February Newsletter

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Hello and welcome to the February newsletter where l lead with two new product launches from ilapothecary and I will follow through with a big Fulvic Acid treat. Additionally, there are a few other launches, a few more treats and we take a look at some very common health concerns. Let’s do it:

Beat The Blues

There are many reasons why there couldn’t be a more appropriate time to launch two new stunning products from ilapothecary. The first reason is because we celebrate the first birthday of ilapothecary. Launching on last year’s February newsletter, this beautiful brand has gone from strength to strength. My love and thanks to Denise Leicester (Founder) for allowing me to launch and walk beside her.

Infused with powerful natural ingredients, with a long history of healing, the bestselling product across the range is Beat the Blues Room Spray. It hits the senses in a very profound way using powerful oils to help uplift emotions and to help combat depression. Despite being a room spray, so many of us use it as a fragrance too, which will help so much during one of the darkest months of the year (if you are in the UK), February. Just to add here, I will write about SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) further down this newsletter.
Beat The Blues Room Spray £28 for 50 ml

But back to Beat the Blues. In its first year it has become one of those iconic products that you didn’t know you needed until you had experienced its healing properties. Whilst of course it could exist as a stand-alone, we wanted more for Beat the Blues. We wanted it to evolve, we wanted to create a Beat the Blues journey to further enhance the heady experience. And so:

Beat The Blues Shower & Bath Oil

This is a transformative bathing experience, and I don’t say that lightly. It is an alchemical and mood balancing blend of essential oils formulated to soothe and uplift the senses. And it does. Loaded with Clary Sage and Petitgrain, these oils are known to help boost self-esteem and confidence, while helping to banish negative energies and releasing anger in order to help heal emotional wounds. It forms part of the Beat The Blues Ritual (love all things ritualistic), which I’ll explain below.
Beat The Blues Shower & Bath Oil £29 for 150 ml

Beat The Blues Pulse Point

Denise calls this ‘ridiculously divinely magical’ and of course it is. Denise knows how to create the magically divine and Beat The Blues Pulse Point has been formulated with Tuberose for upliftment, Geranium to help stimulate happiness, Clary Sage and Petitgrain. It does so many things, but primarily it helps stimulate happiness, which is a very good thing for all of us.

Beat The Blues Pulse Point can form part of the Beat the Blues Ritual, but if you are using it as a stand-alone, roll as needed over the pulse points on your wrists and neck. Yes, the neck.
Beat The Blues Pulse Point £27 for 10 ml (lasts ages)

The Beat The Blues Ritual

Before I write about the ritual, I’ve come up with a new way of being for those of you who are like me and are extraordinarily heavy handed with products. I mean the thing is that I’ve been known to pour the entire contents of an oil, salts and any number of other things into my bath because I want to test and feel the benefits.

Most recently I received a bath product to test; it was an oil and it was a small sample. I decided not to pour the entire contents into my bath, so instead I took the oil and massaged it into my body before I stepped into the bath. There is a part of my brain that decided that this was a more concentrated and therapeutic way of allowing the benefits to sink into my body and was far better than diluting the product in gallons of water. With that thought, I am suggesting that you use Beat The Blues oil this way; aside from the increased therapeutic benefits, it’s more cost effective, which matters.

The Bath Ritual: Anoint your body with Beat The Blues Shower & Bath Oil and step into a temperature adjusted bath. As an additional extra you may wish to add four or five drops of SOS Pearl Drops into the water. Soak for approximately 20 minutes (read a book in the bath if you get bored after two or three minutes or listen to music – that’s me!). Step out of the bath and use Beat the Blues Pulse Point, as directed above, and then spray your aura with Beat The Blues Spray.

The Shower Ritual: As above, anoint your body with Beat The Blues Shower & Bath Oil and step into the shower; alternatively, you can make an infusion of the bath and shower oil by adding a few drops to water and pour it over your entire body at the end of your shower.  Additionally, you may wish to take SOS Pearl Drops after your shower. Wrapped.
The Beat the Blues Ritual £84 (Beat The Blues Room Spray; Beat The Blues Shower & Bath Oil; Beat The Blues Pulse Point); SOS Pearl Drops £15 for 15 ml

Fulvic Acid: Complete

As so many of you know, I started writing about Fulvic Acid approximately eight years ago; I am still incredibly saddened about the loss of Phylia (I take these things personally) and to date I still don’t know what happened.  As I have written before, with thousands of people regularly using Fulvic Acid shampoo, conditioner and mist, we had to create our own brand in order to fill the huge gap that Phylia left.  And the response has been amazing, for which I truly thank you.

We’ve tweaked a few things, the first batch of conditioner was way too viscous (my final sample wasn’t that viscous) and there have been other tweaks, but that’s the beauty of having your own brand, we listen to what we are being told and we are able to change things.  There are times when I wish brands would listen to us, but mostly they don’t – the life and times of the beauty industry!

