March Newsletter

Red and Yellow tulips on a blue wood background

And somehow it’s the March newsletter, with all that it brings. So we are going to be taking a look at some new product launches, a new skincare brand and all the latest news and feedback, of which there is quite a lot, but there always is.

I want to discuss our feature articles too, which have always been so very important to me, and as most of you know, International Women’s Day is on March 8th and I will be jumping onto ‘The Podium’ to talk about that and Chrissie Rucker, Founder of The White Company.

Additionally, there are one or two treats in this newsletter and I reveal the brand that has taken their prices right down, as opposed to right the way up, which is the normal occurrence as things go. Let’s do it:

C-Deep Vitamin C Serum

And so it was that we released C-Deep Vitamin C Serum on the February newsletter.  We honestly didn’t know what to expect because, as I wrote, Vitamin C Serum 23% + Ferulic Acid is our bestselling beauty product.  So did it crush the original?  No it didn’t in a sense.  But in another way it all went a bit crazy mad because C-Deep is the Vitamin C that doesn’t irritate and penetrates far deeper than any other form of C.  I’ll attest to that because I am happily using it without any ‘side-effects’ whatsoever, which is somewhat of a miracle bearing in mind my touchy-touchy sensitive skin.

Of course, we have had feedback of the most brilliant kind about C-Deep, but some have a Vitamin C dilemma, which one to use?  The answer is that so many of you are using both.  Vit C Serum 23% in the morning and C-Deep in the evening.  Actually it doesn’t matter which way round you do it, I’m just feeding back the majority view.  Happy.  Yes we are and thank you.  Another star is born. In a long line of them.
VH Editorial: Is Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate The Best Vitamin C Serum?C-Deep Vitamin C Serum £18 for 30 ml; Vitamin C Serum 23% + Ferulic Acid £10 for 30 ml


Our mission to support niche brands continues; it is such an important part of the work that we do and so please allow me to introduce you to Willowberry skincare, founded by Jenny Retourné.

As most of you know, our curation of skincare brands remains pretty tight and I like it that way. It allows us to remain authentic rather than continually introduce new brands and products every other day of the week. And as we maintain that authenticity, so too Willowberry. Our values align and the trust is reflected in the efficacy of each of their three products.

In full transparency, these products contain essential oils; this means that I am unable to use them because of my intolerance and allergy to essential oils. That said, I had them tested by others and the feedback was so incredible, I couldn’t ignore it. With great trepidation, I tested a baby-bit of each product on the back of my hand just to feel the textures. Impressed.

So yes, just three products in the range, which of course follows the ‘simplicity in skincare’ zeitgeist rather magnificently. Here they are:

Nutrient Boost Cleansing Balm: The word ‘balm’ conjures up thoughts of ancient apothecaries, lotions, potions and poultices. My fascination with ancient rituals has been with me for all time and this cleansing balm is loaded with natural ingredients. Vitamins, antioxidants, chia seed and Vitamin E are blended with coriander seed and geranium. In the here and now, this balm helps melt away dirt and make-up and its spa-like fragrance is rather divine. Indulgently so.
Nutrient Boost Cleansing Balm £29.99 for 60 ml

Nutrient Boost Day Cream: Formulated to help nourish and protect, this is a hydrating, non-greasy face cream, which includes Hyaluronic Acid and the innovative antioxidant, Firewood.

Famed for its regenerative properties, Firewood, which is also known as the Epilobium Flower, is often the first plant to pop up in places where the ground has been burnt from forest fires, hence its name. With proven antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, Firewood deeply hydrates and reinforces the skin barrier function. It is joined by vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids, including Rosehip, chia seed and Vitamin E.
Nutrient Boost Day Cream £27.99 for 60 ml

Nutrient Boost Face Oil: Face oils are often too heavy for daytime use, but this one isn’t. It is ultra-light and absorbs rapidly into the skin. It’s aim is to nurture and it does that with the help of Rosehip, chia seed and Vitamin E, as per the day cream. It can also be used as a base for make-up, which is all rather good actually.
Nutrient Boost Face Oil £26.99 for 30 ml

Finally, Willowberry have put together a Mini Skincare Gift Set, which contains mini sizes of each of the above products. This of course means that you can trial each of the three products before you commit to the regular sizes. It contains 30 ml of the Nutrient Boost Cleansing Balm, 30 ml of the Nutrient Boost Day Cream and 10 ml of the Nutrient Boost Face Oil. All boxed in pink. Cute.
Mini Skincare Gift Set £39.99

Ionicell – The Treat

Short and sweet. Here is Ionicell, our current bestselling health product. This is the next-generation hair, skin and nails supplement that most of us take. Strengthens hair. Addresses hair loss. Supports skin integrity. Performs virtual miracles on nails. I take it. Shabir doesn’t. His loss. My gain.

