890 of 973 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I purchased this book primarily because I am interested in making my own lotion, preferably with safe/natural/eco-friendly ingredients. I don't necessarily want to market it, like another reviewer, but I would like to make lotion that is somewhat professional/sophisticated. After a quick Google search, I had learned that lotions tend to include water-based ingredients, oil-based ingredients, an emulsifier (which ensures that the water and oil ingredients stay mixed together), and some kind of preservative. I bought this book thinking that it might go into a bit more detail about basic lotion formulas (ratios of ingredients to each other), or at least provide some recipes that I could learn from.
As it turns out, I had already learned more about lotion-making from my Google search than I learned from this entire book. Of the five body moisturizer recipes, four are basically oil-based, with essential oils added. There is nothing wrong with using oil to moisturize the skin -- but I find it can be inconvenient (insofar as absorption may be slower than with lighter lotions, and you're more likely to get oil on clothing or sheets). Additionally, oil-based moisturizers will probably not appeal to those with problem skin. The author's fifth body moisturizer recipe does include water in addition to oils, and uses beeswax and lanolin as emulsifiers. The recipe does not include a preservative, however, which means (as the author states): "No refrigeration is required if used within 30 days. If refrigerated, please use within 3 to 6 months. (Refrigeration may change the texture of the product, but potency will not be affected.)" Since this recipe yields 2 1/3 cups of moisturizer, and I'm not likely to use it all in 30 days -- and I don't enjoy cold lotion -- this recipe is of limited use for me.
There are also five face moisturizer recipes. One of them is basically water and glycerin, and another is oil-based. The other three recipes each call for a trio of emulsifiers: beeswax, lanolin, and borax. I'm a newbie to the world of cosmetics ingredients, but my understanding is that borax is considered by some to be an unsafe ingredient. (A good reference is cosmeticsdatabase.com.) My guess is that the author has a good reason for using borax, and the reason is probably that borax (it appears) may be safe in small amounts -- though possibly not for infants. What perplexes me, though, is that the author offers no explanation or discussion on this topic.
As mentioned by other reviewers, some of these recipes are extremely (absurdly?) simple. Examples include the Aloe Vera Toner (ingredients: "pure aloe vera juice or gel, commercially bottled or from fresh-picked leaf"), the Tangerine Toner (ingredients: 1/2 cup witch hazel and 10 drops tangerine essential oil), and the Yogurt Exfoliating and Bleaching Mask (ingredients: 1 tablespoon plain yogurt). I don't know about you, but I'm not sure those should count toward the "175 Homemade Herbal Formulas" in this book. As useful as they may be, I'm more inclined to call those "tips."
I don't mean to sound too harsh in my review of this book. I think that, depending on your needs, this book may be perfectly fine. Many of the recipes look to have interesting combinations of oils and essential oils, and I'm guessing many of the finished products smell like heaven. I'm mainly trying to present my perspective on the book, relative to my own goals -- and hopefully it will be relevant to people with similar interests. But again, if you are more looking for recipes for casual use, you might really like it.
One final note -- as I've indicated above, the author calls for animal products in some of her recipes. This is fine, but I was disappointed that she didn't offer animal-friendly alternatives. (In her entry for beeswax, she does mention vegetable emulsifying wax as an alternative, but then says, "but this wax has been refined and does not have the same alluring qualities as beeswax. Always try to find the real thing!") For dairy products, the author makes no mention of looking for organic versions -- i.e., from cows raised on healthy diets, without use of rBST or prophylactic antibiotics. She also makes no mention of the fact that cows contribute significantly to the greenhouse effect (deforestation, water use, methane emissions, etc.). I was surprised by this only because I think there is a lot of overlap between people interested in organic products, and those interested in animal-friendly and eco-friendly products.
145 of 167 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Maybe people who don't know much about the ingredients/processes/measurements listed and discussed in "Organic Body Care" will think it's an awesome book, but if you do your research, you'll realize that many of the recipes and ideas are not good for you and that you could come up with better recipes specifically tailored to yourself by purchasing an herbs & oils guide. The well-educated folks who are buying this book are most likely attempting to avoid many of the exact same problems that following this book will lead to. (Note: You can see a long preview of this book by clicking on the picture of the book on the product page.)
As for me, I returned the book to Amazon for a refund. Very disappointing.
Some folks have asked for more detail on what's not good about the book, so I'll list a bit out. I don't have the book anymore, so I'm relying on the book preview.
Issues I have with the book:
Before listing the problems I have with the material, I have to say that I really had hoped this book would have some GOOD recipes for body-healthy lotion, shampoo, and conditioner. It did not. I had also hoped that the author would focus on skin-safe body and bath items like bath bombs/fizzies, bath salt/herb/oil blends, mud baths, seaweed wraps, oil soaks, buttermilk soaks, and all the other good and wonderful things that are beneficial to not only your skin, but your body as a whole. Sadly, NONE of those were covered. Instead, the author wrote a book that simultaneously deprives you of useful information, insults your intelligence, and provides you with many ways to damage your skin. Yay?
