How to Layer Skincare for Optimal Results: Morning Routine

How to Layer Skincare for Optimal Results: Morning Routine

It’s time to focus on sun-in-the-sky skincare…

Back in my uninformed youth, before I started to take skincare seriously (so like, three years ago?), I assumed there was no difference between what I put on my face in the morning and what I put on my face at night. Skincare was skincare…it didn’t matter what I applied when or in what order, right?

But then I learned that your skin does the bulk of its healing at night while you sleep, and so then I assumed my nighttime routine was more important than my morning one. I dutifully spent upwards of 20 minutes over the sink every night, double cleansing and facial massaging and serum pressing and eye cream dabbing. It was quite a bit of work (and quite a few products), but I noticed a difference in my skin almost immediately and so have kept at it all this time, much to chagrin of my very patient, very sleepy S.O.

I was spending so much time focused on my evening skin that I failed to recognize the importance of what I was using in the morning. And while I wouldn’t say my skin suffered for it — those 20 minutes really did work wonders — when I finally did start paying attention, things on and around my face got way better than I ever could have dreamed.

I’ve already walked you through how to layer your nighttime products for optimal results, so now it’s time to focus on sun-in-the-sky skincare. Without further ado, this is how to approach your AM routine:

Step 1: Cleanser

Truth be told, a morning cleanse is totally your call. Since all you’ve done since the last time you washed your face was apply restorative, soothing products and sleep, there’s no need to wash your face in the morning. It’s a personal preference, one you’ll have to figure out for yourself.

Personally, I like to cleanse in the morning as I feel like it starts my day off right and offers a clean slate for what I apply to my face next. But if you have dry skin and can’t risk the extra cleanse, by all means skip it.

If you do choose to cleanse, pick a product that’s gentle and non-foaming. You don’t need something with suds at this point in the day (like I said, you don’t really have anything on your skin that needs washing off), so opt for a cleansing milk or gel that will be soft on the skin. You can also use an oil cleanser here if you’re really intent on removing all traces of the previous night’s products, but be sure to remove all traces of the cleanser thoroughly or any makeup you apply later will slide right off your face.

Step 2: Exfoliate-ish

Proceed with caution here. Again, if you’re prone to irritation or dryness, skip the AM exfoliation and stick to doing it a few nights a week to keep dead skin cells at bay. If not, consider incorporating some very gentle exfoliation with a warm, damp cotton washcloth into your morning routine. Starting at your nose and working out toward your temples, forehead and chin in small circles will help slough away dead skin and massage the skin, stimulating blood flow and reducing facial swelling and post-sleep puffiness. When you’re done, splash some cold water over your face.

Step 3: Toner/Essence

No matter your skin type, this is a step you don’t want to skip. Not only does a facial mist deposit much-needed moisture into your skin, it also helps keep skin balanced throughout the day so you don’t have to deal with the dreaded 3 pm oil slick so many of us are familiar with.

If you are oily, opt for a pH-balancing toner. All other skin types would benefit from either a hydrating toner or facial mist to soothe skin and get skin nice and hydrated for what’s next. Be sure to spray liberally all over your face, neck and chest — this is one thing that you can really never use too much of.

Step 4: Serum

If you’re not using a daytime serum, it may be time to consider adding one to your routine. Since they’re packed with such powerful, skin-changing ingredients, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t want them sinking in throughout the day as well. Just be careful about what you choose to apply during the day vs. the nighttime: certain ingredients like vitamin C and retinoids can increase your skin’s photosensitivity, so wearing them during the day can leave your skin more vulnerable than usual to the sun’s rays.

Save photosensitive serums for your nighttime routine and instead look for ingredients that play nice with the elements, like rose, vitamin E and caffeine. That mist you helpfully spritzed in the last step is crucial for serum absorption: the serum will latch onto the water molecules of the mist and ride them deep into your skin.

Step 5: Moisturizer

Unless you have very dry skin, you shouldn’t need more than a light, daily moisturizer in the morning. That said, pay attention to the formula you pick as it 1) needs to last all day 2) stand up to what your face faces all day long and 3) get along well with your skin type. Prone to irritation? Choose a product with calming ingredients chamomile and rosehip. Oily? You’ll definitely want an oil-free moisturizer. Spend a lot of time outside? Double up with SPF moisturizer. Not big on makeup but want a little coverage? Tinted moisturizer for the win!

Applying moisturizer is another great excuse to massage your face in case there’s any residual puffiness lingering.