The Treat: The regular price for Ionicell is £20 for 60 Vegicaps, but while stocks last you can buy the Ionicell Twin Pack for £30, which means you save £10. I would spend that £10 on the Fulvic Nail Cream; so that’s a double whammy treat as I’ve just swiped £2 off of the price of Fulvic Nail Cream. Because I can. All for a good cause. The dual route to amazing nails. *** Sorry, this promotion has now ended ***
Ionicell Twin Pack £30 (Ionicell £20 for 60 Vegicaps); Fulvic Nail Cream £10 (while stocks last – which won’t be long!).

Basix For Seriously Dry Feet

What is this, I said to Shabir when I was standing spying by the side of his desk.  I didn’t wait for an answer, but just stole it and put it in my bag.  Anything that has the words ‘seriously dry’ is good with me and with the added word ‘feet’ it was a shoe-in (sorry!) to make an appearance in my bathroom.  It says that it exfoliates any calloused areas in order to remove the build-up of dead, dry skin.  It does. Oh happy day.
Basix Skin Defence Cream Foot Food £15.95 for 50 ml

Vitamins To Take In Your 50s

As most of you know, Shabir has been going through the decades and writing about the supplements he recommends.  And so we have reached the 50s and no sooner had he finished, I grabbed hold of it and told him I was sending it out on The Weekend Read because I didn’t want to wait for the newsletter to release it.

Not wishing to divert ourselves away from Shabir’s article, I just want to say here that the vision for us has never changed and education remains of the utmost importance.  As I continually write, it is just not good enough to load products onto a site, particularly health products, without the knowledge and expertise to address numerous concerns, which would include contra-indicating with prescribed medication.  We have a responsibility to each of you, whatever the product, and we will uphold that stance no matter what.

But it’s not only about education, it’s about lifestyle, emotions, wellbeing and so much more.  And it’s about friendship.  In our love and support for each other, I hope that the collective words from each of us on the editorial team reach you and touch you in the way that we all hope for.  We are ‘The Girls’.  And then there’s Shabir, and his articles. If you’re 50+, this is for you. 60+ soon (no pressure Shabir!).
VH Editorial:  Vitamins To Take In Your 50s

Lano – Two New Products

I can barely contain my excitement as I tell you about two new products from Lano. I don’t think you ever forget the brands that you launch and Lanolips was one of those brands. I vividly remember sitting in a café somewhere off Bond Street with Kirsten Carriol, the founder of Lanolips, as we discussed our excitement at launching the now-epic 101 Ointment in the UK. The rest is history.

So the two new products and, rather wonderfully, they are for the face. I think it was pretty inevitable that Kirsten would direct the brand this way and as fabulous as she is, so are her products. With a shift in brand name to Lano some time ago, here they come:

Lano Face Base – Day Cream: This, says Kirsten, is your short-cut to great skin and the base for your face is hydration. This product is all about a quality formulation minus empty promises and hocus pocus, which, quite honestly, we are all rather bored with. Well I am anyway. In a sense, this is deconstructed skincare. You can understand it and it doesn’t treat you like a fool, say Lano, and I concur. Too many brands think we are completely dumb. We are not and we can see right through you. No names. No dissing. But honestly!

Anyway, back to it and Lano Face Base has been formulated to deeply replenish and store skin lipids. You can layer under, over or mix with your favourite actives and serums, which will sit well with many of you. Its hero ingredients are lanolin, soothing colloidal oatmeal, glycerine, milk, vitamin E and antioxidants.

It glides on creamy, which then gives way to a distinctive grippy-feel when the lanolin locks down. It will then sink right into the skin, leaving your skin happy and prepped for what comes next. That choice is yours. Far be it for me to tell you to mix it with Neurophroline. Except I just have.
Lano Face Base – Day Cream £20 for 60 ml; Neurophroline by GoW for VH £18 for 30 ml

Lano Face Base – Aussie Jetlag Mask: For those who don’t know, Lano is an Australian brand and they know a thing or two about jetlag. Formulated to wake up your stressed dry skin, this leave-on mask gives a hit of lanolin, a zing of mint, a punch of caffeine and then there’s ginger. In other words it is packed with ingredients that specialise in deep hydration, skin repair, revival and defence.

Slather it on for about ten minutes, allowing your skin cells to drink up what they need. A slight tingling is normal and if there is any excess, just wipe with a towel. This is suitable for all skin types and if you are feeling brave, use during flying. Long haul just got more interesting and I’m about to do it. Shabir will die a thousand deaths and do his normal thing of pretending he is travelling alone. I mean heaven forbid he should actually know somebody on the plane. That would be the end. LA here I come.
Lano Face Base – Aussie Jetlag Mask £20 for 60 ml


And talking of jetlag, a friend was about to do some heavy-duty long-haul flying and so I gave her a stash of Spacemasks to take with her. She suffers from insomnia at the best of times, so I thought they may help. And they did. They worked, she wrote from New Zealand. Glory be the day, I wrote back. Sleep awaits those who wear Spacemasks. In bed and on planes.

Weirdly, or otherwise, several days after that email exchange, I discovered that Spacemasks are now available on Virgin. Oh, I said to Harriet (Founder of Spacemasks). How wonderful. Are they giving them away in Virgin Upper, thinking that would be a brilliant initiative. Well, no actually, you have to buy them. I see.

