Should You Be Using Glycolic Acid?

Glycolic Acid

From salicylic and mandelic to glycolic and lactic, the sales of acid-based skincare is on the rise. Not only are these ingredients highlighted on the labels of serums and creams, but more brands are unveiling formulas dedicated solely to individual acids.

As more of us become ‘skintellectuals’, we’re beginning to appreciate the value of chemical exfoliation, via alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids. But how do you know which one is right for you?

What is glycolic acid?

Along with lactic acid, glycolic is another alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). It’s actually one of the smallest AHAs, which means it’s more effective at penetrating the top layers of your skin, and it is usually derived from sugarcane.

What are the skincare benefits of glycolic acid?

Glycolic acid helps to gently exfoliate the surface layer of your skin and works by dissolving the bonds between dry, dead cells, so that they can be sloughed away. It takes away the need to scrub your skin, which can be abrasive and stripping. It also helps to not only boost the texture and tone of your complexion, but also encourages cell turnover.

It’s one of the most recommended acids for evening out skin tone and reducing pigmentation as it removes dead cells and allows ingredients, such as Alpha Arbutin 2% and Kojic 1% Acid Serum, £12, to penetrate deeper. Use of glycolic acid over time as also been shown to thicken your dermis layer of skin, helping to protect your collagen and elastin.

Is glycolic acid safe for sensitive skin types?

Glycolic is an acid that encourages chemical exfoliation, so irritation can occur. That said, a lot of people would argue that the skin-boosting benefits outweigh the cons. If you have sensitive skin try introducing glycolic acid into your routine with a cleanser, such as QRx Labs Glycolic Acid Gel Cleanser, £14. Apply to damp skin for a diluted impact and dry skin for more of a kick.

It goes without saying that regardless of your skin type, you need to use sunscreen the morning after you’ve applied glycolic.

What percentage of glycolic acid should you use?

If you want to use a glycolic acid regularly then opt for a formula with between four to ten percent. This will help to gently exfoliate your skin over time.

Anything higher, say QRx Labs Glycolic Acid 30% Gel Peel, £12, can provide incredible results, but you should approach with caution. Use it once a fortnight and only leave it on for three minutes max for the best results. To reduce redness and irritation, follow-up with the Chemical Peel Neutralizer, £15 – it might seem like an extra step, but it’s well worth the investment if you want to minimise redness.

Both Derma E Overnight Peel, £20, and Time Bomb Overnight Peel and Reveal, £42, contain a blend of AHAs, including glycolic acid and are also good options for those who want milder multi-tasking, multi-benefit peels.


Why Dreaming Could Be Key To Your Mental Health


With Mental Health Awareness Week in full swing, there has been an influx of stories surrounding stress, anxiety and sleep. When it comes to the latter, the focus is often on the struggle to fall asleep and the knock-on-effect of not getting enough. We rarely talk about our quality of sleep, let alone whether we dreamt or not. Can you even remember the last time you had a really truly vivid dream? If you struggle to get eight hours sleep a night, the thought of dreaming can feel like more of an indulgent luxury. But, more and more research is highlighting the importance of dreams.

Why is dreaming important?

According to Rubin Naiman, sleep and dream specialist at the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, dreams are essential to a healthy mind and he has linked the lack of dreaming to several diseases. Following the release of his review, ‘Dreamless: the silent epidemic of REM sleep loss’ last September, Naiman told Science Daily, “We are at least as dream-deprived as we are sleep-deprived and many of our health concerns attributed to sleep loss actually result from rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep deprivation.”

Dreaming happens when we’re in the REM section of sleep. It is the final phase of sleep and where our brain is at its most active. The first four stages are a progression for shallow to deeper sleep.

Over the years, research has indicated that REM is important for brain development. A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience showed that those who spent more time in the REM phase were better equipped to deal with fear and less likely to develop post-traumatic stress following a dramatic experience. Professor Matthew Walker from the University of California told Time last year, “I think of dreaming like overnight therapy.”

What happens when you dream?

While research has identified the pros surrounding dreaming, scientists are still unsure as to what exactly happens when we dream. Some believe it’s random neurons shooting off, others believe it’s our brains way of processing the days events and any concerns or dilemmas we’ve had to face.

Can you increase your dream potential?

It might sound absolutely bonkers, but some experts recommend you wake yourself up after five hours, take a 15-minute break and then try to drift back off. A team at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created a gadget that monitors your sleep patterns and can detect when you’re sleeping out of the dream state. The gadget makes a noise or jolts you back to keep you dreaming for longer.

Until the gadget becomes widely available, perhaps the most straightforward approach is to try and get more sleep to up the chances of entering the REM phase for longer.

What about remembering your dreams?

We’ve all had that morning-after struggle when we can’t remember what we dreamt about. Last month, a study by the University of Adelaide found that those who take vitamin B6 had more chance of recalling their dreams. The vitamin doesn’t affect the vividness of the dream or the pattern of your sleep, but it will help you to remember your dream. While vitamin B6 alone won’t improve your dreams, at least you won’t go crazy trying to remember them.

