February Newsletter

February Newsletter

Hello and welcome to the February newsletter, which is a week later than it should be, but never mind that, here we are and actually it’s all my fault because I wrote on the January newsletter that the newsletter would be released today – my head was residing on another planet clearly!

If you read the January newsletter you will have observed that I really didn’t want to write about products because there was so much more I wanted to write about. But I did and I kept the focus on self-care, because it matters, and the response was quite unbelievable, for which I thank you. I will be continuing the theme, in a rather profound way, on this newsletter with the launch of four (yes four!) new brands.

So I am doing two launches first, we will then head into a few things I need to say, back into the launches and then we’ll do a few other things, including some of the editorial features, headed by an article by Jackie Annesley, which totally rocked me on an emotional level. And behold somehow or other, we have Lisa Armstrong too. Let’s do the first two brands and I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve right the way through this newsletter:

The Hayo’u Method

I want to turn the clock back five years. At that time I was introduced to somebody who wanted to launch a brand. I sat and listened. She talked. She explained. She touched me emotionally and then she touched me physically. Within two minutes of her physical touch I started to cry, which perhaps wasn’t the coolest thing to do as we were sitting in the middle of a restaurant. I ran outside and sobbed my heart out on the pavement of Conduit Street in London (of all places!). She had touched my soul. That moment is etched in my consciousness for all time.

Her name is Katie Brindle. Inspired by Chinese medicine, Katie founded the Hayo’u Method to enable people to master their health and now five years on, we are ready to tell the story.

Katie’s work is based on a little known, but central aspect of Chinese medicine called Yang Sheng, which means ‘nurture life’. It takes self-care to the next level because it advocates dealing with small health problems at root level to help limit the chance of illness getting a foothold in the body. A great Chinese proverb sums up Yang Sheng – ‘a drop of prevention is worth a bucket load of cure’.

It is this way of ‘being’ that is so essential to each of us. In basic terms the Hayo’u Method addresses the root cause of most modern day illnesses – inflammation.

And so I invite you to join us on the journey as we unfold the simple truths of Yang Sheng and how simple one minute rituals work to help reduce stress and inflammation. These simple techniques will help relax the body, enabling the free-flow of circulation and assist detoxification by supporting the lymphatic system, which is so imperative to our wellbeing.

Founded upon education, it would be absolutely impossible for me to introduce you to the wisdom of Yang Sheng on one newsletter and I’m not even going to attempt it. Instead the story will unfold month by month as we publish Katie’s words and together we will walk the Yang Sheng path.

And then there are the tools. When I saw some of these five years ago, my eyes nearly popped out of my head and it’s a miracle I didn’t faint with excitement because I knew. And perhaps that is all I need to say here before I introduce you to the wonders of Gua sha.

Gua sha

Gua sha is an East Asian therapeutic healing technique that has been widely practiced in China for thousands of years. It has been shown in studies to help increase micro-circulation by approximately 400%, help clear inflammation and help increase immunity.

Gua sha involves using a round-edged tool, traditionally made of materials such as jade for the face and metal for the body, to press-stroke the skin until redness appears. ‘Gua’ means to rub, whilst ‘sha’ describes the redness that results.

The Hayo’u Beauty Restorer is a jade facial tool that provides an instant, visible solution for your complexion and trust me you will begin to see results after just one minute of use and I promise I’m not hallucinating. Several of my friends have all tried the Beauty Restorer and they appear to be residing in heaven, not Harley Street, thank you.

I could of course write out the three iconic Chinese techniques for using this tool, but it is far easier to watch Katie demonstrate the Beauty Restorer, which you will find on the product page, linked below. We recommend using the Beauty Restorer with her wonderful Beauty Oil, specifically formulated to be used with the Beauty Restorer. This deeply nourishing formula contains camellia and palmarosa oils to help safeguard the delicate skin around your face and neck, while helping to clear the damaging effects of stress.

The Beauty Restorer is made from Xiuyan jade. This type of jade has been used in Chinese facial massage for thousands of years and is revered for its restorative, cooling properties. Like most things, all Gua sha tools are not created equally and I think that is all I want to say on the subject, other than inferior jade will not have the same effect. Also, and I don’t care who kills me on this, never, ever use a metal Gua sha tool on your face. It will damage your skin.

