Hello and welcome to 2018 and the January newsletter; I was ever so tempted to make this the first-ever non-product related newsletter because there are so many things that I want to write about other than products. So this is what we are going to do; I am mostly going to write about health issues (actually Shabir is doing nearly all of that) and in between I will have a few soapbox moments, do some feedback, introduce you to new members of our team (exciting!) and somewhere amongst all of this there are a couple of treats and of course the feature articles, which are pretty profound this month.
As the new year begins, the buzz phase is self-care; it is everywhere you look. The New York Times (and as reported in Grazia) has declared that ‘self-care is the new going out’. We are notoriously bad in the UK at doing self-care and I am no exception. We feel guilty about nurturing ourselves and our needs, but in this brave new self-care world I actually ran away (far away) just before Christmas and for the first time ever I didn’t plug my laptop in and I turned my phone off. Life continued.
I am therefore going to dedicate this newsletter to self-care; we will dip in and out of products and editorials along the way and although I have always been against writing about detoxification at this time of year, I am going to break a few of my own rules here; rules are meant to be broken (in my opinion) and non-conformity actually makes me happy, so let’s do it:
A retreat for detoxification, cleansing and renewal, The Mayr Clinic in Austria is rather famous and is meant to be fabulous although I have never been. I’m not too sure that I would last more than 24 hours; memories of being thrown out of a health farm for escaping to buy Maltesers comes to the fore even though it was a couple of decades ago.
But I digress, and I know so many people who have been to The Mayr (press trips mostly – I don’t qualify!) and they really rave about it. Apparently when you check in you are given a medical and Magnesium Citrate. I am forever writing about magnesium products because it is such an essential mineral and we are mostly magnesium deficient.
The potential benefits of Magnesium Citrate are numerous, and these include helping with muscle pain, stress and anxiety, migraines and headaches, cardiovascular health, fatigue and bone health. At the Mayr the sole purpose of prescribing Magnesium Citrate, according to my spies, is that it is their supplement of choice for detoxification, which in other words equates to elimination. Given that it is an excellent supplement to take for constipation, you will get the gist.
Carolyn Asome refers to it in her editorial this month, but I’ll get to that later. Meanwhile certain friends aren’t scheduled to trip over to Austria in the foreseeable future, so I doled out Magnesium+ just before I went away. Take one capsule twice daily with meals; it’s rather fabulous. I suppose we could all pretend we are in Austria, although quite honestly, I would prefer to host a VH beach party. Perhaps one day I will. Hold that thought!
Magnesium+ by Food Science of Vermont £12 for 90 Capsules
Benenox – Overnight Recharge
This new supplement landed on Shabir’s desk and I spotted it while lingering around his pile of new products. You know how certain things jump out at you, well this did the jump, probably because the words ‘overnight recharge’ started singing to me. Yes please, plug me in – like right now would be good.
It did of course help that Shabir really likes this product because most don’t pass the litmus test of approval. It describes itself as an overnight recharge supplement aimed at busy people to help them get the most out of the day, the following day of course.
Benenox is a patented combination of honey, Sustamine and Vitamin B6 which, taken at bedtime, will work overnight to help improve energy levels. It helps to support sleep by ensuring a constant supply of glycogen to the brain overnight, but unlike traditional sleep supplementation, it is not designed to make you fall asleep, but rather to help stay asleep longer and to wake up feeling refreshed rather than tired.
Free from dairy, gluten, lactose, nuts, salt, soya, yeast and wheat, you take 15 ml just before going to bed. And then of course you could also support this with Rise or Shine from Annee de Mamiel’s amazing new sleep series.
Benenox by Natures Aid £12.49 for 135 ml; Rise £35 for 10 ml; Shine £35 for 10 ml
It is a long time since we last did Fabulous Skin; whenever we do this treat it tends to sell out really fast. So here comes the resurrection of three of the most researched supplements for healthy, radiant and youthful skin:
Hyaluronic Acid: Described as the ‘fountain of youth’, hyaluronic acid works to plump up the skin cells and help to erase fine facial ageing lines. As an antioxidant, hyaluronic acid helps to protect skin against free radical damage.
Hyaluronic Acid High Strength £35 for 30 Vegecaps
Skin Restoring Phytoceramides: Clinical studies have shown that wheat ceramide supplementation measurably enhances skin moisture levels and contributes to smoother, more comfortable skin all over the body, including the face. Wheat ceramides offer a scientifically proven means of enhancing beauty from within.
