November Newsletter

November Newsletter

Welcome to the November newsletter where we launch one new product from NIOD, we release some more products from The Ordinary and basically I am not sure what on earth I was thinking when I thought it was a good idea to launch two major new brands and a new product, The Ordinary, Stemm and Florassist, within four weeks of each other. But we did it and this newsletter is going to go behind the scenes of what has happened over the past few weeks with some updates, so please read carefully. We will also be throwing the focus on three health concerns, heartburn, energy (or lack of it) and Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). But first, Voicemail Masque:

Voicemail Masque (VM) by NIOD

This has been a long time coming and every time I think of (and use) VM I start laughing. There is no doubt in my mind that this is the most ‘famous’ of all the NIOD products in terms of intrigue. In May of this year NIOD was one and to celebrate its first birthday, Brandon and I gifted VM as a lab sample to everybody who ordered a NIOD product on the day the May newsletter was released. There were thousands of you.

We didn’t tell you its name, we gave you no information whatsoever except that it would launch later in the year and that you should use it at night-time. It then developed a life of its own. In a moment of extreme madness we decided to run a ‘guess the name’ competition on our Instagram page, which turned into an eight hour (it felt like 80 hours) ‘happening’, but we eventually got there after I started to post some heavily loaded cryptic clues, basically because I was tired and wanted to go to bed!

Because of the extraordinarily high volume of positive feedback, we put VM on pre-order, but told everybody it wouldn’t be released for approximately six months. The wait list reached such epic proportions and I couldn’t bear it, so we fulfilled all the orders on the wait list and then promptly took it off our site. So that’s the update. Now it’s here and this is what VM is all about:

Livings cells communicate with one another and this cellular communication is an essential aspect of life and health. Cellular communication breaks down with age and under stressful conditions, and this breakdown directly impairs the youthful appearance of skin, resulting in dullness and a compromised tone. Topical formulations today focus on functions of specific skin cells, but the communication between healthy cells itself is largely overlooked.

Voicemail Masque is a night-time leave-on masque treatment that fights many of the signs associated with impaired cellular communication. The formula is a suspension of plant stem cells from mountain flowers and narrowleaf plantain, as well as highly-purified polyphenols rich in hydroxycinnamic acid from oregano leaves. The suspension medium is comprised of advanced adaptive silicones that lengthen dermal exposure timeframe, supported by a fractionated spectrum of molecular weight (instead of a specific one) of hyaluronic acid, just as naturally found in the body.

The result is skin that looks healthy, well-rested, bright and uniform from the very first use; waking up in the morning takes on a new meaning; normally I wouldn’t recommend looking in the mirror as you tumble out of bed, but I urge you to look after sleeping in VM.

We recommend using twice weekly at night-time only. If used as part of a NIOD regimen, apply CAIS/MMHC first and then apply a thin layer of this masque over the entire face, avoiding direct eye contact. Outside of a NIOD regimen, apply over lighter serums and avoid application of thicker cream formulations. Massage for about 20-40 seconds. Do not apply other products over VM. Do not rinse off until the AM. VM is not recommended for very oily skin types and should not be applied on peeling or irritated skin.

Finally, I know many of you want to know why we called it ‘Voicemail Masque’; it went against everything we had ever done on NIOD before, but I can’t write about it and keep a straight face, so I told Brandon he had to write it. You will find ‘The History of the Name’ on the product information page on our site, written by Brandon and posted by us. Nothing to add, really, nothing!
Voicemail Masque £30 for 50 ml

The Podium

I don’t leap onto The Podium on every newsletter, but I feel the need to say a few things here before we go any further. This newsletter is not following format for many different reasons, but primarily because I don’t want to keep banging out new products without saying a few (well more than a few) words.

I am going to be brand specific underneath this and I have rather a lot to say; some of it is funny, some of it has stressed me out completely, but through it all I want to thank you for your ongoing loyalty, support and understanding.

If you are a regular VH customer, you know a number of things, including the fact that we normally process and send all orders within 48 hours of receipt; except nothing right now is normal. We are trying really hard but we are up against it in certain respects, which would specifically include international orders; I am convinced these orders are going around the world at least three times before they reach you. I don’t really know what to do, so I just keep thumping my desk, over and over and over, which hardly resolves anything, but I suppose it’s marginally better than screaming!