Finally and by way of a more in-depth introduction, Victoria meets Katie Brindle, which I hope helps you to get a further understanding of the work Katie and I are so, so passionate about.
VH Editorial: Victoria Meets Katie BrindleHayo’u Beauty Restorer £35; Hayo’u Beauty Oil £33 for 30 ml


I am sure that most of you will have heard of Ila Spa; using the ancient Sanskrit word for Mother Earth, Ila describes itself as ‘a beyond organic skin and heart care brand’. Founder Denise Leicester’s vision was to create a range of highly potent and sacred products using the most ancient and purest sources of energy – plants, flowers and herbs. Ila treatments are offered in some rather spectacular spas all over the world. But I am not here to talk about Ila, I am here to talk about Denise’s newest venture (and adventure), Ilapothecary.

Ilapothecary launches as an accessible everyday diffusion line, which taps into the new mood for beauty products, which do more than simply looking after your skin. The range has been designed to help access the energetic and emotional needs of any new beginning.

These are products with a purpose and they are infused with powerful remedial ingredients, including British grown herbs with a long history of healing, medicinal flowers, powerful gem stones, aromatherapy oils, vitamins, live stem cells and homeopathic ingredients such as Arnica and Calendula. It is Denise’s belief that no other brand has ever blended these various healing ingredients to such a profound effect, so let’s take a look at five of these new products:

Feminine Happy Oil: A mood-balancing blend of fragrant essential oils for all over body nourishment. The synergistic combination of Sandalwood is blended with Rose, Jasmine and herbs integrated with Maca. Maca is an adaptogenic herb that helps support the endocrine system by imparting energy, while helping us to adapt and cope with stress. Rose oil is known to have a deep psychological effect as it helps soothe the emotions which are so often rocked by fatigue, mood swings, anxiety and depression. Breathe it. Absorb it. Feel it. And rest.
Feminine Happy Oil £40 for 100 ml

Beat The Blues Room Spray: This is one of Denise’s favourite products and mine too. I am writing this newsletter while breathing this heady fragrance and I love it. It hits my senses in a rather profound way. It contains some of the most powerful essential oils for uplifting emotions and helping to combat depression. The oils used include Clary Sage, Rose Geranium, Tuberose and Petitgrain. A truly elevating blend, it really is rather fabulous.
Beat The Blues Room Spray £28 for 50 ml

SOS Body Balm:  Put to the test, the SOS Body Balm received many plaudits and I’m not really surprised. A powerful sweet-smelling herbal balm, it helps soothe and calm dry skin and is hydrating and deeply moisturizing. This too works on your senses as well as dealing with dry, flaky skin. The essential oils used include Blue Camomile and Rose sweetened with Vanilla and whether you have dry skin or not, this can be used when you are feeling particularly weary. Arnica is included for its healing properties.
SOS Body Balm £36 for 100 grams

Magnesium And Amethyst Deep Relax Bath Soak: I’m not sure that many newsletters haven’t included some reference to magnificent magnesium because it is such an essential mineral and we are mostly magnesium deficient. So here comes a rather sublime blend loaded with ingredients including Juniper Berry, Benzoin, Petitgrain, Amethyst and Amber. We know that magnesium helps relax muscles, helps ease nervous tension and helps promote sleep. This truly is a winning formulation and although I am not swayed by packaging (as I’ve written so many times), this will look rather gorgeous in your bathroom.
Magnesium And Amethyst Deep Relax Bath Soak £35 for 400 grams

SOS Pearl Drops: A new modern-day take on a rescue remedy. Combining homeopathy, flower essences, herbs and gems, this formulation can be used to great effect in moments of fear, anxiety and restlessness. Blended to be used as both a preparation and a solution, it trouble-shoots, strengthens and stabilizes. Particularly recommended in moments of vulnerability, place three to five drops under the tongue as and when needed.
SOS Pearl Drops £15 for 15 ml

In a world where I only managed to ‘meet’ two or three people a year in the ‘Gill meets’ section of our site, suddenly Victoria meets two people in one month. I hope you enjoy reading her interview with Denise Leicester, which gives you a more insight into the brand and Denise’s journey. With loving thanks to Anastasia Achilleos. An angel walking on earth.
VH Editorial: Victoria meets Denise Leicester

The Weekend Read

Out of somewhere and nowhere, The Weekend Read will have been delivered to your inbox early on the past three Saturday mornings. Nobody knew, but actually this is something we have wanted to do for a very long time and I think it is really important. We cover a multitude of things on each newsletter, but with the newsletter being released only once a month (thank heavens) I wanted to be more current. Perhaps an example of this would be our immediate response to the BBC documentary ‘The Truth About ….. Looking Good’.

