Q. My mother is very sensitive to chemical fragrances and synthetic ingredients, so I’ve become a homemade beauty product buff over the years. For her birthday this year, I want to make her something different and unique—not your average lip balm or cocoa butter lotion. Do you have anything to spice up my recipe collection? – Janine, MN     


A. Yes! Well, no, not off the top of our heads, but natural beauty connoisseur Julie Gabriel has got dozens of delicious-sounding recipes. Sweet Tea Balm, Tea Tree Healing Oil, Spicy Tea Poultice, Mediterranean Garden Preshampoo Hair Butter—by the time you’re done, your mom won’t know what hit her, and your kitchen will look like a flash flood just came through. In a good way.  

Gabriel’s all about skin and hair, and finding non-toxic ways to help them keep their healthy luster. If you can get through the mammoth title of her new book—The Green Beauty Guide: The effects synthetic products have on you; Organic makeup, moisturizers, and hair care; Shortcuts to going green without going broke; How to spot organic frauds and gimmicks—you’ll find a treasure trove of info on natural beauty techniques and tricks.

To get you started, here’s a recipe for a facial toner we thought sounded particularly refreshing and yummy: 

Green Chai Toner

3 organic green tea bags

5 drops organic tea tree oil

2 drops geranium oil

1 drop eucalyptus oil

1mg green tea extract

1mg Acai extract 


  1. Steep the green tea stronger than you’d usually drink (for about ten minutes). Let the tea cool until it’s lukewarm. Keep the cup covered to preserve the steam that may carry beneficial volatile compounds of the tea.
  2. Blend well. Remove the teabags and add all the oils and extracts.
  3. Store this toner in the fridge for up to one month, but do not freeze.
Story by Tobin Hack. This article originally appeared in Plenty in September 2008.

Copyright Environ Press 2008