The Biggest Health And Beauty Trends Of The Decade

trends

Before we slide into 2020 we wanted to take a look back over the trends and movements that have shaped the Twenty-Tens. Over the past 10 years, wellness has come into its own with more of us becoming increasingly conscious of what we’re putting on and in our bodies. Kale has become a mainstream vegetable that’s boiled, steamed, fried and dished up in restaurants across the country, while our skincare routines have become more robust thanks to the rise of serums and masks. 

Of course, there have been plenty of micro trends and fads that have failed to breakthrough, but what are the biggest innovations and movements that have changed our approach to help and beauty?

Gut health

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you would have been hard-pressed to have missed the flurry of headlines flagging up gut health. Studies have continued to highlight the link between our gut and our overall health. Earlier this year, a review of recent studies was published in the journal General Psychiatry found  that anxiety could be alleviated by regulating intestinal microbiota via food and supplements. 

Scientists have also linked the bacteria balance in our gut to the strength of our immune system. Research by Brown University in the US just last year concluded that gut microbiota could regulate our immune system. Shabir, who has been championing gut health for years, has written countless articles on the importance of taking a good quality probiotic, including What Can’t Probiotics Do?.

#SelfcareSundays

The phenomenal rise of ‘self-care’ is showing no sign of slowing as we move into the new decade. For the past three years, everything from taking a rooftop yoga class and guzzling green juice to booking a massage and enjoying a glass of wine has fallen under the realms of self-care. It’s about taking time out – be it 10 minutes or an entire day, to focus on yourself. Unsurprisingly, in an era where the tagline ‘did it even happen if it’s not on Instagram’ is said all too often, self-care even has its own hashtag: #selfcaresunday. Considering the versatility of this all-encompassing trend, we’re predicting that self-care will be something we’ll be seeing a lot more too. 

K Beauty & Sheet Masks

Following on nicely from self-care, is the incredible rise of K Beauty (Korean inspired beauty) and most notably the sheet mask. What started as K Beauty has evolved into an appreciation of J Beauty (Japanese) and C Beauty (Chinese) skincare rituals over the years with the help of Instagram and YouTube. While few of us have incorporated all 14 steps into our skincare routine, we have moved on from the traditional three-step approach. 

Serums and sheet masks have become staples in our routines. The latter have evolved as well with technology paving the way for dry textures to replace gloppy wet ones. We might not have the time or patience for too many steps, but the Asian influence is showing no sign of waning and you can expect to see plenty of brands introducing lighter lotions and essences into their ranges in the next year or so.

Skincare Ingredients

K Beauty might have ignited a love for skincare, but the rise of single ingredient formulas has also helped expand our understanding of what products can do for our skin and perhaps most importantly, what our skin needs. The likes of vitamin C, retinol and salicylic acid no longer baffle us and instead we’re mixing and matching depending on what our skin needs on a week-by-week, month-by-month basis. 

Facebook groups, Reddit forums and Instagram accounts have helped spread the word about which ingredients to use depending on your skin type or concern – Shabir has also written a comprehensive guide, here.

While we’re predicting that single ingredient formulations will evolve and become more sophisticated, the days of lotions and potions being jam-packed with endless ‘fillers’ and unnecessary ingredients is long gone. Customers are savvier than ever and want hard-working, effective products that deliver the promises on their packaging.

Liquid vs tablets

The popularity of tinctures may have dwindled since the Victorian times in favour of capsules and pills, but recent technical advances have put liquids back on top. Liposomal vitamins have become increasingly popular due to their higher absorption ability. What are liposomal vitamins? ‘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 the other parts of the body,’ Shabir writes. You call read his full paper, here

The stress epidemic 

Smartphones can’t be blamed solely for the ongoing stress epidemic that has taken hold in the Twenty-Tens, but they have ensured that we are continuously connected to newsfeeds and emails. So much so, it’s thought we check our phones on average every 12 minutes. 

