August Newsletter

August Newsletter

Welcome to the August newsletter where I talk about Survival, the four new products from NIOD, we release another product from The Ordinary and we take a look at a few other new product launches. Shabir takes an in-depth look at probiotics, discover the latest product to go off the Richter scale and the VH editorial girls have done it again with some pretty hard-hitting articles, which I will write around on The Podium. Because it is August, I have given myself permission to write a shorter newsletter than usual, so that said let’s do Survival:


I am not going to go too technical about Survival because together with the ingredients, everything is listed on each of the product pages. Instead I will reiterate again that although the focus will undoubtedly be on the inclusion of SPFs (with the exception of Survival 0), Survival is a range of four networked protection systems that help support healthy skin defences against environmental and lifestyle-related assaults. Despite their lightweight texture, these formulations offer a broad selection of advanced technologies to target the effects of oxygen radicals including the superoxide radical, nitrogen radicals, glycation and advanced glycation end-products (AGE), pollution, smog, stress, infrared and blue light. The Survival products are not tinted and the colour is derived from the protective components such as Lutein, Pycnogenol and fractionated melanin.

Controversially, or otherwise, the only time I wear an SPF is when I am on the beach, or in strong sunlight, so I may be the exception to the rule, but I am using the Survival products because of the spectacular formulations (thank you Prudvi) and rather like ‘alpha and omega’ we now have ‘CAIS and Survival’, the first and the last. In Statera. The Balance.

Perhaps my above stance comes to be because there is a thing about SPF products; this entire sector of the beauty industry is cloaked in confusion and many myths, most of which are completely false. SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is an indication of UVB protection only and does not communicate any level of protection with respect to UVA. The SPF number can be highly misleading in terms of actual protection. SPF 10 blocks up to 90% of UVB rays; SPF 20 blocks up to 95% and SPF 30 blocks up to 97%. The thing that really gets to me is the ‘holier than thou’ attitude about SPF 50/60; I want to scream when I see the marketing around this genre because at 98% there is only 1% more protection from UVB rays than SPF 30, yet they are portrayed as being the salvation of skin in the sun.

To read about the myths, such as, in practical terms, there is no such thing as a ‘waterproof’ SPF, and other important facts about SPF products, please click here; this should be read as an educational piece and some of the statements may well shock you. Outside of that article, nothing is more shocking than discovering that a high percentage of SPF products do not actually have the level of SPF as listed on the packaging and promotional material. This is more common than rare; they are big name brands and I’m not going to name them, but I have a feeling Brandon won’t be able to stay silent, most especially after a particularly well-known brand is ‘offering’ SPF 50, which three separate lab tests have proved is only SPF 27, or thereabouts.

I kind of rest my case here, just three more things to say. A thank you to Brandon for writing the ‘educational’ piece and Survival 0 is currently the second bestselling of the four products, which is for night-time use (although I sometimes use it during the day) and does not contain SPF. Interesting times.

Finally, Survival has only launched in Europe while DECIEM are completing the necessary registrations in markets internationally, which can take up to six months. During this time international customers can order from VH (that’s us!), importing for personal use only.
Survival 0 £20 for 30 ml; Survival 10 £23 for 30 ml; Survival 20 £24 for 30 ml; Survival 30 £25 for 30 ml; CAIS 1% £38 for 15 ml

The Ordinary – Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone

The latest offering in a series of Vitamin C products, this is a water-free stable suspension containing 30% pure L-Ascorbic Acid. The Ordinary already offers a suspension of 23% Vitamin C in a silicone-free base. Whilst this formulation remains ideal for best utilisation of Vitamin C, some find the short-lived gritty feel on the skin uncomfortable. To address this concern The Ordinary’s Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone uses silicones to eliminate the gritty feeling of Vitamin C. Silicones do impair absorption of Vitamin C slightly, but offer a smooth, more comfortable finish. This formula uses low-volatility silicones and incorporates higher levels of Vitamin C to maximise dermal exposure.

I don’t think I need to write much more because I am already in ‘stress mode’ knowing that this will probably go out of stock before I blink. Just to say that it targets uneven skin tone and signs of ageing, it can be used either in the morning or the evening, once a day is enough and less is more.

Rolling back to last September, what on earth was I thinking when we launched The Ordinary. I must have been delirious or Brandon spiked my food. I’ll spike him for all the stress he has caused me. Thankfully I’m testing a NIOD product that will help take every bit of stress off my face. If we are really lucky, it may be released before 2020!
Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone £5.80 for 30 ml; Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% £4.90 for 30 ml

Magic Skin – Skin Repair Gel

There are many times when a product consistently sells out without me mentioning or writing about it. Magic Skin is one of those products.

