Good News to Make You Feel Good

Good News to Make You Feel Good

Your healthy dose of feel-good current events in pop culture, fashion, travel, science, and everything in between…

Another round of carefree current events is in order, another fresh opportuuuunity to catch up on the grin-worthy updates meant to chill you out (rather than rile you up).

Consider this is your summer reading, relaxed — a chance to unapologetically recline, perhaps in a petal-soft robe, and lounge worry-free with some harmless (yet fascinating) stories that have been selected to give you some clickable, likeable news that’s finally worth sharing with friends.

Peruse, ponder, audibly “aww,” lol a little, and enjoy the ride:

Thank you, precious buttercup Canadians!

When a newborn otter pup was seen swimming alone in open water off of Vancouver’s coast this summer, the city’s Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre took him in for protective 24-hour care. Now, he’s swimming pretty and made-in-the-shade, posing through all of the luxuriously tiny baths he can take and naps he can sleep.

There is such a thing as a “Rainbow Star,” and its name is Sirius.

When its twinkling spectrum of light was caught in soft focus, amateur astrophotographer Steve Brown managed to encapsulate every color in one kaleidoscopic image.

Philly’s ever-revered LOVE skate park is captured by Jonathan Rentschler in this three-year saga of gritty street photos.

Honoring the (FP) neighborhood haven, Rentschler reflects on its larger purpose: “The park itself had an aura about it, which attracted eccentric personalities… this diversity promoted creativity and led to the appreciation of different ideas, cultures, and ways of life.”

This twelve-year-old’s submission to Lego’s “Kid Creations” display is an adorable reminder that there’s no need to overcomplicate a good thing.

Open your eyes to the simple genius of this pre-teen’s why-not? attitude.

Like the romantic dream held in your ocean heart since hearing the first notes of Titanic’s soundtrack, Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslet are finally ready for one hot date with a superfan.

The pair is auctioning themselves off as the season’s most desirable NYC dinner guests, at long last laying out the opportunity to hear Leo’s supersoaker secrets.

Finally, the proof you’ve been waiting for that habitually ordering Seamless, calling out your laundry, and (for the truly lucky) hiring a maid is actually good for you.

Saving time in your day by skipping the chores you don’t enjoy can help bliss you out (when your budget allows).

Any excuse to look at old school snaps of Jane Birkin is the right one—

like boarding a virtual sailboat to an island you can only attempt to pronounce. This tiny breakdown of classic French babe styling confirms that a touch of insouciance and the perfect pair of jeans will never be the cliché to regret.

Spend time in nature! Sleep more! Don’t feel the need to rush!

Call your best friend and don’t talk about yourself at all! This list of life secrets is gleaned from the truly successful party of people that consider themselves “happy.”

Many thanks to the ever-innovative Petra Collins for opening up a conversation about fashion’s need to include new talent in coveted cover shoots and editorial campaigns.

And this list of 16 up-and-coming photographers to follow is just the kind of fresh perspective worth working into your daily feed. Take a spin through former American Apparel model Ysa Pérez’s candidly cool images, then wrap it all in a bow with Olivia Locher’s signature marshmallow pants.

No spoilers for this gem other than:

Quite possibly the best Taylor Swift tweet of all time.

Free People Blog

Trend Alert: Why Flowy Pants Are the New Leggings + Introducing Our Well+Good Partnership!

Trend Alert: Why Flowy Pants Are the New Leggings + Introducing Our Well+Good Partnership!

This month, we kick off a collaboration with one of our favorite wellness sites, Well+Good…  

Say hello to Well+Good. The leading source of intel on the wellness world, with all the latest on fitness fashion, natural beauty, and healthy food trends in your inbox and online. Check back with us throughout the month for more articles curated by our friends and wellness partners, Well+Good.
 
An impressive leggings collection is a testament to how trend-savvy you are, but if you never thought you’d stray from your tried-and-true, second-skin tights, we have big news: Flowy pants are in — and they’re making a major play for workout-wardrobe domination.

Because while leggings are definitely a comfier alternative to your stiff vintage denim, sometimes you’re going for a work leisure look, and can read a little too sporty when you’re heading to rooftop drinks.

That’s why FP Movement is changing the game with its totally fresh flare silhouettes — roomy and breathable, while still holding up to your sweatiest workouts (plus, the style factor will make you want to wear them on your next sushi date).

