Skincare Brand To Know: Garden Of Wisdom

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After recently discovering a shared love for it in our office, we thought we’d let you in on this game-changer… Garden Of Wisdom.

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    When a brand gets 5* ratings on just about every beauty site imaginable, we take note. And when we see seriously impressive results for ourselves, well, we go out and clear the shelves. The premise of Garden of Wisdom (it’s become so cult its also known as GOW), is simple: dubbed The Ordinary’s natural equivalent, the formulas have minimal ingredients, allowing the actives to get to work properly. The pH of the acids have been adjusted too so they don’t irritate the skin, yet still perform their roles of exfoliation while enhancing collagen.

    How long has it been around?

    Longer than we even knew! The pros have been making these formulations for over a decade. The products are potent and cruelty free without common skincare additives such as alcohol, silicones or soya. While it’s not technically new, 2019 is very much about brands with easy-to-follow skincare instructions which skip any science speak, making GOW feel very much of the moment. Read More…

A cheap, unfussy oil for all skin types

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Squalane oil has been my go-to for decades and i’m delighted it’s finally enjoying a big moment – Sali Hughes

 

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    One of the more gratifying trends in modern beauty has been a newfound appreciation for old-fashioned but highly effective ingredients that should never have fallen from favour. While companies were aggressively marketing newfangled, often unproven advances in technology, beauty professionals continued to use unbeatable classics such as hyaluronic acid, retinol, vitamin C and oil. Squalane oil has been among my go-tos for decades, and I’m delighted it’s finally enjoying a big moment and wider availability.

    Squalane (created by adding hydrogen to squalene, a substance traditionally sourced from sharks’ livers – and naturally occurring in humans, too – but now almost always derived from olives or sugarcane) is the perfect oil if you think you hate oil. Light and ungreasy, it adds heaps of moisture, suppleness and visible glow without causing spots or greasiness, even on problem and congested skin, making it suitable for all skin types. Like most saturated oils, it has a long shelf life, so won’t start to smell or spoil. Its unadulterated nature makes it wonderful on sensitive skins and easy to mix with other products without clashing (I frequently add a drop of squalane to my night cream for extra moisture, or to my foundation for added glow). Read More…

January Newsletter

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Hello 2019, hello January and hello and welcome to the first newsletter of the year where we have several new launches to talk about. These include products from Garden of Wisdom (of course), Ameliorate and the Vitality Revealed range from Nannette de Gaspé. And then there are the new brands, The Truthbrush (anything with the word ‘truth’ in it is good with me) and Lebon Toothpaste.

Before we begin, I need to tell you that in many ways this is a continuation of the December newsletter (the VH Awards). Throughout I will be referring back to some of those awards as we stand together and share together. Further in the newsletter I will be writing about a ‘Token of Appreciation’ (TOA), but before we get there, there are a few TOA’s scattered around and it gives me the greatest pleasure to share these with you as we continue to keep it real.

Keeping it real is fundamental in all that we are and all that we do together. Together with Shabir, I absolutely pledge to keep it real throughout 2019. It will become evident what we are doing and why we are doing it over time. Let’s go: Read More…

2019 Resolutions And Solutions

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I always look forward to the start of a new year for that feeling of a clean slate it gives and the opportunity to do better and more. I have always loved making resolutions too, not unrealistic or unattainable ones that I have no intention of keeping, but personal goals and exciting plans that help me shape how I want the year to go.

Last year didn’t work out at all how I had planned and while I am still dealing with some of the health issues involved in that, I am now in a much better place and ready to take on 2019. When thinking about what I want my resolutions to be, I quickly realised that it was all about self-care and wellness, which makes sense considering how sick I have been.

One of the biggest things that went “wrong” last year was that I didn’t look after myself enough. I pushed and pushed until I couldn’t go any further and put off looking after myself because I didn’t prioritise my own wellbeing. This year I plan to do things completely differently. I have learned the hard way that health and wellness is a precious gift that needs to be nurtured and I plan to do just that.