The Fulvic Acid Mist remains the bestselling product in the range, but then why wouldn’t it; we upped the ante on the formulation and, over time, it is giving incredible results for hair issues, such as hair loss, thinning hair and do spray it on your nails (and your face).  My ever-so-critical friend, Lisa Armstrong (The Telegraph) recently wrote about her ‘rubbishy hair’ (her words, not mine) and stated that she uses several squirts of the mist to boost her hair health ‘to make it thicker or look thicker, which is as good in my book’.  Several thousand other books too, thank you Lisa (who would throw a product back at me if it didn’t perform).

And Fulvic Acid Elixir.  If you didn’t get a chance to read what I wrote about this on the January newsletter, then please click here.  Of course I want everybody to take the Elixir because I think it matters that we do.  And after I wrote what I wrote, which included feedback about the Elixir increasing libido, the emails started to arrive; I won’t be sharing them!  I am so tempted to change the name of this to The Libido Elixir, but I’d better not – Shabir would pass out on the sidelines.

So, Fulvic Acid: Complete.  One of each of the products: Fulvic Acid Shampoo, Fulvic Acid Conditioner; Fulvic Acid Mist; Fulvic Acid Elixir.  All four products put together in celebration of their very existence.  The cost of all four products is £105 but until midnight on Tuesday 12 February 2019 the cost will be £80.  I’m putting it on a limited time period because product famines upset me, actually it’s not that limited! Anyway the thing is that you save £25, so get it whilst you can with love from me and Shabir.
Fulvic Acid: Complete £80 (Fulvic Acid Shampoo; Fulvic Acid Conditioner; Fulvic Acid Mist; Fulvic Acid Elixir)

Power Balm

This product was meant to be on the January newsletter, but I took it off because the newsletter was getting way too long, even by my standards.  Never mind that, it is here now and every so often an all-in-one balm comes along which has infinite uses.  Power Balm is that balm.  It can be used as a cleansing balm, a moisturiser, an intensive mask, a hand and foot cream, a beard, brow and hair balm and any number of other things that I haven’t thought of.

Calling itself an ancient healing remedy from the jungles of West Africa, it blends Red Palm, natural plant oils, shea butter and vegan wax.  This soothing balm melts into skin helping to repair and protect while providing long-lasting moisturisation. Making skin glow, it is loaded with amazing ingredients with the help of three super seeds, two miracle trees and one aromatherapy blend.  And it smells divine.
Power Balm £19.50

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal Affective Disorder, also referred to as SAD, is a condition that affects over half a million people in the UK and impacts upon the mental welling of people during the winter months, often peaking in February.

Sufferers of SAD often experience low mood, varied degrees of depression, loss of energy, sleep problems, irritability, increased appetite, strong craving for carbohydrates and sweet foods, as well as headaches and muscle pain. The defining characteristics of SAD are that the symptoms return annually and disappear during the three other seasons of the year.

SAD can affect any age and gender, although it is more common in females (typical!) and whilst the causal factor is not fully understood, it is clear that it is related to the amount of sunlight received. The body’s circadian rhythms are regulated by the amount of daylight and the lack of daylight during the winter months, which appears to have an effect on the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus plays a key role in numerous complex functions within our bodies, including hormone cycles, sleep and wake-up cycle times, as well as our emotional state.

All hormonal glands communicate with each other using hormones as chemical messengers. An imbalance in any hormone can therefore have a wide impact on the body. In the case of SAD, the hypothalamus, the adrenals and the brain are all interlinked through a complex series of chemical reactions, with the result of increased melatonin during the day leading to the feelings of lethargy, a lack of motivation and a reduction in the production of serotonin, which is the mood elevating chemical in the brain.

If you have a milder form of SAD, you may benefit greatly from the use of Magnolia Rhodiola Complex, which is our bestselling supplement for stress and anxiety issues. It contains a potent extract of magnolia, which works to physically relax muscles; magnolia extracts have been shown to help reduce levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.

It is the increase in levels of cortisol in the body that prevents the uptake of the nerve-calming neuro-nutrient serotonin by the brain, so the benefits of taking this supplement are pretty fabulous.
VH Editorial: Seasonal Affective DisorderMagnolia Rhodiola Complex £28 for 60 Capsules

Honesty

I am stepping outside of products for the moment. On the January newsletter I made a promise that we would keep things real throughout this year, actually forever, whatever that means.

The theme of this newsletter is partly about self-care, self-love and self-healing and my mind went back to an article the late great Sally Brampton wrote about honesty a couple of years ago. Many of you may have read it then, but with mental health awareness issues so prominent in our minds, I replicate it here. Please do take the time to read it, most especially if you suffer from depression, or if you are close to those who are experiencing mental health issues.
Honesty by Sally Brampton

Being Loved

Coincidentally, or otherwise, Carolyn Asome has written an amazing article about the transformative effect of listening to music, which you can read on the link below.

