VH Newsletter

September Newsletter


Hello and welcome to the September newsletter where we exclusively launch a new product from one of my favourite brands, we continue our discussion about the health of our hair and I have a bit of an announcement to make about that (why does my life have to be so dramatic!). We also go back into our supplement and skincare wardrobes and we celebrate a product birthday.

Additionally, Shabir takes an in-depth look at vitamin C, we have a few words from Sarah Stacey and there are some editorial changes, which I will write about later. These changes were meant to coincide with the launch of our new website, but of course it isn’t ready and at this point I’m relying on all my supplements to keep me alive long enough to see that happen. It’s a debatable issue, so for now we stay as we are and let’s do this month’s news.

Softening Bath Milk Oil by Ameliorate

One of my favourite brands. Yes, absolutely and I make no apology whatsoever for saying that because this is the brand that has helped so many of you who have Keratosis Pilaris (chicken skin), dry or sensitive skin (count me in on the latter).

I have always considered that the health/beauty crossover is extraordinarily important and we launched Ameliorate on a health platform all those years ago alongside an article written by Shabir, which is still so relevant. That’s the health side of things and on the beauty side, well there aren’t that many brands or products that tick all the boxes for me on body care. Ameliorate does.

So let’s talk about Softening Bath Milk Oil, or as I call it ‘Cleopatra’s Bath’. Well how else would you describe a fabulous milk bath and fabulous it is. Ameliorate say that this luxurious bath milk oil has been created to bring the joy of bathing back to sufferers of KP and dry skin. I say, glory hallelujah; not loaded with essential oils to irritate my skin, but  crammed with colloidal oats, sweet almond oil and Ameliorate’s unique skin hydration complex, which is called LaH6.

Ameliorate say that it has been clinically proven to moisturise for up to eight hours; I say that it does what it promises and I know that because I’ve been testing this product for several months.

Of course there was no need for me to test for so long, but I developed ‘a thing’ for milk baths, well this milk bath, and I want to give special thanks to Ameliorate for keeping me supplied over the past few months. There was one particularly difficult day when I had just had enough (don’t even ask!) and I came home and tipped an entire bottle into a lukewarm bath (it was during the heat); to say my skin was completely transformed is an understatement. I owned up and told Ameliorate about my excessively extravagant behaviour; they responded by sending me more. Brand support. At its finest. And I know the difference.

So all I will say is that whether or not you have KP, whether or not you have dry or sensitive skin, it doesn’t really matter because Softening Bath Milk Oil is amazing for all skin types. All you need to do is add one capful to your bath whilst the water is running and soak for up to 10-15 minutes. It can be used two or three times a week and we’ll leave it at that before I state the obvious and tell you what you already suspect about my daily habits.

Congratulations and thank you for the joy Ameliorate. I’m sure there is a list somewhere of iconic bathing products; if so, this should be added to it. Right now would be good.
VH Editorial: The Treatment of Keratosis PilarisSoftening Bath Milk Oil by Ameliorate £19 for 250 ml

Vitamin C and Healthy Skin

People who are keen on having healthy looking skin are often advised to eat lots of fruit and vegetables. The scientific basis for this advice is the supply of vitamin C, which is absolutely essential for skin health. Skin is composed of two layers, the epidermis, which provides a barrier function and the internal dermal layer, which provides elasticity and strength, but also provides nutritional support to the epidermis. But why is vitamin C essential for skin and what role does vitamin C play within skin?

Normally skin contains high concentrations of vitamin C, which supports important and well-known functions including collagen synthesis and providing antioxidant support to help shield against UV-induced photo-damage. Skin is the largest organ in the body and its appearance generally reflects the health of its underlying structures. We also know that vitamin C deficiencies within the body, and hence the skin, can result in significant skin disorders including skin fragility and impaired wound healing.

Taking an in-depth look at vitamin C, Shabir explores the important biological functions, which include collagen formation, photo-protection, hyperpigmentation and dry skin. But is a serum better than supplementation?

Since its discovery in the 1930’s, the role of vitamin C in skin health has been the subject of much discussion and this still remains today. Vitamin C is involved in countless enzyme reactions carried out within the body and this has led scientists to investigate if many of us are deficient, which we are. Most of us understand the importance of vitamin C and yet we simply are not able to consume the volume of fruit and vegetables which scientists have given as acceptable guidelines.

So supplementation, yes, if you can, and Shabir recommends Liposomal Vitamin C because using a liposomal form helps ensure that each and every cell of the body, including those within skin, receives vitamin C. And a topical vitamin C too, well yes please because it truly makes a difference and we are both huge advocates of vit C serums for several reasons, but ultimately it’s because mostly you can visibly notice a change in the health of your skin with continued use.

There are often questions about the stability of vitamin C in topical solutions, particularly as exposure to heat, air and/or light can degrade a product. Unfortunately the most effective form of vitamin C, l-ascorbic acid, is also the most unstable. The stability of l-ascorbic acid serums may be increased by the use of other antioxidants, such as ferulic acid, which is a potent plant-based antioxidant.

When Shabir was formulating Vitamin C 23% + Ferulic Acid Serum with Garden of Wisdom, he made sure that all the issues concerning stability and pH were covered. Studies indicate that the absorption of vitamin C, l-ascorbic acid, greatly depends upon the pH of the topical being used. Topicals with a pH below 4.0 aid in transporting the uncharged form of vitamin C into the epidermis and into the dermis too. Vitamin C 23% + Ferulic Acid Serum has a pH of between 3.1-3.4.

Ferulic acid was added to the formulation to help protect the ingredients from oxidation and to work in synergy with vitamin C to help protect skin against free radical damage. We put it in an airless pump (we are now on version three, which is behaving itself) to help protect it from light and air and it remains the bestselling product from GoW for VH. In fact it is romping away so far ahead of the field, I’m not sure where the field actually is. But then it is £10 and it is being hailed as one of the best Vitamin C Serums all over the place. For this we give thanks.
VH Editorial: Vitamin C and Healthy SkinLiposomal Vitamin C £20 for 160 ml; Vitamin C 23% + Ferulic Acid £10 for 30 ml

The Supplement Wardrobe – The Follow Through

I would just like to follow through on The Supplement Wardrobe, which appeared on the last newsletter. The response of course was truly amazing and I would like to thank each and every one of you for your comments and your support. There is something about all being on the same page and knowing that, in time, we will more or less be experiencing the same results.

But it’s more than that, it’s a knowing, a knowing that we are taking three incredible supplements that will help support our bones, our gut and our hair, skin and nails. Those three supplements were Ionicell, Mega Probiotic ND and Hyaluronic Acid High Strength and I promise you I am staying on them forever, well forever being until ‘next-generation’ products appear that supersede these three Holy Grail (HG) products.
Ionicell £20 for 60 Capsules; Mega Probiotic ND £19.50 for 60 Capsules; Hyaluronic Acid High Strength Capsules £35 for 30 Vegecaps

Having written the above and having said that the above three were my foundation supplements, the inevitable questions were asked about what other supplements I take. The answer is that it varies, but there is one supplement that I believe is life-changing too, well it is for many of us. That product is Enhanced Super Digestive Enzymes.

You see the thing is that as with Hyaluronic Acid, digestive enzymes are naturally occurring substances in our bodies, except from the age of about 25 they start to decline rather rapidly. So in the most simplistic terms, I have been putting HA back into my system forever (like you really think I’m going to be aware of the decline without doing something about it) and the same goes for digestive enzymes.

I didn’t include Digestive Enzymes in The Supplement Wardrobe because I didn’t want to load you up with supplements, but if you suffer from bloating, stomach pain, constipation and other discomforts after eating, then do try these. And why does it seem to affect women more than men. I don’t know whether it is a scientific fact, but nearly every woman I know has an issue with constipation and/or bloating. And on the jeans thing, which we weren’t talking about, but we are now, let me say that I refuse to become a muffin, and I live in jeans; I’ll probably die in them too (pale blue skinnies will do thanks).

Back on subject, the thing is that I would probably go as far as saying that Digestive Enzymes are magic bullets for women, which is a bit of a loaded statement, but we need to talk about these things. Men sweep things under the carpet (generally speaking of course), but we tell it as it is. I mean we have to share, don’t we and it’s not all about lip gloss (Armani if you’re asking). If you don’t already take them, these enzymes may well become your new best friend, alongside Ionicell of course, but more on that next.
VH Editorial: Do You Experience Bloating, Gas or Indigestion?Enhanced Super Digestive Enzymes £23.25 for 60 Capsules

At the beginning of this section we were talking about HG products and if we are honing in on another category, that category is hair and so now we are going to be talking about Trinny’s HG hair products.

I know she won’t mind me sharing with you, but her hair has changed drastically over the past few months and she went on Instagram to tell the world about the products that have made a huge difference to the condition and health of her hair. If you have fabulous, thick, healthy bouncy hair, skip this section, but if you haven’t, stay with me because those products are Biotin, Superior Hair and Ionicell.

We honestly believe that Superior Hair is one of the best supplements available for helping to encourage new hair growth, helping to stop hair loss and to help nourish the hair follicles whilst conditioning and strengthening existing hair; Ionicell, well I wrote about what it has done to my hair on the August newsletter and Biotin is renowned for helping to strengthen hair.

