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

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.

Free People Blog

Soho Pop-In: Nutritional Counseling with Raj Barker

Soho Pop-In: Nutritional Counseling with Raj Barker

If you’re in NY on 6/21, consider stopping by our Soho pop-up and take in a seasonal health class with Raj!

As a holistic nutritionist, my aim is in identifying and treating the root cause of a problem as opposed to its symptoms, taking into consideration a combination of diet, lifestyle, work-life balance and relationships, to understand its true nature.

Below I’ve broken down three of the most common complaints I receive from clients and, in turn, provided simple tools you can weave into your everyday routine to put yourself back on track to feeling your best.

Adrenal fatigue

Symptoms: Waking up tired even after a long night’s sleep, relying on coffee to wake up, feeling alert right when it’s time to go to sleep, irritability, weight gain, decreased libido, depression.

What to do: Limit coffee to 1/day and drink it by 10am. Cut back on processed foods, especially sugar. Implement a nightly routine (shower-tea-meditation-essential oils-read-lights out) turn off screens 1 hr before bed, aim for the same bedtime every night. Focus on resting, relieving stress via yoga, walking, dancing, whatever you find works – part of the treatment is discovery.

What to eat: Easily digestable, nutrient-dense foods in their most natural form. Think foods with good fats and high fibre like coconut meat, olives, avocado, raw nuts and seeds, as well as seaweeds like kelp and wakame, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts.

Supplements: Magnesium before bed to help relax (follow instructions on packet), ashwagandha to increase stamina and relieve stress (start with 1 tsp in the morning, add to tea, smoothies, etc).

Acne

Symptoms: Red or white lesions on the face, neck, chest, back and tops of arms.

What to do: Simplify skin care routine, use products with minimal ingredients, drink plenty of filtered water, sip hibiscus and dandelion tea. Get plenty of sleep and manage stress.

What to eat: Reach for whole, fresh foods in their most natural state. Reduce processed sugar, alcohol, packaged or high trans fats foods. Feed the gut with good bacteria — think sauerkrauts, kombucha, kefirs, small servings of whole greek yogurt, and eat plenty of clean protein such as fish, eggs, spirulina, legumes, beans, raw nuts and seeds.

Supplements: Probiotics to replenish gut microbes, milk thistle to assist in liver detoxification (be wary if pregnant or breast feeding). B6 to help sebum excretion, zinc to support skin cell repair.

Bloating

Symptoms: Swollen belly, frequent gas, discomfort in the abdominal area.

What to do: Focus on chewing your food at every bite, observe reactions to trigger foods like gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol — consider you may have food sensitivities or allergies. Ensure legumes and beans are adequately soaked before cooking (at least 24 hrs).

What to eat: Eat easily digested foods in their most whole form. As mentioned above: Chew! Chew! Chew! Rather than drinking your food, focus on meals instead of juices and smoothies for a few weeks. Eat fruit before a big meal as opposed to after, as it will digest most quickly.

Supplements: Digestive enzymes (follow instructions on packet). Drink 1 cup of warm water BEFORE meals with 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar.

+Learn more about our Soho Pop-Up here

Photo by Emily Sellers

Free People Blog

What’s the Deal with Vegan Beauty?

What’s the Deal with Vegan Beauty?

Contributor Allie White helps you know what to look for if you’re in the market for vegan products…

As far as most people are concerned, “vegan” denotes a type of diet that doesn’t allow for any animal products. No meat, no cheese, no eggs, no anything that derives from an animal. And as far as “dietary veganism” goes, it is about food. But “vegan” can actually mean much more than what you eat; for many people, it’s a lifestyle. It dictates not only what they put in their body, but also what they put on their body. From clothes to skincare to makeup, it touches every part of a vegan’s life.

