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The Green Beauty Guide

by Tiffany in Beauty

Green Beauty Guide

A couple weeks ago I read The Green Beauty Guide. It is the ultimate guide to organic and natural skin care, hair care, makeup, and fragrances. Not only is the book HUGE, it is jammed packed with great information. It is the Bible of green and natural beauty. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

The beauty industry is a huge multi-billion dollar industry. We are bombarded with ads in magazines on the television that tell us these companies have succeeded in creating beauty in a bottle.  They make money hand over fist selling products to us that are “supposed” to make us look more youthful, give us softer looking skin, hide our imperfections, and make us look like a supermodel. But they are not so forthright in telling us that their products are full of chemical ingredients that can do more harm to us than good. Your skin is your biggest organ and it needs to be treated with care. This book is a must read for every woman.

I am really impressed with the author Julie Gabriel and what she accomplished with this book. I asked Julie to answer a few questions so enjoy the interview below and make sure to find out what beauty struggle she overcame with green, organic, natural ingredients.

Q: Why are natural and green beauty products and practices getting so popular?

Julie:We are becoming more and more aware of the harmful effects of synthetic ingredients used in conventional beauty products and spa procedures, no wonder green beauty industry is evolving so quickly. And it’s becoming more appealing, too. Five years ago green beauty products were less attractive and far less effective than conventional versions, but today green beauty is often more luxurious than synthetic beauty, or junk beauty, as I call it, similar to junk food. It’s a common sense to go green today, since you can replace every single jar and tube in your bathroom with green, non-toxic products that cost pretty much the same money but aren’t harmful for your health.

Q: What are some of the dangers associated with conventional products?

Julie:Most synthetic chemicals used in conventional products have never been tested on humans for safety. Science is only beginning to reveal the long-term damage linked to the continuous use of such chemicals as toluene, phthalates, liquid paraffin, paraben and formaldehyde preservatives. Sadly, list of potentially toxic, carcinogenic chemicals can go on and on.

A few days ago an angry reader complained: so you mean, I cannot wear perfume? Chanel is too toxic? It’s impossible to get away from all chemicals all the time, that is completely unrealistic, she said. Well, it is realistic to abstain from toxic beauty. All it takes is a shift in your consumer habits. Instead of being a slave to a flashy logo or wasting money on a chemical cream that costs pennies to make but sells for hundreds of dollars simply because it bears a famous logo, you’d better become a slave to organic ingredients, plant extracts, and essential oils. Your skin and your wallet will only thank you. And to think of perfumes, there are hundreds of wonderful all-natural perfumes that are just as exquisite as the department store bestsellers, but these botanical wonders contain no phthalates or preservatives.

Basically, the lack of solid safety record based on human studies is the main thing that bothers me about conventional beauty. Humans have been using beeswax, olive oil, aloe vera, or, say, calendula for centuries. However, most of the chemicals used in conventional beauty have been introduced only a few decades ago, and our bodies simply have no mechanisms of coping with these chemicals. Instead of eliminating them, we store these toxins in our fatty tissue making them tiny time bombs that may explode later in our lives infesting us some of the most horrible diseases.

Q: What are your tips for finding the safest and most natural products?

Julie:Always begin with the ingredients list. Many online stores now offer complete ingredients lists along with customers’ reviews. I recommend, and for their integrity and great selection of organic and natural lines. I used to like Sephora, but their recent move to eliminate ingredients lists from their product descriptions made me think that this company is not willing to educate consumers by offering unbiased, comprehensive product information.

Health food stores used to be the trusted source of green beauty products, but today many greenwashed products appear on store shelves along with pure and natural oils and butters. Just because a shampoo is sold in a health food store, it doesn’t mean it’s all-natural and safe. Always scrutinize the ingredients list, even if you have to use magnifying glass to make sense of it.

For the biggest bang for my organic buck I go online. Most companies who sell essential oils, flower waters, plant extracts, waxes, and juices, have a selection of ready-made cleansers, creams and lotions. They may sell them in larger quantities, for example, by a gallon, but to think, you are getting quite a lot of a base product to play with for the price of one bottle of a department store brand cleanser. You can spruce it up with some active ingredients like copper peptide, kinetin, or hyaluronic acid, or you can spice things up with essential oils. If you have sensitive skin, you can keep the lotion as it is, and it would be just water, olive oil and waxes. What can be gentler? In any case, the resulting product will be much cheaper than a conventional, store-bought version, and you will know for sure what goes into it. Plus, online shopping is rather green because you are not burning gasoline to get to the store. Of course, online retailers are guilty of burning jet fuels to deliver the goods to you, but overall, the environmental impact is much smaller, especially if you don’t shop overseas.

