January Newsletter

2020 wrote with flowers on pink background

So here we are. January 2020. A new decade and the first newsletter of the year, where I am not writing about resolutions (because the Beauty Bible girls are doing that) and the word ‘detox’ is banned, basically because I can think of nothing worse than detoxification in the cold and grey. No, no, we are not going there, instead we are going to gently ease ourselves in with some new product launches and some thought-provoking feature articles.

But more than that, it has become more and more apparent that simplicity is key and I’ll run that through both health and beauty. We love the ‘new’ and we are deeply respectful of scientific research and development. So start getting excited about the word ‘Sulforaphane’ because we are about to do another hugely important health launch to kick off the decade. As you do.

Before I get to Sulforaphane and all that it is, I just want to say that the mission is, and always has been, to support niche brands and to help make a positive difference to each of you. I don’t really mind how it comes, with products, with words, with thoughts, just as long as it comes. And it will. But before we go forward, we need to go back and we do so by taking a look at some of the biggest health and beauty trends of the last decade:

The Biggest Health and Beauty Trends of The Past Decade

As we slide into 2020, we take a look back over the trends and movements that have shaped the Twenty-Tens. Over the past ten years, wellness has come into its own with more of us becoming increasingly conscious of what we are putting onto our skin and into our bodies.

Discernment is all and inevitably there have been plenty of micro-trends and fads that have failed to break through, but some of the biggest innovations and movements, such as powerful skincare ingredients and gut health, will continue to help shape our approach to health and beauty.
VH Editorial: The Biggest Health and Beauty Trends of The Decade

The Stress Epidemic

It is thought that we check our phones every 12 minutes and although smartphones can’t be solely blamed for the ongoing stress epidemic that took hold in the Twenty-Tens, they played a big role, together with social media, for heightening stress levels, with no sign of abatement.

I am not going to do another one of my rants about the abusive and bullying nature of social media, because there are some good sides to social, albeit the balance seriously needs addressing in my humble opinion. However, with stress and anxiety comes sleep issues and with that, let’s now take a look at three products, which we believe go a long way in helping overcome stress and sleep issues:

Herbal Sleep PM

Herbal Sleep PM is a scientifically-based herbal formulation which helps promote healthy sleep. On the packaging it states, ‘without using melatonin’, so let me just say a few words about melatonin:

Melatonin is a hormone known for its sleep-promoting properties. Melatonin is legal in the US and as this is an American brand it can make a ‘without melatonin’ statement because of its relevance. That relevance is that many do not like supplementing with melatonin and I get that. Melatonin is banned for OTC (over-the-counter) products in the UK, and although it can be obtained on prescription, on a personal note, I wouldn’t take it and neither would I take DHEA, the mother hormone that is also banned for OTC products in the UK.

So the formulation. It combines lemon balm and Honokiol, which is from magnolia bark, both of which are blended with the chamomile compound apigenin to help calm the mind and help promote high-quality sleep throughout the night. The dosage is one capsule to be taken 30-60 minutes before bedtime, although it can be increased to two capsules if needed. And dream.
Herbal Sleep PM £20 for 30 Vegetarian Capsules

Altitude Bath Soak by de Mamiel – Limited Edition

Many of you are familiar with Annee de Mamiel’s Altitude Oil, the magnificent, bestselling product that is blended with a range of powerful, antibacterial, antiviral and antiseptic ingredients which helps protect the immune system whilst flying or in the confines of public transport.

We love it because is also helps clear your head and is great for colds and sinus congestion. And now we have something else to love, Annee’s Altitude Bath Soak.

I was so excited when I discovered Annee had blended a bath soak and even more so when she told me the following; in her words:

Designed to help the body re-establish equilibrium when it feels out of balance, the Altitude Bath Soak is the ideal antidote to non-stop days. An extension of the uplifting inhalation essence Altitude Oil, this triple salt blend helps to ease stress, hydrates and nourishes the skin and fortifies the body and mind to restore energy levels’.

