Dec 9, 2008

Green Beauty Guide by Julie Gabriel

Most women will look in Cosmo or other beauty magazines for the latest cosmetic and fashion tips, but what many of these magazines don't tell you is that the products manufactured by these companies are using chemicals and other compounds that once your skin absorbs them could cause other ailments or problems. While I don't readily wear makeup or use cosmetics, I gladly took on a TLC Book Tour stop for Julie Gabriel's The Green Beauty Guide. I love holistic looks at our everyday lives and books that seek to provide an alternate perspective to how we live our lives whether its from turning holiday celebrations green or learning how to reduce our own carbon footprints.

The Green Beauty Guide goes beyond the typical fad advice given by glossy magazines, providing the reader with recipes to create their own natural shampoos, facials, and other products, while at the same time providing readers with the know-how to become savvy cosmetics shoppers. Check out the Ten Commandments of Green Beauty at the end of Chapter 2.

Through a combination of science, insider information about the cosmetic industry and government regulation, and common sense, Gabriel dispels some of the myths espoused by the cosmetics industry. For instance, did you know that the skin absorbs about 60 percent of the substances applied to its surface? I didn't, but now that I do, I plan to be more careful about what solutions I use. Think about your morning routine. . .how many cleansers, lotions, and gels do you use before you leave the house each day? Examine the ingredients of those bottles, and you'll see exactly how many chemicals you expose your skin to every day. Given the complexity of skin and other systems throughout the body, it is no wonder that diet, exercise, and other behaviors can influence how well those systems function. Beauty or the health of your skin is tied to all of those things and more.

One of the best sections in the book discusses green washing, which will help those newly interested in the "green" movement to discern which products actually are safer for them and made from natural products, and which are merely using the presence of natural products to claim they are "green" or organic. Gabriel even provides Green Products Guide with a one-, two-, three-leaf system that categorizes how natural a product is. Other helpful sections of the book provide ways to make your own green beauty products, with a list of necessary tools, ingredients, and tips on where to purchase the ingredients. I also was surprised to find green beauty tips for babies in terms of diaper area care, massage oils, baby wipes, and bathing for babies.

Overall, this guide has a great many tips for those looking to expand the care of themselves and their environment into cosmetics and beauty care. I recommend this for those who wear makeup, lotions, shampoos, conditioners, and other products, which is pretty much everyone. We all should take better care of our planet and ourselves, and what better way than to start with the beauty products we use.

Julie graciously offered to write up a guest post for today's stop, so without further ado, I'd like to thank her for taking the time out of her busy schedule to share with us how The Green Beauty Guide was born.

Thanks a Lot for Your Rejection by Julie Gabriel

My book, THE GREEN BEAUTY GUIDE, is dedicated to my daughter. It would be nice to say that she made me not a green goddess, but this is not true. She made me a green junkie, a green paranoiac, and sometimes a green pest. Being an Aries, she possesses enormous powers of persuasion. Basically, she made me write THE GREEN BEAUTY GUIDE when she was two weeks old. Not a two-week old newborn, but a two-week young fetus.

Three years ago, I was obsessed with writing a book on green pregnancy. As I went through my “certified organic” pregnancy, which I meticulously planned for the whole twelve months - and that means three-month detox before the conception plus normal nine months of pregnancy - I could not be happier than share the joy of having the pregnancy the green way. I wanted to tell moms that it’s fun, healthy, and perfectly doable, to be pregnant and green.

But somehow, as all new authors know, there was a problem with my “platform.” I am not a doctor; neither am I a celebrity mom. I am not even a doula or a registered nurse. In England, it’s good enough to be a nanny if you want to write books about parenting, but all I had to produce to support my case was my background in journalism, my education as a holistic nutritionist, my career in fashion media, and my growing belly. All this is hardly relevant to pregnancy and parenting, agents told me. If you were manufacturing baby clothes, sure, you can write about pregnancy, but what’s your platform? I changed the proposal back and forth, I tossed one idea after another, but it just didn’t seem to work.

