Skip Care Is The New Self Care


Over the past two years, the term self care has been associated with pretty much everything and if the wellness gurus are right, it’s an essential component for your mental and emotional wellbeing. From the nourishing oil you use to relieve tight, achy limbs to the journal you use to jot down your thoughts at the end of the day, the health and beauty industry is sprinkling self-care everywhere. 

Yet, there is something quite stressful about trying to find that extra half an hour in your week to tap into this wellness trend. You might even go as far as to say it’s just another thing that we’re expected to tick off the list, along with eating healthily, going to the gym, excelling at work and catching up with friends. Self care could be adding stress rather than helping reduce it.

In terms of your skincare regimen, the  relentless cleansing, massaging and layering can add an extra 10 minutes onto your evening routine – and that’s a polite estimate. If this is something you’ve struggled to get on board with you might welcome the new approach: skip care.

What is skip care?

Well, it might surprise you but it’s another Korean export. But unlike the 11 step routines that drove you, and most likely your skin, crazy, skip care is about honing in on the ingredients that really work for your skin and skipping the ones that don’t deliver the results you want. 

How can you embrace skip care?

The fundamental steps of cleanse, treat and protect still apply, but rather than piling on lots of individual products for brightening, exfoliating, hydrating et cetera, look for well formulated lotions and potions that multitask. 

For example, GoW Neurophroline Serum helps reduce the stress in your skin and hydrate. Whether you want to soothe rosacea, get a grip on acne breakouts or give dull, lacklustre complexions a boost, Neurophroline can help and pretty much everyone should be using it.

Likewise Nuori’s Supreme Moisture Mask is the perfect night cream treat for skin now that the weather is starting to turn. The lipid packed formula is surprisingly light and leaves skin feeling softer, smoother and plumper by the time you wake up.

The trick to making skip care work for you is to understand your skin and what it needs. Start with only the essential steps and embrace all the extra time you’ll now have.

September Newsletter

vector graphic of a tree with minimalistic leaves of different colour circles

The September issue and I welcome you to the newsletter where we do several new launches, including two new Garden of Wisdom products and for the second month running another new product from Ameliorate, which makes me extraordinarily happy because it’s pretty amazing, as you would expect.

Additionally, we have new products from The Light Salon and Lebon and we unveil a new skincare brand. Trinny and Shabir are together again, this time doing vitamins through the ages. But there are other things too; we celebrate the awesomeness of Jo Fairley, which I will follow through with a competition. I’m trying to remember if I have ever done a competition on a newsletter and actually I don’t think I have, although no doubt somebody will correct me if my memory is failing me and Shabir can prescribe me the appropriate supplements!

And yet another newsletter when you will need to get keyboard ready as there are a few treats scattered throughout. I also jump onto The Podium with some pretty hard-hitting words, because they need to be said and so I will say them. Let’s go:

Super Bakuchiol Serum

On last month’s newsletter I wrote about Bakuchiol, a natural non-irritating alternative to retinol and retinoids. Bakuchiol this, Bakuchiol that, its become a beauty buzzword, but are all Bakuchiol products created equally, no they are not.

I suppose we could have flung out a Bakuchiol serum some time ago, but we didn’t because Shabir was still researching and wanted to ensure that if he was going to formulate a serum, it had to be best-in-class, as in all things. We believe we have achieved this because Super Bakuchiol Serum contains Sytenol® A, which, unlike most other Bakuchiol or Babchi oils, contains 100% well-defined Bakuchiol Oil.

The science and clinicals behind the efficacy of Bakuchiol have been carried out by Sytheon, an innovative USA-based ingredient company. In correspondence, its founder, Dr Ratan K Chaudhuri, states the following:

‘There is a big difference between Sytenol A (Bakuchiol) and Bakuchi (Babchi) Oils you find on various sites’ (I will not name them; I value my life!). ‘Sytenol A is a 100% well-defined pure material, whereas Babchi is undefined material with a low level of Bakuchiol.

Babchi Oil also contains other products which are photosensitizers and not suitable for topical applications. In fact, we have analyzed four Babchi Oils widely available and as expected all four are loaded with photosensitizers, residual solvents etc.