Step 6: SPF

As if I have to tell you again, but if you insist: WEAR SPF EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I’m not kidding. Serums and toners aside, this is the single most important thing you can do for the health of your skin in both the short and long term. Since your face tends to get more play in the sun on a regular day and it’s also thinner skin, you’ll definitely want an everyday SPF that’s formulated specifically for your face. It’ll be less likely to clog pores and more likely to rub in without a trace. If you don’t want to add another product to your arsenal, find a daytime moisturizer that contains SPF.

Regardless of what formula you use, though, make sure it’s the last thing you apply before makeup. SPF forms a film on top of the skin to shield it and putting anything other than makeup on top of it can disrupt that coverage, opening it up to let the sun through.

+ Now that you got your morning routine, check out how to layer your nighttime routine

Photo by Jana Kirn

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Natural vs. Organic vs. Non-Toxic: What Do They Mean?

Natural vs. Organic vs. Non-Toxic: What Do They Mean?

Do you want natural? Organic? Non-toxic? Is there a difference?…

Once upon a time, in days of yore, finding plant-based skincare and beauty products that actually did what they promised they would was about as difficult as pretending to like a kale-celery-jalapeno juice. But times have changed and not only are gorgeous plant-based products as effective as ever, they’re easy to come by.

As great as it is that these better-for-you formulas are easily accessible, there’s still quite a bit of confusion around the language used to describe them. Do you want natural? Organic? Non-toxic? Is there a difference?

You know reading the ingredient portion of a label is important, but it’s equally crucial that you read — and understand — other parts of a product label as well, namely the adjectives it touts. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by insider-seeming jargon but a little information can be extremely powerful in your quest to decipher the real stuff from the imposters. Ready to get your learning on? Keep reading.

Organic

Highly-regulated by the the USDA, “organic” is one of the only claims you can really be 100% sure about when it comes to skincare and beauty products. (Caveat: While a label can claim a product is organic, if it also doesn’t feature this symbol, that label is LYING TO YOU and the maker is likely in for a world of trouble when the USDA gets wind of their false advertising.) For makers to claim a product as organic, they need to apply for organic certification with the USDA, have an agent come check their ingredients and facilities, and only after all this are they awarded the distinction.

So what does organic mean? Simply put, all or almost all of the ingredients have been grown and processed under very strict conditions. If the product is “100% organic,” everything in that product was grown the good old (old) fashioned way: no pesticides, no fertilizers, no herbicides, no antibiotics, no growth hormones, no GMOs.

An “organic” product means that 95% of the ingredients meet the criteria. One thing to note, however, is that the percentage of ingredients that need to be produced in these conditions to qualify something as organic varies from state to state. In California, for example, only 70% of ingredients are needed for something to qualify.

Natural

At the complete opposite end of the spectrum is the “natural” claim — there are virtually zero regulations around this claim, meaning you should proceed with caution when considering a product that claims to be “natural” or “all-natural.”

Yes, some “natural” formulas are just that: they may contain plant-based natural ingredients that just aren’t organic and so can’t sport that nifty USDA seal of approval. But there are also plenty of products touted as natural that contain highly processed, potentially harmful plant-derived ingredients.

Coconut oil and its labeling is a great example of this issue. You know the product in your hands comes from coconuts, but unless that jar says “organic,” you have no way of knowing if you’re getting the real, raw stuff or if what they’re claiming as “natural” is actually rotten, dried, chemically-treated, dyed and deodorized coconut byproduct.

The best way to figure out if a “natural” claim is legit is to read the ingredient list very, very carefully. Remember that ingredient decks list ingredients in order of highest percentage to least, so if the first 10 ingredients in something “natural” are organic or plants you recognize, you’re probably safe if you’re not overly concerned about something being 100% organic. Many green products contain a boatload of  organic ingredients without the whole thing being certified as organic, so do your research.

Non-Toxic

Though “non-toxic” is another claim with almost no regulation — aka it’s mostly a marketing tool — it’s not necessarily a harmful claim. You see, “non-toxic” just means the product doesn’t contain ingredients that have been linked to toxic responses (like hormone disruption, cancer, etc.) in humans.

So while you should absolutely still be reading the ingredient list on “non-toxic” products, know that ingredients like phthalates, parabens, lead acetate, formaldehyde, petroleum and coal tar likely won’t be listed…and that’s never a bad thing.

If you want to take classifications one step further, you can also consider whether something is vegan, cruelty-free and plant-based.

For a primer on all things vegan beauty, check out this post. It covers everything from the non-vegan ingredients that might be hiding in your jars and bottles to the symbols you should know to look for.

