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

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

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

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

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

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

Organic

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

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

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

Natural

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

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

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

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

Non-Toxic

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

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

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

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

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

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

Free People Blog

Meet the Green Beauty Brand that Started A Revolution

Meet the Green Beauty Brand that Started A Revolution

Oh hey, Juice Beauty…

To call the green beauty movement a revolution is not an understatement. In the last five years, a sophisticated fleet of botanical brands has emerged, made with clean ingredients, sustainable methods and recycled packaging. But Juice Beauty was one of the first companies to lead the way toward greener pastures and practices. Founded by Cali wellness guru Karen Behnke, the San Francisco-based company launched in 2005 — more than a decade ago, long before parabens were on everyone’s radar and going organic was as basic as breathing. Karen firmly believed in the natural, beauty-enhancing power of plants and other farm-fresh essentials, which she extracted into a potent juice that fueled her passion and original skin collection.

Now the cult-classic brand is a go-to for earth-loving notables, including Gwyneth Paltrow, who is a shareholder and creative director. Juice Beauty is also still on the forefront of new green technologies, as proven by its pretty stellar lineup of innovative skincare and SPF. Here, we take a quick look at what makes this antioxidant-infused brand so iconic, and why you’ll want all their creations:

 

At age 22, Karen Behnke started her wellness career by launching “Get Fit Aerobics,” a fitness class that she taught to members of the army and military near San Francisco.

 

Karen became pregnant with her first child; motivated to find healthy, safe beauty products, she began scrutinizing ingredient labels for the first time.

 

Karen purchased the rights to use the “Juice Beauty” name from a small brand based in Mill Valley, California, with a handful of conventional (not-so-natural) products. Alongside her husband, Karen began researching how they could create a new line using organic, botanical juices (aloe, grape) as a base, instead of water or petroleum glycol fillers.

 

Karen contacted many laboratories to find a partner. Almost all of them turned her down — no one wanted to formulate with organic juices at the time. Finally, she tracked own one laboratory that was on board with the company’s innovative mission and concept.

 

Juice Beauty officially launched! The Juice Beauty Daily Essential Collection made its debut — containing the Cleansing Milk, Green Apple Peel Full Strength, Hydrating Mist and Nutrient Moisturizer. The line was first carried in Whole Foods and Pharmaca among other boutiques.

 

JuiceBeauty.com went live!

 

Kate Hudson casually mentions that Juice Beauty is one of her favorite beauty lines in a cover story for Harper’s Bazaar, which instantly puts the up-and-coming green brand on the map.

 

The Blemish Clearing collection launches, becoming one of the first acne skincare ranges with benzoyl peroxide and a revolutionary new method to clear skin with organic fruit acids, salicylic acid, willow bark, CoQ10 and vitamin C.

 

 

A U.S. Patent is awarded to the Green Apple Peel for its unique ability to brighten and even out skin.

 

Juice Beauty enhanced all formulations under a new product development team. It’s a turning point for the brand, as an outside clinical lab confirms that the products outperform typical conventional chemical brands.

 

Growth spurt! The rapidly-expanding brand opened a new distribution center to get its botanical goods into the hands of more fans. Juice Beauty’s products get the stamp of approval from PETA and Leaping Bunny Cruelty-Free.

 

Juice Beauty turned on the lights at their new sustainable headquarters in San Rafael, California, utilizing all recycled and reused materials and furniture.

 

Gwyneth Paltrow joined Juice Beauty as a shareholder, business partner and creative director, praising the brand for being at the forefront of “making organic beauty products that work.”

 

Juice Beauty launched in Free People, spreading the feel-good message that healthy is beautiful!

Free People Blog

Meet The Founder: Ashley Prange, Au Naturale

Meet The Founder: Ashley Prange, Au Naturale

Sharing with us how she swapped studying nuclear particles for cosmetic nanoparticles…

This post comes to you from contributor Natalie Shukur.

Ashley Prange’s career trajectory is wonderfully unconventional. From nuclear analyst to clean cosmetics pioneer, the surprising switch came from a very personal place. Living next door to a beauty boutique in Washington D.C., Prange was always trying out the latest in cosmetics. Suffering from breakouts and irritation, she gravitated towards the cleanest products but found that her skin was still reacting to them. “So I did my research,” she says. “When I realized that there were still synthetics in the ‘natural’ brands I was using, I took to my kitchen and experimented until I’d created makeup that was truly healthy. That’s when it hit me that there was a tremendous gap in the market and I decided I wanted to be the one to fill it.” Enter Au Naturale, a comprehensive makeup line that ticks all of the boxes: organic, vegan, non-toxic, gluten-free and PETA-certified cruelty-free. Here, Prange shares how she swapped studying nuclear particles for cosmetic nanoparticles in a bid to revolutionize the beauty industry.