Additionally we are proud of the fact that the Bakuchiol from Sytheon sold under the Sytenol A trademark presents the gold standard in the marketplace and is REACH registered. These milestones have been reached through extensive safety testing and performance, including various clinical studies, performed on and with the high purity Sytenol.

Many of our studies are published in peer reviewed journals. These studies and findings are specific to Sytenol A Bakuchiol and cannot be transferred or imputed to Bakuchiol generally or Babchi oils’.

One such study showed a significant improvement in lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, elasticity, firmness and photo-damage without irritation on the skin such as peeling, dryness and sensitivity associated with retinol.

Using Sytenol at 1%, this serum is blended with the skin softening properties of pure Squalane Oil to help deliver rejuvenated, plumper, softer and smoother skin. It can be used morning and evening after cleansing and after the use of other serums (including Neurophroline), or alternatively you can add a few drops to your moisturizer.

And as my friend Lisa Armstrong wrote on a recent column in The Telegraph (not related to this), check your labels people, check your labels. I give you Super Bakuchiol Serum with the clinically tested Sytenol A. Amen.
VH Editorial: Bakuchiol, A Natural Alternative To RetinolSuper Bakuchiol Serum by Garden of Wisdom for VH £15 for 30 ml

Ameliorate Intensive Skin Therapy

Hard and fast on the back of last month’s release of the Limited Rose Edition of the bestselling Transforming Body Lotion, we now add another product in the rather miraculous Intensive Treatment range. And as you will have guessed, it is another winner from Ameliorate and trust me, I know these things because I have been testing the lab samples for quite a while.

If you have tried Intensive Hand Treatment, Intensive Foot Treatment and Intensive Lip Treatment you will know that when the word ‘Intensive’ is added, you can be assured that the results will be pretty intensive too. They need to be because this range is specifically targeted for dry, cracked skin. Ameliorate say that this fourth product will complete the Intensive range, but I’m not going to hold them to that because I would rather like an Intensive Leg Treatment, although I have been testing this on my legs, as well as other body parts, because I can.

The scientific thinking behind Intensive Skin Therapy is to mitigate the use of petroleum-based greasy products, which do little to break the repeat cycle of dry, rough skin. Using enhanced levels of Lactic Acid formula to help exfoliate dry and damaged skin cells, it encourages cell turnover leaving the skin feeling smoother. Additionally, Ameliorate’s unique LaH6 Skin Hydration Complex works to hydrate and nourish, holding protective properties that lock in moisture for 24 hours, helping to prevent cells from rapidly drying out.

So what’s it like to use? Amazing actually. It’s thick, very, very, very thick and so you only need to use the smallest amount (a few small amounts if you are using it on your legs!). It’s ideal if you have patches of dry parched skin, although quite honestly I could think of numerous uses for it, including scaly elbows (you know the one).

The antidote to troublesome skin, Intensive Skin Therapy was scheduled to launch within the next couple of days, but it has been pushed slightly back just as I’m writing this, so it is currently on pre-order only at the moment, with an expected release of approximately 14 days.

Please don’t scream at me, it wasn’t my decision and is partly due to the phenomenal runaway success of the Rose Limited Edition. Just on that, together with Ameliorate we just didn’t anticipate the demand and we were all blown away. So much so that I’ve already started my campaign to make it an unlimited edition; we need it available all year round, please and thank you very much Ameliorate.

And so the wait list begins here and as ever, we will not deduct any monies from your account until the day we process and send your order. All good things are worth waiting for I suppose. Get on that list!
Ameliorate Intensive Skin Therapy £15 for 30 ml; Transforming Body Lotion – Rose Limited Edition £24 for 200 ml

The Light Salon: Hydrogel Masks

Together with Hannah and Laura, The Light Salon founders, I am so excited to be writing about their Hydrogel Masks, just launched. The girls have been using these in their salon treatments, and for those of us who have been wowed by Boost, the LED mask, prepare yourselves to take the LED experience to another level of fabulousness, although you don’t need to own an LED mask to participate:

Hydrogel Face Mask: Featuring an effective combination of hydrators, antioxidants, plant extracts, collagen and vitamins, this mask targets the skin’s superficial layers. The ingredients include Niacinamide, Sodium hyaluronate, a smaller molecule than hyaluronic acid for better penetration, and Hydrolyzed collagen.