The one and only thing I am going to say about the documentary is that Retinol was cited as being the ‘gold standard’ for anti-ageing. Yes that is true, but Retinols are not suitable for everybody and they need to be used carefully. I literally sat with my head in my hands watching our order screens when the programme finished as I saw thousands of retinol products being ordered.

Used incorrectly, Retinols can damage your skin and it bothered me. I have written several times that I don’t use acid products on my face, but that’s a personal thing and I am not sounding the death knell for acids, I just think that responsibility needs to be taken and so I asked Victoria (she’ll get her own para in a minute) to write about Retinols and Retinoids and we posted that article the following morning and then released it on The Weekend Read.

So after the longest time, we are now more current thanks to the brilliance of Victoria who put The Weekend Read together; this will be a weekly event (or happening) and within 15 minutes of Victoria’s arrival, I actually don’t know how I/we ever lived without her. I adore her, but really, really adore her and I don’t say these things lightly. I now live in fear that she will run back to The Telegraph, most especially after I took her into a seven-hour meeting with me. I mean who does seven-hour meetings. Seriously!
VH Editorial: Retinol: What Is It And What Are The Skincare Benefits

Shabir and Trinny’s Facebook Live

Or perhaps it should be Trinny and Shabir’s Facebook Live. Whatever. And behold, in the middle of a freak snow-storm early on a Sunday morning (everything imaginable happened on that Sunday), Trinny had invited Shabir to appear on her Facebook live series and there we were. Actually there was Shabir, I was hiding in Trinny’s bath.

All I am going to say about this is that I honestly don’t know how Shabir did it because I couldn’t have done that on any subject. So incredibly daunting. There are no words to describe my respect for Shabir’s extraordinary knowledge and we are both so touched by the response.

Poor Shabir. As I write this he is still drowning in emails and just because it is going to happen, I will tell you that Trinny and Shabir are going to do the menopause next – well not do it (as if!) but talking about it. We think it will be live on Sunday 18 February around 9.45 am, but that may change. My God. I would run to the hills if I was asked to do it. No chance of that happening, I absolutely promise you that.
VH Editorial: Five Takeaway Tips From Shabir and Trinny’s Facebook Live

Tutti London

And there it was. A most glorious parcel landed on my desk and I was intrigued. As I was opening it, I was hit (once again) with a fragrance that nearly sent me reeling in its fabulousness. It was a candle, actually several of them, together with a most beautiful note. The note was from a VH Addict and she explained that she had been following us forever and now, together with a friend, she had created a new brand of candles – Tutti London.

Those who know me, know that I go weak at the knees when a candle comes into my life, but they also know that I am so, so fussy and I am sick and tired of expensive candles that just don’t deliver on promise. Heaven forbid I should name names, but it is tremendously common to fragrance the top couple of inches of a candle and allow the rest to just burn through. So if you ever wondered why a candle ‘stopped’ working, this is the reason.

I absolutely promise you that I didn’t write the above paragraph to promote a new brand, but it needed to be said and I’m not frightened to say it. Nobody can kill you for telling the truth, well perhaps they can, but I’m still breathing.

So Tutti London. I don’t think I am going to go into raptures on each of the candles even though I could. They really are extraordinary and the first candle I tested was Italian Lemon. I was so bereft when it was finished, I stuck in a big order for the entire range knowing that a new addiction had begun and Shabir would be doing yet another major eye roll. He seriously despairs of me, that much I know.

There are the three different collections; The Pink Collection, The White Collection and The Black Collection with three different candles in each collection. Victoria tested Wild Mint & Rosemary from The White Collection and we have now tested several of them. Victoria describes them as ‘next level’ and I couldn’t agree more. Viva Tutti London.
Tutti London £48 per candle


And here comes another new brand. Another capsule collection skincare brand and it is the brainchild of Glenda Taylor who created Balm Balm. Three years after selling Balm Balm, she is back with ‘serums for all seasons’. There are five of them and they are blended from natural active plant oils to address individual skin types. They may be used both during the day and the night as a daily moisturiser or as a boost to your regular moisturiser.