Does your background as a nuclear analyst inform what you do now?

Yes. Especially when it comes to the purity of the product. As a former regulator, I care about supply chain, and that’s driven the desire to formulate the way we do. Having had experience in the political realm has also been incredibly helpful in starting the Clean Beauty Revolution.

The natural cosmetic market is growing rapidly. What makes Au Naturale different?

People have referred to us as the “unicorn” of natural beauty. Not only are we vegan, cruelty-free, synthetic-free and handcrafted regularly, but we also make everything in our own lab in Green Bay, Wisconsin. This in itself is exclusively unique, but we are also soon to be the only NSF-305 certified cosmetic line, rendering us the cleanest in the game.

Why is “clean beauty” so important to you?

Because your skin is your largest organ, 60% of what you put on it ends up in your body. I believe you should treat personal care products just as you do the food you eat…so if you care about your health, having truly clean makeup is a must.

What are some of your favorite products in the range?

It depends on the season. Right now, my go-to routine entails: Completely Covered Creme Concealer in Buff, Semi-Matte Powder Foundation in Lucia, Golden Henna Pure Powder Bronzer lightly dusted all over, Pure Powder Blush in Pink Champagne, and su/Stain in On Pointe for a subtle pop of lip color.

Do you follow any daily wellness rituals?

I like to start my day relaxed so, when I wake up, I take at least 10 minutes to meditate. First, I try to be thankful for all of the good, and then I think about what needs to be done for the day. Next, I get active in some kind of way, mixing road biking, yoga and pilates throughout the week. For me, staying active is pivotal for my mental and physical health. Then it’s off to work! We try to uphold similar ideals in the office because we all flourish when we’re happy and healthy. So step into the Au Naturale headquarters and you’ll catch daily motivational mantras and wafts of organic coffee. When I leave the office, I try to spend as much time as I can in nature so if my schedule permits I’ll be gardening or hiking.

Is there any type of food philosophy you like to follow?

I’ve been a vegetarian since age eight! Outside of staying away from meat, I try to avoid processed foods and sugar.

How do you like to perk yourself up/calm yourself down?

Rolling in the organic hay! [laughs]. Just kidding… green apples and pilates. And the occasional self-care night.

How do you source the ingredients for your products?

Carefully. We work hard to ask a lot of questions and work exclusively with people who really know their stuff. Often times we go as far as visiting the very farm where the ingredients are grown.

What causes are important to you?

Where do I start? The Clean Beauty Revolution, obviously. It was a passion [of mine] before it was a business and continues to be what we work on the most. We believe the only way to truly change the beauty industry is to formally change the legislation ruling it. But I’m also passionate about environmentalism in every form. Part of why we’re located in WI is so that we can help lend to the collective voice advocating for sustainability in a place that really needs it. And of course, empowering women and younger generations is and always will be my mission both personally and via the company. Every woman should be confident and raised to believe that she can do everything.

Who or are your biggest influences?

Jane Goodall. I met her when I was working for [House of Representatives member] Patrick Kennedy in D.C. as an intern in college, and she put my hands in her hands and told me I was capable of anything — it truly ignited something in me. I think about how she is a normal person who persisted in chasing her dreams and, in doing so, has done such tremendous things for animals, the environment and education. Another? Eleanor Roosevelt, because she is a strong woman who influenced policy and empowered so many. She was also the reason my grandfather came to the States as one of the first Fulbright scholars, so, if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t exist!

What else inspires your work?

I’ve always been inspired by Elsa Schiaparelli. She’s totally unique and far too overlooked for what she gave to the world of fashion. Her creative design, bold artistic language and her [personal] story have always driven me to expand my creative horizons.

Do you have an ethos or mantra that you live by?

Of course! They sound cheesy, but here we go: Treat people as you’d like to be treated and WWJD (What would Jane [Goodall] Do?).

