How We’re Redefining Beauty in America Today

This was originally posted on http://www.allure.com/story/redefining-american-beauty along with the image used.

In our July 2017 issue, we highlighted the stunning humans, brave ideas, and iconic innovations that are all changing the ways in which we define American Beauty today.

Having trouble with losing hair or thinning hair?  Our blog takes the best around from the internet about hair care and beauty.  Reverse female hair loss with us today!

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

We Asked 30 Celebrities and Beauty Pros to Define American Beauty

This was originally posted on http://www.allure.com/story/celebrities-beauty-pros-define-american-beauty along with the image used.

Melinda Gates, Zoë Kravitz, François Nars, and more tell us what they believe represents American beauty.

Having trouble with losing hair or thinning hair?  Our blog takes the best around from the internet about hair care and beauty.  Reverse female hair loss with us today!

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

Making the Case for Minimalism, Part 4

Making the Case for Minimalism, Part 4

Sharing seven days’ worth of minimalist practices with hopes that we can all find some clarity…

“Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment and freedom.”- The Minimalists

Stepping back and looking at where I am in life, and how things create a few more butterflies in my chest that I’d like, I’m going to be practicing a minimalist act each day of the week, and sharing them with you. If you are feeling like your life is a bit dizzying, take a look deeper and see how much stuff you are carrying on a day-to-day basis, and join me. At the beginning of each week, I will be posting 7 days’ worth of minimalist practices with hopes of finding and maintaining some clarity.

Week Four

Monday: Barely There. Mondays can be rough. Make it easier on yourself. Sport around your basic go-to’s. Dress for comfort and calmness. For me, that’s minimal colors. Lightweight sneakers, white tee, and my best friend, my 501 Levi’s.

Tuesday: Pit Stop. When you stop to pump gas today, clean out your car. Throw out any trash, and put the clutter in your trunk. When you get home tonight, take out the excess and put it where it belongs — inside. This will make your commute to work a bit more relaxing.

Wednesday: Paperless. Go through all of your online bills today and, if you haven’t already, opt out of direct mail. This will not only help your house from collecting clutter, but will also help the environment.

Thursday: Practice Gratitude. Be mindful and appreciate both the little and big things in your life. That’s what this is all about. Write a list of everything and everyone for which you are grateful. Think about editing out what wasn’t listed.

Friday: Tackle the Fridge. The amount of condiments in your refrigerator can sometimes get to be a little much. Clean out your fridge. Toss out any items that are expired, wipe down the shelves, and prepare the space to be filled with clean healthy food going into the next week.

Saturday: Plan a Yard Sale. Look into the summer yard sales happening around your community. Pick one, and start planning. Make a list of things that you haven’t used in the last 3 months, and make a point to let go of them. Yard sales can be a fun neighborhood routine to get into during the warm months. A little bit of work can rid you of a lot of stuff.

Sunday: Morning Ritual. Wake up at 6am this morning. Give yourself a couple hours before your busy day and develop a calming ritual, whether it’s a brisk walk, a bath, or a big breakfast. Throughout this series I’ve tried to mention how important time is to a minimal lifestyle. The goal is to reclaim our time so that we can have more of it for ourselves, for relationships, for gratitude, and to simply be free.

+ Good luck this week! If you are joining in on this challenge, let me know in the comments!

+ Follow Madisyn on Instagram + take a peek at her Blog!

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

Sacred Smudge Wand DIY with Helios + Solene

Sacred Smudge Wand DIY with Helios + Solene

Creating a sacred container for ceremony that provides a fresh palette for spiritual work to take place without the intermingling of outside energies…

This post comes to you from Emily Mikaelah, a Brooklyn-based energetic healer, teacher and spiritual development coach. She carries the ancestral teachings of the curandera women of Venezuela that have been passed down to her from the generations of medicine women in her family. In 2016 she founded Helios + Solene to create safe and sacred spaces throughout her travels to bring the powerful healing medicine of Spirit into the lives of others. She holds workshops sharing her practice with the community through group classes, women’s circles, and one-on-one private sessions. To learn more about her offerings, please visit her online portal.