You will also know that when I met Brandon (Brandon Truaxe, Founder and CEO of DECIEM), we made a pact to change everything in the health and beauty industry; everything (well nearly everything!) that is happening right now is because of that pact, so the majority of this newsletter is dedicated to ‘the mission’ and I’ll follow through at the end with some health concerns. Right, let’s do Stemm:


Each product launch is different, each brand launch is different, but I don’t think there has ever been a scenario when a brand can’t launch its own products, but that’s exactly what happened with Stemm. We were always going first; Stemm was going onto the October newsletter and 24 hours later DECIEM were going to launch their own brand, except that didn’t happen.

The newsletter got released and Stemm went crazy, but seriously crazy. We knew we had a bit of a problem within the first few hours and to cut a very long story short, we sold two months of projected sales in two days. It was over for DECIEM before it had even begun and Brandon and I were talking all through my London night and all through his Toronto night; ultimately it meant that DECIEM couldn’t launch Stemm, we took all their stock and neither of us knew whether to laugh or cry.

My biggest issue was not about announcing that we had sold out, which I did on the front of our site and on Instagram, but that my skincare regimen got all confused and I didn’t know whether I was doing a morning or evening regimen because of time zone upheaval; at one point I realised that I had Mastic Must on at 3 am and after that I gave up!

As with all DECIEM launches, Stemm re-writes the script, which is of course why I am so passionate about pioneering products; I always have been. Quite honestly, I don’t want to be writing about ‘variations on a theme’; I don’t want just another shampoo, or conditioner, or serum; Stemm is the unexpected; we launched it on a health platform and it doesn’t ‘behave’ like the norm because it isn’t the norm.

You may well be shocked when you first start using Stemm because it is so different, but that difference is its virtue and in a way it feels so right that we are calling it ‘Apothecary Medicine’ because of its immense healing attributes; the fact that you will also have fabulous hair is almost, but not quite, secondary.

The current situation is that if you ordered almost immediately, you will now have Stemm and the early feedback has been sensational, and that’s before any of you have used Density Stimuli for any length of time because we are saying that it takes four to six weeks to really start being effective. I love the very special person who decided to ‘anoint’ her scalp with Density Stimuli before she went to bed and woke up the next morning with ‘the most fabulous hair ever’. ‘Anoint’ is such an intoxicating word. Anoint. Anoint. Anoint.

As most of you will have read, I wrote on the October newsletter that The Stemm Collection, with a saving of £20, would only be available for two weeks, but because Stemm developed a life of its own and went out of control (violently out of control!), we are staying in line with DECIEM and we have extended the offer for the moment.

Please also note that there are now two Stemm Collections, the original with Black Fulvic Conditioner and the second Stemm Collection has been created for those of you with blonde hair and includes Gold Fulvic Conditioner. I keep forgetting to ask Brandon how long we are staying with it, but I’ll keep the website updated on this.

Also the Gold Fulvic Conditioner will not be released for approximately three weeks (it could be slightly longer). The product is ready, but the packaging has been delayed, so we need to exercise a touch of patience here. I did suggest that we fill the existing Black Fulvic bottles with Gold Fulvic and stick a label across it because who needs to be smart under the circumstances, but Brandon thought I’d completely lost it, so we wait.

This has happened before; when we launched Sheald (which also went bonkers), my LA boyfriends (iS Clinical) had the product, but not the tubes – I told them to put it in a white plastic pot because we didn’t care. One problem. They cared. What is it with these men? Honestly!
The Stemm Collection £68 (High-Amino Shampoo £25; Black Fulvic Conditioner £28; Density Stimuli £35); The Stemm Collection £68 (High-Amino Shampoo £25; Gold Fulvic Conditioner £28; Density Stimuli £35)

The Ordinary

I would say that I am speechless, but that wouldn’t do any of us any good because I need to tell you what has happened, what will be happening and of course I need to tell you about the new product launches.