+ Check out the full line of Au Naturale products here

Free People Blog

Quickie Wellness: Captain Blankenship

Quickie Wellness: Captain Blankenship

“Living with the tides and stars, with the smell of the oceans and forests, is medicine for the body and spirit.”

This post comes to you from beauty contributor, Kari Molvar.

Inspired by summers spent in the wilds of Maine, Captain Blankenship is a line of organic scents, hair, skin and body products. Since launching in 2009, it’s built a steady following with its all-natural formulas, which are blended with a holistic, whimsical spirit. Founder Jana Blankenship is particularly into cold-pressed organic plant oils, flowers, seaweed extracts and other botanicals you’d expect to find foraging in the fields and ocean. Here, she chats about making the leap from art curator to beauty entrepreneur, the raw power of scents, and her favorite wellness rituals, including her genius breakfast oatmeal hack.

Where did you grow up, and did you ever think you’d start a beauty brand?

I was born and raised in Cambridge, MA. I was the kid who made potions infusing rose petals and pine needles. This evolved into mixing my mom’s perfumes together to make signature scents. It was the 1980s and the perfumes were all toxic — I ended up developing an ongoing allergy to synthetic scents. My love of natural scents persisted, but I never imagined how my passion would manifest itself.

Where in Maine did you spend your summers and why do you think these trips had such a lasting impact on you?

My family had been going to the town of Sorrento for the past 115 years. I spent summers there a kid running barefoot through the woods and learning how to sail. The smell of the sea and seaweed is ever present. I learned to have a deep reverence for nature and its rhythms. Living with the tides and stars, with the smell of the oceans and forests, is medicine for the body and spirit. We go back every summer and now I get to watch my own kids run through the woods and fields.

What were you doing before you launched your brand?

I worked as a curator of contemporary art at the Wattis Institute in San Francisco. I loved my job and getting to work directly with artists. I am also a painter and artist, which works its way into a lot of our packaging design.

Your packaging is so beautiful. Did you design it all?

The first packaging was all handwritten and, for years, the labels were made of scans of my handwriting and drawings. The logo, some of the imagery and the watercolor gradation on our boxes all came from my hand. I recently started collaborating with the incredible illustrator Liza Corsillo who drew the beautiful botanical drawings on our boxes and some other new nautical drawings that we are starting to use.

What was your “aha” moment for creating Captain Blankenship?

I walked into a friend’s store in Berkeley and smelled this incredible solid perfume by the incredible natural perfumer Mandy Aftel. It smelled of jasmine, blood orange and grapefruit. It smelled like the hills in North Berkeley where I lived. I started study natural perfumery with Mandy Aftel and found this unbelievably rich palette to work with. It all just grew from there.

How did you get from San Francisco to the Hudson Valley where your brand is now based?

I loved living in the Bay Area and it will always be a second home. Both my husband’s family and mine are on the east coast, though, so when we decided to try to have children we wanted to be back near family. We fell in love with the Hudson Valley — the community, the farms, the mountains, the waterfalls; there is so much beauty here and it felt like the perfect place to raise our family. I have 2 children. Mila is almost 4 and Caspian is 1 1/2. And my furry kids are Vuka, a 7-year-old Siberian Husky and Siga, a 10-year-old cat.

What makes Captain Blankenship different from the other natural brands?

Our motto at Captain Blankenship is Beauty Wild with Nature. Captain Blankenship was born out of my desire to create organic beauty products that create a direct link with nature. We use ingredients like cold pressed organic plant oils, flowers, seaweeds, sea salt and organic essential oils that bring us back to the primacy of experience with the land and sea. I think something that sets our products apart is the integrity and efficacy of the ingredients coupled with unusual and experiential essential oil based scents. Natural perfume is where the brand grew out of, so scent is still at the heart of the products.

What product are people really obsessed with?

Our Golden Waves Sea Salt Shimmer Spray is our most popular product right now. It is an organic sea salt hair spray that adds texture but also has natural gold mica added for subtle shimmer and shine. It works on all hair colors. We like to think it makes your hair look like you walked through a sunbeam.

Which product is your personal favorite and the one you use most often?

I live by our Mermaid Dry Shampoo. I use it every morning and often sprinkle it in my hair with a baby under one arm. It is a lifesaver. It really works to mask grease and add volume to hair, plus I love the smell of organic rose geranium and palmarosa essential oils. It smells like wild roses on the beach.

Do you grow the ingredients in your products?