The triple salts are Himalayan Salts, Epsom Salts and Dead Sea Salts, which are blended with essential oils and Shungite Crystal Powder, which, according to Annee, helps to prevent the build-up of the electromagnetic energy absorbed through excessive use of devices – put those phones down is what I say and think!

Anyway, what you need to know is that Altitude Bath Soak is a Limited Edition; it looks beautiful, but then it is beautiful. And the other thing is that we don’t have many. Limited is just that, limited. Severely.
Altitude Bath Soak £42 for 400 grams; Altitude Oil £30 for 10 ml


I could not complete this section without mentioning Neurophroline, which is the third product recommended under the heading of ‘The Stress Epidemic’.

I know, I know, I can’t stop talking about it, but neither can Lisa Armstrong who mentioned it yet again in The Telegraph over the festive season. The thing is that there is nothing like Neurophroline to help take the stress out of our skin. It is such an important skincare ingredient that it will probably be on every newsletter this year. If you’ve got it, flaunt it, and seriously nothing comes close to the efficacy of Neurophroline in this category. And when and if something does, I will tell you.

Just by way of reminder, Shabir and Lisa’s articles are below and if we are talking about articles, these were two of the most read articles last year, only eclipsed by Nigella’s love letter to us in The Sunday Times, which I’ll probably be talking about forever. Such is.
Neurophroline Serum £18 for 30 ml; VH Editorial: Stress Ages Our Skin; The Miracle £18 Serum That Promises To Streamline Your Skincare Regime by Lisa Armstrong

The Incredible Benefits of Broccoli Sprouts – Broc On

Right, let’s do this launch. It’s huge, it’s powerful, the research and development is awesome and I hereby declare this to be ‘The Year of the Broccoli Shots’ as I introduce you to Broc On.

So let’s start at the beginning. We all know that eating vegetables is a healthy choice and they provide profound benefits to the body. However, numerous studies indicate that only one in ten of us actually achieves the recommended daily intake of approximately 800 grams a day of fruit and vegetables.

Whilst all types of vegetables are beneficial, there is one group that scientists believe contribute significantly to overall health due to their unique nutritional content and that is the Brassica family. Commonly known as cruciferous vegetables, these include broccoli, Brussel sprouts, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, radish and turnips.

Aside from their nutritional content, scientists have discovered a compound that makes these vegetables so vitally important. That compound is called Sulforaphane (also called SFN), which I mentioned at the top of this newsletter. And what a compound it is. It has been dubbed as ‘the miracle molecule’ and we believe it more than lives up to that name.

Sulforaphane is one of the most important phytonutrients to have been discovered over the past 30 years. Paul Talalay, an esteemed researcher at John Hopkins, first realized Sulforaphane’s potential in 1992. Sulforaphane can be obtained from cruciferous vegetables, notably broccoli sprouts and kale sprouts, but it does not exist in any meaningful quantities within the actual vegetable.

Sulforaphane is created from two very specific compounds, myrosinase and glucoraphanin, found in different parts of the vegetable and when the vegetable is chopped, blended or chewed, the two compounds react with each other to produce Sulforaphane. Broccoli sprouts, Kale sprouts and Daikon sprouts contain the highest concentration of the precursors required to make Sulforaphane.

Since the discovery of Sulforaphane, there have been over 1700 studies indicating the extensive health benefits of SFN across a wide variety of diseases and concerns, which Shabir fully explores in his article linked below; they include heart health, brain health, cell mutation and liver function.

So with a welcoming tra-la-la, I give you Broc On powered by Sulforaphane. Cutting edge, organic and convenient, this is the totally natural way of getting a daily dose of Sulforaphane from broccoli, kale and daikon sprouts. These three sources of sprouts are non-GMO and grown hydroganically in a carefully controlled environment. Once harvested, the sprouts are dried and milled into powder on the same day to retain their active compounds.