If you read the VH awards on the December newsletter, you will have seen that I gave an award to the 432 Love Tracks, created by Denise Leicester for Soul Medicine.

I have written several times that my favourite track is Being Loved and I certainly know that it has impacted so many of you during times of extreme difficulty. It always makes me cry whenever I listen to it and I’ve been listening to it rather a lot recently.

Together with Denise and my beautiful friend, Anastasia Achilleos, I believe it is the birthright of those of us who have been hurt, traumatised or abused to listen to this one track. I have no more words to add other than to say that when you truly believe in something you have to share your truth. Being Loved is that sharing and from now, and for the entire month of February, you can download this track free of any charge. Please listen.
Being Loved (Password VHFEBLOVED); The Utter Joy and Transformative Effect of Listening to Music by Carolyn Asome

Ultimate Collagen+

We do love ‘next generation’ products, so please allow me to introduce you to Ultimate Collagen+, which contains just three ingredients. They are a marine collagen peptide, hyaluronan complex and astaxanthin. As an ingredient, Shabir loves astaxanthin and over the years has written reams about it.

Formulated to help replenish collagen and hyaluronic acid in the body, it also helps protect against UV damage. According to Ingenious Beauty, the manufacturers, its scientific advanced enteric approach has been proven to achieve a reduction of fine lines by up to 26% within 10-20 days and they recommend taking it before you go to bed on a relatively empty stomach for the best results. So does that mean that after about 20 sleeps we can look in the mirror and smile? Hope so.
Ultimate Collagen+ £42.99 for 90 Capsules

The Trinny and Shabir Show

A couple of weeks ago Shabir was in the bathroom once again with Trinny.  Some of you may already have seen it, but if you didn’t, they were talking about Body Cleansing and you can watch the video by clicking on the link below.  And suddenly they are building up a whole library of videos, mostly covering health concerns, but occasionally doing skincare too.

A VH Addict (no names) sent me an email saying she was hypnotised by Shabir’s voice.  I haven’t told him (I mean he doesn’t need to know everything!), but I responded by saying that he should really create a sleep app.  Go to sleep with Shabir.  Ahem, I digress, but for the fashionistas of the world, my jeans are J Brand and my shoes are from Jimmy Choo.  Excuse me, but my daughter is Head of PR (UK and Europe to be precise) at Choo.  Life is good.
Shabir And Trinny on Body Cleansing

Squalane Oil

When I’m writing the newsletter, my best moments are when somebody else has written about a subject and I can put my feet up and have a brain-rest for a few minutes. So thank you to Sali Hughes for writing, in depth, about Squalane in a recent article in The Guardian.

Describing it as a cheap, unfussy oil for all skin types, Squalane Oil has been Sali’s go-to for decades and she is delighted that it’s finally enjoying a big moment. And it is. We sold out within 24 hours of the article being published, but thankfully it is now back in stock. For ease I am linking the article below, which I hope you enjoy reading. For the record, I did a ritualistic happy dance when I read it.
A Cheap, Unfussy Oil For All Skin Types by Sali Hughes; 100% Pure Squalane Oil by GoW for VH £9 for 30 ml

Are Sugar Substitutes Healthier Than Sugar?

This from Shabir: With many health warnings about the amount of sugar we consume these days, it is not a surprise that many people are looking to use a sugar substitute. When the body metabolises sugar, the by-products of this process are very damaging to all the structural proteins within our bodies as well as having an impact on virtually every single system and gland within our bodies.

The increase in sugar substitutes, I believe, is because artificial sweeteners, whilst used extensively in beverages, are not really a relevant form of sweetener for deserts, cakes and other baked goods.

Natural forms of sugar including honey, raw cane sugar, maple syrup, fruit and coconut nectar, all have an impact on blood sugar levels. As soon as you ingest any form of sugar, insulin levels in the bloodstream increase in order to convert this sugar into energy or if it’s not utilised for energy then sugar is converted into fat for storage. This process applies to all forms of sugar and therefore it is always prudent to use sugar in moderation.

In his article, Shabir takes an in-depth look at artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes concluding with Palmyra Sugar, which he rather likes:

Palmyra sugar also known as Palmyra Jaggery is the crystallised nectar obtained from the flowers of the Palmyra palm which grows in Sri Lanka and India. Palmyra Tree Blossom Sugar is nutrient dense and is a great source of B vitamins. One teaspoon of Palmyra Blossom Sugar provides 130% of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin B-12; 200% of Vitamin B-6 and over 600% of Vitamin B-1.

Palmyra Tree Blossom Sugar in comparison to sugar has a Glycemic Index of 40, sugar has an index of 100. The Glycemic Index is a rating for foods containing carbohydrates to show how quickly each food affects your sugar levels after ingestion. Refined sugar and processed foods have a higher Glycemic Index than wholemeal grains and pulses whose carbohydrates are broken down slowly.

