ENTER TO WIN Our August BEAUTY GIVEAWAY

ENTER TO WIN Our August BEAUTY GIVEAWAY

It’s back! 5 lucky winners will win… will it be you? 

In celebration of our Beauty and Wellness line turning ONE last month, we’re celebrating with a monthly Beauty GIVEAWAY! Each month five winners, chosen are random, will win a beauty box filled with our favorite beauty essentials and all YOU have to do it enter below! This month, we’re featuring products to greet fall with a fresh face…some of the best cosmetics to help you start the new season with a new YOU! Contest will run now through Monday, August 21st. Be sure to tell your friends, and don’t miss out on these beauty bundle MUST-HAVES!

This month, winners will receive: 

Ritual De Fille Inner Glow Cream Pigment

Lilah B. Tinted Lip Balm

Eyeko Black Magic Mascara

Alima Pure Smooth+Prime

RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek

Seven Seven Cosmetics Natural Glow Finishing Mist

Au Naturale Su/ Stain Lip Stain

Vapour Organic Beauty Lux Lip Conditioner

Kosas Lipstick

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

+ Be sure to check back every month for a chance to win! Looking to take home today? Shop all things beauty here

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to residents of the United States. Ends 8/21/17 at 11:59 p.m. ET. 

Free People Blog

1, 2, 3, 4… Your Step-by-Step Skincare Layering Guide

1, 2, 3, 4… Your Step-by-Step Skincare Layering Guide

Once you know, you know…

There are certain beauty-centric questions that I hear nearly every day — the easy ones, like “what is dry shampoo ?” or “does a waterproof mascara that won’t leak onto my eyelids when I sweat even exist?” And then there are the more complex ones, like “when do I put on a serum?” and “what’s the point of double cleansing?” that really give my life meaning.

The tricky part of layering skincare is that with every expert and derm you ask, you’ll get a different answer. Instead of losing time over details that won’t wreck your face, we’ve put together a list of the can’t-miss steps to help nourish healthy skin — and the easiest order to execute them.

STEP 1: MAKE UP REMOVER

Start by removing the stickiest layers of makeup with a super-slick blend of oils (like the organic sweet almond and blue chamomile options in this one), which will keep you from tugging and scrubbing at your eyes, not to mention the rest of your features. It seems like “hey, no big deal! It’s just for a second!” until you add up all of the times you’ve done it in a week, a year, a lifetime — and subsequently lost lashes or worse, stretched delicate skin that may not just snap back like a rubber band, eventually.

STEP 2: CLEANSE

Cleansing wipes are the easiest way to get into the crevices of your face that need to be swept clean with a bit more oomph than just the soft palms of your hands. Glide one around in gentle, circular motions to get the blood flowing to the surface, which is its own mini-step toward a brighter complexion. The bamboo water and argan oil in these won’t rid your skin of essential moisture as you prepare to double cleanse.

STEP 3: DOUBLE CLEANSE

Double cleansing is easily one of the most confusing topics for beauty babes that don’t quite get what the point of an extra step is in an already tedious routine — “it looks pretty spotless already!” you’d think. But the fact is, there’s still a thin film of dirt and pollution lurking that can mysteriously end up on your pillowcase, or just creeping inside of your pores. Taking the time to double cleanse with a vitamin-rich, moisturizing wash will bring you one step further away from those tiny, pesky surface bumps that you see in a brightly lit mirror and wonder “why?”

STEP 4: EXFOLIATE

Very light-handed, consistent exfoliation is key for smooth, glowing skin, but it’s important to find a product that isn’t going to strip the natural barrier that your complexion needs for protection. The pineapple fruit extract and kaolin clay in this water-activated, superfine scrub help gently remove dead cells without drying, and can even be used as a luminizing mask when you have extra time in the tub or shower.