Clearing the energy of a space has quickly become a common practice throughout many cultures. Traditionally this cleansing ritual was used before ceremony to raise the energetic vibrations of a space and release it of any evil spirits or negativity that may have been lingering.

Growing up I remember seeing my mother cleanse the house at least once a week with white sage, copal and palo santo. We would take sacred baths and smudge ourselves ceremonially. Every time we moved or refreshed a space, after any large gathering, every holiday and, of course, on Sunday mornings to the sounds of salsa music and live drumming.
The act of sacred smudging is a ritual that is easily attainable with just a few simple tools. Sacred herbs, often found in bundles, are typically placed into an abalone shell or a flame resistant vessel. White sage is the most commonly used — it helps to release any negative energy from a space, body or object when burned. You can also use palo santo if you want to cleanse and ground your space, as well as copal and cedar before and after Ceremony. I choose to burn my sage individually. Because it is so powerful, I like to honor each leaf (you can choose to bundle it as well). Traditional tools used in sacred smudging have been used for years to honor the four elements in the natural world: Earth, the sacred herb; Air, the smoke rising and the use of a feather wand; Fire, the lighting of the flame; and Water, the abalone shell.
Today I will teach you how to make a sacred smudging wand for your energy clearing rituals. These wands become close allies and support us in our rituals during their lifetime. It is important to note that, when making your wand, your energetic footprint goes into them… they become an essence of you. It is advised to keep your intentions during the creation process pure and the vibrations high.
Supplies
Ethically sourced feathers
Floral tape
A scrap of surplus leather
Suede cording
Decorative materials of your choice
Scissors

Step 1

After you have sourced your feathers, it’s time for a deep clean. Feathers can contain micro bacteria from their animal carrier, so it is important to cleanse them thoroughly before handling. (I use a blend of water, dish soap, hydrogen peroxide and alcohol.) Excess debris can be removed with dishwashing soap and water and allow them to soak in the hydrogen peroxide/ alcohol/ water mixture for at least 2 hours. Measurements vary based on the recipe, but I split it evenly three ways. After they have been cleaned, allow the feathers to dry in partial sunlight or near a cool fan. Don’t try to blow dry or apply heat as it may damage the feather and curl the ends. Once fully dried, hold them to your heart and say a prayer of intention. Smudge the feathers with some sage and making process can begin.

Step 2

Arrange the feathers in a way that appears visually pleasing to you. Explore color, height, texture. Once you find an arrangement with which you feel aligned, wrap the stems with floral tape to hold them in place. Floral tape has enough flexibility to hold the feathers in place while still allowing slight adjustment after taping. It is also a gentle adhesive that will not damage the feather if you decide to unwrap and start again.

Step 3

Cut a piece of surplus leather for your base. I source mine from fabric houses in NY’s garment district. Typically these are scraps about to be discarded, so projects like these allow new life to be breathed into them. You can also find wonders at your local thrift store. The height of the leather swatch should be as long as you want the handle, plus one inch. So if you want a 4″ handle, the height will be 5″. The length will vary depending on how thick you want your handle (we will be rolling the leather), but I would say at least 10″.
Align one edge of the leather against the stems, making sure to cover the tape and begin to tightly roll it like a cinnamon bun. It should be tight enough so that the stem won’t glide out and you don’t see air pockets between each layer. You can use rubber bands — or a friend — to hold in place!

Step 4

Cut a long piece of cording of your choice (at least 3 feet) and begin to tightly wrap around the leather base. Begin at the top nearest the feathers and wrap each end of the chord downward evenly until you reach the bottom of the base. Adjust tightness until it feels secure and tie off on the ends. If the end is uneven you can cut it straight. Add beads or bells as decor or leave the cording as is.

Enjoy your new smudge wand! Take care of her and use her often. Thank her and her animal carriers for their offering in this creation. Give gratitude and make an offering to them in a way that feels suitable to you. Your new smudge wand will assist you in clearing energetic debris from your body and surroundings, and will bring sacredness to all spaces in which you use her. Enjoy your new companion!
+What are your thoughts on smudging? Let us know in the comments below! 

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.

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