As Glenda states: ‘Listen to your skin. Give it what it craves. Don’t be afraid to switch serums from time to time. Like a plant that hasn’t been watered for a long time, your skin will soak up serum to begin with, but will need less over time until you will see that it is happy and glowing with just a few drops of serum each morning and night’.

The five serums are Serum for Combination Skin; Serum for Dry Skin; Serum for Oily Skin; Serum for Mature Skin and Serum for Sensitive Skin. Angelico: A celebration of style, invention and substance.
Angelico Serums For All Seasons £35 per Serum

Jo Fairley meets Brandon Truaxe

Many of you may have read this article as it was recently published in The Mail on Sunday YOU magazine. When I read it my heart almost stopped beating and tears rolled down my face. And it had absolutely nothing to do with the thousands of orders we were receiving for The Ordinary products. That has almost been a given since the brand launched, as have the wait lists, which still exist. What mattered here was that the truth was told. And it was.
Jo Fairley meets Brandon Truaxe

Let’s Talk About Joe

I implore you read this article. It touched me on a level that so many of you will relate to, whether you are a mother or not. Here Jackie Annesley writes about Joe. Joe is her son. Joe has Type 1 Diabetes. So let’s talk about Joe. Its been a while.
VH Editorial: Let’s Talk About Joe by Jackie Annesley

Transforming Body Cream by Ameliorate

There is always a high level of excitement when Ameliorate launch a new product and the launch of their Transforming Body Cream is no exception. I love Ameliorate as many of you know and the brand is such a huge success story. Well it would be really because this is the health/beauty crossover, which I personally believe to be so very important.

So the cream. It comes in a tub and I love tubs. There is something really comforting about dipping your fingers into a tub, most especially when it is filled with a product that provides instant comfort while progressively refining and improving skin texture and condition.

Clinically proven to significantly increase moisture levels in the skin for up to 12 hours, it is of course loaded with optimum levels of ingredients to help exfoliate and renew surface skin cells. Ameliorate, as so many of you now, was created to help eliminate Keratosis Pilaris (chicken skin), except so many of us using don’t have KP, we just adore the products.

The cream doesn’t replace the original Transforming Body Lotion, which incidentally is now available in a non-fragranced option. Forgive me, I think I failed to tell you that somewhere along the way. Meanwhile, I’m having a huge love fest with the cream, which is more bad news for Shabir.
VH Editorial: Treatment of Keratosis PilarisTransforming Body Cream £27.50 for 225 ml; Fragrance Free Transforming Body Lotion £22.50 for 200 ml

Crowes Cremine

It was in the moment I was dipping into the Transforming Body Cream that I had a bit of déjà vu moment. It reminded me of Crowes Cremine. Not in texture, just the memory of that blue tub.

Many years ago we listed Crowes Cremine. It was and is the original theatrical make-up remover which is over 75 years old, so I’m told. It was a really popular product and then something happened. I’m not exactly sure what, but I think the formulation may have been tweaked and it was simply horrid. It was like a giant bit of slop in a tub and not even keeping it in the fridge made any difference. I delisted it.

Wondering whether the issue had been fixed, I ordered some. I used it. It still felt the same as the very original (before the slop) and it still goes quite liquid upon application, which is how it always was. I left it in my bathroom, which is rather warm, for five days before I was satisfied that it wasn’t going to melt into oblivion. It didn’t. It’s back.
Crowes Cremine £8.99 for 200 ml

The Marvelous Mrs Maisel

Look I’m very sorry, but as soon as I watched (binge-watched actually) The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, I knew that I would have to write about it and her on a newsletter. The winner of two Golden Globes, Season One is on Amazon Prime and suddenly there were a few of us who were having hugely deep discussions about Mrs M. It kind of dominated our thought processes for an entire week and actually it still does. Aka …. what would Mrs M do?

