Wellness Encyclopedia: Bentonite Clay + Rose Bentonite Face Mask

Wellness Encyclopedia: Bentonite Clay + Rose Bentonite Face Mask

When it comes to drawing out impurities, reach for the best…

Has there ever been a beauty product so effective as summer? I love what this season, specifically the all natural vitamin D3 care of all that sun, does for my skin. Even with the prerequisite SPF, after just a couple glorious days spent outside, my skin is clearer, my freckles are out, and I’m feelin’ fine in every sense of the word. The days of flaky winter skin far behind me, I find myself easing up on the makeup and embracing my skin in all it’s glory — that was, until a couple of days ago, when I caught a glimpse of things close up! Turns out, all that SPF can wreak its own kind of havoc… it was time for a detox. It’s true, sunlight has a tendency to bring out the best in our skin (it’s believed that vitamin D3 is behind it) but even in summer our skin needs a little pick-me-up every now and then. When it comes to drawing out impurities, I reach for the best: bentonite clay. When mixed with water, this silky soft clay transforms from a powder to a powerful detoxifier, removing all the gunk and junk left in and on our skin from sunscreen, makeup, city living, sweat and chemicals. Learn more about this all-natural clay below, then scroll on for a simple detoxifying mask to refresh your face and reveal your best summer skin yet.

What is it? Bentonite clay is a healing clay derived from aged volcanic ash and consists mostly of montmorillonite, a group of minerals found in clay. Named after the Cretaceous Benton Shale in Wyoming, where most bentonite clay is harvested, it’s also found in Italy and France and can have a different mineral makeup depending on the dominant elements in each clay (e.g. calcium bentonite, potassium bentonite, and sodium bentonite, which is shown in this post). Bentonite clay powder should be a cream/grey-ish color, never white, and is an ultrafine powder, similar in texture to fine cake flour. Bentonite produces an electrical charge when hydrated, allowing it to absorb toxins internally and externally. Because of this, bentonite clay should not come into contact with anything metallic — including mixing bowls or spoons — as metal components can neutralize its effectiveness; instead, always use glass, ceramic, or stone bowls and mixing tools.

What are the benefits? When bentonite is mixed with water, witch hazel, rose water, or any other liquid, it swells, acting like a sponge and giving it the ability to sop up impurities and toxins in and out of the body, especially heavy metals. The negative charge of the clay bonds to the positive charge of the chemical or toxin, and draws it from the system — either getting flushed from the internal system through elimination, or rinsed off topically from the skin. It can help alkalize the body and normalize digestion, and has been found to help with acid reflux and bloating. When used topically, bentonite clay can help heal wounds and skin abrasions, ease symptoms of dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema, reduce redness, clear up acne, and reduce pain caused by bug bites and chicken pox by calming the skin and helping to draw out the underlying issue (impurities, venom from a bee sting, infected acne, etc.). Not only can bentonite clay help to clear up congested skin, it even leaves skin feeling softer and more supple. The perfect way to refresh skin after sun damage or too much sunscreen.

How do I use it? Bentonite clay can be easily made into a variety of masks for face and body and can be customized to treat a variety of conditions. See the recipe below for a simple mask to calm and purify skin. Mix bentonite clay powder with tea tree oil to create a spot treatment to use on acne-prone skin. Mix it with plain old water for a simple mask to draw out chemicals, or to use as a poultice for burns, rashes, minor cuts and burns, and insect bites (spread the poultice on the affected area, then cover with a clean damp cloth). Add to a bath of warm water to treat the entire body and draw toxins from the skin and soften all over (this method is also effective in treating chicken pox, psoriasis and eczema).

Bentonite clay can also be used internally, and has been found to be especially effective in improving oral health, boosting the effectiveness of probiotics, and improving digestion. However, always consult your doctor before ingesting a new-to-you herb or clay, and always be sure to purchase food-grade ingredients meant to be taken internally.

Rose Bentonite Detox Mask

Materials

2 tbsp bentonite clay powder

2 drops rose essential oil

Witch hazel or rose water (see notes below)

Non-metallic bowl

Non-metallic mixing spoon or stick

Method

Place bentonite clay powder in a non-metallic bowl (plastic, glass, or stone works well) and add rose essential oil. Add witch hazel or rose water** and mix until clay forms a paste. Bentonite clay is highly absorptive, so add a little moisture at a time until the paste forms. It may be chunky — that’s fine!

Witch hazel: Use for troubled skin suffering from acne, blemishes, redness or rashes.

Rose water: Use to calm skin and reduce redness, especially beneficial for sensitive skin.

To use: Always do a patch test first to ensure compatibility with your skin. Use a clean brush or your fingers to spread a thin layer of clay mask onto your face, avoiding eye area. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes, or until dry. Rinse with lukewarm water, using a washcloth to help remove the clay. Follow up with your favorite face oil to finish.

+ Be sure to check out more Wellness Encyclopedia posts!

Follow Julie on Instagram + check out her blog.

This information is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease or issue. 
Please seek your doctor’s advice for any questions regarding a specific condition and before beginning any exercise, diet or health-related regimen.

Free People Blog

Why Australia is the Original Frontier for Natural Beauty

Why Australia is the Original Frontier for Natural Beauty

These two skincare imports have your summer routine handled…

While South Korea might be a wellspring of beauty inspiration, Australia has long been an incubator for natural, plant-based remedies. They were among the first to spread the gospel of paw paw ointment and tap into the healing power of native botanicals that thrive in extreme conditions. With a culture built around appreciating the outdoors and giving back to the earth, you could say Aussies are the original holistic beauty tribunes. Here, we spotlight two must-try brands directly imported from down under that will illuminate your skin, revitalize your body and transform your self-care routine.