Niacinamide (which we love) helps limit environmental damage, evens skin tone and helps reduce the appearance of enlarged pores and fine lines. Hyaluronate quenches dehydrated skin. As the molecular weight of traditional collagen is too large to penetrate the skin, Hydrolyzed collagen helps create a filter-like effect that works to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles.

The mask on its own promises excellent results, but when combined with the Boost LED Mask, for which they were specifically formulated, you will reap even more rewards. I know this because I extensively tested with and without the Boost mask.

It is well documented that LED light therapy treats and heals the skin from within; I could write volumes here, but if you are a regular LED user (I still use mine every day) you will appreciate that it helps boost circulation and brightens your skin considerably. Add to the LED protocol this ingredient-rich hydrogel mask and you may well believe you have reached skincare Nirvana.
The Hydrogel Face Mask by The Light Salon £42 for Three Masks; Boost At-Home LED Treatment Mask by the Light Salon £395

Hydrogel Décolletage Mask: The dream. Smoothing, hydrating, cooling and nourishing, this mask focuses on an often neglected and delicate area, the décolletage. Saturating your skin with plant extracts, collagen and vitamins, it will help plump, hydrate and protect the décolletage.

Once again this mask has been formulated with transparent hydrogel, allowing the penetration of the LED light, which enhances the absorption of ingredients into the skin.

I tested by placing the Boost LED mask over the décolletage mask, but it really works well without LED too. I’m thinking that if you’ve overdone it in the sun, this could be the perfect antidote to counteract damage.

I need to add something else here. When you receive the Hydrogel Décolletage Mask, you will notice that the instructions refer to using it with the Boost LED Bib. Such a thing does exist, but I don’t have a specific date for release, but when I do, you will be the first to know because I am almost hyper-ventilating about its uses, which include pain management; no small thing.

So that will be two LED masks in my bathroom; and they are completely different; I need both in my life, but that’s me. In the meantime, with or without LED, I am love, love, loving having an even-toned, hydrated décolletage delivered via a heart-shaped mask, which I’ve also tested on my neck.  Any product that performs wonders on our necks is worth investing in, in my humble opinion.   I invite you to join me.
The Hydrogel Décolletage Mask by The Light Salon £42 for Three Masks

Triple Toning Treatment

On last month’s newsletter (and several prior to that) I wrote that I don’t use acids on my face for various reasons. I absolutely know that I am in the minority. In absolute transparency, I haven’t tested Triple Toning Treatment, but Victoria (I call her the Acid Queen!) has and these are her thoughts and words about the second product launch from GoW; Shabir rather likes it too.

‘Whether you’re an acid devotee or have always been a little apprehensive to dabble in glycolics, lactics and salicylics for fear of overdoing it and being left with dry, itchy, irritated skin, the Triple Toning Treatment from GoW is the perfect addition to your skincare routine. Shabir has formulated the treatment with just the right amount of alpha hydroxy acids (Glycolic and Lactic acids) to help boost collagen production and increase your skin’s hydration levels, while Salicylic Acid (the gold standard beta hydroxy acid) helps to unblock pores. Shabir has also included polyhydroxy acids (Gluconolactone and Lactobionic Acids) to smooth out uneven texture.

While the formula is jam-packed with acids, it’s still only £18 for 240 ml so even if you liberally mist every day it’s going to last for a long time. The real beauty of the Triple Toning Treatment though is the minimal amount of effort required to use it. Simply mist across your face and neck area after cleansing and before your serums and SPF. It’s also great on dry elbows, knees and ankles. I’ve been using it every other day for the past month to prevent the annual summer-induced breakout that is caused by smothering my face in sun cream and fake tan. It’s worked for me and I’m willing to bet that if you try it for just two weeks you’ll notice a subtle but gratifying difference too’.
Triple Toning Treatment by Garden of Wisdom for VH, £18 for 240 ml

Supplements For Every Age: Trinny & Shabir

In case you missed it, Trinny and Shabir were together again, not in her bathroom, but in her kitchen, discussing vitamins through the ages. The video is long, about an hour long and even then I don’t think they covered every eventuality, it’s an impossible task, which will probably mean another session or three some-time soon.