If you’ve ever tried to order a vegan meal at a non-vegan restaurant, you know the struggle is real. So imagine trying to lead a completely vegan lifestyle in a not-completely-vegan world. It’s a lot of work with a lot of potential to get stuck and tripped up. And just like the warranted annoyance at restaurants that offer salad or a plate of steamed veggies as vegan options, it’s easy to see why anyone who adheres to a vegan lifestyle would be annoyed at the skincare and beauty industry — they certainly don’t make it easy to find products that not only adhere to vegan standards, but that also work at the same level of conventional products.

Luckily, big and small brands alike are taking notice of the need — and benefits — of vegan beauty and skincare, and things that fit the vegan lifestyle are more easy to find than ever theses days. That said, it’s still utterly important to know what to look for if you’re in the market for vegan products.

When reading ingredient labels, certain things will jump out at you as obviously non-vegan. But then there are those tricky ingredients that are either hiding under a name you might not recognize or ones you’re not totally sure about. Some common beauty ingredients that are definitely non-vegan include:

  • Lanolin
  • Collagen
  • Albumen
  • Shark squalene
  • Carmine
  • Cholesterol
  • Gelatin
  • Beeswax
  • Honey

Some products will proudly and boldly state their vegan status on the label, while others may be a bit more subtle. Other than the ingredient deck, you’ll also want to pay attention to certain icons and language like the following:

  • Certified Vegan: This is the Holy Grail for vegan products. You don’t have to second guess a product with this labelling as it means the product is 100% free of any animal-derived ingredients and was not tested on animals.
  • 100% Vegetarian: As the name implies, a product with this label doesn’t contain animal ingredients but it may contain animal by-products.
  • Leaping Bunny: The internationally-recognized symbol meaning no animals were harmed—in all stages of development and production, including labs and suppliers. It’s important to note that the company has voluntarily pledged their products are 100% free of animal testing, but there’s no agency checking up on the pledge.
  • Cruelty Free: Similarly to the leaping bunny, this logo means a company has provided a signed assurance or statement verifying there’s no animal testing on their ingredients, and is organized by PETA.
  • Not Tested on Animals: Products and ingredients have never been tested on animals and must not contain ingredients derived from killing an animal or provided as a by-product from killed animals. Verified by Choose Cruelty Free (CCF), companies pay to use and license the logo and the CCF requires companies to undergo regular re-accreditation.
  • USDA Organic: Made with at least 95% certified organic ingredients and free of additives. Doesn’t denote a vegan product, but most vegan, cruelty-free products are also organic so this is good to know.
  • Ecocert Organic: At least 95% of the plant-based ingredients are organic. Plant-based ingredients and at least 5% by weight are organic.
  • Premium Body Care: Whole Foods Market has extremely strict body care standards, and this symbol indicates a product contains no parabens, SLS, and over 400 other ingredients the market has banned from the products it carries. Again, does not denote something is vegan, but also good to know.
  • Refer to Insert: This means the container doesn’t include all the product information, so if you’re looking for something 100% vegan, you should take the time to thoroughly inspect and read the leaflet in the box to make doubly sure it’ll work for you.

+ Be sure to check out our vegan beauty products here!!

Free People Blog

FP How We: Meditate

FP How We: Meditate

Our monthly home office wellness series turns within, featuring best practices meditation from two of our very own…

Unlike the hosts of our previous FP How We sessions, you are both full-time FP employees. Can you talk a little bit about how your paths brought you here? 

J: I was always into the mysterious… ancient secrets in yoga, chanting, numbers, letters, astrology, etc. My love for design was once separate but, as I dove deeper into my spirituality, I realized everything is connected. The good and the bad. How we do one thing is how we do everything, weaving it all into a work of art… we are all creative beings.

