The Forgotten Beauty Benefits Of Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

If you are prone to burning you’re likely to be well acquainted with aloe vera. The plant is renowned for its skin soothing and cooling benefits, which makes it a holiday skincare essential. The clear liquid is also celebrated for its anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.

The ancient Egyptians called it the ‘plant of immortality’. While we’re not promising its benefits stretch that far, we would argue that aloe vera is often overlooked when it comes to skincare.

What is aloe vera?

Aloe vera is part of the cactus plant and is found in warm, dry climates, including Africa and India. While the fresh green colour is eye catching, it’s the clear gel found in the leaves that holds all the power.

What are the skincare benefits?

Studies have shown that aloe vera has impressive healing benefits – cue Jason’s Aloe Vera 84% Soothing Cream – as well as skin moisturising abilities. What gives aloe vera an edge over other moisturising agents is that it doesn’t leave a greasy film, so it’s perfect for those who have oilier skin – Laboratoire du Haut-Segala’s lightweight, but nourishing Day Cream is testimony to that.  

Unsurprisingly it’s healing powers can be of use to those who suffer with regular breakouts. Aloe vera contains a hormone called gibberelllins, which helps to boost skin cell turnover and turbocharge your skin’s healing process.

Aloe vera also contains a powerful cocktail of antioxidants, including vitamin C and E, which help to protect your complexion from environmental aggressors.

What else can you use aloe vera for?

Well, it also has many health benefits if you take aloe vera supplements. Not only is it thought to lower cholesterol, but the ingredient also soothes stomach irritation. Health Aid’s Aloe Vera 5000mg supplements could help those who regularly suffer with sluggish digestive system, constipation and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). If you prefer liquid supplements, it’s worth exploring Aloe Vera Juice High Potency by Forever Young. The juice is sometimes prescribed for those who battle with arthritis and joint pain.   

Do You Really Need To Switch Up Your Skincare Every Season?

Spring On White

As the season’s revolving door swings into spring it feels only right to embrace the change by updating our skincare routine. In the same way that layers of your clothing get lighter and airier, logic would dictate the same goes for your creams and lotions. But is it a necessity for achieving healthy and glowing skin? The good news is that you don’t need to completely overhaul your winter skincare routine in a bid to fix any problems you now face. However, the devil is in the detail when it comes to perfect skin once the mercury rises. Here’s everything you need to know about trans-seasonal skincare.

Adjust moisture levels

If you used creamy cleansers and heavy duty moisturisers to counteract the cold climate and central heating throughout winter, it’s time to give these a ghosting. This is because during the warmer months our skin is able to hold onto more water, so as a rule, you don’t need as much hydration once spring hits. Moreover, continuing to layer on thick moisturisers can actually make your skin lazy. Instead you want to give it the ‘tools’ it needs to do a good job by itself.

Look for moisturising ingredients that have skin affinity, such as hyaluronic acid (it’s naturally occurring in the skin) as well as urea and glycerin. These will provide quick relief to a dry complexion, but are also able to draw water in the skin and retain it for longer.

Forgo physical exfoliators

In spring, your natural oils are coming back to balance after a cold snap, so you’re likely to produce more sebum. If you find your skin gets too oily reach for an oil-removing cleanser such as iS Clinical Cleansing Complex, £35 to help control breakouts. If feel like you need a deeper clean, look for formulations that contain salicylic acid (Garden of Wisdom Salicylic Acid 2%, £9), and apply after cleansing. It’s also worth adding an acid to your routine to help decongest skin. Try a retinol, a topical form of vitamin A that aids healthy skin-cell turnover. It’s clever stuff: retinol binds itself to receptors in our cells, which help to normalise the production of new skin, clearing breakouts and reducing the overproduction of oil.