Based on that I’ll do my own initiative. Buy a box of Spacemasks and we will send you one extra Spacemask, which you can save for when you fly. Or otherwise. Last time I did this it all went a bit mental. That’s why I’m doing it again. Oh and the friend was Lisa Armstrong of The Telegraph. As if she needs more fame. Queen of the Front Row and two times winner of the British Press Awards, Fashion Journalist of the Year. That’s my girl.
Spacemasks £15 for Five Spacemasks (Six, while stocks last, which won’t be forever)

The Podium

If we are doing friends, then let’s continue on the theme and it gives me the greatest pleasure to write about another friend, the very lovely (and very clever) Chrissie Rucker OBE. Chrissie needs little introduction, she is the Founder of The White Company and the Founding Patron of the #ChangeAGirlsLife Campaign at The Prince’s Trust. And it is the latter that I want to talk about.

The #ChangeAGirlsLife Campaign has been founded by a passionate group who are committed to changing the lives of young women that The Trust works with. These young women may have grown up in extremely challenging circumstances with issues ranging from abuse, addiction, bullying and homelessness. These early life experiences can often have a detrimental effect that can prevent them from fulfilling their true potential.

Recent statistics throw up some very disturbing facts. In the UK today,  over 100,000 girls become temporarily or permanently becoming excluded from secondary schools each year.  377,000 young women are not in education, employment or training and NHS data shows an unprecedented rise in hospital admissions because of self-harm among girls under 17 in the past decade.

We each have our passions and mine is specifically focused on cyber-bullying and the dangers of social media. This is something The Prince’s Trust has also seen major rise in. Once again, tragically, we have all watched in abject horror at recent sad events as yet another young life is lost. Cyber-bullying is happening every single second of every single day to hundreds and thousands of people, including our youth, which is abhorrent. That much I know.

In the words of Chrissie: ‘I am not sure I would be where I am today without all the incredible love and support I’ve received over the years from people who believed in me.  The young women we help at The Prince’s Trust simply don’t have this.  However, I’ve seen time and time again, that with a little bit of the right help at the right time, these incredible young women can go on to have happy and successful futures.  Their stories are so inspiring and there are so many more we need to help ’.

Love and support are the powerful energies that The Change A Girls Life Campaign enables and happily three out of four young women move forward into a job, training, further education or start a business after their time at The Prince’s Trust.  The statistics are high and the mission is to help make a positive difference and to change as many young lives as we can, one by one.

I have written incessantly over the years about using our platform for the better good. It is in this space that I am able to share and in so doing we will donate a percentage of our sales today and on Sunday 8th March (International Women’s Day) to Women Supporting Women. If we are able to change just one young life from this initiative, then we are happy; two lives and we will be over the moon. Thank you for reading.*

Glow – Illuminating Elixir

Sarah Chapman, herself a Patron of Women Supporting Women, has released a limited-edition product called Glow.  An illuminating elixir, it embodies Sarah’s dedication to rejuvenating skin at a cellular level.  This formulation boasts a unique cocktail of high-performance actives to help promote a rejuvenated glow.  Among them are Blumilight, a new-generation ingredient that tackles blue light pollution from digital devices and Nelpure, an extract inspired by the lotus flower.

The lotus flower symbolises purity, serenity and opportunity, which aligns with the charity, Women Supporting Women, as above. For every Glow sold, Sarah Chapman will donate £10 to The Princes Trust to support the Women Supporting Women initiative.
Glow by Sarah Chapman £64 for 30 ml

Preventing and Treating Stress Headaches

With stress levels at an all-time high, it is no wonder that increasingly more people are complaining about stress and tension headaches. We understand that they are linked to stress, but what actually happens when your head starts to bang.

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache and may appear once or twice a month, daily or anywhere in between. For the majority, these headaches are mild and short-lived, but for some the pain can carry on for several days. The pain tends to be throbbing, affecting the front, top and sides of the head.

Most people experience pain around the back of the neck and in the muscles between the shoulder blades. Although some people experience light sensitivity, tension headaches generally do not affect vision and balance. Shabir takes a look.
VH Editorial: Preventing and Treating Stress HeadachesNeuro-Mag £32 for 90 Capsules

Focus On A Product: Pore Cleaning Powder

For many of us pores are the bane of our life, especially if they are accompanied by blackheads. Ageing also causes pores to look bigger because of the diminishing amount of Hyaluronic Acid, which not only helps hydrate skin but also works to help strengthen the structure of your skin. On that, I swear that taking HA every day for nearly 20 years has made a vast difference.

But back to pores and unfortunately the number of pores we each have is governed mostly by our genetics. We cannot alter our genetics, but we can definitely take steps to help keep pores clean and free of dirt and debris, which will make them less visible.

If you have oversized pores, you can great improve their appearance with the use of Pore Cleaning Powder. Containing Light Pink Kaolin, Zinc Oxide, Aspen Bark and Calcium Carbonate, it works hard to cleanse and draw out excess oil, dirt and debris as well as gently exfoliating dead skin cells. The result. Refined skin.

