Welcome to the April newsletter where I am recovering from the big headache of several product famines, which seem to have a habit of coming together at the same time. The recovery process was of course much helped by the fact that I have been in LA (working and researching – I promise!) and I will lead this newsletter by writing about two of the hottest new products in LA at the moment, working on the premise that we will not be left behind and we adore fabulous products. We also take a look at other new product launches, news, feedback and all the latest articles from the VH editorial team. Additionally, I throw the focus on hay fever and I will be writing about a crucial supplement that most people over 40 should consider taking. Let’s go:
Spray di Solé
There is nothing I like better than thoroughly researched products that completely live up to their promise, most especially when they have been subjected to rigorous testing against many of the leading brands in their category. Before anything, I need to tell you that I am not a great lover of fake tans and I had never had a tanning treatment in my life until I was asked if I would like a ‘glow treatment’. Glow me to the moon and back, if there is a product that would give me a year-round Californian glow, then that’s what I want and that’s exactly what I got. Read on!
The Four Seasons Spa sets the absolute ‘gold standard’ in treatments and products and their research is impeccable, which is pretty crucial as they are an award-winning spa and have a reputation to live up to. In a year-long research programme they tested many leading spray tans and self-tanning products and Spray di Solé beat the whole lot of them hands down. I know the brands they tested and so my fascination peaked, most especially because I got my hands on two new products, which were recently launched to great acclaim in LA.
Before I tell you about both products, which of course I have become addicted to, I need to say that I tan quite easily and I was pretty bronzed-up before testing the products, but I needed to see the results with my own eyes on my own skin because if there was one hint of turning orange, then I was going to scrub the whole lot off and go and sulk in the bathroom!
The girls working in the spa had already told me the products were sensational, they gave the best colour ever, ever, ever and let me tell you, they were all bronzed to perfection – and then (tra la la) so was I! So hold tight because I am about to tell you why you can all throw your foundations in the bin (as ever, I will be much loved by the cosmetic industry) and you can have an all-year-round Californian glow, just like me, but I just need to say this first. Spray di Solé have scientifically created organic and vegan based products that contain botanically extracted ingredients with no preservatives. This means that the products protect the skin without clogging the pores or irritating sensitive skin and that’s really important. Here come the products:
Spray di Solé: Sun Gelee: Sun Gelee gives an even all over glow to your face and it can be used on the body too. Made with DHA, which ensures the glow stays for approximately seven days, the gelee is non-transferable so you can glow and go, leaving the skin feeling soft, smooth and radiant – I swear it’s like magic! Using the finest ingredients, which hydrate your skin while tanning, Spray di Solé claim this is the first ever brush-on-tan (patent pending).
So, this is what you get, a 15 ml tube of Sun Gelee, which will probably last right the way through to the end of summer if you use it just for your face, and a kabuki brush to brush it on with, so you won’t get any streaks or stained hands – genius! For best results apply on cleansed skin and just pump one or two times directly onto the kabuki (less is more). Apply with the brush onto your face using circular movements avoiding the eye area. I go over my entire face two or three times with the brush just to make sure that I’m covered and although you will see an immediate difference, it actually takes approximately eight hours to fully develop. At the end of the eight hours, cleanse your face and you are done.
Although you can of course apply more frequently and build a deeper glow, I like the subtle approach and use it every sixth or seventh day. At the moment I do have a natural base tan, but I am using the gelee because it just evens everything out rather brilliantly. The difference it makes really does have to be seen to be believed and if you are tanned, the first place you tend to lose your tan is your face, so it is a multi-faceted product and I like that a lot.
In conclusion, I never thought that I would fall so hopelessly in love with a ‘self-tan’ product, but the supremacy of the gelee is such that I am eating a great big slice of humble pie, so let’s all glow together, in the chicest way possible of course!
Sun Gelee £42 (Two piece kit which includes 15 ml Sun Gelee and Kabuki Brush)
Spray di Solé: Liquid Bronzer: There are several different ways you can use the liquid bronzer and in LA it is being dubbed as the ’24 hour Tan’ because it gives a temporary all-over-glow to the face (and body too if you want it to). The bronzer is free from DHA (dihydroxyacetone – derived from sugar), which means that once you have cleansed your skin it has gone forever because DHA is the ingredient that gives a self-tan staying power. Once again, this product is applied with the included kabuki brush and is non-transferable, so you glow and go with the bronzer too. A little goes a long way, so please don’t overdo it.