STEP 5: TONE

Toner is one of those products that seems so neutral, you think you can skip it — but without it, you may lose the value of each superstar product you subsequently apply to your face. Toner’s role is to balance the pH of your skin so that it’s able to properly absorb, instead of clash with, the ingredients in your skincare. Plus, the easy spray bottle packaging of this one means you don’t even need to worry about stocking up on cotton balls to use it.

STEP 6: SERUM

After all of the necessary cleansing and exfoliating, your complexion is thirsty for a drink of restorative, soothing moisture. The rose otto and geranium oils in this serum create a healing elixir for even the most sensitive skin, along with a lit-from-within glow without the grease. Tap a few drops onto your face, neck, and even eyelids while you breathe in the soft floral scent and make your next moves.

STEP 7: EYE CREAM

As we discussed in Step 1, the delicate skin around your eyes needs tender love and care, which means giving your lids their own specialized form of protection. The certified vegan, all-natural blend of botanicals in this eye cream go on in an imperceptible veil that won’t pill away when you start to apply your makeup. Tap a small pump onto top and bottom lids, basically over any area that your pool goggles would cover.

STEP 8: MOISTURIZE

Seal in your hard work with a no-brainer, multitasking moisturizer. If we’ve learned anything in the last few years, it’s that it seems that (nearly) everything fermented is packed with some kind of beauty benefit. The naturally-fermented ceremides in this cream help repair damaged skin without breaking you out. Follow with a mineral sunscreen if you’re about to head out into the bright light of day.

BONUS ROUND: SLEEP WITH A SILK EYE MASK 

I could go on and on about my love for silk, especially when it’s woven into anything that’s touching my face. Polished, pure silk fibers won’t tug on your eyes like even the smoothest cotton could, plus sleeping with an eye mask keeps you from squinting yourself to sleep, preventing crows feet and fine lines in the long run. Tinted soft pinks and caramels with non-toxic dyes, these have just enough give in their elastic to stay on through the night (plus block out the light when you want to sleep in) without feeling uncomfortably tight.

 

+Skincare 101 starts here

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

The Mani/Pedi Summer Refresh You Need Right Now

The Mani/Pedi Summer Refresh You Need Right Now

This end-of-summer ritual is everything for healthier, shinier nails…

If you started off summer with a mani/pedi, chances are you might need a refresh by now. All that exposure to sun, sand and salt water can really wear out even the most invincible of polishes. This is also the turning point of summer where you start to think about fall, and look forward to switching things up — especially on your hands and toes. “The change of seasons is the time for change in wardrobe. Nail color is not an exception to that transition,” says New York City manicurist Jessica Tong. Rather than rushing through the removal and repainting process, though, consider turning this moment into your end-of-summer ritual: break out the botanical polish remover to heal and nourish your enamel, spend an extra minute massaging in your hand cream (ahh, feels so good) and then follow this guide for an on-point mani/pedi that will carry you into September and beyond…

Give your nails a healthy start:

If you want take good care of your enamel, the first step of any manicure or pedicure is always to apply a base coat. “Discoloration of the nails is often caused by not using a base coat,” points out Tong. By forming a barrier and smoothing the surface, Tong says this step is even “more vital than a topcoat in preventing chips.”

Go for a nontoxic polish:

The technology behind nail polishes has improved considerably over the last few years, so opting for a safer-for-your polish no longer means settling for watered-down shades and streaky finishes. Tong is an ambassador for Smith & Cult and favors the L.A.-based brand’s 8-free formulas that feature high-impact pigments minus harsh chemicals.

Find your true colors:

“Anyone that knows me knows I love a dark nail and a dark lip year round,” says Tong, who recommends ignoring the conventional rules and traditions about using light colors in summer and darker tones in winter. “We are not bound to seasonal color norms.” Her top picks for hand or toes right now: Dark Like Me, a deep plum (“I literally have this on right now!”), Tenderoni, a milky beige, and Stockholm Syndrome, an opaque gray.

Make it last:

Finish with a topcoat, but don’t go overboard — a thin layer will do, says Tong. Not only is this your insurance policy against chips and scuffs, but it also helps fend off environmental stress. “A top coat is a great shield against the elements,” says Tong. “I highly recommend it before beach activities or vacation.”