Soak Society 

Founder: Natalie Thorogood

Best Known For: “We make wellness bath soaks using only all natural ingredients such as salts and clays, and only use essential oils instead of synthetic fragrance.”

Brand Philosophy: “#Hustlesoakrepeat is our tagline and mantra! It means go out there and work hard to create success in your life, but make sure you are scheduling in ‘me-time’ for rest and relaxation also. That is SO important. If we aren’t burnt out, we can’t produce our best work, or be present and giving in our relationships. So look after YOU first.”

Secret Ingredients: “When I created our first wellness soak three years ago I was very set on the core ingredient being epsom salt. That was actually the basis for forming Soak Society — I couldn’t find any other brands in Australia making bath salts without the use of synthetic ingredients that were based on epsom and clay, with essential oils. I haven’t swayed from this recipe for all of our wellness soaks — they all have epsom and a different kind of clay for detoxifying, different essential oils, and various salts like Celtic and pink Himalayan.”

Sustainability Mission: “I only use sulphate- and paraben-free skincare and body care, and only use natural or homemade products for cleaning the home. We buy organic or spray-free vegetables and fruit at the farmers’ markets and take our own baskets to avoid plastic bags. I’m definitely not perfect though… I try my best to make conscious choices every day, and I eat a vegetarian diet.”

Bestseller: “Lately it has been our Sleep Wellness Soak, which combines lavender and chamomile with calming white clay and oatmeal for a deep restful sleep.”

Newest Launch: “Our Noosa Wellness Soak — jasmine, lime and lemon myrtle scented. This soak is a fresh and zesty ode to our hometown in summer.”

Homegrown Beauty Remedy: “I’m not sure if this common in the US, but as a child when I was sick my mum would make me do a facial steam with eucalyptus oil (to clear the sinuses), and now I just love the smell of eucalyptus, I can’t get enough. It is such a versatile oil, too! And facial steams are so great for the skin, I try to do one once a week and sometimes add other flowers or essential oils like rose to calm the skin and open my pores. This ensures your expensive serums that you put on your face afterwards are absorbed well!”

What “Free” Means to You: “To me it means ‘free spirit’ — being true to yourself by doing what your heart and soul desire.”

EcoCoco 

Founder: Stefan Hair Fashions

Best Known For: “Luxurious, high-quality hair, skin and self-tanning products that are environmentally-friendly, vegan and cruelty free.”

Beauty Philosophy: “Our mantra is #wecoconutdaily by infusing coconut into our daily lifestyle. Whether it be through health, beauty or diet, we soak up the goodness of this superfood in its every form.”

Secret Ingredient: “We believe 100% certified organic coconut oil is the key ingredient to a healthy and functional hair and beauty regime, which is why this miracle ingredient is included in all EcoCoco formulations, like our Body Butter and self-tanners.”

Sustainability Mission: “The EcoCoco range is free from sulphates, parabens and PEGs. We are proud to be vegan and cruelty free, with renewable and recyclable packaging.”

Homegrown Beauty Remedy: “The Australian lifestyle is synonymous with being outdoors so investing in a natural beauty brand to ensure skin is looking and feeling healthy all year round is incredibly important to us Aussies! We love the sun and showing off a beautiful, natural glow. Our favorite tradition is heading to beach with friends and soaking up some vitamin D.”

What “Free” Means to You: “Free to us means being free in life; a free spirit. The EcoCoco girl is free-spirited, passionate and confident in her own skin, always seeking adventure and forever chasing the sun. She’s the one with a smile on her face and a sparkle in her eye.”

+ Check out more from our Aussie community here

Lead photo via Free People Australia / Madeline Joyrelph

Free People Blog

DIY Wellness Popsicles for Summer

DIY Wellness Popsicles for Summer

Cool your body and quench your skin with these nutrient-packed pops…

Ah, popsicles. The kid-time favorite is reminiscent of summer picnics, sandy days at the beach and happiness dripping down your chin. But thanks to the wave of wellness-inspired options, this sweet treat is now *super* healthy for you. Just replace the fake sugars and red dye #40 with fresh, seasonal ingredients. To get started, we turned to our friends at Vital Proteins, the makers of skin-boosting Beauty Waters, for some recipes filled with antioxidant-rich fruits, edible flowers and other complexion-enhancing picks. Pop in the freezer and say hello to glowy skin.

All recipes serve 6, depending on the size of your popsicle mold.

Pineapple Lime Beauty Pops

Ingredients

1 cucumber, peeled and diced

1 cup fresh diced pineapple

2 scoops Vital Proteins Cucumber Aloe Collagen Beauty Water

Juice of 1 lime

2 tbsp maple syrup

Method

In a high-speed blender, add peeled cucumber, pineapple, Collagen Beauty Water, lime juice and maple syrup. Blend on high until completely pureed. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight. Serve frozen and enjoy!

Lavender Blackberry Beauty Pops

Ingredients

1 cup blackberries

14-ounce can of organic coconut milk

1 Vital Proteins Lavender Lemon Beauty Water stick pack

2 tbsp organic, raw honey

Juice of 1/2 lemon; slice the other half and set aside

Method

In a high-speed blender, add blackberries, coconut milk, Lavender Lemon Beauty Water stick, honey and lemon juice. Blend on high until completely pureed. Pour into popsicle molds. Add in the lemon slices, placing along the sides of the mold. Freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight. Serve frozen and enjoy!