To make life easier, we have a short synopsis of everything they spoke about, which you can read below and it also includes access to the ‘not paid for’ video. Transparency at all times, I needed to say that and to embrace and acknowledge the generosity of spirit that is Trinny in helping to make a difference to each of us. And her Trinny London make-up is pretty fab too, but most of you know that. Our thanks.
Supplements For Every Age with Trinny & Shabir

Mega Probiotic: The Treat

I like being neat and following through from the above, it is very rare that Shabir doesn’t talk about Mega Probiotic when he is with Trinny because he is such an advocate of this broad-spectrum probiotic.

So a celebration because like many supplements that have gone before, we have own-branded Mega Probiotic ND (Non-Dairy). The formulation remains exactly the same, nothing has changed because it works, which is why it is one of our bestselling products and has been for many years.
VH Editorial: What Can’t Probiotics Do;Mega Probiotic ND £19.50 for 60 Capsules

PHB Ethical Beauty

Without having a complete drama-rama, I didn’t write the Addicts Bulletin a couple of weeks ago because I twisted my back really badly and so Victoria wrote it for me. Given that I love abdicating parts of the newsletter to other people, I may as well save a few brain cells by replicating some of her words:

‘Meet PHB Ethical Beauty, an extensive range of vegan and cruelty-free beauty skincare and body care products with the lightest, dreamiest textures that Shabir discovered a couple of months ago.

There are currently 16 products in the range, but there are currently two standout favourites for me. The Superfood Moisturiser, which is crammed full with skin-plumping and hydrating ingredients including hyaluronic acid, pomegranate and green tea, is my new go-to because it creates the perfect base before make-up.

If you are going away or if by luck we’re struck with another heatwave, I highly recommend having the Skin Brightener Bio-Gel in your skincare arsenal. It’s nothing like the heavy, sticky textures you might associate with gel-based formulas. Instead it’s light, cooling and soothing, ideal for sun-parched skin that needs a little bit of TLC. You can keep it in the fridge for maximum cooling and de-puffing benefits too’.
Explore the full range: PHB Ethical Beauty from £17

Lebon Gift Sets

Together with the Beauty Bible girls, I am totally obsessed with Lebon Toothpaste. With an array of flavours, including Pineapple, Rooibos and Mint, as well as names such as Rhythm is Love and Cap Ferrat Mood, there is little not to love.

The formulas are equally as impressive and they contain no parabens, foam boosters or saccharin. And now Lebon have launched three gorgeous gift sets. Giving any bathroom an instant ‘cool’ there are three flavours in each set and if somebody gave me one of these as a gift, I would be deliriously happy. Actually I am more than deliriously happy, because I have one of each set in my bathroom and they’re not going back to the office. Au revoir Shabir.
Lebon Gift Sets £29 (Three x 25 ml Toothpaste in each set)

A Touch of Alchemy

With an ability to transmute (to change or alter in form, appearance, or nature and especially to a higher form) the alchemist, I believe, lives within each of us. Alchemy fascinates me, it always has, and of course there are so many differing forms of alchemy, but for the purposes of this newsletter, I invite you to become a beauty alchemist in your own bathroom.

Having written about the huge benefits of Fulvic Acid for more than eight years, I have been misting my face and body with Fulvic since that time. I literally swear by the stuff. And then Jo, a long-standing member of our customer care team, told me that she doses her Fulvic Mist with Hyaluronic Acid Serum, doing a 50:50 ratio.

By her own admission she can’t be bothered to use body lotions, so she does a quick all-over spritz with this concoction and she swears her skin is massively hydrated and after being in the sun, she does not peel – ever. She calls it her lazy-girl spray.