Well we know the story, we launched The Ordinary on the September newsletter, I followed through on the October newsletter and I am literally reeling (but loving every single moment) from the attention it is getting across the media. It is almost unprecedented, I say almost because NIOD got so much love, and the love continues. But we are talking about The Ordinary for the moment.

To read that The Ordinary is ‘the future of skincare’ is no small thing, but that’s exactly what India Knight wrote in The Sunday Times; Lisa Armstrong piled on the accolades in The Telegraph as did Lesley Thomas in The Times, Sali Hughes in The Guardian and Nadine Baggott, beauty editor of Hello! magazine on her YouTube channel and Instagram. There are more, many more, but I can’t list everything and everybody, so together with Brandon, I just want to say thank you to each of you so very much for supporting and believing in all we are doing.
In The Press

We launched The Ordinary with ten products; the top five products have remained the same since launch and they are Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5; Advanced Retinoid 2%; Niacinamide + Zinc PCA 1%, Buffet and Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres. None of this surprises me at all, I would expect HA and Advanced Retinoid to be right up there. That said, the most talked about product has been Vitamin C and as most of you will have seen, we have listed three more Vitamin C’s, which now get released. They are Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate 20% in Vitamin F and Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10%, which sit alongside Vitamin C Suspension 23%.

Topical Vitamin C offers a wide array of benefits to the skin, however many forms of Vitamin C and many more formulations of Vitamin C are available commercially with a potential to confuse the audience. Please refer to the below listed guide on the formulations of Vitamin C offered under The Ordinary range. It also offers education on Vitamin C itself and on the differences between formulations of Vitamin C at large. This is our definitive.
Vitamin C GuideVitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres £4.90 for 30 ml; Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% £8.90 for 30 ml; Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate 20% in Vitamin F £14.90 for 30 ml; Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10% £7.80 for 30 ml (MAP arriving in approximately seven to ten days)

Alongside the three new Vitamin C formulations, we launch Azelaic Acid, a naturally occurring acid found in rye and barley, which seems to have sent thousands of you into a spin of complete excitement; Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% is a multi-functional skin brightener and helps clear compromised skin conditions such as acne and rosacea-prone skin.
Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% £5.50 for 30 ml (Azelaic Acid arriving in approximately seven to ten days)

Three more Ordinary products launching this month, Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG, which helps reduce the appearance of eye contour pigmentation and of puffiness; 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil, a daily support formula for hair and skin and Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA (NMF), which is a surface hydration formula; alongside Azelaic Acid Suspension, NMF will also be slightly delayed by approximately seven to ten days, so please don’t stress when it doesn’t arrive tomorow – if only!
Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG £5.80 for 30 ml; 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil £5.90 for 30 ml; Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA £4.90 for 30 ml

For those of you who study our site intensely, you will have noticed that we originally had Retinol 1% and High Adherence Silicone Primer scheduled to also launch at this time, but they have both been delayed and for that I apologise. At this point I would just like to reiterate that it is company policy not to debit any monies from your account until the day your order is processed and sent, so please rest assured that we have not taken any monies. And the wait list just grows. And that bothers me rather a lot.

At the risk of sounding like a parrot, I am so anti wait lists, but we seem to be plagued with them this year; the reason I detest wait lists is the fact that in most instances they are used as a marketing ploy; you know how it is, ten thousand people are on a wait list for some ‘must-have-can’t-live-without-product’ and I don’t believe a word of it. I suppose if any of this was a ploy I wouldn’t feel the way I do, it truly gets to me, but we are doing the very best we can do, I promise you that much, so please don’t shout at me!
Retinol 1% £5.80 for 30 ml; High Adherence Silicone Primer £3.90 for 30 ml

With the new product launches done, I just want to add a few things here. When we launched The Ordinary, we said at the time that it would be an ‘evolving’ range of skincare products; we are driven by being able to deliver clinical formulations with integrity at a price point that is accessible to most people. But we have only just begun.

In some ways our work is pretty daunting; being told that The Ordinary is one of the most important launches in the history of the beauty industry is no small thing; executing that change carries a huge responsibility, but we are up for it. Brandon and I already know the schedule for the next six months; there are products coming that will excite you and in some instances they will shake things up in the beauty industry even more, which can only be a good thing for each of us.