Strawberry Hibiscus Beauty Pops

Ingredients

1 cup organic strawberries

½ cup water

1 Vital Proteins Lavender Lemon Beauty Water stick pack

2 tbsp organic, raw honey

Juice of 1 lemon

Handful of hibiscus flower petals (grow your own or pick up at the farmer’s market)

Method

In a high-speed blender, add strawberries, water, Lavender Lemon Beauty Water stick, honey and lemon juice. Blend on high until completely pureed. Pour into popsicle molds, adding in the flower petals. Freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight. Serve frozen and enjoy!

Be sure to shop all Vital Protein products here!

Got more summertime popsicles recipes you love? Share them below!

Free People Blog

Soho Pop-Up: July Sign-Ups!

Soho Pop-Up: July Sign-Ups!

Attend the exclusive workshop that’s best suited to you, featuring some of the finest women in wellness…

That’s right — we’re bringing you round three of our FREE wellness-infused residency at Free People’s Soho pop-up! Keep your wellness game going strong, and check out what we have in store for you this month!

Head to the bottom of this page to RSVP. Refer to the below calendar and opt in for the class best suited to you and what you’re craving. If you’re experiencing any difficulty in signing up, it may be that both the particular class and waitlist are at capacity! You must select the “sign up” button in order to secure your spot — this button will appear only next to open classes!

Movement Monday:

‘Guided by Biet’ meditation with Biet Simkin.

Wellness Wednesdays and Thursday:

Full Moon Ritual with Ruby Warrington.

Loving Your Lady Parts as a Path to Success with Alisa Vitti.

Crystalizing Your Beauty Rountine with Maha Rose.

Summer Sugar Detox with Summer Rayne Oakes.

Fitness Fridays:

Every Friday this month, spend $100 in-store and receive a FREE class voucher to Soul Cycle!

How-To: Intention Setting, Manifesting & Co-Creating Workshop with Nina Endrst.

Savasana Saturdays and Sundays: 

Vinyasa Flow Yoga with Georgina Berbari.

‘Guided by Biet’ Meditation with Biet Simkin.

Quickie Wellness with Glacce Crystal Water Bottles, Tonik & 8G.

Can’t make it? Be sure to shop Tonik and 8g — here

A few things to note: 

Our Quickie Wellness events are by walk-in only — no need to make a reservation.

All other classes are by appointment, so they must be booked using the below MindBody sign-up tool.

Please arrive within 10 minutes of start time to keep your spot for all events.

Free People Blog

Multi Masking: Why Two is Better Than One

Multi Masking: Why Two is Better Than One

It’s totally possible. And if you’ve been relying on one mask at a time, you’ve been doing it wrong.

You’ve just double-cleansed your face, took an excellent shower and now you’re ready for Face Mask Time. Your pores are clean, steamed and primed for goodness. So you open your medicine cabinet/pull the shoe box out from under your bed/open all the drawers in your bathroom (no judgement — I keep my masks in the back of a closet to keep them cool and out of light, so c’est la vie) and spend a few minutes deciding with what to gift your skin tonight.

Your cheeks were feeling a little dry this morning so maybe a hydrating mask? But you’re also starting to break out around your chin so maybe something with charcoal? And your forehead has been feeling oily for a few days, so maybe clay? Then again, you haven’t exfoliated in a while so maybe you should go with a peel? In the end, you determine that of all your skin concerns, that oily forehead is the one that seems most prevalent, so you opt for the clay and call it a day.

As you spread the clay mask over your face, you hear the small, far-off voices of all the parts of your face say the clay isn’t helping. Your cheeks, softly crying for a drink. Your chin, whimpering for some anti-blemish help. Your pores, quiety begging something to come along and clear them of dirt and grime. You want to help everyone equally, you really do, but how?! “Face mask” is singular, right? Sure, you can layer serums and toners and moisturizers to treat multiple issues, but how can you do the same with masks?

Spoiler alert: It’s totally possible. And if you’ve been relying on one mask at a time, you’ve been doing it wrong. No fault of yours, of course — why would anyone assume they should use more than one? — but now that you know, it’s time to remedy the situation.

As I’m sure you know by now, your skin is a multifaceted being with unique wants and needs depending on the part of the fact, the time of day, the weather, your mood, etc. If you’ve never experienced an oil rig-like forehead and T-zone while simultaneously feeling like your cheeks were Sahara-level dry, you’re in the minority. For everyone else, multi-masking is your friend.

There are a couple of approaches to multi-masking and I invite you to choose your own adventure based on your needs and how much time you have. I prefer the latter of the two, but do your thing.

OPTION #1: The Layer-N-Wash

Pretty self-explanatory, this one involves using multiple masks in a row, one after the other. If your skin is generally well-behaved and fairly one-note in terms of its needs from area to area, this is a good option. It’s also a lot like what aestheticians do if you’ve ever had a professional facial done, since it’s basically prepping the skin for what comes next.

To start, use an exfoliating mask to remove dead skin and draw out impurities. If you like a chemical approach to exfoliating, try the Organic Enzyme Exfoliating Mask from Dr. Alkaitis — the active enzymes in the formula work to gently remove cellular debris as they sit on the skin. For something that requires a bit more muscle, One Love Organics’ Brand New Day Microderma Scrub & Masque gently smooths skin with corn starch and pea flour. Once your chosen mask is applied, lay a warm, damp washcloth over your whole face to warm everything up. When the cloth is cool, use it to gently wipe the first mask off, then dab your face dry.

Mask number two should be one that tackles pores and blemishes. Now that dead skin is out of the way, and your pores are nice and open, get in there to detoxify and refine your skin’s texture. Look for a mask that contains charcoal or clay, both of which are powerful detoxifiers, and can help pull even the most stubborn gunk out of your pores and absorb excess oil. Both the Detox Facial Mask and Reborn Facial Mask from Root Science check these ingredient boxes. Leave this one on for five to 10 minutes, or until it starts to feel tight, then rinse it off. Towel dry and move on to mask number three.