Up your SPF level

If you’ve down-graded your SPF, or even worse, not applied one at all this winter, then now is the time to add one to your arsenal. It’s non-negotiable for damage control. Skin ageing UVA rays don’t change much through the year, however UVB get stronger once the temperature starts to rise, so it’s a good idea to up your SPF protection to 30-50. Try Sarah Chapman Skin Insurance SPF 30, £49. It offers stellar protection from UVA, UVB, thermal and infrared radiation has a clever knack of airbrushing the face no matter your skin tone thanks to light-adapting pigments that make you look dewy and glowing no matter how unforgiving the spring sunshine is.

Supercharge your skincare with vitamin C

Supercharge your SPF with topical vitamins. Vitamin C in particular can help to combat the ageing rays that aren’t fully blocked by your SPF. LixirSkin Vitamin C Paste, £32, has a fresh-squeezed citrus scent, and provides natural sun protection while also scavenging free radicals. It’s also worth keeping a vitamin C mist handy for a quick fix throughout the day.

Keep your pH levels in check

Overloading your skin with lots of products in winter may have sent your pH level off kilter. pH stands for ‘potential hydrogen’ and is used to describe the skin barrier’s acid-alkaline ratio, which ranges from 0 (most acidic) to 14 (most alkaline). If your skin is plagued by severe dryness and lines this could be a telltale sign that your acid mantle is too alkaline and falling prey to bacteria. If your skin is inflamed, oily, prone to breakouts or painful to the touch, that indicates it’s too acidic. To bring back its sweet spot of 5.5, reach for Aurelia Cell Revitalise Night Moisturiser, £58, which strengthens the protective barrier by feeding skin probiotics.

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.

  • gow-niacinamide-itp

    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…

The 2019 Beauty Bible Awards

Beauty Bible Awards 2019

For the past 21 years, our mission at Beauty Bible has been to cut through the hype and help women take a short-cut to products that really, really do what they say on the tin/jar/tube. We began by publishing the results in our Beauty Bible series of books, then last year put the awards online (Beautybible.com) for the first time.

The Beauty Bible Awards are judged by real women – in panels of 10 – trialling full-size products in real-time over a period of up to four months, then feeding back. Results are always amazingly consistent – and after what feels like an epic year of sending out products to over 1,000 testers, we’re delighted to declare the winners of the Beauty Bible Awards for 2019!

It comes as no surprise to us that so very, very many winners can be found right here on VH – so here’s just a small selection of the Gold winners (and one rather special Silver!) that are showcased on Gill and Shabir’s site, with a handful of the real-life rave reviews from testers’ detailed feedback. (You’ll find many more in-depth comments on our own site.)

Sarah Chapman Skinesis Overnight Facial

Cue drumroll, cue trumpets: a spectacularly splendiferous score (an average of 9.3/10 across our tester panel) for one of this superfacialist’s star products, designed to ‘recreate the effects of a Skinesis facial overnight.’

OUR TESTERS’ COMMENTS:

‘This oil is totally amazeballs! Within 24 hours skin felt ridiculously smooth, plump and moisturised. After using for a while, it looks smoother and plumper – so much better – and I have had compliments. Just lead me to the next bottle…’
‘Loved the product a lot. It smelt absolutely amazingly relaxing and helped me sleep. Within 30 minutes my skin felt softer, plumped, silky and brighter. Promised to lift, firm and make skin feel like cashmere – it did all of that’
‘People have commented how well my skin looks on make up free days, which is amazing.’

Aurelia Repair & Brighten Hand Cream

The second Gold in a row for Aurelia in the hand cream category for this rich but swiftly-absorbed product, with its glorious blend of vetiver, ylang ylang, lavender and patchouli.

OUR TESTERS’ COMMENTS:

‘This was like no other hand cream I have ever tried. For a start, it smells like you’ve just walked into a spa. The application in unreal, as it instantly absorbs into the skin. Results leave you with hands so soft they could rival a two-year-old’s. And my nails are in brilliant condition’
‘10/10! This lovely hand cream moisturised my old crêpe-y hands, LOL! Definitely has anti ageing properties. I will definitely be purchasing once this runs out’
‘I have never paid this amount for a hand cream before but I do think its worth the price.’