Q: Do the organic, natural beauty products work just as well as conventional ones?

Julie:Product by product, all green beauty products work better than conventional ones. I am a very discerning beauty junkie. After all, I made my living by evaluating beauty products and writing about them. I used quite a lot of non-green products in my life, and I was happy to spend lots of money on them. I am guilty for promoting some of the worst, most toxic beauty products out there, so maybe this book will help mend the damage…. Anyway, my conversion to green was complete when I got rid of my persistent adult acne by switching to organic, completely natural products. As far as I remember, these were organic baby products, a cleanser and a baby lotion. Today I use only homemade products made with certified organic ingredients, and my skin looks better than it did five years ago. I never suffered dry flaky skin, or brittle nails, or dry scalp, or split ends when I switched to organic body products and hair care. Everything I use today is very, very basic and inexpensive. I only add expensive active ingredients to my face and eye creams. Still, an ounce of my homemade cream with peptide blend costs up to five times less than a retail version, and my cream contains no preservatives, mineral oils, silicones, or any sort of synthetic fillers. Maybe that’s why my skin doesn’t break out any more?

Q: Can you share some of your favorite tips from the book?

Julie: I practice what I preach, and every single tip and recipe from my book I tried on myself, on my baby daughter, and even on my husband. I always have a jar of my manicure scrub: it’s a jar filled with fine sugar and jojoba oil, scented with vanilla and lilac essence (for the fun of it). When I need my cuticles to look great, I rub the oily sugar goo into my fingertips and slowly massage the sugar into the skin while rinsing under warm water. I save tons of money on salon appointments this way! Olive oil is my number one body moisturizer, and I use plain jojoba oil to remove makeup. I am a fan of oils! I also use plain flower distillates, also known as flower waters, as toners and hair conditioners, but make sure you buy them organic, for conventionally grown medicinal plants can be heavily sprayed with pesticides. I make my own perfumes from essential oils and flower waters, and of course, I make my own baby products to pamper my baby daughter. Believe it or not, it hardly takes a half-hour to whip up a three-month supply of a cleanser, a toner, and a face cream, and you get triple reward: you save money, you know exactly what goes into your beauty products, and you simply take pride in cooking something that’s good for you!

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

87 Comments on The Green Beauty Guide

  • Elizabeth

    Since having my baby, I have switched to all natural cleaning products, detergents, etc. Now its obviously time to revamp my personal products as well!

  • Trisha

    This book would be great. I am just learning about living green and it can be pretty overwhelming. This book would be a great help.

  • Wow! Great interview!!

  • Christine

    I’m slowly greening up my beauty regimine. This book will be a great help.

  • Rebecca

    Going green has been fairly easy with foods and household cleaning products. I am struggling with beauty and such. This book would be great!

  • I have been trying to use all natural stuff. I would love this book!

  • Kim

    Hi There,
    I wanted to email you but couldn’t get the link to work, so I am contacting you this way. I am a manufacturer of award winning eco-friendly arts and crafts toys that are 100% recyclable. I love your blog and would love to have you do a review for us or perhaps link up. PLease check out our site and let me know! Thanks and keep up the good work, your blog is awesome!

  • Eileen

    What a fabulous book! I’m a vinegar/water/baking soda girl when it comes to cleaning my house. I would love to be green when cleaning and taking care of myself and my family as well! Thanks for another great contest!!

  • Melissa W

    I just want to say I love your site! I would really enjoy this book. I have been changing everything out in my house in a slow (but steady) process of getting away from all of the chemicals we dump in and on our bodies. This would be a big help. Thanks for another chance at a great giveaway !!

  • Anything to turn back the clock…vanity aside this would be a great addition to my library. Hope luck is on my side.

  • Sounds like a great book! I’ve been trying out natural stuff, but most of it is just easy like washing my hair with baking soda (which works really well). I’d love something a bit fancier.

  • I also stumbled you.

  • Karen

    What a great book. I am in the process of trying to green up the products that my family uses. This would be a great addition to guide me in the right direction.

