October Newsletter

October Newsletter

Welcome to the October newsletter where we launch four new brands, yes four, they all rolled in at the same time. So we say hello to LIXIRSKIN from Colette Haydon, ESHO from DECIEM, Slixir and Curlie Ellie. We also take a look at the latest new product to be released from the excellent Florassist range, I give you all the latest news and feedback and I’m jumping onto The Podium for a moment or two. Let’s do it:

LIXIRSKIN by Colette Haydon

It takes an awful lot for me to launch a new skincare brand; if you follow the life and times of VH you will know how many times I have written that we are not here to list as many brands as we can; there has to be discernment and within that discernment the products have to do what they say they will do and deliver on promise. I have also written before that I am not biased, but I become biased and passionate when I truly believe in a brand. If I don’t believe, I don’t list, it’s really that simple. In Colette Haydon I believe. In Colette Haydon I trust.

A doctor in dermo-pharmacy, Colette has formulated hundreds of bestselling skincare products for many of the most coveted beauty brands, which include HealGel, REN, Jo Malone and Aromatherapy Associates. Your eyes would probably fall out of your head if I listed all the brands, but I’m not going to do that because several of those brands might come after both of us with a great big stick and beat us up!

Colette and I go back a long way; she formulated HealGel in 2008 for five of the UK’s leading plastic surgeons and we launched it. And what a launch it was. In its first incarnation, HealGel was in a cute little pot, we all fell in love with it and I will never forget Sarah Vine writing about it in The Saturday Times; it was as if the Messiah had arrived in a little round pot!

After 20 years of formulating for other brands, Colette has now created her own brand, LIXIRSKIN, which is a capsule collection of just six products, which work together to simply achieve good skin. As you would expect from somebody steeped in creation, Colette has very strong, and often controversial views about the industry. She believes SPF’s are only for the beach (I agree) and that the battle for natural versus synthetic is dated and not worth fighting (I agree). ‘Not all chemistry is bad’.

So LIXIRSKIN– the concept. A mix of hard-working everyday products and targeted molecules, offering an advanced, yet relaxed approach to skincare. The brand is divided into two different collections, each containing three products. The Universal Collection and The Night Switch Collection. The Universal Collection products are the absolute essentials of the range and they multi-task to give maximum results. I am listing them below and the words are from Colette:

The Universal Collection

Vitamin C Paste: A quick morning mask, protects and corrects in one. ‘Vitamin C is a wonderful ingredient, one of the most active of them all. It gives both a magic quick fix and is increasingly beneficial to your skin with continued use. The acid form, L-Ascorbic Acid, is more effective than any pretender derivatives, but it needs to remain an acid to work; as such I formulated a product that you can rinse. It is not ideal to leave an acid on the skin during the day and even after rinsing off the Vitamin C reaches the skin cells to do the job it needs to do’.
Vitamin C Paste £32 for 50 ml

Universal Emulsion: Day moisturiser, night cream and serum base in one. ‘It’s all about water, the ultimate anti-ageing active, seemingly simple, yet so elusive. Water makes your skin comfortable and helps to transport biological messengers that your skin cells need, day and night. There is no such thing as a cream which is good for one part of your skin and not any others, and as such this is for your face, eye contour, lips, neck décolleté, arms and hands. I wanted it to be a light formula, yet intensely moisturizing for both day and night, so I used an unusual emulsification technique to obtain an SPF 10 without any added sunscreens, so it’s ideal as an urban day cream and primer. It’s a formula which is also ideal for night and as a serum base when combined with the Night Switch collection’.
Universal Emulsion £29 for 50 ml; £45 for 100 ml

Electrogel Cleanser: Evening cleanser and detoxifying mask in one. ‘I wanted to create a cleanser that does it all, removes all make-up and detoxes your skin, because no matter how much you try and shield it from harmful toxins and dirt, some will still manage to get in. I have created a rich cream cleanser with a twist.  Interestingly what is bad for the skin generally has a positive electric charge, so I have included a very small negatively charged Electrogel in the cleanser and as such the two attract each other and can be simply rinsed away’.
Electrogel Cleanser £25 for 100 ml