SugaVida’s Organic Palmyra Tree Blossom Sugar has a deep, warm caramel flavour. You can use it as a direct substitute for recipes that call for sugar and often you can use half the amount suggested. It is organic, ethically sourced and a sustainable business for communities who farm this.

I don’t believe that there is any place in our diets for man-made chemical sweeteners such as aspartame and acesulfame K. For those who require sugar within their diet and through food, then Palmyra Blossom Sugar is, in my opinion, the best of the bunch of sugar substitutes.
VH Editorial: Are Sugar Substitutes Healthier Than Sugar?Organic Palmyra Tree Blossom Sugar £8.99 for 250 grams

Eye Reboot Serum

We like this under-eye serum. Containing a high 6% concentration of ultra-pure caffeine, clinically proven to help reduce the dreadful puff, it also includes Hyaluronic Acid, Rosehip Oil, Niacinamide, Retinol, Green Tea and Calendula extract. It absorbs quickly and should be massaged onto the eye contour twice a day. It delivers.
Eye Reboot Serum by QRx Labs £12 for 30 ml

Hydrolific Serum

And another new product from QRx Labs. Hydrolific Serum is a highly concentrated Hyaluronic Acid serum which has been boosted with Pro-Vitamin B5. Helping to plump up the skin, the B5 element provides soothing and healing qualities for the skin.
Hydrolific Serum by QRxLabs £10 for 60 ml

The Beauty Bible Awards 2019

For the past 21 years, the mission of Beauty Bible has been to cut through the hype and help women take a short-cut to products that really do what they say on the tin/jar/tube.

I am thrilled that we list so many of the winning products, too numerous to mention here, but the Beauty Bible girls give some of the lowdown in their article below. I say that these awards go from strength to strength and so many congratulations to all the winners, not forgetting of course the ‘real women’ who tested these products over a period of four months. It is a mammoth task and as one award ceremony ends, the build-up to the 2020 awards begin.
The Beauty Bible Awards 2019

Comfort Cream D-Stress by Sarah Chapman

And did Sarah Chapman win a Beauty Bible award – yes, she did for Overnight Facial, which I’ll link below. But for now I need to tell you about a new product launch from Sarah, which is always a bit of an occasion. Sarah’s words before anything:

‘Sensitivity is complex and can be triggered by a number of different and changeable factors. From hormones and your genetic skin make-up to lifestyle and the environment.

Following careful research into the primary triggers of sensitivity and how to support the skin to minimise flare-ups, I created my Advanced Comfort Cream D-Stress to instantly relieve, support and protect, while boosting the skin’s natural-defence barrier in the long term’.

This nourishing recovery cream includes key ingredients, which are all listed on our product page. I am not going into the scientific significance of each of these here, but they are powered to perform and will help heal weakened skin, amongst several other attributes.

Before I end this section, I also need to tell you that after an absence of a year, Icon Night Cream is back. This is the night cream which features a revolutionary targeted drone delivery system and so many SC fans adored.
Comfort Cream D-Stress £59 for 50 ml; Icon Night Cream £98 for 30 ml; Overnight Facial £49 for 15 ml

Treating An Over-Active Bladder

Losing control of your bladder can be a very embarrassing concern with widespread ramifications. People who have bladder control problems have trouble stopping the flow of urine, which is classified as urinary incontinence or an over-active bladder. For others it may just be a case of a constant urge to urinate, which is often termed as sensitive bladder.

According to recent statistics, less than half of women and a quarter of men who suffer from an over-active bladder ever seek medical help. Two large studies indicate that one in six adults report some signs of an over-active bladder, with one in three having episodes of urge incontinence.

An over-active bladder affects one in six adults over the age of 40 and is defined as having an urgent need to empty the bladder during the day and night, along with incontinence. Those afflicted with an over-active bladder have to go to the bathroom frequently, leak urine into their clothes and report feeling depressed, stressed and sleep-deprived.

As early as 1578, a European herbal encyclopaedia mentions the use of pumpkin seeds to help treat urinary problems. In Germany, pumpkin seed extract is officially approved for the treatment of irritable bladder. We have known for years that pumpkin seed extracts are good for urinary problems, however most supplements use pumpkin seed oil, where in recent studies the water-soluble fraction of pumpkin seeds has demonstrated impressive results.

You can read the entire article by clicking on the link below, but for those seeking a natural remedy to help address urinary incontinence, an over-active bladder or the symptoms of prostate enlargement, we recommend Water-Soluble Pumpkin Seed Extract capsules, which is free from wheat, gluten, soya and other allergens.
VH Editorial: Treating An Over-Active BladderWater-Soluble Pumpkin Seed Extract Capsules £17 for 60 Capsules

African Super-Teas by Aduna

We have been extolling the virtues of Aduna’s Moringa Powder for the longest time and now they have released a range of Super-Teas. These teas have been specially crafted using the highest quality active botanical ingredients, including generous doses of African Superfoods, giving each tea a unique feel-good benefit.

