Friday, December 5, 2008

Book Review: The Green Beauty Guide by Julie Gabriel

I have a friend here in Germany who is extremely “green”. Most people I know here recycle (it’s pretty hard to get around so that’s no surprise), shop for organic vegetables and fruit, and try to minimize their impact on the environment by taking public transport or riding a bicycle through the city. I even have several friends who mostly buy organic food and who use mainly organic cosmetics and other products. But this friend, who just had a baby, would rather take the time to puree her own baby food than let her baby eat even organic processed food. I thought of her when I heard about the Green Beauty Guide, a book that provides recipes for making your own organic cosmetics.

I invited her and another friend, Jay, for a girls’ night to try out the recipes. Unfortunately, she couldn’t get a babysitter (and she’s allergic to Emmy). So it was just Jay and me. We decided on the only two recipes that didn’t look too complicated, didn’t need fancy kitchen appliances (which I don’t own), and had ingredients that were easy to find in the organic food stores near my apartment (that excluded any recipe that called for an essential oil other than rose oil).

The Sugar Mommy Scrub all mixed up and ready to use:


The first one we tried was the Sugar Mommy Scrub. The only thing I needed to buy was the rose oil, which set me back 4 Euro. We put the ingredients in a glass bowl and whisked them together. Then we massaged the mixture all over our faces for a couple of minutes and washed it off. Jay didn’t like the oily feel of the scrub but we were both pleased with the results – I don’t think my face has ever been so soft.

1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 drops rose oil
1 drop vanilla extract

Degree of difficulty: very easy
Feel of mixture: a bit too oily
Scent of mixture: ok
Results: Excellent – very soft skin and no breakouts, even days later.
Likelihood of repeat session: High

Jay and me after massaging in the scrub (we sparkle like vampires from Twilight!):


We also tried the Lemon Cheesecake Whitening Mask. I had all the ingredients already for this one, but our manual whisking didn’t thicken the mixture, so you probably need an electric hand mixer (which I don’t have). This one smelled heavenly, but felt tight on our faces. We were directed to leave it on for 15 minutes, but Jay said it started to burn her skin so she washed it off earlier.

2 tablespoons honey
4 teaspoons lemon juice
3 teaspoons plain yogurt
1 egg white

Degree of difficulty: medium (if you don’t have an electric mixer)
Feel of mixture: very runny and sticky
Scent of mixture: Excellent
Results: Ok, but nothing special
Likelihood of repeat session: Low

Jay enjoys putting on her Lemon Cheesecake Whitening mask (before the burn set in):


The Green Beauty Guide is more than just recipes however. Author Julie Gabriel also suggests store bought products that are good for your skin and helps you understand the nature of your skin and the beauty industry. I have an ARC of the book, which means I am missing chapters 10-16 and a list of toxic ingredients that help you weed out products in your bathroom that are doing you more harm than good. I’d definitely like to get the full version.

This review is part of the TLC Blog tour. Click here to find out more about author Julie Gabriel and to check out other reviews of this book.

17 comments:

Melissa said...

That sugar scrub sounds wonderful! I'll have to try it.

Chain Reader said...

How fun! Cooking and beauty combined!

Joanne said...

Hah great review and loved the pics!
I tried out the Sugar Mommy Scrub and loved it. My son tried the recipe for Tea Tree Healing Oil for his breakouts and we thought it worked very well.
I wondered about the Lemon Cheesecake Mask - it was probably the lemon juice that gave it a bit of burn, especially if Jay has sensitive skin.

Green Bookie said...

Cool, looks like some of the old recipes are coming back. Green is the new "old school".

Beth Kephart said...

I love that you are going even more green, Lenore. But could you get any more beautiful?

Alea said...

Wow this was really cool! I love that you tried some of the recipes! And then showed pictures! I don't know if I could put olive oil on my face but I sure like to eat it!

Lenore said...

We were also a bit wary of putting olive oil on our faces - but it was great!

Liviania said...

So were many recipes as easy as the scrub? Green cosmetics have always sounded interesting to me, but I don't have a ton of time to mess with stuff.

I do have access to an electric mixer - it's older than I am.

Lenore said...

In general, the masks and scrubs were the easiest and had the most common ingredients. The cleansers seemed the most difficult to make and the toners and moisturizers had some wierd ingredients (although one of the toners sounded super easy). The chapters I don't have cover: sunscreen, body care, hair care, baby care, make-up and fragrances so I can't tell you much about them.

allisonmariecat said...

I love the review. Informative AND entertaining! I added this one to my amazon cart...

Ladytink_534 said...

I'll have to get ahold of this one! I want to try the Sugar Mommy Scrub. Not sure where I'd find rose oil around here though. I might have to wait and go to a store in Georgia when I go up next week.

Amber said...

Yummmy, sounds awesome. I know exactly what you mean about the bike riding :p And my mom used to have to puree baby food for me because I refused to eat the baby food that came in jars. Or she would just cut up whatever everyone else was eating really tiny and feed me. I guess I was a snobby eater as a baby.

My only question is why was I not invited to this little get together?? I love girls nights out and spa treatments!

Lenore said...

Oh yeah, Amber, you know all about the bike riding!

We'll have to invite you next time :)

Serena said...

Some of these recipes look fantastic in this book. I am also a part of the tour. Great review. I like your approach by trying out the recipes. I may have to try that myself.

A. Estella Sassypants said...

I really want to get my hands on a copy of this little goody. Thanks for sharing your adventures!

Heather J. said...

What a fun post! I was not at all interested in this book, but your review has definitely made me reconsider. I'm still not sure it is for me, but I'm open to the idea now. :)

dawn said...

Lenore, this is a fantastic review! I love all the pictures of you and your friend "in action".

I bought the book and a handful of ingredients for my sister. She is going to LOVE it, I'm sure!

I left a note in the comments on my review re: your question about sunscreen.