To use Pore Cleaning Powder, just dampen a cotton pad and press onto the powder, and then spread it over your face, at which time you may look as if you are appearing in an advert for Germolene, but who cares really. Certainly not me, I love this stuff; actually it probably goes beyond love into the realms of being besotted.

Play with it too. And why not. Create your own mask by mixing a small amount of the pink powder into a paste with three or four pumps of HA Serum. Behold, a hydrating mask. And then if you want to create a skin brightening mask, mix the powder with three or four pumps of Vitamin C Serum 23% + Ferulic Acid. I mix mine in a pestle and mortar, with my apothecary thoughts peaking. Such fun.
Pore Cleaning Powder by GoW for VH £12 for 50 grams; Hyaluronic Acid Serum by GoW for VH £9 for 30 ml; Vitamin C 23% Serum + Ferulic Acid £10 for 30 ml; Hyaluronic Acid Capsules High Strength £35 for 30 Vegecaps

Better You – Two New Products

So two more new products from Better You; the innovation continues with Folic Acid Daily Oral Spray and B-complete Daily Oral Spray. Let’s take a look:

Folic Acid Daily Oral Spray: This essential vitamin for pregnancy contains a highly bioavailable active form of folate. Scientifically formulated to deliver methylfolate directly to the bloodstream, it by-passes the primary processing by the gut. The tiny droplets within the spray absorb quickly into the buccal membrane and it does all of this with a hit of natural blueberry flavour. Dosage instructions are on the product page, so please read carefully.
Folic Acid Daily Oral Spray £14.95 for 25 ml

B-complete Daily Oral Spray: An expert blend of eight B-vitamins, these vitamins work together to help support your body’s natural energy metabolism, helping with the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. Included are Vitamin B12, Folate and Vitamin B5, which help contribute to normal mental performance. And spray. When you can.
B-complete Daily Oral Spray £14.95 for 25 ml (Pre-Order Only – Stock Should Arrive within 7-10 Days)

Scalp Respect

Adequately covered, but never blessed with an abundance of hair, I was always conscious of what should have been my crowning glory, writes Claudia Simon. In my 20s others would blame my ‘over’ washing as I whinged about my thin and limp locks. In my 30s they blamed the kids instead.

But five days after my 36th birthday, the thinning had become thinned and the attention was totally focused on one patch. As I got out of the shower and combed through my hair, I felt that unexpected chill of air touching skin.

Claudia writes about her experiences, her visits to a trichologist and then reports on her findings. In transparency (again!) Claudia is a much-valued member of the VH team, but her love of Fulvic precedes her recent arrival as content manager. If you have hair loss, or thinning hair, please do take the time to read this.
Scalp Respect by Claudia Simon; Fulvic Hair Trio £75 (Fulvic Acid Shampoo; Fulvic Acid Conditioner; Fulvic Acid Mist)

News and Feedback

Apple Cider Vinegar

This is the product that just will not stay on the shelves. No matter how many we order, it is never enough and we have wiped the manufacturer clean of stock so many times, it’s a joke. Except it really isn’t a joke when you can’t get your hands on the product. As I write this, there is yet another long wait list, but we’ve ordered a huge stash, which should arrive any day now. Today would be good.

Our stock probably won’t last long, but if you love this product, may I suggest you buy one or two more than you need right now. By that, I don’t mean that you should order ten or twenty because heart failure could kick in. I’d rather like to see LA at least one more time. I also want to go and see The Light Salon at Nordstrom’s at The Grove and have a treatment if you don’t mind. Shabir will mind. Don’t care.
VH Editorial: The Health and Beauty Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar; Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies £15

The Light Salon

The segue, where I now talk about my ongoing love of the Boost At-Home LED Treatment Mask and the all-singing-all-dancing Bib, which we launched on the last newsletter. Such joy these products bring to me and to so many of you. By now, those who possess The Bib are no doubt wrapping it here, there and everywhere. It has no bounds and of course its healing benefits are pretty profound. But that’s what LED does, it helps heal and it can also diminish aches and pains.

After all this time, I still use my masks most days and I’m the first to admit that I’m pretty fickle when it comes to beauty gadgets and tools. I get bored ever so quickly, but I will never get bored with these or Sarah Chapman’s Pro Pore Refiner (I think this is the fourth time I’ve written about it!).

But back to The Light Salon and just as I’m a real advocate of all the above, I am that way too about the treatments available at The Light Salon. In the salon, or at home, I really don’t mind, at which point I will refer you to my experiences with treatments, and most especially Pressotherapy, in the article below. More is more.
VH Editorial: PressotherapyBoost At-Home LED Treatment Mask £395; Boost Advanced LED Light Therapy Décolletage Bib £445 by The Light Salon; Pro Pore Refiner by Sarah Chapman £128

Lebon Toothpaste – Price Changes

As I wrote at the top of this newsletter, it is incredibly rare that a brand actually takes their prices down, but Lebon, the wonderful brand hailing from France, has done just that. Who am I to question, but I’m guessing that their initial price points were just too high for their UK audience.

