Maybe it's my curious nature or the fact that I attended a renown research university (UConn), but when I pick up one book on a subject, it often leads to multiple books on that same subject. Unsurprisingly, most of my shelf space is dedicated to books on natural skincare (second only to Harry Potter books and memorabilia). In honor of the literary holidays this week (#ReadABookDay is 9/6 and #LiteracyDay is 9/8), here are my top six go-to resources for natural beauty:
Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham — Think of this as the real-life version of 1000 Magical Herbs and Fungi, the book Hogwarts students needed for Herbology classes. Though this won't tell you the healing properties of herbs (those are well-documented in some of the books below), this book reveals the magical properties of them, such as ruling planet, gender, element, deities, powers, and ritual and magical uses. When I create natural skincare products, I don't just factor in the physical benefits of each ingredient I use. I carefully consider its energy as well. Think of this as the spiritual companion to the rest of the books in this list.
DIY Natural Beauty On A Budget (eBook) by Sami Jo Jensen — After years of studying herbalism and creating my own natural skincare concoctions, I pulled together everything I knew and bundled it up into this eBook. Whether you're just starting out making your first beauty products or have been whipping things up in your kitchen for a few years, my eBook is a great reference guide to commonly used ingredients, essential oils (plus an aromatherapy and blending guide), how to make herbal infusions, and over 40 recipes for creating face wash, body scrubs, hair & face masks, oils & serums, and more. Buy it here.
Eat Pretty: Nutrition for Beauty, Inside and Out by Jolene Hart — This is a fantastic first step into the world of nutrition and how it affects our bodies, inside and out. Jolene Hart synthesizes scientific research into digestible terms, explaining what antioxidants and omega-3s are and providing lists of foods that are high in each and have other beauty benefits. She also broaches topics such as hormonal balance, mindfulness, and stress management. And, of course, there are some delicious recipes too!
Green Beauty Recipes by Julie Gabriel — This is one of my first and most-referenced natural beauty guidebooks. (Really, you should see the highlighting and notes inside!) Though it doesn't make for a great ingredients reference (I'd rely on my eBook or Rosemary Gladstar's book for this), it does have over 250 recipes, and it's the only book I've found that takes a deep dive into preserving your creations, and the differences between types of essential oils, emulsifiers, oils, and types of packaging.
Herbs for Natural Beauty by Rosemary Gladstar — Rosemary Gladstar is considered by many to be the mother of herbalism because she has been studying and teaching the healing properties of herbs for over 40 years and has published numerous books and articles about using them for healing and beauty. This 128-page book is an easy to understand staple for the natural beauty enthusiast. Sadly, it isn't pictured here because I've misplaced my copy!
Skin Cleanse by Adina Grigore — Skin Cleanse takes a similar approach to beauty as Eat Pretty: it starts from within. Grigore starts with her own personal struggles with health and beauty, then dives into the biology of our skin, common skin ailments, your body type, and how our skin and health are affected by our environment, our genetics, our stress, and of course, what we eat! She urges you to keep a food journal to track what you eat and how it makes you feel/look. Skin Cleanse provides a list of "good foods" and some recipes for eating them, plus how to detox your beauty routine and simple recipes for making your own natural skincare concoctions.
What natural beauty books do you recommend?