To finish, you’ll want to use a hydrating mask to make sure your skin isn’t thirsty after mask number two. Replenish that skin water! A mask with ingredients like aloe (Modern Natural’s Soothing & Hydrating Treatment Mask), hyaluronic acid (the Antiaging & Moisturizing Organic Mask from Orgaid) and rosehips (Pai’s Rosehip BioRegenerate Rapid Radiance Mask) will plump, hydrate and glow-ify your skin in this final step. Wear this third mask as long as you want — it’s just rehydrating your skin, something you can’t really overdo. When you’re ready, rinse, dry and apply your favorite serum and/or moisturizer.

OPTION #2: The Picasso 

This approach to multi-masking is a bit more nuanced, only because it really leaves the whole thing up to you. The idea here is to apply different masks to different parts of your face at the same time. Think of it like makeup: you apply lipstick to your lips, eyeshadow to your eyes, blush to your cheeks, etc. Except now, you’re interpreting what certain skin needs and using a mask specific to that need. It’s like colorblocking but for your face…with masks.

Again, we’re going to start with light exfoliation to prep the skin. You don’t have to use an exfoliating mask here if you don’t want to. A simple face scrub will do the trick and cut down on the time this whole process takes. Once you’re clean and smooth, the fun starts.

Think about your face. Do your best to divide that beautiful mug into different sections based on how your skin feels. Maybe your forehead looks dull and your nose is breaking and your cheeks feel dry and your chin is oily. Now you’ve got four “mask zones,” and it’s time to get to work.

For skin that feels dry…feed that face! You’ll need uber-hydrating ingredients for dry patches, so be on the lookout for rose, hyaluronic acid, aloe and witch hazel. Try: Mieux Derma’s Wandering Dusk Hydrating Syrup.

For skin that feels congested and oily…you’ll want a mask that utilizes the pore-unclogging power of bentonite clay. Not only will this stuff power-wash your pores, it also increases blood flow so you’ll have a nice glow afterward. Try: Biodara’s Creme De Clay Purifying Mask.

For skin that looks dull…opt for a brightening mask full of enzymes and other natural acids that can help to chemically exfoliate dead skin away. Try: Juice Beauty’s Green Apple Peel.

For skin that feels rough…another chance to exfoliate with acids and gentle, physical exfoliants like beans and honey. Just note here that after applying, you’ll want to gently rub this portion of the mask every few minutes to actually do some physical exfoliating. Try: Pangea Organics’ Facial Scrub.

For skin that’s inflamed or angry…you’ll want soothing ingredients like chamomile, aloe and green tea to calm whatever redness and irritation you might be experiencing. Try: Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Flower Mask .

Alright, now your masks are strategically applied and you can kick back and relax. If anything starts to feel tight or like it’s drying, spritz the area with a gentle mist like Miss Violet Lace’s Rosewater Mist. After 10-15 minutes, gently wash everything off with warm water and a damp cloth if necessary. Apply your favorite serums and moisturizers, and go on your merry way.

+ What are you thoughts on going duo? Let us know in the comments below! 

Free People Blog

Petaling Up Your Skincare Routine with These Six Flowers

Petaling Up Your Skincare Routine with These Six Flowers

A quick guide to the flowers you’ll likely come across in self-care products and the good they can do for your whole body…

Few things in nature have the same hold over us mere mortals as flowers. (Well, except maybe baby animals, but that’s neither here nor there.) From their beautiful, alluring colors to the way they make an otherwise drab table pop to their beguiling scents, flowers are borderline magical. But despite their aesthetic and olfactory powers, flowers are more than just a pretty face and nice smell. In fact, flowers have been used in the healing arts for centuries as everything from infection fighters to stomach soothers to skin healers.

This ability should come as no surprise if you’ve ever used a beauty product…ever. True, some conventional brands will tout the inclusion of a flower when they’re really only offering a bastardized version of the scent, but there are products out there that truly harness the power of these beautiful little petals-full-of-skin-and-hair-and-body magic.

Not sure where to start? Here’s a quick guide to the flowers you’ll likely come across in self-care products and the good they can do for your whole bod.

CHAMOMILE

What it does: Lightening, brightening, clarifying, inflammation- and puffiness-fighting, chamomile is a champion of skin rejuvenation. As a vasoconstrictor — something that constricts blood vessels, which increases blood flow (sadly not the name of a new dinosaur) — chamomile has the ability to strengthen capillaries and decrease redness in the skin. It’s also high in azulene, a naturally occurring chemical that fights inflammation and infection. Since inflammation is often the number one cause of many skin ailments and hair loss, chamomile is great for angry skin and a scalp in need of some help.

Where you can find it: Any product that claims to calm anything is likely to contain chamomile. From Pai’s Calming Day Cream — whose chamomile-and-rosehip combo are powerfully soothing for red and inflamed skin — to the scalp-friendly Nourish Conditioner from Josh Rosebrook to the perfect-for-sensitive-skin Organic Soothing Gel from Dr. Alkaitis, chamomile is easy to come by in green products, and for good reason.

LAVENDER

What it does: As relaxing for your skin as it is your mind, lavender is an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory powerhouse that will soothe irritated, inflamed skin (think dermatitis, eczema, etc.). It’s also fairly mild as far as essential oils go, so it’s great at helping to normalize skin (particularly the oily kind) by balancing sebum production. This little purple gem has also been shown to speed up the healing process when it comes to cuts and burns, so look for products that contain lavender if you’ve got abrasions — like if you just couldn’t help yourself and picked at your face.

