Eco-Beauty Book Club: 100 Organic Skin Care Recipes

Natural skincare maven Jessica Ress, founder of Santa Cruz-based Angel Face Botanicals (, has blessed us with a divine gift: 100 of her fantastic recipes. Her freshly released book, “100 Organic Skin Care Recipes: Revitalize Your Natural Glow with Facial Masks, Body Scrubs, Home Spa Treatments, and More,” is a revelation of natural beauty know-how.

When faced with overwhelming choices and increasing no-nos (see our recent post about the perils of plastic microbeads in facial products), it pays to learn how to make your own products. It’s the best way to ensure the quality of what you’re using, as well as the freshness. That’s not to say it isn’t an adjustment, though. While several recipes in Ress’ book called for things I already have on hand (olive and coconut oils, honey, chia seeds, coconut flour, brown sugar, fruits, etc.), many of them require skincare mainstays that will require a big trip to the health food store.  Common ingredients include shea butter, vitamin E capsules, jojoba oil, essential oils, and dried flowers. As I settle into the book, I think some online bulk shopping may be necessary. (If the book were sold with a starter kit, I’d definitely spring for it.) But, until then, there are recipes I can try without leaving the house. The first I attempted was a honey, red wine and chia seed mask that left my parched winter face feeling satisfyingly nourished. Next up is the “Superfood Mask,” which utilizes coconut milk, coconut flower and chia seeds (all items I have on hand), which the book describes as rejuvenating and beneficial for even very sensitive skin. In addition to an ingredient glossary and an informational introduction, the book offers educational tidbits on the ingredients on each recipe page.

Just days after receiving it, my copy is already stuffed with bookmarks—I’ve noted around a dozen recipes that I want to try ASAP. Several sound simply mouthwatering (vanilla, bourbon and honey scrub, anyone?). Some, like a moisturizing mask that includes avocado, lemon, spirulina and olive oil, are meant to be used immediately, while other recipes, like the Mocha Latte Scrub, make larger batches and can be stored (or even given as gifts—such a great idea!).  Salves, balms, steams, lip scrub, masks, bath soaks—the list goes on. A wealth of natural, organic body care recipes are included in these delicious pages. There’s even a hairspray (another of my bookmarked items) that promises surf-tossed tresses with a simple concoction of things like sea salt, coconut oil, vodka, aloe vera juice and coconut oil.

With a little practice (grinding ingredients, for example) and some worthwhile investments, this tome could become a very handy companion.

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