398 of 406 people found the following review helpful
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 highly 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 the Kiss My Face brand 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 says 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 organic lines 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?
56 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
As other reviewers have noted, there are contradictions in this book that undermine it's overall credibility. Here's one that's particularly egregious: On page 189, Gabriel describes lecithin as a "green emulsifier"; yet, in Appendix B ("100 Toxic Cosmetic Ingredients You Don't Want in Your Beauty Products") ingredient #55 is--believe it or not--lecithin. This is inexcusable to me.
47 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I found this book to be a bit trendy. Do American women really have the time to mix their own beauty products? No one I know does. Page 57 warns of celebrity endorsements, yet page 75 refers to all the celebrities who use Suki Naturals. She consistently quotes opinions from the makers of natural products, but they are stated like facts. Conventional products do this too, and it is wrong. She loves Dr. Hauschka mascara in the book, but says it runs on her website. Little things like this bugged me. I did learn about ingredients to avoid so all was not lost.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2010
Ok, here's the deal. I'm sure that Gabriel's information is very good information, however, it's ALL information. What do I mean by that? Well, the woman goes on and on and on and on about things, almost like a rant really. I love reading, don't get me wrong, but apart from her ranting, she has about two or three recipes in a chapter supposedly about moisturizers. She gives you her opinion on green products and which ones are the best and why, which is ok. But my whole idea of getting this book was to learn to make my own stuff. Some of her recipes are so simple, it's almost an insult to my intelligence. AND she doesn't have a single body butter/lotion recipe anywhere in the book. She has other things, like facial moisturizers and bronzers for body, but no body butter recipes? Really, not even one? Well, no. AND, she says some things that are both contradictory and maybe not even safe. You may want a second opinion on many of her claims.
To be perfectly honest, her book is boring, bland and I got about three recipes out of it. I got over 10 from other books. Not worth my time.
29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
From the founder and owner of the organic skin-care line, Petite Marie, comes a revealing look at cosmetics and skin care that the most of the beauty industry would love to keep secret. For instance, all that a product needs to be labeled as "Organic" is a drop of organic essential oil. This is called greenwashing and most greenwashers spend more money on promoting themselves as environmentally friendly than they do on formulating toxin-free, environmentally sound products.
With The Green Beauty Guide, Julie Gabriel starts with the basics of learning all about your skin and guides you through what you should look for in all your beauty products. She teaches you the how tell the difference between a good marketing campaign and truly organic products. You'll also find The Ten Commandments of Green Beauty, How to Go Green Without Going Broke and even recipes for your own organic beauty products such as cleansers, toners, facial masks, moisturizers and even acne zappers with simple easy to find ingredients.
For me, a not so environmentally conscious consumer, the realization what most of us are doing to our skin and the environment was initially a bit intimidating and scary really but Gabriel's information makes it easy to make the green switch. I've already been through my cabinets checking labels and packaging. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in making a difference.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2008
The Green Beauty Guide (GBG) is a wonderful reference that will have a place on my shelf for quite some time. I personally found this book particularly useful because I have an allergy to the paraben preservatives that are commonly used in beauty products and cosmetics so I have a little experience with what the author is talking about. However, thanks to the GBG I am now aware of several other ingredients that I should also be watching out for when I read labels and I've been able to add several new items to my beauty routine with confidence.
However, the Green Beauty Guide doesn't just put the spotlight on the things you shouldn't be putting on your face and body, but it gives you guidelines on how to actually find the products that don't contain the harmful ingredients which, believe me, is not as easy as it sounds. I cannot tell you how many hours I have spent searching through beauty aisles and cosmetic cases looking at itty-bitty ingredient lists - only to find parabens hiding away in products labeled as "pure", "natural", or "allergy-free". The GBG goes a long way towards debunking all of these common buzz word claims and gives the reader straight facts on the whole advertising/marketing game.
Which brings me to the part of the Green Beauty Guide that I love the most - a list (with ratings) of several recommended products grouped by function and suggestions on where these products can be purchased. And for those do-it-yourselfers out there - a list of recipes for making your own green beauty products including information on how to obtain, mix, and store any ingredients you need for the products you want to create.