Made with whole pieces of fruit, herbs, leaves, flowers and spices, these are available in five different flavours: Vitality (Lemon, Ginger & Baobab), Relax (Cinnamon-Spiced Cacao), Cleanse (Mint, Nettle & Moringa), Detox (Green Tea & Turmeric) and Radiance (Rosehip, Aloe Vera & Hibiscus).

A Treat: Priced at £4.99 for 15 tea pyramids, you can of course buy these individually, but if you purchase Moringa Green Superleaf Powder, we will automatically include one packet of the Cleanse tea with your order, while stock lasts. This will not show up on your invoice, but will be included automatically.
VH Editorial: Is Moringa Powder The New Superfood?Moringa Green Superleaf Powder £13.99 for 275 grams; African Super-Teas £4.99

A Few Things

On the January newsletter I wrote about the Vitality Revealed Masks, the dry masks from Nannette de Gaspe which are hideously expensive.  I didn’t think anybody would buy them (more for me), but so many of you did; Catherine Robinson of CN Traveller certainly did and you can read what she has to say about it below.

For those that indulged, a trick.  Once the mask is in place, you are meant to massage it for a couple of minutes to release the actives onto your skin.  I get bored doing that, so I take my Beauty Restorer and use it over the top of the masks.  Two birds, one stone.  Amazing skin.
Vitality Revealed Face Mask by Catherine Robinson; Vitality Revealed from £80; Beauty Restorer £35

Another new product from Viridian. Aronia & Cacao Frappe is a modern twist on Native American and Mayan traditions to create a pleasant tasting phytonutrient-dense beverage. Having powerful antioxidant properties, it is gastro-protective and it may help enhance circulation. The inclusion of Quinic acid, which is five times stronger than cranberries, can also help to improve urinary health.
Aronia & Cacao Frappe £30 for 30 grams

Several birthday celebrations: Happy 4th birthday to Sheald Recovery Balm. After all this time, nothing touches it for open-wound healing and the reduction of scars. Happy 1st birthday to Hayo’u, launched one year ago this month and it is one year since Trinny invited Shabir into her bathroom where they discussed Common Health Concerns. The next Trinny & Shabir show will be about sleep, a huge topic, which will take place towards the end of February I think. No known date yet!
Sheald Recovery Balm by iS Clinical £43 for 60 ml; Hayo’u; Common Health Concerns with Trinny & Shabir

VH Editorial

I have written about several of this month’s articles throughout the newsletter, but additionally Jackie Annesley writes about cats, two of them; Perdita Nouril informs us how to take the perfect bath (written before the advent of Beat the Blues!) and Jo Fairley discusses how to follow a social media diet.
The Kitten, The Vet And The Pet That Made Our Family Happy by Jackie Annesley; How To Take The Perfect Bath by Perdia Nouril; How To Follow A Social Media Diet by Jo Fairley (who has had her phone turned off for nearly two weeks!)

And through my tears:

Brandon Truaxe – A Tribute

There are no words to describe the sadness I feel at the recent passing of Brandon.  As many of you know, this past year has been so very difficult, not only for Brandon, but for the people closest to him.

Much was written, much was speculated, which in and of itself carried its own destructive energy. I am not writing these words staring through rose-tinted spectacles, because like so many who carry the vibration of a genius, he was flawed, but then to be flawed is to be human.

Over the past year Brandon went to a place where I couldn’t find him and I couldn’t reach him, no matter how I tried.  I was used to his erratic behaviour, he was difficult, he was obsessive, and you really didn’t want to be around when he was screaming (often), but his brilliance was breathtaking.

And then it all went wrong.  It is still too painful to talk about, but after three years of being as close as two people could ever be, he cut all ties on a personal and business level and I was left reeling.  More recently he told me that it was one of the worst decisions he had ever made and that we had shared more than most do in a lifetime.  That much is true.

The work we did together is well documented and I remain privileged to have launched NIOD and The Ordinary with him and for him, but my love for Brandon was not because of the obvious commercial success of those brands.  It came before that.  It came in the form of Avestan, Brandon’s long-held, now to be unfulfilled, dream, which touched me so deeply, a bond was made before we even met.

I always thought that I would see him again and we would do the things we wanted to do, but I was wrong.

I pray that his soul rests in everlasting peace.