The full activewear collection is made for studio-to-street versatility. The best part? You can easily transition these wide-leg styles from an everyday look to a workout outfit. Swap a blazer and heels for a sweat-wicking tank and sneakers and boom: You’re hot-yoga ready faster than you can say savasana.

Scroll down for three on-trend pants that will have you turning heads from sidewalk to studio (and back again).

Chica Lyrical Flow Pant

No judgement if you want to skip your workout and stay curled up with Netflix in these eco-friendly tencel gems — but, chances are, you’re going to want to show them off. The vented leg design puts its spin on the girly activewear craze, and the super-soft ribbed waistband is flexible enough for every body-bending move. Pair the pants with the high-necked Lua Bra for a statement look that still provide support.

Shade Flare

Because layering is key for a successful quick change, these side-zip flares are about to become your new BFF. Slip them on over your Backless Onesie, spritz some dry shampoo in your hair, and your barista will be none the wiser that you were just sweating to Drake at Y7.

Attitude Flare 

This billowy pant plus the corset-style Lira Sports Bra will have you feeling like an IRL ballerina during barre class (to the point we bet you’ll forget how much those piles burn). The sporty fleece fabric is specifically designed for ease of movement, so post-class you can swap your grippy socks for your dancing shoes and head out on the town.

+ Want to learn more from Well+Good? Be sure to check out their website here

Free People Blog

August FP x PAWS 2017 Calendar Download

August FP x PAWS 2017 Calendar Download

Soaking in the last bits of summer with the help of some lovable friends…

Throughout 2017, we’ll be featuring the beautiful dogs from this year’s FP x PAWS calendar, created in partnership with award-winning photographer and animal advocate Sophie Gamand!

All proceeds from the sale of our print calendars benefitted PAWS, Philadelphia’s largest no-kill shelter, which serves pet owners and rescue organizations that lack access to affordable basic veterinary care.

Right-click to download!

 

+ Check out our full collection for your pets here

Free People Blog

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

 

Free People Blog

You Are What You Eat

You Are What You Eat

Let’s get real about eating healthy in your 20’s . . .and consider doing something about it!

Let’s set the scene. It’s a Monday night, I’m alone in my bed watching an endless flow of Netflix documentaries and, as I’m watching, I have an abnormally large bag of potato chips glued to my side. I feel like everyone has those moments, where they think “I need to stop doing this to my body.” Surprisingly, mine wasn’t when I unbuttoned by pants in public after eating my weight in pizza or walking to McDonalds at 2am for a Big Mac… it was me, alone in my room, consuming food without even enjoying or realizing it. I stopped mid-movie, I got up, and I told myself it was time to start treating my body right.

I just turned 21 and I feel overwhelmed with my new state of freedom. I scan aisles of grocery stores for generic off-brand items that save me 30 cents. The concept of a fun night is getting together with friends and talking about feelings over piles of junk food. Eating Pringles at 3am is almost a rite of passage as a college student, which is exactly why I want to break the college routine and create a new lifestyle for myself, starting now.

HERE’S THE PLAN

For the next two weeks, I’m going to do my best to adopt a healthy lifestyle, and I’m going to be documenting the whole thing via journal. I’m going to be honest. I won’t lie about my slip-ups (where I accidentally order a burger, because I can already tell you that will probably happen). I want to be real about trying to eat healthy in a world where you pass seven fast food chains on your way to work.

SMALL THINGS I WILL CHANGE

  • Saying no to soda, going with water
  • Being conscious of what I order if I do go out
  • Throw out the junk food
  • Stay away from unnecessary sugar
  • Maybe go on a run if I feel up for it. . . Too far?

If you’re someone who’s been waiting for a wakeup call to create a new lifestyle for yourself, this is it.

Let’s make small changes together. Stay tuned for Part 2!

Free People Blog

Soho Pop-Up: August Sign-Ups Are Here!

Soho Pop-Up: August Sign-Ups Are Here!

Keep your wellness game going strong via our Soho pop-up…

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

Tune In Tuesday:

Relax and rejuvenate with a gong bath workshop by Jennifer Drue

Wellness Wednesday:

Heal with crystals courtesy of Maha Rose

Or consider a Full Moon Ritual workshop with our friend, Ruby Warrington from The Numinous!