As far as plant-based beauty goes, you’ll want to check to make sure your product is “synthetic-free,” which quite literally means it contains zero man-made ingredients; 100% of what you’re slathering on your face occurs naturally in the world. “Plant-based” means roughly the same thing — the ingredients are botanical — but it’s important to remember that just because something is plant-based or synthetic-free does not mean it’s organic, and vice-versa. If you want to your products to be uber-clean, make sure all the right boxes are checked.

+ Want to learn more about organic beauty? Read more here

Free People Blog

Finally, Nude Makeup for All Skintones

Finally, Nude Makeup for All Skintones

Complexion perfection is just a swipe away…

Not that long ago, “nude” makeup meant a handful of tan shades that only matched a few skintones. Many dark (and light) complexions were often left out of the spectrum. Thankfully, the makeup scene has evolved and become more inclusive lately. Case in point: Vapour Organic Beauty’s Atmosphere Luminous Foundation, which comes in 12 diverse shades. This stick formula blends in remarkably well, contains antioxidant-rich botanicals (sunflower oil, lotus extract) and actually lets your skin breathe underneath. The foundation is not so much about covering up your face as it enhancing your look naturally so your real skin still shines through.

Want to give it a whirl? Here, we asked New York City makeup artist Julia Jovone for a primer on how to find your perfect shade — from the full spectrum of options.

Why are you such a fan of the Atmosphere foundation?

It’s super easy to use and when you put it on your skin, it gives a satin finish, enhancing your natural radiance. I’m so in love with it.

What’s the trick for finding your right shade?

I would suggest taking a selfie of yourself without any makeup on and then holding that selfie next to the color swatches online. Choose the two closest colors that match you skin. I always say two because I love to blend colors to get an exact match.

What exactly is an “undertone” and why is knowing this important to makeup selection?

I tend to get that question a lot. I always tell my clients that you can have the same skin as someone else and yet you will always have a different undertone. They are many different undertones; they range from cool (red, pink and bluish) warm (peachy, yellow, golden) and neutral (a mixture of warm and cool undertones). The best way to tell your undertone is to remove makeup and pull your hair back. Look in the mirror under natural light. If your skin has more warm and golden undertones then select a shade that has more yellow or gold in it. If your skin has pink or cool undertones, then select a shade that has more pink in it.

Another trick is to take a really good look at your veins on your wrist. This will also help reveal how warm, cool, or neutral your skin really is and which foundation will work best.

How do you apply a stick foundation like Atmosphere? Where on the face do you swipe? 

I apply it to the t-zone area of the face and on the neck and begin to blend all over.

You know you’ve wearing the right shade when ________ (fill in the blank).

When your foundation matches your neck and the glow is beyond perfection!

+ Shop all of Vapour Organic Beauty products here!

Photo by Jana Kirn

Free People Blog

Wellness Wednesday: Does Drinking Collagen Really Improve Your Skin?

Wellness Wednesday: Does Drinking Collagen Really Improve Your Skin?

Consider this your magic serum for inside-outside beauty…

Now that supplements are sold alongside lipsticks, tending to your inner beauty has become just as important — if not, more — than the products you slick on topically. Australian beauty Carla Oates has always been far ahead of the ingestible craze, having launched her first The Beauty Chef probiotic powder in 2012. Now that everyone else has realized the benefits of getting an extra shot of nutrients and vitamins to round out your beauty routine, Oates’s line still remains one of the most innovative, as she continues to turn out formulations that really work.

For example: The Beauty Chef Collagen Inner Beauty Boost, a deliciously fruit-infused supplement that I recently tried after I noticing my skin was just looking a bit worn out — less plump, radiant and bounce-y than I’d like (I blame my increasing age and lack of sleep!). Anyway, two-plus-weeks into taking this supplement daily and I know it’s doing something since I’m no longer startled by my appearance in the mirror in the a.m. Now I’m like, ‘Oh hey, brighter and dewier skin!’ But I like to think it’s not just my imagination. The elixir is made with a bio-fermented probiotic concentrate (certified organic fruits, multiple strains of good-for-you bacteria, zinc, grape seed extract) to stimulate collagen growth, counteract cellular damage from free radicals and balance your digestive tract. All of which translates into healthier skin — along with stronger hair and nails as a bonus.

I also find that mixing up the concoction — one tablespoon in six ounces of water — has become a ritual that I look forward to every day. It’s a moment to breathe and literally drink in some healthy time for myself. Now all I need to do is get to bed earlier and all my #beautygoals will be mastered.