Californian girls brush it onto their legs, arms and décolletage with pretty perfect results, but I’m using it on top of the gelee to ‘pop’ the colour on my cheekbones, which I urge you all to try whether you use the gelee or not. As with the gelee, less is more so you just need one or two quick pumps onto the kabuki and away you go. Circular movements if you are using it all over your face or on your body and brush upwards if you are applying to the cheekbones. Amazing, amazing, amazing!
Liquid Bronzer £42 (Three piece kit which includes 30 ml Liquid Bronzer, Kabuki Brush and a Refillable Atomizer)
Please allow me to introduce each of you to Shavata, one of the UK’s leading eyebrow experts and winner of ‘Best Brow Service’ in the Harper’s Bazaar Hot 100 Awards for 2012. Shavata is completely passionate about eyebrows and the entire process of creating the perfect arch fascinates her. She is constantly thinking of new ways to make this pretty daunting beauty task easier for each of us and I’m thrilled to be able to share her fabulous products with you. Eyebrows can transform the way you look in minutes and done properly, they can knock ten years off you, seriously!
I have been testing her entire product range and I will write about my top five essentials and her bestselling products in a moment, but before that you need to know that I have just put ‘Gill meets Shavata’ live on the editorial section of our site. This saves me writing reams of wonderful things about her on this newsletter and there are also a lot of great tips for creating perfect eyebrows, together with her views on eyebrow tinting and the ‘scouse’ brow. When you get a moment, check it out and I hope you enjoy it. Products next, with a treat at the end.
Gill meets Shavata (on the third floor of John Lewis at Brent Cross in case you are remotely interested!)
Arch Enhancer: If you follow the life and times of VH, then you will know that I live for pink pencils in my make-up bag. This jumbo pencil is used under the brow to accentuate the arch (anything to get an arch, anything!) by highlighting the brow bone with a soft pink, light reflecting pigment. The arch enhancer is also great to cover re-growth and it doubles as a fabulous cheek highlighter (just above the Spray di Solé’s Liquid Bronzer girls). Love.
Arch Enhancer by Shavata £9.95
Stencil Kit: The Stencil Kit allows for easy brow shaping without the fear of over plucking, ideal for those who want to create a new brow shape or need help when growing out their brows. These stencils include four different eyebrow styles; choose from Brooke, Grace, Kylie or Liz. Also featured in this stencil Kit is the Shavata Double Ended Pencil. I am a big fan of stencil kits, most especially because I’m prone to being ‘tweezer happy’, which always ends up with disastrous results!
Stencil Kit by Shavata £12
Double-Ended Pencil: This sleek double-ended pencil has the benefit of two great brow colours, dawn and dusk. The dawn shade has no reddish tones making this perfect for blondes whereas the dusk shade is a subtle charcoal, perfect for most other colourings. Hold the pencil as if you are sketching and applying feathery strokes for a soft, natural look to prevent any hard lines through the brow.
Double-Ended Pencil by Shavata £8.50
Brow Perfector: Although I can’t live without an eyebrow pencil, which I use when I am in a rush, I personally prefer brushing and building colour onto my brows and I do this with Shavata’s Brow Perfector. The Brow Perfector consists of three crème shadows in a sleek mirrored compact that can be used individually or together to create the perfect natural shade to enhance your brows.
Brow Perfector by Shavata £19.50 (lasts forever!)
Brow Tamer: Tame unruly eyebrows with the Brow Tamer, which is Shavata’s fastest selling product. The clear brow mascara comes in the form of an easy-to-use click pen which requires just one click per brow. The wet formula dries instantly for a matte finish that won’t flake. Stroke upwards when applying before the arch and stroke downward after the arch.
Brow Tamer by Shavata £14.50
The above five products are my favourites and quite honestly I wouldn’t want to be without any of them because of the difference they make. I would trade three new lipsticks in favour of any (or all) of these because I have a ‘thing’ about well-groomed brows. By now you will of course have realised that I have left one essential off the list, tweezers. We each have individual preferences as to the tweezers we use, so I am going to list them all, but I just need to say that I have had all of them tested with outstanding results.