Awaken your spirit and chakras with Diana Paschal

Embrace your green thumb, and learn how to be a houseplant ninja with Summer Rayne Oakes of Homestead Brooklyn

There’s also a Moon Wisdom workshop with Laura Patterson of Soul Centered Self

Fitness Friday:

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

Savasana Saturday: 

Immerse yourself in a vinyasa yoga class with instructor Augie Schiano

A few things to note: 

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

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

 

Free People Blog

Good News to Make You Feel Good

Good News to Make You Feel Good

Your healthy dose of feel-good current events in pop culture, fashion, travel, science, and everything in between…

Wouldn’t it be nice to read a current event that didn’t make you loudly wonder WHEN WILL IT END?! We think so, too, because we get it (pat pat pat)… it’s been a rough ride trying to navigate the news without getting caught in a loop of negative feedback these past dozen months or so. It’s time to take back ME TIME.

Consider this is your summer reading, relaxed- a chance to lean back, grab a soft robe, and lounge around with some harmless (yet fascinating) stories that have been selected to give you something to read that’s finally worth sharing with friends.

Stretch out, click away, grin, ponder, audibly “aww,” and enjoy the ride:

The first full solar eclipse visible from the US since 1979 will arrive in less than a month on Monday, August 21st.

Here’s a list of the best places to post up for a viewing in the country, with remote locations like Casper, Wyoming and Carbondale, Illinois topping the charts. Since the entire phenomenon is expected to happen in under 3 minutes, just try to stay away from big clouds.

Everyone’s favorite new style star is no stranger to the spotlight.

Celine Dion has made a well-deserved leap into fashion’s elite with her couture-friendly figure and I-Do-What-I-Want sartorial attitude. This slideshow of her earlier wardrobe hits, from princess-sleeved mohair pastels to regal bolos, is an inspirational collection of the icon’s ageless cool.

If you think “forest bathing” requires a tub in the trees, you’re not alone- but it’s even easier.

This Montana wellness escape is practicing the art of digital detox in the form of stargazing, open-air yoga, and mind-clearing mountain hikes. Arguably the best part? Ending (and beginning) every day in a dreamy safari tent with a view that actually taps the Rockies.

Tired of recycling the same content for every moody moment?

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art offers a culture-rich solution to your digital demands in their new project “Send Me SFMOMA,”. Simply texting their hotline with a “send me ___” request (and filling in the blank with a word or emoji of choice) will get a response with a matching art piece from their archives. Hearts, rainbows, and robots are all fair game for inspirational images meant to deliver “a sublime, semi-random search of the collection.”

Notorious for her surprising (and often hilariously biting) social media responses, Rihanna recently proved that she’s as much of a buttercup as the rest of us.

She responded to a fan’s direct message on Instagram with personal, empowering relationship advice — and according to the recipient, this isn’t the first time that RiRi’s thoughtfully doled out her wisdom. Who can argue with brilliantly forgiving post-heartbreak logic like: “Cry if you have to, but it won’t be forever!”

Texas hospitality took a once-in-a-lifetime approach when a man in Corpus Christi accidentally locked himself inside of the ATM he was fixing.

His escape plan? Slipping “HELP ME” notes through the receipt slot to customers who approached the machine, finally leading to his safe rescue. (https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2017/07/14/texas-man-stuck-atm-slips-help-me-note-through-receipt-slot/478452001/)

The chance to step inside of a giant origami pineapple (in millennial pink, no less) is finally a reality thanks to one artistic duo’s project called Look! Look! Look!

Built within Berrington Hall’s historic walled garden, Heather and Ivan Morison spent six months constructing a surreal jigsaw-like pavilion to attract visitors for summer yoga, music, and performance events.

Warning: happy tears are on the table for this next must-love-dogs update:

Messy, a golden-retriever and Thailand native, barked warmly to neighbor Audi, a husky who would cry out from his backyard, lonely for his owners. When Audi’s gate was left open by accident, he snuck over to Messy to give his best friend an over-the-fence, undeniably adorable hug.

Your coffee fix is, once again, doctor approved.

Thanks to recent studies, it turns out that drinkers live slightly longer than their espresso-free counterparts. Though the difference in vitality may only technically be a tiny 2%, it still may be your best excuse for a decent summer buzz.

Four-legged lovers rejoice!

The “World’s Happiest Animal,” the quokka, once nearly extinct, is thriving in developed areas of Rottnest, Australia. Thanks to the abundant food and adoring fans found in the city’s tourist attractions, including a local golf course, the ever-smiling, teddy-bear-sized marsupials are eating their fill and making their mark, with a new awareness spread by countless travelers’ selfies to thank.

Free People Blog

Why Jaw Tension Might Be to Blame for Your Breakouts

Why Jaw Tension Might Be to Blame for Your Breakouts

The link between stress and skincare, and why our most stubborn issues could have everything to do with jaw tension…

This post is part of an ongoing collaboration with The Chalkboard Mag.