We don’t grow any of the ingredients ourselves. It takes 60 roses to make one drop of essential oil. The best organic rose essential oil in the world comes from Bulgaria and this is from where we source our oil (find it in our Aloe & Rose Toner!). We take this approach with all of our ingredients. We only work with suppliers we trust and only use ingredients that are certified organic or wild-harvested.

Tell us about your own wellness routine: What does it involve? Any favorite tips or DIY recipes you use daily?

We live in the Hudson River Valley and I try to spend as much time outside in nature as possible. Most days, I’ll go walking on running on the rail trail near our house with my Siberian Husky while pushing my son in a jogging stroller. Every weekend, we try to take a family hike in the mountains. I am also trying to get back into my yoga practice after a long break and try to go to classes whenever I can or do a little practice at home, even if it is just a few minutes.

I love to cook, but with kids I have never have much time to do it…But I am a huge believer in breakfast. Most mornings I’ll prepare oatmeal with goji berries and organic maple syrup from down the road. I’ll throw in organic frozen fruit at the end to cool it down for the kids, one of my favorite secrets.

Where does the “Captain” in your brand name come from?

Blankenship is my husband’s last name and I just fell in love with it (and him!). When I was getting married, my friend Rachel joked that I was going to be the Captain of the Blankenship. When I started the company, it was the only name I considered. It embodies the spirit of adventure, whimsy and deep connection to, and exploration of, nature that is at the heart of the brand.

+ Shop and discover Captain Blankenship products here!

Free People Blog

Natural Wonders: How to Turn Your Most Boring Skincare Step into A Spa Experience

Natural Wonders: How to Turn Your Most Boring Skincare Step into A Spa Experience

This Ayurvedic cleansing oil is gaining a cult following with industry insiders for its next-level skin benefits and no fuss, no muss organic ingredients…

This post comes to you from contributor Arden Andrews.

Let’s be real — in the scope of revolutionary products, a facial cleanser rarely steals the spotlight. How much attention does that step you typically wash down the drain really deserve? Apparently, when it’s packed with complexion-nourishing ingredients and zero of the risky chemicals found in drugstore soaps, it can garner the kind of following that turns an up-and-coming brand into an overnight cult hit. Enter Kumari Cleansing Oil, the hero product of indie Ayurvedic brand Wilde Gatherings which is quickly gaining buzz amongst industry insiders for its next-level results, not to mention the spa-like experience it delivers upon impact.

“I believe that skin care needs to have a little wakeup call,” says aesthetician Kelley Hughes, who founded the organic line last year. “People need to think about their skin, what they need, and not just follow what the masses are doing,” explains Hughes, chatting earnestly over the phone between client facials. “I have people who come in and literally still use Noxzema—I’m blown away by it. I mean, come on, Noxzema? It’s Crisco with menthol in it! It is bananas that they’re putting that on their face.”

Sparking the shift to natural and focusing on ancient Ayurvedic principles which she describes as “the most amazing, oldest documented medicine we have,” Hughes originally mixed up batches of the cleanser by hand in her Philly-based salon, the Parlour. Rudimentary packaging in amber bottles with masking tape labels reading “Kumari” (which means aloe) didn’t stop it from flying off the shelves for years before she ever created the brand. “I started selling at Free People’s market where they bring in local artists and makers, and I would set up a table next to these great companies like Vapour. That’s where buyers first were like,‘What is this? What is going on here? I hear people talking about this…’ and it just did so well.”

The preservative-free recipe contains a blend of stimulating, antioxidant-rich oils like lemon, neroli, sweet orange, olive and sea buckthorn, and aside from those that suffer from consistent breakouts with a very high oil production (who can still use it as an eye makeup remover), it works for all skin types. The tincture brightens and tightens the complexion, plus doubles as a moisturizer for both skin and lashes. “People tell me that their eyelashes have gotten healthier after using it consistently,” says Hughes. “The olive oil specifically nourishes and helps with lash fullness.”

But how exactly does one cleanse with an oil after years of lathering up with old school soaps? Below, Hughes offers her salon-approved step-by-step system:

  1. “Put a couple of pumps in your hand and massage it into your face, loosening your makeup.”
  2. “Add a bit of warm water and moosh it around a little on your skin.”
  3. “Take a warm washcloth, lay it over your face, and compress gently.”
  4. “Breathe in — it smells like heaven. I think neroli takes it to another level — it’s really a euphoric scent.”
  5. “Remove the washcloth to reveal the fresh, hydrated, soft transformation of your skin.”
  6. “You’re done. You could go to bed like that! It’s so moisturizing, you don’t have to buy another thing.”