I promise that I didn’t tell Trinny to take all three supplements (neither did Shabir), but I love how OTT she is. And we love how her hair looks and feels (yes, I’ve touched it), but this won’t happen to your hair overnight. We say give it four or five months to really kick in and then shake your head (if you have longish hair), the way we all do (the girls, not Shabir!). Oh and one more thing, if you love Trinny’s curls, they come partly courtesy of Dream Coat Curl.
Trinny IGIonicell £20 for 60 Capsules; Superior Hair £26.50 for 90 Capsules; Biotin 5000ug £21.99 for 100 Tablets; Dream Coat Curl £24 for 200 ml

Dream Coat

Happy birthday to you; happy birthday to you, happy birthday fabulous Dream Coat – one year old today on this very newsletter – happy birthday to you. For those who want it straight. The one and only legendary Dream Coat.
Dream Coat Supernatural Sealant £24 for 200 ml

Some Words

Below are some words from Sarah Stacey, which she has asked me to share with you. Sarah, as most of you know has been Health Editor of The Mail on Sunday YOU magazine for the longest time and of course, together with Jo Fairley, she is Beauty Bible. From Sarah:

‘All the best things come to an end and I will no longer be writing my weekly Health and Wellbeing column for YOU magazine. After more than two decades, it’s time for me to step down and have a rest from weekly deadlines. But I will still be contributing often to VH in different ways – writing across health, wellbeing and beauty, and also (as a Big Birthday looms next spring) a bit about ageing gorgeously and gracefully – actually make that dis-gracefully! So it’s definitely not goodbye – please keep watching this space …. With love – Sarah’.

Together with Shabir, I would just like to thank Sarah for the privilege of helping to look after her readers for so many years. We have laughed, cried and helped to make a difference together for more than a decade. I thought you may like to read Sarah’s final column. The wisdom. YOU magazine – thank you.
Sarah’s Final Column

Right, let’s do some new products:

Natural Kids Ear Scrub

We like this. We like it because we know that so many children have ear problems and this gentle, easy to use formulation helps to clean the ears of wax and oils, without the fear of entering the ear too deeply. The mild liquid ear wash formula and soft sponge provide a gentle scrubbing action that will easily break down dirt and oils and quickly washes away with water. It will also comfortably clean the curves of the ear. Age four upwards only please.
Natural Kids Ear Scrub £12 for 60 ml

The adult version, with a bit of a difference, is of course Organic Ear Oil, which is formulated with garlic, mullein and tea to help calm the sensitive ear canal and comforts. Shabir has written an article about, of course he has!
VH Editorial: Ear Infections and EaracheOrganic Ear Oil £12.95 for 30 ml

Day To Night Collection by Pukka Herbs

Shabir wanted this on the newsletter because he likes the packaging. I’m serious. He also loves the concept of having five different teas to sip from morning to evening. They are, in order:

Ginseng Matcha Green tea, Turmeric Gold tea, Revitalise tea, After Dinner tea and Night Time. The pack contains 20 tea sachets and they are sitting on Shabir’s desk, alongside the 20+ supplements he takes every day.  Seriously.
Day To Night Collection by Pukka Herbs £3.29 for 20 Herbal Tea Sachets

Sea Magik Salted – Charcoal Salts

I take the greatest pleasure in abdicating sections of this newsletter to others. ‘Others’ in this instance are the Beauty Bible girls and within a couple of paragraphs, Sarah, together with Jo, is back with some words on Charcoal Salts:

‘(Dead) Sea Magik have been around – well forever (or at least as long as we’ve been working in beauty and that’s ages). But with a brand new collection of salt based products. Sea Magik (as they’re now known) have taken a giant leap forward and onto the shelf beside our baths.

Of course, bath salts, having been something your granny swore by, have swung seriously back into fashion in the last few years. Alongside the original Dead Sea Spa Salts there are now some really interesting additions to the line-up and our definite favourite is Activated Charcoal Salts.

The reason we’re drawn to this, in particular, is that so far it’s Sea Magik’s only fragranced bath salts product – a potent, nose-clearing, sense-awakening blend of rosemary and eucalyptus. We will so have this on hand for the next time we’re stricken with the sniffles.

We are told there are others to come, so watch this space for Rose & Pink Clay, Turmeric & Ginger, Moringa & Seaweed and Pine Tree & Cranberry. If you didn’t think it was possible to get excited about something as simple as bath salts, prepare to be blown out of the (salty) water.’ Amen.
Sea Magik Salted – Charcoal Salts £8.99 for 1 kg


Soursop is a fruit that grows in tropical areas, including South America, the Caribbean and parts of Africa. It is also known as Graviola and Custard Apple. It has a green skin and looks somewhat like a spiky mango with white flesh and brown seeds inside.

Soursop is having a resurgence at the moment and while it is relatively new to the western world, it has been used in herbal remedies and tincture for centuries in South America. The fruit is being championed as a wonder ingredient for your health as it is thought to help boost your immune system and fight off disease.

Since the Nineties, Soursop has been championed for its wide-ranging health benefits. The leaves and root are known to help boost your immune system, help soothe stomach ailments and help ease hypertension. Soursop is also a powerful antioxidant and a good source of vitamin C, B1 and B2. In recent years two studies have also highlighted Soursop’s potential to help block pain and reduce inflammation.
VH Editorial: What Are the Health Benefits of Soursop?Graviola Fruit by Rio Amazon £11.99 for 60 Capsules

Fabulous Feet Foot Wipes

After writing about Fabulous Legs from Margaret Dabbs over the last couple of newsletter, we have another new launch, Fabulous Feet Foot Wipes. Here comes the lowdown:

They have been expertly formulated to cleanse and refresh tired, hot and perspiring feet. Infused with Witch Hazel, Apple and Willow Bark, they are deodorising, but gentle, cooling, moisturising and of course they are antibacterial.

We love feet and several of us have a thing about feet. Whenever I talk about feet, mine or others, to Shabir he walks away. Seriously! Having studied Reflexology about seven hundred lifetimes ago, feet fascinate me and I had a long discussion with Denise Leicester (ilapothecary) about feet a few weeks ago and just in case you were interested, Jo Fairley always does a cleansing of the feet ritual every night before going to bed.

But I diversify, and more about the above two comments another time because for now I am loving these wipes and I think you will too.
Fabulous Feet Foot Wipes by Margaret Dabbs £12 for 20 Wipes

The Skincare Wardrobe – The Follow Through

There has been so much response to my words on the August newsletter about having a skincare wardrobe. One thing is very clear, we all love brand-crossing and we all love the different approaches, with the high-low approach receiving the most comments. This is where we mix high-end products with low-end products and we get such a kick out of doing it. So just two pieces of feedback here; the first from a very special friend who has fallen in love with Prickly Pear Seed Oil; she has since gone on to post here, there and everywhere on Instagram saying that she swears by it as a night-time moisturiser:

‘I want to say how much I’m loving the Prickly Pear Seed Oil. The heatwave had dried my skin so that it felt permanently parched and nothing seems to plump it up, so I tried the Prickly Pear Seed Oil on my face at night and my skin has miraculously recovered and is bouncy and gleaming with health’. I concur. Amazing stuff. Thanks Nigella x
VH Editorial: The Beauty Benefits of Prickly Pear Seed OilPrickly Pear Seed Oil £20 by Garden of Wisdom for 30 ml

And then:

‘I have just slathered on Anti-Aging MultiPeptide Serum, it is so smooth and silky and I’ve just put HA over the top. My skin feels like I’ve put on moisturiser, I am honestly gobsmacked. It’s like a luxurious serum with a budget price tag’. We agree. Thank you.
Anti-Ageing Multi-Peptide Serum by Garden of Wisdom £20 for 30 ml; Hyaluronic Acid Serum – Vegetarian by Garden of Wisdom £9 for 30 ml

Finally, I’m going a bit high-end because I love iS Clinical. I’ve written many times over the years that I won’t travel without Hydra-Cool Serum on my skin and in my bag. If I’m going long-haul, I apply it several times, but there’s something else too. Add one or two drops to your foundation and it will make your skin look completely incredible. I use more drops in summer and less in winter, but it’s a bit of a red-carpet trick in La-La-Land and I’m not naming names, but several celebrities swear by this little trick, but then so many of them use iS Clinical regardless of the brands they represent or own. Lips remaining sealed because that was a touch naughty. Don’t care!
Hydra-Cool Serum by iS Clinical £48 for 15 ml; Hydra-Cool Serum by iS Clinical £76 for 30 ml

The Questions, The Answers

Since the beginning of time, we have been answering questions on health, beauty and of course the health/beauty crossover. It is who we are, it is what we do. If we are talking health, it is absolutely vital that we (well Shabir) are able to support you with a depth of knowledge about contra-indications with prescribed medication and a whole series of other things. On the health/beauty crossover, our site is loaded with articles and information about subjects such as adult acne and a myriad of concerns on from that.

Each month I am going to take one question on health and one question on beauty, together with the answers which I hope will help many of you. I absolutely promise you these are very real, some of you may recognise yourselves, but I am deeply respectful of privacy laws and of course data protection, so these will always be anonymous. Health first:

Q: I am loathed to take medication for blood pressure and would like some ideas on how I can lower it naturally, either lifestyle or vitamins?

A: Without doubt, the supplement of choice to help maintain healthy blood pressure would be Cardio Peak with Hawthorn and Arjuna. Hawthorn berry extracts work to vasodilate arteries and veins and in this way help reduce high blood pressure. Arjuna nourishes the cardiovascular tissues and helps maintain healthy lipids in the body. Lifestyle changes are mentioned in the below article.
VH Editorial: High Blood PressureCardio Peak with Standardized Hawthorn and Arjuna £32 for 120 Capsules

Q: I’ve bought the GOW Niacinamide Serum and Thyme Out as part of my strategy to deal with my blemish-prone and oily skin, which is detoxing after stopping two years of heavy medication. Already I can see an improvement with the number of blemishes reducing in size and an overall brightening in skin tone, however what regimen would you recommend for stubborn blackheads on my nose and open pores on the top half of my cheeks, as well as my skin’s ability to get oily every two hours?