K: I’ve always been interested in and curious about the non-physical world, ever since I was a little girl. As I grew into my teens I was always attracted to the mystical, delving into astrology, tarot, always yearning to know more about the deep mysteries. It wasn’t until I was out of college, and working full time at Free People, that I started falling in love with yoga. At first, it was just a couple days a week in a local gym, but the instructor was fantastic and took me deep inside myself, especially during Savasana. After I had my daughters I became much more committed to yoga and joined a local studio. One day I dropped into an Ashtanga class and fell deeply in love. As I progressed through the years with Ashtanga, I realized I was getting so much out of the sitting pranayama (breath work) and stillness at the end of the sequence. It seemed I had to push my body to all its edges and limits to achieve this bliss of spacious awareness, I felt light streaming through my body — I felt better than I had ever felt in my life. A few years later, I moved away from my Ashtanga teacher and had a hard time keeping my practice going. I also began suffering from some pretty serious illnesses and had knew I had to limit my energy output so I could help my body heal itself. I started doing guided meditations to help ease my stress and anxiety and realized I could access this spacious awareness state through my consciousness. I knew I needed to dive deeper into meditation and signed up for a teacher training program.

Was wellness always a part of who you are? Tell us about that journey.

J: As a kid I endlessly played in nature. I knew there was a life-changing wisdom there. The trees alone are full of metaphors on how to exist, deeply rooted in the ground while stretching up into the heavens. As I got older and more conditioned to social norms, I struggled. Stress began to break down my body and I started to develop health issues. On a crusade to heal naturally I realized it wasn’t about the food itself. It was about my emotions, self-esteem and connection to my true self. You can eat all the super foods in the world but, if you are full of guilt and shame, who cares what size you are or who likes you. Until you see that your value is an accessory to something greater. In this knowing I have been able to liberate myself from many issues and am truly enjoying life. Spiritual or not, to me these are the basics of life.

K: Absolutely. When I was younger it manifested mostly in preferring a healthy diet & regular exercise. I loved to go to aerobics classes with my mom in high school, hiking the national parks with my family, and was even the captain of the cross country team in high school. In college, I craved good vegetables, when the cafeteria was filled with junk food. It wasn’t until my late 20’s when I realized that importance of mental & spiritual heath as a significant component to overall wellness for me. I realized that ALL the choices I was making, not just my food & exercise, were contributing to living a fulfilling life. I realized I needed to look deeper into my stress, anxiety, and emotions as well as develop a deeper connection to the Mystical world that I’d been curious about since childhood. As I’ve had some illnesses over the past few years, I’ve also realized how lacking our medical system is right now in terms of preventative or vitality enhancing focuses, so have turned to so many other healing modalities to help my body be well again including Herbalists, Ayurveda, Energy Medicine, Acupuncture, Diet/Food as Medicine, Self-Love, Breath-work, Mantra, Yoga and Meditation.

And how did you two find each other?

J: I’ve been at Free People for 9 years. Kristal not only interviewed me, but hired and trained me! We have been working together ever since. We always compared notes on our latest obsessions — in the beginning it was yoga to nutrition, then deeper esoteric studies as we progressed. It’s been a Joy to grow alongside each other and inspire as we go along… blessed be!

K: Yes, so much JOY! We have said so many times how grateful we are that we were brought together to support each other on this journey. I totally think it was fate. We were meant to work together on many levels in this life.

What does meditation mean to each of you? What does your personal meditation look like?

J: Meditation, to me, is a practice of knowing yourself. No wonder it is so hard in the beginning, all your demons rush forward to be released the moment you sit down. Personally I was overwhelmed by this. I explored many different styles of meditating, loving something from each. I now have custom built a practice for me, something I recommend to everyone. This includes a prayer, mudras and breathing always. Other times I may add dance, chanting or yantras. I strongly feel as we grow what we need reveals itself… so cool!