Magic Skin is an Aloe Vera based gel, which also includes Myrrh oil, Helicyrysum essential oil and Rock Rose oil. The healing properties of Myrrh will help soothe skin blemishes, skin rashes and skin conditions such as acne as it has strong anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. Also an active healer, Helichrysum is one of the most powerful natural anti-bruising ingredients. Good stuff!

Everything about Myrrh makes me happy, so I’m going to allow NIOD’s Myrrh Clay to crash in here because I love using it, I think it is vastly under-rated and it visibly firms the skin.
Magic Skin by 1001 Remedies £25.60 for 35 ml; Myrrh Clay £28 for 50 ml

Coconut Oil Teeth Whitening Pen

I can’t remember precisely when it was, perhaps it was two or three years ago, Catherine Turner wrote an article about oil-pulling, an age Ayurvedic oral hygiene method using coconut oil. In the past couple of years, oil-pulling has become a bit of a ‘thing’ and there are several products on the market; we launched CocoBaci, a 15-day oil pulling programme, which has continually been popular. While I still recommend CocoBaci, there is now an alternative, the Coconut Oil Teeth Whitening Pen, which some of you may prefer to use as it is less ‘faffy’.

Developed in America by two dentists, it is natural, fluoride free and tastes pretty good. Besides helping to eliminate plaque and bacteria, coconut oil can also help improve breath. All you do is unscrew the cap and remove the wand. Apply gel to dry teeth in a circular motion, taking care not to apply the gel to the gums or lips. The easiest thing to do is to smile as you are doing it, just keep smiling for about a minute and there is no need to rinse. Anything that helps remove stains, brightens teeth and helps maintain healthy gums is good with me. In my bathroom!
Coconut Oil Teeth Whitening Pen £19 for 10 grams

Mrs White’s Swatnot – Fly Repellent

And suddenly there is a theme. This is another product I haven’t written about, but I suppose I should really. When India Knight wrote about Mrs. White’s Unstung Hero, we all know what happened; if you missed it then you can read all about it here. She also wrote about and praised Swatnot, so here is the lowdown:

Swatnot is a natural people and pet friendly fly spray which effectively eradicates house and stable flies without posing any health risks. Its unique blend of essential oils, including highly precious chrysanthemum absolute, is a welcome alternative to chemical pesticides and has a massive following from horse owners as it doesn’t compromise horse’s health. That aside, and as India wrote, no horsefly bites seems miraculous to her. Me too. I don’t have a horse, but I’ve had horsefly bites and they are very far from cute. And spray!
Swatnot £15 for 250 ml; Unstung Hero £20 for 250 ml

Detox Foot Patches

The theme takes a tangent. This is another product that went off the Richter scale, as mentioned above, when Sarah Stacey wrote about them in YOU magazine, so this from Sarah:

‘Recently I rediscovered Bodytox Detox Foot Patches, which you apply at night. Come the morning, I peeled them off, shuddered at the dark waste on each pad, then marvelled at how well I’d slept and how rested and toned my face look. Your feet are the foundation of your body, according to Chinese medicine, with 60 acupuncture points and some 7000 nerve endings. The patches combine wood vinegar, mugwort extract, chitosan (an ingredient from crustacean shells) and tourmaline (a semiprecious mineral), which claim to draw out toxins from your body’.

No more words from me other than to say my eyes nearly popped out my head when I was watching the screens, which was then surpassed by the thought that everybody had them except me, including Carole Morin, the VH Addict who has written about them on her article – this article should actually come with a health warning. She walks a fine line.
Detox Foot Patches £12.99 for Six; VH Editorial: Bum, Bum, Bum by Carole Morin

What Can’t Probiotics Do?

I have been holding onto Shabir’s article on probiotics for a couple of months, basically because the bestselling Florassist Mood has been out of stock for nearly two months and it features prominently for low mood. I don’t want to get side-tracked here and write about out of stock products, so I will do that later, but for now I am going to replicate a part of this article, but as ever, you can read the full version by clicking on the link below.

After birth, our gut is colonised by trillions of micro-organisms called probiotics, which we are supposed to have for life. These micro-organisms, mostly beneficial bacteria, are important to the health and wellbeing of our bodies and carry out numerous functions which include enhancing immunity, digesting food and manufacturing energising B vitamins.

Each of us have a unique probiotic profile which is influenced by genetics, gender and age, all of which cause it to change throughout our lifetime. This probiotic profile is of course also influenced by our diet and lifestyle.