+ Check out more beauty hacks from Arden here! 

Lead image by Dom Episcopo.

Free People Blog

Wellness Encyclopedia: Chlorella + Spring Green Chlorella Smoothie

Wellness Encyclopedia: Chlorella + Spring Green Chlorella Smoothie

Embodying just about everything spring and green represent — renewal, harmony, positivity…

Spring is the season of green. Of leaves and buds bursting forth, and of fresh spring greens filling our plates. After months of hibernation, of fortifying root vegetables and squashes, it’s hard not to cheer when yet another farmers’ market opens for the season, to hold ourselves back from jumping for joy at the first sighting of spring asparagus or a bunch of technicolor tulips waiting to sit fat and happy in a vase. And CSAs! How could I have forgotten CSAs? Delivering goodness right to our doors. Of course, though we might pile our plates with fresh fruits and veggies, it can be hard to get all the green we need from day to day. But that’s when superfoods step in to the rescue, working with our bodies to heal, nourish, balance and protect. Chlorella is one of these foods. Embodying just about everything spring and green represent — renewal, harmony, positivity — chlorella gets to work spring cleaning the system of heavy metals and toxins while delivering an impressive dose of nutrients, it’s the perfect way to boost your intake of greens. If you’re new to the blue-green gorgeousness of chlorella, read on to learn all about this interesting algae from Japan and to find a nourishing spring smoothie recipe.

What is it? “Chlorella” actually refers to a genus of emerald green single cell freshwater algae native to Japan and Taiwan. One of the oldest-known species on the planet, chlorella is integral to the health of freshwater food chains and has been studied for decades for its use as a potential food source due to its impressive nutritional profile (Fun, if potentially distressing, fact: it was heavily studied in the 1940s when it was believed a boom in population would cause global food shortages). Now used primarily as a supplement, chlorella cells feature a naturally hard outer cell wall that make it indigestible to humans, which is why most chlorella supplements note a “cracked cell wall”, a process that makes it absorbable by the body.

What are the benefits? If you have trouble eating your greens, chlorella can help! Chlorella gets its gorgeous emerald green hue from its high concentration of chlorophyll, which has been shown to stabilize blood sugar levels, detox the system, protect cells from oxidative damage, and more. While it can’t replace your greens completely, 3 tablespoons of chlorophyll-rich chlorella contains 16g of protein, 202% recommended daily allowance of iron, and a massive 287% recommended daily allowance of vitamin A (along with magnesium, zinc, and vitamins B2 and B3). Of course, a typical serving of chlorella is about a teaspoon, which is why you’ll still need to load up your salad with all the good stuff, but when taken in tandem with a healthy diet chlorella can boost the nutrient content of your foods considerably. Along with adding essential vitamins and minerals to your diet, chlorella detoxifies the body by binding to heavy metals present in the system. This is key for those undergoing chemotherapy or who have been exposed to lead, and could even be beneficial for the heavily tattooed, as tattoo ink contains trace amounts of heavy metals. Chlorella has also been shown to increase the good bacteria in the gut, leading to a healthy immune system and better digestion.

How do I use it? Beautiful chlorella mixes easily with water, making it super simple to add to your routine, however there’s one major drawback to this… it tastes like chlorella (if you love the taste, more power to ya… please tell me your secrets). The flavor of chlorella is easily masked when blended into green smoothies, especially those with a tropical twist like the one below. It also mixes well with miso, salad dressings, and fresh-pressed juice. Have a no-fail chlorella recipe? Please share!

Spring Green Chlorella Smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients:

1 tsp Sun Potion Chlorella powder

8 oz coconut water

2 large kale leaves, rinsed and de-veined

½ cup fresh or frozen mango chunks

½ cup fresh or frozen pineapple chunks

¼ cup fresh or frozen blueberries

½ tsp powdered ginger

Optional: Protein powder of choice or scoop of hemp hearts

Method:

Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

+ See more Wellness Encyclopedia posts here…

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

Quickie Wellness: DIY Organic Face Moisturizing Set

Create an all-natural beauty routine, unique to you…

Remember the days of the Easy-Bake Oven? Creating concoctions that we swear were “the best thing ever” (if only we could get our siblings to try them). I loved being in charge of what was on our “menu” that night, a true DIY experience before we knew it was cool to “Do-It-Yourself”. Well, fast forward 20 years and the same idea has now transferred over to our adult beauty routine, oven not included. Introducing DIY body care sets that you can truly call your own.