  • Kelly Houston

    I, too, found that my persistent adult acne went away when I stopped using toxic beauty products. It started when I was on maternity leave and stopped using makeup at all, and started using all natural stuff for the new baby. What a difference! Straight olive oil is my favorite moisturizer, I put honey on a couple of spots of seborrheic dermatitis around my nose and eyebrows (works like a dream), and use natural mineral makeups now. What a difference! Great interview, looks like a great book…I put it on my wish list at Amazon.

    I’m totally making that manicure scrub later!!

  • Michelle

    This would be a great book as I am planning on making some at-home spa materials for gifts this season (just don’t know how yet!).

  • deb

    Oh my! I want to read this book! :) I’m hoping I’m picked!!!

  • Kelly

    Would love to win this!

  • Stacy

    Since the birth of our boy 12 weeks ago, my own beauty regimen has completely deteriorated. It’s time to rebuild it!

  • I would LOVE to win this book…pick ME!!!

  • beka

    Wow this book sounds like just what I need!

  • Shelly

    Nice interview!! And good timing with the book. Sounds like a good addition to any library that is working towards self-sustainability.

  • Amanda

    I’d love to win this book!

  • Stefanie Stricker

    Thank you for bringing up this really important subject – not just for us but for our daughters who will one day be using beauty products, too.

  • Anu

    I make so many natural beauty masks, washes etc at home. I would love a copy!

  • Hi Tiffany, What a great review! Thanks so much for hosting this tour. I wanted to let your readers know that another blog on the tour is doing a giveaway of this book too, so if they’d like to enter over there as well, they could increase their chances of winning a copy. Here’s the link:

  • Hi.. me again. Allie’s Answers is also hosting a giveaway of The Green Beauty Guide:

    Good luck!

  • Johanna

    I’d love to win the book! I do totally organic for my toddler so am trying to turn things around for my own things too. This would be so helpful!

  • Julie Gabriel

    Hi Tiffany, hello everybody,
    Thanks a million for the wonderful review. It’s a pleasure and a huge honor. I love making my own beauty products, I am addicted to essential oils that I blend endlessly, and I am very excited to see new organic products emerging every day. I am sure that green beauty has a great future, thanks to all of you!

  • Jen

    I will be buying this for my sister-in-law who has sensitivities to many, many skin products. I would love to win this!

  • lauren

    We are so surrounded by chemicals everywhere we go! This book sounds like a great resource to make “greening it up” more convenient and successful. Thanks for the interview.

  • Bena

    What an inspirational interview! I’ve been very interested in making my own beauty supplies but thought it was too daunting with two kids and a full time…now I know it is possible. Thanks!

  • Joan

    Super impressed!!!

  • Meredith

    That sounds like a great book to have in our house.

  • Skysmom

    As with a few other posts on here, after having a baby you begin to look at things so differently! This book sounds great :)

  • Sharon

    A real eye opener. Definitely makes me want to make my own stuff.

  • Wow – I would love to to switch to green products :)

  • elena

    Sounds like a awesome book. Thanks for the chance to win it!!!

  • v

    I love this book selection. Thank you.

  • colleen

    Sounds like a great book. I’m really trying to use products where I understand what all the ingredients are.

  • Kerensa Ward

    What a great book! I have gone shampoo free and my hair loves it.. slowly working on the rest of my body care as I learn more.

  • Molomatic

    Sounds like there is a lot of great info in this book! Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Karen

    It can be so hard to sift through what is natural and safe given all the products on the market. Sounds like a great book to help with that!

  • Angela

    Love it! We are trying to convert to all safe and green products, so this would definitely come in handy! Pick me!

  • Jackie

    This book looks great! This past year I have focused on making my house more green but mostly focused on household cleaners, cloth diapers, and stuff for the kids. Now I need to start focusing on myself : )

  • If I don’t win, I’m going to get the book myself! This is just what I’ve been looking for :-)

  • julie

    Wow, what a great giveaway! I have adult acne myself, and even though I don’t use toxic regimens anyway, I’m sure if I try some of her suggestions it may help clear it up. Definitely a book I’ve been looking for!

  • Stacey

    Fabulous! The more availability of green/non-toxic information, the more people will see how easy it is to switch.

  • Melinda S.

    Sounds like a great book…..I’m trying so hard to make my own beauty products….been making my own shampoo….so this book would be a blessing to have!

  • Lacey Rose

    What a fantastic find! I CANNOT wait to introduce this to my friends! They will LOVE going organic!

  • Lindsay

    I need this book!!

  • love it!