Where you can find it: If you’re a nighttime shower-er, Lulu Organics’ Soap will help you unwind before bed and clarify skin with a lavender/oatmeal formula. For a more targeted approach to lavender, the Clear Skin Spot Treatment from Province Apothecary holistically heals blemishes and soothes scars by combining lavender with carrot seed oil.

CALENDULA

What it does: With crazy-high levels of carotenoids, flavonoids and phenolic acid  (powerful antioxidants, all), it’s no surprise calendula (aka marigold) can help with everything from chapped lips to aging skin. Those antioxidants? They work overtime to protect skin cells from free radicals, plump skin via hydration and improved circulation, help wounds heal faster and prevent unwanted inflammation aka it’s great as a spot treatment for zits.

Where you can find it: For the healthiest, most soothed skin of your life, opt for RMS’ Beauty Oil. The luxurious blend pairs calendula with a host of other gorgeous ingredients to promote healthy tissue growth. The Nutrient Moisturizer from Juice Beauty works similar magic in cream form, and the Bright Eye Serum from Root Science lets the extra-sensitive skin around your eyes in on the glory of calendula as well.

HIBISCUS

What it does: Used in Ayurvedic medicine in the quest for thicker, faster-growing hair, hibiscus is your scalp’s best friend. Thanks to its high concentration of mucilage polysaccharides — a thick, gooey substance naturally produced by plants to help with water and food storage and the thickening of cell membranes — hibiscus helps dry, damaged hair and stressed out skin retain much-needed moisture.

Where you can find it: Since hibiscus is also known to aid in preserving hair color, it’s no surprise that it features prominently in Rahua’s Color Full Shampoo, resulting in serious shine and strand health. You can also drink the flower via Anima Mundi’s Mangosteen Hibiscus Beauty Tonic or Nicole Granato’s Hibiscus Tea, both of which use the flower to boost hydrating for healthy skin and hair.

SUNFLOWER

What it does: You may only be familiar with the excellent snack sunflower seeds make, but their oil is also a great topical treatment. With impressive amounts of vitamin E, sterols and squalene — all of which are vital for healthy skin and hair — sunflower oil is an inexpensive yet effective way to pack a seriously moisturizing punch. What’s more, the oil also acts as a barrier when applied topically, meaning it locks moisture in without keeping much-needed oxygen out.

Where you can find it: With sunflower oil as its base, the Detoxing Body Oil from Flora Remedia is a lightweight, super-hydrating formula that helps skin retain the water it needs to be healthy and happy. And RMS’ Lip & Skin Balm uses the same thinking to lock in moisture for parched, patched lips.

ROSE

What it does: Sure, you probably only think about roses in mid-February, but don’t discount these prickly beauties when it comes to self-care. Scatter some petals into a soothing bath, spritz its water on your face or massage its oil into your skin — any way you use rose is a good way. Antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, rose is uber-hydrating and conditioning. What’s more, rose is packed with vitamin C that’s often less harsh than the kind found in citrus, making it perfect for light exfoliation without residual redness.

Where you can find it: In its simplest form, rose water makes for a great mild astringent and toner, perfect for skin that’s on the dryer side. The Aloe & Rose Toner from Captain Blankenship combines rose water with another powerful hydrator to leave skin soothed and refreshed. If soaking is more your style, adding rose to a bath — like with Moon River Naturals’ Rose and Geranium Soak — offers whole-body hydration and exfoliation. And for a serious glow, rose oil like that found in the RoseGlow Serum from Living Libations plays nice with all skin types and leaves smooth, hydrated, luminous skin in its wake.

+ What is your flower of choice? 

Free People Blog

Wellness Quickie: Goodwell + Co.

Wellness Quickie: Goodwell + Co.

“Just like organic farming is better and more nutritious for people’s health, our toothbrush is better for your wellness and personal impact on the environment…”

Brushing your teeth is often a mindless act — something you do when you’re in semi-conscious state, either half-awake or half-asleep. But this small, seemingly mundane part of your daily routine can have a major impact on the environment. Just consider the Great Pacific Garbage Patch , a large floating island of plastic waste that’s drifting in the oceans north and south of the equator, and made up of non-biodegradable items — like your toothbrush. This eco-revelation and others inspired Patrick Goodwell and Aaron Feiger to launch Goodwell + Co, a sustainable oral care company that’s all about creating products that won’t clog and pollute the earth. Here, Patrick talks about disrupting the act of brushing up, one activated-charcoal toothbrush at a time.

You graduated with a degree in product design and mechanical engineering. How did that lead to launching a sustainable startup?

The “aha” moment was when I came back from a work trip for my previous employer. I was overseas working on a consumer electronic product, thinking to myself, “Is this the legacy I want to leave? Why is consumerism and manufacturing so wasteful? What products to people use every day that could make a big impact?” The rest is history.

You’ve developed a loyal following for your Bamboo + Binchotan brushes. What’s so unique about them?

When most people look at the brush, they always mention the black bristles, not really understanding that the black bristles are that way to serve a function, not a decoration. The bristles are blended with activated charcoal, which has been used for things like air and water purification for years. Now imagine that same purification inside your mouth – activated charcoal bristles deodorize bad breath, balance pH in your mouth and fight germs that cause tartar and halitosis.

How does this translate into a better toothbrush for us and the planet?

Just like organic farming is better and more nutritious for people’s health, our toothbrush is better for your wellness and personal impact on the environment. Our materials are natural and all biodegradable, unlike the plastic toothbrushes that people own that will still be around in 500 years.

Where do you source your materials from?

We try to make as much as we possibly can in-house — we are based in Portland, Oregon— or as close to our headquarters as possible in Utah and Ohio.

How often should you replace the brush and what’s the best way to dispose of it?