Three sleep-inducers…

The supplement: Forget your worries and release any tension with the help of Magnolia Rhodiola Complex, £26. The blend of ingredients are second-to-none when it comes to easing anxiety.

The pillow mist: Spritz away your worries and lull yourself into a dreamy sleep with This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Mist, £18.

The balm: Just a pea-size amount of de Mamiel’s Anchor Balm, £40, warmed up in your hands and applied to your pulse points is the perfect remedy for those who get restless in the early hours.

Takeaway Tips From Shabir And Trinny’s Facebook Live On Skincare Concerns

Trinny and Shabir

Shabir was back in the bathroom with Trinny Woodall over the weekend discussing more common skincare concerns. Read More…

Vitamin C: What Are The Skincare Benefits?

Vitamin C skincare

The health benefits of vitamin C have been well documented over the years. Sailors used to take lemons on their journeys to help prevent scurvy (bleeding gums) and these days most of us up our dose of the vitamin if we feel a cold coming along.

Vitamin C is also a celebrated skincare ingredient – and has been since the 1930s. It’s list of benefits is almost endless and therefore there are hundreds of vitamin C creams and serums on the market. And there is an appetite for them; Pinterest saw a whopping 3379 percent rise in vitamin C ‘pins’ last year. 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.

Soul Medicine by Denise Leicester

Soul Medicine. Provoking thoughts of ancient rituals, music’s ability to heal has long been recognised. Hearing sound is one of our primal senses. Sound can therapeutically relax, alert, soothe, inform and transport us.

Founder of the amazing spa brands Ila and Ilapothecary, Denise Leicester’s voice and music have been central to her development of award-winning treatments for over a decade. Building on this understanding, Denise created Soul Medicine in collaboration with composer Tom Simenauer, to help promote wellbeing and cellular balance simply by listening.

Without getting too scientific, this music is based on 432Hz tuning that has been shown clinically to help decrease stress, help boost resilience and help restore our biological makeup. Seeing the positive healing elements of sound and vibration with her clients, Denise researched the impact of particular music and sounds with several doctors, collating the results of clinically-controlled studies. These studies demonstrated some rather remarkable and beneficial responses and the research is, of course, ongoing.

Soul Medicine launches with four tracks and a quote from Denise:

‘If our fearful minds only represent 10% of us, yet take up 90% of our time, what is the other 90%? I believe it is our being, our essence, our extraordinary capacity to tune into our hearts. The very source of love. Imagine what life might be like living from this 90%.’ The tracks are, in Denise’s words:

Being Held: This track vibrates to the resonance of pure love. Listening to it immediately activates our ability to self-nurture and nourish. If you want to dissolve fear, put things into perspective, relax your central nervous system and feel safe, this is a song of reassurance. It will help carry you through difficult times. It holds a soft, maternal power, which gently rebuilds the fire of your soul. 20.01 minutes.

This is recommended to help aid sleep, to be listened to following loss or bereavement of any kind, to help support post trauma and to help promote deep relaxation in times of great stress.

Being Loved: An echo of the heart of the world: expansive, ancient, deeply soothing and innately good. This track opens your own reflective heart to the universal energy of love. Its harmonies uplift and inspire. 19.57 minutes.

This track helps for conflict resolution and connection to others and it is ideal when lacking in energy or feeling lacklustre.

Being Present: Mystical and enchanting, this track brings you into the present moment. It is an invitation to help you let go of the past and not speculate about the future. Its strength of harmony takes you out of your head and into your body so you can palpably feel your inner essence. 21.57 minutes.

This is best listened to when you are feeling scattered and unable to concentrate; it helps build resilience and it can be tremendously helpful during or after periods of illness.

Being Lifted: This track transcends and opens our heart to the vibration of pure love, to letting go and being uplifted. It guides us from our heads to our hearts, into giving and forgiving, kindness and empowerment. 18.27 minutes.

This track helps to boost confidence and increase energy; it also helps address post-birth blues, times of hormonal change (including the menopause) and is ideal for helping to lift spirits.

This from me: I have been fortunate enough over the past few years to have experienced the profound healing effect of Denise’s music in treatments with the brilliant Anastasia Achilleos. As is so often the case in life, people are ‘put together’ to achieve something far greater than themselves which, at its very best, is transformational for each of us.

Soul Medicine is an example of that transformation. In the most simplistic of ways, each of the four tracks will resonate on many different levels. The track that may be pertinent at this given time will most definitely not be the track for all-time. We change. Our lives change. When I first received the music I listened to ‘Being Held’ on the loop. It made me cry. Rather a lot.

I think it is a gift to be able to cry; I have always thought that it is far better out than held within because therein is an element of the healing process that is so fundamental to our health and wellbeing. And the ‘far more’ that I referred to at the beginning of this newsletter. It is our collective wish that Soul Medicine is strategically placed in ‘music healing rooms’ in centres that help treat seriously and terminally ill patients. The project has begun.