Skin Restoring Phytoceramides £25 for 30 Liquid Capsules
Astaxanthin with Phospholipids: Loaded with health benefits from the all-important antioxidant formulation to helping to optimize brain, limb mobility, immunity, cardiovascular, DNA and mitochondrial health. Regular Astaxanthin is limited by low absorption, however this formulation is a blend of 4 mg of natural Astaxanthin and 80 mg of four phospholipids to help facilitate maximum absorption of Astaxanthin into the blood stream where it is transported to cells throughout the body.
Astaxanthin with Phospholipids £12.50 for 30 Softgels
Together these products cost £72.50, but in a limited time treat we are offering all three supplements for £60, which essentially means that the Astaxanthin with Phospholipids is free. Keyboard time!
Fabulous Skin £60 (Hyaluronic Acid High Strength; Skin Restoring Phytoceramides; Astaxanthin with Phospholipids)
Since the very beginning of VH time it has always been of the utmost importance to me that we are all in this together and that we share. Over the years we have launched some of the biggest brands and products in the health and beauty industry, the list is endless and I’m not sure that even I can remember all of them, although I bet Shabir and Krishna can!
Running alongside all of this, our editorial section has grown, which makes me extraordinarily happy. If you have followed VH over the years you will know that anything goes. I don’t think I have ever asked any of the girls to write about anything specific, I leave it to them to decide what they want to write about and they do, rather magnificently. The one and only criteria is that I don’t want them to product push, although it is inevitable that one or two products do creep in.
I’m not sure that I’m going to live long enough to see our new site go live, it has been a work in progress forever and a day, but I can’t allow that minor detail to stop me doing what I want to do, which leads me to an announcement, actually two announcements.
The first. I am beyond excited to introduce you to Victoria Hall, who is our new Editorial Director. Steeped in incredible beauty knowledge, Victoria was previously at The Telegraph and Harper’s Bazaar. I hereby abdicate our entire editorial section (and more) to Victoria with a great big smile on my face. That said, the newsletter remains mine – of course it does!
So please welcome Victoria to the ever-growing VH family with her debut article ‘What Beauty Means To Me’. I would just add that it hasn’t escaped me that her email is firstname.lastname@example.org and that her initials are VH. My God. She could take me/us over!
What Beauty Means To Me by Victoria Hall
The second announcement and yet another smile goes onto my face as I introduce you to Jackie Annesley, who joins our monthly editorial team. A seasoned journalist, Jackie has held many roles including editor of Femail at the Daily Mail, associate editor at the Daily Mail, features executive at the Evening Standard, editor of The Sunday Times News Review and editor of The Sunday Times Style magazine.
Stepping outside of print media, Jackie has now joined a new start-up, Soda – A School of the Digital Age, which I’ve written about on a previous newsletter. The thing is that you can’t take the journalist out of the girl and every Sunday morning she releases a newsletter, which is infinitely shorter than this opus – well, that’s not too difficult.
A few weeks ago she wrote about Uber. I swear to you I nearly fell over laughing, probably because I have developed a rather unhealthy Uber habit. I honestly don’t know why because I love driving (girl racer), but it all came to a bit of a peak when a member of our accounts team started whispering to Shabir about my excessive Uber account. Hello, I said, I’m here and I can hear you. MEN.
Anyway, back on subject, there are probably one or two more points that we could add since this article was written, but never mind that. So kicking off, I am replicating the Uber article here and next month Jackie will write about whatever she wants to write about, but it will be different to the stuff she does on Soda. If you want to read more of Jackie then please sign up at soda.shop. Amen.
8 Good Reasons To Give Up Uber – And Why You Never Will by Jackie Annesley
Factors Which Compromise Your Gut Health
Over to Shabir: The health of your gut depends upon the balance between the beneficial bacteria and the pathogens that reside within the gut, as well as the permeability of the lining of the intestinal tract. When these beneficial bacteria are at a reduced level or the lining of the gut is inflamed, your body is at risk from gastrointestinal concerns and disease.
The human body has a remarkable ability to heal itself, given some help. To help achieve overall good health you need your gut working efficiently. I always point out that for gut health to be optimal, you need to remove toxins and replenish the lost bacteria in the gut with a good probiotic supplement.
If you have read any of my previous editorials, you will know that I normally recommend Mega Probiotic ND as I believe that this is a good all-round supplement which provides eight strains of acid resistant bacteria that can colonise the gut. Mega P is a great probiotic for general health and is ideal for those who do not have any gut issues and simply wish to maintain a healthy digestive system.