Heart Shaped Tweezers: Designed to be totally portable so you can tidy your brows on the go, the Shavata Heart Tweezer Compact features a mirror that will magnify your brows x 5 for precision and a pair of mini heart-shaped tweezers. Like all of Shavata’s famous tweezer collection, the Heart Tweezers are made from the finest quality stainless steel and are the bestselling tweezers in the range.
Heart Shaped Tweezers by Shavata £21 (Available in red, teal, pink, black and white)
Slanted Tweezers: Hand finished and Swiss made, these tweezers are made with the highest quality stainless steel. The wider grip area of the Slanted Tweezers is especially great for tweezing hair in bulk with accuracy.
Slanted Tweezers by Shavata £19.50
Pointed Tweezers: Hand finished and Swiss made, the extremely pointed tip allows you to accurately tweeze the shortest and finest hairs.
Pointed Tweezers £19.50
The Treat: To celebrate the launch of Shavata’s products on VH, if you buy any two of her products up until the end of April, we will send you a gift with love and kisses from all of us. The gift is Shavata’s Aftercare Gel (worth £5.95), which is a soothing gel containing aloe and arnica. It helps cool and soothe the eyebrow area post plucking and is perfect for helping to reduce redness. This product can also be used on other parts of the body after waxing. You can of course buy the Aftercare Gel as a stand-alone if you wish, so with that, we have come to the end of this section and that’s a wrap on eyebrows.
Aftercare Gel by Shavata £5.95; Shavata (all products)
Hypertension or high blood pressure is one of the most common diseases in the Western World. Often termed the silent killer, symptoms are not usually noticeable except for a dizzy feeling or a slight headache. Hypertension is the reason for tens of thousands of deaths every year due to heart attack, stroke and kidney complications. According to the latest research, even a small increase in blood pressure on an ongoing basis can have serious consequences on our bodies and yet many of us are often not aware of this or simply chose not to have our blood pressure monitored regularly until the disease has set in or perhaps at worse when a complication arises.
In a far-reaching report, Shabir investigates hypertension, the causes and complications of high blood pressure and how recent research has indicated that Olive Leaf Extract can help support healthy blood pressure. Scientific research shows that high concentrations of ‘oleuropein’, found in the leaf of the olive tree, can have a beneficial effect on blood pressure, so please do take the time to read this report because in the majority of cases hypertension is an age-related issue and we are all pretty vulnerable from the age of around 40 and preventative health is key.
It is also important to say that not all Olive Leaf Extract supplements are created equally, and in Shabir’s opinion nothing comes close to the Olive Leaf product he has researched. He calls it ‘stonking’ and I call it being responsible because we will only ever recommend a product that has the correct therapeutic dose to help do what it says on the bottle.
Even Moderately High Blood Pressure Can Lead To A Magnitude of Complications; Super Strength Olive Leaf Extract £25
Bloating: Super Digestive Enzymes
I have often written about bloating because it is a problem that is extraordinarily common. The ageing process and certain health issues can cause a reduction in the body’s production of digestive enzymes and a side effect is a bloated feeling soon after eating a large meal, or it can manifest in the physical bloating of the stomach. Digestive enzymes are essential to the body’s absorption of food and the primary digestive enzymes are protease (to digest protein), amylase (to digest carbohydrate) and lipase (to digest fat). These enzymes function as biological catalysts to speed the reactions that break down food. Raw foods also provide enzymes that naturally break down food for proper absorption, but the capacity to make enzymes diminishes with age, which is why many people find that they put on weight and their shape starts to change as the years roll on.
The complete breakdown of food also helps with concerns such as halitosis (bad breath) and body odours because food is not allowed to stagnate in the gut. The complete digestion of food will also result in enhanced energy, which is due to the increase in nutrient availability.
For many years we have been recommending Extrazyme-13 for bloating issues, but when a next generation product comes along I need to tell you and switch you all over, which is what I am about to do. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Extrazyme-13, it is still an excellent product, but Super Digestive Enzymes by Life Extension is better, so if you do suffer from bloating, then do please try this product because it is truly excellent.
