Book Review: The Green Beauty Guide

I don’t think I’ve done a real review before–only a mention once or twice of a book that really impressed me; but I am so rocked by this book (by Julie Gabriel) that I want to share it.  The author is described on the back cover as a “registered nutrition specialist, writer, and editor of beauty and fashion.”  She is also the mother of a very young daughter.

She begins by talking in general about the worst of the toxins, carcinogens and petroleum products in some of our most popular types of products.  There is much clarification of what the terms “natural,” “organic” and “green” can mean (or not.)  Very often the only thing green about the product is the color on the packaging.  In the individual chapters Ms. Gabriel talks about specific product groups and the unsafe chemicals in each one.   We won’t go into all the scientific names here, but our shampoos, cleansers, moisturizers, makeup and baby products (!) are loaded with junk that our skin absorbs.  People don’t realize that our skin, scalp and nails soak up most of the stuff we put on them.  Shampoos and cleansers are bad enough, but we wash those off rather quickly.   However, things like moisturizers, hair conditioners, makeup and nail polish stay on and put us at even more risk.

Daily we are slathering, sudsing, brushing on and rubbing in chemical toxins.  We are also breathing in the fumes from many.  Whatever we put on our bodies needs to be as safe as the food we eat, because ultimately, it all winds up inside. 

Happily, there is a way out–several options, as a matter of fact.  Julie lets us know what products are safe, safer and safest (many are available in our health stores, but some need to be purchased online) and whenever possible and within the realm of the average consumer, she also gives us great recipes for making our own very safe and customizable green products at home.   You don’t need to go broke to use safe products on yourself and your child(ren.)

I don’t plan to go through my bathroom today and throw out all my products and buy new ones (although I thought about it!)  But I can tell you that as I use them up, I will be replacing them all with safer ones.  I plan to try a lot of the recipes, as I get the time and inclination, though this will take some advance planning, as I don’t currently keep a lot of the items (like essential oils) on hand. 

One of the chapters that really upset me was on hair coloring.  She had some great ideas for safer color enhancing for brunettes and red heads, but she didn’t really have anything on covering the grey hairs for blondes.  I may have to consider going natural ala Jamie Lee Curtis, though I have sworn I would NEVER stop covering my grey.  Blondes don’t get pretty silver greys; we get ugly yellow stuff.  So I don’t know about this, but the list of what I’m putting on my scalp and its long term effects was pretty damn scary. 

This book is worth reading for all women, but particularly for moms of little ones.  Check it out in your local library if you don’t want to buy it on my say so.  I bet if you read it, you’ll go buy your own copy so that you can keep the lists of chemicals to watch out for handy.

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