If you’re curious to try The Beauty Chef Collagen Inner Beauty Boost, here’s a quick recap of how it works…  

Naturally plumps skin

Increases collagen production

Counteracts free radical damage

Rich in probiotics, vitamin C & zinc

Supports digestive health

Promotes radiant skin

Boosts hair and nail growth

Just mix 1 tbsp with water and drink up!

 

+ Discover more of The Beauty Chef’s products here

Looking for inspiration on all things movement and wellness? Follow us @FPMovement on Instagram! 

Free People Blog

Fall Cleaning

Fall Cleaning

What better time to tackle that bathroom cabinet…

Spring cleaning gets all the glory, but if you ask me, fall is the best season for a purge. You finally got to open your windows during spring and set foot outside without a parka and layers of wool to keep warm. Then you basked in the long, lazy days of summer. I’d bet cleaning your home and tossing things you don’t want or need was the literal last thing on your mind from April to August.

But there’s something about the first notes of fall that make me want to shut those windows halfway, dust off the cute mid-weight jackets that haven’t seen the light of day for half a year and get to cleaning. The trees are shedding their leaves so why can’t you shed some of the stuff that’s been piling up for months?

After you’re done moving bathing suits and cutoffs to the back of your closet and chunky knits and booties to the front, it’s time to tackle that bathroom cabinet. I guarantee there’s something lurking in there you definitely don’t use regularly/you definitely don’t remember owning. Rather than let it languish in the depths of your bathroom for another year, get rid of it. Seriously, nothing feels better than taking a few hours to clean and organize. After all, the more you toss, the more space you have for fun, new stuff.

First thing’s first — clean your dang brushes!

Take a look at your makeup brushes. Are they caked with layers of makeup from months of use or are they clean and shiny? If you remember to clean your brushes and tools regularly, kudos. If not, you’re like the majority of us who only remember when someone tells you to. So this is me telling you to clean those little bacteria farms.

All you need is a gentle foaming cleanser, water and your hand: Mix a few drops of the cleanser in your palm with a bit of water, then swish one brush at a time around in the mixture until it starts to foam. You’ll see the foam start to take on the color of makeup hiding in the bristles — that means it’s working. Repeat this process as many times as is necessary for that foam to stay clear or white, which means you’ve removed all the makeup. Then gently rinse the brush in warm water, swirl around a little on a clean towel to remove excess moisture, and then lay flat to dry.

And if you just can’t be bothered, invest in a new set. The bristles are breeding grounds for bacteria that can’t wait to take up residence in your pores. While you’re out it, get a new konjac sponge and loofah, and please, for the love of all that is holy, change your pillowcase.

Check expiration dates.

Now that you’re well-versed in the language of when things go bad (cough cough READ THIS cough), you know how to interpret packaging, symbols and language as far as expiration and use-by dates are concerned. If anything is past its prime, toss it.

The same thing goes for stuff you only use during the summer that won’t make it to see another solstice. If there’s a heavy-duty sunscreen you only wear at the beach and you know you won’t be headed back to the sand and waves until winter break at the earliest, get rid of it. Even though it may still be good for another month or two, you won’t actually use it before it goes bad and it’ll sit in your bathroom, forgotten. Then, months down the road when you do need a heavy duty sunscreen again, you’ll likely just grab last summer’s because it’s there — even though its active ingredients aren’t effective anymore. Save yourself the trouble of zinc oxide that won’t rub in and a killer sunburn by just throwing it out. Then you’ll know you need to replace it when the time comes and you’ll be able to pick up a fresh batch that will last you well into next summer.

When in doubt, get rid of anything you’ve had for more than a year.

Unless it’s shampoo, conditioner, or a dry product (like a clay mask you add water to), you’re better off safe than sorry. That goes for the glittery eyeshadow you bought for a theme party last fall, the deodorant you’ve had since college, the mascara you don’t remember buying that you just found under your couch and the sample of face oil you got with a purchase you made years ago. Not only will this help you free up space and declutter, but it’ll help put into perspective what you actually use regularly.

Admit you have a thing for season-specific makeup.

Far be it from me to dictate what type of makeup you wear when, but if something really screams summer (like that coverup that only matches your skin after a tropical vacation or the bronzer that makes you look crazy when you’re dead-of-winter-pale), I’d advise getting rid of it. As you know, natural and organic products have a limited shelf life and like I mentioned above, that seasonal makeup will likely go bad before you get the chance to wear it again.

Rather than be stubborn and insist on wearing a shade of makeup that doesn’t work on your skin post-summer, invest in a few products that will last you through the whole year. Find a coverup that makes sense for your skin when it’s at its least sun-kissed, then mix it with a complimentary bronzer as the seasons change. Or learn to mix a powdered bronzer with face oil for a subtle glow when you need it. More ideas here!