Not to be outdone, I tried it and I was more than impressed, especially for those mornings when I’m in a rush and I don’t want my body lotion sticking to my jeans, you know how it is. And then I went one step further and added a few drops of Neurophroline into the mix. Hydrated, de-stressed skin in two or three seconds – I’m in – body and face.
Hyaluronic Acid Serum by Garden of Wisdom for VH £9 for 30 ml; Neurophroline Serum by Garden of Wisdom for VH £18 for 30 ml

And On Neurophroline

I don’t actually think anybody missed Lisa Armstrong’s article about Neurophroline in The Telegraph from the feedback we had, but if you did miss it the link is below. And this from a customer:

‘I’ve got to tell you about my skin; it’s completely flawless and it’s down to Thyme Out for Wrinkles (ghastly name) and Neurophroline Serum. I’m not sure which is responsible but I don’t care and will be using them for evermore. I’ve bought two extra of each because I know there will be an invasion on the newsletter; things go mad and you live and learn. They will prise these two products out of my cold dead hands!’
The Miracle £18 Serum That Promises To Streamline Your Skincare Regime by Lisa ArmstrongThyme Out For Wrinkles £20 for 120 ml

Desert Island Discs

That moment when a very special friend achieves something incredibly momentous and your heart wants to burst with joy, love and respect. Well that happened to me a couple of weeks ago. The friend was Jo Fairley who had received an invitation to appear on Desert Island Discs, which is the most-listened to radio programme in the world.

The news was embargoed until a week before broadcast, but anybody who knows Jo, knew that there had to be a Carly Simon song included and there was. Most of you know Jo because I think she has been on virtually every one of these newsletters since the beginning of time. She founded Green & Black’s, co-founded Beauty Bible with Sarah Stacey, had a bakery, has a wellbeing centre and is co-founder of The Perfume Society.

Below this I have put a link to Desert Island Discs, where you will discover the song that makes her most happy, but more than that you can read all about Jo’s experience recording the programme (which is really funny) in her article, as below. Additionally, in that article, she lists her Desert Island picks; in line with choosing eight songs, she has chosen eight of her favourite VH products. Bravo Ms Fairley. You are, and have always been, an amazing friend and you so deserve this magnificent accolade.
Jo Fairley’s Desert Island Beauty Picks; Desert Island Discs with Jo Fairley

The Competition

As night follows day, this was such an obvious thing to do following on from the above. I invite you to follow the format on Jo’s editorial and choose eight of your favourite VH products followed by a couple of sentences why you have chosen that product. Please don’t write reams, it is absolutely not necessary and all entries should be sent to with a heading ‘Desert Island’ by close on Friday 13 September.

The winner will receive a year’s supply of their eight desert island products and eight runners up will receive one of each of the products they have chosen. Because of data-protection, I will not be announcing the winner on this newsletter, but the winner, together with the eight runners up will be contacted directly by us. Please ensure that we have your full name and contact details on your entry. This should be interesting!

Post-Holiday Blues

The weeks after a holiday can sometimes seem bleak with many people suffering from post-holiday blues. There may be several months before the next holiday is due with very few breaks to look forward to.

If the holiday was amazing then this may simply serve to highlight the contrast of day-to-day life at home. If the holiday was a disappointment (and many are), then this may simply reinforce the sense of being stuck on a stressful treadmill. And just in case you didn’t know, post-holiday periods are the busiest for divorces, second only to post-Christmas. Shabir investigates.
VH Editorial: Post Holiday Blues

The Podium

When is an award not an award.  When it’s paid for, that’s when.  The whole sordid issue of paid-for awards has been gently simmering for many years.  Whenever I bring the subject up (often) I am told that’s just the way it is.  Well actually that’s not how it is for me and I’ve reached boiling point.

Over the last few months we have been ‘invited’ to submit products for various awards.  The missives generally come loaded with glorious statements extolling greatness for a ‘chosen’ product.  And there, beneath those words, it details how much it will cost just to enter; if you are seeking a large accolade it could take a serious hit on your bank balance.

We have always supported niche brands, it’s who we are.  Many of these brands cannot even afford to send media samples but rely solely on the integrity and efficacy of their products to achieve success.  Not all of them make it because they are drowned by an over-crowded industry where money talks.  The consequence is that these niche brands and products will rarely, if ever, win an award, unless such awards are ethically-run and most aren’t.  The struggle for survival is very real.

By definition, the consumer is led to believe that certain hyped-brands/products are far superior by virtue of discussion and accolade; nothing could be further from the truth in so many instances. In other words, a shameful manipulation of the truth for financial gain.  This duplicity has to stop.