Some people are totally besotted with them, that would be Jo Fairley for one, but do take time to explore the range as there are some rather innovative flavours amongst them. I love Fearless Freedom and Rhythm of Love. There are a million miles separating Lebon from other toothpastes, but they are special. Prices now start from £10.95. Bathroom-porn. Probably.
Lebon from £10.95

Derma E

I actually don’t know why, but I never write about Derma E Skincare despite the fact that we have carried this skincare brand right from the very beginning of VH time. Without me even saying one word, it still has a huge fan-base. So for those of you who use Derma E, there are a few new products for you to check out. One is their Vitamin C Gentle Daily Cleansing Paste and the other is Ultra Hydrating Alkaline Water Eye Gel.

Look, Derma E is never going to be ‘up there’ with all the ever-so-smart brands available, but actually who really cares about the packaging. What matters is their efficacy and ability to deliver a range of products that are targeted for specific needs. And that they do really well.
Derma EVitamin C Gentle Daily Cleansing Paste £15 for 113 grams; Ultra Hydrating Alkaline Water Eye Gel £19 for 14 grams


Given that we are all different, it nevertheless thrills us when we get feedback from each of you. So this from a customer: ‘Just to give you some great feedback. After taking Cholestsafe for 90 days, my cholesterol has come down from 7.7 to 5.5. Just ordered some more’.

It would be wrong for me to suggest that this will happen to everybody who takes Cholestsafe, I cannot do that, but I can refer you to Shabir’s article, which may help if you have high levels of cholesterol.
VH Editorial: How To Lower Cholesterol NaturallyCholestsafe £25 for 90 Capsules

Right, let’s do two more new products:

3-In-1 Shoe Freshener by Margaret Dabbs

One of the most surprising bestsellers last year was the Shoe and Insole Cleansing Spray by Margaret Dabbs. It helps eliminate foot odour, cleanses and preserves the condition of your footwear, whilst helping to protect your feet.

Onwards and Margaret has just released her 3-In-1 Shoe Freshener, which is an electrical appliance with Active Oxygen (Ozone) technology. What a thing and we all swooped on it when it arrived. So three stages, and first cleaning; it refreshes shoes using the above-mentioned technology. The second state is purifying, as it helps eliminate bacteria and fungi that cause odour and the last stage is drying. This process happens from the inside out, which is much better for the shoes than drying them on the radiator.

But what is Active Oxygen technology? Well, it’s an environmentally friendly, naturally occurring chemical reaction when electricity is applied to moisture to produce high purity, high concentration molecules O2 and O3 Ozone. These molecules are safely released from the device and will ensure that bacteria and germs are removed.

To use, simply plug into a power supply and place the 3-In-1 Shoe Freshener into your shoes in the evening and the next morning your shoes will be fresh, dry and odour-free. You can of course use this with the Shoe and Insole Cleansing Spray. Double whammy foot care.
3-In-1 Shoe Freshener £64; Shoe and Insole Cleansing Spray £19 for 100 ml

Beat The Blues Drops of Gold

Most of you are familiar with the fabulous Beat the Blues Room Spray, so I am really happy to introduce you to Beat the Blues Drops of Gold. An uplifting, mood enhancing remedy, it helps induce feelings of happiness and joy, while helping to banish melancholy.

These happiness inducing drops contain homeopathic remedies and phyto-actives to provide multi-layering benefits. These include Gold (Aurum Metallicum) to nurture your emotional centre, boost energy and uplift the mind. Pulsatilla for when you feel emotionally out of control. Gelsemium to help with anxiety. Nat Mur to help alleviate feelings of deep sadness, St John’s Wort to help improve mood and Saffron to help enhance libido and improve memory.

In other words, this is a tincture of our time, but please note that this product is not meant to replace prescribed antidepressants, but to help uplift those in need of support, which is such a critical issue of modern times.
Beat The Blues Drops of Gold by Ilapothecary £29 for 15 ml

VH Editorial

Here come the girls:

Beauty Bible Stars

This year’s Beauty Bible awards took place on 19 February and yes, we were there cheering on Jo and Sarah and the brands that won a much-coveted award. We love the BB awards because they are about real women, who test and then rate the products submitted. And because we collectively believe in keeping things real, you cannot ‘buy’ an award and the winners are a collection of products that make a discernible difference. Jo and Sarah reveal five of their best, but I will also reveal that Spacemasks won a Gold Award too.  And in the middle of the room, Harriet and I did a happy dance together. Thankfully it wasn’t filmed.
The Beauty Bible Awards: Five Of The Best by Beauty Bible

The Power Of The Pause

Two years ago, my life took an almighty pause, writes Sue Peart. All the more almighty for being totally out of the blue. One minute I was hurling myself at life hell for leather, leaping out of bed before dawn and crawling back late at night. In the working hours in between, I would resemble the main character in a particularly frenetic kind of video game, ricocheting from task to task, dodging obstacles, clearing hurdles, avoiding explosions and spinning twenty plates (or was it 25?) while tap dancing on the desk. I loved every damned second of it. The next minute, it all stopped.
The Power Of The Pause by Sue Peart

Blowing Hot and Cold

‘On the off-chance that anyone fancies a cold dip and hot sauna after, bring towel and swimmers’ emailed my yoga instructor, two days before Christmas. With cabin fever already beckoning, I dug out my least awful swimsuit without giving the cold/hot message too much thought. Until I arrived at the local unheated lido to see that the water temperature was six degrees. Exactly how cold is six degrees Celsius? Jackie Annesley finds out.
Blowing Hot and Cold by Jackie Annesley

Lip Fillers In A Tube?