With increasing research, we are finding out that many probiotic species have specific roles to play in the body, including elevating mood, preventing gum disease as well as protecting our heart.

And suddenly we have a bit of a probiotic minefield. For overall health and wellbeing, we have long recommended Mega Probiotic ND, a broad spectrum probiotic supplement. The ND stands for non-dairy and it contains eight species of friendly bacteria than can help colonise the gut after passing through the harsh environment of the stomach. We call Mega-P a core probiotic supplement, which can then be supplemented by an additional specific probiotic without fear of any side effects.

I am not going to list the various probiotics available here; this list is extensive but it covers low mood, as above and then a plethora of probiotics to help issues such as high cholesterol, gum disease, inflammatory bowel disorders, intimate care, travel, problem skin and probiotics which are suitable for babies and children.

Probiotics are, in my opinion, essential for gut health; I have taken Mega-P since we first launched it, several years ago. I throw in others when I feel I need them; I think Florassist Mood is a stunning supplement, always remembering that not all probiotics are created equally. I start banging my desk when I see probiotics with low therapeutic dosages claiming to be the ‘cure-all’ for everything. Thump, thump, thump … I’ve been thumping for years!
VH Editorial: What Can’t Probiotics Do?Mega Probiotic ND £19 for 60 Capsules; Florassist Mood £26 for 60 Capsules

Do You Suffer From Period Bloating?

Shabir is having a moment. In this second, of three articles this month, we investigate period bloating, which is a major concern for so many women as they approach the start of their period.

It is estimated that eight out of ten women suffer from bloating before and at the beginning of their period. Although a relatively common occurrence, period bloating is actually fluid retention and results in feeling overly full or having a swollen waist. It is not a serious concern, but it is an annoying one.

Bloating usually occurs at the premenstrual stage; during a menstrual cycle there is a major fluctuation between the female sex hormones, oestrogen and progesterone. It is the relative levels of these hormones and the difference in levels of the two hormones that cause different symptoms in different women before and during a period. Women can actually gain pounds of water due to the ability of oestrogen to cause fluid retention.

Most often, by the third day, the water retention begins to diminish and the symptoms ease because when oestrogen levels rise bloating increases and when they begin to fall, the bloating obviously decreases.

Aside from hormonal changes, other possible reasons for period bloating could be excessive amounts of blood pooling in the pelvic area, your diet and high levels of prostaglandins, hormone type compounds which can also lead to bloating.

Dandelion root and leaves have a long history of use in traditional medicine as a digestive aid, but it is also an amazing natural diuretic. Dandelion root is a rich source of vitamins, minerals and numerous antioxidant plant compounds and as a potent diuretic it helps increase urine flow, rids the body of excess water and helps relieve feelings of bloating.

Shabir recommends Dandelion Tincture by A Vogel which contains freshly harvested organically grown root. The recommended dosage is 15-20 drops up to three times a day just before and during your period. Additionally, Dandelion may help to relieve menstrual cramping, which can only be a good thing. Caution: Dandelion Tincture should not be combined with conventional diuretics and should not be used by people with gallstones.
VH Editorial: Do You Suffer From Period BloatingDandelion Tincture £9.75 for 50 ml


In his final article this month, Shabir writes about excessive sweating, also known as hyperhidrosis, a medical condition that affects approximately 3% of the adult population. Hyperhidrosis affects mostly the palms, feet, underarms and face and yet it is thought that only 50% of people affected seek treatment.

Hyperhidrosis is thought to arise as a result of the over-activity of the sympathetic nervous system or in some cases it could be due to an underlying medical condition. The sympathetic nervous system normally functions to respond to localised changes, an example being increased sweating as a result of an increase in temperature. The condition is categorised into:

Primary hyperhidrosis: This is where there is some sweating beyond what would be deemed normal, however it is not excessive all around the body. Primary hyperhidrosis is thought to arise when a particular sweat gland gets overly stimulated. Genetics may be implicated.

Secondary hyperhidrosis: This is when a trigger for excessive sweating is diagnosed, which may include hyperthyroidism, menopause, withdrawal from drugs or alcohol, diabetes, gout and certain infections.

Hyperhidrosis is a serious medical condition and is an indication that there is something wrong with the body either nutritionally or it may well be caused by a toxin overload. Seeking a natural herb or vitamin to help relieve hyperhidrosis is almost like taking the conventional route.

