Many vegan beauty enthusiasts are familiar with Sunny Subramanian’s smiling face (and bright magenta hair). For nearly a decade, Subramanian has published reviews of cruelty-free and vegan beauty products on her site Vegan Beauty Review. In addition to being a pioneer in the vegan beauty blogging world, Subramanian has worked for PETA and has been featured in the LA Times, Women’s World Magazine, and Allure.
Now, in The Compassionate Chick’s Guide to DIY Beauty, she’s partnered with holistic beauty expert Chrystle Fiedler to create her own makeup and skin care concoctions. Vegan DIY-ers will be pleased to find that there are no honey-and-yoghurt face masks or anything involving putting raw eggs in your hair (when did that ever sound like a good idea?). In addition to being 100% vegan, Subramanian and Fiedler’s recipes are gluten-free and created with ingredients easily found online and at health food stores (plus, most of the ingredients are fairly affordable).
Recipes in The Compassionate Chick’s Guide to DIY Beauty are broken down in into five chapters: face care, bath and body care, hair care, makeup and cosmetics, and unisex beauty essentials. Most recipes are accompanied by beautiful photographs illustrating the steps taken in the recipes. The instructions are clear and even include explanations of how particular ingredients benefit the skin (or hair).
The face section features cleansers, toners, serums, scrubs, and masks (my favorite being the Green Clay Detox Mask). The body care chapter contains recipes for creative perfume blends, good-enough-to-eat scrubs, and even an aloe-based “Sparklepuss Glitter Gel.” (Indeed, there are many recipes that would be fun to make with kids.)
The hair care and makeup sections venture into yet more adventurous territory. In addition to shampoos and hair rinses, Subramanian and Fiedler share a “No-Poo” dry shampoo recipe with such simple ingredients that I wondered why I’d ever shelled out for a dry shampoo! And then there’s the “Flaxseed Hair-Styling Goop” that promises mega-hold powers—certainly not for the faint of heart!
Subramanian’s distinctive whimsy shines in the makeup chapter. “Spice Girl Shadows,” made from natural colourants, provide rich colour options while “Shimmer Blush” features mica, beetroot powder, and cocoa powder. There are even recipes for eyeliner (all you need is coconut oil and activated charcoal) as well as mascara. (Since eyeliner and mascara of any formulation tend to “run” on me, I plan to give these DIY version a pass and save my activated charcoal for face masks.)
I attempted my own perfume oil (and bottle decoration) after reading this book, and I love this blend of cypress, ylang-ylang, lavender, and vetiver.
Finally, the chapter on unisex products includes recipes for deodorant, teeth whitener, toothpaste, shaving cream, bug spray, and cuticle oil. These practical recipes are suitable for the whole family—and could really save you some dough at the drug store!
Although the book focuses on how to create your own beauty products, it does address why going the natural route may be preferable for some. The authors point out that by making your own products from scratch, you’ll be saving yourself the potential headache of researching a brand’s ethics and its products’ ingredients. The book also highlights 20 of the most common chemicals in commercial beauty products and notes why they’re possibly problematic.
The list mentions findings from U.S. regulatory agencies, but readers in other countries may want to do some research on whether or not their country allows particular chemicals in safer concentrations.
While The Compassionate Chick’s Guide to DIY Beauty may not turn a Sephora junkie into a DIY beauty fanatic, there’s a little something for everyone in this breadth of fun and thoughtful recipes. I may still buy my mascara from the store, but you can bet I’m going get down and (un)dirty with some homemade bath bombs!
This post has sponsored content.