K: Meditation is essential to me. It helps me stay connected and in-tune with my higher self, my true self. It helps me stay present and available for the people in my life. It also inspires ideas, helps me process my day, and release anything I no longer need to hold onto. It helps me ‘see’ where I am stuck, where I am clinging, and where I need to let go.  I usually wake up around 5am, have a cup of tea and head out to my little yoga/meditation/sacred space. I typically read some inspiring pages or verses of poetry while I finish my tea, I then meditate until about 6am, when during the school year it’s time to wake up my girls. I typically just follow my personal silent meditation, and when I’m feeling I’d like a guided practice, I choose something from the myriad of options on the Insight Timer App. I’ve also began incorporating a few mudracs that I learned from Jess that shift my energy quickly. I also do occasional longer sits on the weekends, as well as go to group meditations, womens circles or retreats when I can. I also like to get into a meditative state during physical activities, like hiking, walking, yoga, and dancing. Like Jess said, there are so many ways to get there!

I bet most of us do not know about mudras – can you give a quick explanation of what these are?

J: Mudras are essentially hand yoga. Each finger is linked to an energetic meridian in your body (what they use in acupuncture) as well as a neurological pathway in your brain. You can literally change your state in 3 mins. As I mentioned above, when I began to meditate I found it overwhelming unless I had just performed yoga. Why? Because I had so much energy that needed to move. Learning mudras allowed me to clear and channel this energy with intention and purpose.

Favorite crystal (no pun intended, K):

J: Its hard to have a fav. I’d say selenite is my go-to. I’d love one of every color.

K: I always go to quartz because it’s an amplifier and clears, helps me to move energies quickly. I love so many, though.

Morning or night?

J: I practice every morning, but I’m a nighttime person. I get super psychic at night.

K: Morning for me. I feel sparkly in the morning. I love sunrise. I am so sleepy at night.

#1 inner beauty go-to:

J: Mudra & Adi Shakti Mantra.

K: Heart openers using meditation, yoga, mudra, movement. I think nothing creates beauty more than an open heart and a peaceful presence.

Biggest hope/dream for women everywhere:

J: To Self Realize and know their own power. To embrace each other rather than compete/compare.

K: Totally Agree. Also owning their cycle, realize the sacredness of their moon time. We are the instruments of creation.

What does free mean to you?

J: Boundless Self Expression.

K: Liberation From Conditioning.

 

Free People Blog

Keeping it Clean with Eddie Mitsou

Keeping it Clean with Eddie Mitsou

Maybe you’ve been considering it… Sobriety may not be for everyone, but it might be right for you?

Let me be the first to say… I love partying! Dancing, hanging out with friends, flirting, coming home at 3am exhausted with my lipstick half gone, LOLing at my Instagram story while peeing and brushing my teeth.

What may separate me from man others is what happens next — I wake up with my makeup perfectly removed, IG stories still intact, with no fear of finding that dreaded embarrassing video. I make myself a green smoothie and I’m on my way to a Pilates class before 9.30 am.

So, why is that?

Because I don’t drink.

The thought of it might scare you.

But…maybe this is something you’ve been considering yourself. Sober partying may not be for everyone – but it might be right for you?

I have many girlfriends who have gone out with me and follow suit – and most of them really like it, usually quite surprised at how easy it can be. AND! how much fun they can actually have without booze flowing through their bodies. Some, as a result, have decided to quit drinking – or at least consume very little – while some continue to go out and get wasted.

And I don’t blame them for that. Everything is a choice — you do what feels best or right in that moment.  However, there is also a fear of simply breaking the norm. You simply stick to what you know and how you’ve been raised to live, courtesy of family, culture (television, movies, magazines) and society.

Several years ago, the idea of sobriety seemed impossible. I struggled with it during my last semester in school. I had just started dating someone in the deep house underground party scene. The only thing my heart wanted was to be tequila-tipsy, kissing him in the darkness of a grungy garage, every night of the week.

But, I had to focus — good grades on my final exams and beyond. There was also the potential to do modeling in Milan,  and my agency asked me to be in perfect shape, which demanded both more hours at the gym and a healthy diet. Despite my new love, my mission had always been to move abroad as soon as I graduated.