Anyway, here are my thoughts on the actual recipes, instructions, and guides contained in the book:
1. Though they are listed as such, things like "astringent of choice" and "tube of your favorite lipstick" are not ingredients, they are finished products which often contain the harmful ingredients one would wish to avoid.
2. Glycerin. She recommends using GLYCERIN lotion for dry skin. Total red flag moment right there.Though glycerin may APPEAR to help with dry skin, the reason it works is that it speeds up the breakdown of skin, so your skin is constantly having to produce excess amounts of oils as it continuously regrows your outer layer of skin at a rate beyond what is healthy. If you're trying to keep bad things off of your skin, glycerin should be one of the things you ELIMINATE from your bath/medicine cabinet and watch out for in the future. The author should not tout it as a wonder cream.
3. The levels of essential oils the book tells you to use may cause skin irritation and/or allergic reactions. The ratio is off for many of these recipes. Essential oils can burn skin, eyes, and nasal passages and should be used with extreme care. Though they can be awesome and of amazing benefit, essential oils, when applied at too high a concentration, can actually be very bad for you and, in the long run, can severely damage skin. If you want to be using essential oils, make sure you pick up a book on their proper use and functions, buy only pure essential oils (not fragrances), and store them properly. Again, they're amazing, but you need to really know what you're doing.
4. The author states that "using toners or astringents [after soap] returns skin to it's normal pH". First off, no, it doesn't. Nothing will automatically and perfectly fix your pH once you've stripped you skin of it's oils, vitamins, minerals, and protective layer (as using a soup will do). Secondly, astringents and toners can cause even more damage through drying the skin out past what the soap has already done. In many ways, this causes the same problems as glycerin. You're breaking down the skin's protective layer and irritating the tissue beneath. The skin overproduces oil to compensate, may become splotchy, broken out, and over time, tougher (leathery). Think about it this way: You're causing you skin to cycle faster, aka: AGE FASTER.
5. Speaking of soap... The author should not be promoting soap to begin with. Soap is almost always chock full of really nasty ingredients (such as glycerin, sulfates, alcohols, PCB's, and much more) that not only harm the skin, but can be carcinogenic, hormone altering, and immune-compromising, to say the least. Of course, even if you have a chemically non-harmful soap, the process of soaping the skin regularly is not healthy.
6. Calling a single oil a "recipe" is insulting. Seriously, the "recipe" for "eye moisturizer" is "1/4 tsp or jojoba, sesame, almond, olive, soybean, macadamia, avocado, or apricot seed oil". This is not a recipe. What's more, sesame oil and macadamia oil should always be used with caution as they can cause intense skin reactions in people who are allergic. What's more, the people who have a skin allergy to these won't know they have one until they start rubbing it all over the place- so covering your eyes with it could be a very bad decision. As sesame and macadamia oils do nothing insanely special compared to the other oils listed when used as an eye moisturizer, there is no reason to include them at all.
7. Pretty much half the "recipes" in this book are choose-a-kitchen-oil-and-add-essential-oils (often in a high enough dose to possibly cause irritation or allergic reaction). These are not recipes. They are kitchen oils that now smell good. Though some of the oils the author chooses are good for skin in the CORRECT concentration, half the essential oil choices included have nothing to do with the desired product effect. Of course, since most people don't know much about skin care or essential oils to begin with, I'm sure the author figured that these "recipes" would look oh-so-tree-hippy and therefor everyone would just eat them up. I call BS. And seriously, these are like half the book. If you really want this kind of info, go get a book on the uses of essential oils and herbs- a much better investment than this godawful piece of garbage.
8. The face mask recipe (as well as others, I'm sure) calls for the use of "hydrosol of choice". Hydrosols, once opened, become breeding grounds for bacteria. They shouldn't be used near the mouth, eyes, nose, or any other inlet to the body other than the first time you use them. This is common knowledge among eco- and health-conscious folks who make bath products for retail. (Yes, even those of us who sell on Esty.) If you're going to be using a hydrosols, you need to add an anti-microbial to the unused portion before storage if you're planning on using the leftovers near an inlet to the body in the future. Again, get a book on essential oils and herbs, you'll find many choices.
9. Water + Essential Oil does not a recipe make. Anyone who can read what an essential oil does can mix it with some water and use it. Again, the "recipes" that do this in the book are also calling for higher levels of essential oils than are necessary. An oil & herb book will help with ratios.
10. The author recommends "body brushing" to counteract dry skin. DAILY. Body brushing strips the skin of nutrients, removes the protective layer of oils that SHOULD be on your body, decreases your body's ability to create and absorb vitamin D, over-activates the oil glands, causes mineral loss, damages the living cells of your skin, actually dries your skin out further, and a slew of other not-so-wonderful things. The only reason it seems to help is because, like using glycerin, it speeds up the sloughing of skin. As mentioned previously, skin being damaged that badly on a regular basis forces the skin to fight back by producing excessive levels of oils and new skin. Dry skin most often comes from the skin already being stressed, to add this level of stimulation to already stressed skin is harmful and, honestly, stupid. The best thing to do for dry skin is STOP scrubbing the area, STOP soaping the area, and moisturize with olive oil or vitamin E oil.