A: As far as stubborn blackheads are concerned, we would recommend the use of Salicylic Acid serum two or three times a week in the PM regimen after cleansing and spritzing with Thyme Out. Salicylic acid works to help exfoliate the skin’s surface and also, being oil soluble, can enter the pores to deep clean these of dirt and congealed debris. In this way, the blackhead formation will be minimised over a period of time and especially when used with Niacinamide Serum, which regulates oil production. Its benefits increase over a period of time.

With reference to open pores on the top half of the cheeks, the gentlest way is through the use of Azelaic Acid Serum, which helps refine the skin’s surface and enhances skin renewal, albeit gently. A quicker approach would be through the use of Retistar Retinol 1% Serum, which is gentle, or a generic retinol serum, which may be slightly harsher, but quicker in action. Here is a suggested order of use:

AM: Cleanse; Thyme Out; Niacinamide Serum; Moisturiser if required.

PM: Cleanse; Thyme Out, Salicylic Acid Serum on areas prone to blackheads; Azelaic or Retinol; Niacinamide Serum (optional); Moisturiser if required.
Thyme Out £18 for 200 ml; Niacinamide Serum £9 for 30 ml; Salicylic Acid 2% Serum £9 for 30 ml; Azelaic Acid 10% Serum £9 for 30 ml; Retistar Retinol 1% Serum £9 for 30 ml

Azelaic Acid

Yes, there has been a lot of chatter about acids over the past year or so, and yes, there always seems to be a new one that you should be using.  But, according to Victoria, who loves an acid, Azelaic genuinely should be on your radar regardless of your skin type or concern because it has an impressive skill set and helps to soothe and smooth skin. Discover the facts.
VH Editorial: Azelaic Acid: Why You Should Be Using It by Victoria Hall

Phylia de M

This is the section I have long suspected I would need to write and it really isn’t cute. As many of you know, we have been having issues with receiving stock of all the Phylia products for the longest time.

A couple of weeks ago I sent out an email to all who were on the wait list explaining the situation. I am not going to replicate it here, it was extraordinarily hard-hitting, but on that email I said that I would keep the products listed on our site in the hope that they would appear, as if by magic. They didn’t and they haven’t.

Basically, we haven’t had any communication whatsoever from Phylia for months, despite almost daily phone calls and emails. I have therefore delisted the brand from our site because all it does is give false hope to those who have always used it.

I don’t really want to write any more because I don’t trust myself not to have a massive rant about respect, integrity and responsibility in business. Instead I warmly remember the good times, the launch of the brand and the help it gave to so many of you who experienced hair loss and thinning hair.

Although several years ago, I will never forget the lady who had Graves’ Disease and had lost all her hair. With continued use of Phylia, her hair grew back in 13 weeks and she wrote that it had given her back her femininity. These things we will never forget.

So, with responsibility, we are in research and development. I cannot say anything more at this point, but please leave this with me. There is that wonderful saying from the film Dirty Dancing ‘Nobody puts baby in the corner ….’. And nobody will put any of us in any corner.

I have a secret little smile on my face. I hope to be able to share that smile on the October newsletter, but if not then, it will be shortly after that. Ful.Vic.Health. Soon.

Post-Holiday Blues

The weeks after a holiday can sometimes seem bleak with many people suffering from post-holiday blues. More than that, post-holiday periods are the busiest times for divorce lawyers, second only to post-Christmas. Shabir takes a look.
VH Editorial: Post Holiday Blues

VH Editorial

Nothing in life remains static, neither should it. We must always reach out for new things, new thoughts, new ways and over the coming months we will be introducing you to several of these things and I’m not talking about products either, that’s a given!  So please allow me to write about this month’s feature articles from some of the names you already know and some you don’t:

Frances Phillips is a nutritional therapist and she writes about seven easy additions to your morning routine for glowing skin; with vitamin C on her list, we are all saying the same thing.  Amy Lawrenson asks whether you would ditch oils for clearer skin – she did and Bianca Presto writes about her struggle with Endometriosis, which will touch you if you have this health concern.
Seven Easy Additions To Your Morning Routine for Glowing Skin by Frances Phillips; Would You Ditch Oils For Clearer Skin by Amy Lawrenson; Endometriosis And Me by Bianca Presto

Lisa Armstrong certainly started a thing about wardrobes on the last newsletter and Arly follows through giving her thoughts on how she found her skincare style.  Jackie Annesley tells it as it is with the beauty confessions of a 56 year old and the Beauty Bible girls lament with their post-summer SOS.
How I Found My Skincare Style by Detail Oriented Beauty; The Beauty Confessions of a 56 Year Old by Jackie Annesley; Post-Summer SOS by Beauty Bible

Carolyn Asome has been navigating her way through her bi-annual emotional wardrobe in her article entitled how to reset in September and finally, Jo Fairley has been mastering differing techniques to block out noise.
How To Reset In September by Carolyn Asome; The Sound of Silence by Jo Fairley

Just a few more things to say:

New products from Soapsmith are always exciting. So please allow me to introduce you to Hackney Hand and Body Lotion, Hackney Hand and Body Wash and Hackney Soap. Loaded with the scents of Bergamot, Sandalwood, Rosemary and Geranium, they are a homage to Hackney Marshes. Grassy and herbaceous.
Hackney Hand & Body Wash £16 for 300 ml; Hackney Hand & Body Lotion £16 for 300 grams; Hackney Soap £7

Marilyn Monroe allegedly went to bed wearing Chanel No 5; we go to bed wearing Magnesium Sleep Lotion because it works and because we can. No 5 on top. Well yes actually, or 19 if you prefer, which I do.
Magnesium Sleep Lotion by Better You £9.95 for 180 ml

If you missed it, Shabir was in Trinny’s bathroom again. They were talking about summer ailments, but as I’m writing this, there is no sun. Never mind, an ailment is an ailment basically. Bloating is one of them.
Takeaway Tips from Shabir and Trinny’s Facebook Live on Summer Ailments

And so we come to the end of another newsletter; together with Shabir, Victoria and the entire VH team, I would like to thank you for your ongoing loyalty and support, which is awesome.

So we head into September and I wish you all much joy, health and happiness.

With love

Gill x

August Newsletter

august spelled with pink flowers

Hello and welcome to the August newsletter where we talk about wardrobes; skincare wardrobes and supplement wardrobes, with a light touch on fashion wardrobes (full blame on a certain fashion director). With the heat still on (as I’m writing this), we throw the focus on holiday products, although quite honestly we need most of these without even jumping on a plane to seek the sun. It has sought us.

We take a further look at Garden of Wisdom (GoW), the resurrection of a product, which is no longer in product heaven and if you don’t mind, I am also going to talk about my hair for a moment or two. Shabir makes an appearance (one of many) with a skincare regimen that is helping so many of you and there are a few treats sprinkled throughout, so please read carefully, we don’t want you to miss out. Let’s do it:

GoW for VH

I have several things to say here. The first thing is that we led the July newsletter with the ‘official’ launch of Garden of Wisdom for VH, even though I had slipped in a few paragraphs on some of the products in previous newsletters. The response, as you will have probably guessed, has been truly beyond our expectations and we are so grateful for the support and feedback. We are blown away, but then you can’t keep a good product down, actually plural, products.

The bestselling product at the moment is Vitamin C Serum 23% + Ferulic Acid, but then that doesn’t really surprise me because it has been featured here, there and everywhere, including The Sunday Times, The Telegraph and Harper’s Bazaar. Thank you Sarah Jossel. Thank you Lisa Armstrong. Thank you Bridget March. You can read these articles (and more) by clicking on the ‘In the Press’ link below and in each and every moment I am now hallucinating about bubble wrapping thousands of Vit C’s, except as I’m writing this, Shabir is on bubble wrap duty. All power Shabir!
In The PressVitamin C Serum 23% + Ferulic Acid £10 for 30 ml

And then there is HA. Hyaluronic Acid Serum. Vegetarian. And the feedback has been flooding in. Basically it’s all about the texture and efficacy. With so many of you commenting that it is the HA serum of all HA serums, no matter the price, high or low. Accolades make us extraordinarily happy. Excellent products make us even happier. This may go into wait list territory; if it does, then please don’t fret we will hopefully clear it within 7-14 days.
Hyaluronic Acid Serum £9 for 30 ml

As many of you know, I do not use acids on my skin; actually I will slightly correct that by saying that I very rarely use an acid. I know I am in the minority because most people love acids, but I will occasionally succumb if I feel my skin needs it. The latest product released from GoW is the Glycolic Acid Serum 5%. Do we, don’t we – Victoria asks the question and you know something, I just might every now and then.
VH Editorial: Should You Be Using Glycolic Acid?Glycolic Acid Serum 5% £12 for 30 ml

The great eye serum/cream debate. Two different camps. Those who swear by eye products and those who think they are a complete waste of time. The ‘waste of time’ camp believe that their everyday serums/creams are just as effective as a specifically formulated eye product. The ‘swear by’ camp reel in horror at the thought of not using a specifically formulated eye product and they often start using at an early age.

