag to take along with me. I try to say at least 3 mantras per day because I'm one who tends to over-fill my plate with to-do's, which can make for a chaotic mindset. Forcing myself to stop and take 3 minutes to perseverate on something positive has helped to re-center me when I feel like my brain is taking me in a hundred different directions. And it's actually helped me to be more productive. Tanaaz Chubb is the author of My Pocket Mantras and is the founder of ForeverConscious.com, a website dedicated to spiritual well-being, mindfulness, and healing. She is also the author of The Power of Positive Energy, and regularly contributes to Huffpost. I like books that get straight to the point without all of the fluff and filler, and Ms. Chubb does just that with My Pocket Mantras making it an easy book to simply pick up, choose and repeat your mantra, and go on with your day.  I definitely recommend it. What is your favorite mantra? Leave a comment and let me know. 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! Or check out our natural bath and body line!

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