With stress and anxiety comes sleep issues, and sleep has become a multi-billion dollar business. In 2017, McKinsey predicted the sleep-health industry (including bedding, sleep consultants, sleeping pills et cetera) was worth between $30 and $40 billion. While smartphones might be part of the problem, there are plenty of apps on hand that promise to help reduce your stress levels, calm a whirling mind and help you sleep.

This is another topic that Shabir has covered extensively and if you have problems sleeping, it is worth reading his piece: Are You Getting Sufficient Sleep?.

How To Embrace The Most Stressful Time Of The Year

festive

Edward Pola and George Wyle might have called it ‘the most wonderful time of the year’, but new research suggests that over 45 percent of us feel more stressed and anxious in December than any other time of the year. So much so, 16 percent of Brits would rather submit a tax return than see family at this time of the year and just over a quarter find Christmas Day more mentally draining than a job interview, according to a poll by Deichmann.

“It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but this research highlights how incredibly anxious people become in the run up to Christmas,” says Josephine Soei, marketing manager for Deichmann. “So much is expected of us and it’s a busy time of year. It’s ironic that we’re all supposed to be having a ball and yet nearly half of adults say it’s the worst time of the year.”

The spiralling cost of everything is the main source of stress for Brits. However, getting the right food in and making sure everyone is having a good time also add to our anxiety. So, how can you get everything done and keep your stress levels in-check?

Make a list: It’s one of the most simplest things you can do and yet when we’re up against it most of us forget to take a couple of minutes out and write a to-do list. Not only will it help you create a plan of action, but it will also ensure you don’t forget anything… as long as it’s on the list. 

Calm your nerves: In the most stressful moments our nervous system can be sent into overdrive. At this time of the year most of us aren’t getting enough sleep either, which makes us feel more jittery. While Magnolia Rhodiola Complex won’t cure this completely, the clever blend of herbs and extracts will help your body relax and manage spikes in your cortisol. 

Stock-up on magnesium: When we’re stressed and tired our magnesium supply can take a battering. While bathing in magnesium flakes might be one of the best ways to absorb the mineral, you can also take Neuro-Mag by Life Extension supplements or massage Better You’s dreamy Magnesium Oil Original Spray into the soles of your feet before your go to bed.

Embrace self-care Sunday: It’s a word we have heard a lot this year, but engaging in a little self-care each week, especially at this time of year, can really help calm your mind and refocus your thoughts. For this, we love nothing more than slipping on a Spacemask for 10 minutes. It lives up to its tagline and offers ‘interstellar relaxation’. 

How Can You Relieve An Itchy Scalp?

scalp_care

Having a sore, itchy scalp is never fun, but at this time of the year when we’ve all cranked up the central heating and the weather outside is cold, wet and windy, it can feel even more uncomfortable. Scalp pruritus, or an itchy scalp, is a common issue and is usually caused by psoriasis, dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis, which can be caused by stress and seasonal changes.  Read More…

December Newsletter

Catching a falling star

Well here we are and this is it. The final newsletter of the year and it’s the VH Awards, that annual event where I dole out the accolades to the brands, products and people who have shone like the brightest stars in the sky. As ever, nobody has voted and I rather like it that way. This gives me free reign over all and everything, including the treats and gifts that are mentioned throughout this newsletter, of which there are several.

But truly, what would a newsletter be without the launch of new products and that is where I am going first. Actually it’s rather a big launch, huge in fact and it’s from Ameliorate. Always expect the unexpected is what I think and I’m not sure that any of us saw this coming, but here it is, the global and exclusive launch of Ameliorate’s Scalp Care: Read More…

The Best Christmas Gift Ideas

Blue paper shoppign bag with blue tags on blue floor with one single red tag visible

Not sure if you’ve noticed, but there’s a shift away from Christmas presents this year. Lots of people we know are going without, or giving to charity – which is lovely, and has its own feel-good factor, of course. And we kind of get it. Both of us have received too many presents over the years which just aren’t ‘us’ – and soon after Christmas make their way to a carrier bag near the door, waiting for the next stroll past Oxfam. (Or in Jo’s case, the boot of her car – it being safer to transport unwanted gifts to the next town, lest her friends spot their rejected presents in a too-local charity.)