Finally, I would just like to reiterate that we have a specific regimen guide to The Ordinary products, which we invite you to read. We are constantly updating this as more products become available; we are constantly updating everything actually, so from one day to the next anything can happen and it normally does. We will shortly be listing some more products, which will not be available just yet, but at least you know what is coming. Personally I can’t wait for The O’s; it won’t be next month, it will probably be at the beginning of 2017. That’s it. Onto NIOD now!
The Ordinary Regimen Guide; FAQ


I know I keep referring to the September newsletter, which is increasingly becoming a pivotal moment in time (who knew!), but on that newsletter I wrote about NIOD being ‘The Extraordinary’ against The Ordinary, which was well, just ordinary. Except now everything is going a bit wrong because people keep writing about The Ordinary being ‘extraordinary’ and I keep saying, no, no, NIOD is The Extraordinary. You get the gist.

It is no secret that my love for and of NIOD is paramount; the formulations are light years ahead of all else and every time we launch a new product, I think that my skin can’t get any better, but it does. Because I am continually asked, I just want to clarify my position on NIOD and The Ordinary.

I use NIOD; I don’t use The Ordinary. However, there are some instances where I would recommend using one or two of The Ordinary products for targeted issues, such as hyper-pigmentation (Alpha Arbutin; Niacinamide). There is no problem adding them to your NIOD regimen, but I would just reiterate that we do not recommend using more than three serums at any given time. For sure, you can use different serums in the morning to the ones you use in the evening, but please don’t be tempted to pile on The Ordinary because of the price, your skin will not love you for it.

So NIOD. We launched Myrrh Clay on the October newsletter and I started to smile when the emails started to come in, for two reasons. The first because so many of you fell in love with it and the second because I got severely reprimanded for not putting Myrrh Clay as the lead story. The thing is, there are times when NIOD just has to be polite and allow others to come before him (I always refer to NIOD as a ‘him’ – heaven knows why!). Four masques now in the NIOD masque collection, each doing different things in their own rather immaculate way. Flavanone Mud for decongestion and taking down inflammation; Mastic Must, which gets its own paragraph next, Myrrh Clay for lifting and tightening (that smell!) and as of today, Voicemail Masque, for overnight brightening.
Flavanone Mud £28 for 50 ml; Myrrh Clay £28 for 50 ml; Voicemail Masque £30 for 50 ml

I love Mastic Must (MM). I love it beyond love, if there is such a thing. I have called it iconic, I have called it many things and I still feel the need to keep writing about it because it is truly spectacular and as with all NIOD products, there is nothing like it in the world and nothing comes close for helping to shrink pores, giving that ‘I’ve got perfect skin’ look.

So I thought what more can I say that I haven’t already said before; and then it came to me. I need to share what I have automatically been doing since I was testing MM, but I failed to tell you about it. I use it on my hands. That might not be the most dramatic of statements, but just wait until you try it. When you have finished applying it to your face, squeeze out a little bit more and apply it evenly over both hands (one hand only if you want to see the difference!).

As you would on your face, leave it on for approximately ten minutes, I sometimes leave it on longer, but there is no need, rinse your hands and blast them with the hairdryer, about 15 seconds per hand. And stare. Young hands. Teenage hands perhaps. It’s another one of those OMG moments. They keep happening. Finish with Pro-Repair Skincare for Hands. Smile!
Mastic Must £27 for 90 ml; Pro-Repair Skincare for Hands £19 for 100 ml

That’s it. The NIOD update is done. I will leave you with one thing. At the beginning of this section I wrote that I don’t use The Ordinary. However, there are two products coming from The Ordinary that Brandon and I will both be using. I’m not telling you what they are now because perhaps bedlam will descend, perhaps it won’t, but either way, they will be on the next newsletter.

The Benefits of Siberian Ginseng

I am often asked which supplements I take and although I tend to change my regimen quite often, there are some that are constant. These include HA, Mega-Probiotic and Sibergin. I love Sibergin and I’m not alone; the Beauty Bible girls swear by it too and if you need a real energy boost, please try Sibergin, it’s like pure rocket fuel.