There aren’t many specific products I MUST have in my washbag at all times. Except one, and it’s a bizarre item to get so het up over on the few occasions it’s missing. It’s an antioxidant ‘lip complex’ by Skinceuticals and I’ve taken to using it as an anti-ageing lip cream overnight (which is technically incorrect, as antioxidants are primarily supposed to shield you from the day’s environment attacks). Inge van Lotringen talks all things lips.
Lip Fillers In A Tube by Ingeborg van Lotringen

An Apple (Or Rotten Tomato) For The Teacher

There is a Japanese proverb that goes: ‘Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.’ I don’t think that I ever notched up 1,000 days of diligent study – but unfortunately, the greatest teachers in my life came long after the school bell had tolled its last; people like the spiritual guru Ram Dass (who taught me to meditate), Anita Roddick, my friend and mentor (who taught me about bringing your sense of humour to work, because you’re really going to need it) and even my husband, come to that, who taught me to keep the faith at all times. (Not religious faith. Just ‘the faith’, trusting to the universe.)
An Apple (Or Rotten Tomato) For The Teacher by Jo Fairley

Ditch The Guilt

During the same weekend that I grit my teeth when the Duchess of Cambridge spoke about mother’s guilt (I tried to imagine Prince William ‘fessing up to the same thing – no me neither), I read another article in The Observer by the goddess, Mariella Frostrup about tackling her insomnia.  I don’t suffer from insomnia, but have many friends who do and go to incredible lengths to try and ‘fix it’.  Carolyn Asome investigates.
Ditch The Guilt by Carolyn Asome

The End Bit

So much love for Indeora, the natural deodorant we launched on the February newsletter. As with all magnesium-based products, when you first use them you may experience some slight redness and a prickly feeling. This is completely normal and it usually indicates a magnesium deficiency, which most of us have. I’ve put Shabir’s article underneath this where he looks at magnesium deficiency. It doesn’t include the deodorant, but you get the gist.
VH Editorial: Magnesium – The Most Important Mineral We All OverlookIndeora Healthy Magnesium Deodorant £16.99 for 75 ml

Play it again. The Ingenious Beauty Ultimate Collagen+ Gift Box contains three bottlers of 90 capsules (RSP £128.97) and a free pack of 45 capsules with a value of £21.49. That means you save £25.47. Limited time offer.
VH Editorial: How To Take Collagen SupplementsIngenious Beauty Ultimate Collagen+ Gift Box £124.99

The resurgence. I put the Rainbow Volume S Brush on 60 Seconds recently and the love started all over again. I still think it’s one of the most brilliant brushes ever. It makes me laugh.
Rainbow Volume S Brush £12

And finally we come to the end of another newsletter, so together with Shabir and the entire VH team, I thank you for your love, kindness and loyalty. It is something that I never take for granted and neither do the people who are closest to me as we stand side by side on the platform you have given us. This was always the vision.

I hope each of you have a healthy and happy March.
This Aries girl is sending love.

Gill x

* If you would like further information about Women Supporting Women, please get in touch with Gemma Craggs on 020 7543 1299 or

Is Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate The Best Vitamin C Serum?


Pure Vitamin C serums for the face containing L-Ascorbic Acid are beneficial for the skin helping to protect against damaging free radicals that encourage wrinkles by destroying the collagen matrix. They also help to brighten and freshen the appearance of dull looking skin, together with inhibiting the formation of pigment in skin prone to hyperpigmentation. However, Vitamin C serums containing pure L-ascorbic acid do have some limiting factors which can influence their effectiveness.  We explore:

Limiting Factors of Vitamin C Serums

Most vitamin C serums are water-soluble because L-Ascorbic Acid, known as vitamin C or L-AA for short, disperses evenly in a water-based serum, but therein lies a problem. The dermis of the skin has a rich lipid (oil) barrier and it is here that many of the nutrients, including vitamin C, are required to manufacture collagen, a protein that gives skin its youthful firmness and the ability to resist wrinkles. Using water soluble vitamin C serums containing L-AA can be an issue since this nutrient cannot make it through the oil barrier and therefore cannot provide maximum benefits as far as collagen manufacture is concerned.

To overcome this, some formulators use very high strengths of L-ascorbic acid (including us) so that at least some of this vitamin will be delivered to the dermis, however this can still be a problem and we are aware of this. If you have sensitive or reactive skin, such high strength vitamin C serums can cause tingling, irritation, redness and may be uncomfortable to use.