Embrace seasonal scents.

No, I’m not talking about that sickly-sweet pumpkin pie candle your great aunt insists on burning as soon as Labor Day rolls around. What I am talking about is the stuff that lends itself to cooler temperatures and cozier vibes. If you’ve been rocking a light floral or bright citrus scent all summer, think about switching it up with notes of musk, chai and other earthy smells. Fall is the time for cozying up and allowing smells to linger a bit longer, so you need something with more oomph.

Whether it’s a musky body oil you slather on post-shower, a rich aromatherapy oil you dab on your pulse points for a pick-me-up as the days get shorter or a smoky cinnamon-based perfume for nights out embrace the smells of the season — don’t fight the gorgeous, spicy, crispness in the air.

+ Let’s get Fall ready… Check out more articles from Allie here

Free People Blog

Wellness Encyclopedia: Cherries + Cherry Recovery Smoothie

Wellness Encyclopedia: Cherries + Cherry Recovery Smoothie

Cherries are more than their garnet-colored flesh and delicious flavor would lead you to believe…

Late summer might just be my favorite “season” at the farmers’ markets here on the East Coast. Tables and stalls of local producers are overflowing with ripe peaches and nectarines, fresh flowers cascade from their baskets like tidal waves, every shade of green imaginable is represented by the cornucopia of vegetables available, and on more than one seller’s table the prize of August sits — fresh cherries. It’s not just the outdoor markets cherries commandeer come August, grocery stores and even corner markets all seem to procure them, the fruits practically begging to fill a bowl and be lazily eaten under the canopy of some shady tree somewhere, the difficult-to-navigate pits forcing those eating them to slow down and just enjoy it… And probably have a pit spitting contest too (just be sure to aim for the compost). As you might imagine with any lucky fruit or veggie lucky enough to be chosen for a Wellness Encyclopedia post, cherries are more than their garnet-colored flesh and delicious flavor — turns out they’re super good for you, too! Today — and for the remainder of August for that matter — I’m celebrating cherry season. Read on to learn how these pretty stone fruits can benefit you, then be sure to whip up the recipe below the next time you need a little recovery time post-gym session.

What are they? The cutest stone fruit (or drupe) in the Prunus genus, cherries are believed to be native to Turkey before they were eventually exported to Europe and later, North America. Late summer is typically cherry season in North America, making August the perfect time to pick some up at your local market. The most common cherry available is the Bing cherry, but a wide variety exist, including sunset-colored Rainier, Coral, and Tulare, with most cherries coming from either Prunus avium (sweet and/or wild varieties) or Prunus cerasus (sour varieties).

What are the benefits? Your first tip-off that cherries might be kinda-sorta really good for you should be their dark outer skin. Generally, most fruits and veggies that feature dark or deeply hued outer skins contain high levels of antioxidants, collagen-boosting anthocyanins, polyphenols like quercetin, and carotenoids — cherries included! Cherries are also rich in vitamin C, which not only boosts immunity but aids in cellular turnover, keeping skin looking healthy, youthful and smooth. If you have trouble sleeping, try drinking a small glass of tart cherry juice before bed, as it’s been found to contain phytochemicals that aid in sleep, including melatonin, the hormone that regulates the sleep cycle. Athletes and casual exercisers can both benefit from the anti-inflammatory powers that cherries are believed to possess — cherries and tart cherry juice can help reduce muscle damage and increase healing time after intense exercise, and as a bonus, you might get the best sleep of your life after a good workout and some cherries! Try the restorative smoothie below after your next workout.

How do I use them? Like most stone fruits, cherries are incredibly versatile and work well in both sweet and savory recipes for any time of day. Try them in savory grain bowls nested next to avocado, walnuts and arugula, or tossed into a bright salad with almonds and crunchy romaine. Cherries are easily reduced to a sauce or glaze, and depending on direction can be used to top something sweet (like ice cream) or savory (like a protein). Use them as you would any fruit for dessert recipes, or take the healthy route and add them to juices, oatmeal, chia puddings, and of course – smoothies! …psst, like the one below.

Cherry Recovery Smoothie

Ingredients

1 handful fresh dark cherries, pits and stems removed

1 scoop protein powder of choice (either plain or vanilla)

1 cup frozen steamed veggies (I recommend either cauliflower or zucchini — or both!)

8 oz coconut water

1 tsp coconut butter

¼ tsp almond extract (optional)

1 cup ice

 

Method

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend on high until smooth. Pour into a cup and enjoy! Top with unsweetened dried coconut flakes if desired.