We believe this to be the most-advanced broccoli sprout supplement currently on the market. As an emerging trend, there is a great big ‘broccolli shot-movement’ going on in Australia; we are about to join in here and it will cost about £2.50 a day. Potentially, another life-changing and life-enhancing product? Yep, I think so. Follow the zeitgeist if you can.
VH Editorial: The Incredible Benefits of Broccoli SproutsBroc On by BrocShots £75 for 30 Shots

Pro Pore Refiner by Sarah Chapman

If you are a regular reader of these newsletters, then you will know that I flipped with delight when we released Sarah’s Pro Hydro-Mist Steamer last year because I am hugely into steaming out the grime on my face. Not a lot makes me happier. And now another fabulous game to play as I invite you to join me in owning Sarah’s Pro Pore Refiner. The name of the product is enough to make me smile quite honestly.

So let me tell you about it. The triple-action Pro-Pore Refiner carefully prepares and deeply cleanses polluted pores and congested skin. Its advanced three-step power programme mimics professional clinical extraction methods for controlled blackhead removal.

The entire procedure (cleanse, massage, extract) lasts for six minutes, two minutes per step. It begins with Thermo-Therapy and ionic cleansing (yellow light) to help open pores. Thermo-therapy and ultrasonic vibrations (blue light) in step two are used to warm and manipulate the skin, helping to loosen blockages and congestion further. The final step (my most favourite) is extraction. The deep joy of the suction nozzle gliding over my skin is almost too much for me. Reminiscent of hoovering my skin, I am in skincare heaven.

So this is what I do: I cleanse, I steam, I pore refine and I finish off with the product that I actually should have given an award to on the December newsletter, Pore Cleaning Powder. My brain must surely have been malfunctioning at the time, but never mind that, its brilliance rocks on and it is the perfect ending to this ritual.

There is of course the urge to do this every day, but I don’t and I don’t recommend you do either. Twice a week is sufficient, pushed to three times a week for the sheer thrill of it all. Investment skincare, yes of course!
Pro Pore Refiner £128; Pro Hydro-Mist Steamer £119; Pore Cleaning Powder by GoW for VH £12 for 50 grams

Trinny and Shabir – A Double Dose

Two new videos from Trinny and Shabir, the first is all about memory loss, which is one of the most common fears that people have as they age. Together they look at steps to help boost brain power, covering subjects such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Rather than write reams, this video is supported by Shabir’s notes where he recommends both B12 and Limitless Plus, a nootropic, amongst other things.
Trinny and Shabir: Sluggish Brain Video; VH Editorial: Sluggish BrainBoost B12 Oral Spray £11.95 for 25 ml; Limitless Plus £32 for 60 Capsules

The second video went live on Boxing Day and it was all about Shabir and Trinny’s tips if you had overdone it on Christmas Day. Well, we are well past that now, but the video lives on because it’s not only that one day when we can overdo it; it’s relevant whenever you have had one of those days/nights and we’ll leave it that.

Anyway, my one and only claim to fame through all of this is that Trinny was wearing my jumper on the second video. Please don’t even ask. I’m still recovering from the fact that it looks far better on her than it does on me.
Trinny and Shabir: Hangover Cures Video

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar is never too far from the news, which is no surprise as this is perhaps one of the most chronicled natural remedies, with its various uses documented throughout history. The health benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar are well-founded and arise as a result of its source, apples. Apples not only contain vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, but are also a great source of fibre and have virtually no fat or sodium.

As I so often write, not all supplements are created equally and this is certainly true of Apple Cider Vinegar. We always recommend Organic Apple Cider Vinegar by Higher Nature because it contains the ‘mother’ substance from organic applies, which have not been grown using pesticides or insecticides.

However, there are some who cannot stand the ‘acquired’ taste of Apple Cider Vinegar, so for those we would recommend Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies, which taste good and are also infused with superfoods, such as pomegranate and beetroot. For the full low-down on the health and beauty benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar, Shabir’s article is linked below.
VH Editorial: The Health and Beauty Benefits of Apple Cider VinegarApple Cider Vinegar Gummies by Goli Nutrition £15 for 60 Gummies; Organic Apple Cider Vinegar by Higher Nature £7.50 for 350 ml

More Gummies

A new range of gummies for children. They are from America, where they are amongst the bestselling vitamins formulated for children. Chapter One Gummies are designed to help ease children into taking vitamins. They taste delicious, they look good and they are fun. They are also vegan and certified kosher.