Together with Denise, I invite you to experience and explore this extraordinary healing process in the comfort of your own home. There is of course far more information, including comments from doctors, which we have put on our site. Each ‘Soul Medicine’, includes all four tracks and will arrive in the post on a gift card with its own unique code for downloading. I am calling it the gift that keeps on giving, because that is exactly what it does. Forever.
Soul Medicine – The 432 Love Tracks £20 (Four Tracks Presented On A Gift Card)

Soul Medicine – Medicinal Perfume Mists

It is thought that approximately 75% of our emotions are generated by what we smell. Smells can make us feel good, uplift us, change our mood, carry us back in time and help soothe our souls. It is an amazing statistic and a billion-dollar perfume industry is built around this fact. I am sure a certain Ms Fairley has something to say about this, but more from Jo (and The Perfume Society) later because I need to launch two more products under the Soul Medicine umbrella, the medicinal perfume mists.

There are two medicinal perfume mists. Inner Calm and Inner Smile. Denise created these two mists to help enhance and be used in conjunction with ‘The 432 Love Tracks’, although of course they can be used as stand-alone products.

Inner Calm: This mist is for those times when we wish to be still; Vetiver helps to dispel anger and irritability, while helping to soothe mental and physical exhaustion. Sandalwood helps with grounding and Amber helps create comfort.

Inner Smile: An inspirational mist loaded with Jasmine (which invokes pure happiness), Sandalwood, Bergamot and Ylang Ylang, it helps promote awareness, creativity and calm. Love, love, love Jasmine.

Although it is a personal choice, we would recommend using Inner Calm when listening to ‘Being Held’ and ‘Being Present’ and Inner Smile when listening to ‘Being Loved’ and ‘Being Uplifted’.
Soul Medicine: Inner Calm Perfume Mist £32 for 50 ml; Inner Smile Perfume Mist £40 for 50 ml


It happened in Vegas, as things do. It was really hot, I was with friends and one of them handed me a gift. It was a portable fan. Cute as it gets, it was extremely efficient in cooling me down and it instantly became my new-best-friend. Within two minutes I wanted to know where she had got it from because, if possible, I wanted to share this little lifesaver with each of you.

In short, a mother sourced this fan for her daughter who was going through rigorous chemotherapy. One of the side effects of her chemo was that she felt extraordinarily hot and none of the fans that were available on the market did the job properly. As a mother would, she scoured the world for something that would help. And FanU was born.

Following through on my comments above about sharing, I feel a great privilege in having a platform where we can talk about these things and together we can help make a difference to so many. I used it in the heat (every beach bag needs one), but of course it is brilliant for hot flushes, night sweats and any situation where we feel the heat and need to cool down rapidly.

And there we were. It was a Sunday morning and Shabir and Trinny were talking all things acne and I was sitting in the bath holding my FanU. At the very end of the video, Trinny grabbed the fan and called it ‘……. fabulous’. And it is, it really is. It comes in pink and it comes in white. I’ve got both, Trinny’s got both – well of course we have. I then wrote about it on the Addicts Bulletin and the inevitable happened, we completely sold out, but they are back in stock now!

A few other things. I have deliberately kept the story quite short because Victoria has done an in-depth interview with Adele Marks, the mother of Jodi who fought breast cancer. Jodi has now been given the all-clear. My love and gratitude to Michelle Saffer for gifting and enabling.
VH Editorial: Victoria meets Adele MarksFanU in White £9.99; FanU in Pink £9.99 (upon receipt, please charge for approximately 90 minutes)

Facebook Live – Trinny and Shabir

So, let’s talk for a moment about THAT bathroom moment because actually it all went out of control, as these things do. It was meant to be about compromised skin conditions, which would of course include acne, rosacea, hyper-pigmentation, eczema and more. Except Shabir and Trinny started to talk about acne and they didn’t stop. Not for one single moment. The entire hour was dedicated to acne, the causes and the solutions. And the product star of the show: Thyme Out. Fame became it.

Shabir’s fan club is peaking and it will peak even more after I’ve written the next section. But for now, I am here to tell you that Shabir will be back in the bathroom with Trinny on Sunday 13 May at approximately 9.45 am. I have no idea whether they will be able to address all the issues mentioned above, I doubt it. This will of course mean yet another trip to the bathroom and another hour in the bath for me. My life is so glam. If you missed the video, you can watch it on the link below.
VH Editorial: Takeaway Tips from Shabir and Trinny’s Facebook Live on AcneThyme Out £18

Eye Contour Serum

Mirror mirror on the wall, which is the best eye product of them all. I know he won’t mind me revealing this, but Shabir has a total obsession with eye products. It has always been that way. I mean the man could do Mastermind on eye products.

It had to happen, Shabir now has his own eye product, a serum. Working with Garden of Wisdom (who have some rather exceptional formulations and have had for several years) please allow me to introduce you to Eye Contour Serum, which is a multi-peptide eye serum blended to help reduce bags under the eyes, help lessen dark circles around the eye contours, fine lines, wrinkles and creases around the eyes.