 

+ 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

Wellness Encyclopedia: Pineapple + The Easiest Pineapple Recipe Ever

Wellness Encyclopedia: Pineapple + The Easiest Pineapple Recipe Ever

In the heat of August, is there anything quite as gorgeous as a bite of fresh pineapple?

With its sunny yellow hue and juicy sweet taste, to me, fresh pineapple is the only answer to the question of what to eat on a blistering hot afternoon. It’s the perfect snack to have on hand all summer long — from the beach, to picnics, to the ideal dessert when it’s 8pm and somehow still sweltering. As we enter into high summer, my pineapple consumption has increased exponentially with the heat, so I thought it was time to finally give this incredible fruit its day in the sun. Along with being super delicious and super affordable, pineapple boasts incredible benefits for the whole body — it’s more than its tropical flavor! Read on to learn why the humble pineapple (a whole, unpeeled, as-is pineapple!) deserves a place in your market basket the next time you’re browsing the produce section.

What is it? Native to Brazil and Paraguay (and possibly the Caribbean), pineapples are part of the Bromeliaceae family, the same family as most air plants (which makes total sense as soon as you look at the top of a pineapple and a tillandsia side by side). Pineapples begin their interesting lives as large flowers, consisting of over 200 blooms for most fruits. As the flowers mature, the fruits of each flower join together, with the ovaries of each flower transforming into berries which bind together to make a single pineapple (told you it was interesting). Pineapples are classified as multiple fruits (or collective fruits) consisting of coalesced berries, which means each flower produces a fruit/berry, but these mature into one large fruit (figs and breadfruit are another example of this). Phew! It’s a lot to take in, but next time you’re eating a pineapple, you can think about how you’re really eating a bunch of berries joined together.

 

 

What are the benefits? While some people turn to orange juice to fight off a cold, my family swore by pineapple juice (which might explain why it took me years to warm back up to it). But! My mother wasn’t wrong — one cup of pineapple contains 105% DV of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant and immune booster. Along with potentially boosting overall immunity, the vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin B1 in pineapple can help scrub the body of free radicals, aiding in cellular turnover and resulting in healthier cells from the inside out, healing sun damage and possibly reducing the appearance of wrinkles. Pineapple’s high level of bromelain, a protein-digesting enzyme, soothes and relaxes tense muscles and connective tissues, aiding in everything from pain relief, arthritis relief, wound healing, and tendonitis. Bromelain has also been shown to be a powerful digestive enzyme, aiding in the absorption of nutrients and in the healing of digestive disorders.

 

 

How do I use it? Before listing all the delicious ways you can use pineapple, first allow me to make the case for purchasing a whole pineapple instead of pre-cut chunks or — shiver — canned:

Price. In peak season a whole pineapple can usually be bought for somewhere between $1.99 and $2.99, a far more economical choice than purchasing pre-cut chunks, which you’ll end up paying a premium for, sometimes upwards of $5.99 per pound. You’ll save some cash if you’re willing to spend five minutes of your time cutting it up yourself. Plus, you’ll earn some IRL fruit ninja bragging rights.

Taste. Canned pineapple can’t hold a candle to the fresh stuff. If you don’t believe me, do a taste test. Unless you’re making a pineapple upside-down cake or some type of drink, canned pineapple is actually pretty awful. Choose fresh whenever possible. Fresh pineapple is like summer’s prize for making it through the winter. You win!

Now that I have you convinced, how do you use fresh pineapple? Besides cutting up a big bowl of it and devouring it right then and there, fresh pineapple is surprisingly versatile, lending its sweet and tropical flavor to everything from sweet to savory. The next time you make salsa, try tossing in some diced pineapple for a new twist, or add pineapple chunks to kebabs before throwing them on the grill. For a summer-ready dessert that won’t leave you feeling stuffed, dip pineapple chunks in melted dark chocolate and sprinkle with dried coconut before popping in the fridge to set. Add pineapple to smoothies, chia pudding, or overnight oats, or top with plain yogurt for a tropical breakfast. Or, try the recipe below — it’s one of my favorite summer treats and takes all of five minutes to throw together.

 

 

Spiced Fresh Pineapple

Ingredients:

½ to 1 whole pineapple, peeled and cubed (this video will show you how to choose and cut a whole pineapple)

Chili powder

Lime wedges

Dried unsweetened coconut

Method:

Place pineapple cubes in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with chili powder and toss to combine (start off slow, then add more to taste). Divide pineapple between serving bowls and top with dried coconut. Serve with line wedges to squeeze on top. Enjoy!