Oleum Vera embodies a DIY mission to empower you to create an all-natural beauty routine in order to best suit your individual needs. With their products, Oleum Vera provides organic ingredients, easy recipes and essential knowledge to guide you toward being your healthiest self. We reached out to co-founder Tara Hayes to learn more about the brand and their mission.

Tell us a little about yourself. 

Born and raised in Toronto, I studied French Language and Literature as well as Fashion Management. I moved to Montreal to live in a cool city with a French, European flair. 😉

How did you get into DIY beauty?

I started to create my own beauty products a few years ago to have a better control of what my skin absorbs – after all, it is the largest organ in the body! As a health freak, I always read the ingredients on food labels and people should also do the same with their beauty products. I don’t eat unknown ingredients, so I won’t feed my skin chemicals.

How did you start your company?

I work for a company that specializes in design and the conceptualization of cool fermentation glassware that allows you to grow your own kombucha and fermented veggies. I had already convinced most of my colleagues and entourage to use my own organic body care recipes. Everybody loved my products, so I convinced our design team to create the coolest DIY beauty kits ever that are 100% organic and customizable!

Oleum Vera — what inspired the name?

In Latin, the brand literary means “True Oils” – we wanted a name that made reference to the purity of the ingredients.

Do you have a favorite recipe? Is there an ingredient you couldn’t live without?

I adore the DIY moisturizing face serums! The ingredients are very high quality and have been carefully sourced to ensure we are feeding our skin only the very best! I love the base ingredient of the serums, called Marula. This oil is highly nutritious, yet very light. Further, it is one of the best sources for the fatty acids that help improve the skin’s elasticity.

What does free mean to you?

Free for me refers to an individual’s right to choose, to have full transparency to make decisions. Oleum Vera’s mission is just this. We want to empower you to build an all-natural beauty routine that works for you from scratch. We do this by providing you with organic, unadulterated goodness from nature; easy, endless adaptable recipes; and the knowledge you need to tailor them to your body’s needs!

+ Ready to get your DIY on? Check out Oleum Vera’s DIY kits here

Follow April on Instagram.

Wellness Encyclopedia: Pau D’arco + Anima Mundi

Our bodies do all they can to restore and heal, but sometimes they need a little help…

The body’s capacity for healing is astounding. Think about it — about all we put ourselves through over the course of our lifetimes — even the most cautious lifestyle is bound to acquire a bug or two and some bumps and bruises along the way. To say nothing of those of us who choose to truly embrace life and all it has to offer, gaining more than our fair share of battle scars. In the same way we carry outer stamps of trauma and healing, our inner selves are just as susceptible to the inevitabilities of life. We get sick, we take antibiotics (healing yes, but not without their consequences), we maybe eat a little too much sugar from time to time… and our bodies do all they can to restore and heal, but sometimes they need a little help! Just as a band aid or cast assists in the healing process, tonifying the internal system with vitamins, minerals, adaptogens and superfoods gives our bodies the extra boost they need to flush out the bad stuff that may be chilling a little too long and wreaking havoc on the system. Today I’m diving into just such an ingredient. Antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory — powerful pau d’arco does it all, naturally. Read on to learn all about this South American superfood and how to use it!

What is it? Most often sold as a powder or tea, pau d’arco is sourced from the pink ipê (or pink trumpet) tree, a tree native to South America and the national tree of Paraguay. Boasting gorgeous bright pink trumpet-like flowers and extremely hard wood, pau d’arco powder is crafted from the wood and external bark of the tree and has been used since — at least — the 1800’s to treat a wide range of ailments (though it’s use most likely dates much farther back than that — pau d’arco use is even thought to predate the Inca). Known as a rainforest heal-all, pau d’arco helps everything from inflammation and candida.

What are the benefits? Though it treats a variety of ailments, pau d’arco is most commonly used in Western medicine to treat candida and yeast overgrowth, often caused by too many antibiotics, and too much sugar and caffeine. These two issues can cause a host of dramatic symptoms, including brain fog, depression, digestive upset, migraines and infertility. It’s thought that the main active chemicals in pau d’arco are naphthoquinones — specifically lapachol and beta-lapachone. These two chemicals boast anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic and antiviral properties, killing off candida and ridding the body of yeast overgrowth. These same properties are also effective in treating arthritis, pain, inflammation, and boosting the immune system — pau d’arco is a full body healer, boosting nearly every system.