Then I had a lightbulb moment. It was an actual lightbulb I was changing in our bathroom in Toronto. The bathroom was jam-packed, floor to ceiling, with my green beauty finds: organic shampoos and mineral sunscreens, herbal baths and odd-smelling stretch mark oils, homemade candles and bath salts. As a diligent green mom, I opted out of any synthetic chemicals in my beauty routine. What’s my problem? I thought. I know so much about all these wonderful, fragrant, oily and shimmery things that make us pretty, happy, and hopefully healthy. I have switched from my chemical hair colors to henna, I am using organic lotions and scrubs, and I am even making my own soaps - so why not sum it all up in a handy book? Next week I spent writing a green beauty book proposal which was shaping up very quickly and so naturally. It was growing, flowing, and eventually overflowing with great information that I accumulated over years of writing about skincare, hair, and makeup. And as I see now, it was a wise move, to embrace your real background and speak about things you know quite well. Very soon, I met the agent who was excited about my green beauty project. Adina Kahn of Dystel&Goderich, and I spent the next few months polishing my materials, and very soon she found not one but two great publishing houses who were interested in my book!

The bottom line is: never assume that you are rejected because you are a bad writer. I spent the whole year pursuing a project that was completely wrong for me at that particular period in my life. I know so much more about babies and parenting today than I did then. Not “if” but when I write a book about what it takes to be a green parent, I will be able to provide my readers with a lot more valuable information than I could two years ago.

All I want to say is this: the timing for the book is always right. It may be a truism, but whatever happens, happens for a reason. There are so many people involved in the publishing process, all of them cannot be wrong at the same time. If the book doesn’t work, it’s not that the idea is bad; maybe the time is just not right. Maybe you are not ready for this book; maybe the reader is not ready for it. Sometimes all the life wants from us is a bit of flexibility.

And I will be doing a book on green pregnancy, I promised that to my daughter. But it will be a completely different kind of pregnancy book. The kind I wouldn’t even dare to think of three years ago.

Thank you Julie for sharing your green pregnancy experiences and publishing struggles with us.

Interested in winning a copy of The Green Beauty Guide?

Leave a comment expressing what you do to reduce your carbon footprint or stay green. Please include a way for me to contact you either valid blog or email address.

Deadline for the contest is Dec. 16, Midnight EST.

***Don't forget my Pemberley by the Sea contest. It ends on Dec. 10 at Midnight EST. Sorry open only to U.S. and Canadian addressed residents.**

Also Reviewed by:

She is too Fond of Books


Serena said...

Susan, thanks for stopping by and paying attention to the reviews. Hopefully you will find some good recommendations.

Anonymous said...

To reduce my carbon footprint, I try to be conscience of packaging and not buy products that are over-packaged. I recycle everything I can. I use canvas bags at the grocery store. I'd love to be entered to win this book. milou2ster(at)

Serena said...

Bermudaonion: Fantastic. I'm glad that you entered. This book is truly comprehensive.

Gottawrite Girl said...

Hey Serena!!! Wonderful post and wonderful interview!

What I do? I save every carry out tupperware and purchased water battle and continually re-use. Turn out lights. And worked for an environmental non-profit for some time.

I could do better, but I do try and keep mindful!

: )

Thanks, my friends!!!!

Serena said...

Gottawrite girl: Thanks for entering...great job.

Toni said...

Oh I would love to win a copy!
I have been using recyclable bags, and if I do have the left over brown bags I take em to the store, I am tying to use less napkins and buy my yogurt in bulk. I also have been reusing ziplock bags.. just a start. And I have cut 5 minutes off my hot shower time (that is HUGE for me).. :)

baby steps....

Serena said...

Toni: Sounds like you are making progress and the Green Beauty Guide can help you in other ways.

The Bookworm said...

sounds really good, great review!
its so important to go 'green'

Sandra said...

I'm beginning to see this book everywhere, I hope it does well. I don't even wear make-up so I doubt that I would benefit from reading it. But I did enjoy the author's guest post very much. It's always nice to have a bit of background about how a book came to life. And we recycle almost everything as our city has set up a good system and given us all the appropriate containers to put out for collection. And thanks for your kind words on my TT post today.