Basically my goal is to simply get back on track — with my health, my life, my happiness and everything else that I abandoned over the past twelve months. Ultimately I just want to feel well again and repair the damage I did to myself, and these are the resolutions that I hope will help me do exactly that. I have kept them simple with no pressure inducing timelines and in a way, they are all linked. I have also included solutions so that my resolutions are more concrete and achievable, which I think will help me feel more capable of following through.

Hormone Balance

Resolution: As a woman in my thirties this is such an important component to overall good health. Having hormonal irregularities has affected so many areas of my life from the obvious menstrual cycle related issues, to the not so obvious ones like when I sleep and how long for, what I eat and how much of it and other issues I will talk more about soon.

Solution: Balancing your hormones can be tricky, so it’s extremely important to consult a doctor and get your levels checked. Once that’s done you can make a plan to get them in order and that can involve medication, supplements, food and exercise. For me, I will be keeping track of my blood sugar levels, (hopefully) sleeping more at night and introducing female health supportive supplements.

I am currently taking Endo Complex and Fertility from Wild Nutrition because both contain an excellent mix of ingredients essential for women’s health with the addition of hormone support through B6, N-Acetyl Cysteine and Cordyceps (Fertility), and oestrogen clearance (Endo Complex). I will also be eliminating or at the very least limiting my sugar and dairy intake as both affect my hormone levels.

I plan to get several checks throughout the year to track my progress so I can have a better understanding of what causes my hormonal fluctuations and then learn how to minimize and manage them going forward.

Skintelligence

Resolution: Skincare is my thing and looking after my skin is something I truly enjoy. Testing products, reading about ingredients and experimenting with new routines is not a chore to me and I love the process of it all. Last year unfortunately I used too much, tried too many things, played around too carelessly and my skin did not like that one bit. For 2019 I want to find a balance between enjoying all the new launches and putting my skin first.

Solution: Last year I started to be more thoughtful than ever when it comes to skincare. Excess was in and it just didn’t work for me. I became acutely aware of how damaging the need to have and try all the products can be for our skin and mental health and I did not want to be a part of it anymore. When I got sick I had virtually no time for new products let alone the ones I already had, but what I learned was that my skin was actually pretty okay with less — less products, less routines. It was all about finding the right ingredients for my skin and not over using them.

Thanks to the excellent Garden of Wisdom range I have been able to simplify my routine yet still see great results. In particular the PHA PlusMandelic Acid 10%Alpha Arbutin 2% and Kojic Acid 1% and 100% Prickly Pear Seed Oil have done so much for my skin, even without using them every day. That’s because instead of jumping on every new launch, I have focused on the ingredients that I know work well for my skin. Finding what works for you when it comes to skincare is definitely a journey that will take some time and experimentation, but it is worth it in the end.

Mane Attraction

Resolution: I really neglected my hair last year and this is something I want to change in 2019. At the beginning of the year I was just too busy to bother with it much and then since last summer I have been too sick to do anything beyond a perfunctory wash and air dry, which isn’t the best look for me (my hair is curly with some frizz). I have also experienced some shedding/thinning due to my illness and suddenly a lot more greys than I started the year with. I’m a Leo and the stereotype of my astrology sign loving their hair is somewhat true for me, so I want to start taking care of it again.

Solution: As many of you already know from personal experience, the launch of Ful.Vic Health was a big one and I have finally jumped on board. I just started using the shampooconditioner and mist, and I am in love. The range targets hair loss, shedding and thinning, as well as scalp support and follicle repair. This is exactly what I need and I have already started seeing a difference. With each wash I see less fall out and my hair is so much smoother and softer, even without using a hair dryer or straightener.

Hair care is definitely an inside-out job, so along with these topical products I will also start using the Elixir and making sure I’m getting enough scalp and hair supporting vitamins and minerals, which I should be thanks to the Wild Nutrition supplements. I might even treat myself to Hayo’u’s Beauty Restorer Comb as it is designed to promote healthy hair and reduce stress, and in my experience the two are linked – the more stressed I am, the more shedding I notice. I also plan to get my vitamin and mineral levels tested, so I can track the changes and any improvements myself.