Research into probiotics is increasing exponentially and scientists are discovering how certain probiotic species have very specific roles to play, notably in oral hygiene and low mood. However if you have a compromised gut function you may wish to use a specific probiotic supplement called Prescript-Assist.
Prescript-Assist is a probiotic that has been found to help a wide variety of inflammatory gut concerns and is going to be important if you have a compromised gut, if you have been taking courses of antibiotics recently or if you suffer from recurrent fungal infections. I would recommend taking Prescript-Assist for approximately one month, before returning to Mega P for general health.
This is a précis of Shabir’s article, which you can read in full on the link below.
VH Editorial: Factors Which Compromise Your Gut Health; Prescript-Assist – Soil Based Probiotic £39.20 for 60 Capsules; Mega Probiotic ND £19.50 for 60 Capsules
Recurrent urinary health problems are pretty distressing and can be life-altering. It is thought that up to two million women suffer from this debilitating condition each year, with approximately 20% having another case within two months.
Cysticlean has been one of our bestselling supplements since it launched and it is now available in sachet form for those who find it difficult to swallow capsules. Each sachet provides 240 mg of Proanthocyanidins (PAC) derived from North American cranberry extract, which work to help prevent and treat cystitis and urinary tract infections by dislodging bacteria that adhere to the bladder wall.
Cysticlean is free from Gluten, Lactose and Sugar and is also beneficial for prostatitis, inflammation associated with bacteria in the prostate gland. Take one sachet daily, preferably with water, in the evening.
VH Editorial: Is Drinking Cranberry Juice A Myth; Cysticlean Sachets £29.99 for 30 Sachets
Vitamin K2 Oral Spray
Another new release from Better You, Vitamin K2 is a vital component in supporting bone health, heart health and normal blood clotting. One of the primary roles of K2 is delivering calcium into the bones, rather than settling within soft tissue. Without Vitamin K2, calcification of the arteries can occur, which may increase the risk of heart disease.
Delivering an optimal 180ug of Vitamin K2, this oral spray is specifically formulated to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream, by-passing the digestive system and helping to ensure maximum uptake of the 99% pure active ingredient.
The recommended dosage is three sprays daily; shake well before every use and carefully spray three times against the inner cheek as research has found this to be the most absorbent area. Caution: If you are taking anti-coagulants (blood thinners), then please check with your doctor before using this supplement.
Vitamin K2 Oral Spray £17.95 for 25 ml
Never Too Late To Learn
When Jo sent over this article, I went into a state of over-excitement and started sending it to a few friends. I really don’t want to steal Jo’s thunder here, so I am not going to say very much at all, other than several of us decided to do it because we need to shift our focus from work to other things. 2017 nearly finished us all off!
I implore you to read it; the website she writes about is masterclass.com and I’m ever so tempted to learn how to write a successful TV series from Shonda Rhimes who created Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal (fixated). I mean just think, the newsletters could be transformed into a soap opera, not to mention the behind-the-scenes stuff that I don’t write about. Enjoy!
VH Editorial: Never Too Late To Learn by Jo Fairley
28,000 Retweets Later: Letting Go and Looking Forward
I think we can collectively agree that 2017 was difficult for so many of us, and that’s an under-statement. At the beginning of this newsletter I wrote about self-care and when we released Arly’s editorial on the ‘serious side of self-care’ a couple of months ago, she was flooded with emails, which resonated with so many of you.
Wearing her heart on her sleeve once again, this month Arly writes how 2017 impacted her and the steps she is taking to help resolve her unhappiness default mode. I think that so many of us hide behind a barrier for fear of appearing a failure because we can’t cope, while all the time we are cracking up inside. I have always thought, and written before, that there is a great strength in weakness if you can talk it out. To do it on an open platform in order to help others is both brave and liberating. Arly, thank you.
VH Editorial: 28,000 Retweets Later: Letting Go and Looking Forward and The Serious Side of Self-Care by Detail Oriented Beauty
Astaxanthin Protects The Whole Body
I briefly wrote about Astaxanthin above as it is one of the supplements included in our Fabulous Skin treat. Here Shabir gives the lowdown on Astaxanthin as some of you may wish to take this as a stand-alone:
Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant belonging to the group of natural pigments called xanthophylls, a sub-category of the carotenoid family. In lab tests Astaxanthin has been shown to exhibit impressive antioxidant properties when compared to some of the more established nutrients and herbs.
