Julie Gabriel, green beauty guru and author of The Green Beauty Guide took some time to answer a few questions for us about herself, her book and over all green living. She even shared with us four of her amazing skin care recipes which are so truly unique that you'll feel as though you're making dessert, not skin care.
Your book, The Green Beauty Guide, which launches in October 2008 is just what we all have been looking for. Tell us about it and what we can expect to find inside.
I am very excited about The Green Beauty Guide. It’s three books in one: the first book tells you some of the most shocking yet terribly under-reported facts about synthetic chemicals used in conventional beauty products. This part of the book was the hardest to write, because each of the facts about health-disrupting effects of common beauty products had to be thoroughly researched and supported by clear scientific evidence. And the more I researched, the more I panicked. But unlike other books that simply scare you sleepless, I am offering practical alternatives and doable, enjoyable solutions.
This is what the second “book inside the book” is about: it helps you become a cosmetic guru, a skincare formulator in your own kitchen. There’s a list of some of the best performing natural cosmetic ingredients, and there are tons of recipes that are good enough to eat.
As a nutritionist, I believe that anything we put on our skin must be pure and edible. Our skin “eats”, too, and it’s covered with millions of hungry mouths that can chew and swallow anything you put into them. And as a beauty writer, I couldn’t resist offering practical tips on choosing the best organic goodies for your face, hair, and body. What to look for on a label, how to avoid organic scams, how not to fall prey to smart marketers, what works and what doesn’t - the book makes you a smart, educated shopper. You will find recommended beauty products, as well as unbiased reviews of volunteers who voted for beauty products without knowing which brand it was or how much it costs. There are secrets to green beauty from creators of some of the most popular green beauty brands, and then there’s a three-day Green Beauty Detox that will help you jump-start your gorgeously green living in no time!
What should we look for when it comes to packaging and ingredients to give us the real scoop?
Ingredient list should be your only reference point when buying a new beauty product. If the product contains synthetic chemicals especially detergents, preservatives, artificial fragrances or any fragrance not derived from essential oils - this product is not green, no matter what the manufacturer calls it.
There are two types of green: green as good for your health and green as good for our planet. Some beauty products may be made on a factory that is powered by solar panels, and still contain paraben preservatives and artificial fragrances. When choosing a beauty product, think about what it does to your health first. Be selfish. Put your health first, and the health of the planet will follow. By a wonderful coincidence, beauty products that are truly good for our health are kind to the environment, too.
Packaging matters, too. I believe that the most eco-friendly type of packaging is glass and aluminum. When it comes to plastics, look for #5 PP (polypropylene), because it doesn’t leach any harmful chemicals into the product.
One of the best ways to ensure eco-friendly skin care products is to make our own. Can you share with us a few recipes that we could make at home?
I am a nutritionist, so most of my skincare and haircare recipes sound like recipes for sauces and salads. Here are four of my most favourite and time-tested recipes:
Let's talk a bit about skin care and children and babies. It's hard enough making all of the choices in life that parents have to do; add in the new concerns about skin care and parents can't help but feel overwhelmed. Can you give us some insight on the trend for safe skin care products for children?
When I do my weekly shopping for baby food and diapers (I use biodegradable disposables), I cannot help but take a sneak peak at the ingredients of some conventional baby products. I am horrified and appalled because most of the products are more toxic than adult versions. This is especially true about baby wipes which have more irritation potential than adult facial cleansing wipes. Think about propylene glycol, triethanolamine, artificial fragrances, and other irritating and potentially carcinogenic ingredients!
In my experience I found that you actually need just three products to take care of baby skin and hair: a plant-based, gentle and ideally organic soap to use on body and hair, a really good extra-virgin, unscented organic olive oil for massage and cradle cap in very small babies, and a zinc-based, all natural diaper rash cream. That’s it. For baths, you can steep a cup of herbal tea and simply add it to bath water.
The rule of thumb: all the products should contain as few ingredients as possible. There should be no artificial fragrances or colorings. Ideally, there should be no essential oils as well. Babies do not care about flowery scents or pretty packaging. All they need is zero toxic ingredients and tons of hugs and kisses!