Loaded with Caffeine, Blue Lotus infusion, HA, Superoxide Dismutase and more (much more), we all sit and watch Shabir having a moment (or three) as he taps this all around his eyes. Seriously, we could grow a whole new brand, ‘By Shabir’ because, amongst other things, he secretly formulated most of our bestselling American supplements. But it’s not a secret anymore. And a tra-la-la from me.
Eye Contour Serum by Garden of Wisdom £18 for 30 ml

Fabulous Legs Collection by Margaret Dabbs

The moment has arrived. I have waited several months to tell you that the very brilliant Margaret Dabbs, best known for her foot products, has released a whole new leg collection, which is called Fabulous Legs. Four of the five products have just been released, with the fifth following in a couple of months.

In the most simplistic of ways, I wrote about these on the Addicts Bulletin and put one of the products, Firming Leg Serum (firm legs – oh my!) on 60 Seconds. And out the door they flew.

And then, music to my ears, the Beauty Bible girls decided to write all about the products, which obviously negates the need for any further explanation from me. And as Ms Josephine Fairley (The Empress) and I sat on the phone talking about the products, we were saying who knew that we would all be slapping leg masques on. Leg masques. Yes really, yellow or black – make your choice.

Jo and I are declaring it ‘the fabulous leg summer’. Please join us and I hope you enjoy reading the Beauty Bible take on the subject. Back into the bathroom we all go. The locked bathroom obviously. Some things are sacred after all. Rather like magnifying mirrors, but we won’t go there!
VH Editorial: The Ultimate Leg Guide by Beauty BibleFirming Leg Serum £45 for 200 ml; Toning Leg Scrub £37.50 for 200 grams; Yellow Leg Masque £42 for 175 ml; Black Leg Masque £45 for 200 grams

InsoZia – For Sleep

With a capital ‘Z’ smack bang in the middle of the product name, InsoZia is a new natural supplement to help support sleep concerns. There is something about ‘sleep’ supplementation and while we do of course stand by all we have said about other products in this category, not everything will work for everybody and it’s good to have a choice. Not too much of a choice of course, only the supplements that we believe have the correct therapeutic level of ingredients to make a difference. And this does.

InsoZia contains two of the most-researched herbs in Chinese medicine, Bai Zi Ren and Yuanzhi extract. Yuanzhi (Radix Polygalae) is commonly known as thin-leaf milkwort. Its name means ‘for longer memory’ in Chinese and it has been constantly used and studied throughout Chinese medical history as it has a positive effect on enhancing memory and anxiety.

It is now being embraced by many Western practitioners because, with regular use, Yuanzhi helps gradually improve and regulate sleep patterns. Its calming and relaxing properties help to support restorative sleep.

InsoZia also contains Bai Zi Ren. In Chinese culture, evergreen conifers are often regarded as symbols of longevity and vitality. The mature pine nuts from the conifer Chinese arborvitae are carefully processed to leave a premium seed core, which is called Bai Zi Ren. Bai Zi Ren has a long history of use for enhancing sedation and for its ability to help tackle anxiety and helping to strengthen the nervous system.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has treated sleep disturbances for hundreds of years and it considers these two herbs to be important because of their ability to help calm the heart, which, according to TCM, is where the shen (spirit/mind) is stored. InsoZia is non-addictive and can either be used for short periods or taken for longer periods of time if needed. Such a fascinating product.
VH Editorial: Are You Deprived of SleepInsoZia £28 for 60 Tablets; Super Sleep by This Works £15

Liposomals: Vitamin C and Vitamin D3

Some time ago we introduced you to Liposomals. Liposomal encapsulated vitamins have been hailed as the best supplements to deliver vitamins to the body. The products were from Food Science of Vermont, they were amazing and then for some unknown reason to any of us, Food Science discontinued them and they are now residing in a rather heavily overloaded product heaven.

Essentially, Liposomal Encapsulation Technology consists of microscopic healthy fat particles called phospholipids along with vitamins. This technology has been used for many years to deliver certain drugs to specific tissues within the body without affecting other parts of the body.

Because of the importance of liposomals, we now introduce Aurora Vitamin C and Aurora Vitamin D3, both are liquid supplementation and we also introduce Liposomal Vitamin C, which are capsules. The manufacturers of Liposomal Vitamin C promised me that if I took them I would be able to fly to the moon because I would have so much energy. Shabir’s on the liquids. Am wondering who will get to the moon first!
VH Editorial: What Are Liposomal Encapsulated VitaminsLiposomal Vitamin C by Aurora £20 for 160 ml; Liposomal Vitamin D3 by Aurora £20 for 160 ml; Liposomal Vitamin C £19.99 for 30 Capsules

Right, let’s do two of this month’s feature articles and then I’m back to new product launches:

How I Pull Myself Together

I am not going to start playing a violin, far from it and she would completely bash me over the head for it, but I have so much love and respect for Tina Gaudoin. As most of you know, Tina has a debilitating autoimmune disease and yet her words are so pertinent and special to each of us. The depth of her words, her wisdom, her humour hit home pretty hard. So Tina I thank you, because I know how difficult it can be for you to write. But you do it anyway and we are richer for having you with us.
VH Editorial: How I Pull Myself Together by Tina Gaudoin

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Perfume

In her second appearance on this newsletter, Jo writes about everything you ever wanted to know about perfume. And she knows rather a lot. THE perfume aficionado, Jo created and co-founded The Perfume Society as many of you will know because I have written about it quite a few times, I’m a member and I adore The Scented Letter, their newsletter.