There are seven variants in the range: Bones Gummies; Fibre Gummies; Immunity Gummies, Multi Gummies, Omega 3 Gummies, Vitamin C Gummies and Vitamin D3 Gummies. Each pot of Gummies are £15 and you get 60 in each pot. The recommended dose is one gummie per day and Shabir thinks they are excellent formulations.

Meanwhile, I’ve had them on my desk and I can’t stop eating them – I’ve dubbed them as my healthy sweets. Being generous I dole them out, except when I arrive with my pot at Shabir’s desk he looks at me as if I’m mad. Who cares. I am. Anyway, these are great.
Chapter One Gummies £15 each


As most of us know, life so often throws curves at us when we least expect them. The repercussions are varied, but they can be harrowing to the point that we cannot cope and we reach out for help. The incredible work of the Samaritans is well documented, but there are times when a deeper insight gives each of us a further understanding of how important it is to listen.

Having trained as a Samaritan, Sue Peart, the former editor of The Mail on Sunday YOU magazine, tells her story. I implore you to read this as it is a story about trauma, tragedy, the loss of identity and the garnering of the strength and courage needed to overcome adversity. One of the most important aspects for me is that even if you are surrounded by friends and family, you can still feel isolated and alone. That much I know.

On 20th January, Samaritans is launching ‘Brew Monday’, an initiative encouraging people to reach out to others who may be lonely. All you need is a kettle, a teabag or two and a couple of mugs. As Sue writes, such a small act of kindness can make a huge difference to someone when they need it the most. There but for the grace of God, go I.
Samaritans by Sue Peart

Supplements To Take In Your 40s

Continuing through the decades, we have now reached the 40s and this is where Shabir takes a look at what he believes are the most important supplements to take.

Inevitably, he writes about Sage Complex, mostly because he has always believed that most women over the age of 35 should take this supplement. Probiotics, multi-vitamins and bone health are also on his list. I am absolutely convinced he would have included Broc-On as well, but he wrote this before Broc-On made an appearance. I would ask him to re-write, but I don’t need eye-rolling scenarios before the year has barely begun.
VH Editorial: Supplements To Take In Your 40sSage Complex £25 for 90 Capsules; Mega Probiotic ND £19.50 for 60 Capsules; Bone Restore with Vitamin K2 £23 for 120 Capsules

Florassist Mood – Name Change

I suppose we should be grateful that Florassist Mood hasn’t gone to product heaven, but it has had a name and formulation change, so I thought I had better keep you updated as this is such a bestselling product. Actually it deserves to be.

Florassist Mood, with the wave of a wand (magic or otherwise), now becomes Florassist Mood Improve. So that’s one extra word and one extra ingredient, which would be saffron. It is thought that extracts of saffron may exert a mood elevating effect by helping to increase levels of certain chemicals in the brain, including serotonin. Studies have indicated its effectiveness in helping to alleviate the symptoms of stress, anxiety and mild depression. Improvement approved.
Florassist Mood Improve £25 for 30 Capsules

Iron 10 Daily Oral Spray

Another new product from the immaculate Better You, who are certainly living up to ‘The Excellence in Health Products’ award I bequeathed upon their heads in the VH Awards.

Delivering 10 mg of iron per four sprays, Iron 10 Daily Oral Spray has been scientifically formulated to deliver iron directly into the bloodstream, bypassing primary processing by the gut. These tiny droplets absorb quickly into the buccal membrane of the inner cheek, providing fast, effective nutrient uptake.

We have always believed that certain traditional routes of iron supplementation are notoriously known to cause digestive discomfort as iron is known to be an irritant to the digestive tract. Iron oral spray avoids these issues and contributes to the normal function of the immune system, supporting cognitive function and helping with the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.