Brandon Carrano Truaxe, I will never forget you.
https://avestan.com/about

With love

Gill x

Travel size beauty product of the week

traveler-758x470

Our favourite beauty product this week is a sheet mask that’s utterly perfect for a long weekend away – Nannette De Gaspé Vitality Revealed Face – by Catherine Robinson

 

  •  Nannette De Gaspé Face Mask

    The first nudist restaurant in Paris, O’Naturel, is to close. While I don’t like another’s downfall, I cannot help but feel thoroughly relieved. The dream of a romantic weekend in Paris and dinner in a cosy bistro was eclipsed by the terror of being asked to drop my drawers at coat check. And don’t get me started on the sanitary issues I have with sitting on a chair that has played base to other bare-bottomed folk.

    It’s not that I don’t love naked flesh, I do, in fact, I positively endorse it when Nannette de Gaspé brings out a new mask. Nannette is the executive chair of Quebec based bio-tech company Biomod which researches wearable skincare technologies and developed the first ever dry sheet mask. I love dry sheet masks because of their mess-free ease, I wear mine when I’m getting dressed without the worry of getting cream all over my clothes and if you don’t mind looking a little funny, they give the best post flight glow if worn 20 minutes before landing. Her latest, Vitality Revealed, is designed to be worn for five consecutive days for 20 minutes. Read More…

Everything You Need To Know About Dermarolling

dermaroller

The idea of puncturing your skin with sharp 0.5mm long needles for three minutes, twice a week, might be enough to make some people squirm, but dermarolling, or microneedling, has received a lot of press in recent months. The technique isn’t necessarily new, but more experts are rallying behind it as a way of rejuvenating your skin quickly. So, what are the benefits?

First and foremost, what is a dermaroller?

It look like a medieval torture device, but the spiky, roller gadget can be hugely beneficial to your skin. Dermarollers have lots of small, sharp needles that you roll across your skin to create micro punctures. Needle length varies from 0.2mm to 1mm for both in-clinic and at-home dermarollers. Nannette de Gaspé’s Roller Noir has 0.5mm length needles to ensure it’s safe to use at home yet still offers collagen-boosting results.

What are the skincare benefits?

Microneedling creates thousands of tiny punctures to your skin, which not only help to slough away dry skin, but also turbocharges your collagen and elastin production. Essentially, microneedling makes your skin think it’s been injured and forces it into repair mode.

While you will notice your complexion looks fresher, don’t expect overnight success in terms of skin firmness as it can take around eight weeks for your skin to produce collagen.

How do you use it?

Experts recommend rolling upwards in a diagonal direction across your face at least twice, if not three times for the best results. Always roll on freshly cleansed skin and wash/spritz your roller with alcohol afterwards to avoid any bacteria build-up. Expect your skin to be a shade of pink for at least 15 minutes after you’ve rolled.

What’s the best skincare to use alongside your dermaroller?

If you usually apply your vitamin C or retinol serum in the evening, alternate these with your dermaroller. Reactive ingredients, especially exfoliating acids can be too harsh on skin after microneedling. Instead, opt for a hydrating hyaluronic acid serum or a soothing, nourishing formula to help replenish your skin. Remember you’ve just caused micro-injuries across your face, so be gentle.

How long will your dermaroller last for?

Similar to razor blades, over time the needles on your dermaroller will become blunt. However, this should take around six months if you’re using it a couple of times a week.

Post-Summer SOS

bb-september-18

It isn’t usually like this. We get through to the end of August feeling like we need to add tanning drops to our moisturiser, spritzing BetterYou Vitamin D spray to make up for the sun we didn’t get during our British summer, and lamenting money spent on swimwear not worn.

And then along came ‘The Summer of 2018′ – to go down in history, like ‘The Summer of 1976′ (only this time we weren’t, alas, cruising London streets in the passenger seat of a Triumph Stag with the roof down…)

Hasn’t it been quite extraordinary living in a country where everyone – but everyone – seems to have a tan? Because basically, all the wisdom we preach about shielding skin against UV light went out of the window, along with the intentions not to eat more than one ice cream cone a day. As a nation, most of us have soaked up every ray we could. We’re certainly guilty. (Though we think it’ll be interesting to see whether we all get fewer colds and ‘flu this winter.)

The bottom line is, even if you languished like a heroine from a Victorian novel under a parasol, it has been almost impossible to escape without some collateral damage from the sunshine – not just to skin but to hair. So rest assured: you aren’t the only person whose face, body and hair is suffering from post-summer skin stress, right now. Yes, we all headed into summer knowing full well that UV light’s the enemy, ageing-wise. But short of spending summer in a darkened room, almost everyone’s caught red-nosed/cheeked, this year. The solution? Once you’ve unburned your sunburn, you need to answer some other urgent beauty needs – and here’s how.

First, tackle dryness

When you’re actually enjoying the sun, skin can seem miraculously dewy and gorgeous. Then the minute you get back home – or to the office, where the air-con may be on (and we’re only weeks away from the central heating season) – something hideous happens, and almost everyone starts to look like a snake due to shed at least one skin. So: replenishing moisture and nutrients, top-to-toe, is No. 1 beauty priority – not least because moisture is essential for healthy cell communication and regeneration.