  • Cheryl Crowe

    I’d love to win the book! I want to learn more about her recipes.

  • Heather

    I used to be really green, but lately have been getting lazy.. this book might just be the kick in the pants I need. :)

  • This book sounds amazing! I’d love the chance to win a copy :)

  • Kathy

    I am guilty of holding on to my lancome. I would love the motivation to be completely green in the beauty area!

  • Katie

    Looks like a great book! Thanks!

  • aubrey

    Great Book recommendation.

  • Daniella L.

    I would love this book! I get so confused by all the “natural” choices and would love some guidance.

  • Another great resource is the Skin Deep website. . .they rate cosmetics, sunscreen and the like by how toxic they are. Good stuff.
    Thanks for the opportunity.

  • Colleen Sherman

    I have switched to all natural beauty care products, however, I know there is always more to learn…especially for my children’s care products. I would love this book!

  • Melissa Oliver

    I would put this book to good use. Thanks for the interview.

  • Ashley

    I would love this book! Thanks for the review!

  • pamitha

    Oooh, I must read this book now! Products for my persistent adult acne are now the main conventional skin care products I use – I’d love to replace them with something green!

  • Natasha

    Funny enough i just signed on to this site a week ago. I have been working diligently at lowering my environmental impact. I have really been an eco-fan since i was a little girl. I don’t wear a lot of makeup and generally have issues purchasing makeup becasue of the lack of selection where i live. I live on an island and we are quite often the last to get many things. I have started to take my life into my own hands and make the things i need. Skin care products will be my next project. And i loved the comment about giving them for christmas gift! thanks for caring about nature both environmental and human.

  • Liz.

    Would love to have this book! Thanks! :)

  • Linda

    Well, if I don’t win this, I’m going to buy it. Sounds exactly what I’m looking for.

  • Jessica

    I am just starting to explore the world of essential oils and natural beauty products. If I don’t win this book, it will be a must-buy for me! :)

  • Jen

    I’m a breastfeeding mom that is concerned about how the beauty products I use affect my child through breast milk.I’ve had hours on the internet trying to find natural recipes that won’t harm my daughter with possible long-term adverse effects. From the basics of shampoo and even bottom wipes, it is difficult to find truly natural products. I look forward to experiencing this book!

  • Susan

    I am really trying to switch everything in my house to all natural, so hopfully this will help me even more. I just started making my own baby food for my son, which I know is not much but at least its a start.

  • Great article. This is very useful information. Green living has been my choice for our baby and my family. I have written a short article with a list of some of the best places to find organic products for baby and mom. You can check it out here:

  • Mackenzie

    Thank you!

  • Mommy of three

    Oh.. I would so LOVE to have this book. I love that it has recipes in it as well as lots of information about ingredients. Thanks.

  • Katie Martin

    I’d LOVE a copy of this book. So much great information. And my birthday was Nov 19th so it’d be a great birthday gift!!! :)

  • Ginger

    I am so excited. Finally, someone has broken all these chemicals in products down. I have worried for years that most beauty/cleaning products are harmful. I just don’t trust modern medience and beauty aides sold in department stores. So much of our society sick, and unhealthy. Now there is a natural way to live life.

    I am so excited to get ahold of this book and read it. I am going to recommend it to my family and friends also. We have to educated our family and friends. Now we can get real results, and live a natural life and God intented! I can’t wait!

  • anne

    This looks like a fantastic resource….looking forward to picking it up!

  • Laura

    What a great book! I’m definitely putting this one on my wishlist!

  • Sapna

    I have now been through two books on organic cosmetic recipes and I have had to return both. I wanted recipes that are made from scratch, not having to buy bases and than adding stuff. I just ordered some ingredients and got a few recipes online. I hope it works!!!

  • Hannah

    This is definitely on my must-read list!

  • .aNa.

    Ohhh! That looks interesting! I’m trying to be a green chic so this would totally be a great book to own.

  • What a great book! I will have to see if our local library has a copy in. .

  • RF

    This book would be wonderful, and thanks so much for the informative review.

  • Sylvia

    Hello! I have enjoyed your wonderful site. This book sounds great!!

  • I love your site and the book would be a wonderful resource.

  • Robin

    Thanks for the good info, this is an area I have been meaning to research, this helps!


    i am using essential oils and have being looking for a way to make my own beauty care & home care products. this book sounds like what i have been looking for!!!!

  • The winner is #17 Sarah!! Congrats!!!