Vitamin C is highly pH dependant. It only works at a low pH since it is an acid and anything added in the serum that is alkaline will neutralise it, rendering it ineffective. Formulating this form of vitamin C into a serum is not easy because you have to use preservatives and other ingredients that have a low pH and this can be problematic especially to those with sensitive skin.

Another problem can arise using high strength vitamin C serums containing L-ascorbic acid. L-Ascorbic Acid is highly unstable when exposed to light and/or air. It oxidises to Dehydro Ascorbic Acid (DHAA)which then further degrades to different irritating acids. In effect, the best case is that you may have a product that is not so effective and the worse case is that the oxidation creates free radicals that are actually damaging to the skin. To mitigate this during the day, a sunscreen is absolutely imperative, but it is unlikely that this will provide protection all day unless applied reasonably frequently.

These are just some of the limiting factors of using the pure acidic form of vitamin C, L-Ascorbic Acid. This has led to a host of synthetic vitamin C derivatives such as magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl palmitate and numerous other vitamin C esters.

Vitamin C derivatives

When a compound is added to vitamin C, such as a palmitate or phosphate, this then changes the compound making vitamin C less likely to degrade. So aside from being less likely to degrade, the other advantages of vitamin C derivatives is that they are less irritating and to a large extent not dependant upon pH.

The disadvantage of these derivatives is that they tend to be less effective than L-ascorbic acid. Many of these derivatives tend to be water soluble meaning that tend to work only on the surface layers and some of the oil soluble derivatives such as ascorbyl palmitate tend not to be converted into ascorbic acid when they reach the dermis meaning they are not that beneficial.  Knowing these limitations, we have been in research and development and the result is C-Deep Vitamin C Serum.

Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate

Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate is a form of vitamin C which has been modified to be soluble in oil or lipids. Studies indicate that it not only penetrates the epidermis, the uppermost layer of skin, but also the dermis, which is the deepest layer of skin. In fact, it penetrates the skin faster and deeper than any other form of vitamin C.

So if it penetrates both layers of the skin, does this make it more effective? Vitamin C derivatives need to be converted into L-ascorbic acid; it is the L-ascorbic acid element that fades away your age spots, enhances collagen production and fights free radicals. Studies indicate that Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate does convert into L-ascorbic acid and behaves in exactly the same way as L-ascorbic acid, but without the limitations.  This is important.

Its benefits are:

Provides potent antioxidant protection by destroying free radicals that cause premature ageing of skin.

It provides skin brightening benefits by reducing the amount of skin pigment by almost 80%.

Helps boost collagen production and, in fact, more so than L-ascorbic acid. This is because one of the limiting factors with L-ascorbic acid is its inability to penetrate deeper into the dermis.

Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate also stimulates the production of glycosaminoglycans such as hyaluronic acid that are naturally present in skin and so help to hydrate skin as well as plump skin cells. Levels of these glycosaminoglycans decline with age and this may account for some of the changes that occur with our skin as we age.

Tetrahexydecyl ascorbate is stable, safe, effective and suitable for all skin types including sensitive skin.

Garden of Wisdom’s C-Deep Vitamin C Serum is, in my opinion, one the best vitamin C serums currently available on the market. This vitamin C serum contains a therapeutic strength of Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate which is suspended in Squalane, a light oil that is easily absorbed into skin.

Included in this vitamin C serum is Thiotane®, a powerful antioxidant amino acid that occurs naturally in the body. It is found in high concentrations around cells prone to free radical damage helping to protect the genetic material and the mitochondria, which are the energy factories within our cells. These energy factories are absolutely vital for cell regeneration and repair.

Garden of Wisdom C-Deep Vitamin C Serum provides a potent blast of vitamin C to your skin without any irritation. Like all Garden of Wisdom serums, this vitamin C serum is clean, non-toxic, free from alcohol and silicones.

Oxidative Stress & Vitamin C Serum


How to prevent oxidative stress from ageing your skin – By Camilla Hooper


  • If you’re up to date on your skincare knowledge, you may have heard of the term ‘oxidative stress’ especially in the past year. A result of ‘free-radical damage’ oxidative stress is caused by our environment – whether that is self-induced lifestyle factors or external aggressors such as pollution and UV – and it is now thought to be one of the biggest causes of premature ageing. So what causes oxidative stress and how can you prevent it from ruining your skin?

    What is oxidative stress?

    “To put it simply, oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between free-radicals and antioxidants in your body,” explains in-house pharmacist at Victoria Health, Shabir Daya. “Free-radicals are essentially by-products of a metabolic process in our body carried out by our cells. These by-products – or molecules – can cause damage by bonding themselves to healthy cells that the body needs and breaking them down,” he adds. Read More…

Does Blue Light Affect Our Health?


Over the past few years, there has been plenty of debate about the effects of blue light can have on us. While techies applaud the convenience that brighter, clearer screens offer our hectic schedules, sleep gurus and skin experts have warned about the implications they can have on our sleeping patterns and complexions. 

Last year, a study found that blue light can be detrimental to our eyes and cause damage to our cornea and retina. Researchers from the University of South China warned that we should take protective measures, especially at night to help prevent putting our eyes under oxidative stress.