A quote from Rachel Brosnahan who plays Mrs M to Vanity Fair: ‘This is a story about a bold and brilliant and complicated woman and I am endlessly proud to be a part of it. But there are so many women’s stories out there that still need and deserve to be told. So as we enter this new year, please, let’s continue to hold each other accountable and invest in and make and champion these stories’.

Personally I think there is a touch of Midge Maisel in each of us girls, she is our heroine and she lives on the wild side (and the Upper West Side, NYC). And the clothes. My God, the clothes. 1950’s chic fabulousness.

And then on a wet and cold Saturday morning, Lisa Armstrong, Head of Fashion at The Telegraph wrote about Midge Maisel and I was dancing around throwing my arms up in the air screaming YES as Lisa invested in and championed Midge. The brilliance of it all.
The Marvelous Mrs Maisel by Lisa Armstrong


Back to it, and what better to do than to announce a one-off limited edition offer on LixirSkin. I don’t need to write about LixirSkin or Colette. The feedback has been phenomenal and I’ve written about on every newsletter since we launched the brand last October.

So here it is. LixirSkin Set One. It includes three products, Vitamin C Paste (50 ml); Universal Emulsion (50 ml) and Electrogel Cleanser (100 ml). The set costs £75 and the retail price of all three products is £86. I think this could be another moment when I run to the hills and hide. I know exactly what is going to happen, so can I just say that this is a Limited Edition and these sets are not growing on trees. Once they are gone, they are gone. And actually I might be gone too.
LixirSkin Set One £75

Icon Night Smartsome™ A³X50³ by Sarah Chapman

Icon Night is the newest launch from Sarah Chapman and is being hailed as her biggest launch since the start of the brand ten years ago.

This from Sarah: ‘This luxurious silky formula delivers scientific actives in a modern encapsulation drone delivery system to target the skin where it is needed most. Vitamin A, potent peptides and de-ageing technologies deliver fast skin smoothing and glow inducing benefits, addressing all signs of premature ageing and dull, fatigued complexions for the ultimate youth boost’.

I am not going to write about the scientific facts, but you can read them all on the product page. An exciting moment for all Sarah Chapman devotees.
Icon Night Smartsome by Sarah Chapman £98 for 30 ml

Fulphyl by Phylia de M

I know there have been quite a few Phylia de M famines for the longest time and we are doing our very best to keep up with all orders as this brand is so revered and loved, so please bear with us as yet another supply and demand issue is afflicted upon us.

Throughout, my love of the brand continues and every now and again a travel size of Fulphyl is released as a Limited Edition and that moment has arrived again. Fulphyl is expensive and I am very aware that it is out of reach for so many of you, but it is an amazing product and whenever I take a course of Fulphyl I really feel the difference. I feel cleaner and more alive (given that various wait lists have virtually killed me over the past couple of years). So here it is together with Shabir’s landmark article on Fulvic Acid.
VH Editorial: Fulvic Acid – The Elixir of LifeFulphyl Travel Size £30 for 60 ml

News and Updates

There are just a couple of things I want to say here. The first is that we have always tried our hardest to process and send all orders out within 48 hours of placement, if we are in stock of the products ordered. It has always been so important to me that you receive your products quickly, but there are times when it is just not possible.

On the Sunday Shabir appeared on Trinny’s Facebook live, the interview with Brandon (as above) was also published in YOU magazine and it’s truly a miracle that our website didn’t collapse. At this given time we are working on a 5-7 day delay in processing, but we are doing the very best we can. Our team are working overtime to try and minimize the wait, so please be patient with us. This too shall pass. I’m so very sorry.

Benenox – Overnight Recharge: I wrote on the last newsletter that Benenox jumped right out at me when it landed on Shabir’s desk and it would appear that it has jumped right out at you too. In the shortest possible time the feedback has been completely incredible.

As I wrote, it isn’t a traditional supplement that helps you fall asleep, it helps to support sleep by ensuring that a constant supply of glycogen is delivered to the brain overnight. In effect it helps you stay asleep longer and to wake up feeling refreshed rather than tired.

When it comes to supplementation there is no instant magic wand solution, but it is being reported that many of you are still waking in the middle of the night, but going back to sleep within a minute or two, rather than tossing and turning for an hour or more. For that, we are grateful for the research and development of this product.
Benenox – Overnight Recharge £12.49 for 135 ml


At this time of year, many of us will experience bouts of colds, infections, catarrh and similar concerns. We often blame bugs as the cause of our illness rather than addressing varying weaknesses in our immune system.