How to use pau d’arco… Add 1-2 tsp of Anima Mundi’s Pau D’Arco powder to freshly pressed juices, smoothies, smoothie bowls or porridge. To make as a tea, mix ½ – 1 tsp pau d’arco powder into 8 oz. boiling water and allow to steep for 15 minutes. If using for candida or yeast overgrowth, take 2-3 times daily. If using to tonify, take 1-2 times daily. Pau d’arco is best consumed with food or within an hour of eating. Try the simple smoothie recipe below for an easy and delicious way to make pau d’arco part of your wellness routine.

Anti-Candidal Pau D’Arco Smoothie

[serves 1]

Ingredients:

8 oz organic coconut water

½ frozen banana

Handful organic kale

½ small mango

¼ cup organic blueberries

1-2 tsp Anima Mundi Pau D’Arco

Optional: Vegan protein powder

Method:

Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth. Serve & enjoy!

+ Shop all Anima Mundi products here.

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.

Wellness Encyclopedia: Vitamin A + Mad Hippie Serum

A key player in healthy bones, eyes, immunity and healthy skin…

I used to believe that if I ate enough carrots, I’d be able to see at night like a cat. I also believed that if I consumed enough apples, I’d never have to see the dentist again. Sorry, kid. Reality bites sometimes, but as much as the truth broke my (carrot and apple-loving, dentist-hating) 5-year-old heart, colorful fruits and veggies do play a vital role in keeping our bodies healthy, happy and functioning properly (vision and teeth included). Filling our plates with as many vibrant, natural ingredients as possible ensures that our meal not only tastes incredible, but that our bodies are getting the nourishment they require via an edible rainbow of goodness. Diversity on your plate translates to nutritional diversity for your body, allowing it to pull in all the vitamins and minerals it needs to keep moving, chief among them vitamin A. A key player in healthy bones, eyes, immunity and healthy skin, vitamin A is a nutrient we could all stand to get to know a little better. Beneficial internally and when applied to your skin via a serum like Mad Hippie’s Vitamin A Serum, vitamin A has the power to turn back time, erasing sun damage, boosting cellular turnover and making skin radiant again. Read on to learn more about this vital antioxidant and how it can help nearly every part of that gorgeous body of yours.

What is it? A powerful antioxidant and fat-soluble vitamin, vitamin A plays a major role in a host of bodily functions such as brain function, bone density and immune function. When used in skincare, vitamin A can reduce the signs of aging, fight free-radicals, and repair damage done by the sun. There are two variations of vitamin A: beta carotene and active vitamin A. Found in colorful fruits and veggies, beta carotene needs to be ingested and converted into retinol by the body to be put to use. Active vitamin A is the more bio-available of the two variations and does not need to be converted to retinol first. Active vitamin A can be found in a variety of sources and is the star ingredient in Mad Hippie’s Vitamin A Serum. Individuals with leaky gut and/or gluten sensitivity could experience vitamin A deficiency, so it’s a good idea to give attention to those issues to ensure proper absorption.

Benefits of vitamin A: Whether you’re using it internally or on your skin, vitamin A benefits the entire body. For internal use, it’s best absorbed when ingested in the form of — you guessed it — bright and delicious colorful fruits, greens and other vegetables. It’s most bioavailable in bright orange and dark green foods, like carrots, spinach, winter squashes, kale, apricots and nectarines. Eating plenty of vitamin A will aid in everything from building strong bones to healthy cognitive function to clear vision, and powerful antioxidant properties ensure free radicals are swept clear. These same antioxidants benefit skin function by encouraging cellular turnover, improving skin texture and tone, reducing the signs of aging and healing damage caused by too much sun.

How do I use it? Since this rejuvenating vitamin is readily available in so many fruits and veggies, the best way to up your ‘A’ intake is to eat the rainbow. Cabbage, apricots, nectarines, greens and carrots are all excellent sources of vitamin A, and good news — they’re all delicious. To reap the internal benefits, be sure to fill your plate or bowl with as many colorful ingredients as possible to ensure you’re getting plenty of vitamin A and other essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Your entire body will thank you!