I actually drew the line at climbing in the bath when Jo and Trinny did Facebook Live, basically because I wasn’t even in the country. But back I came and I promise you I watched the entire hour before I had even unpacked. Completely fascinating, you will discover Jo’s favourite perfume amongst so much more. So first the video and then the article and you will find all the links you need here, there and everywhere.
Trinny and Jo Navigating The Land of Fragrance; VH Editorial: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Perfume

Ilapothecary – Two New Product Launches

When we launched Ilapothecary earlier this year, I said that I would drip feed in the products over several newsletters. The success of this brand is of course because the products are completely sublime, they are of our time and Denise is a true alchemist.

The bestselling products to date are Beat The Blues Room spray, the SOS Pearl Drops and of course the magnificent Magnesium and Amethyst Deep Relax Bath Soak. And news on the latter. Those who have the Bath Soak will know that it comes in an absolutely beautiful bottle. Hold onto it because we are exploring the possibilities of doing a refill for the bottle; I doubt it will be on the next newsletter, but we will do it.
Beat The Blues Room Spray £28 for 50 ml; SOS Pearl Drops £15 for 15 ml; Magnesium and Amythest Deep Relax Bath Soak £35 for 400 grams

And now the two new products, both of which are skincare products, so in effect this is Ilapothecary Part Two:

Fresh Faced Mud Cleanser

The way Denise formulates her products are on a completely different level to anything I am used to working with and for me it is both educational and insightful. Her Fresh Mud Cleanser exfoliates and cleanses deeply, but perhaps its most important function is to balance hormone-imbalanced skin, while helping to even skin tone, helping to calm the skin and helping to hydrate.

The active synergistic ingredients include homeopathic Amethyst and powdered Amethyst. Ever curious, I asked why Amethyst and according to Denise Amethyst emits Far Infra-Red Rays and this gently raises the surface temperature of the skin and aids in the healing process. This heat helps capillaries to expand, promoting good blood circulation. Increased blood circulation nourishes the skin cells with oxygen and nutrients to help keep your cells healthy.

The magnesium rich mud is from the Andes in South America and helps calm and soothe; Maca, an adaptogenic herb rich in antioxidants, helps balance the skin and foaming Soya acts as a natural cleansing agent. And the added bonus, this can be used as a masque too. Just leave it on for about 15 minutes. And voila!
Fresh Faced Mud Cleanser £25 for 50 ml

Protective Aura Day Cream

Another alchemic blend, this time the ingredients include Wild Indigo (Shabir has a thing about this ingredient), Boswellia, Copernicia, Moringa and Sandalwood.

So, Wild Indigo offers anti-pollution protection and helps reduce stressors in the skin. This extract has proven biological capabilities to help break down the cortisol production by skin cells. Cortisol is the stress hormone, so concurrently Wild Indigo helps activate the release of a natural calming neuropeptide acting on mood, improving skin tone and controlling stress in the skin. Anything that can wipe the stress off our faces is good with me. Little wonder Shabir is in awe of this ingredient and he’s been talking about it for a very long time.
Protective Aura Day Cream £37 for 50 ml

Why You Should Introduce Niacinamide Into Your Skincare Routine

There are many serums available that promise to soften your lines and wrinkles, plump up your skin and make it look youthful. Some are really good, whilst others just don’t live up to their promises. Enter Niacinamide Serum which has the potential to help change your skin for the better.

Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is found in many supplements and is converted into niacinamide which helps in the manufacture of enzymes that help release cellular energy and break down fats more efficiently. Your digestive system, nervous system and brain function all depend upon adequate levels of niacinamide.

As important as it is to the body, niacinamide is often added in many serums and creams because it is a Herculean multi-tasker which tackles fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, melasma, acne, oily skin and uneven skin tone.

Niacinamide rarely takes centre-stage in anti-ageing skincare, even though there is a lot of research to back up its wide variety of skincare benefits. Shabir takes a look at this versatile ingredient, separating them out via compromised skin conditions.
VH Editorial: Why You Should Introduce Niacinamide Into Your Skincare RoutineNiacinamide Serum by Garden of Wisdom £9 for 30 ml; Niacinamide + Retinol Serum by QRx Labs £10 for 60 ml (another wait list scenario; we are anticipating it being back in stock in approximately ten days)

The MakeUp Eraser – Limited Editions

Back in the day we launched the incredibly fabulous MakeUp Eraser in the UK and my oh my, what a launch it was. We all fell in love, basically because we are ridiculously lazy at times (proud!) and this microfibre cloth has been designed to remove even the toughest makeup, including waterproof mascara, eyeliner, HD makeup and lipstick with water alone. It is machine washable and it will last more than 1000 washes. I promise it’s true.