No Ads Ever

Staying on theme, the Beauty Bible girls, Sarah Stacey and Jo Fairley, are the architects of the Beauty Bible Awards, which are very clearly ethically-run and have been for over two decades. In a hard-hitting article, the girls talk about these awards, the world of ‘influencers’ and the real need for a return to unbiased health and beauty reporting.
No Ads Ever by Beauty Bible

I’m not too sure where to go from here, so I think we’ll do this month’s editorial features and then return to two common health issues:

‘One of the most inspiring features I’ve read recently’, writes Carolyn Asome, ‘was an interview with Ali McGraw in The Telegraph. Actually, if I’m really honest, what was really compelling was how brightly the very brilliant whites of her eyes shone. Here was the visibly lined face of an 80-year-old, but by God did she look as if she was having fun.

This is how I want to be, I said to myself tearing it out to stick somewhere. I wrote a year about hoping to find the grace to embrace ageing with acceptance and dollops of humour’. I fully concur.
Why You Should Channel ‘Young-Old’ by Carolyn Asome

‘When we hear the word nature, our minds usually revert to the classic green scenes of parks, gardens and abundant forests. If our minds are in a particularly expansive place, we might introduce mental images of the beach, ocean and perhaps a little memory detour of a recent trip to a garden centre.

We rarely think of nature as the elements of earth, air, fire and water, but they serve as such a powerful way to reconnect to nature. Stemming from ancient Greece, Ayurvedic teachings, spiritual schools of thought and nature-based practices such as Wicca and Neo-Paganism – all of which extol the benefits of incorporating these elements into our daily lives as tools to optimise our health and wellbeing. It’s not only the zodiac signs that are grouped into the four elements, but also tarot cards, herbs, crystals and colours’. Giselle La Pompe-Moore muses.
How To Create Wellness Rituals Using The Five Elements by Giselle La Pompe-Moore

It’s a skin condition that affects just two per cent of the UK population, but if you have ever endured the eye-watering itchiness and discomfort that psoriasis causes then you’ll know just how debilitating it can be. Mine started back when I was in my 20’s with dry, itchy red patches developing along the left side of my neck’. Sophie Cullen reports.
What I Have Learnt Since Having Psoriasis by Sophie Cullen

Does Your Stomach Growl?

It is perfectly natural for the stomach to growl every now and then. Some people however find that their stomach growls loudly and frequently which can be embarrassing, frustrating and difficult to control. The medical term for stomach growling is borborygmus.

Most people associate stomach noises and growling with hunger. Growling does not necessarily occur when you are hungry, but it is usually louder when you have an empty or partially empty stomach. The noise occurs from the muscles lining the stomach and the intestines when food begins to be broken down. Shabir investigates.
VH Editorial: Does Your Stomach Growl?Enhanced Super Digestive Enzymes £23.25 for 60 Capsules

Relieving Gout Naturally

Whilst research has focused primarily on finding safe and effective treatments for the management of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, the incidence of gout has quietly risen in the past two decades.

Gout is a type of arthritis that causes stiff, swollen and painful joints and typically two-thirds of people will experience it as excruciating pain in the big toe. The symptoms of gout are due to excess uric acid crystals that form around the joints and the pain is caused by the body’s inflammatory response to these crystals.

These symptoms can develop rapidly to their worst point in 6-24 hours and usually last for between three and ten days, often referred to as a gout attack. After this time, the joints will start to feel normal and any pain or discomfort should eventually disappear. Shabir does the in-depth.
VH Editorial: Relieving Gout NaturallyTart Cherry, Nettle and Turmeric £21 for 50 grams

The End Bit

Trust, we believe, is earned, it cannot be bought and the biggest reward for any of us is to try and help make a positive difference in all that we are and all that we do. Each of you make that possible, so together with Shabir, Victoria and the entire VH team, I thank you for your ongoing loyalty and support.

Wishing you a wonderful September.

With love

Gill x

Jo Fairley’s Desert Island Beauty Picks

top down view of a vynyl record player with recond ontop and orange label in centre

So this is what happens when you shout at your radio. Half-joking. (Well, completely joking.) As a Desert Island Discs listener from the age of knee-high (my mother never missed an episode), I was standing in my kitchen listening to it on catch-up. (Thank heavens for podcasts.) Now, that week’s castaway happened to be someone I knew – but in truth, they weren’t being that interesting. So I said out loud (and quite loud) to my radio: ‘When are you going to ask me???!’