Earlier this week, another study highlighted that it could be possible that blue light doesn’t just damage our eyes, but it could also affect our brain. Scientists at Oregon State University looked at the effect of blue light has on fruit flies and found that even if it’s not shining directly into your eyes, blue light can damage the neurons in your brain. 

“There is evidence suggesting that increased exposure to artificial light is a risk factor for sleep and circadian disorders,” says co-author of the study, Eileen Chow. “And with the prevalent use of LED lighting and device displays, we are subjected to increasing amounts of light in the blue spectrum, since commonly used LEDs emit a high fraction of blue light.”

Wait, what is blue light?

From your laptop to your smartphone, pretty much every screen in your home emits high-energy visible (HEV) or ‘blue’ light. Even some of your light bulbs give off blue rays. Why have we moved to blue light? Well, essentially it’s super bright and allows you to see your screen clearly in sunlight and it is thought to help boost attention and mood levels.  

How does it impact your body?

Blue light hasn’t been around for long enough for us to fully understand how it affects us, however scientists have been exploring the topic. Plenty of experts agree that blue light can disrupt our circadian rhythm and light exposure at night has been shown to decrease our melatonin (sleep hormone) levels. 

A couple of years back, a study compared the impact of blue light with green light when it comes to our body clock and found that the former suppressed our melatonin levels for twice as long. So, if you’re the kind of person who wakes up in the middle of the night and reaches for your phone, it’s time to take note and potentially invest in a gentler bedside lamp.

There have also been murmurings about the impact of blue light on our skin and some brands have even brought out formulas that promise to help protect our complexions from the premature ageing that is believed to be triggered by our screens.

Can you protect from blue light?

Aside from living by candlelight and limiting your screen time, a very easy trick is to change the light settings on your phone, laptop and computer. If you have an iPhone you’ll find this in your settings > Display & Brightness > Night Shift, which you can set a timer for. While there’s not a lot of research around the benefits of the Night Shift setting, it does highlight how bright the standard blue light setting is and will help limit your exposure in the lead up to bedtime. There are also protective blue light filters in the form of glasses and phone cases. 

If you find it hard to get to sleep at night it is worth taking Cherry Night by Viridian as cherries help to boost your melatonin levels over time. Admittedly the powder does take a couple of weeks to kick into action, but you will notice that it is easier to drift off if you take it consistently every night around an hour before you want to go to bed.

For those who are concerned about the damage blue light is doing to their skin and potentially the rest of their body, it’s worth increasing your intake of antioxidants to help protect against free radical damage. Look to supplements such as astaxanthin and fulvic acid to help protect your body. We recommend Ful.Vic.Health Fulvic Acid Elixir – those who prefer tablets should try Ionicell. Fulvic acid is a fabulous antioxidant and it provides 65+ essential macro and trace minerals to your body (learn more about the benefits, here).

While a lot more research needs to be done to discover exactly how to protect our skin from blue light, dermatologists tend to recommend applying a good quality antioxidant, such as a good vitamin C serum. Regardless of your budget, Garden of Wisdom’s Vitamin C Serum 23% and Ferulic Acid is a good place to start and if you want more of a treatment mask, try Lixirskin’s Vitamin C Paste.

This is an area of research that is going to continue to evolve though. “Human lifespan has increased dramatically over the past century as we’ve found ways to treat diseases, and at the same time we have been spending more and more time with artificial light,” says Chow. “As science looks for ways to help people be healthier as they live longer, designing a healthier spectrum of light might be a possibility, not just in terms of sleeping better but in terms of overall health.”

How To Boost Your Overnight Skincare Routine


New figures suggest that we’re honing in on our overnight skincare routines. Sleep has always been big business, but now we’re as obsessed with boosting our skin as we are with getting enough shut-eye. According to NPD UK, sales of night creams in the UK have risen sharply in the past year and the night-time skincare market was valued at £43 million between October 2017 and September 2018. Read More…

Vitamin C and Healthy Skin


People keen on having healthy looking skin are often advised to eat lots of fruits and vegetables. The scientific basis for this advice is the supply of vitamin C which is absolutely essential for skin health. Skin is composed of two layers, the epidermis which provides a barrier function and the internal dermal layer which provides elasticity and strength and also provides nutritional support to the epidermis. But why is vitamin C essential for skin and what role does vitamin C play within skin?

How does it work within your skin?

Normally, skin contains high concentrations of vitamin C which supports important and well known functions including collagen synthesis and providing antioxidant support to shield against UV-induced photo-damage. Skin is the largest organ in the body and its appearance generally reflects the health of its underlying structures. We also know that vitamin deficiencies within the body, and hence the skin, can result in significant skin disorders. Vitamin B deficiency within skin may result in red rashes, seborrheic dermatitis and increased incidences of fungal infections of the skin and nails. A vitamin C deficiency is characterised by skin fragility, corkscrew hairs and impaired wound healing. Prolonged vitamin C deficiency results in skin haemorrhages as found in scurvy. Read More…