It is thought that Astaxanthin is 6000 times more powerful than Vitamin C, 800 times more powerful than CoQ10, 500 times more powerful than Green Tea and 75 times more powerful than alpha lipoic acid. Additionally, Astaxanthin may cross the blood-brain barrier to help protect the nervous system; has the ability to cross the blood-retinal barrier offering protection to eyes; can enter each and every cell and helps protect every part of your body including organs, joints and skin.
There are of course many Astaxanthin supplements on the market, but it is important to ensure that the Astaxanthin supplement you use is derived from algae and not from fungus. The inclusion of an oil or an essential fatty acid within the formulation will help enhance absorption.
As previously written, Astaxanthin with Phospholipids delivers 4 mg of Astaxanthin in a blend of four phospholipids. Phospholipids are molecules which are a major component of cell membranes and therefore this form of Astaxanthin offers maximum absorption ensuring that the Astaxanthin is actually delivered to the cells of the body where it can perform its protective role.
VH Editorial: Astaxanthin Protects The Whole Body; Astaxanthin with Phospholipids £12.50 for 30 Softgels
Herbal Mucus Cough Syrup + Herbal Catarrh Relief Formula
It’s that time of year, so short, sweet and to the point, Herbal Mucus Cough Syrup is a traditional herbal medicinal product used for the relief of symptoms of mucus coughs and colds. The active ingredients include liquid extracts of liquorice, squill and ipecacuanha. It gives non-drowsy relief, it is really good, but it should not by used on children under 12.
Herbal Mucus Cough Syrup £3.95 for 150 ml
Herbal Catarrh Relief Formula is another traditional herbal medicinal product for nasal and throat catarrh. Using extracts of Burdock root and Hyssop herb, it helps to relieve the symptoms of catarrh associated with the nasal passages and throat. Take one 5 ml spoonful three times a day and please note that it is not recommend for those under 18.
Herbal Catarrh Relief Formula £3.95 for 150 ml
How To Tackle Low Mood – Shabir Takes A View
There are millions of people taking mood elevating drugs to help tack the symptoms of low mood and yet there have always been questions asked about whether mood elevating drugs actually work. According to the latest statistics the use of mood elevating drugs continues to rise and it is thought that 25% of those taking these drugs will remain on them for a decade or longer. What is intriguing is that there have been several studies which appear to indicate that in some instances mood elevating drugs work no better than a placebo.
There are a number of science-based treatments and strategies that have been proven to be effective at elevating mood, which include:
Exercise: Many people have an endless list of excuses to refrain from exercise and I truly believe that if the benefits of exercise could be squeezed into a pill, it would be considered a ‘magic pill’. Regular exercise can help you sleep better, manage stress more effectively, help prevent osteoporosis, strengthen your heart, burn calories, help decrease your appetite and even improve your skin.
Vitamin D: Several studies indicate the link between low Vitamin D levels and low mood. It is recommended to get your Vitamin D levels by exposing unprotected skin to the sun for roughly 15 minutes every day. That is not always possible, so taking Vitamin D supplementation is a very good thing to do, especially the sublingual forms of Vitamin D such as the DLux Sprays.
DLux Sprays by Better You
Gut Health: The link between inflammation in the gut and low mood is well recognized. What is also clear is that the beneficial bacteria in your gut regulates a number of neurotransmitters and mood elevating hormones. It is therefore prudent to consider using a general probiotic supplement such as Mega Probiotic ND (as referred to above), but if you are feeling bit low or need a specific probiotic to help elevate mood then I recommend Florassist Mood (which won an award on the December newsletter).
Mega Probiotic ND £19.50 for 60 Capsules; Florassist Mood £26 for 60 Capsules
Cholesterol: Low cholesterol decreases the numbers of serotonin receptors in the brain. Please make sure that your cholesterol levels are not too low.
Supplements: Supplements such as St John’s Wort and 5-HTP may be of benefit in helping to alleviate low mood. However St John’s Wort is not recommended with many medications, including Hormone Replacement Therapy and blood pressure medications.
An excellent alternative to St John’s Wort is Magnolia Rhodiola Complex. Extracts of magnolia work to help reduce levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, as well as physically relaxing muscles and nerves. Rhodiola extracts are known to enhance the uptake of mood elevating serotonin and the combination of these two herbs help to physically relax the body, elevate mood and improve concentration without causing any drowsiness.
