She first learned from experience and observation, then decided to take things more seriously by enrolling in courses from holistic therapy to aromatherapy. After becoming certified, she opened her own shop.
``I opened two health shops in my own country, way before anyone knew anything about spirulina or green tea. It was all very new,'' recalled Gabriel, currently the brains behind the innovation of Elemis, the renowned British spa chain.
``I always had that passion for what makes the body tick [and] what improves skincare. [Your skin] reflects everything that goes on internally. I totally, passionately believe that.''
With solid knowledge and experience, moving towards a commercial route wasn't unexpected. She joined Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge, London, where headed the beauty department for four years.
She joined Elemis soon afterwards and it was there that she created the first face and body spa therapies.
``I felt I was ready for this journey,'' she said. Her work is an education itself as she is very much on the front line listening to the clients' skin concerns, from which she can better develop and upgrade her products to meet changing needs.
``Elemis is a lifestyle brand, and lifestyles are changing, [so] our skin's needs are changing all the time. The skincare range that worked 10 years ago won't be good enough today.
``Product development has to be constant. Some of our products get redesigned, changed and updated every five years,'' said Gabriel.
This development is partly owing to improvement in active ingredients and technologies, and she takes the opportunity to change products accordingly _ the products evolve as technology evolves.
However, Gabriel firmly believes that truly beautiful skin comes from the inside. In her opinion, the two levels _ the inner and the outer self _ are equally important. She is usually careful about what she eats, with the occasional conscious indulgence. She also finds swimming beneficial for her body and her mind.
``I swim all the time. I love the way the breath drops down when you swim. It's not just the swimming _ it's about the breathing. I get very centred,'' Gabriel said.
One of the most important tips she tells every woman is to shower only from the neck down, as tap water is not good for facial skin.
``Primarily, drinking water keeps the system clean and hydrated,'' she said. ``The skin, which is an organ in that system, also gets the benefits. Less water on the skin, however, is a good thing because there is chlorine and calcium in it. That can be drying.
``It has a chalk effect. Some women like it because it takes away the shine, but it's very short term. When the skin is dry, the oil glands go, `Uh-oh, must produce more oil', and you end up with shine.''
The right skin routine can be very simple, and Gabriel only spends about five minutes each morning preparing her skin, because she has cleansed it thoroughly at night. In the morning, a wash and some moisturiser is enough for her.
``I think a lot of struggling in the morning is not a good thing, especially for your skin. The more you do in the morning, the more your skin depreciates during the day,'' she said.
``A lighter routine in the morning makes a lot more sense. Use a heavier routine in the evening as your skin is resting through the night and it's not over-challenged.''
It is also important to choose the right products for your skin. Gabriel recommended getting a personal consultation before buying anything, and to always have a treatment before every skincare purchase to see how the product affects the skin.
Good skincare products should show visible improvement in 21 days, which is the natural renewal cycle of skin cells. If the results are much more drastic than that, however, it can be dangerous.
``If you're using a highly concentrated product, your skin goes into trauma because it kind of freezes and thinks, `What's going on?'.
``You have to respect your skin _ it's an organ. You have to work with the cycle of renewal. You have to pay the price eventually, which is what people find out about Retin-A or glycolic acid. With overuse of them, the skin gets very thin. It destroys the cycle of the skin,'' she said, adding that a good skincare should be neither too cheap nor overly expensive.
Her final tip is to avoid impulse buying products you're unsure about, just because you're tempted by freebies that come with it _ that's the wrong reason to put something on your skin.
``Find skincare products that work for you by getting a consultation _ experience it and feel it. If you find a system that works, stay with it. That's the one that is right for you.''