We’re often asked why we like Victoria Health so much (and we do, we do). So as we hit 2013 running, we thought it was time to share our thoughts and also revisit some of the products that over the years our Beauty Bible testers have loved and adored on this extraordinary website.
Gill Sinclair and Shabir Daya are two people in the health and beauty industry who we’ve known for years. (Gill organizes occasional ‘tiara teas’ for her girlfriends which are one of the only times we down keyboards, don a tiara and take a couple of hours away from our desks, during weekdays…!) Gill’s mission in life is to seek out the best beauty brands and names in health, and bring them to the VH website. Shabir is, quite simply, among the most sound, experienced and finger-on-the-nutritional-pulse pharmacists that we’ve ever met, and we turn to him regularly for advice for ourselves, our friends and our readers, both on our own website and for Sarah’s Health Notes on you.co.uk. There are many health sites out there (not to mention almost too many on-line beauty retailers to count), but VH offers a combination of impeccable service, solid advice – and sound ethics. There are lots of synergies between our www.beautybible.com site and VH’s, and that’s why we refer our readers here, and vice versa.
In fact, when we stumble across a range we love, we often share it with Gill so that she can bring it to VH’s customers. And it works both ways: Gill has introduced us to many products that have become staples and standbys for Beauty Bible’s own team. But what really matters to us is finding products that don’t just live up to our own fairly high expectations: our Beauty Bible testers (20,000 of them, and counting!) love them, too. So here are a few highlights which have starred in our books, gone on to become beauty classics – and which you’ll find on this site…
This is one of our all-time bath favourites, not least because a little bit (just a capful) goes such a long, long way – not just filling the bathroom but the whole house with powerfully de-stressing wafts of vetiver, chamomile and sandalwood, diffused in its skin-softening coconut base.
What our testers said: ‘Lovely bottle; gorgeous fragrance, lovely silky smooth skin after using it – I keep opening the bottle during the day just to have a little sniff. Felt so relaxed I drifted off quickly’ ; ‘top marks; fragrance so beautiful I would wear it as a perfume, made me feel very calm and pampered; oil mixed into bath water completely; left skin perfectly moisturised’ ; ‘have now had to hide the bottle from my husband and teenage son!’; ‘definitely the best, I felt so relaxed I had a very good nights sleep’.
Soothing, cooling aloe vera gel helps revive tired eyes, while rosehip, carrot, evening primrose, almond and vitamin E oils get to work, longer-term, targeting signs of ageing. We could just as easily have trialled this fragrance-free formula as a Treat for Tired & Puffy Eyes for our books, but it rose to the bigger anti-ageing challenge brilliantly.
What our testers said: ‘Lids are smoother – noticeably easier to apply eye shadow’ • ‘very pleasing and gentle to use – like wrapping eyes in warm towels’ • ‘puffy eyes all but vanished after one night – great quick fix treatment for tires eyes’ • ‘fine lines are less visible and weeks of stress at work with a couple of very late nights haven’t taken their usual toll’ • ‘doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin’.
Beauty Editor and This Works founder Kathy Phillips believes in the power of massage to prevent stretch marks (she had a massage every two weeks while expecting her son Oscar). In her range, then, she made sure to include a rich blend designed to counteract the appearance of stretch marks, blending oils of passionfruit seed, gold of pleasure, rosehip seed, alongside coconut and soothing chamomile. This is a really tough challenge, but the oil rose to it admirably.
What our testers said: ‘Over one month of use, dark stretch marks faded considerably and some of the new ones had disappeared; skin very hydrated; what a shock that a stretch mark product actually works! Wonderful!’ • ‘just perfect for its job – getting rid of those awful stretch marks; love the fact it’s natural too’ • ‘This Works actually WORKS – what a little miracle’ • ‘sank in immediately, very attracted to the smell, my skin drank it in and the overall look was improved, as well as helping stretch marks – a marked improvement: treat to use’ • ‘a joy to use; divine smell, very nourishing product that leaves skin looking and feeling wonderful, with stretch marks much improved; has definitely made my 17-year-old-marks much less noticeable and I would highly recommend it to any mums-to-be’.
This product’s become a bit of a party trick of ours! The Dead-sea-salt-and-oil scrub, massaged into literally anyone’s hands, has an instantly rejuvenating effect. It beautifully buffs away dead cells to reveal brighter skin underneath, nourishing at the same time with olive and almond oils. Not a hand cream, but an instant rejuvenator nonetheless.
What our testers said: ‘Really impressed: not something to use daily but as a regular treatment: hands looked and felt incredibly smooth and soft’ • ‘a revelation: hands look cleaner, fresher and youthful than I could ever remember’ • ‘this product is to hands what a “face base” is to foundation: fabulous brand new, happy hands!’ • ‘transformed my sore, grubby gardener’s hands into lady’s hands – effect even more pronounced with regular use’ • ‘a miracle treatment which worked where hand creams have failed’.
And last but absolutely not least… It was Gill who introduced us to the team at Temple Spa, whose Skin Truffle has become the highest-scoring miracle treatment we’ve ever found in 17 years of Beauty Bible testing… And if you don’t yet know this true ‘miracle-worker’ (don’t take our word for it, take our testers’ words…!), then we think it’s time…
As we say, the highest score we’ve ever had for an all-round, all-singing-and-dancing miracle cream, in all our years of testing real products on real women in real life. (Not that Sarah’s surprised: she’s long been a Skin Truffle-ette.) Diamond powder, gold and silk clearly do illuminate the skin from first application, testers report; other key ingredients include black truffles, grapeseed champagne, purifying strawberries and lush cocoa butter, in a cashmere-soft formulation.
What our testers said: ‘Oh, this is a wonderful cream: I’m so in love with it you can look out for the announcement in The Times! Skintone is brighter and all my nasty lines – even the deeper ones – appear to have lessened’ • ‘face looks younger and not a needle in sight’ • ‘skin looks glowy and dewy, forehead grooves smaller – and husband says I look great’ • ‘the best anti-ageing moisturiser I’ve ever used – fantastic miracle product; skin looks like I have a luminising primer on, even when not wearing make-up’ • ‘gives a definite glow to the skin with improvements in brightness, softness, crêpiness, fine lines’ • ‘noticed a difference in texture, smoothness and brightness within days’ • ‘gives an “instant lift” to skin’ • ‘my husband and my mum both said I looked really healthy – fine lines were rendered invisible and I really loved the radiance: a “lit-from-within” effect’.