I am absolutely not sounding the death knell for cleansers, far be it for me to do that, I love them too much, but my love goes into rapid decline if it’s 2am in the morning and I can barely keep my eyes open. In those moments I give thanks to the genius who created The MakeUp Eraser.

And now there are more MakeUp Erasers; two of them are Limited Editions and one is for all time. Of course I’m more excited about the Limited Editions because they make me smile and each of them come with a free bag (I’d buy it just for the bag). My favourite is Watermelon. Yes, a Watermelon MakeUp Eraser and a Watermelon Bag, which kind of screams ‘beach’ to me because it will also hold my FanU, lip gloss and whatever else comes to the beach with me.

The second Limited Edition is the MakeUp Eraser Flamingo. Flamingo’s here, flamingo’s there, flamingo’s everywhere including the bag. Limited Edition means limited to two seasons; the thing is I’m not completely sure what two seasons actually means because they were meant to be released a month or so ago, but they weren’t. I can’t second guess this one, so it’s not one for the wish list because it may have been and gone, which would be rather tragic.

Finally, please allow me to introduce you to MakeUp Eraser Tropical, which is not a Limited Edition and it doesn’t come with a bag either, but it is very colourful and it is very cute. I was hoping that our stock will have arrived by now, but it hasn’t and it will only be a matter of days before they make an entrance into our lives. I suppose we can wait if we have to.
MakeUp Eraser Watermelon (with free bag) £16.99; MakeUp Eraser Flamingo (with free bag) £16.99; MakeUp Eraser Tropical £16.99

News and Feedback

One more new product launch and it’s from Temple Spa, who have won so many awards; I could almost guarantee that this new product will win an award too, but first we are doing news and feedback:

Ionicell For Women – Fulvic Acid

On last month’s newsletter I wrote about Ionicell (Fulvic Acid) and I will tell you that it broke all known records for a new supplement launch. I could have written that Ionicell was the absolute epitome of the next-generation product in the hair, skin and nails category. I didn’t write that, but I am now and I know that’s a huge statement, but it truly surpasses everything and more that we are looking for in a supplement on so many different levels and not only in the above category.

Supplementation can take time to kick in, we often say approximately 28 days. I have always believed that we can use outstanding skincare products, but the results will always, always be amplified by the inclusion of therapeutic supplementation. The difference may at times be subtle, but it is there and as I wrote last month, I will forever take this incredible product. In Fulvic I trust. Massively.
Ionicell for Women £20 for 60 Capsules

Hayo’u Body Restorer

This from a VH Addict: ‘I’ve been using my Body Restorer and wanted to let you know that it worked for me – the cellulite on my thighs has almost gone (80%). I used it every single night for two weeks and went hard-in, about 45 minutes on each session. I ended up with bruising, which I know is quite normal so I took a ten-day break waiting for the bruising to fade away.

When I started using it again, I realized that my cellulite can only be seen if I squeeze the skin on my thighs hard. Previously the cellulite was noticeable just by looking at my legs. It really is pretty incredible. Of course it hasn’t eliminated any fat, but I’m working on that through diet and exercise, but my skin is now very smooth and it was bumpy before. It’s unreal.’
Hayo’u Body Restorer £35; Hayo’u Face Restorer £35

This was sent to Shabir: ‘Just checking back in with some feedback on the Garden of Wisdom serums you recommended. Wow! Been using them for a couple of weeks now and am definitely seeing an improvement in the texture and evenness of my skin. I’m also taking the recommended supplements and thinking that things can only get better. I love the simplicity of these products and the fact that they appear to be actually doing something’.
VH Editorial: Garden of Wisdom Skincare Regimens

Trufflelixir Super Luxe Serum

And here it is. Temple Spa’s newest product launch and it’s from their Truffle Range. As I wrote above, Temple Spa are multi-award winning and last year they swept the board at the Beauty Bible Awards and we all did a dance of extraordinary happiness because Liz and Mark Warom, the founders of Temple Spa, so deserved the recognition.

For this new launch, I can do no better than replicate the words of the Beauty Bible girls who have seen all and everything there is to see and use actually:

‘Imagine, if you will, the most gloriously decadently, super-luxe skincare ever. Think gold, silk, champagne and, of course, black truffles. That’s the Truffle range from one of our best-loved skin cherishing brands.

Sarah was an early fan of Skin Truffle Total Facial Radiance, which romped away with a top Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible Award back in 2015. Testers gave it the highest average score we’d had at that time, in 17 years of testing for the Beauty Bible Hall of Fame.