Siberian ginseng’s multiple benefits have been known for centuries with the Chinese using it for its tonic properties. The Russians studied it in the late 1950’s as an alternative to ginseng, which is where the word ‘adaptogen’ was coined from. An adaptogen refers to a substance which promotes adaptation by the body to all kinds of stressors, whether physical, emotive or environmental. Siberian ginseng contains ginsenosides, referred to as eleutherosides, which enable ginseng to balance and counter-balance the effects of stress.

Siberian ginseng helps to normalise the way in which the body responds to stress and acts to regulate the manufacture and secretions of the adrenal hormones. It helps strengthen the adrenal glands themselves, which is especially important for those who suffer from chronic stress. Siberian ginseng also supports the central nervous system, which may help restore proper neurological function after long-term stress.

By far the biggest single use of Siberian ginseng is its ability to increase energy. Although cellular energy requires the production of the ATP molecule manufactured within every cell of the body, the primary glands for secreting energising hormones and enzymes are the adrenals. Siberian ginseng works to stimulate these enzymes so that symptoms of low energy and fatigue are addressed, although there are many other benefits which you can read in full in the article below.

Siberian ginseng is widely available in tablets, capsules, tinctures and in tea bags, but because the therapeutic effect is between two and three grams daily, Shabir recommends tablets or capsules. Sibergin offers 500 mg of Siberian ginseng extract derived from 2500 mg of standardised Siberian ginseng herb and contains the full spectrum of ginsenosides found in the herb.

This extract tends to work within a few days, most especially where fatigue is a concern, although its best effects are experienced within a month.
VH Editorial: The Benefits of Siberian GinsengSibergin £15.49 for 30 Capsules


Heartburn is described as a burning sensation in the chest area, especially when lying down or bending forward. It is caused by the backwash of stomach acid into the oesophagus, the tube connecting the mouth and the stomach. Most people report a sour or bitter aftertaste in the mouth after a heartburn episode. Heartburn is usually caused by the weakening of the lower oesophageal sphincter and whilst most people will experience heartburn infrequently, for others it is a real ongoing problem.

There are many possible causal factors for recurring heartburn and acid reflux, which Shabir examines fully in his editorial feature on the subject; see below, but it is thought that approximately half of the adult population produce low stomach acid.

Over-the-counter antacids, whilst effective at neutralising stomach acid, actually make your digestion worse, leaving you at risk of malnourishing the body, plus they are only treating the symptoms, not the cause. The key to enhancing digestion is to increase stomach acids using a supplement such as Betaine HCI with Pepsin.

Betaine HCI provides the body with hydrochloric acid to supplement low acid production to prevent recurring heartburn and acid reflux. Additionally, using Betaine HCI will increase vitamins and mineral levels in the bloodstream anywhere between 50% and 200% depending upon the nutrient itself. This in turn will not only help relieve these stomach concerns, but actually help enhance energy levels.
VH Editorial: Quenching HeartburnBetain HCI with Pepsin £11.45 for 180 Tablets

The Symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Shabir does PMS, and I put my feet up on my desk:

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is a concern that occurs in some women between two and fourteen days of the onset of the periodic cycle. Also known as PMS, Premenstrual Syndrome is a series of physical, emotional and psychological symptoms related to the menstrual cycle and affects between 2% and 5% of menstruating women. PMS is distinctly different from the ‘normal’ discomforts of a period because the intensity of the symptoms are usually far more severe.

There are many symptoms associated with PMS and these vary in different individuals. The intensity and duration from one cycle to another varies, but the most common symptoms include tender breasts, bloating, concentration difficulties, muscle cramping, abdominal cramping and in some cases headaches. Other symptoms include food cravings, low energy and mood swings. Severe cases of PMS are called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), which may lead to a significant loss of function, albeit this will only affect very small numbers of women.

There are a number of natural remedies that may be effective at helping to alleviate the symptoms of PMS. In all probability there is not just one single remedy to address the varying symptoms, but Magnesium, B6 & Saffron by Viridian really does help counter many of the symptoms. It contains 200 mg of magnesium, B6 and Saffron extract.