But I couldn’t. I really couldn’t give up being boozy. It was so important to me. Drinking was the only way of partying in Stockholm, so maybe that rubbed off on me?  My point is that there wasn’t a time when I could picture a life without alcohol. I was young, but my mom nervously made jokes about me becoming an alcoholic. I had a great opportunity right in front of me, but I wasn’t ready to make the sacrifices to achieve it.

I’m a very strong believer in refraining from judgment or telling people how to live their lives. I would never tell anyone that it’s bad to drink, or that they shouldn’t. No, no, that’s not my vibe. It’s an individual — and personal — choice, and whatever you choose is hopefully right for you. What I do is right for me.

So all I intend by this post is to inspire you. To maybe introduce you to a new or scary path and know there are different ways to go. Follow your own gut, and try to push away the fear of being different.

I didn’t make it to Milan that summer, after all. It took me over eight months to finally leave Stockholm. I wasn’t ready to stop drinking and didn’t fight for my dreams. I ended up in Istanbul, but even there I realized that other paths existed…

Free People Blog

Keep It Short: Prep Your Legs for Their Best Summer Yet

Keep It Short: Prep Your Legs for Their Best Summer Yet

As hemlines rise with the temperatures, it’s time to focus on your two best summer accessories…

This post comes to you from contributor Arden Andrews.

As spring finally gives way to summer this month, it’s officially time to consider your two most important warm weather accessories — that set of stems you’ve been wrapping in denim and lycra for the majority of 2017. Swapping ankle-grazing hemlines for leg-baring looks is all about preparation, which is why we’ve put together your DIY guide to buffing, hydrating, and protecting your gams for a season in the sun. Below, the necessary steps to letting your legs live their best life this summer:

Step 1: Polish to Perfection

Dryer times leave your legs dull and ravaged of moisture, making circulation-boosting exfoliation the key to bringing the life back to your lower half. Buff away dead skin cells with a nourishing salt scrub, or pair your favorite body wash with a sisal bath brush to slough off dull spots while encouraging blood flow—a must for maintaining youthful skin long term.

Step 2: Elevate Your Routine

Toss your plastic pool toy of a razor for this glam upgrade that’s designed specifically to minimize irritation and ingrown hairs. The nourishing neroli oil acts as an equally modern alternative to notoriously drying shave foam, replenishing skin with vitamins and fatty acids as it allows the blades to safely glide across the surface.

Step 3: Build Up to It

There’s a reason chic French visionaries like Coco Chanel and Josephine Baker popularized the suntan—a bronze glow has the uncanny ability to hide imperfections and sculpt limbs, especially when it doesn’t come at the cost of aging UV rays. With a paraben-free gradual tanning lotion or organic tan extender, you can build that flattering shade of color at a believable rate — no pretend trip to Bali required.

Step 4: Protect Your Assets

It may feel as though you don’t need to block up your legs because they seem to burn at a slower rate than your face and neck, but get serious — the most common place for melanoma on women is their legs. And if that doesn’t scare you straight, the photodamage from extended bouts of unprotected sun should — no one’s trying to rush into crepe-y knees and sunspots faster than they’re fated. This organic, water-resistant SPF formula sprays on consistently sheer, so you won’t have to waste a minute rubbing it in.

Step 5: Let It Gleam

Whether it’s a trip to the beach or a turn on the dancefloor, a little luster never hurts. Shimmer products not only dazzle our senses, they also camouflage (or shall we say, enhance?) problem areas with the help of light-reflecting particles. And as if a superfine dusting of rose gold wasn’t tempting enough, this formula adds the healing powers of bentonite clay into the equation, plus leaves behind the soft scent of lavender as you march confidently toward the next heat wave.

