Book cover for the Natural Beauty Solution

THE NATURAL BEAUTY SOLUTION: Break Free from Commercial Beauty Products Using Simple Recipes

Mary Helen Leonard

Spring House Press

June 2015

$19.95/trade paperback

ISBN: 978-1940611181

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Mary Helen Leonard works for one of the country’s leading natural ingredient suppliers and formulates DIY recipes for natural skin care, hair care, and green living on her blog, The Natural Beauty Workshop. When not providing tips and assistance to readers and customers, she can be found teaching natural beauty classes and workshops in her hometown of Austin, TX.

In the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle, does it make sense to slather your body in commercial, chemical-­laden beauty products?  Like your stomach, your skin can absorb chemicals and additives – but navigating the world of commercial beauty in search of safe, natural, and effective products can be expensive and daunting.  THE NATURAL BEAUTY SOLUTION is a step-by­-step guide to replacing commercial beauty products with a 100% natural routine.  With easy-to-follow, affordable, and customizable recipes for natural skin care, THE NATURAL BEAUTY SOLUTION not only provides a healthy alternative to mass­-produced products, it will help your skin and hair look their best – naturally.

Alpha-Hydroxy Facial Recipe

Alpha Hydroxy Facial

Did you know that the goodies in your fruit bowl contain gentle acids that are perfect for scrubbing away dull, dead skin? These mild acids, called alpha-hydroxys, have a talent for loosening dead skin cells, increasing the effectiveness of exfoliation, and thus brightening skin. Yogurt is another excellent ingredient for gentle exfoliation as it contains natural lactic acid. Lactic acids work similarly to alpha-hydroxys, lifting dull layers of skin without irritation. Whipping up a fresh alpha-hydroxy treatment every once in a while is an easy way to keep your skin looking its best. I recommend indulging in this kind of treatment on a weekly or monthly basis. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to throw one together whenever the mood strikes. It’s best to use organic fruits and dairy for this recipe whenever possible. To create a vegan version, simply omit the plain yogurt and add a little bit of water or extra fruit instead.

1/2 cup organic berries
2 tablespoons organic plain yogurt
2 tablespoons kaolin clay
Water or hydrosol, as needed

Combine the berries, yogurt, and kaolin clay in a blender and purée until smooth. If you don’t have a blender, simply mash the berries with the other ingredients to form a paste. If the mixture is too thick to spread easily, add a little bit of  water or hydrosol to loosen it up.

Apply the mixture liberally to your face and neck. Allow the mixture to dry for about ten minutes, then use your fingers to gently massage the mixture into your skin using slow, circular motions. Rinse, then follow with a toner and moisturizer. This recipe should be used right away, but can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to three days, if necessary. 

Lip Balms

(Fills About 12-15 Lip Balm Tubes)

Lip Balm

Making your own lip balm is simple, inexpensive, and surprisingly fun. A small batch makes multiple balms, enough to keep you well stocked for an entire season, or enough to share with family and friends. While commercial lip balms are sometimes made with icky ingredients, like mineral oil or artificial fragrances, homemade lip balms can be made with the best, most lip-nourishing ingredients around. Once you start making your own balms, you’ll wonder how you ever had eyes for Chapstick.

1 tablespoon jojoba oil
1 tablespoon avocado oil
2 tablespoons shea butter or cocoa butter
1/4 cup beeswax (for vegan lip balm, use 2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon candelilla wax instead)
1 teaspoon liquid lecithin
1/2 teaspoon peppermint essential oil (optional)

Melt the wax and the shea or cocoa butter in a double boiler, or in the microwave. If you are using the microwave, melt the ingredients in short, 30-second bursts, stirring in between each one. Add the jojoba and avocado oils and stir well. Add the peppermint essential oil and the liquid lecithin, and stir again, then carefully pour the mixture into your lip balm tubes. Allow the lip balms to cool and harden completely before moving them or using them.

Apply liberally to your lips anytime they are feeling chapped or dry.

These recipes may be reproduced with the following credit:

Recipes from THE NATURAL BEAUTY SOLUTION by Mary Helen Leonard. (Spring House Press; June 2015; $19.95/trade paperback; ISBN; 978-1940611181). 

Contact: Paul McGahren