I highly recommend this book to all women. Even if you don't have allergic reactions to your beauty products like I do, this guide will really help open your eyes to what you are actually putting on your skin everyday and might just inspire you to make some changes to the products you use. Over the just the past few years that I've been aware of this issue, the natural/organic/green cosmetics have really made some steps forward into the mainstream beauty aisles. It can only get better from here.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
The author lost me the first time she used the phrase "chemical free". You will never find a product free of chemicals. Chemicals are everywhere. H2O is a chemical. Just because a chemical is produced doesn't make it better or worse than a chemical found in nature. And many chemicals found in nature are very bad for you... "natural" doesn't necessarily mean "desirable".
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2008
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The Green Beauty Guide is engaging and extremely informative. The link between toxicity and poor health is only beginning to be fully exposed, and this book makes a firm case for a change in lifestyle. It's obvious that Julie Gabriel has spent much time in research mode, and the guide provides a great deal of scientific context. The material is comprehensive and arms one with the tools needed to make changes in personal care routines.
As a (former) 15-year subscriber of Allure beauty magazine with an insatiable appetite for any mainstream beauty product, I felt increasingly liberated as I made my way through this book. It enables me not only to purchase with confidence from integrity-filled companies, but the ability to master my own creations. Don't be the victim of unregulated chemicals! Take control of your health and make educated decisions regarding your skin. Many of the beauty products on the market are made by companies with business standards- the final goal being profits, not your optimum health. As Ms. Gabriel points out, never "assume that people who make it have only good intentions in mind."
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2008
I found this book to have all I needed to enjoy a toxin-free, healthy beauty routine. Before I read this book I had no idea we have so many healthy beauty options. Green Beauty Guide shows that becoming a green beauty junkie can be very exciting and actually fun! Apparently, not everything has to be preserved with parabens and other chemicals which make us sick.
As I tried some of the recommeded products in the book, I noticed that my skin became smoother, glowing and more taut. I love the homemade recipes of hair treatments and moisturisers, and I will now browse pharmacies, Whole Foods Market and local health foods stores with much more knowledge.
I appreciate the in-depth section on various chemicals used in cosmetics(althought I am a bit scared, for it seems that I have consumed a lot of needless chemicals while being pregnant with my first child), and I really adore the section on baby skin care. Being pregnant with my second child, I strive to live as green as possible, and I consider this book a valuable resource for anyone who wants to live longer and healthier.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2008
The Green Beauty Guide is thoroughly researched and includes over ten pages of references. The author's passion and expertise on the subject of natural/organic body care are very clear to the reader. As someone who has recently decided to go green, this book was extremely helpful.
Julie Gabriel explains what cosmetic ingredients to avoid and why, and gives recommendations for her favorite TRULY green products, as well as how and where to look for ones on your own, and many DIY recipes. Her writing style is enjoyable and the book is well-organized and visually appealing.
Her product recommendations seem to be fair and cover a wide range of budgets. The DIY beauty recipes are realistic and aren't repetitive (Ever get a book with recipes where they're all basically the same, except one or two ingredients may change? This is not the case with Gabriel's recipes). She discusses all skin types, concerns, and conditions. Whether you're looking for the basic beauty staples (toothpaste, deodorant, facial skin care, shampoo) or want to pamper yourself (manicures, pedicures, hair treatments, makeup, fragrances) you will find it in the Green Beauty Guide.
However, there's a small amount of contradiction and confusing information in the Green Beauty Guide when it comes to product recommendations. Gabriel urges readers to avoid products containing formaldehyde-releasing EDTAs (disodium and tetrasodium) and warns against phenoxyethanol, "an endocrine disruptor and carcinogen". Yet, she recommended a few Juice Beauty products which contained EDTAs and/or phenoxyethanol. Perhaps the author didn't check the product formulations as carefully as she encourages readers to, or these products' formulations changed since she wrote the book.
Also, some of Gabriel's DIY recipes lack information on how and for how long they can be stored.
Overall, though, I do highly recommend the Green Beauty Guide. It is the most complete, informative, and up-to-date resource focused on green personal care. Having read it, I feel empowered to make healthful, environmentally-friendly choices when it comes to my beauty routine. I have had the book for a couple months now and continue to refer back to it.