Which meant that naturally, when just four days later an e-mail landed in my inbox titled: ‘Desert Island Discs’, inviting me to be on the programme, I did wonder whether my Pure Evoke radio had (like Apple’s Alexa) somehow been listening to my every word and communicating directly with Radio Four.

I promptly hyperventilated, repeated ‘OMG’ about 73 times (I was away from home at the time), then rang my husband in tears. Because it is, quite simply, one of the most exciting things ever to have happened to me. An amazing honour. Something that has literally made the huge amount of hard work I’ve put into my various businesses (Green & Black’s, the Beauty Bible website, my bakery and wellbeing centre and The Perfume Society) all worth it. And completely surreal, actually – not least when I discovered after the show aired that it is the most listened-to radio programme in the world.

I had no idea quite how time-consuming the experience would be, however. Ever since then, the emails, Insta-messages and Facebook Messenger missives have been pinging constantly. I’ve reconnected with two (nice) old boyfriends, a couple of other long-lost friends and had no less than five missives from fellow pupils of the school I went to (and dissed in my broadcast), telling me they also had equally scathing put-downs from the same Scripture teacher who told me I’d never amount to anything. (And I quote: ‘Jo Fairley, if you ever make so much as a Girl Friday, I’ll eat my hat.’).

Now in my case, that ignited rocket fuel under my chair to prove her wrong – but some of the others weren’t so resilient and took years to get over the blows to their self-esteem. There was even one e-mail from a (slightly older) pupil who’d been told she would ‘burn in hell’ because a) her parents were divorced and b) she’d been spotted dancing on Ready, Steady, Go!

The recording experience itself – fuelled by squares of Green & Black’s and tea served in a Desert Island Discs mug – was beyond fun. Lauren Laverne is loveliness itself and if you listen, I think you can hear what a hoot the whole recording was. Although afterwards, the fear set in. Because it would, I think, be impossible to ‘fake it’ during the interview – it’s like sitting on a psychiatrist’s couch, with the music triggering heart-felt emotion as only music can. Only unlike that private experience, you suddenly realise your soul-baring is about to be shared with millions of others. I hadn’t realised until after the show aired that I’d basically been holding my breath for several weeks.

It got me thinking, though, about how the ‘desert island’ idea could be applied to other areas of life. Food, for example. (Miso, peanut butter, ACTUAL butter, Green & Black’s Sea Salt chocolate, veggie sausages, my home-made fennel pickle, Marmite and Brillat-Savarin cheese – though that’d pretty soon be making a break for it, in the heat! – would all be in my Desert Island pantry.) And naturally, it got me thinking about my beauty must-haves.

Now technically, I’m only allowed a single ‘luxury item’ on the island – and it turns out, I wasn’t the first guest to say I wanted to take my pillow, as my choice. But I happened to be listening to an old episode in which the ‘inventor’ and debut presenter of DID, Roy Plomley, allowed legendary film star Marlene Dietrich to take a whole box with various luxuries in. (And do listen to the show in the podcast archive – she chose an Adam Faith record, among others!). So, working on that basis, here’s what I’d stash in my desert island ‘vanity case’…

This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray. Even though I’ve a hunch my pillow will help me to drift off in my shell-bedecked, palm-frond shelter, I’d feel slightly insecure if I didn’t have this to hand for insomnia emergencies. (I’m thinking: weird rustlings in the undergrowth.) Just the best sleep-beckoning spray ever.

Coola Face SPF30 Mineral Sunscreen. This summer 2019 skincare must-have (for me) will be coming with me. A light-as-air, effective sunscreen without the chemical SPF ingredients which have so troubled my skin in the past. It’s a great base for make-up (um, not that I’ll be bothering with that.)

High Strength Hyaluronic Acid Capsules by VH. I’m not quite sure what would happen to my skin if I stopped taking HA – and I’ve no intention of finding out. Skin-plumping, joint-easing, eye-soothing… If I was really limited to one supplement for the rest of my life (and I really hope that never happens), it’d probably be this all-rounder.

Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil. Taking an actual bath might prove problematical but I’m hoping that somewhere on the island there’ll be a waterfall and I can smooth this into my skin and shower before bedtime. I rely very much on its legendary, soothing blend of vetiver, patchouli and sandalwood to calm a whirring mind. (I’d find being alone on the island pretty stressful generally, so I’d better have a vat of this, I think.)

Alida Foot File. Because – as I never tire of telling people – happy feet make a happy woman (in this case, a happy castaway), and nothing buffs them more effectively than this Beauty Bible Award-winner.

Neurophroline Serum by GoW for VH. My new fave skincare treat. With a wonderful slippy texture, definite firming and brightening powers, this will help counter some of the skin stress caused by UV exposure – which is going to be pretty unavoidable.

Thyme Out. To tackle all those mozzie bites, scratches (from foraging for my dinner), nicks and general skin niggles. (And also because I worry that the itchiness Thyme Out has essentially been keeping under control for months might boomerang back if I dared to stop using it.)

Guayusa Leaves. I rely on this for daily get-up-and-go to help me tick things off my ‘To Do’ list and keep me generally going like the Duracell Bunny. And I’m going to need every bit of energy to build the raft which – as someone who is most definitely unsuited to roughing it – I’ll need to get me back to civilisation, a comfy bed, hot and cold running water, fluffy towels. And to my husband – who as several million Desert Island Disc listeners now know, is truly ‘wonderful’…

Power of One – Neurophroline Serum

The miracle £18 serum that promises to streamline your skincare regime – by Lisa Armstrong

  • Garden of Wisdom Neurophroline Serum

    Sometimes the hardest part about taking care of your skin is knowing where to start. Peptides this, acids that, peels the other. (Actually, forget peels. Unless you have severe acne or other kinds of scarring, you don’t need them, although plenty of others would argue in favour. I say, look at their skin and if you like what you see, go ahead.)

    Where was I? Oh yes: keep it simple. Cleanse and moisturise is the measure of it. I throw in a hyaluronic acid, because it’s the biggest moisture-booster since, well, water; and then an oil in the middle, because I absolutely love the feeling of a good organic one and the way it visibly plumps skin. It also provides essential lubrication for some facial massage, with a jade or rose-quartz stone, which makes a difference psychologically and physically.

    But since starting this column I’ve also had to get to grips with serums. You apply them straight after cleansing and before anything else – lightest potions first is the general rule.
    Read More…

GOW Neurophroline Serum

Our travel-size beauty product of the week – by Catherine Robinson

  • Garden of Wisdom Neurophroline Serum

    Just as we’ve learnt how to pronounce and spell hyaluronic acid, there’s a new kid on the block: Neurophroline. I’m still at the stage of calling it Nurofen for the skin, but maybe that’s because it’s as fundamental to your skincare kit as Nurofen is to your medicine bag. Our skin is our largest organ and is our first barrier against environmental stress, pollution and toxins.

    It is also a barometer of what’s going on inside the body (depression, exhaustion, anxiety, hormone change). Much like anything that is overworked, skin gets stressed, and stress produces the hormone cortisol, which in small doses is fine but too much causes acne, spots, redness, dark circles and increased wrinkles. Neurophroline is an extract from wild indigo, a plant native to India that has been used in Ayurvedic traditions for generations, and has been found to break down cortisol in your skin. Read More…

Stress Ages Our Skin


Stress plays a major part in the health of our body and of our skin. At times of stress our body produces excessive amounts of cortisol which is responsible for a variety of concerns including anxiety, weight gain and sleep disturbances. Aside from the adrenal glands producing cortisol, keratinocytes in the epidermis, the outer cell layers of skin, also manufacture cortisol which increases when the body is stressed or when skin is exposed to external stressors such as pollution, UV radiation and dehydration. Stress in this case refers to physical, emotive or environmental stressors.

Since cortisol is an inflammatory hormone, it is known to cause a wide range of skin concerns and depending upon your skin type, cortisol can make your skin very dry, wrinkled, fatigue-looking, reactive and sensitive, oily and/or acne-prone. I am going to briefly discuss skin concerns: Read More…