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The Green Beauty Guide: Your Essential Resource to Organic and Natural Skin Care, Hair Care, Makeup, and Fragrances Paperback – September 2, 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this thorough, practical guide, writer and registered nutrition specialist Gabriel (Clear Skin) recommends subjecting everyday cosmetics to the same scrutiny with which we subject our food: "each cosmetic chemical ends up in thousands of hungry mouths covering our skin-pores." Navigating labels is a true problem, because cosmetics come under no government regulation, unlike food and drugs; as such, skin products sold as "natural" or "organic" may contain numerous unsafe chemicals, with a few token ingredients to justify their claims. Gabriel provides a list of dangerous ingredients to watch out for (and why), identifies the safest products on the market (free from "synthetic dyes, fragrances, preservatives or detergents"), and takes readers step-by-step through cleansers, toners, facials, moisturizers, sunscreen, hair care and baby care. Her sophisticated daily regimen (two daily cleansings, exfoliation, toning, moisturizing and sun screen) may be too much for some readers, but those with the wherewithal will also find some useful, surprising tips for home-brewed cosmetics (eggs for masks, lemon and sour cream for exfoliants, organic mayonnaise for a moisturizer and foot mask). Though aimed at women, Gabriel also covers products used by men and children, including shaving cream, soap, shampoo and powders.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Julie Gabriel is a registered nutrition specialist (RHN) educated at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. She launched a series of workshops titled 'New Mom's Diet' in Toronto. She is in the process of launching her own organic skincare line called Petite Marie Organics. Julie has been writing and editing fashion and beauty for about 15 years. In 1992 she worked in production at CNN's Style with Elsa Klensch. She was the associate beauty editor in Harper's Bazaar (Eastern European editions, 1998-2000), beauty editor in Atmospheres (2001-2001) and has written over five hundred articles and features on fashion, beauty and lifestyle.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: HCI; 8.9.2008 edition (September 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0757307477
  • ISBN-13: 978-0757307478
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.9 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #492,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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.
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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.
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By Gia V. on October 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Paperback
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.
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