Look out for your nails’ wellbeing.

Most polish applications will last one to two weeks, depending on how tough or easy you are on your hands and toes. Also, Tong says nails don’t really need a “breather” or break in between polish jobs. “It’s a very common misconception,” she says. “The most damaging act against your nails is over-buffing. More often than not this act is far more damaging to nails than polish.” A better move: dab on cuticle oil and you’re done.

+ Click here to shop more nail polishes and nail-care products! 

 

Free People Blog

Wellness Wednesday: A New Way to Exfoliate

Wellness Wednesday: A New Way to Exfoliate

This kinder, gentler solution really works…

Exfoliating your skin usually comes with a downside — a lot of dryness and an unmistakable tight-pore feeling. Almost every product I’ve used has made my face feel so uncomfortable that I decided I’d rather deal with some dead skin and rough patches than suffer through the side effects of exfoliating. That’s why I was skeptical about trying The Beauty Chef’s Probiotic Skin Refiner. It claimed to exfoliate AND hydrate AND boost collagen production. Hmm, really, really? I pictured my skin turning red and flaky, with an intense burning sensation washing over me. But, after a summer of sweat and sunscreen, my pores were crying out for some help. I needed a good cleaning session.

I’ll cut right to the chase and tell you that the Skin Refiner is pretty amazing. It’s rich in lactic acid — a unique alpha hydroxy acid that breaks down dead skin cells and ups your skin’s natural moisturizing factors. What this means: when you put it on, it doesn’t dry out your face! Like many of The Beauty Chef’s products, it taps into the benefits of bio-fermented foods and probiotics to balance your complexion’s healthy flora levels, fight dark spots and boost your skin’s immunity and collagen growth (basically this elixir has all your needs handled).

Another bonus: Unlike other exfoliators that can only be used at night, this one can be dabbed on twice a day, so you can get the smoother, brighter results faster. Just soak a cotton pad and swipe on after cleansing. I applied a moisturizer afterward but if your skin is oily you could skip that step. It’s so gentle you can make the refiner part of your everyday routine — your pores will thank you.

Quick Recap: The Benefits

Triple threat: Exfoliates, hydrates and firms skin all in one!

Rich in probiotics to balance skin.

Contains bio-fermented extracts.

Plumps skin.

Lightens dark spots.

No tingling or burning!

Dab on morning and night.

+ Be sure to stay up to date with all things movement and wellness — follow FP Movement on Instagram!! 

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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Micellar Water: Everything You Need to Know

Micellar Water: Everything You Need to Know

Meet your skin’s new best friend… Not only does micellar water effectively remove makeup and grime, it also makes your skin healthier…

We’ve got a few months to go until Halloween is upon us, but here’s a scary (and true) story to hold you over until then: For most of my late teens and early 20s, I took my makeup off every single night with an exfoliating scrub. The horror! After washing my face with whatever soap was nearby, I squirted some harsh, seed-based exfoliant into my hands and went to town. You see, I assumed that because the scrub promised to remove layers of dead skin, it would also remove layers of dirt, grime and makeup.

But aside from the fact that this was definitely terrible for my skin (exfoliating every day is less-than-ideal, especially if you’ve got reactive skin like me and especially if you’re doing it with something as abrasive as the stuff I was using), it also didn’t really do a great job of cleaning. Because after “taking my makeup off” with the scrub, I’d then swipe a cotton pad doused in also-too-harsh toner over my face and it always came away with traces of the dirt and makeup the scrub had failed to remove. So not only was I seriously hurting my skin on a daily basis with abrasive, harsh cleansing tactics, I was barely getting it clean.