Shabir is in the ‘swear by’ camp. And nothing will move him. I float around both camps and I’m not so hard-core about it. It all starts off really well. I am a believer, honestly I am, but then I get lazy and keep forgetting to use an eye product even though I can see results. For the record, this also applies to neck creams.

But never mind that, I happened to get up close to Shabir’s skin a few days ago with a specific mission to check out his eye area. I really wanted to look through a 10 x magnifying glass, but I know my boundaries. Damn the man. He formulated the Eye Contour Serum primarily for his own use and he has no bags, no dark circles and virtually no lines. Complacency is just not happening. I’ve become hard-core about the issue. I swear.
Eye Contour Serum £18 for 30 ml

My Skincare Wardrobe

I have always had a ‘wardrobe’ of skincare products, across brands. It suits me and it suits my skin. Our skin is constantly changing and rather than stick to a specific skincare regimen, I use what I think my skin needs on any particular day (or night!).

And then Lisa Armstrong wrote about the high-low approach in her article about GoW (linked above). Her words sang to me because it is everything that I believe in and everything that I practice myself. Her words:

‘Even if you’re hooked on luxe moisturisers, you could introduce some GoW basics for your prep work. We’ve been taking the high-low approach in our wardrobes for years – now it’s time to do the same for our skincare regimens’. Yes Lisa, Dolce shoes and Zara white T-shirts. The £4.99 version because it’s a better shape than the more expensive ones. It works.

I can’t write about every single product that I use (most especially because I am always testing products), but I have a couple of things to say here. Low-Low works; High-Low works; High-High works. We are all different, but there are times when ‘low’ is better than some ‘high’, such as the HA Serum as above. Discerning. Absolutely. Let’s keep this thing real and tell it as it is.

So just some of my products. There are currently 18 GoW products and I have all of them. I haven’t actually used them all yet, but they are there for me to use as and when I feel the need. They sit alongside iS Clinical’s Warming Honey Cleanser and the Balm-Gel Cleanser from Harborist. I absolutely adore both these cleansers and please bear with, I have a few words to say about the Balm-Gel Cleanser after this section.
Warming Honey Cleanser by iS Clinical £34 for 120 grams

Onwards, and I always have a bottle of iS Clinical’s Active Serum in my skincare wardrobe, likewise their Reparative Moisture Emulsion. In all the years, nothing, but nothing has performed on my skin like Reparative when my skin kinks out. I travel with it too. It soothes my skin when needed, especially if I’ve been in the sun. It comes everywhere with me. As does Sheald Recovery Balm, but that’s another story.
Active Serum by iS Clinical £68 for 15 ml; Reparative Moisture Emulsion by iS Clinical £72 for 50 ml; Sheald Recovery Balm £43 for 60 ml

And then, LixirSkin’s Soft Clay Rubber because I am still totally obsessed with rolling away the grime and Coola’s MakeUp Setting Sunscreen Spray because I think it’s a phenomenal product.
Soft Clay Rubber by LixirSkin £28 for 60 ml; MakeUp Setting Sunscreen Spray by Coola £39 for 50 ml

Anyway, you get the gist and it’s actually quite fun to build a wardrobe if you don’t mind brand crossing. I’m not doing a body care wardrobe, well not on this newsletter, but basically it would probably be full of Ameliorate’s products because they just do it for me. Miracle Lotion too, the epic Miracle Lotion! Maybe on the September newsletter. Ah yes, September. Dippy Doo. Right, onto the Balm-Gel Cleanser, followed by a high maintenance moment and then my supplement wardrobe.
AmeliorateMiracle Lotion £16 for 237 ml

Balm-Gel Cleanser by Harborist

I wrote about and launched this rather fabulous cleanser on the April newsletter; for me it was instant love and for many of you too because it completely sold out and it has been out of stock until now. It arrived back just when I needed it. But more than that, it has arrived back with an award attached to it.

As many of you know, I have a horrid allergy to essential oils and my skin is extraordinarily sensitive anyway. I cannot use any skincare which is loaded with essential oils, which is why I always have third party testing done on those products. There are one or two exceptions when I have lab samples made for me leaving out the essential oils, but basically I am not alone and that’s why this cleanser is so important for those who have allergic reactions to many skincare products.

The award was from the FreeFrom Skincare awards and the Balm-Gel Cleanser was named as the best overall product across all categories. It also won a gold award in the face-care category and a silver achievement award. The announcement came with a quote from one of the anonymous testing panel, which I think will resonate with many:

‘My eczema has cleared up completely. It delivers on every level – as well as being effective it is truly kind to sensitive, highly reactive skin. It deeply nourished my skin, dramatically improving its health, feel and appearance’.

Kate Porter we applaud you. Many congratulations, you are helping so many of us who live with allergies and sensitive skin. We cannot wait for the next Harborist product to launch. Except I suppose we will have to. Tapping my fingers on my desk. Sensitive. Tap. Skin. Soon please Kate. And thank you.
Balm-Gel Cleanser by Harborist £25 for 100 ml (Vegan)

A High Maintenance Moment

It’s all about my hair. I hope you don’t mind me talking about my hair, but it went out of control a couple of weeks ago. It has behaved itself my entire life; I wash it every day, I blast it dry, shake my head and go. I only ever have my hair cut, it never enters my head to go and get it ‘done’. I get it cut about every eight to ten weeks, except it was only four weeks and I had to make an emergency hair appointment.

Five months on Ionicell and this is what has happened. I’m not alone. I know we are all different, but this is happening to many of us. I knew it was powerful stuff, Fulvic Acid is, but somebody is going to have to pay for my now high maintenance hair. I know. It can be Shabir. He discovered it. It’s all his fault. Skin, hair and nail Nirvana. I think so. And onto my supplement wardrobe we go:

My Supplement Wardrobe – A Celebration and A Treat

It’s all very simple. I take many supplements, some are specific to me as some would be specific to you. We are all different, but the one thing that remains constant is my base supplement wardrobe. I am sure you know exactly what these three products are if you read this newsletter regularly. A few newsletters ago I referred to them as my desert island supplements.

They are Hyaluronic Acid High Strength, Mega Probiotic ND and Ionicell; of course Ionicell, I truly believe everybody should take it, as indeed everybody should take a probiotic. And HA, well I have taken this forever, with one small ‘cold turkey’ moment, when I wanted to test its efficacy after taking it for so many years. That didn’t last long. I went into complete meltdown and double-dosed for about a month to recover. I don’t suggest you do that though. I can’t be held responsible for such things.

So let’s have a celebration. Let’s celebrate that our skin (all zones) won’t slide south and our joints will not click (HA); let’s celebrate that bloating is minimized (I mean hot weather bloating is seriously not on) and that our gut (don’t really like the word, but hey …) remains healthy (Mega P) and let’s celebrate Ionicell as above and more. Much more. Fulvic For Life.

The Treat: When you buy Ionicell and Mega Probiotic ND together, we will automatically throw in the travel size of Hyaluronic Acid High Strength. That is the 15 capsule size and it is worth £17.50. Quite simple really. One click shopping and all three products will arrive. Nothing to add except of course this offer will only last whilst our HA stock levels last.
The Supplement Wardrobe £39.50 (Includes Ionicell £20 for 60 Capsules; Mega Probiotic ND £19.50 for 60 Capsules; Hyaluronic Acid High Strength Capsules Travel Size – 15 Capsules worth £17.50) **Sorry, this promotion has now ended**

Our Three Bestselling Holiday Products

As it stands right now, Thyme Out is our bestselling ‘pack it in your suitcase’ product. I’m not really surprised because I know that when it gets to the end of the year and we do the VH Awards (I promised to do them again!), this could well sweep the board in so many different categories. But for now its soothing and healing properties will help tackle various inflammatory skin concerns such as prickly heat, rashes and sunburn and is a rather wonderful first-aid product too, helping to heal cuts and grazes and it also zaps those insect bites.
Thyme Out £18 for 200 ml

Last Summer, Mrs White’s Unstung Hero was our bestselling summer product; this was of course before we discovered Thyme Out and it may also have something to do with the fact that India Knight wrote about it in The Sunday Times and half the world (so it would seem) responded. We all love this amazing mosquito repellent, which certainly lives up to its heroic status and name. It smells divine too. No small thing.
Mrs White’s Unstung Hero Mosquito Repellent £20 for 250 ml

And last, but by no means least. The fabulous FanU. Keeping us cool in the heat, this is one of those products that you didn’t know you needed until you had it and then you discover you don’t want to live without it and start having a panic attack when the battery needs charging at the hottest time of day. I solved that issue by having two fans, but notwithstanding that, in the beach bag it must go.
FanU £9.99 Available in Pink or White; The One Stop Holiday Shop (I couldn’t write about all of them!)

The Facial Massage Debate

We love a debate and here Victoria takes a look at the facial massage debate:

Facial massage has been heralded as the one stop shop for plumping, firming and smoothing skin, as well as leaving it with a radiant glow. Unsurprisingly, plenty of skincare experts advocate the use of massage in some way to improve the quality of your skin.

Most facials incorporate some form of massage too, be it a dedicated section of the treatment or an accompanying technique when the therapist is cleansing or moisturizing your skin. The reason is that massaging the skin boosts your circulation and lymphatic drainage, which in turn reduces inflammation and puffiness.

Over the years, massage has evolved into a full workout for your face with some experts claiming that facial exercises could take years off of you. The vigorous massage techniques and pummeling are believed to tone and sculpt your facial muscles, as well as boost that fresh glow. Not everyone is on board though. There are some experts who stress that strong massage can actually break down your skin’s collagen and cause more damage than good.