So: start by quenching skin with a boost of hyaluronic acid, the ‘buzz’ molecule which can retain over 1,000 times its weight in water, making it just about the best complexion drink we know. Garden of Wisdom Hyaluronic Serum can be layered under any other serum or moisturiser (and is suitable for all skin types, including oily and sensitive). We also love This Works Light Time Skin Plumper – and both of these can just be slotted, hassle-free, into your existing regime. Alternatively, power up the moisture factor by switching to Derma E Hydrating Night Creme with Hyaluronic Acid, perhaps, or – one of the richest, simplest rich moisturisers we know – good old Weleda Soothing Facial Cream.

Turbo-charge moisturisation with a twice-weekly face mask

They’re a great way to get back some of that dewiness – and we’re always happy to obey the command on the packaging of a face mask to ‘relax for 10 minutes’. We may not do much else we’re told to, but we’ll happily submit to teeny-tiny writing on the back of a sachet of Sarah Chapman Skinesis 3D Moisture Infusion, a jar of Temple Spa Quench or a tube of Aromatherapy Associates Soothing Treatment Mask. (However, avoid mud and clay-based masks just for now; you want moisture, not skin purification.)

Treat your body to some TLC

If you’re anything like us, it isn’t just your face that’s suffering. (Jo noticed ‘shin dandruff’ on her yoga mat the other day, swiftly remedied by a generous application of This Works Skin Deep Dry Leg Oil, which is nothing short of a miracle-worker. We love, love, love a rich body butter for everywhere else – the Soapsmith Butter Melts are gorgeous (and affordable), though requiring a tad more elbow grease to apply than Aromatherapy Associates Enrich Body Butter, which is coming to a desert island with us if we’re ever marooned (or invited by Kirsty Young). For the ultimate indulgence, there is Temple Spa Body Truffle, which rivals Fortnum’s food hall for luxurious ingredients (caviar, truffles, champagne, etc.), and which won a Gold Beauty Bible Award in the Anti-Ageing Body Creams category of our annual awards.

Secondly, tackle pigmentation. 

The most angst-inducing legacy of summer exposure isn’t flaky skin, however (even if it is a harbinger of lines and wrinkles to come). It’s the longer-term, tougher-to-tackle challenge of pigmentation, which women find so very distressing. In the Garden of Wisdom (GoW) range, you’ll find various products to target dark spots/sun spots/whatever you like to call them. GoW 100% Pure Prickly Pear Seed Oil, for instance, is charged up with super antioxidants, alongside vitamin K to help brighten age spots and hyperpigmentation. The most potent product in the range, however, is GoW Alpha Arbutin 2% and Kojic Acid 1% Serum, containing two ingredients considered to be a gentle but effective alternative to hydroquinone, alongside paper mulberry and vitamin B3, also known to help correct uneven skintone. As the name suggests, iS Clinical White Lightening Serum also targets hyperpigmentation. Invest as your budget allows, is our advice – but be aware that if you’re using a product to tackle pigmentation, you also absolutely 100% have to wear an SPF30 over the top, a) to give the product the best chance of effectiveness, and b) to shield vulnerable skin against future damage.

Whack on a hair mask

Absolutely the best way to get hair back in good nick – although we also prescribe a salon appointment, to snip off ends that are probably beyond repair. Unless you have the very finest hair, more is more when it comes to hair treatments. More product, more generously worked through from roots to ends after shampooing, and left on for more time than you’d imagine. Overnight, ideally (we cover a pillow with a towel when we do that, to avoid trashing a pillowcase). Alternatively, again shampoo first, smooth on your chosen product, wrap your hair in clingfilm, and let it work its magic while you devour your latest chosen boxset. (‘Big Little Lies’, anyone? Eighth, albeit Meghan-less, series of ‘Suits’? Just don’t bother with Matt Groening’s ‘Disenchanted’, is our advice. You’re welcome.)

You’ll find some great hair-boosting options on VH: we’d point you in the direction of Peter Lamas Youth Revival 5 Oil Hair Treatment Mask, or 72 Hair Intense Replenishing Mask. Then simply invest some time over the next few weeks in putting back what ‘The Summer of 2018′ took out.

And if you follow this advice, your skin (and straw thatch) may just forgive you.

Beauty Confessions Of A 56 Year Old

ja-september-18

Hello 56, who the hell let you in?

One minute you’re a dimple-cheeked forty something who could get away with being several years younger and the next you mistakenly press FaceTime and this scary apparition is peering down at you – all folded neck and chin and hooded eyes.

What can you do?  Few have the time, money or inclination to spend the next  20 years sealed inside a medi-spa or to be stretched and stitched by some weird-looking dude in Harley Street.  Here’s all I know about looking as good as you can, without being ridiculous.