Free People Blog

Eddie Mitsou: A Better Self, One Step at a Time

Eddie Mitsou: A Better Self, One Step at a Time

The first post in a new series about staying sober and focused…from our always-busy friend, Eddie Mitsou Pettersson. Read on to learn more about this Swede-heart…

Birthplace…

Stockholm, Sweden
Spirit animal…
I’ve never actually known my spirit animal until now — I did a Facebook quiz to find out! It turned out that I was the Lion. “Represents courage, strength and overcoming difficulties in life,” which seems pretty accurate of myself. Other than that I feel very drawn to birds of prey. I don’t like other birds… actually have a phobia of dirty street pigeons, but the raptors I’ve somewhat always been amazed by. I think it has to do that I’m amazed by their power but also how they have the freedom to fly, and in that way escape and survive anything bad that would happen on earth.
What makes you happy?
Waking up early, having an overpriced but extremely tasty cold brew with a dash of raw almond milk at my local coffee shop, and then continue to a Pilates class.
What makes you sad?
Sleeping past 11am and realizing I’ve missed my favorite Pilates teachers classes for the day. And when my coffee shop runs out of almond milk and have only the tetra pack soy as a non-dairy milk option for my morning coffee.
Tell us in 5 sentences what your path to wellness and a better Eddie looked like…
It happened pretty naturally. I was fed up with my rollercoaster lifestyle (high healthy hills to deep destructive curves) and decided to become a hardcore gluten- and sugar-free sober vegan for one month. Thirty-one days floated by fast, and when I passed 6 months without so much as blinking, I understood that this was a way I wanted to live my life, not just as a detox fad diet.
You realized 4 1/2 years ago that you no longer wanted to drink. How has that changed your life? 
I can honestly say that I would never be where I am today if I hadn’t stopped drinking.
I need to clarify that I never had a problem with drinking. I was never an alcoholic. I decided to cut the liquor for many other reasons (which I will tell you more about in my next post/s). As a young adult, it’s common to get a little too drunk a little too often, and that’s ok! You’re having fun and enjoying your youth. What I chose to do instead was to win and not waste those years by cutting outs alcohol and staying more focused. Thanks to that, I’ve accomplished a few of my goals way faster than if I would’ve been nursing frequent hangovers, being too drunk to take that important number at the party. But oh boy — have I not had fun? I had exactly as much fun as everyone around me who had been drinking. The only difference is that I’ve also been able to make it to the one thing that makes me happiest: the 9am Pilates class!
Top 3 life goals…
* Being independent and not having to rely on anyone. I want to be able to fully live my life exactly the way I want to live it.
* Own a 70s Missoni jumpsuit!
* Empower young girls t0 understand that they’re beautiful and good enough the way they are. Help them not to suffer too much in the teenage years and hold their hand through the process of achieving their goals to then finally come out on the other side as strong, independent young women.
Favorite city to walk (as you’re a self-proclaimed lover of walking)…
Well, this was the toughest question of them all! I love walking on the secret narrow streets in Istanbul as much as I adore walking on Sunset Strip at 8am Sunday when it’s completely empty. Nostalgic moments around my childhood home in calm Stockholm is also something special. But if I were forced to choose, I’d have to say New York City. It’s incredible by day and night! Although my favorite walk is east of Lexington Ave around 25th St. late in the evening (I won’t reveal exact blocks — it’s still my hidden secret). Maybe one day I’ll hold a NYC Night Walk Tour and I’ll show you…
Tell us about your greatest reward/challenge as a successful model.
My greatest reward is, without a doubt, the traveling. The opportunities to travel the world is something I’m beyond grateful for. I’ve shot editorials on the beach in South Africa, on the colorful streets of Havana, in the jungles of Costa Rica, in a fancy penthouse in New York. I’ve collaborated on an art project in a set of weird and isolated snow-covered cottages in the north of Sweden and much, much more. My job has taken me places I wouldn’t have necessarily gone otherwise.
The most challenging aspect is staying true to yourself and keeping positive throughout all the craziness. There are downsides to every career, and I will admit that the mental strength you need as a model is difficult to maintain. There are days when you find yourself going to casting after casting, and don’t book one job, get turned down by every casting director. You just have to shake it off and move on to the next day! When you wake up bloated because of munching on too much raw cheesecake the night before and show up to set and it turns out you’re going to shoot in a tiny bikini… You just have to embrace the moment and don’t be too hard on yourself. I’m pretty good at tackling this since I’ve been a model for almost 10 years, but it was for sure challenging in the beginning.
What does free mean to you? 
I like what Jim Morrison once said:
“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.”
+ Be sure to keep up with all things Eddie — follow her on Instagram
 
Photos by Jana Kirn.
 