Super Digestive Enzymes by Life Extension £22.95 for 100 Capsules (V)
Femergy Skin Hair & Nails
Many of you are taking Femergy, which is of course one of our bestselling supplements, and now the Better You boys have extended the Femergy brand with a new product for skin, hair and nails, so please excuse me whilst I put my feet up on my desk (you all know how much I love doing this!) and give the platform to Andy Thomas, MD and Founder of Better You:
‘Ageing is an inevitable process caused by free radicals. Free radicals are produced as part of normal life; however we are constantly bombarded by toxins and UV radiation which produce unhealthy levels in our body. To slow the rate of ageing, a potent and natural antioxidant system is required to mop-up these free radical excesses.
Femergy Skin Hair & Nails helps to naturally expel toxic free radicals in the body using a powerful combination of botanical, mineral and vitamin antioxidants, which will in turn enhance the strength and appearance of skin, hair and nails. Each natural ingredient has been carefully selected for its effective antioxidant properties and these include Acerola cherries, Pine bark extract, vitamin A, vitamin E and selenium’.
At this point I would just like to thank Andy and the Better You team for dreaming up and creating products that we all love and we can all relate to. Rock on Better You and keep delivering because products like Femergy, Magnesium Oil and B12 Boost are just completely epic and they really do make a difference to the lives of so many people.
Femergy Skin Hair & Nails £11.95 for 60 Capsules
News and Feedback
I think I had better start this section with another apology for the product famines, which as I wrote at the beginning of this newsletter, all conspired to hit in at the same time. Whilst I will sometimes pre-launch a product and create a wait list, this is often done because I get over-excited about new product launches, but I generally dislike wait lists because all things being equal, we try hard to process and send all our orders out within 24-48 hours.
Added to this, we make every effort to let you all know the current situation, but recently a whole load of ‘sorry for the delay’ emails ended up in spam boxes (someone tell me why!) and to add insult to injury Royal Mail managed to lose an entire sack of letters we had sent to hundreds of you. This really bothers me and my desk got thumped on a pretty regular basis, so notwithstanding all the above, let’s now take a look at some of the products that are literally flying out the door, including two that are no longer on a wait list:
Superior Joints: I don’t really know what to write here because I am literally staggered at the amazing response we have had to this groundbreaking supplement. I’ve had so many emails about its efficacy that I can’t single out any of them because they are all saying the same thing, how incredible it is for helping ease joint pain. Although being out of stock was absolutely dreadful, if there is one good thing to come out a very bad situation it is that the customers who had been taking it noticed such a vast difference when they weren’t taking it, they kept mailing me because they couldn’t live without it. Problem now resolved and another consignment is in the process of being manufactured, just so that you know.
Superior Joints £29.95 for 60 Capsules
Hyaluronic Acid (HA): Nightmare upon nightmare, if Superior Joints wasn’t enough to tip me over the edge, we had a HA famine running at the same time. Thankfully it was pretty short-lived and we were out of stock for just under a week, but everything is absolutely fine now. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but the demand for HA shot through the roof for reasons I have yet to discover, but I’m happy that a whole load of new customers are now taking the most crucial anti-ageing supplement of all time!
Hyaluronic Acid High Strength £35 for 30 Capsules
Instant Miracle Mask: I am completely besotted with this product and many of you have written in to say that you use the mask once a week because the difference it makes to your skin is quite remarkable. If you missed what I wrote about it on the March newsletter then please click here to read all about it. Within four weeks, Instant Miracle Mask has earned a place on the ‘epic product’ list in the VH Hall of Fame. There is nothing like a brilliant, innovative product, so hurray for Sarah Chapman!
Instant Miracle Mask by Sarah Chapman £38 for Four Sachets (so that’s four treatments!)
Heal Gel: I am so happy that Heal Gel continues to be recognised as one of life’s ‘wonder products’ and this recently appeared on Sarah Stacey’s Health Notes in YOU magazine:
‘Heal Gel is a multi-purpose product, originally developed by leading plastic surgeons who wanted to help their patients heal after surgery. It does that brilliantly, and it also helps acne scarring, keloid scars, bruising and inflammatory skin conditions such as rosacea, acne, eczema, psoriasis and sunburn … It’s not cheap at £33.50 for 30ml, but you only need a tiny bit so it lasts for ages’.