Most expensive beauty unctions are a waste of money

Gill would agree, which is why she spends so much time weeding out the over-packaged rubbish. Only this week my husband brought me back a “collagen molecular spray” from Milan – he knows of my love for foreign pharmacies – which promised, as ever,  to be ‘anti-ageing’. Of course I’ll spray it around and am grateful for the thought, but it will not make one iota of difference to my skin.

A pot of coconut oil is mostly all you need

It’s the perfect cleanser and make-up remover and costs next-to-nothing.  Massage it into your face while in the bath, then thoroughly wipe off with a wet muslin cloth.  Naturally antibacterial,   it’s also a breath freshener,  body moisturiser,  scrub (just add salt or sugar) and an overnight hair treatment.  NB: Remember to seal the jar well and use a wooden spoon to extract the oil or it could go rancid. PS Do not eat. This stuff is 92% saturated fat.

A half decent moisturiser will do

All moisturisers fundamentally form a barrier on the skin to prevent moisture loss when exposed  to dry air or wind.  Which is why I often prefer more moisturising facial oils, my current companion  being an organic Argan oil for which I was recently royally fleeced in Marrakesh’s medina. In my VIP days,  Sisley moisturisers were a requirement, but nowadays I’ll reach for anything that’s affordable and begins with ‘organic’ or ‘bio’.

Serums can be seriously good

They’re the magic weapon in your beauty armoury.  GOW’s Niacinamide Serum is great for regulating sebum and costs the price of two fancy coffees (£9).  Change it up with  GOW’s Hyaluronic Acid Serum which seems to plump everything. Squirt on after toning (use pure rose water which costs about a fiver from your local chemist) and before moisturising.

Sun = wrinkles

Those with beautiful skin never, ever roast it.  I’ve been a hat and factor 50 wearer ever since a friend got skin cancer in her early 20s. Desist now and ensure your foundation/base/whatevs includes a high SPF.

Facial horticulture is a weekly must

Buy decent tweezers and a magnifying mirror with suction pads.  No-one wants to be that woman with errant waving follicles.

Invest major money in your hair and teeth

Either go au natural grey and channel a fabulous sharp haircut, or find a colourist you love. Shiny, swingy, perfectly tinted hair from Josh Wood is worth forgoing any amount of seasonal fashion fripperies. Ditto get those snaggly teeth sorted – no-one wants Tony Blair’s smile. Also keep up with the hygienist appointments as there’s a halitosis epidemic out there, and nothing screams ‘old’ more than sour breath. Also lightly bleach if you can be bothered. There’s lots of kissing years left.

Hands and necks are a dead giveaway

Do yours now look like they’ve been vacuum sealed with a Hoover nozzle – every blood vessel and sinew on show?  Sadly, zero can be done. Don’t bother with half gloves, a la Madonna and Karl Lagerfeld, but do consider soft turtlenecks or distracting jewellery, a la Anna Wintour.

Parmesan feet suck

I once heard a well-known magazine editor ridiculed for having crusty “Parmesan” heels on the front row. The horror!  It was enough to send me scurrying for my Margaret Dabbs Professional Foot File, which is truly brilliant.

No eyebrow shades of grey

They frame your face, so keep them on fleek. Save yourself the cost and humiliation of sitting in one of those eyebrow bars in Selfridges (where you are bound to see an old boyfriend), and buy yourself a Julienne eyelash and brow tint from the internet. Easy peasy.

Forget Botox and plastic surgery

Do like Anna Murphy in this brilliant read and get over trying to completely change your face – everyone’s used to it by now.  If anything,  get those brown spots zapped off – an unmottled complexion is a younger-looking one.

These pills really do pop

Not a fan of gobbling handfuls of pills but I believe entirely in these four: Turmeric that targets inflammation,  Vitamin D for bones and immunity, Ionicell for great hair and nails and Hyaluronic Acid High Strength because it actually plumps skin from within and it’s Shabir’s favourite.

Try smiling more

Your resting face looks increasingly worse as gravity takes its toll. Just saying.

And finally…

Ask for facials instead of gifts. No-one needs more stuff and they have the added benefit of letting your lie down undisturbed for a least one whole hour.

My go-to are both celeb magnets for a reason. Anastasia Achilleos is a genius who will even massage inside your mouth to get results, and Amanda Lacey’s complexion is a perfect advert for her plant-based range. Anyway I’ve known her since we were both truly young in Sydney in the 1980s, and as author Gertrude Stein once wisely said: “We are always the same age inside”.

Azelaic Acid: Why You Should Be Using It

Azelaic Acid

Yes, there has been a lot of chatter about acids over the past year or so, and yes, there always seems to be a new one that you should be using. But, Azelaic Acid genuinely should be on your radar regardless of your skin type or concern because it has an impressive skill set and helps to soothe and smooth skin. Read More…