Shabir recommends three different products, which you can read more about in the article. They are Daily Fruit & Veggie by Natrol, Organic Sage Leaf and Detox Foot Patches.
VH Editorial: Natural Remedies For HyperhidrosisDaily Fruit & Veggie Ultimate Superfood £20 for 90 Capsules; Organic Sage Leaf by Viridian £16.90 for 90 Capsules; Detox Foot Patches £12.99 For Six


From the moment of inception I have always loved Soapsmith. I love the products they make, I love their ethos and when I look at them I start to smile. I smiled rather a lot when their butter bath bombs landed on my desk. They really are divine and are packed with shea butter, cocoa butter and coconut butter to gently cleanse and moisturise the skin.

The variations include Lavender Hill, Bloomsbury (my favourite), Green Park, Limehouse, Marble Arch and Whitechapel. Add to that three new soaps that have just been launched, Kings Road Soap, Whitechapel Soap and Shuffles Soap, which I stole from our stock and brought home with me; I have tried hard not to raid our entire stock because I want them stacked here, there and everywhere; they also make perfect gifts. Bath bomb and soap newness and fabulousness here we come!
Butter Bath Bombs by Soapsmith £3 each; Soaps £7; Shuffles Soap (A Random Assortment of Soaps) £7

Glow Oil

There is nothing quite like launching a sunless body oil in the middle of winter, but that is exactly what happened with Glow Oil and it became an overnight bestseller. If it can do that in the depths of darkness, then this little baby will be rocking its way through the summer months.

Glow Oil is a safe, light, fast absorbing sunless body oil and helps achieve a radiant glow without DHA (dihydroxyacetone) commonly found in self tan and fake tan products. With tiny golden prisms, Glow Oil offers an immediate golden radiance whilst the DHA-free keto-sugar forms a lasting glow in two to three days to achieve the best glow, rather like a self-tan, but in my humble opinion, safer and infinitely better on so many different levels.
Glow Oil by The Chemistry Brand £20 for 100 ml

Marula Oil – The Ordinary

I just want to say a few words about Marula Oil. The very best Marula Oil comes from South-West Africa, a region encompassing Namibia and bordering South Africa. As I have written before, it has been out of stock for the longest time because of unfavourable rain conditions in the region. For sure it would have been extraordinarily easy to source a different Marula, but that was never going to happen because in our opinion there is not a satisfactory substitute for the unrefined African Marula Oil used.

Of course we had, and still have a massive wait list. We have received one consignment and more will follow shortly, but it is literally being delivered barrel by barrel. We will get there and I hope the wait won’t be too much longer. If you are desperate for an amazing oil, then do try Squalane while you are waiting. If I wrote that I actually prefer it, it could cause a miniature riot, but I do, so let the riot ensue. Ahem!
100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil £8.10 for 30 ml; 100% Plant Derived Squalane £5.50 for 30 ml

The Podium

I am jumping on The Podium to write around three of this month’s articles, which have been written by Jo Fairley, Carolyn Asome and Arly (Detail Oriented Beauty). Each of them are deeply moving in their own way and I am sure that they will touch so many of you.

Before I write anything else, I need to say that it would be the easiest thing in the world to commission articles to fill space on our site or to give me something to write about on the newsletters. Nothing could be further from the truth because I have always wanted VH to be a home, a place where we all belong and where we hold hands no matter what. We laugh, we cry, we do many different things, but we feel safe because we are safe.

There is no separation between any of us; I am often moved to tears when I read some of these articles because more often than not their words are an extension of my own belief system. These three articles couldn’t have come at a more profound moment and each of them came within five minutes of each other. Wearing my heart on my sleeve, these are the girls who sustain me and continually sustain me with their unconditional love and support in all that they do and in all that they are. I thank them.

I am going to start with Arly; I think she is trying to rival me with her word count because her article is seriously long and I know it took her a very long time to write it. The article is called ‘The Problem With Instagram’, but I think it should actually be called ‘The Problem With The World’.

Her article goes far, far deeper than the words I wrote about social media and cyber-bullying. It goes deeper because she is in that ‘social’ world and to all intents and purposes I am not. It is a shocking insight to human behaviour and then it drills down to the beauty industry.

For her own protection, I edited out some sections which took matters right to the core of what individuals and brands have done and continue to do. Amongst several other things, including wait lists, she writes about the fact that she has been very close to taking down her platform because of the cruelty of others and I can totally relate to that.