To harness the external benefits of this powerful antioxidant, try a vitamin A-enriched serum, such as Mad Hippie Vitamin A Serum. This gorgeous serum reduces wrinkles, reverses damage from the sun and enhances cellular turnover thanks to vitamin A and coffee berry. Did I mention it smells incredible? No? Well, it does. To use it, simply massage into freshly-cleansed skin every other night until your skin adjusts, following 10 minutes later with moisturizer. Once your skin has adjusted to your new routine, you can begin using your serum nightly to reveal fresh, naturally beautiful skin.

+ Shop all Mad Hippie products here.

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.

Wellness Encyclopedia: Tocotrienols

Skin-nourishing, brain-power-boosting, nerve-rejuvenating powder…

As much as I love an exotic ingredient every now and then, in my opinion, the best beneficial ingredients and superfoods are the ones that seamlessly sync with your daily routine. A pat of hyaluronic acid in the morning followed up by some nourishing rosehip seed oil, a scoop of chia seeds… a mango tossed into your work bag as a mid-afternoon treat, when wellness is easy and approachable, we reap the rewards that much faster. And when an ingredient can double as an ice cream topping and smoothie-booster all at once? Bring it on. Today I’m sharing just such an ingredient. A powerful powder that easily blends into smoothies and oatmeal and does double-time as a slightly sweet dessert topper: tocotrienols. Part of FP fave Moon Juice’s arsenal of wellness essentials, Tocotrienols are not only easy to use, but delicious, too, and will have your skin feeling gorgeous in no time flat.

Read on to learn about this skin-nourishing, brain-power-boosting, nerve-rejuvenating powder, then scroll on for a super simple — and super delicious — recipe.

What are tocotrienols? Derived from grains such as barley, rice, wheat and oats, tocotrienols are a super concentrated source of vitamin E, D, B vitamins and antioxidants. Found in Moon Juice’s Tocotrienols, which are derived from organic California rice, tocotrienols are a powerful nourishing superfood that benefits body and mind.

What are the benefits? The power of tocotrienols mainly lies in the bioavailability of vitamin E levels. Essentially the benefits of tocotrienols are the same as taking a vitamin E supplement — your body just knows how to put tocotrienols to use more efficiently. While most traditional sources of vitamin E (also known d alpha tocopherol) have difficulty interacting with cell membranes, tocotrienols are ready and able to be absorbed into tissues and put to work by your body and are therefore more efficient in neutralizing free radicals — great news for your skin! Because they’re easily absorbed into cell membranes, tocotrienols are great for skin, hair, tissue regeneration, and overall anti-aging. They’ve also been found to be effective in boosting immunity, improving muscle function, and decreasing inflammation. Tocotrienols also play a role in protecting nerves and nerve function, important since our nerves deteriorate as we age and when we’re exposed to higher levels of toxins and pollutants. When added to your wellness routine, this wonder dust will have you looking good and feeling fine for years to come.

How do you use tocotrienols? Like I said, the best superfoods are the ones that are easy to incorporate into your everyday routine and lucky for us all, tocotrienols are as easy as they come. Slightly sweet with a hint of vanilla (tasting somewhat like cereal), Moon Juice’s Tocotrienols blend seamlessly into smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, chia pudding and raw desserts. The creamy texture and slightly sweet flavor also makes tocotrienols a great alternative to coffee creamer and adds a luxurious element to potions hot or cold. Of course, if you’re really feeling it, just sprinkle tocotrienols on any and everything. Need a little inspiration? Try the super easy recipe below, which pairs tocotrienols with beets and cacao to create a skin nourishing treat for body and mind.

Skin-Nourishing Beet-Banana Nice Cream

Serves 2.

Ingredients:

1 ½ bananas, sliced and frozen

⅓ cup beet juice

1 tbsp almond butter

1 heaping tbsp cacao powder

1 tsp Moon Juice Tocotrienols

Toppings: blueberries, granola, unsweetened coconut flakes

Method: 

Place frozen banana slices, beet juice, almond butter, cacao powder, and tocotrienols in a food processor and pulse until smooth (it should be the consistency of soft-serve).

Place food processor container in the freezer for approximately 10-15 minutes, or until mixture is solidified.

When ready to serve: Scoop nice cream into two small bowls and top with blueberries, granola and coconut. Mmmmmm… Enjoy!

+ Shop all Moon Juice products here!

 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.