As interest in the world of natural beauty products grows, so do the number of books written on the subject. The latest is The Green Beauty Guide, by nutritionist and beauty writer Julie Gabriel. This back-to-basics guide will help you navigate the world of “natural” beauty and, like so many of its peers, gives you a list of ingredients to avoid as well as the latest research on what’s not to love about them. Unlike most other books in the same category, The Green Beauty Guide also gives you a better understanding of what types of ingredients are necessary to create, for example, a standard body lotion. Even better, Garbiel offers a number of recipes for those of you who find yourselves inspired to create your own scrubs, masks, massage oils, and lotions. Personally, I’ve never been one to try making my own toiletries. If I’m going to make a mess in the kitchen, I want to eat the outcome; everything else just sounds like work. That being said, I have to admit that after reading this book, I briefly considered giving it a try. If any of you have given it a whirl, I’d love to hear how it went! For those of us who prefer to leave the cleansing of our skin to the professionals, she recommends several widely available, safe and natural products from the likes of Dr. Hauschka, Aubrey Organics, and Burt’s Bees.
Which brings me to my only critique: she draws from a fairly limited number of products when making recommendations. While I agree that Hauschka and the other brands she loves are respectable indeed, I know from experience that there are many other fabulous natural and organic lotions, cleansers, foundations, and shampoos out there. Her favorites appear limited to whatever she was able to pull off the shelves at Whole Foods. I also think she overdoes the superiority of mineral makeup, as there are many highly effective and safe foundations, eye shadows and blushers in the world that aren’t necessarily mineral-based. Or at the very least, I think she could be clearer about the fact that mineral makeup is not limited to the loose powder stuff most of us associate with the term.
Overall, I would happily recommend The Green Beauty Guide to anyone wanting to learn more about their personal care products. It’s easy to read, easy to understand, serves as an excellent quick reference guide, and will help move us all forward in our understanding of how and why we should re-examine what we’re applying to our bodies.