Just when we thought our acne days died with everything else terrible about being a teen, our skin starts breaking out with a vengeance. Of course, now that we’re savvy adults we know to check our diets, wash our pillows and be picky about beauty products — but if that’s not enough, there might be another unexpectedly common cause at play: jaw tension.

Sadie Adams, of the celeb-treasured facial studio Take Care in L.A. and NYC, stresses the importance of stress management when it comes to skincare (because a build-up in the face often means breakouts on it). We asked this holistic esthetician to talk us though how jaw tension could be sabotaging our complexion, and a few daily DIY solutions to work into our beauty routines…

HOW DOES JAW TENSION INHIBIT SKIN CLARITY?

Excessive contractions in muscles can lead to tightness in all of the tissues, restricting the flow of lymph. A healthy lymph system supports a fluid membrane balance throughout the whole body; any condition of pathology can be traced back to a fluid-membrane imbalance. Skin conditions such as acne, rash, cellulite and, in extreme cases, lymphedema can result from poor lymphatic drainage.

Lymph nodes are part of the lymphatic system — an important aspect of the immune system — responsible for the differentiation of ‘self’ from ‘other’, as well as what serves from that which doesn’t. This network carries fluid, nutrients and waste material between the body tissues and the blood. Lymph nodes filter the fluid – trapping bacteria, viruses and foreign substances (anything deemed unsupportive to the organism) – and the lymphocytes (specialized white blood cells) destroy them. Stagnation or blockages in these nodes can mitigate the filtration process, therefore increasing the amount of toxins in the blood and lymph. An excess of toxins in these fluids can cause acne in skin that has increased levels of sebum and blockages in its pores.

Using a non-abrasive exfoliator once or twice a week can prevent this stagnation from occurring . Its antimicrobial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory actions, as well as the mechanical efforts of the application process, can support clarity in the tissue and healthy circulation of lymph fluid. Good circulation and coherence in the various layers of tissue are reflected in healthy, glowing skin.

WHAT ARE COMMON CAUSES OF JAW TENSION?

Favoring one side while sleeping or sleeping without consideration of alignment and support; grinding or gripping with teeth and/or a misaligned bite; scoliosis; leading with sensory organs/carrying the head forward of the spine; trauma or injury; repression and suppression: unexpressed thoughts, feelings and emotions, and unprocessed experiences can create holding patterns in the jaw, as well as physical strain and emotional stress. Stress can trigger excess hormone production and lead to various imbalances, including muscle tension and acne.

WHAT ARE THE IMMEDIATE BENEFITS OF RELEASING JAW TENSION?

After releasing jaw tension, clients report feeling more relaxed, calm and centered after a session. Usually there is an immediate flush of stagnation and more clarity in the lymph. Depending on the condition, self-care techniques and applications may be required for long term re-patterning.

WHAT ARE THE BEST DIY PRACTICES FOR RELEASING JAW TENSION?

A daily self-massage focusing around the sides of the head, the ear, jawline and down to the collarbones can be helpful in clearing blockages.

When exploring facial massage, consider that normal massage oil that works well for the body may be too heavy for certain skin types and conditions. Try working with pressure points without oil or use a high quality facial serum with a good slip.

Ease tight muscles in the jaw by sitting with elbows resting on the knees and the cheekbones resting on the heals of the hands, then letting the jaw open towards the earth. As much as possible, feeling the disk at the TMJ moving forward and down, while opening the mouth.

Another simple exercise: rather then moving the jaw away from the head, as in chewing, stabilize the jawbone and open the mouth by moving the head up and back. Feel the space around the disk in the joint.

HOW CAN WE REDUCE JAW TENSION DURING OUR DAY-TO-DAY?

When shampooing the scalp, one can spend extra time massaging the muscles, in order to drain accumulated fluids around tight areas. I suggest taking one’s time and being sensitive. Approach this from a place of wanting to support and cleanse. This allows one to hear the timing of the tissue and what is needed to release tightness and stagnation.

Be mindful of alignment while walking, working and exercising. Noticing and correcting forward head carriage and unnecessary holding in the jaw while engaging in day-to-day activities requires attention and commitment, and will support the health of the joints.

Fully resting the weight of one’s head on the pillow before sleeping can be a way to tell your body that it doesn’t need to take the stresses of the day into the night. Feel the fluids inside of the head registering gravity and space. While actively yielding the head, soften the TMJ and release any perceived tension in the facial muscles and tongue.