Magnesium is a mineral that is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions. Its specific benefit, with reference to PMS, is that it is required for the production of the female sex hormones; magnesium is also required to help relax muscles and nerves, which help ease cramping and breast tenderness. Additionally magnesium is required by every cell within the body to manufacture the energy molecule called ATP.

Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine hydrochloride, has been studied and found to help relieve mood swings, anxiety and mild depression that may arise during menstrual cycles. According to studies, 50 mg of Vitamin B6 can be very helpful in alleviating PMS symptoms. This has led to some ‘experts’ advocating much larger doses of Vitamin B6, which is actually harmful as this vitamin can damage the nerves.

Saffron has been used for centuries to help alleviate digestive problems, insomnia, asthma and anxiety. Saffron extract has been found to exert a mood elevating effect by increasing levels of certain chemicals in the brain such as serotonin. This helps many women in alleviating irritability, mood swings, anxiety and some of the symptoms of stress.

A study involving women aged 20-45 years with regular menstrual cycles and experience of PMS symptoms for at least six months, were given 30 mg saffron extract daily. A significant difference was observed in the efficacy of saffron in cycles three and four. The findings, according to the researchers, support the idea that saffron may affect serotonin activity and help alleviate not only depression symptoms, but PMS as well. Saffron is a great alternative to St John’s Wort, which cannot be used with some medications.
VH Editorial: Symptoms Of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS); Magnesium B6 & Saffron by Viridian £21.85 for 60 Capsules

VH Editorial

This month the Beauty Bible girls take a look at fast fixes for winter skin; Carolyn Asome discusses your coat wardrobe, Jo Fairley examines winter feet (we all have a ‘thing’ about feet), Catherine Turner reports on no pain, no gain and in our ongoing Sally Brampton series, we remember when Sally wrote about The Inner Critic.

If I may, I just want to say a couple of things about Sally here; as many will have read last week, the inquest into Sally’s tragic death concluded that she intended to take her own life by walking into the sea. It also concluded that despite referrals for professional help, that help was not given when she needed it the most.  It was and is a pretty damning and shaming indictment. Most of us have been touched by mental illness at some time in our lives, whether it is ourselves, a friend or a family member; it is an excruciatingly cruel and debilitating illness – may we never forget.

I will reiterate what I have written several times, if you feel you can’t cope, I implore you to contact The Samaritans or an organisation such as MIND, which Sally supported; I will also refer you to Sally’s articles, which I know have helped so many of you, notably her words on Suicide and what it is to be Bi-Polar.

My beautiful friend Sally.  With me every day since she walked her walk on 10 May.  The sadness does not dissipate. It never will.
Fast Fixes for Winter Skin; Your Coat Wardrobe Starts Here; Winter Feet; The Inner Critic; No Pain, No Gain.

The End Bit

Right, just a few things to say here:

Christmas Gifts: Yes, I know, that whole seasonal thing is about to descend upon us yet again; the thing is that I really don’t like writing about it. Everybody writes about it, so I’m not going to. I mean what can I say about a boxed gift; not a lot really other than telling you what is in the set, which you can see anyway if you click onto the product. So there are a selection of gifts on the link below and that’s my Christmas wrap for this month, and probably for next month too!

Florassist Mood: We are so happy to receive so much positive feedback after writing about Florassist Mood. Psychobiotics is an increasingly important subject; the research is ongoing, but the gut-brain axis is so important. Check out the article if you missed it last month and take the supplement if you can, it’s pretty excellent.
VH Editorial: A Probiotic Supplement to Relieve AnxietyFlorassist Mood £26 for 60 Capsules

A bit of a shout-out here for ChitoRhino ColdClear; it works; pretty simple statement. So whilst it clears up your cold, it will also help support your immune system too. We think that’s important.
ChitoRhino ColdClear £13.50 for 30 ml

Finally, we come to the end of another newsletter and together with Shabir and the entire VH team, I thank you once again for your loyalty and support.

Together with Brandon, I thank you for believing and trusting.

Krishna, this one’s for you.

With love

Gill x