And now the big excitement is the launch of Trufflelixir Super Luxe Serum with retinol, black orchid and silk peptides, which they call ‘the quintessence of intelligent ingredients’.

Formulated by Swiss derma-scientists, it targets all signs of visible ageing giving instant brightening and smoothness as well as softening fine lines. But the results aren’t just immediate and short-term. Trufflelixir is designed to work in the long-term too, penetrating deeply into skin cells to firm, lift and deeply hydrate’. Kind of sounds award-winning to me.
Trufflelixir Super Luxe Serum by Temple Spa £75 for 30 ml

VH Editorial

When I saw the title of Carolyn Asome’s feature, I actually fell off my chair laughing. The heading is ‘Why We Need To Stop Infantalising Men’, but this is actually something very serious and very close to Carolyn’s heart. Whenever we have our ‘private clan dinners’ this subject always, always comes up, so I knew that one day she would write about it. It has arrived.
VH Editorial: Why We Need To Stop Infantalising Men by Carolyn Asome

Also this month, Arly explores the boring truth about her skin, which is thought-provoking (we like that); Jackie Annesley reveals her best ever spa treatment which cost £34 and was carried out by a topless woman with big pink knickers, I kid you not.
VH Editorial: The Boring Truth About My Skin (And Probably Yours) by Detail Oriented Beauty; My Best Spa Treatment Ever Cost Just £34 by Jackie Annesley

And finally, Catherine Turner writes about Coffee Culture and Carole Morin does Dental Dread. I can so relate to dental dread; I have to be knocked out before anyone goes near my teeth. Completely true. I’m famous for it.
VH Editorial: Coffee Culture by Catherine Turner; Dental Dread by Carole Morin

We are nearly at the end of another newsletter, but just a couple more things to say:

I have been on so many long-haul flights over the past few weeks and let me tell you my skin was not going to suffer. And of course it didn’t because I will not fly without Hydra-Cool Serum. That’s all I’m saying on the subject.
Hydra-Cool Serum by iS Clinical £48 for 15 ml

Suddenly in the middle of just another day, I had a thought about The Tweezy. Another one of those quirky products, when we launched it so many of you loved it. The love still remains because it is a facial hair remover, which isn’t exactly the sexiest of subjects, but it works brilliantly.
Tweezy – Facial Hair Remover £10

It’s May.  It’s hay fever season.
Hay Fever Relief For The Family

The End

Together with Shabir, the entire VH team and Krishna’s dog, Otta, I would like to thank each and every one of you for your continued love and support, which means so much.

I hope you have a wonderful May.

With love

Gill x

The Boring Truth About My Skin (And Probably Yours)

cream tub

Ever notice how when your skin is freaking out, you pare back your routine to the bare minimum? Like me, you probably cut out strong actives such as acids and retinol, up the hydration and stick to only three-five products (or less) in a routine. Sound familiar? It is something I think almost everyone does instinctively and there’s a good reason for it – this is what our skin really wants from us.

While it has become increasingly popular to acquire lots of products and perform up to ten steps per routine, most of us could very easily use way less and have better skin for it. Boring, I know, but it’s a truth I have finally accepted about my skin and it has made such a big difference.

My skincare journey has not been straightforward by any means and my product stash has drastically fluctuated over the years. I started off with relatively “normal” skin during my teens (a few spots, but nothing serious) and maybe a total of five products. Then there was the period of time in my twenties when all I used was baby wipes and a moisturizer day and night because my skin was pretty much “perfect”.

Next, when I got sick in my late-twenties and my skin went crazy I bought every single thing that was recommended to me and it would not be an exaggeration to say that at that time I probably had 100+ products in my arsenal. Back then that was extremely excessive, but now it’s a pretty standard amount for a lot of skincare lovers (blogger or not) and I don’t think it’s realistic or sensible.

Since I started my blog almost three years go I have tried, tested and yes accumulated a lot, but I have also found a happy medium between having too much and enjoying a good mix of products. I definitely have much more than I “need” because I still write about new launches, but now I don’t feel like I have to hoard it all because I understand the difference between a great product and a great product for my skin.

Unfortunately, excess seems to be “in” when it comes to skincare at the moment and despite how aspirational it might look to have and post about hundreds of products, actually using that many won’t do your skin any favours. I know this from experience and even though in the beginning it was fun and exciting to use a different cleanser every night or mix my serums, it eventually became overwhelming and I found I was doing more damage than good.

Thankfully, I re-learned an important lesson about simplicity and consistency in skincare during autumn and winter, that while being very boring, has given me some much needed control over my skin and stash. Now, of course everyone’s skin is different and personal taste will have one person loving a product another hates, I think there are some basic universal guidelines that apply to all skin types. These helped me achieve the best from my skin without feeling like I needed to use every single product ever made and maybe they could help you, too.