The immune system is unlike any other system within our bodies with a complex interaction between several glands, proteins, tissues, chemical compounds, hormones and gut bacteria. These interactions are all involved to help achieve optimal immunity and in its simplistic form, the immune system comprises specialized white blood cells, which learn what belongs to the body and what does not.

The role of the immune system is to help protect the body against many pathogenic bacteria and viruses on an ongoing basis. Any organism that attacks our system will cause infection and disease and it is the optimal working of the immune system that helps destroy these organisms in order to prevent any further damage and infection. This process is referred to as the immune response. In a far-reaching article, Shabir looks at factors that affect the immune system and how to improve your immunity.
VH Editorial: A Daily Supplement That Supercharges Your ImmunityDaily Immunity £25.50 for 60 Capsules

VH Editorial

I would love nothing more than to write a paragraph about each of our editorial features, but I will be writing forever and you probably wouldn’t need Benenox to put you to sleep. I suppose it could be my claim to fame, but I’ll live without the fame thank you very much, so let me tell you who has written what:

The Beauty Bible girls hold a nail clinic and reveal how to stop bad nail habits; Jo Fairley, who seems to be our intrepid discoverer of all interesting things reveals the apps that can make you happier; Arly writes about her all-time favourite skincare buys and I think we can all guess at least three products that will be on that list.
Nail Clinic: How To stop Bad Nail Habits by Beauty Bible; Apps That Can Make You Happier by Jo Fairley; Arly’s Favourite Skincare Buys by Detail Oriented Beauty

The fabulous Carolyn Asome channels her inner-fashion gene with Spring Refresh and yes of course, she was included on the Mrs M chain of emails (the rest are pretty obvious really); Catherine Turner shares the basics of meditation and Carole Morin is off in her own world writing about ‘Daddy’.
Spring Refresh by Carolyn Asome; The Basics of Meditation by Catherine Turner; Daddy by Carole Morin

Finally, every time I look Victoria has written another article; I absolutely can’t send out a missive every time she publishes something, so just know that you may need to look at the front of our site on an almost daily basis to try and keep up (if you want to keep up!). Some of her articles will appear in The Weekend Read, others won’t, but they will be posted on Instagram. I’m seriously losing the social media battle with the entire team. Nothing to add.

The End Bit

Right, let’s end this newsletter with a few more new products:

Two new nutritional beverages from Viridian. Lovely Viridian. The first is Organic Wild Chaga & Raw Cacao. Wild Chaga is a nutrient dense mushroom and is known as ‘King of Mushrooms’. It is thought to have exceptional health benefits, including increased energy and wound healing, which are said to derive from a mass of nutrients including amino acids, beta glucans and betulinic acid. The inclusion of Raw Cacao is based upon several studies that have shown that cacao possesses varying health benefits.
Organic Wild Chaga & Raw Cacao £29.05 for 30 grams

The second beverage is Organic Pink Bark & Berry. Pink Bark is a rich source of plant flavonoids which have been shown to help rejuvenate and protect the skin with its significant antioxidant activity. Bilberry and Lingonberry are also included in this formulation, both of which have been traditionally used in medicine for their anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, hypoglycaemic and retina-protective properties.
Organic Pine Bark & Berry £32 for 30 grams

This Works have released three new ‘evening’ products. I haven’t tested them, but Victoria has and she thinks they are rather fabulous. They are Evening Detox Cleansing Water; Evening Detox Spray-On Exfoliant and Evening Detox Clay Mask. And suddenly everybody is talking about overnight products. There is an article in there somewhere, but not for now!
Evening Detox Cleansing Water £22 for 200 ml; Evening Detox Spray-On Exfoliant £28 for 60 ml; Evening Detox Clay Mask £32 for 50 ml

And so we have come to the end of another newsletter; my love and thanks to each of you for your ongoing support and loyalty and my love and thanks to the many people who have contributed to this newsletter.

I could never ever write this without several people holding my hand, they are mostly unnamed but they remain, as they always have, an integral part of who and what we are.

Finally in a world that is ever-changing, can we just please take a deep breath and be together.

Thank you.

My love to you.

Gill x