Magnolia Rhodiola Complex £26 for 60 Capsules
Finally, if you do suffer from low mood, we would advise you to visit your GP who will decide the treatment options for you. And on exercise (this is back to me now), I think you all know that I am pretty exercise-adverse, which is not great really, although the record stands, I have never set foot inside a gym.
It was suggested to me that the least I could do was to bounce up and down on a Pilates ball for ten minutes each day. I’ll probably fall off and end up crawling along the floor, but I’m going to try, I’m really going to try, although in complete transparency, I haven’t managed to buy one yet, but I will!
VH Editorial: How To Tackle Low Mood
Following on from the above, you may wish to read Carolyn’s words of wisdom on lightness. In yet another profound article, Carolyn explores all things light and I have read it several times because we can all learn from living lighter.
Inspired by Lisa Armstrong (Head of Fashion at The Telegraph – new title, yet another promotion – congrats), discover how to see light, be light, pack light and look light. The article ends with a quote from George Bernard Shaw: ‘You don’t stop playing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop playing’. Bravo Carolyn, Bravo Lisa. We play together. Thank you.
Lightness by Carolyn Asome
Let’s talk about the December newsletter and the VH Awards. Of course I loved writing them and from the amazing response I think we probably need to make these an annual fixture. The only thing that bothers me is that they may be slightly repetitive. I mean you could easily guess some of them right now. Unless the unforeseen happens, HA will still be our bestselling supplement and HA from The Ordinary will still be our bestselling beauty product. With eleven months to go, I am already starting to fret!
So LixirSkin. It won ‘The Best Skincare Launch of the Year Award’ on the newsletter, and as I said at the time, it wasn’t difficult because it was the only skincare brand we launched in 2017. And the accolades keep rolling in.
A certain Ms Josephine Fairley (secretly known as The Empress – bang, the secret is out) has declared the Electrogel Cleanser to be beyond amazing. High praise indeed as she has shoved her go-to cleanser of about 18 years off the shelf.
Anyway, back to it and this is just one of so many emails we have received about LixirSkin, but it echoes what so many of you are saying:
‘I just wanted to tell you how much I love LixirSkin. I started by ordering the Electrogel Cleanser as I needed a cleanser and wanted to try something new. It was just such a lovely thing to use that I then had to get the Universal Emulsion – this is better than any other moisturiser I’ve ever used and it seems to be all I need for my dry dehydrated skin …. and the Vitamin C Paste is a lovely experience as well. The trouble is that I have a bathroom cabinet full of products that I just don’t want to use anymore. The woman (Colette) is a genius, I have to say’.
Bee Energised Energy & Focus
Nearly the end, let’s do another treat. Bee Energised Energy & Focus with organic bee pollen is an all in one synergistic formula combining nutrient rich ingredients.
It combines bee pollen, organic matcha tea, spirulina, Siberian ginseng, green tea leaf and rosehips along with Vitamins B6 and B12, which contribute to normal energy yielding metabolism, helping to reduce feeling of tiredness and fatigue.
The Treat: For the duration of this newsletter, or whilst stock lasts, we are offering two packs of Bee Energised Energy & Focus for £15. The recommended price is normally £11.99 for 20 Capsules, so you save £8.98 and gain a touch of energy into the equation.
Bee Energised Twin Pack £15
I’ve written about some of the editorials throughout the newsletter, so here are the rest. The title of Carole Morin’s article is called ‘Big Head’ and I’m not saying another word. Catherine Turner embraces January and the Beauty Bible girls do ‘Winter Warmers’ where a few products seemed to have crept in. In my last moments of heading up the editorial section, I’ll let this go!
Big Head by Carole Morin; Embracing January by Catherine Turner; Winter Warmers by Beauty Bible
Look Wayne, you get your own paragraph. I told you I would do this and so I am. I am really not going to bang on about the horrors of social media, I did enough of that last year and although it continues to incense me, I’m more or less done with it and for the most part I choose not to look. I think it’s healthier.
All I want to do here is to refer you to a video Wayne recently recorded. I am doing this because so many of you do follow Wayne and some of you found us through Wayne, for which I am of course eternally grateful. I am not saying many words, other than Wayne has made a decision to return to his roots and I applaud and support him on this. I hope you will too.
Title: A Very Important Video – Please Watch
And so we come to the end of another newsletter and together with Shabir and the rest of the VH team, I wish you a happy and healthy 2018.
Not too long to the February newsletter; perhaps I should start writing it now. It will be released on Tuesday 6th February.