NOTE: Every body-friendly study done on skin care that I have ever read has shown that you should not regularly soap any part of the body besides your underarms, feet, and between your legs. That is, unless it you are trying to remove something that is stuck to you and you have no other choice, ie: temporary tattoo. Even using soap on the rest of the body on a daily basis hinders your skin's ability to regulate itself and drastically lowers the amount of vitamin D you are able to create and absorb. (Vitamin D produced by your skin is your main source of vitamin D, even if you take a multivitamin, even if you take extra vitamin D. The vitamin D made by the skin is incredibly important. The body can not utilize ingested vitamin D like it can skin-produced vitamin D. This is fact. What's worse, low levels of skin-produced vitamin D can cause poor health and clinical depression.)
Helpful Hint: The best thing to do for dry skin, itchy skin, clogged skin, any skin at all really, is QUIT PUTTING THINGS ON IT. If you have to use sunblock, get some by Badger, and stop slathering Coppertone on your skin. Other than that, you shouldn't be putting ANYTHING on your body besides moisturizer when the weather is really dry. For those of us who choose to wear makeup, we do have to cleanse our faces. This CAN (and should) be done with just water and a washcloth. The only time you should be using anything else to cleanse your face is when you're removing stubborn eye makeup and Vitamin E oil works really well for that. Soap is totally unnecessary.) Want something nice for the bat, make some bath bombs. They smell yummy, and, dispersed throughout your entire bath, will not harm your skin. Same thing goes for bath salt blends and mud soaks. THESE are the types of this I thought would be in the book.
---- PLEASE NOTE ---- : If you do choose to stop all this needless soaping and scrubbing, recognize that at first your skin will get worse and not better. This is because your skin is currently in a state of overproduction of oils and is severely damaged. Break out, dry skin, itching, etc, is all completely NORMAL when your skin is healing from damage. It does take a few weeks for your skin to heal, rebalance, and stabilize. Give it time.
11. The author recommends using an exfoliant scrub TWICE a WEEK. This is BAD FOR YOUR SKIN. Exfoliating damages the outer layer of your skin, robs you of vitamins and minerals, dries skin, increases oil production (which clogs pores), and honestly, it's just plain bad for you. I've talked about this above in relation to glycerin, astringents, and body brushing. Stop ripping up your skin! Just like any other organ of the body, skin IS self-regulating. Allow it to function normally.
12. In another section the author starts talking about how you shouldn't be scrubbing and stripping your skin. Seriously? I mean, that's right, but didn't she just say the exact opposite a couple pages back??? And isn't the book filled with scrubs??? Overall, the book has several intense contradictions. I felt like the author had a severe case of doublethink while writing it.
I could go on, but I think that at least gives an idea of why I gave this book one star. And remember, if you don't know why you're doing something, don't do it. (Even if some wannabe-hippy author tells you it's okay.)
36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2008
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
If you're serious about throwing out your store bought, chemical filled cosmetics or even thinking about it, then you MUST get this book! I bought this book about 6 wks ago, kept reading a few pages here and there, started ordering ingredients, then finally about 2 wks ago started making one or two items in my kitchen. I've since made about a dozen skin care recipes from Organic Body Care Recipes. My bathroom/kitchen/shower area smells wonderful. My skin looks, smells and feels great. I love storing them in glass bottles/containers I can pick up at Big Lots or even Walmart and reuse again & again. Normally, I stay away from Walmart but their glass oil bottles, glass sugar bowls w/lids, and sealed storage containers are PERFECT & cheap. As well as reusing my own class containers and jars at home. Ikea is another good place to go.
Ms Tourles list places where you can find these organic ingredients online but I found other sites even more reasonably priced and you can order smaller quantities on the internet. I've loved everything I've made from this book, & you learn about ingredients, their properties (and what you can sub for if you are allergic or dislike any ingredient) so you truly can make exactly what you want. For me, this was one more step in reducing waste and pollution in the world besides saving money.
MY Warnings: After making one or two items I was hooked. I then spent about $300 on ingredients. I went all out on base oils, clays, many essential oils, dried herbs (not avail in my grocery store) & even flavorings for my lip balms but it was well worth. These will last all year long, will supply my family of three and I can make gifts at the holidays for my friends and family. They tried some small samples I've made and are already putting in their orders.
Get this book, spend a week or two reading it at your leisure, find a product or two on your shelf you want to replace...and do it. You'll feel great and become addicted like I am. Another book suggestion, Gorgeously Green by Sophie Uliano, this book gives a great all around approach to doing your part for our earth. Again, just try one or two things...slowly you'll be hooked.