Heal Gel £33.50; Gill meets Norman Waterhouse (one of the plastic surgeons)
Focus on Hay Fever
For many, the hay fever season has already started, which does of course mean the inevitable onset of a streaming nose and puffy sore eyes. Hay fever can last from spring, right through the summer to autumn depending upon what pollens, flowers, weeds and mould spores your immune system reacts to. When the body comes into contact with the allergen, cells in the lining of your nose, mouth and eyes release a chemical called histamine that triggers the systems. As ever, there are many products on the market that target hay fever sufferers, but we’ve worked our way through the minefield and in our opinion these are currently the best products available:
Aller-DMG: Year after year, we receive the most amazing feedback about the efficacy of this supplement and quite honestly we have found nothing that comes close. It contains a blend of herbal extracts and nutrients aimed at reducing histamine and the other inflammatory compounds that cause the symptoms, as well as helping to ease breathing. Additionally, Aller-DMG helps modulate the immune systems response to all types of allergens, including pet dander and problem foods.
Aller-DMG by Food Science of Vermont £15.90 for 60 Tablets (V)
Similasan Eye Drops for Allergy Eye Relief: These drops help to stimulate the eye’s natural ability to fight symptoms of allergies and they also help relieve itching, burning, redness of the eyes and watering eyes, which are all associated with hay fever.
Similasan Eye Drops for Allergy Eye Relief £12.95 for 10 ml
Dry Eye Gel: One common complaint from hay fever sufferers is that the area around their eyes can get very dry and sore. Dry Eye Gel is a very light, gentle moisturising gel containing Cardiospermum and it has been developed specifically for use around the eye area. It has been formulated to help maintain healthy skin around the eye, without aggravating an existing condition.
Dry Eye Gel £6.95 for 15ml
Eyes Wide Open: This is extraordinarily popular with so many of you and although it has not been specifically formulated for hay fever sufferers, it does tend to work a treat. Eyes Wide Open is a soothing eye care lotion with witch hazel, green tea, cornflower and eyebright. It brings relief to tired, puffy eyes and contains botanicals that help reduce inflammation and sensitivity, whilst toning and smoothing the skin. To use, just place a small amount onto two cotton pads and lay over each eye for five minutes to cool and rejuvenate. If you are in a rush, then you can just wipe over each eye for instant relief and refreshment. For an extra cool blast, keep it in the fridge. Also pretty fabulous for eyes that just won’t open in the morning!
Eyes Wide Open by Temple Spa £15 for 150 ml
I have to tell you that Ms Jo Fairley is a very, very bad girl, but actually I do have to put my hand up and say that I am not completely innocent and I do egg her on. With Sarah Stacey’s wedding looming ever nearer, Jo and I have taken it upon ourselves to make the most of the lead-up to the big day and this month Jo writes about the bridal beauty countdown. Meanwhile Kate Shapland is having a bit of a lemon rhapsody (she is a girl on a mission!), Lulu talks all about eyes and the Beauty Bible girls write about great hair secrets. I have already written about Shabir’s latest feature (Olive Leaf Extract) and my one-on-one with Shavata, so I hope you enjoy this month’s editorial features.
Whilst it’s not always possible, I do like to throw a treat or two onto each newsletter because it makes me happy and I love to share where I can, so here are a couple for this month, which will run through until I release the May newsletter:
Sibergin: I completely adore Sibergin and if I forget to take it, I certainly know because my energy levels start sliding towards the end of the afternoon. It contains the highest strength of Siberian Ginseng, which helps to enhance energy levels, relieve stress, improve concentration and enhance wellbeing. It contains the equivalent of 2500 mg of standardised Siberian Ginseng concentrated in a 500 mg pure extract capsule and we believe it is currently the most potent Siberian Ginseng supplement available. Siberian Ginseng also helps stimulate the adrenal glands to produce their energising enzymes, which results in energy production.