Cleansing Is Key

This means finding the right cleanser for your skin type with a texture you enjoy using and then  deciding on a cleansing routine that works for your skin. For some that will be the “standard” but not set in stone twice at night and once in the morning. For others, it will mean once at night with a wash cloth and then just a rinse with water in the morning, it’s entirely up to you. The most important thing to remember is to use something that will not dehydrate your skin and lead to “rebound oiliness”, no matter what skin type you have. It is also fine to have more than one cleanser and I personally like having options in texture and performance as my skin is combination.

Pick Your Actives

This typically refer to serums, but could also extend to toners, mists and essences. It’s basically any product that forms the core of your routine in terms of “active” ingredients which can deliver the best results. I have found that it is better for my skin if I don’t overload it and keep the actives to no more than 1-3 max per routine. I alternate acids and retinol at night and during the day I use antioxidants and sun protection. I like to use what I think my skin could benefit from the most and focus on my main concerns instead of trying to use every seemingly life changing ingredient out there. I feel like I have seen the best results by doing this and I think it’s because my skin isn’t trying to respond to multiple actives all at once.

Be Consistent

Probably the most boring advice of all, but definitely one of the most important. It might seem obvious, but I know so many people who have given up on products before they have even had a chance to see any results. With a lot of ingredients the effects are cumulative, meaning the more you use them the better they perform. I have found that rotating the same set of actives has worked very well for me and that’s because I am giving the ingredients the time they need to fully get to work. No matter what your skin type is, consistency is so important and could make all the difference between you constantly fighting your skin and finally being in harmony with it.

Hydration Is Your Friend

Hydration, hydration, hydration! This is hands down the number one tip I recommend to every single person that messages me for advice, no matter if they are dealing with acne, hyper-pigmentation, wrinkles or flaky skin. Hydration is the key to skin that is balanced, healthy and able to defend and repair itself. For example, with my hyper-pigmentation I see a big difference in how it appears when my skin is dry vs when it is hydrated. When my skin is dry the marks seem even darker, but when my skin is properly hydrated my skin glows and the pigmentation looks less noticeable as a result.

While it’s a given that dry/dehydrated skin probably needs more hydration, the same is likely true for those who are very oily and suffering from breakouts. Underlying dryness for some people will manifest itself in excess oil product and then pores that become clogged. Keeping oily and acne prone skin hydrated will encourage balanced oil production and help any blemishes heal better/faster.

Track Your Results

It is so important to pay attention to your skin. While I wholly advocate being consistent, if something clearly isn’t working for you then please stop using it. Not only that, just because something sounds good on paper and has worked wonders for someone else, doesn’t mean it will be right for you. Regardless of how much you love a brand or how beautiful the packaging is, make sure the product is actually giving you results, or you’re just wasting money on something that looks good but doesn’t perform.

Don’t Over Exfoliate

Exfoliation should be an integral part of almost everyone’s routine, but it is all too easy to over do it. Be mindful of the ingredients in the products you are using and make sure you’re not exfoliating in too many steps. If you’re using a washcloth (manual exfoliation) to cleanse, then an exfoliating toner and a serum with acids or retinol, that is probably too much for one routine. I used to exfoliate twice a day, every day and now I stick to just once a day in one step and my skin is much more balanced and resilient now.

Try Before You Buy

Obviously this will not give you the same thrill as splurging on full size products, but it will help you test multiple products without spending more money than necessary. I have tried samples of products that sounded perfect for me, but once on my skin, I found I didn’t like the texture, scent or results. By getting samples you have the chance to see how much you really like something, if it will work well for your skin and if it’s actually worth the price/hype. Doing this will also help keep your stash manageable and give you a better idea of the textures and ingredients that suit your skin type best, all without amassing more products than you could use in a lifetime.

Health Is (Skin) Wealth

Yep, all those very boring recommendations about healthy eating, a good night’s sleep, exercise, supplements and plenty of water extend to your skin too. Happy skin is healthy skin and achieving that goes beyond just what we put on our faces. It’s a self-care lifestyle that involves lowering your stress levels, feeding your skin from the inside out, supporting your digestive and detoxifying organs, boosting circulation and ultimately looking as good as you feel. When I don’t eat well or sleep enough it will show on my skin soon enough, so a 360 approach to health and wellness is just as important to me as a solid routine.

I have always believed that skincare should be enjoyable. There was definitely a time when buying lots of stuff and using it all at once was “fun”, but in the end I found I wasn’t really connecting with the products or the process and my skin wasn’t even at its best. Now I feel like I have balance between indulging in skincare as a hobby, but still focusing on achieving great results, which is essentially the point of it all.

I also think that skincare is very personal and whatever your philosophy is it should make you happy. If being a minimalist works well for you then great, but if rotating lots of products is what you like and you’re seeing results then go for it. Just don’t get too caught up in the marketing hype and feel like you’re missing out if you don’t buy every new launch because there’s nothing wrong with being loyal to what has always worked well for your skin.  In the end, it is completely up to you what you choose to put on your skin, but bear in mind that sometimes when it comes to skin, less isn’t just more, it could be everything.