Serena said...

Sandra: I don't wear makeup either. But I found that this book had quite a bit more to offer...including what chemicals to watch out for in shampoos, conditioners, lotions, and face creams and scrubs. You'd be surprised how much is in this book.

Anonymous said...

2 month old fetus?! I was like oMG! A green pregnancy sounds cool. I think now the author can write abt it too :)

This book sounds so nice :)Awesome actually.. she is right.. u never knw what chemicals we r putting into our s/ms it sounds really scary!

Anna said...

This book sounds great! I don't wear makeup, as you know, but I'd love to learn about making my own soaps and facials, etc. That sounds like a lot of fun, as well as being a healthier choice.

As for myself, I try to recycle as much as possible, especially paper, and since my townhouse community doesn't want to institute recycling and I'm still searching for a place to drop off my recyclables, I do what I can to create as little waste as possible, looking at product packaging, etc. I also try to reuse as much as possible!

Serena said...

Thanks for entering the contest everyone.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Hey, babe. No need to enter me; I'm just dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I just posted this at Win a Book for ya.

Iliana said...

This books sounds so good. Thank you for hosting the giveaway.

I try to recycle as much as I can, my husband refuses to use a dryer so we line dry all of his clothes and I try to decline shopping bags as much as possible.

Anonymous said...

I use Jute bags for shopping. And of course Indians are known to re-use almost ANYTHING!


Please do count me in for this:


Unknown said...

I use reusable grocery bags and pack my son's lunches in reusable containers, among many other things.

This books sounds wonderful. Thanks for doing the giveaway!

Keyo said...

HI serena,

To reduce my carbon footprint, I recycle everything I can. I use cloth bags for grocery shopping. In my country, thats a norm, i am glad here it is catching up!! Please enter me for this book! thanks.

Ladytink_534 said...

We recycle, use little electricity (even though it is Christmas time, the lights don't stay on too long), and hubby carpools to work all but one day a week.

Anonymous said...

no need to enter my name in the giveaway; as you know I LOVED this book! I'm making a few small changes to my "beauty routines" as a result. And, I bought the book and some ingredients (lavender essence, lemon essence, rose oil) for my sister for Christmas (shhhhh...)

Shana said...

Great review and guest post!

This book looks fantastic. I started using mineral make-up (Bare Escentuals) a few years ago and I LOVE it. The only problem is that when I go into Sephora to restock, I'm tempted by all the other stuff!!!


Serena said...

Dawn: what a great gift. Good idea...I don't really have a sister to share it with, but Anna and I will be trying out the recipes.

Shana: I've only gotten a few things from Sephora, usually as gifts...I don't dare go in there myself...I'd be afraid of buying something.

The Giveaway Diva said...

i try to walk more or take the bus instead of always driving!!

Anonymous said...

i am a huge stickler for recycling and reusing! paper can not be recycled until both sides are used! my children are in school so they need a lot of paper to do problem sets or for scrap and i make them use the back of paper...even some flyers that we get in the mail..if there is a blank back we use it!!


Anonymous said...

what i have done is gotten rid of all the plastic grocery bags in my house i only use the reusable kind! i also try to buy in bulk because there is leass packaging!

glamorchick_007 AT

Anonymous said...

i used to drink a lot of bottled water but now i realize that tap water is just as good and that i should cut down on the waste that i produce! I started a composter too!


Anonymous said...

wow waht a great review you did!! =)
i really enjoy green beauty and i have swapped over to mineral makeups and i try to buy items that are good for the environment or have a very low impact!

glittergurl04 AT

allisonmariecat said...

I would love to read this book!

We switched to compact fluorescent light bulbs, keep our thermostat low, and use reusable shopping bags (and keep an eye on the bagger--at our store, they like to put a couple of items in each reusable bag and then start on the plastic bags). We also cloth diaper!

I'm very interesting in "greening" our skin/hair care...
allison DOT campbell AT gmail DOT com

Thanks for the opportunity to enter!