In their book ‘You: Being Beautiful’ both Dr Oz and Dr Michael F Roizen argue that: ‘Exercising the facial muscles is a sure way to increase wrinkles. The repetitive movements of the skin, over the years, combined with the normal thinning of the collagen and elastin of the dermis, will eventually crack the skin, causing wrinkles’.

So how should you approach facial massage? While you want it to supercharge your circulation and get the blood flowing, you don’t want to be too rough with your skin. Hayo’u founder and Chinese medicine expert Katie Brindle developed the Beauty Restorer tool with this in mind. To work in harmony with Traditional Chinese massage technique, the jade tool is perfectly shaped to fit into the natural curves of your face and helps you to gently, but effectively, increase circulation. Jade is renowned for its soothing, cooling powers as well.

How long should you massage your skin for? It can be for as long or as short as you need. The Hayo’u method promotes one minute and longer ten minute rituals depending on how much time you have to spare. Plenty of experts recommend using your hands and incorporating massage into simple tasks, such as cleansing. A cleansing oil or balm, such as Derma E’s Nourishing Rose Cleansing Oil, is the best texture to use as it encourages you to really work the formula into your skin.

Do you have to use tools? Plenty of therapists use their hands (as above) rather than tools to massage their clients skin, so there’s no reason for you to invest in one to reap the benefits. However, if you’re not sure how to approach facial massage or want the cooling powers of jade, then we recommend looking into the Beauty Restorer.
VH Editorial: The Facial Massage Debate by Victoria Hall; Beauty Restorer Face Tool £35; Nourishing Rose Cleansing Oil by Derma E £15 for 60 ml

The Probiotic Concentrate by Aurelia

And before I have written one word about this new product, I am receiving emails declaring love and appreciation for a brilliant product. So what is The Probiotic Concentrate all about. Well, basically it has been formulated to help supercharge your skincare routine with an intensive, yet lightweight formula that contains Aurelia’s pioneering probiotic ingredients in their purest form.

These probiotic ingredients continuously protect, restore and balance the skin targeting pigmentation, loss of elasticity, hormonal breakouts, dullness and polluted skin and it has been formulated to either apply to cleansed dry skin, or to mix with your chosen serum, facial oil or moisturiser, morning, evening or both.

This sounds like a perfect skincare product to have in your skincare wardrobe. A drop here, a drop there, a boost here, a boost there. Well done Aurelia!
The Probiotic Concentrate by Aurelia Probiotic Skincare £38 for 10 ml


Blepharitis is a chronic long-term inflammatory condition affecting the eyelids and the skin surround the eyes, often causing a lot of discomfort. There are two types of blepharitis, anterior blepharitis, which affects the outer edge of the eyelids where the eyelashes are found and posterior blepharitis, which affects the inner edge of the eyelids where the eyelid comes into contact with the eyeball.

The symptoms of blepharitis vary with the severity of the condition and they include red rimmed eyes, sore, burning and gritty eyes, foreign body sensation, as though there is something in the eye, sensitivity to light, watery eyes, bloodshot eyes, abnormal eyelash growth and a greasy eyelid appearance. Sufferers of blepharitis are also more prone to eye infections, particularly styes.

Shabir takes an in-depth look at this health concern, but more than that. He always, always recommended Ocusoft Lid Scrub Plus and/or Ocusoft Lid Scrub Plus Foam Cleanser and then they both suddenly departed and shot up to product heaven. We are not sure what happened, but both have been resurrected, which is a very good thing because they are brilliant products.
VH Editorial: Prevention, Symptoms and Treatment of BlepharitisOcusoft Lid Scrub Plus £9.95 for 30 Pre-Moistened Pads; Ocusoft Lid Scrub Plus Foam Cleanser £11.50 for 50 ml


This is an amazing product. It is not new, but it is ages since I have written about it and so I will tell you that the Enterosgel sachets bring effective relief from diarrhoea, indigestion, IBS, food poisoning, upset stomach, travellers tummy and food allergies, with the exception of the treatment of anaphylactic shock.

With 30 years of clinical research behind it, Enterosgel is an innovative intestinal adsorbent (enterosorbent) developed for binding toxins, viruses, allergens, pathogens and other harmful substances in the GI tract and removing them from the body.

Enterosgel works like a clever sponge, gently passing through the gut. It adsorbs only medium-weight molecules of harmful substances in the gut and removes them within 12-24 hours with a normal bowel movement. Due to its hydrophobic features and porous structure, Enterosgel does not remove water, vitamins and other beneficial substances from the gut.

Enterosgel is suitable for babies, children and adults and is non-allergenic. It is easy to take, simply dilute in 100 ml of water one or two hours before or after a meal. Brilliant stuff.
Enterosgel £18.43 for ten sachets

The Acne Regimen

We like to keep things simple and whilst we can never claim that any product, topical or otherwise, will clear acne, three products have certainly been shown to help an awful lot and that would include helping to treat cystic acne. The feedback has been tremendous and so here comes Shabir’s recommended regimen in order of use:

Cleanse with Derma E’s Very Clear Acne Cleanser; Spritz with Thyme Out (a moderate spritz, not too much); GOW’s Niacinamide Serum.
And that’s it, you can follow through with a moisturiser if desired, or in more chronic cases we recommend Silver Serum.
Very Clear Acne Cleanser by Derma E £15 for 175 ml; Thyme Out £18 for 200 ml; Niacinamide Serum £9 for 30 ml; Silver Serum £12.95 for 50 ml

The Beauty Bible’s August Picks With A Treat Attached

Sarah and Jo know a thing or two about products; they have seen and tested (via the Beauty Bible awards) hundreds and thousands of products over the years. They know what works, they know what doesn’t. They also know what they love and use themselves and so they have put together their best VH picks as of this moment.

In this article they have mentioned This Works, Ilapothecary, the sleep products from Better You, Temple Spa, Thyme Out (yes they are hooked too!) and Margaret Dabbs Fabulous Legs.

The Treat: So let’s talk about Margaret Dabbs and let’s say that we are all in love with her Fabulous Legs collection. And let’s also say that we really respect all that Margaret has done with her brand. And let’s celebrate her brand by saying that with any Margaret Dabbs purchase (across the range), we will drop in her Intensive Anti-Ageing Hand Serum which is worth £30. Yes, you have read that correctly, £30. This will not show up on your invoice, but will automatically be included in your order, whilst stocks last of course. Only one gift per customer. Go! **Sorry, this promotion has now ended**
VH Editorial: The Beauty Bible’s August Picks; Margaret Dabbs

LivOn Labs

With the base supplement wardrobe done, I wrote above we each have different needs and I have just read an email from a VH Addict who is singing the praises of Altrient Glutathione for age spots. She wrote that she suspects this product could be overlooked, but in her opinion, it works far better than anything else she has tried. Trust her, she knows what she is talking about.

And then there was an article in The Times by Alice Hart-Davis who is absolutely swearing by Altrient C as a skincare supplement. Many agree. It is a brilliant product. And the third product in the range, Altrient B, which, amongst other things, helps reduce tiredness and fatigue. Heat lethargy? Try this.
Altrient Glutathione by LivOn Labs £79.99 for 30 Sachets; Altrient C by LivOn Labs £35.99 for 30 Sachets; Altrient B £54.99 for 30 Sachets

Athlete’s Foot & Candida

One of the most common areas affected by fungi and bacteria are the feet. Athlete’s foot gets its name because these fungi and bacteria thrive in warm, moist and dark environments such as swimming pools, locker rooms, gyms, showers and of course shoes. Not just limited to athletes, this concern is more common in males than females (one strike for the girls!) affecting roughly one out of ten people.

There are three types of Athlete’s foot and Shabir investigates all of them, while also recommending Horopito & Aniseed capsules. Interestingly in 1982, scientists at the University of Canterbury discovered that horopito was more effective at destroying Candida albicans than the powerful pharmaceutical anti-Candida drug, Amphoterican B. Two birds, one stone.
VH Editorial: Athlete’s Foot Treatment; VH Editorial: How To Treat CandidaHoropito & Aniseed £23 for 60 Capsules

Prickly Heat

Prickly heat, also known as heat rash, is one of those skin problems that manifests in an uncomfortable, itchy rash. Also known as miliaria, it occurs in hot, humid weather conditions when small particles of sweat block the sweat glands causing a rash to appear on the body. The rash can develop anywhere, but it most commonly occurs on the face, neck, back, chest and thighs. The trapped sweat causes localized irritation and the characteristic heat rash.

So how to tackle prickly heat. Shabir always recommends Stinging Nettle Root for both the prevention and treatment of prickly heat. Nettle is commonly employed to help provide relief of hay fever and other allergens because of its ability to inhibit the release of histamine, which is responsible for the rash. Additionally, nettle extracts are powerful diuretics helping to eliminate the compounds that are responsible for the rash.

To read more about prickly heat, please click on the article, where you will discover that Thyme Out is also recommended for this health concern. Is there anything this product can’t do!
VH Editorial: Preventing Prickly HeatStinging Nettle Root £14.95 for 100 Capsules; Thyme Out £18 for 200 ml

A Natural Remedy for Varicose Veins, Spider Veins, Haemorrhoids and Poor Circulation

Millions of people worldwide suffer from diseases associated with poor circulation. Varicose veins, spider veins and haemorrhoids are just some of the common circulatory disorders directly associated with poor circulation.