There are groups of people who are especially susceptible to iron deficiency and these are thought to be those with malabsorption issues, pregnant women, women who have heavy periods, athletes and people following vegetarian or vegan diets. Each spray contains 32 daily doses of iron supplementation.
VH Editorial: Iron Tablets – Who Needs Them?Iron 10 Daily Oral Spray by Better You £14.95 for 25 ml

Pure Gold Elixir For Feet by Margaret Dabbs

I don’t really know how to tell you that this product is £85. So there, I’ve said it really quickly and because I am a huge fan of Margaret Dabbs, and have been for several years, it would be somewhat remiss of me not to write about it.

Taken from Margaret Dabbs’ notes, because quite honestly I really don’t know what to write, they say it is their most treasured formula to date, infused with premium Colloidal Gold. They continue by saying that harnessing the benefits of this precious metal, it is blended with Buriti, Calendula and Hempseed.

It has been formulated to transform the feet with powerful anti-inflammatory and restorative qualities, it is scented with Bergamot and Petitgrain and is housed in an antique gold, recyclable glass bottle.

I am currently running a private sweepstake as to how many we will sell. A couple of close friends have a vested interest in this because they are longing to use it on their feet. I also have a vested interest, which is more or less all about Shabir’s face if I’m wrong.
Pure Gold Elixir For Feet by Margaret Dabbs £85 for 200 ml

Newsletter Feedback

Please indulge me as I say a few things about the December newsletter, which of course incorporated the VH Awards. Your response was so amazing and the Fulvic Face Cream dream goes on, which inevitably led to yet another wait list, so much so I think I hyper-ventilated my way through the first part of December. But that’s what happens when most of us are on the same skincare regime, Neurophroline, Fulvic Face and Super Bakuchiol.
Fulvic Face Cream £30 for 60 ml; Neurophroline Serum £18 for 30 ml; Super Bakuchiol Serum £15 for 30 ml

Let’s talk about Spacemasks. It was so easy giving an award to Spacemasks for so many different reasons, but mostly because they remain as brilliant as the day they were created. They also happened to be one of the bestselling products from the newsletter and the stakes and competition were extraordinarily high. That said, it certainly wiped the floor for drama.

The drama came from the brilliant Harriet Inglis, founder of Spacemasks. She was so overcome with her award that she went on one of her channels (IGTV I think) where she proceeded to wax lyrical about it for at least five minutes, actually I think it may have been more. She is one of the best things about social media, she is hilariously funny and Harriet darling, did you have a glass or two of champagne before recording your thing! Do follow her. And if you do, you may need to lie in a darkened room with a Spacemask over your eyes after a session or two. Humour in all things.
Spacemasks £15 for Five Masks

Three Things

I can’t remember exactly when we launched Nannette de Gaspe’s fabulous skincare products, but what I remember vividly is that fact that I gave hero status to Essence Noir Polish. How I loved this product, and actually I still do, but within the shortest time, the bestselling product in the range developed an inherent issue. The packaging was flawed and it wouldn’t pump properly.

I wanted to die. Why did it have to be that product. Why, God, why! But it was and so, like everybody else, I untwisted the lid and didn’t use the defective pump. See that’s the thing with pumps, high-end, low-end, airless or otherwise, they all give problems. Anyway, I know it’s long after the event, but Essence Noir Polish now comes in a tube. Glory be as this triple-action physical, chemical and enzymatic product, formulated to remove expired skin cells, re-enters our bathrooms.
Essence Noir Polish by Nannette de Gaspe £80 for 125 ml

My love of cleansers is well-documented, what is also well-documented is that I have a wardrobe of cleansers in my bathroom, varying their use dependent upon how my skin feels and looks. One of my most-loved is Balm-Gel Cleanser by Harborist, which we launched for and on behalf of the fabulous Kate Porter, who just happened to be a customer of long-standing.

There is nothing like keeping things in the VH family, and after what seems to have a forever-wait, Kate has just released her second product, Moisture Restore Rich. The wait was worthwhile and once again it fully conforms to Kate’s ‘modus operandi’ of creating products for super-sensitive reactive skin and I’m one of those people.