Self-contentedness leads to happiness and fluid-membrane balance. Choosing gratitude and contentment can greatly decrease tension. A regular meditation practice can cultivate presence and peace, in body and mind. Meditation and breath awareness are powerful and empowering tools help to dramatically reduce day-to-day tension and stress.

+ Read more from our collaboration with Chalkboard Magazine here

Photo by Jana Kirn

Free People Blog

Skincare A-Z

Skincare A-Z

Your go-to reference guide for all things FP beauty…

Figuring out what beauty products to use on your unique skin can be hard enough without trying to decode a label or ingredient deck. To make your life a little easier, we pulled together some of the most common (and most misunderstood) terms you may come across in your green beauty quest, along with a bit of explanation as to what the heck they are and why you should (or shouldn’t) be smearing them all over your skin.

ACID

Scary name, powerhouse ingredient family. The main function of acids in skincare is as a chemical exfoliant that dissolves away the top layer of skin cells to reveal fresh, new, glowy skin underneath. Though some are harsher than others, most natural products that contain acid have low enough levels of the stuff that you won’t end up with a red, raw face. And acids are gentler than scrubs (physical exfoliants) because they don’t damage the skin or create small tears in the surface. Some of the more common acids to look for are alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) like glycolic acid and lactic acid, salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid and citric acid.

BALM

A multipurpose blend of botanicals, oils and butters meant to soften, soothe, heal and even act as a makeup remover. Balms are semi-solid in the jar but melt smoothly with the natural heat from your body, making them nice and slippery and easy to apply without tugging at your skin. For makeup removing purposes, balm are great for double cleansing as they don’t require water/lathering and therefore won’t dry out your skin.

CLAY

An uber-popular ingredient, especially in products for acne-prone or oily skin, clay works to absorb excess oil, unclog pores and generally suck anything unwanted out of your body. There are several types of clay — bentonite, rhassoul, kaolin — and it’s typically found in face masks, bath soaks and dry shampoo.

EMOLLIENT

A fancy way of saying “moisturizer,” an emollient is a product that makes the top layers of skin soft and pliable by reducing water loss. They act as humectants, enhancing skin’s capacity to hold onto water, and as barriers so that moisture doesn’t sneak away. Look for plant and mineral oils, shea and cocoa butters, and fatty acids on an ingredient list.

FRAGRANCE

A catch-all ‘ingredient’ for any ingredients that add a scent to a product, fragrance is definitely something to avoid if you can. Because there’s almost no regulation around the definition of ‘fragrance,’ manufacturers can hide a lot of harmful, hormone-disrupting chemicals under the term without having to list them out on an ingredient deck. The anonymous chemical blends can also cause skin irritation because: chemicals. If you can’t bring yourself to give up scented products, opt for ones that smell because they include natural, plant-based essential oils and clearly state the ingredient behind the smell.

GLUTEN

Not just something to avoid if you’re celiac or have a gluten allergy! Trace amounts of the stuff can be found in some beauty products and, while the proteins are too large to really absorb through the skin, there’s always the risk of licking your lips while wearing a lipstick that contains gluten or poking yourself in the eye with a glutenous mascara wand.

HUMECTANT

Another fancy word, this time for a substance that helps skin hold onto moisture by attracting moisture in the air and then holding onto that water for dear life for the sake of your skin’s health. Aloe vera and hyaluronic acid are both natural humectants. 

JOJOBA OIL

Lightweight so it won’t clog pores and plant-based so it’s good for you, jojoba oil is one of the easiest, most effective ways to treat dry skin without making it greasy thanks to its fatty acids and the fact that it’s similar in structure to the skin’s sebum.

LANOLIN

Best friend of dry, chapped skin, lanolin is found on the wool of sheep (it’s what keeps their coat dry and protected against the elements) and mimics the molecular structure of human skin lipids, so your skin soaks it up without a problem. It can also hold up to 400% of its weight in moisture so it’s a super humectant.

MANUKA HONEY

A favorite of green beauty junkies everywhere, manuka honey comes from the pollinated manuka bush of New Zealand. As with all honey, manuka is naturally antimicrobial (good for acneic skin) but it also boasts nearly four time the nutritional content of other honeys. Eat it, slather it on your face, use it as a hair mask — it’s packed with skin-friendly vitamin B, amino acids, iron, magnesium and zinc.