Circulatory concerns do not occur in a day, they are often a result of poor dietary and lifestyle choices, although they may also be associated with the ageing process. Poor circulation primarily affects the legs and feet, however the implications of poor circulation are widespread and can be severe.

Numerous concerns associated with poor circulation also include leg ulcers, tired and heavy legs, reduced libido, persistent wounds and infections, Restless Leg Syndrome, shortness of breath, mental fog, poor memory, dizziness and a lack of energy. Wow, quite a list there. Read more on the articles below.
VH Editorial: A Natural Remedy for Varicose Veins, Spider Veins, Haemorrhoids and Poor Circulation; VH Editorial: Restless Leg SyndromeDiosmin Plus £26 for 60 Capsules

VH Editorial

Ageless Style: that often explored subject in the summer style glossies and a pressing concern for women of an age when tousled bed head starts to look very much like having flu. The opening words of Carolyn Asome’s article which made me laugh so much, that I nearly choked on the water I was drinking at the time. I mean guilty as charged, but then as you will have read above I do wash my hair every day, this could perhaps be another reason why. I urge you to read, it’s fabulous.
Ageless Style: How Not To Look Mumsy (Or Like Mutton For That Matter) by Carolyn Asome

Jo Fairley decided she wanted to write about funerals. Yes funerals. She has written down her requests for her own (hopefully not imminent as she states) and shares those details with us. Far from morbid, this is all about celebrations, champagne, pink glitter coffins and Carly Simon. I told her she had forgotten James Taylor, so although not on her copy, he will be there too according to Jo. I see!
Funerals by Jo Fairley

Also this month Arly continues her discussion on how supplements have become the best step in her skincare routine – go Arly! Catherine Turner asks what’s your yoga style and Tina Gaudoin partakes in some wild swimming.
My Skincare and Wellness Supplement Routine by Detail Oriented Beauty; Yoga: What’s Your Style by Catherine Turner; Wild Swimming by Tina Gaudoin

The End Bit

Sarah Chapman: I am in giving mode, so if you buy any Sarah Chapman product, we will automatically send you Sarah’s Overnight Body Treatment (40 ml), worth £18. High performing and much loved by many, this is a really generous size, so I can only imagine it will fly out the door. As ever, this will not be included on your invoice, but will just arrive with your order. Again, only one gift per customer. Tra-la-la.
Sarah Chapman

Dream Coat – For Curly Hair:  We launched this on the last newsletter, the feedback has been awesome.  This from a VH Addict: ‘I have been one of your most loyal customers for many years and, as you know, I am not given to writing reviews.  But I just felt that I had to after trying Dream Coat For Curly Hair by Color Wow.  I have been searching for the perfect product for my curls for many years.  They either gave good curls, but were very crisp and crunchy or did very little at all.  Dream Coat has given me perfect, shiny curls that are not crisp or crunchy.  Not only that, they have remained perfect in this hot and humid heatwave, when I would usually go very frizzy.  I have found hair Nirvana’.
Dream Coat – For Curly Hair £24 for 200 ml

Summer Essentials Duo by iS Clinical: Another Limited Edition, this time from iS Clinical.  Two products in this kit, Cleansing Complex (the global bestseller) and Extreme Protect SPF 30, which does a wonderful job at repairing, hydrating and protecting.  Those who love iS Clinical will always love iS Clinical.

For those who have never used any of their products, this is an opportunity to discover the skincare brand that I have loved since the beginning of time – VH time.  So the details: Cleansing Complex (180 ml) is £35 and Extreme Protect SPF 30 (100 grams) is £64, which equals £99.  Except whilst stock lasts, the Summer Essentials Duo is offered at £74, saving £25.  Yes!
Summer Essentials Duo by iS Clinical £74 (Cleansing Complex £35 for 180 ml; Extreme Protect SPF 30 £64 for 100 grams)

And so we come to the end of another newsletter; I give thanks to the Inner Smile Jasmine Mist which I have liberally sprayed around me as I’ve been writing this; I am breathing smiles and sending my love and thanks to each of you for your incredible loyalty and support.

Together with Shabir, Victoria and the entire VH team, I hope you have a wonderful August. Please be safe, please drink loads and loads of water and perhaps we should do a ritualistic dance for rain – if it hasn’t arrived yet.

With love

Gill x

July Newsletter


Hello and welcome to the July newsletter where we exclusively launch a magnificent new product for Color Wow together with several new product launches from Better You. I write about the return of Phylia de M (please don’t fall over) and we throw the focus on the result-driven skincare brand that is knocking everything out of the water and has sent me spinning.

Additionally we take a look at some common health concerns, which include Candida and Lyme Disease; with Ionicell holding its position as our bestselling supplement since its launch, we dig deeper into its assets and I jump onto The Podium somewhere in the middle of all of this and hold hands with Lisa Armstrong. Finally, and this will arrive in no particular order, I have a whole list of people I need to thank, which will appear here, there and everywhere, there is an also an update on Soul Medicine and a Summer Essentials Kit. Let’s do it:

Garden of Wisdom (GoW) for VH

That would be us of course. Over the past couple of months I have been writing about various products which we have launched from Garden of Wisdom, but I’ve kept it pretty low key because we were going through new product development, ingredient and labelling changes. And we are not finished yet, in fact we have only just started.

There are many parts to the story, so please allow me to run through a brief history. Way, way back, we were predominantly health, although we did carry a few beauty brands, Derma E and iS Clinical being two of them. The offering was sparse, but never mind that, most of the beauty editors were avid followers (which still touches me deeply) and they repeatedly asked if we would do for beauty what we were doing for health.

Sure. I love a challenge. Except the beauty industry didn’t love us and told me to go away. We approached approximately twenty quite well-known beauty brands, they all said no and some of them were so rude, their words still ring in my ears; I remember exactly who they were, and are.

It was in that moment that we decided we would support niche brands, the brands that nobody really wanted to stock because they didn’t have a budget and they could barely afford to make products in quantity. The efficacy and quality put some of the big brands to shame and actually still do. That remains my passion. And yet:

History has a habit of repeating itself and two or three years ago it started again, (sure I’ll namecheck you Jo Fairley, Sarah Stacey, Lisa Armstrong and Carolyn Asome). The girls, together with Krishna Montgomery (Monty PR), were constantly asking us to create our own skincare and supplement brands. The thought of it disturbed my equilibrium.

But here we are. And it’s Shabir’s undisturbed equilibrium. Actually Victoria’s too. I was dreaming somewhere (don’t ask!) and when I came out of my slumber they had colluded in their creativity and GoW for VH was born and borne actually, borne from a desire to create outstanding formulations loaded with actives and little else.

I don’t believe we could have chosen better partners to do this with. Based in Arizona, Garden of Wisdom have been creating formulations since 2005 and are passionate about skincare, they live and breathe it. And Shabir is in formulation heaven, creating and tweaking.

And suddenly halfway through the day, we find out that he is getting over-excited about a Triple PHA Serum (it’s not here yet), Victoria joins in and I start rolling my eyes up to heaven and either crawl under my desk or jump in the car and drive home talking to myself; the latter happens frequently.

The products. As I’m writing this there are 18 formulations (the latest being Glycolic Acid Serum 5%) and the feedback so far has been astounding, with one thing very clear, the textures of the products are incredible and everybody (well perhaps not everybody!) is talking about them. So a couple of acknowledgements here:

To Wayne Goss. My friend, over and above everything. Thank you for creating a riot with your OMG video. Wayne was of course talking about the above products. The thing with Wayne is that if he didn’t like something he would absolutely tell me and throw it back in my face! We have that kind of relationship. So the video went out, we went completely out of stock and not content with that he started putting the products on Instagram, screeching ‘winner, winner’ about the Anti-Aging MultiPeptide Serum.
Anti-Aging Multipeptide Serum £20 for 30 ml

To Nadine Baggott. For loving Vitamin C Serum 23% + Ferulic Acid, and then telling the world four or five times. By now it could be up to eight or nine times. Efficacy, yes of course, but it’s the formulation, texture, packaging and price that has blown Nadine away and I quote her, ‘it is the nicest Vitamin C Serum I have ever used’. Big statement and our site nearly fell over. Nearly!
Vitamin C Serum 23% + Ferulic Acid £10 for 30 ml

Right, that done, I am not going to write about any more of the formulations. They are all listed on our site together with ingredient information and descriptions. And Shabir has done a regimen guide. The beginning of a new ever-evolving era and the end of this section. We invite you to join us. Thank you.
GoW for Victoria Health; Garden of Wisdom Skincare Regimens

VH Supplementation

And over we go to our bestselling supplements. As I’ve written before, with the exception of Ionicell, Shabir formulated most of our top supplements and we went to experts in the field to manufacture for us. Except we didn’t own-brand them, but now we are. The single most important thing you need to know is that none of the formulations have changed, it’s just a change of label. For the moment, and as I’m writing this, Magnolia Rhodiola Complex and Hyaluronic High Strength have the new VH labelling. Sage Complex, Daily Immunity, Diosmin Plus and Bamboo Extract Plus will follow in time. I don’t have precise dates, but I just wanted to tell you this in advance.

With Shabir being in formulation mode, please don’t be surprised if we release new VH formulations. It won’t be today, it won’t be tomorrow, but I know it will happen at some point.

