Book Review: The Green Beauty Guide by Julie Gabriel

These days, it can be dangerous to attempt to navigate the toxic waters of the beauty industry on your own. There’s trouble at every turn – neurotoxins, hormone disruptors and other baddies cloaked in innocuous-sounding alternate names abound in practically every product you pick up at the store. While some of us might have already memorized the list of dangerous ingredients to avoid in cosmetics and personal care products, not everyone has the time for such things. That’s one reason ‘The Green Beauty Guide’ by Julie Gabriel is a great companion to have when shopping.

In every chapter you’ll also find her ‘green product guide’, where she names specific products and rates them with between one and three leaf icons to indicate how green/natural they are and gives a brief description of what’s in them and how well they work.

Then there are all the recipes. Gabriel gives you the ultimate way to avoid all the nasty stuff that lurks in those store-bought bottles and jars: instructions for making your own products. She has provided recipes for practically everything you can think of, from natural sun protection oils to deodorizing foot spray.

Here’s a sample:

Manicure in a Jar

½ cup organic brown sugar
½ cup grape seed oil
5 drops vanilla extract
2 drops lavender essential oil
1 drop sandalwood essential oil

Combine the ingredients in a small bowl and transfer to a wide-necked jar so you can dip your fingers into the mix. Do just that: one by one, dip your fingertips into the jar, massaging the sugary mixture gently into cuticles and knuckles, wave hands gently to please your senses (the scent is lovely!), and briskly immerse your hands in warm water to remove excess oil.

The Green Beauty Guide’ is a fun-to-read, in-depth manual to selecting products and making your own. Gabriel doesn’t just tell you what to avoid and why – she tells you what to use instead and how to find it. It’s a worthy addition to your library, for sure.

Stephanie Rogers is a fashion- and beauty-obsessed freelance writer with an abiding love for kale and organic wine, living in Asheville, North Carolina.