Free People Blog

Wellness Encyclopedia: Flax Oil & Flax Hair Oil DIY

Wellness Encyclopedia: Flax Oil & Flax Hair Oil DIY

Just as it’s important to moisturize our skin and hair in the colder months, the same is true for warmer days  – and flax oil is a great all-around moisturizer than can undo damage from the inside out.

Want to hear something exciting? The first day of summer is just 22 days away. Soon, we’ll be blessed with blue skies, hot sun on our shoulders, and salty waves. For me, summer is a big sigh of relief after the colder seasons, and why I love living in a climate with four distinct seasons in the first place – there’s always something to look forward to, especially when the sun is on our side. But those sizzling rays and ocean waves can have some nasty side effects on our skin and hair – dry skin, premature wrinkles, brittle hair, and faded color. Just as it’s important to moisturize our skin and hair in the colder months, the same is true for these warmer days as well – and flax oil is a great all-around moisturizer than can undo the damage from the inside out. Learn more about this plant-powered oil below and be sure to scroll to the bottom to learn how to make your own DIY flax hair oil.

What is it? Also known as linseed oil, flax oil is derived from seeds of the the flax plant. Flax is harvested in colder climates worldwide and used for its seeds, oil derived from the seeds, and fiber (linen fabric is made from flax). It can be used internally and externally as a supplement or culinary addition, as well as around the house (linseed oil is a key factor in oil painting). Flax oil is extremely delicate with a short shelf life, as it oxidizes easily. For this reason, you should always purchase fresh organic cold-pressed flax oil that has been refrigerated, then be sure to store it in your own fridge at home. Flax oil is best used cold and shouldn’t be heated above 350 degrees F or it could become unstable.

 

What are the benefits? Flax oil contains the highest levels of the omega-3 alpha linolenic acid (ALA) out of any other vegetable oil, making flax oil an excellent choice for vegans and those looking to reap the benefits of fish oil while avoiding, you know, the actual fish. Rich in a-Linolenic acid and other essential fatty acids, delicate flax oil could benefit hair, skin, digestion, and the cardiovascular system. It’s been shown to aid in digestion by lubricating the gut, adding fiber to the diet, and reducing inflammation. The ALAs and other omega-3’s present in flax oil have been found to benefit the cardiovascular system, reducing the chances of heart attack and lowering cholesterol. Taking flax internally has also been found to reduce the signs of aging by promoting the production of collagen and neutralizing free radicals. Flax oil can also be applied topically to moisturize the hair and scalp, and can prevent dandruff and flakiness and make hair shiny and less prone to breakage.

 

How to use flax oil: Flax oil can be taken as-is as a supplement. If you don’t like the taste on its own, use it to top salads as a dressing, drizzle it over oatmeal, or add it to smoothies. To reap the benefits externally, massage flax oil onto freshly-washed skin or rub into the ends of wet or dry hair and comb through.

DIY Flax Hair Oil

Ingredients

1 oz glass dropper bottle

Organic cold-pressed flax oil

5 drops chamomile essential oil

5 drops ylang ylang essential oil

3 drops bergamot essential oil

Method

Uncap the glass dropper bottle and fill with flax oil until it’s almost at the top. Add essential oils. Tip: the number of drops shown is merely a guide — play around until you find the scent combination you like. Recap and gently shake to combine oils. Store in the fridge until you’re ready to use.

To use: Rub a few drops of oil between your hands and massage into wet or dry hair, concentrating on the ends of your hair. Comb through. 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