That said, I also want to say that we will continue to support cutting-edge, pioneering supplementation outside of our own products. This is really important to us, it is the rock-solid foundation of who and what we are. We cannot and will not ignore the astounding research and development that we are reading about each and every day. Ionicell is of course an incredible example of this and I will be writing more about it later in the newsletter.
Magnolia Rhodiola Complex £26; Hyaluronic Acid High Strength £35

Dream Coat Curl

Never-before-achievable perfectly bundled, glossy, crunch-free curls in just one step. That is how Color Wow describe Dream Coat for Curly Hair and I know before I even write one more word, the demand will probably go off the Richter scale because this product is magnificent in conception and delivery.

Before I say anything else, most of you will remember when we launched the original Dream Coat Supernatural Spray; demand far exceeded supply, it was highly acclaimed across the press and the wait list was horrid, mostly because it magically transformed the texture of hair with its amazing humidity-proofing powers and half the world wanted it.

There is no doubt in my mind that Dream Coat Curl will achieve the same level of adoration because finally there is one breakthrough superlight spray that does all your curl work, effortlessly. Its attributes include the delivery of all the combined benefits of out-dated gels, serums and heavy creams (their words, not mine – but then I think John Frieda and Gail Federici who created Color Wow know a thing or two about hair!).

Additionally, Dream Coat Curl features proprietary Elasta-flex, a trifecta of powerful polymers that address every challenge that stand in the way of curl perfection; it is ideal for natural curls and waves; it air-dries to create the perfectly defined silky, glossy curls and its super-light ‘miracle moisture mist’ is alcohol free.

And it’s so easy to use. After shampooing or wetting hair, remove excess moisture. Comb if desired. Spray hair liberally, section by section, with Dream Coat for Curly Hair until soaked, making sure to spray underneath sections. Air dry, or blow-dry using a diffuser.

Two more things to say. The first is that although I am writing about this now, the product is not scheduled for delivery for another few days. We live in hope that it may arrive earlier than scheduled and I’m holding out for that miracle before the wait list gets so uncontrollable that I run away.

Finally, to get the entire lowdown on Dream Coat Curl, Victoria meets Dr Joe Cincotta, Executive Vice President of Product Development at Color Wow. Hey, hey John and Gail – making waves (ok, ok!) in the industry – over and over again. We celebrate your greatness. Thank you.
VH Editorial: Victoria meets Dr Joe CincottaDream Coat Curl £24 for 200 ml; Dream Coat (The Original) £24 for 200 ml

The List

Before we delve into more new products, I just want to do a small series of thank you notes:

To Sarah Stacey. For writing about the FanU fans in The Mail on Sunday YOU magazine. Another riot. We completely sold out of the pink fans, so I sent an email to everybody asking them to please love white instead. Keeping it cool.
FanU Fans £9.99

To Colette Haydon. For formulating Soft Clay Rubber. This is the mask which we launched on the last newsletter. This is the mask that everybody is talking about. And this mask is the subject of many love emails. And I’m not surprised. Summer-prepped skin. Yes please. Roll off the grime. Gently.
Soft Clay Rubber by LixirSkin £28

To India Knight. For writing about and loving Thyme Out in The Sunday Times. Nothing more to say other than I trashed my nails by bubble wrapping several thousand Thyme Out’s. Ever with our feet on the ground, Shabir packed them and then we fell over. Oh, and check out our Summer Essentials Kit, somewhere below, before getting keyboard happy here!
A Spritz for Irritated Skin by India Knight; Thyme Out £18 for 200 ml

To Lisa Armstrong. For calling Shabir the ‘all-knowing pharmacologist’ (something to live up to Shabir!) when writing about adult acne and the ‘Hercules of all serums’, Niacinamide.
How To Beat Adult Acne with this £9 Super-Serum by Lisa Armstrong; Niacinamide Serum £9 for 30 ml

Better You – New Product Launches

Hello new products. Hello Better You. Hello Andy (Andrew Thomas, Founder of Better You). Let’s tell the world about your new products, which are, of course, pretty immaculate. We begin with Iron Daily Oral Spray and continue through with three new magnesium products.

Iron Daily Oral Spray

I wrote above about pioneering supplementation and Iron Daily Oral Spray is a perfect example. It is a wonderful solution to the digestive discomfort and poor absorption experienced from ingested iron supplementation.

The oral spray is specifically formulated to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive system. The tiny droplets within the spray absorb quickly in the buccal membrane of the inner cheek for immediate absorption into the rich vein system below. This formulation helps contribute to the normal function of the immune system, cognitive function and also helps with the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.

Shabir thinks this product is very clever. So much so he has written an article about the health benefits of iron and the symptoms of iron deficiency. Please read!
VH Editorial: Iron Tablets – Who Needs Them?Iron Daily Oral Spray £9.95 for 25 ml (Dosage 4 Sprays Each Day)

Magnesium Sleep Mineral Lotion

Here we have a magnesium formula designed to relax the body and mind, to help promote a restful night’s sleep. I think I must have written several hundred times over the years that we are mostly magnesium deficient and that this mineral is so vital for our overall health and wellbeing.

Delivering a blend of Magnesium Oil, natural lavender and chamomile, this lotion helps relax tired muscles, helps slow sensory activity and helps to calm the mind. Magnesium is nature’s finest relaxant and has a calming effect on the whole body, while also helping to get rid of excess tension.

All you do is gently massage the lotion onto clean, dry skin up to 30 minutes before sleep and for best results use after you have had a bath (a Magnesium bath would be good) or shower. There is also Magnesium Sleep Mineral Lotion Junior, which can be used on age one and above.
Magnesium Sleep Mineral Lotion £9.95 for 180 ml; Magnesium Sleep Lotion Junior £8.95 for 135 ml; Magnesium Oil Original Flakes £9.95 for 1 kg

Magnesium Bone Mineral Lotion

A 1:1 blend of magnesium and calcium, designed to help support normal bone and skin health. The bone strengthening combination of magnesium and calcium have been expertly formulated at an optimum 1:1 ratio and blended with a hydrating lotion to help create a scientifically proven way to supplement these two essential nutrients.

The Magnesium Bone Mineral Lotion has been absorption tested by the team at Cardiff University and it offers the first proven alternative to traditional supplements. To use, gently massage four pumps onto clean, dry skin with a focus on the areas of concern. This is safe to use all over the body and for best results, as above, use after having a bath or shower. Please do not use on damaged or broken skin.
Magnesium Bone Mineral Lotion £9.95 for 180 ml

The Summer Essential Kit

Take three products. Thyme Out. Mega Probiotic ND. Natural Mineral Sunscreen SPF30 For Face by Derma E. Add up the prices and you will get to £57.50. Add a touch of madness. And then discount it because we love to share.

I don’t feel the need to write about Mega Probiotic ND because most of you take it, Thyme Out has become a legend in its own short lifetime and Derma E’s brilliant Natural Mineral Sunscreen is there because I’m feeling a touch nostalgic about the very early days of VH. These are the three products that we think you need during the summer months. We have happily taken £17.50 off the retail price of all three products. The Summer Essential Kit. £40. Until midnight on 7 July, unless we run out of stock before that time.
Summer Essential Kit £40 (Thyme Out £18; Mega Probiotic ND £19.50; Natural Mineral Sunscreen SPF30 For Face £20)
VH Editorial: The Most Common Holiday Problems Solved

Phylia de M

It’s been a long time. A very, very long time. And after several apology letters from me, Phylia has finally returned. And it has returned in brand new packaging. Just Clean and Condition in the new packaging for the moment. Please don’t ask me any more questions because I can’t answer them. There is a small ingredient tweak on Clean and all I can say is that if you are a Phylia fan, which thousands of you are, let us be grateful that we have stock. Let our hair be restored. And let our stock be replenished very soon. Amen.
Phylia de M from £30

The Podium

Over the past few weeks there have been a series of ‘high profile’ suicides, which have been reported on extensively. It is completely devastating for those left behind and the sadness we feel is palpable. If I may, I want to refer you to an article written by Lisa Armstrong (Head of Fashion) in The Telegraph. Lisa was writing about Kate Spade, but the underlying theme was and is ‘the price of illusion’. In Lisa’s words: ‘Yes, the pressures of fashion are immense and public – but that’s also true if you’re a surgeon, a politician or a single parent holding down three jobs’.

And indeed illusion is the danger. We have each been vulnerable at some point in our lives. An ever-increasing percentage of people contemplate suicide. We have to stand together and continue talking and writing about mental health. We need to understand the depths of illusion wherever we can. And yet sometimes, despite all the understanding in the world, a life is taken. And we grieve. And we cry. And we vow that it will never happen to anybody around us. And yet it does. The illusion.
Kate Spade’s Death Is A Lesson In The Price Of Illusion by Lisa Armstrong


As I’ve already written, Ionicell remains our bestselling supplement and it has held that position since the day we launched it. Heavy competition for Shabir’s formulations, but actually we really don’t mind at all because it is astounding in its efficacy. I have already written about the considerable attributes of fulvic acid, so I’m not going there again, but I do want to talk about glycation and Ionicell.

Glycation is a process when blood sugar binds to stray proteins and lipids in the blood. These proteins and lipids bonded to sugars are known as Advanced Glycation End Products (AGE’s) and are destructive within the body.

They damage the body’s glands, including the heart, eyes, skin and other major organs. Blood sugar levels spike when we eat food, especially if it is loaded with refined sugar or carbohydrates. That said, any food, even with a small amount of carbohydrate will result in some form of glycation because carbohydrates are converted into sugar by the stomach enzyme, alpha amylase.

So, glycation is a process that occurs in everybody irrespective of how careful we are with our diet, but it obviously occurs to a greater extent in those with diets rich in refined sugars and high in carbohydrates.

