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on August 7, 2009
This book is enlightening -- it includes thorough dictionaries of both beneficial and potentially harmful cosmetic ingredients -- but the writer seems to be schizophrenic or to have not thoroughly researched the topic, which, as a former journalist, is concerning. I was disappointed with her recommendations of products by Avalon Organics, JASON Naturals, Stella McCartney CARE, and Kiss My Face. These brands are hardly superior and were sued by Dr. Bronner's last year for deceptively using the word "organic" and containing petro ingredients. However, the writer later retracted her recommendation of Kiss My Face products on her blog.
The retractions continue. She recommends bismuth oxychloride-containing powders by Bare Escentuals in the book (which I was shocked to read since she claims to be a purist) but later writes on her blog that bismuth oxychloride can "irritate sensitive skin like mad." Half the people who've used BE and developed red, itchy skin can tell you this. She spends an entire page on avoiding toners with alcohol (duh), then recommends an alcohol-packed toner by Dr. Hauschka.
Speaking of Dr. Hauschka, Ms. Gabriel recommends nearly every Hauschka product made. (By the book's end, one suspects her of having too-close relations with the company.) I respect Dr. Hauschka's biodynamic farming practices, but they use a high amount of alcohol as preservative. Combined with their heavy nut oils (e.g. peanut oil), their pricey products are infamous for breaking people out in milia or causing irritations. There are FAR better-formulated organic skincare brands these days.
The book is packed with DIY recipes that require impractical & expensive ingredients, like rose oil, elderflower water, and calendula blossoms. What full-time working woman with a kid has the time or money? And tips like "shampoo your hair with plain egg"? How would that begin to cut oil and grime??
UPDATE: In addition to her questionable expertise, the writer has begun using her blog to bash other organic skincare lines hoping, most likely, of selling her own organic skincare line. There are now retractions on Juice Beauty (certified organic), Jurlique (biodynamic) and L'Uvalla (a lovely new line at Whole Foods). It's bizarre that she would attack these brands while gushing about Bare Escentuals' mediocre and conventionally farmed skincare line. Not to mention, this is the same Bare Escentuals that's being sued in California for making false and misleading statements about its sales. Where are Ms. Gabriel's allegiances and what is her agenda?