Sleep Well

Resolution: Sleep is crucial for optimal health and fully functional living, and it is something I have been doing poorly the whole of last year. Continually having poor sleep has made dealing with an illness even more stressful and on top of that it sucked the joy out of things I used to love. I would find myself too tired to hang out with friends, falling asleep during movies or after reading a few paragraphs, and it just made me feel like I was dragging myself through each day like a zombie. I am the type of person who thrives on more sleep not less, so my plan is to make that a priority again.

Solution: What I have found is that getting a good night’s sleep is easier said than done. Even when I find myself exhausted and barely able to stay awake at 7 pm, once I am actually in bed and ready to sleep I can’t. I will be wide awake until 5 am and then absolutely shattered when my alarm goes off a few hours later.

Sleep is so important because it is the time when the body gets to rest, repair and restore itself, so without that most people won’t be able to feel their best. Knowing how essential sleep is to good health I plan to make my evenings more structured and deliberate. I will set a time to switch off from stimulating devices and begin a wind down routine that will help signal to my body that it’s time to sleep. For me this will include things like having a bath, wearing cosy pyjamas, reading a book and meditation.

I absolutely love listening to Soul Medicine before bed to help me relax and unwind and now that winter is officially here, it’s time to start using my beloved Space Masks again, which are brilliant for getting off to sleep quicker thanks to the soothing heat. Not only that, having my eyes covered means I’m less likely to be enticed by my phone whenever it vibrates or glows. De Mamiel also have a lovely sounding sleep range that I’m going to look in to and supplements like Magnolia Rhiodola and Magnesium have helped in the past, so I am taking those again.

Good sleep is a process and something that has to be learned and maintained, so achieving it is not something that will happen overnight, but if you can commit to a schedule of sleeping and waking and keeping your bedroom free of distractions, you will find that you will start to fall in to a natural pattern and when that happens it will be bliss. No more sleepless nights and exhausted days — just deep, restorative sleep that will help you feel and live better.

As you can see, my resolutions are pretty simple, but they are all linked. Improving my sleep will help with my hormones and balancing those will in turn help my hair and skin. The goal is to basically feel like myself again and that involves feeling good on the inside and out as well as finding my way back to joy. Self-care is important for mental and physical health and for me, that’s my aim for 2019 — looking after myself properly and committing to making my needs a priority. No matter what your resolutions for 2019 are, I hope they are ones that make you feel good and look forward to the year.

100% Pure Squalane

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Nancy Buckland Kirk puts GOW’s 100% pure squalane oil through its paces

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    There’s been a lot of buzz around squalane oil in the beauty business in recent months, so Nancy Buckland Kirk decided to shake up her skincare routine and incorporate some of GOW (or Garden Of Wisdom’s) cult favourite product into her daily regime.

    I hate to admit this, but I have been using the same foaming, facial cleanser for most of my adult life. I have tried literally everything else. I remember getting the train home from London once with a big box of Eve Lom in my handbag – I had paid for it, by the way! The revolutionary approach of a balm that you washed off was a new phenomenon. But, of course, I was always forgetting to wash the muslin cloths, and I struggle with most new innovations that are over-complicated. There are some skincare items I won’t stoop to. I can’t abide any type of face wipe. I still love a toner, although they get called tonics now. I will try almost anything, once, but keeping something as a staple is a whole other beauty ball game.

    Skincare can be terrifically expensive. There has been a huge furore recently amongst experienced beauty bloggers about really inexpensive, direct copies or ‘dupes’ of really high end skincare and cosmetic ranges. I have always thought if you want the original, go for the original if you can afford it. If you can’t, go for tried-and-tested Read More…

December Newsletter

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Voila. It’s the last newsletter of the year, so hello and welcome to the VH Awards 2018. As ever, nobody has voted, which makes me happy for several different reasons, not least because I have no desire to bombard any of you with ‘vote for’ emails when you could be watching a box set, having a bath or be sleeping in bed.

The awards are based on facts, although I have allowed myself some creative license here and there. There are treats attached to some of the awards, but not all awards have products attached to them. Each of the awards given are representative of the journey throughout this year, which has been interesting for many different reasons. Life works in mysterious ways and I fully embrace that as we uphold the thing that matters most to us, namely helping to make a positive difference in all that we do.

So having declared to the VH Addicts that there wouldn’t be any more product launches this year, I eat my words once again. Here we are and here we go: Read More…