Ionicell works through multiple pathways to help protect the body from cellular damage caused by AGE’s. It appears that it helps regulate blood sugar levels to prevent sugar spikes in the body. Additionally, its antioxidant properties help protect cells from these destructive compounds. God save me from Maltesers. Ionicell for Life!
Ionicell £20 for 60 Capsules

How To Treat Candida

There are many remedies and recommendations on how to treat Candida, but dealing with Candida can be a problem. There are approximately 150 known species of Candida, a yeast-like group of fungi that exist in more than 80% of people. We continually acquire these fungi through the food we eat and through environmental exposure. They usually exist in the genitourinary tracts, respiratory tract and the gastrointestinal tract. They typically exist in the body without being harmful, however an abnormal overgrowth of these fungi can cause infection, often referred to as Candidiasis.

The symptoms of Candida overgrowth can cause countless health problems affecting various parts of the body. Common symptoms include gastrointestinal disturbances, allergies, food intolerances, headaches, irritability, constant fatigue and tiredness, nutrient deficiencies, cravings for sugar and carbohydrate rich foods, anxiety, oral thrush, genital thrush and genitourinary tract infections. Problems get worse when we eat too much sugar, take antibiotics for a period of time, or have a weakened immune system. Under these circumstances, Candida can proliferate and the symptoms get worse.

It is easy to understand why the above symptoms are not directly attributed to Candida overgrowth and since most of us carry these organisms and are exposed to antibiotics, either directly or indirectly, through the foods we eat, Shabir believes that it is imperative to help reduce the numbers of these infection causing fungi and he reveals how to do this in his article listed below.
VH Editorial: How To Treat CandidaHoropito and Aniseed £23 for 60 Capsules; Mega Probiotic ND £19.50 for 60 Capsules; Daily Immunity £26 for 60 Capsules

Lyme Disease and the Tick Remover Card

We run this editorial every year. We do it because Lyme Disease, if not detected early, can result in many concerns including numbness, severe joint pain, memory loss, sleep disorders and even paralysis of the facial muscles. These symptoms can, and usually occur months after the original tick bite. Please take a moment to read this. Thank you.
VH Editorial: Lyme Disease and the Tick Remover CardTick Remover Card £4.49

Soul Medicine

After writing about and launching Soul Medicine for Denise Leicester, Denise and her team are introducing a monthly event held in the Fitzrovia Chapel in London. Soulful Sundays allow you to experience healing vibrational music. The 432 resonance, which I have referred to on previous newsletters, lies at the core of Soul Medicine and is deeply healing on many different levels.

For those of you who have the 432 Love Tracks, it is an opportunity to be part of a remarkable event. I know it because I have attended a Soul Medicine event as mentioned on the June newsletter. For those of you who are yet to discover Soul Medicine, it is an opportunity to heal and mend.

This event will take place on Sunday 22 July at 7 pm and will end at 9.30 pm. Please click on the link below if you are interested, the tickets are priced from £28.62. This is not a commercial offering from us and we are not part of the organisation, so if you have any queries please can you refer to the Soul Medicine Team. A beautiful building. A profound experience. A Sunday evening in the Chapel.
Soulful SundaySoul Medicine – The 432 Love Tracks £20 (Four Tracks Presented On A Gift Card)

A Few One-Liners

Is it Maui Babe season? Yes it is. From Hawaii with love.
Maui Babe Browning Lotion (the original) £19.95 for 236 ml; Maui Babe After Browning Lotion £19.95 for 236 ml; Maui Babe SPF 30 Sun Block £19.95 for 251 ml

Has the fabulous Annee de Mamiel released her Summer Facial Oil. Yes she has and it is loaded with Prickly Pear Oil, Lemon Seed, Echium, Wild Rose, Sandalwood, Jasmine, Geranium and more. Much more.
Summer Facial Oil by de Mamiel £70 for 20 ml

What is the best product, in our opinion, for sweaty feet. Margaret Dabbs Soothing Foot Powder. Read the article. Use the product.
VH Editorial: Sweaty FeetSoothing Foot Powder £12 for 50 grams

Why did Lisa Armstrong (blimey Lisa, you are all over this newsletter!) get stopped on the streets of NYC a multitude of times. It was because she was wearing Inner Smile Jasmine Mist as a scent. It’s a room mist really. Who cares. Spritz. Spritz. Spritz.
Inner Smile Mist by ilapothecary £40 for 50 ml

What is the product I love, adore and launched. Intensive Foot Treatment by Ameliorate. Has it won any awards yet? What an outstanding formulation. What’s next Ameliorate (smiling wryly to myself!).
Intensive Foot Treatment by Ameliorate £15 for 75 ml

Love This Works? Then try their In Transit Pollution Shield. An anti-pollution spray-on-skin barrier to protect and hydrate. Mist on as a last step over clean skin. Over makeup will do it too.
In Transit Pollution Shield £26 for 60 ml

‘I have used it for the last three nights and had the best sleep in ages’. Who said that. Carolyn Asome. The product. Atlantic Seaweed Bath. We have stocked it forever. It is a ritual. I keep forgetting to write about it. Sorry Atlantic Seaweed Bath. You are incredible.
Atlantic Seaweed Bath £10.50

VH Editorial

This month, the Beauty Bible girls explore pigmentation and Jo Fairly gets herself ‘earthed’ and urges us to do the same. Tina Gaudoin suggests that gardening might just save you mentally and physically and her thoughts are rather compelling.
Everything You Need To Know About Pigmentation by Beauty Bible; What Is Earthing And Will It Reduce Your Stress Levels by Jo Fairley; Why Gardening Might Just Save You Mentally and Physically by Tina Gaudoin

How To Carve Out Time For Yourself, is the title of Carolyn Asome’s article; this is a must-read if you are constantly battling with time.  Just to chime in (because I can), I really advocate the 6 am in the morning thing.  Best time of day.  I get completely discombobulated if I oversleep.
How To Carve Out Time For Yourself by Carolyn Asome

Carole Morin is back revealing her dark secrets and Arly has written a superlative personal account about how supplements became the best step in her skincare routine. Strong and serious words from the girl who has stepped right the way back from posting on her blog because of ill health (and social media issues).
Dark Secrets by Carole Morin; How Supplements Became The Best Step In My Skincare Routine by Detail Oriented Beauty

Addicted to stress?  Catherine Turner asks the question and then offers some simple ways to help break the stress cycle and Jackie Annesley is feeling the stress too.  She is on a lifelong quest for the perfect nightwear and she still hasn’t found what she’s looking for.
Addicted To Stress? That Could Be A Good Thing by Catherine Turner; Why Is It So Hard To Find The Perfect Nightwear? by Jackie Annesley

And that’s a wrap.

We are knee deep in wait lists again, but these will be resolved in days (in some instances a couple of weeks), but certainly not months. We will try to keep our site as updated as we can, but the situation changes constantly. Please bear with us, production is ongoing and we always work through our wait lists in date order.

Together with Shabir, Victoria and the entire VH team, I thank you for your loyalty and support. If you are going away, please be safe and don’t forget your Coola products. Altitude Oil by de Mamiel has become a virtual must if you are travelling and pack your FanU in your hand luggage, lifesaving attributes in over-heated environments.

Have a wonderful July.

With love

Gill x

June Newsletter

stack of rubbers

Hello and welcome to the June newsletter where we talk about the launch of a new product from LixirSkin, which is rather special. We take a look at some other new product launches, there is a bestselling supplement treat, all the latest news and feedback and we also throw the focus on mental health issues. And then of course we have the girls with this month’s feature articles. Let’s do it:

Soft Clay Rubber by LixirSkin

It has been nine months since we launched LixirSkin for Colette Haydon. Simplistic in its approach to skincare, there were just six products in the range and now there are seven. So we say hello to Soft Clay Rubber, which sits in all its resplendent knicker-pink pot glory in my bathroom and I’m guessing it will soon be in most of your bathrooms too.

This is a limited launch, so you will need to be fast to be one of the first.  The rest won’t have to wait that long, around two weeks I think, but don’t shoot me if it’s slightly longer; visions of another wait list are swirling around my head, so best we move on. Read More…

May Newsletter

music notes coloured

Hello and welcome to the May newsletter where we have rather a lot to get through including the launch of four new brands, several new and exciting products, news, feedback and this month’s features from the girls. The girls! And then we have Shabir who has formulated his own new product, which will appear somewhere in the midst of everything.

That said, we are going to begin with two of the new brands. The entire ethos of VH has always been to help make a difference to each of you with cutting-edge and pioneering products. When that encompasses a far wider audience and an enablement to address fundamental and profound health concerns, it becomes something more. Far more. Let’s do it. Read More…

April Newsletter


Hello and welcome to the April newsletter where we take a look at some rather fabulous new products, most of which are now on my must-have, must-take, must-use list. It’s all looking a bit tragic for Shabir who literally despairs of me at times (actually most of the time), but he keeps stashes of products behind his desk and thinks that I don’t know, but I do. Vindicated.

So we go straight in with the new products, followed by new releases from Ameliorate, Hayo’u and Ilapothecary, all the latest news and updates, another wait list scenario (this one’s a global shortage), an announcement (of the humbling kind) and of course this month’s feature articles from the editorial team.

And one more thing; my special thanks to Victoria who became ‘me’ and wrote this month’s Addicts Bulletin, which I shall crib further down this newsletter. I have no shame. None. The truth is that I was in LA and despite her telling the Addicts that I was probably sitting by the side of the pool, I was actually working and the first two products are living proof of that statement. Let’s do it: Read More…