+ 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

5 Reasons Why You Should Add Coffee to Your Beauty Routine

5 Reasons Why You Should Add Coffee to Your Beauty Routine

Reap all of coffee’s energizing benefits (without getting wired)…

Coffee inspires a lot of devotion. You can really obsess your way through roasting, French pressing, and “poring”over your daily cup. On the beauty front, the antioxidant-packed seeds happen to work wonders for brightening and toning your skin. Inspired by these benefits, Australian-based C Lab & Co launched an entire collection of small-batch scrubs crafted with Arabica seed powder and 100 percent natural ingredients. With summer in full swing, there’s no better time to invest in a good buffing to revitalize your body. Here, 5 reasons why coffee should become a regular — obsession-worthy — part of your everyday routine.

 

It softens your skin extremely well.

When finely ground down into a powder, coffee seeds are Mother Nature’s best exfoliator for lightly but effectively banishing dead skin and dry flakes that make your limbs look dull and ashy. C Lab & Co’s scrub doesn’t rely on any harsh chemicals or potentially irritating ingredients (sugar, sands) to perform this feat, which helps preserve your skin’s super-important barrier. Once you remove rough patches, you’re left with a smoother, more even-toned surface — and that’s everything in summer.

It gets your blood flowing.

Just like drinking coffee can wake you up, rubbing on a caffeinated coffee scrub can stimulate your circulation, helping to flush out toxins and minimize bumps and stretch marks. It’s all in the application method — massage it into your legs, arms and anywhere else you’d like using small, circular motions (think of waxing a car). The warm water of your shower or bath also lets the particles absorb better into your skin for a noticeable result.

The smell of it can sharpen your mind.

Inhaling coffee’s aroma — without even drinking it — can perk you up, according to a 2008 study that found that this ritual switches on genes in your brain that might lessen the impact of sleep deprivation. So open a jar of your scrub in the a.m. and breathe it in.

You can combine it with other super foods.

Normally you have to slather on oils and hydrating creams after exfoliating to fend off dryness but C Lab & Co’s scrubs has moisturizers — in the form of sweet almond oil and vitamin E — already built into their formulas (so convenient!). And in the case of the Coffee+ Coconut scrub, it’s infused with extra botanical nourishing.

You can take it to go.

Traveling in the near or distant future? Now you can get your coffee scrub in a portable pack to use anytime, anywhere. Bonus tip: if the particles make your tub slippery, you can prevent any wipe-outs by dampening your skin first and then turning off the water as you slather away. Steady, you go!

+ Shop the entire C Lab & Co collection here!! 

Free People Blog

Expiration Dates: When to Toss Your Green Products

Expiration Dates: When to Toss Your Green Products

If you’ve got questions about when it’s time to replace your products, we’ve got you covered…

You did it! You decided to make the switch from conventional skin and beauty products to the natural stuff. But before you finish your favorite new mask, it starts to look and smell a little funky. What’s the deal? Can you still use it? Is it harmful? Why did this only last for six months when you’ve had a mask from high school that still looks and smells pretty normal? If you’ve got questions about when it’s time to replace your products, we’ve got you covered. It’s a bit more complicated with naturals than conventional stuff, but once you know the basics, you’ll be tossing empty containers instead of half-full ones you didn’t finish in time.

Here’s what you need to know about expiration dates, preservatives and what you need to know about expiration dates and tossing products.

Ingredients

The upside of organic beauty products? They’re made with natural, clean ingredients like plants, herbs and other botanicals that work wonders on your skin without having long-term adverse health effects. The downside of organic beauty products? Those natural, clean ingredients don’t include chemical preservatives like parabens, meaning their shelf life is shorter. They may contain natural preservatives like honey or lemon, but these still go bad faster than the conventional stuff.

The minute you open a product and expose all those awesome ingredients to the air and your fingers, they start to oxidize and be exposed to bacteria, both of which slowly compromise the ingredients over time. Not only does this exposure eventually turn the product… think about a whole apple with its skin intact vs. an apple with a few bites taken out of it, exposing its flesh to the air — it also makes the ingredients less effective as time passes.

What does this mean? Sometimes, the use-by dates are less about a product going rancid and more about a product no longer being potent. So the best way to get the most out of your products is threefold. First, look for containers that house products in dark glass and that utilize pumps. This makes what’s inside less susceptible to sunlight, oxygen and bacteria.