I’ve had customers use one of our brushes for a year — I don’t recommend that, but they told me that they wash it in a little hydrogen peroxide every month and it’s held up! We typically go with the ADA’s recommend replacement cycle of every two to three months. To dispose, you have some options: 1. Compost it or bury it. If you have the means, give it back to the earth. Or 2. Toss it in with your other trash — it will decompose rapidly in a landfill.

Tell us about Goodfloss: How is it different from traditional flosses?

Goodfloss was a product that came to be when we started asking people about flossing, and we noticed that there was a huge problem that none of the other flosses out there was solving. The problem is, when and where people need and want floss: it’s typically never at the end of the day, in their bathroom. Instead, people need floss when they are out, at dinner, lunch, the movies, about to step into a meeting, etc. So we designed a product that is meant to be portable. It’s the size of a credit card, so you can put a card of them (which contains 4 flossers and toothpicks ) in your wallet, in your purse or in your pocket, and have it with you at all times. The material is made from our proprietary blend of essentially vegetable starches and bamboo, so it’s 100% biodegradable, vegan, and never tested on animals. Our floss is also made with organic cotton.

What’s the hero ingredient in your chemical-free Pacific Mint Toothpaste, and can it really whiten and freshen your mouth like a mainstream paste?

Here is something most people don’t really know — sea salt actually contains small amounts of natural fluoride. It also aids in agitation, so I would claim that our toothpaste works just as well as any of the mainstream pastes out there.

How can we all turn brushing our teeth into a moment of self-care? How do you make the act more enjoyable and less of a chore to do twice a day?

A wise and inspirational woman in my life once told me that everything you own should bring you joy. My advice would be to minimize your life and the things in it, so that everything you do, every single day, will bring you joy.

Do you have any other habits or wellness tips that you swear by?

Physically propel your own body at least 6 miles a day via your feet, a bike, a boat, or other means of carbon-free transportation, and drink more water!

What’s next for Goodwell + Co?

We have been working on a new toothbrush for the past two and a half years that we plan on launching on Kickstarter later this year. We’re calling it Be. It stands for Beyond Electric and will be our alternative to electric toothbrushes. Stay tuned!!

+ Shop all Goodwell + Co products here!

Free People Blog

Streamline Your Beauty Routine

Streamline Your Beauty Routine

In an effort to cut back on gratuitous products and free up some desperately-needed space…

Hi, I’m Allie and I’m a skincare and makeup addict. I love the stuff. I can’t get enough. The minute I read or hear about a new product, I drop everything and start Googling. It doesn’t matter if I already own (and barely use) dozens of similar products; once the itch starts, I can’t stop until I’ve researched enough to know I’m not interested or, more likely, have become the proud owner of the product.

And while I love each and every one of my beauty products like a proud mom (I know it’s weird, just let me have it), every once in awhile, I find myself digging through drawers and bins and cabinets full of creams and palettes and serums and sprays and masks, looking for that ONE THING I KNOW IS IN THERE SOMEWHERE but continues to elude my grasp. Then I think to myself, “Allie, wouldn’t it just be easier with fewer products?”

The answer, obviously, is yes. We are a world of consumers—many of us, present company included, over consumers. And while it’s certainly a nice luxury to be able to perfectly match my bronzer to my skin after a few hours in the sun and also after a week in the sun because I have both shades, it’s all a bit unnecessary, don’t you think?

So in an effort to cut back on gratuitous products and free up some desperately-needed space in my apartment, I’m adopting what I like to think of as a streamlined approach to beauty.

What does this mean? It means that instead of bringing an extra overnight bag on a weekend trip to accommodate any product I might need, I fit the essentials  into a standard-issue makeup bag. It means instead of insisting on having dozens of lipsticks and stains, I only have a few that I can play with to produce whatever shades I’m missing (and even use some as blush!). It means that instead of bracing myself against the potential avalanche of products that might tumble out upon opening my bathroom cabinet, I can swing that mirror open with confidence knowing I am safe from cascading makeup.

And it means I’m going to tell you how to do it for yourself if you’re sick of stubbing your toe on plastic crate full of lipstick that’s sticking out from under your bed when you get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Hack #1: “Foundation” 

Given that summer is just getting started, it’s probably time to lighten up on makeup for the sake of your skin. So instead of reaching for foundation every morning, let your cover up pull double duty as a lightweight tint by combining it with your favorite face oil or serum. The viscosity of the serum will help the small amount of cover up spread thinly and evenly, offering a beautiful light layer of coverage and skin benefits at the same time.

How: Scoop a small amount of RMS Beauty’s Un Cover-Up onto your fingertips. The amount will depend on how much coverage you’re after, but I find a half-pea is perfect for a sheer wash that also lets skin breath. Add a 2-3 drops of your favorite oil-based face serum (I like Maya Chia’s The Super Couple Face Oil Serum) and warm everything up between your fingers. Then apply in a gentle, upward motion as if you’re putting on moisturizer. Rub in where necessary, and you’ve got beautiful sheer, breathable coverage for your whole face. Then if you need it, go back in with the Un Cover-Up and add a little extra wherever you’d like. The nice thing about using an oil serum as the base here is 1) you likely won’t need to apply moisturizer first since the oil will cover you on the hydration front, and 2) you’ll get a gorgeous, subtle glow from the revitalizing oil.

Hack #2: Lip Stain

When you want some color on your lips but can’t be bothered with reapplying full lipstick, a lip stain is where it’s at. The color gives you that “I just ate a popsicle” look and you don’t have to worry about it fading or running to find a mirror to reapply. If you’re really crafty, you can whip up a to-go batch of this stuff so you can always have it handy.