Blame it on my youth and inexperience, but I’m embarrassed to admit I continued this practice for many, many years before I got wise. I started slowly, first with makeup remover wipes before finally landing on my favorite pre-bed routine of double cleansing. Once I learned the right way to take makeup off my face, my skin got much happier. Not only could it actually breathe at the end of the day (since it wasn’t clogged up with leftover concealer), it was also ready to drink up all the fancy, good-for-me product I was lovingly layering on to it and I wasn’t stripping it of moisture daily.

And while I will never not sing the praises of the double cleanse, it can be a bit of slog sometimes. Those nights when I get home late and just want to fall into bed without spending 20 minutes standing in front of my sink, or the times I only have a few minutes to cleanse and re-apply before I’m heinously late for something…a full double cleanse isn’t an option.

So imagine my delight when I “discovered” micellar water, the long-time secret of beautiful French women everywhere. Lazy? Tired? Rushed? Francophile? Meet your skin’s new best friend. Not only does micellar water effectively remove makeup and grime, it also makes your skin healthier, a feat that normally takes a bevy of products to achieve.

All right, so, how does this miracle liquid work?

Science! While it may look like plain old water and have a name that contains the word “water,” its moniker is a bit misleading. Yes, it’s clear liquid but it’s so much more than your average H2O. The liquid is made up of microscopic oil molecules called micelles that are suspended in soft water. (Soft water just means it’s been purified and is free of mineral deposits and other stuff that can find its way into a water supply.) And if you’re familiar with my beloved oil cleanse method, you know that oil molecules and dirt, grime and makeup go together like flower crowns and outdoor musical festivals: As you apply the micellar water to your skin, those teeny, tiny oil molecules latch onto the bad stuff lurking in and on your skin and dissolve it away. Poof! Makeup and dirt gone.

Unlike makeup wipes (which are great in a pinch but should always be followed up by a full cleanse), micellar water wipes off completely with a cotton pad. While wipes often push makeup and dirt around without lifting it, micellar water dissolves the stuff on your skin, deposits its hydrating ingredients and then wipes right off without a trace. And unlike toner, which often contains alcohol, its super-gentle so you can use it all over — even near your eyes — without worrying about stinging or drying. Basically, it’s a cleanser, makeup remover and moisturizer all in one.

There is a bit of a learning curve with micellar water, though, and it’s twofold. Firstly, there’s no foaming, so it doesn’t look or feel like the cleansing you may be used to. But this also means it’s not stripping your skin of the natural, good oil it needs to stay balanced and hydrated. Second, despite its name, there’s no actual water necessary in the process. In fact, you’re not even supposed to rinse it off after you use it or you risk washing away soothing, decongesting, skin-perfecting ingredients it has left behind. Both of these things may take some getting used to if you to like to recreate that whole splashing-water-on-your-face-like-the-slow-mo-scene-in-skincare-commercials thing. But trust me, it’s worth the initial weirdness.

What’s more, if you live in an area with particularly harsh tap water, micellar water is a godsend. Like I said earlier, plain ol’ tap water often plays host to minerals and trace chemicals that can mess with your skin by affecting its pH balance. If your faucet or shower head gets that white, powdery residue or green patina, you’re the victim of hard water. It’s like when you visit a new city and swear the texture of your hair has changed. That’s the new water and how its interacting with your strands. The same goes for skin. And since micellar water doesn’t require you to use actual water, you’re protecting your super-delicate facial skin from all the stuff lurking in the water supply. In fact, this stuff is so popular in France because they have notoriously harsh water and French women just could not deal with the tres tragique conditions.

But once you’re beyond the whole no water, no suds thing, it’s pretty fantastic, especially if you have dry or sensitive skin. No chemicals, no moisture-stripping foam, no stinging or abrasiveness…get thee some micelles! Then go smear some brie onto a baguette — you deserve it.

What to try: For a deep cleanse and supremely soothed skin, try Alba 1913’s Galenic Cleansing Water. It gently removes makeup, dirt and pollutants without the need of water, and it contains ingredients like hyaluronic acid and rhubarb extract to keep skin plump and moisturized.

+Want to learn more from Allie? Check out these articles here

Photo by Jana Kirn

 

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