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This time around, I’ve delved into Stephanie Tourles’ Organic Body Care Recipes: 175 Homemade Herbal Formulas for Glowing Skin & a Vibrant Self. I didn’t count up all of the recipes I leafed through, but I’m willing to take her word for it.
This book has a lot of recipes. A lot lot.
Will you be able to use all of them to DIY your beauty routine? Probably not– with the enormous variety of skin problems and challenges that each person experiences (if you’re anything like me, sometimes on the same face), Tourles has had to tailor her skincare recipes for mature skin, normal skin, oily skin, and the like. Erring on the side of caution, she also advises against people with sensitive skin using many of her formulas. Unfortunately, this means that my fellow red-faced people might be a little disappointed by how many things are off-limits to them. (Isn’t that always the way?)
I liked that the skincare recipes themselves were straightforward, uncomplicated, and easy-to-follow. I also enjoyed the fact that Tourles didn’t delve into a lot of woo and “your body will know!”-type language in her formulas. (While I’m as much a witch as anyone, I prefer to look at recipes that have a scientific basis and let my own secret ingredients and personal associations work from there.) Unfortunately, it’s hard to give a critique of the end products themselves– unlike something that’s as pass/fail as baking, there’s a lot of room for variation in how well a given DIY skincare recipe will work.
If I had to offer a criticism, it’s that some of the information was a little thin. Tourles does mention that essential oils are strong and may be contraindicated in people with certain medical conditions, but doesn’t really provide any further information. I was also a little disappointed that there wasn’t much information on the why of each recipe– aside from brief mentions of papain and bromelain, I didn’t really see much about the enzymes, volatiles, or other active components of the ingredients Tourles chose for her recipes. I get that that Tourles’ book was angled more toward beginning DIYers, but it still would’ve made it a much more informative read. Readers of this book are likely to come away from it knowing how to follow the instructions, but without the necessary background information they’d need to really create their own products.
At the end of the day, Organic Body Care Recipes is a good resource for people who would like to try DIYing their own skincare products for the first time. I recommend that readers who choose to pick up this book pick up a copy of The Green Pharmacy or other herbal resource, just to help fill in some of the blanks when it comes to possible contraindications, side-effects, or other hazards.