NATURAL

A designation that means virtually nothing as there’s no regulation when it comes to this kind of claim. Companies who claim their products are “natural” are likely just jumping on the marketing bandwagon and may have a couple of natural ingredients thrown into the mix. Take a close look at the ingredient list: if the ones you recognize as from nature are few and far between or buried at the bottom beneath dozens of others that came from a lab, it’s not natural in the sense you’re looking for.

ORGANIC

A designation that actually does mean something as “organic” status is regulated by the USDA. This means all or most of the ingredients in the product are organic, having been grown and processed under a strict code of guidelines.

PARABENS

In short, parabens are a group of preservatives that keep products shelf-stable, lengthening their lifespan. They’re often criticized for containing a dangerous amount of estrogen, thereby messing with hormone levels, but the research has been inconclusive.

RETINOIDS

Also known as vitamin A (it’s the entire molecule), retinoids are best known for their anti-aging properties by enhancing collagen production, thereby smoothing skin and evening out pigmentation. Be patient, though: it takes around 12 weeks for the effects of retinoids to be noticeable.

SULFATES

A group of cleansing agents, this is the stuff that makes things foamy (soap, toothpaste, laundry detergent). The most well-known version, sodium laureth sulfate, can be terribly drying and irritating if left on the skin too long. Studies have shown SLS (and other sulfates) are typically safe to use regularly, but be wary if you have super-sensitive skin or an inflammatory condition like dermatitis or eczema.

VITAMIN C

You know citrus fruits are packed with the stuff, but vitamin C is also one of the most skin-friendly ingredients you can incorporate into your routine. It fights aging, brightens and smooths skin, and is a potent all-around antioxidant. Just remember that vitamin C is very sensitive to light and air, so pick products with opaque packaging (like dark violet Miron or amber glass) or air-restrictive pumps to keep everything stable.

ZINC OXIDE

When you think of an old timey lifeguard, this is the white stuff on their noses to protect against sunburn. The mineral is a natural, physical sunscreen (meaning it sits on top of the skin as opposed to sinking in like a chemical sunscreen), and protects against both UVA and UVB radiation.

+Looking for more tips and tricks on skincare? Be sure to check out these articles here

Photo by Jana Kirn

Free People Blog

5 Ways Relaxation Will Make You More Creative

5 Ways Relaxation Will Make You More Creative

Your brain is able to generate more creative thoughts when you’re less anxious…so start doing a whole lot of chillin, now!

This post comes to you from contributor, Kate Mack

Wellness wasn’t always about spin classes or green smoothies. Creativity and the arts were strongly connected with the concept of wellness from the late 18th century to WWII. Great artists like Beethoven, Mozart, Nietzsche, Tolstoy and Proust spent long periods of time relaxing in the grand spas of their eras, and composed many famous works there.

Medical and neuroscience research shows that stress is the biggest obstacle to creative thinking. Alpha brain waves, which occur when your brain is in an idling state (daydreaming, practicing meditation, or aerobic exercise) fuels creativity. Spas, wellness programming, and artistic activities are all proven to expand our imaginative muscles. Your brain is able to generate more creative thoughts when you’re less anxious. So basically, by chilling out you’ll probably create a masterpiece.

Here are 5 ways to inspire your first requiem:

Attend a classical performance.

Or at the very least, incorporate some musical greats like Chopin, Debussy, or Philip Glass into your playlist. You’ll be amazed at how stimulated your mind becomes when you tune into the music.

Aromatherapy bathing.

Fill up your tub, light a candle, and take a bath. The combination of warm water and detoxifying salts, crystals or oils can lower your blood pressure and relieve anxiety, thus freeing up your mind to daydream. Try these with dried flowers for added botanical inspiration.

Knit something.

The repetitive action of needlework can induce a relaxed state, just like yoga or meditation. Except with knitting you get a cozy pair of socks when you finish.

Color!

Adult coloring books are trending for a reason — there’s something especially soothing when you put your focus into coloring between the lines. They’re also a good way to break the “creative ice” and tune into your inner Manet.

Read between the lines.

Find yourself a good ol’ fashioned book and dig into it instead of turning on the TV tonight. I find that reading before bed relaxes me (sometimes too much and I pass out), but choose something that relates to a passion or something you’re curious about. I’d suggest Material Girl, Mystical World if you want to tap into the meaning of life and keep it light. đŸ˜‰

 

+Looking for more ways to jumpstart your creativity? Check out these articles here

Photo by Jana Kirn

Free People Blog