Moisture Restore Rich is a concentrated blend of hydrators and barrier restoring lipids which bring comfort to dry, stressed skin. It has a rich gel-like texture that absorbs effortlessly, giving a smooth, soft finish. It is enhanced with cell-protecting glucosides and omega-5 rich pomegranate seed extract. It is fragrance free (hallelujah – no essential oils) and is vegan-friendly.

I know that so many of you are now using Fulvic Face Cream, but Kate is very special, her products are very special and this product is truly spectacular, and I don’t say that too often about moisturisers. I am currently using Fulvic Face in the morning and Moisture Restore Rich in the evening.

If ever I wanted a brand to be truly recognized for all that it is, Harborist would be that brand and Kate Porter would be that person. Can we do it please because I’m sick and tired of brands writing ‘for sensitive skins’ across their products when they are blatantly not. Another mission in a long line of them.
Moisture Restore Rich £45 for 50 ml; Balm-Gel Cleanser £25 for 100 ml both by Harborist

We have had a lot of emails recently about issues around the eye area, which include idiopathic eczema patches, psoriasis and itchy and dry skin. If this sounds familiar, we recommend the use of Dry Eye Gel containing cardiospermum, which is safe to use on eyelids and alleviates dryness that often accompanies these concerns due to inflammation. On the subject of eyes, so many accolades for Eye Contour Serum. It remains one of our bestselling eye products, not least because Shabir formulated it for himself.
Dry Eye Gel £8.95 for 15 ml; Eye Contour Serum by GoW for VH £18 for 30 ml

VH Editorial

We love a New Year, write the Beauty Bible girls. A completely clean sheet of paper, even more so with a new decade ahead of us. New Year is famously a time of re-evaluation, casting off the old, embracing the new. A time of good intentions, but also realistic goals, amongst which Sarah and Jo implore us to try a ‘beauty dare’ once a month. Cripes!
New Year’s Beauty Resolutions by Beauty Bible

At the dawn of a new decade, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all be a bit more nurturing, a little kinder, less divisive, asks Carolyn Asome. Try baby steps if you’re feeling bah-humbug at this time of year ….. nurturing and nourishing also comes from being part of a community, which is something that crops up repeatedly in many interviews and conversations.
The Age of Nurturing by Carolyn Asome

According to 2020 trend reports, hair ‘wellness’ is the next big thing we need to be aware of. Just like skin can reflect how healthy your insides are, so too can hair and that is why more and more supplements are popping up. Becci Vallis investigates.
How ‘Well’ Is Your Hair by Becci Vallis

Mostly we bumble through life getting stuff done. It’s only when something big happens – the loss of someone close to us, a scary health diagnosis, getting fired – that we tend to re-assess life. And, says Jo Fairley, as I know in my heart of hearts, it matters to take time for self-reflection. Jo takes a look at how to do it and what worked for her.
The Importance of Self-Reflection by Jo Fairley

The End Bit

And so we come to the end of the first newsletter of the year and the decade. More than anything, the one thing that truly matters is that we all come together. The ‘community’ that Carolyn so eloquently wrote about is so needed for each of us to try and uphold our sense of being.

As so many of you know, I have always thought of VH as a very special collective of like-minded people. It is also an open platform and if I live long enough (please give me the strength) to see our new site go live, I will wholeheartedly support and nurture this, most especially with the brilliant journalists who no longer have a platform. Their voices must be heard.

More than anything, I will continue to make a stand for everything that I and we believe in and that includes cutting through the minefield of confliction that belies the health and beauty industry. You see the thing is, I don’t really care how far I take it because all that matters is the truth. One day, the book!

So all that remains is for me, together with Shabir, Lara and the entire VH team, to wish each of you a happy and healthy 2020.

With love

Gill x

The contents of this newsletter are not intended to replace conventional medical treatment. Any suggestions made are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, condition or symptom. Personal direction should be provided by a qualified healthcare practitioner.

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