Review: “Plant-Powered Beauty” by Amy Galper and Christina Daigneault

You’d almost think I was on a DIY trip, the way I’m reviewing two beauty guides in a row! This is actually rather serendipitous; I’d requested both, just in case I didn’t get approved for one, and ended up with both. As it turns out, they complement each other rather well. So let’s not dilly-dally any further and get on with the post!

“Plant-Powered Beauty” is an amazing, in-depth resource for anyone wishing to learn the behind-the-scenes science of creating not only your own beauty products, but your very own recipes. Ms Galper and Ms Daigneault, certified aromatherapists, spend the better half of the three hundred-odd pages of this book giving you all the tools you will ever need to do exactly that. As you would expect, you begin by examining the skin. What is it, what does it do, and how does it do it? You’ll learn all about components of skin care, how to combine them in which format to arrive at a desired result, and you will find out how to prepare and store your recipes to get the most out of them. When I said ‘the better part,’ I was not kidding. Part 1 of the book ends roughly in the middle of it, but all throughout this first, as well as the remaining, half you’ll see info boxes and whole pages with additional information inserted. You are in good hands here! One little quibble I have is with the section “Nice to have equipment”: in a setting where hygiene is of the utmost important, bottle brushes are not a pleasant afterthought but essential. They are dirt cheap, too, so there is no reason at all not to add them to your at-home beauty laboratory.

Part 2 begins on page 153. This is where you can begin making products with some 50 recipes, from face cream and body butter to hair treatments (including pomade, although fans of a certain film are left in the dark how this compares to Dapper Dan), deodorant, mouthwash, bug spray, pain relief gel, and massage oil. There is quite a variety! I particularly love the final recipe section, Mind-Body Care, which includes aromatherapy bath tea bags, various salves, roll-ons, and even inhalers for those moments when you’re desperate for some serenity. Please note that some recipes call for honey or beeswax, although there is a discussion on how to substitute different plant-derived waxes, at least. One thing I found a bit odd was the fact that the introductory notes to the recipes come after the list of equipment and ingredients needed. I prefer the actual recipe body to be as uncluttered as possible, but I realize not everyone cares.

Finally, there is a fairly extensive resources list, lots of notes referred to in the text, a glossary, an index, and a separate recipe index (super helpful!). If you want to develop your own body care recipes, this is definitely the guide for you. Do realize, though, that because you’ll possibly be making your own herbal infusions and other vital parts of your recipes,  you will need to plan ahead, possibly even months ahead. If you’re just looking for some quick ideas you can whip up for an impromptu spa day, you would be better off with the book from my previous review.

“Plant-Powered Beauty” is published by BenBella Books. I received a free copy via Netgalley in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

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Review: “Pure Skin Care” by Stephanie L. Tourles

Whaaat, another review already? What is going on here? Yes, I do seem rather prolific this week, but I’m eager to get through some of the excellent non-fiction titles so that I can give you a few awesome fiction titles to meet!

My interest in natural skin care first arose in my teen years. Like so many of my peers, I was plagued with acne and sought both to alleviate the ugly, red pimples and reduce the appearance of my pores. Because I had better things to spend my allowance on than expensive creams and tinctures (hello! Books and music, of course!), and because I’ve always enjoyed stirring things together, I experimented with making my own products. Over the years, I’ve bought, read, and discarded a number of instruction manuals on the subject, but this is one I would actually get for myself.

“Pure Skin Care” is divided into two major parts. In part one, you learn what skin is made of and what it does for you, how to determine your skin type, and how best to pamper it. From the get-go, you’ll find the chapters augmented by info boxes to deepen your understanding on the given subject. You’ll also find out how to choose your tools and containers to store your products safely, and there is an introduction to basic techniques to make the magic happen.

As you might have guessed, part two is all about recipes. The remaining four chapters provide a plethora of easy-to-make products that will have you glowing from face to feet. Notice that haircare is not covered in this book; after all, hair is not skin. Every recipe notes which skin type the product is recommended for and comes with easy instructions on making, storing, and using it. The vast majority is vegan-friendly, although some recipes include honey, yoghurt, or buttermilk. I love that a good number already reside in my fridge and pantry: the best for your skin without having to empty your wallet or spend loads of time searching for exotic items. Friends of short ingredient lists will love this book: some recipes require only one or two items, and most can be made with a small handful.

If you’re unsure where to source your oils, etc., you will find a handy resource guide after the glossary (look here to learn the difference between base oils and essential oils, what to look for when buying essential oils, and everything you need to know about using herbs) and the ingredient dictionary. At the very end is also a recommended reading list, if you would like to delve deeper.

The book has a layout that is easy on the eye and is illustrated with luscious photos that will get you in the mood for a spa day right away.

“Pure Skin Care” is published by Storey Publishing. I received a free copy via Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own. Publishing date is September 18, 2018.

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