The Compassionate Chick’s Guide to DIY Beauty

I have to confess I’m into DIY big time. Although I don’t have much free time to photograph and share all my projects, I love painting furniture, mixed-media art, making jewelry and doing my own cosmetic concoctions.

Although I will be sharing some of my own recipes very soon, I wanted to bring your attention to a book that will help you start creating your own DIY beauty products. The Compassionate Chick’s Guide to DIY Beauty is a wonderful guide to creating all-natural, vegan and cruelty-free beauty products that you can whip up in your kitchen with simple ingredients for pennies per treatment. Aside from being an extremely fun family activity, I wholeheartedly recommend you to try and host a DIY night with the ladies and make amazing memories with your friends. Also, the recipes in this book make amazing presents for those who are important in your life—everybody loves receiving something homemade with love!

Keep reading to discover my full review and an amazing recipe for a DIY natural deodorant included in the book!

The good 

Source: Ecouterre

The Compassionate Chick’s Guide to DIY Beauty includes 125 recipes to create vegan makeup, skincare and hair products. With a very clear style, it is very easy to read and even easier to follow, which makes it perfect for DIY beauty beginners. Additionally, it has a wonderful chapter where the authors detail what every natural ingredient does for the skin, which is essential before you start playing around with your oils, butters, and clays.

I especially appreciated the well-researched information they offer about why DIY skincare is better than many products bought in the stores. This chapter contains a myriad of information about what chemicals/synthetic ingredients to avoid in your skincare, and it’s displayed in a way that’s extremely easy to understand given the complexity of the problem. 

On the other hand, the recipes presented are extremely good and don’t need any strange equipment or a big investment from your side. Having been doing my own cosmetics for a long time, I appreciate this because other books will use really strange ingredients that are either a.) expensive or b.) difficult to find outside Europe. The photographs are gorgeous, and the whimsical style of Sunny Subramanian, the author of the website Vegan Beauty Review, makes it a breeze to read and understand. The book also offers a lot of alternatives in case you run short of an ingredient, which is something many readers like myself will appreciate.

Finally, no bunnies or other creatures will be harmed if you use the recipes in this book, which is a great plus for animal lovers like myself.

The bad 

Source: Urban Curator

I honestly was disappointed with the chapter dedicated to essential oils. I believe it is a bit incomplete in the sense that they are quite complex and they deserve a lengthier explanation. For example, some essential oils can actually help interrupt pregnancies or trigger epileptic attacks in some people with epilepsy (Eucalyptus Globulus.)

Let’s not forget that essential oils are very concentrated extracts from plants, which in turn are the base for medicine. They can interact with existing medications or simply not suit everybody. If you decide to use essential oils, please do your research and always consult your physician if you have any health issues or are taking any medications, even over-the-counter or natural ones.

On the other hand, I was surprised to see the authors labeled rose essential oil as “considered not safe during pregnancy”, given the majority of the literature actually says rosehip (INCI: Rosa Mosqueta) is one of the few, along with lavender, that can be used topically without concerns during this period. Although the authors might be referring to another type of oil, I would recommend you to do your personal research before you start playing around with essential oils. The safest is generally lavender to start with, but again please don’t hesitate to reach out to your physician or a holistic doctor to be in the all-clear.

The verdict

All in all, I find this is a great book to start doing your very own DIY beauty recipes. It covers all the bases in skincare, makeup and hair care, and goes above and beyond the traditional recipes by including such things as a hand sanitizer, a DIY deodorant that works, or a BB cream with SPF 20. These recipes are also very creative and quite different from the mash-an-avocado-type that you can find everywhere, in case you were wondering. The recipes actually look good, smell good, and make terrific presents. They scream handmade instead of Crazy DIY Lady.

On the other hand, the fact that the recipes are vegan is something not very common in the DIY cosmetics world. Most recipes usually call for such things as beeswax or powdered milk, but the authors have taken away the guesswork for those who want to extend the vegan lifestyle to what they put on their skin. Bravo!

My verdict is that if you are looking into doing your own beauty stuff or just having a good night with your family and/or friends to avoid the cabin fever now Fall is coming back, you should check out The Compassionate Chick’s Guide to DIY Beauty. It is really worth your hard-earned dollars.

The deets

The Compassionate Chick’s Guide to DIY Beauty by Sunny Subramanian and Chrystle Fiedler. Ed. Robert Rose. 256 pages, full color throughout. ISBN 978-0-7788-0547-2. Retail price: $24.95. Available where books are sold.

Sample recipe: DIY Natural Deodorant 

Credit: Michelle Cehn

It’s really hard to find natural deodorants that are in fact pure and not another greenwashing practice. For those of you who don’t have the time or the willingness to go around reading labels, I recommend you to try this recipe from the book: the Keep-It-Dry Deodorant Paste, found on page 232 of The Compassionate Chick’s Guide to DIY Beauty

This recipe is extremely simple to make, doesn’t cost a fortune, and is effective (I tried it myself.) You will need:

  • Small glass jar with lid
  • 3 tbsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch (45 ml)
  • 1 tbsp baking soda or kaolin clay (15 ml)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (30 ml)
  • 5 drops essential oil(s) of your choice


1. In a small bowl, whisk arrowroot powder with baking soda until well combined. Set aside.

2. Place coconut oil in a small heatproof glass bowl. Microwave on High, stirring every 5 seconds, until melted and completely smooth. (The total time will depend on the strength of your microwave.)

3. Whisk coconut oil into arrowroot mixture along with essential oil(s) until a paste forms. Pour into jar.

4. Using fingers, rub a small amount of paste over underarm skin until absorbed.

5. Store at room temperature for up to 1 year. 

Recipe courtesy of The Compassionate Chick’s Guide to DIY Beauty by Sunny Submaranian & Chrystle Fiedler © 2016 .  Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold.

Disclaimer level 1: The author received NO compensation to write this review. The author received a sample copy of the book for consideration, which did not affect the views expressed here nor the decision to feature the book. The article contains NO affiliate links.


1 Comment

  1. Anonymous
    October 12, 2016 / 10:46 pm

    Is this recipe effective to keep odor away?

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