How: If you’re really ambitious, exfoliate your lips a bit before applying a colorless lip balm like Lano’s Multipurpose Superbalm or good old coconut oil. Let the balm/oil sink in for a few seconds, then dab a bright lipstick into the center of your bottom lip. Pick a shade and formula that’s vibrant and highly pigmented so the color dilutes easily—I like Kosas’ lipstick in Thrillest. Once you’ve built up a bit of color on that bottom lip, gently spread it out with your ring finger, blotting your lips together as you go. The balm/oil will help the color spread without sinking into any cracks or lines, and it’ll diffuse the pigment into a lovely stain.

Hack #3: Body Bronzer 

I’m speaking for myself for, but I am very pale. Like, the first time I wear a skirt or dress after the long winter months, it’s almost blinding. I also don’t tan well…at all. So faking it is really the only way to ensure I don’t stop traffic and cause harm when not wearing pants in public. Luckily, the bronzer I use on my (pale) face can cleverly double as a body bronzer.

How: You’ll need a liquid or cream bronzer for this (or use a tinted moisturizer/foundation you may have bought on a whim after you booked your last beach trip) and some body lotion. To start, take a pea-sized amount of bronzer into your palm—both RMS’ Buriti Bronzer and Contour Bronze work perfectly, though the second has an added shimmer if you’re into that—and warm it up a bit. Then add a dime-sized amount of body lotion to your palms and work the two together between your hands. Apply the mixture to your legs and arms, blending as needed, until you’ve got a pretty faux tan. The Skin Tight Body Lotion from PRTTY PEAUSHUN is great for this since it comes in a variety of “glow” levels, letting your customize how dark the color is and how glow-y your skin becomes.

HACK #4: Highlighter 

I mean, who doesn’t love a good highlighter? And while there are a lot of excellent ones on the market—looking at you, Vapour Organics and RMS Beauty—if you own an eyeshadow pallet and some eye cream or serum, you’re covered in the luminzer department.

How: Find that eyeshadow palette you only ever use one color of and locate the lightest, most peaches-and-cream color. (In Smith & Cult’s Book of Eyes Quad Palette, it’s the top left color.) If you plan to use the shade as a shadow in the future, pick up some color with your finger and deposit it on the back of your opposite hand, near the base of your thumb. Add one small drop of eye serum to shadow and blend together with the same finger you used to pick up the color. (You can also add the serum directly to the palette, but you likely won’t be able to use it as a straight shadow anymore.) Once it’s blended, pick up the mixture with that same finger and gently dab it on as you would a highlighter: hit the top of your cheekbone, under your brow bone, the center of your eyelid, the inner corner of your eye, etc. The nice thing about using an eye serum here is that it’s specifically designed for the delicate, thinner parts of your skin where you apply highlighter, so it won’t cause irritation or congestion and it’ll deposit skin-friendly nutrients.

+Read more from Allie here and be sure to check out our full beauty collection, online and in stores!

Free People Blog

Mastering the Art of the Double Cleanse

Mastering the Art of the Double Cleanse

Trust us — a double-dip of skincare will never feel or look happier…

Once upon a time, I thought that “washing my face” was as simple as some soap and water. Maybe I’d throw in a quick exfoliator scrub into the mix if I was feeling particularly motivated, and a mask if things got real fancy. After the initial soap-and-water combo, I’d also swipe a cotton pad loaded with toner or astringent over my face. Without fail, it would come away covered in leftover makeup and grime — aka the soap and water wasn’t removing everything my face had accrued over the course of the day and there was probably still a lot left even after the cotton pad.

Rather than change my nighttime skincare routine, I assumed this was normal and just kept on doing my thing. My skin had never been cooperative and I had resigned myself to just having a finicky face.

I don’t remember when or how I first heard about the phenomenon of double cleansing but, when I tested it out, my skin responded almost immediately. After nearly two years of religiously double cleansing every night, my skin has never felt or looked happier and, while there are definitely a whole cadre of products that have undoubtedly contributed, it all started with the double cleanse.

Why should I double cleanse?

Even though it’s a bit more high maintenance than what you’re probably used to doing, it really only adds a minute or two to your routine, I promise. And it’s totally and completely worth it.

As the name implies, double cleansing means washing your face twice: once with an oil-based cleanser to remove makeup, dirt, excess oil and dead skin, and again with a more “traditional” cleanser to further clean up the skin. You need these two types of cleansers because — surprise! — there are actually two types of dirt your face encounters: oil-based dirt like makeup, and everything else like dust, sweat and dirt.

And since science tells us oil and water don’t mix, you need to fight like with like and use an oil-based cleanser to remove oil-based dirt. The oil in the cleanser? It’s attracted to the fat in your sebaceous glands and the oil on your face in the form of makeup, sunscreen and pollution, meaning it’ll deep-clean without messing with the lipids and ceramides between skin cells aka it won’t leave your face feeling raw, dry and tight like a lot of traditional cleansers. Then that foaming cleanser swoops in to get rid of any remaining surface-level residue and deeply purify skin.

Another upside to double cleansing? Having thoroughly cleansed skin also makes it much easier for whatever products you use after — serum, moisturizer, oils, etc. — to be absorbed and do their jobs.

What products should I use?

As stated above, you’ll need an oil-based cleanser and a mild foaming cleanser. If you don’t have super-sensitive skin, you can try using plain ‘ole coconut oil like the ones from Kapuluan and Skinny & Co. for that first step. For a bit more nuance, look for something specifically deemed a “cleansing oil” (Wilde Gatherings’ Kumari Cleansing Oil uses a mix of olive oil, aloe vera and seabuckthorn oil to make sure everything gets removed while still keeping skin soft) or an oil-based “cleansing balm” (the Skin Savior Multi-Tasking Wonder Balm from One Love Organics is a personal favorite and perennial re-order). Both oils and oil-based balms harness the power of oils and other natural ingredients to remove dirt, grime and makeup without stripping skin of its natural and necessary oils. You’ll also need a soft, clean cloth to remove the oil or balm, but more on that later.