It takes great strength and courage to stand your ground against extreme adversity in any walk of life, but in an industry that is meant to promote all things bright and beautiful, the ugliness is apparent and transparent to so many of us. Arly, thank you for such a thought-provoking and brave article.
The Problem With Instagram by Detail Oriented Beauty

Let’s do ‘Embracing Change’; this is Jo talking about the one thing that gets to all of us at numerous times in our lives, change. There are so many connotations of what change is, but growing up loathing change, Jo writes about how she came to terms with change and how best to embrace it.

I think some of the most poignant changes any of us face are those of death and illness. This article arrived on the back of me reading an email from a VH Addict who had just been diagnosed with a life-changing illness. In such circumstance there is no supplement that can help, but the safety of our words and thoughts are everything.

I am going to replicate Jo’s final paragraph:

‘We never know what life will throw at us – and we’re often told that what matters isn’t what happens to us, but how we deal with it. I couldn’t agree more. But it was Stephen Hawkin, no less, who once simply said: ‘Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change – I’ll take that Professor ….’ Me too. ‘S’,  this one’s for you.
Embracing Change by Jo Fairley

Following on, another five minutes went by and then I received an email from Carolyn. Her subject. Emotional Intelligence. The theme of change, again. Talking to Carolyn, she told me that she felt that we were on the verge of an energy shift, which is why she chose that subject to write about.

In essence all three of these articles are linked; sections of Carolyn’s article, particularly her final paragraph, relate (unknowingly) back to Arly’s article, which is no coincidence in my humble opinion. No more words needed.
Emotional Intelligence by Carolyn Asome

VH Editorial

Just two more articles for me to tell you about; the first is from Catherine Turner who writes about Super Sleek Hair Treats and how oils have become the superfoods of the beauty world. Argan Oil has played a major role over the past few years, but I adore how she has referenced VO5 oil, which we all used to warm in a cup of hot water when we were teenagers. Those retro bathroom moments were really something. Wait, that’s an article in itself. The Beauty Bible girls can do that drenched in Aqua Manda!
Super Sleek Hair Treats by Catherine Turner

The final article is from the Beauty Bible girls and they do Double Duty Beauty, which is a rather interesting read about using products that perform more than one task.

Another retro moment here where Sarah and Jo write about Christian Dior’s Svelte anti-cellulite treatment, which actually was a true anti-cellulite treatment and it worked, it really worked. We all used Svelte, regardless of whether we had cellulite or not, we didn’t care, the smell was everything and if I close my eyes I can still smell it.

An iconic product, but those days have long gone since certain ingredients used in that and other formulations have been banned for many years, so we are left with mediocre offerings that talk about ‘the appearance of cellulite’; they can do no more and it’s tragic. I know there are greater issues in life, but a Bring Back Svelte campaign would be rather excellent. Millions of rampaging women overturning a ridiculous ingredient ban. How wonderful!
Double Duty Beauty by Beauty Bible

Right, back to it and just a few more things to say:

Check out the In Transit Skin Defence Kit if you are a This Works fan. The kit contains In Transit Camera Close-Up (20 ml), In Transit Skin Defence (20 ml) and In Transit No Traces (20 Pads). This anti-pollution skincare trio has been put together to cleanse, protect and moisturize skin in portable travel sizes. This is a limited time offer, worth £35 it is available for £25 while stocks last.
In Transit Skin Defence Kit £25 (worth £35)

All the girls in the office have fallen in love with The Wet Brush Mini. It is a portable Wet Brush, which you can fold up and just pop in your bag. It has a mirror too, so double whammy happiness. They were all lusting after the Rose Gold Mini and it seems to have disappeared from my desk, so I don’t know who has it! The thing is that I thought they would arrive in time for this newsletter, but it appears that they won’t, so keep an eye on our site because we will load them as soon as we receive them. In the meantime check out all other brushes in The Wet Brush range. They have become collectable!
The Wet Brush

Curl it. Straighten it. Set it. Forget it. Introducing Style on Steroids from Color Wow. Sprayed on dried hair, this versatile, high performance aerating spray blasts in volume with ‘setting’ results that lasts from dawn to dusk. Spray and play to refresh and re-set second day hair. Color Wow say it is foolproof and impossible to overuse …. it’s the over-achieving must-have mist and I’m not going to argue with them!
Style on Steroids by Color Wow £20 for 262 ml

There is one more product that was meant to be on this newsletter, but it isn’t. I wonder what it could possibly be and where it could possibly come from! I’m absolutely not running a competition because there will be thousands of winners, so let’s just say that the September newsletter should be rather interesting.

The end and all that remains is for me to thank you, together with Shabir and the entire VH team, for your continued support and loyalty.

If you are going away, travel safely.

With love

Gill x