Second, opt for dry products you need to add water to on a one-off basis when you’re ready to use. Any sort of moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria, and since these products won’t contain chemical preservatives, there’s nothing to stop one stray drop of tap water from wreaking havoc in the jar. Another secret benefit of dry products? You can mix ‘em with whatever you want for your desired effect. Want a slight exfoliation with that clay powder? Toss in some honey. Need to tone? Mix with apple cider vinegar. Thirsty skin? Spritz the powder with an aloe-packed mist.

Third, if you can’t get what you need from a pump or dry product, always use a clean tool to scoop the product out of the container. Most products that are housed in pots also come with a small plastic spatula or wooden spoon — use these! Though they’re not foolproof, they’re a heck of a lot cleaner than your fingers.

 

Storage

Keep your stuff in a cool, dry place. As we’ve already discussed, errant water can do some pretty gross stuff to your products, so do everything you can to keep extra moisture away from your products. Same goes for heat. In short, your bathroom (hot, steamy showers, lack of ventilation, etc.) is not the best place to store beauty and skincare. I know this is kind of a pain since you know, you kind of need a bathroom to prep your skin to receive these products. But storing them in a cooler space will extend their shelf life. It may add a an extra minute to your routine, but a few storage bins in a dark corner of your bedroom — or even your refrigerator —  can work wonders.

When to Toss

Before we get into specifics…if there’s anything in your makeup bag or skincare arsenal that you can’t remember buying, toss it. If you’ve had something for that long, chances are it’s past its prime and it’s safer to just get rid of it than risk slathering it all over your skin. Better safe than sorry! Ok, onto the science-y stuff. Thanks to America’s lack of regulation when it comes to the beauty industry, there’s no guarantee your products will come with an expiration date. Some brands and makers do like to let their consumers know when something is on the verge of going bad, offering a date (usually a month and a year) on the label or packaging. These dates get tricky though, as they can either refer to when you should start using the product (more on that later) or when it’s time to toss the product.

If it’s the former, you’ll also want to look for a Period After Opening (PAO) date. This is a small picture of a jar with a number inside that indicates how many months you have to use the product after opening. In this scenario, if you have a product on your shelf that lists a date like “12/2017,” that means December is the latest you should open it up. Then if the POA symbol says “6M,” you’ve got six months from the time you open it to use it.

If there’s no expiration date offered, the label will still have a POA that you should pay attention to. Hopefully you’re buying products you want to use ASAP, so the countdown starts roughly around the time of purchase. (You can always jot down the date you’ve opened the product on the jar in permanent marker so you know exactly when to account for that POA.)

POAs and dates aside, the most important tool you have when it comes to knowing if something has seen better days are your senses. If you’ve been using a product every day for months, you probably know what it’s supposed to look and smell like. If the day comes when you open a product and the smell is off or doesn’t seem familiar anymore, it’s probably bad. Same goes for sight. If you see that something has separated or changed color, get thee to a trash can!

And if all else fails, do not hesitate to call the company that makes the product to ask how long something is good for. Many of your products may even have batch numbers on the packaging, which will help the maker track when it was manufactured, when it should be used by, etc.

It may not seem like using expired or sour products is as bad as, say, eating expired food. But remember that everything you put on your skin finds its way into your bloodstream and body. If the ingredients are spoiled or contaminated, you run the risk of exposing yourself to skin and health problems like infections, breakouts, dryness, rashes…all the stuff you use skincare products to combat.

Still don’t trust yourself to know when it’s time to get rid of something? Here’s a rough guide to help you out:

  • Shampoo + conditioner: As long as you keep water out of the bottles, these will typically last for about two years.
  • Soap + body wash: Bar soap is unlikely to go bad since you’ll finish it before that point. Body wash is usually good for a year.
  • Sunscreen: There’s no guessing with sunscreen. This is one of the only product families that legally require an expiration date.
  • Deodorant: It’s less that deodorant will go bad and more that it will become less effective over time, so you’ve got six months to a year before it stops working.
  • Body lotion: Six months. Not worth the risk as this covers almost your entire body.
  • Moisturizer: If it’s housed in a pot that you need to dip into, moisturizer will last about six months. Anything with a pump that isn’t exposed to the air gets an extra six months, meaning it’s good for a year.
  • Oil: Unopened oils can stay fresh for up to 24 months. Once opened, most will be good for 12-18 months, especially if the glass is dark and the package utilizes a pump or dropper.
  • Lip balm: These should last about a year. Just make sure your hands are clean before dipping into a pot of lip balm.
  • Makeup: You’ve got three to six months from the date of first use. For anything you use around the eyes (mascara, eye liner, shadow), be extra cautious and toss after three months.

+ Ready to make the switch to natural beauty? Check out our full of safe-natural products here

Photo by Jana Kirn

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