But this, for us, is where beauty ‘treats’ score, as gifts. Chosen well, they simply don’t hang around for long enough to gather dust. And over the years, we’ve learned which gifts are pretty fail-safe choices. Mostly because they’d please us, and we love a bit of pampering and self-TLC, and have spent enough time in this business to know what’s worth asking for, and what’s worth giving.

This year’s best Christmas gift ideas

Bottom line? We’d happily put any or all of these on our own ‘Dear Santa’ lists. And we suggest you might like to do the same.

Lixir Skin Good Skin Trio Mini Set, £34. From the genius cosmetic formulator Dr. Colette Haydon (a woman behind more beauty brands’ offerings than many of us have had hot dinners), three of her own bestselling products in generous travel sizes: Electrogel Cleanser, Universal Emulsion (which can be used on the body as well as face), and glow-getting Vitamin C paste. We could literally survive being cast away on a desert island, skincare-wise, with this lot.

Aromatherapy Associates Ultimate Bath & Shower Oil Collection, £65.What can we say? Hearts leap, smiles broaden, foreheads un-crinkle upon opening a gift box of Aromatherapy Associates Bath & Shower Oils. Multi-award-winning (including countless Beauty Bible Awards), they’re still the most effective mood-shifting oils we’ve ever used, and in this set, find 10 x 9ml sizes including classic Deep Relax, Inner Strength and Support Equilibrium. We know NOBODY who wouldn’t be thrilled with this. (Except Gill, who’s allergic to essential oils!)

Lebon Orange Gift Set, £29. Toothpaste, we hear you chorus? Toothpaste for Christmas? Well, this isn’t any old toothpaste: it’s Lebon organic toothpaste, created by perfumers in Grasse, and is basically the Chanel or Gucci of oral care. This set includes three fabulous flavours: mint and cinnamon Villa Naocarlina; mango, mint and papaya Back to Pampleonne (with brightening papaya enzymes), and pineapple/rooibos/mint Tropical Crush. We promise it’ll make the recipient smile – and that bit more brightly.

Lanolips Coconutter Cracker, £10.99. Well, the contents of this cracker sure beats a bad joke and a party hat: a pair of Lano’s coconut butter-enriched skin treats – 101 Multi Balm Coconutter (which excels at pretty much any skin challenge you throw at it), and the lavish-before-bedtime Coconutter Hand Cream Intense. Wafts of tropical coconut, but not enough to tip the product into the realms of Bounty bar sweetness.

ilapothecary Beat the Blues Ritual, £85. Definitely the priciest present on our shortlist, but if you’ve someone who really deserves something special and is perhaps having a tough time, look no further. Denise Leicester’s aromatherapy blends are astonishingly powerful – transformative, actually – and this features three products to be used alone or synergistically: Beat the Blues Rollerball (always in our handbags – frankly you could wear this tuberose-rich oil as a perfume, and we know people who do), Beat the Blues Shower & Bath Oil and Beat the Blues Room Spray. They are spectacularly good for anyone suffering from SAD, BTW, also featuring clary sage and geranium (for confidence and self-esteem), and petitgrain which is just a little ray of sunshine in its own right, as an essential oil.

This Works Choose Sleep, £10. Formerly known as the ‘Can’t Sleep Kit’, the most brilliant little Christmas stocking or Secret Santa gift, featuring 5ml sizes of Deep Sleep Stress Less (could come in v-e-r-y handy on Christmas Day itself), and Deep Sleep Pillow Spray, which is clinically proven to improve your zzzz’s. Right up there with the loaves and fishes in miracle terms, so far as we’re concerned.

Temple Spa Quietude, £25. Can we just recommend this for anyone who’s expecting a frenzied household over Christmas? You might suggest they open this early, to spritz this into the living room before the chaos of present-opening, actually – because this zingy, aromatic blend of lavender, cedarwood, cypress, clove, vetiver, orange, patchouli, frankincense and chamomile dials down the stress level immediately.