I’m all for powerful supplementation and this stuff really works to rocket energy levels, so whilst stocks last, if you buy one tube of Sibergin, then we will send you another week’s supply (seven capsules) free. This means that you have five weeks of energy for the price of four, which in my book is a very good thing! This won’t show up on your order or invoice, but will be dropped in with your order. Go!
Sibergin £15.49 for 30 Capsules
Sage Complex: Sage Complex is a natural female hormone balancing supplement containing natural herbs that help to mimic the female hormones helping to alleviate common menopausal concerns including hot flushes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. Many of you are pretty hooked on Sage Complex and so two things to say here. The first is that Shabir has written an article all about hormone mimicking supplementation, so I don’t need to expand here (hurray!) and the second thing is that Sage Complex is normally £23.95 for 90 capsules, but we are offering a special twin pack, whilst stocks last, for £40, which means you save £7.90.
Sage Complex Twin Pack £40; Hormone Mimicking Supplements Should Be Used By Nearly All Women Over 35
The End Bit
Acqua D’Alfresco is a natural luxury anti-insect product whose secret lies in its sweet/spicy fragrance, which is loved by humans and hated by insects. It contains botanical extracts of geranium, lavender and Melissa in a fragrant blend of 22 essential oils that help to repel insects without repelling humans. Aqua D’Alfresco is suitable for babies, children and people with sensitive skin. All you need do is spray liberally, every three hours, particularly around the neck, ankles and exposed area. It is also good for spraying on a pillow to help ensure that you won’t be bitten by some beastly thing in the middle of the night!
When we launched Acqua D’Alfresco last year, the response was pretty amazing and the feedback was great too, so with the Easter break coming up, I thought you may be interested to know that aside from the spray we have just launched their moisturiser, which is pretty neat. It contains botanical extracts and it is also a nourishing and effective moisturiser. Clever.
Anti-Bug Bite Spray £30 (4 x 7.5 ml); Anti-Bug Bite Spray £25 for 50 ml; Anti-Bug Bite Moisturiser £25 for 200 ml
Go Figure: Fabulous feedback from a VH Addict who called to tell me that her thighs can’t live without Temple Spa’s Go Figure. Known as ‘Magic Knickers in a Bottle’ (seriously!), it combines active substances to help fight cellulite and whilst we all know that there isn’t a cream or serum on the market that can get rid of cellulite, there are products that can help improve the appearance and this is one of them.
Go Figure by Temple Spa £25 for 150 ml; Giving It The Brush Off £16
Acne: Huge acclaim for Shabir’s White Paper on acne, so if you do suffer from acne please do take the time to read this. Whilst I’m on the subject of acne, we have an acne treat coming up on 60 Seconds very shortly. It will be the first time that we launch a new product on 60 Seconds, so keep your eyes open!
Take Control of Your Acne
Skin Restoring Ceramides: I give thanks that with the onset of the warmer weather, my legs are not dry, flaky and horrible. Whilst using a fabulous moisturiser obviously helps (Miracle Lotion of course!), I just have to applaud the efficacy of Skin Restoring Ceramides once again and I can’t recommend them highly enough if you tend to suffer from dry skin or compromised skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis.
Skin Restoring Ceramides £25 for 30 Liquid Capsules; Miracle Lotion £14.50 for 237 ml
Nail Magic: This is the product that we can’t keep on the shelves. Whoever thought that a product created in the 1930’s would be at the forefront of nail products today. Sometimes the simple things in life are the very best and this stuff gets results. Strong nails rule!
Nail Magic £9.95
Just a couple more things before we come to the end of another newsletter. As many of you know, we try to keep our costs as low as possible, but Royal Mail are putting up their prices and I’m afraid we are going to have to go in line with that. All UK online orders over £25 still remain free of p&p, but orders under £25 and telephone orders will be going up from 1 April by 50p. We massively subsidise our postal charges, but our hands are tied, so orders under £25 will have a £2.50 p&p charge and telephone orders will be £3.50.
Right that said, let’s end on a happy note as I thank all of you for your continued support and loyalty. Together with Shabir, the VH team and the VH editorial team, I hope you have a fabulous April and next month I will be writing about more amazing product launches and Ms Fairley’s new wonderful book.