Lanolips Lemonaid Lip Treatment

This little tube of whipped balm is a thirst-quencher for dry lips, slicking on via an angled dispenser to deliver a zestily lemony treat.

OUR TESTERS’ COMMENTS:

‘My lips get very dry and I use lip balms all the time usually every 15-30 minutes all day, but I could go longer without reapplying this as it stayed on and actually moisturised my lips really well. By the end of two weeks they definitely felt better’
‘I love that the balm has a slight shimmer, without being obvious’
‘Very moisturising. I use every night as I have dry lips due to cancer of the oesophagus and not being able to swallow, eat or drink. I think it could be recommended to cancer units in hospitals and used by the patients to alleviate dryness.’

Beauty Bible Lip Balm (Aloe+Vitamin E)

Well, we are very proud that we scooped an Award in our own trials! This is the only product Beauty Bible has ever put our name to (and is exclusive to VH here): chunkily-shaped, it glides on beautifully and is amazingly nourishing. But don’t just trust us on this – listen to what the testers had to say!.

OUR TESTERS’ COMMENTS:

‘Liked this better than any other balm I have tried as it wasn’t at all sticky but properly moisturised my lips, rather than just sitting on the surface. Despite this very cold winter weather, they have stayed soft and lush looking and feeling’
‘Fab product. I loved this balm, which moisturised my lips excellently over the winter cold months, quickly improving texture and softness. It changed the appearance of my chapped lips; I was able to put lipstick on and it didn’t ‘bleed’ after.’

De Mamiel Dewy Facial Mist

The winner in our ‘Instant Face Saver’ category is a serum from the renowned holistic facialist and acupuncturist that works like a facial mist, spritzing onto the face to deliver a blend of hydrating, nourishing ingredients that shield the skin against environmental damage.

OUR TESTERS’ COMMENTS:
‘Simply spritz this liquid mist over the skin, inhale the uplifting scent, and watch your skin becoming, soft, smooth, dewy and refreshed, also uplifted in a rejuvenated way’
‘A pick-me-up in a bottle, like a breath of fresh air for the skin and senses’
‘I used the de Mamiel spray later in the afternoon to perk up my skin – it feels moisturised and plump after – and my mood. The scent and the fine mist make this a product that I found myself looking forward to using.’

This Works Perfect Legs Gradual Tan

Our own go-to for bare leg S.O.S.-es. won Gold in the Gradual Tanners category – so next time you have to reveal parts of your body that are currently swathed in vests and opaques, make sure you’ve this to hand. (Even though it says ‘Legs’ in the name, it’s great all over!)

OUR TESTERS’ COMMENTS:

‘A lovely body treatment. The tint is instant and the very natural colour develops gradually over two to three days, as if I have been on a sunny holiday’
‘I was thrilled that a self-tan product used on pasty white skin looked so natural; skin absorbed it very quickly and I felt as if I’d used a smooth, pampering body moisturiser. An instant tint with a slight glow,but doesn’t scream ‘I’ve been tangoed…’

Aromatherapy Associates Renewing Rose Body Oil

No question that yet again, the divine rose fragrance – always so, so consistently popular with our testers over the decades – helped nudge this AA oil towards its high score.

OUR TESTERS’ COMMENTS:

‘Top marks for this lovely fragranced oil, which absorbed within a few minutes. Skin was immediately soft, a lot more nourished and beautifully fragranced’
‘My skin had a glow from the start and it was particularly effective on my dry feet and elbows; legs look very moisturised and my scars, stretch marks and dry patches all look 100 times better’
‘I was blown away by the sheen it left on the skin. My lower legs looked ten years younger, I really mean that! They were perfectly smooth and looked like I had leg make-up on!’

Travel size beauty product of the week

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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…

2019 Resolutions And Solutions

Old typewriter close up with "New Year Chapter One" typed on paper

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.