Beauty Bible Lip Balm, £6. Last but not least – and what can we say…? We honestly think this stocking-stuffer-sized balm is the best we’ve ever tried and are chuffed to bits that entirely independently, so did the diligent testers whose scores earned it a Beauty Bible Award. It’s big, it’s fat, it’s luscious – and our lips can’t get enough of its all-natural formula. Now, where’s that mistletoe…?

How To Heal Your Liver

Human Head bust made of aalcohol bottles

At this time of the year one of the biggest concerns spoken about are the elevated amounts of alcohol that people may indulge in. Many people will try to justify excess alcohol consumption by stating that they do not drink excessively throughout the year.  But is this argument justified?  Regardless of seasonal festivities, many of us indulge in an excessive consumption of food and alcohol, both of which can have an impact on the liver.

It is estimated that there are over 100 types of liver diseases which may be caused by genetics or by factors such as viruses and excess alcohol consumption. The most common signs and symptoms of liver disease may include:

– Lower abdominal pain
– Fatigue
– Irritated itchy skin
– Loss of appetite
– Nausea
– Swelling of the legs
– A yellow tinge of the skin and the eyes

Tips on how to heal liver damage

One of the most important facts about the liver is that it is self-healing, just like our skin. A good example is if you cut yourself, the wound eventually scabs over as you heal and sometimes a scar is left behind. The same process occurs in the liver; as cells die scar tissue develops. If the aggressors, such as alcohol, remain constant then the scar tissue continues to build up until the liver cannot function properly.

Eating the right foods

Eating the right foods can have a great impact on the healing of damaged liver cells. Eat plenty of antioxidant and fibre rich foods. Some of the best foods for the liver include blueberries, cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, sprouts and cauliflower, oily fish, olive oil, grapes, grapefruit as well as nuts. Reduce the consumption of saturated fats, processed foods and sugar laden foods. Incidentally, coffee appears to be good for the liver. It is thought that coffee provides protective antioxidants as well as encouraging the production of liver enzymes which help to rid the body of toxins.

Avoid weight gain

Try to maintain your Body Mass Index within the normal range, between 18 and 25, by eating healthily and by exercising regularly. This may help decrease your chances of liver concerns. If you are overweight and drink regularly then cutting back on your alcohol intake will not only safeguard your health, but will also help you to lose weight.

Quit smoking and avoid chemical toxins wherever possible

Smoking can cause liver scarring and damage. Cigarettes contain hundreds of chemicals that have to be processed by the liver increasing the risk of liver damage. Abstaining from smoking will therefore encourage the healing process.

It is difficult to avoid environmental toxins, but you can definitely reduce the exposure to chemical toxins from aerosols and chemically laden body care products.

Cut down on your alcohol intake

When the liver attempts to break down alcohol, the chemical reactions that occur can cause inflammation leading to damage to the liver cells, which causes scarring and often a build-up of fats. Moderate consumption of alcohol is generally considered as safe and routinely men should not consume more than three drinks a day and women no more than two to prevent alcohol-induced liver disease.

Prevent and Protect

Hepatitis is one of the leading causes of liver damage and can be transmitted from blood or sexual fluids. If you get manicures or pedicures, then please ensure that this is from a reputable shop or person.

Consider Supplements

According to WebMD, “antioxidant vitamins such as C, E, and beta-carotene, minerals such as zinc and selenium, B-vitamins that aid alcohol metabolism and herbs said to cleanse the liver such as milk thistle, dandelion root, and schizandra, might help protect liver cells while ridding our body of poisons.”

A supplement that I would recommend is HealthAid’s Milk Thistle Complex. This supplement contains a trio of liver cleansing herbs including Milk thistle, Artichoke and Dandelion as well as nutrients such as beta carotene and B vitamins for their varying roles in helping to heal damage to the liver.