For your second step, a mild cleanser will get to work on the water-based dirt still lurking on your skin. If you have oilier skin and like the idea of using a foaming cleanser next, Joanna Vargas’ Miracle Bar is a solid and luxurious choice. Since it contains olive oil and shea butter, your skin will still feel hydrated post-second cleanse. The clary sage and kakadu plum in Pangea Organic’s Facial Cleanser make it another solid foaming options for oily skin. For the non-foaming fans out there, Mad Hippies’ Cream Cleanser and Juice Beauty’s Cleansing Milk are gentler options.

How do I double cleanse?

Step One:

Warm 1-2 pumps of an oil or a pea-sized amount of a cleansing balm in your dry hands by rubbing your palms together for a few minutes.

Step Two:

Once the oil cleanser/balm has melted, gently massage it into your skin (yes, makeup and all) for 30-60 seconds. Use slow, firm movements to work the oil/balm into your skin. I like to move my hands in circles from my neck upward, but it’s totally up to you. While you’re massaging, you’re also helping improve blood flow and activate your lymph nodes for even glow-ier skin. PS — Don’t be alarmed when your mascara and eyeliner raccoons its way up to your eyebrows and down to your cheeks…it means the process is working.

Step Three:

Take a clean washcloth and let it soak in warm water for a bit. Ring it out so it’s damp (but still warm) and lay it over your entire face for about 30 seconds. The warmth and moisture will help to lift the makeup and dirt that cleanser has picked up. Think of this step like a mini-steam for your face. Then gently use that same cloth to wipe everything away.

Step Four:

Time for cleanse #2. Use a small amount of your chosen cleanser and massage into your skin for about one minute using your fingertips. Really make sure you’re covering your entire face, throat and jaw line. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.

Step Five:

Apply your favorite serums, oils, moisturizers…whatever your heart desires. But do make sure you’re using something nourishing post-cleanse since this is prime time for your skin to receive active, good-for-you ingredients.

Step Six:

Stand back and admire your thoroughly cleansed, deeply moisturized, happy and healthy skin!

Step Seven:

Repeat every night before bed. Seriously.

 

+ Read more beauty tips and tricks from Allie here

Lead photo by Jana Kirn.

Free People Blog

Wellness Encyclopedia: Calendula & Facial Steam DIY

Wellness Encyclopedia: Calendula & Facial Steam DIY

Dive into the beautiful benefits of the calendula herb and learn a simple way to harness its skin-renewing powers…

Try as we might to keep them concealed, we all have our own unique bad habits. Too little sleep (that would be me), maybe a little too much sugar, not drinking enough water, never cleaning your phone… besides being not-so-great patterns to form, the flaws on this list all share one major factor. Can you guess? While we might wish to keep these habits under wraps, these particular persuasions have a tendency to make themselves known front and center by way of breakouts. Germs, sugar, lack of sleep, and dehydration can result in some pretty nasty skin issues and could be the underlying cause of redness, inflammation and acne. But, hey, we’ve all been there, and besides learning from past mistakes, luckily there are actions that can be taken to treat the issue in the here and now: witch hazel, tea tree, and my personal favorite, calendula. Boasting incredibly calming properties, the yellow calendula flower can be used internally and externally to promote healing throughout the body. Today I’m diving into the beautiful benefits of calendula and sharing a simple way to harness its skin-renewing powers.

What is it?

Also known as pot marigold, sunny yellow calendula is the same species as the marigolds that grace your garden. Native to Europe, calendula can be used internally and externally and has been revered for centuries for its anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and all-around healing properties.

What are the benefits?

These bright yellow flowers are more than just a pretty accompaniment to your bouquet — calendula can help heal, nourish and soothe troubled skin. Linoleic acid present in the plant could help reduce inflammation, helping to heal skin affected by psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis and acne. Applying a lotion containing calendula could reduce redness in the skin and around blemishes, promoting healing and reducing visibility. Calendula could help increase blood flow throughout the body, bringing much-needed oxygen to compromised skin, promoting quicker healing and even helping to increase skin’s firmness and resilience. The same healing properties that benefit the external skin could also promote better oral health and even potentially heal ulcers when taken internally as a tea or tincture. If you experience an irregular menstrual cycle, the flavonoids present in calendula could help bring regularity, promoting blood flow and easing cramps — making calendula the flower you’ll want to keep on hand at all times.

How do I use it?

Calendula flowers can be easily dried and distilled to make face and body creams, oils, baths and steams. Always be sure to choose food-grade calendula if purchasing flowers pre-dried. Food-grade calendula can be made into teas and tinctures, either by itself or combined with other food-grade herbs.

Calendula Facial Steam

Materials

½ cup dried food-grade calendula flowers

Boiling water

Large mixing bowl

Clean towel

Face mask or favorite face oil, to finish

Method

Place dried flowers in mixing bowl and carefully pour in boiling water to cover. Cover bowl with towel for 10 minutes to allow to steep. Before steaming your face, be sure to test the steam temperature to avoid potentially scalding your skin. Then, cover your head with the towel and place your face over the bowl and steam for up to 10 minutes. Follow up with a face mask or your favorite facial oil to finish.

+ Be sure to check out more Wellness Encyclopedia posts!

Follow Julie on Instagram + check out her blog.

This information is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease or issue. 
Please seek your doctor’s advice for any questions regarding a specific condition and before beginning any exercise, diet or health-related regimen.

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