The Night Switch Collection

The three Night Switch products are for specific skin concerns and formulated with pure active molecules for targeted results. They are for night when your skin switches to repair mode and are to be mixed with Universal Emulsion, which is also a serum base. Only use one at a time, then give your skin a rest before switching to another. Switching stimulates the skin to get better results. It is a very simplistic, yet effective approach. Colette explains:

Night Switch Retinol 1%: ‘Retinol regulates the skin’s metabolism, in both the top layers, the epidermal wall to help refine texture, control problem skin and help sun damage, and in the deeper layers helping to boost protein production in the dermal fibroblasts to give density, volume and firmness. With Retinol it is all about delivery; this is a phospholipid liposome to avoid surface irritancy.

Night Switch Retinol 1% should be mixed with Universal Emulsion in the palm of one hand using just one pump if you are using it on your face only. Use at night for four weeks, allow your skin to rest for a few days, then switch to another Night Switch product, returning back if you wish’.
Night Switch Retinol 1% £28 for 15 ml

Night Switch PHA/AHA 10%: ‘All acids exfoliate the skin to dislodge dead and strongly pigmented cells; they also encourage cell turn-around to renew the skin. Each acid offers a special benefit. Lactic Acid improves hydration, Lactobionic Acid reduces oxidative stress while Phytic Acid eliminates heavy metals to detoxify the skin. Night Switch PHA/AHA 10% quickly helps to even out skin tone and it should be mixed with Universal Emulsion as above. It can also be used as a mask – apply three pumps onto dry skin and rinse off after ten minutes’.
Night Switch PHA/AHA 10% £20 for 15 ml

Night Switch BHA/AHA 10%: ‘I created this product for skin which is in a flux and needs to be regulated. Each acid offers a special benefit for hormonal skin which is suffering from breakouts. Lactic Acid improves hydration, Salicylic Acid is anti-bacterial and helps prevent blocked pores, whilst Azelaic Acid helps control sebum. Night Switch BHA/AHA should be applied directly onto the skin and then followed with the application of Universal Emulsion. Use at night for three weeks and then allow your skin to rest for a few days. It can also be used as a mask; apply three pumps onto dry skin and rinse off after ten minutes. It also works wonders as a specific spot treatment when applied to a breakout’.
Night Switch BHA/AHA 10% £20 for 15 ml

And that’s a wrap on the products, but just to say I feel so very privileged to launch such a very special brand for such a very special person. To know Colette is to love her; French, fabulous and an Aries girl too (our birthdays are two days apart!), we did the ‘Gill meets’ interview swinging our legs, comparing shoes and drinking champagne cocktails. We would have danced down Bond Street together, but it started to rain!
VH Editorial: Gill Meets Colette Haydon (which includes skincare regimens)


A new brand launch from DECIEM is a big moment; it has been 13 months since we launched The Ordinary and quite honestly we have had to hold back new brand launches under the DECIEM umbrella because of the O. phenomenon. But you can’t keep an amazing brand down, you can’t keep brilliant products down either, so together with Brandon, I would like to introduce you to ESHO.

ESHO is a range of highly-advanced treatments for the lips, developed through a collaboration between DECIEM and Dr. Tijion Esho, a renowned industry leader in the area of non-surgical aesthetic medicine with a strong focus on the lips. The offering starts with three core products:


Sculpt combines unparalleled concentrations of pure undiluted peptides and bio-actives to encourage visible lip volume within minutes and with continued use. It’s a pro-HA, pro-collagen, pro-fat and pro-water formula that offers perhaps the most advanced alternative to more invasive lip treatments. Love it. Yes I do.

When I received the first lab sample I went a little bit crazy; it was the excitement. I used way too much and my lips almost exploded out of my face. I actually thought I was having an allergic reaction, but I wasn’t. Brandon nearly had a coronary; he was driving and I was screaming at him. In that moment I called him all the names under the sun (the love/hate relationship lives on). And then I had to eat humble pie. One great big slice of it.

What an amazing product this is. Of course it delivers on promise and it does something to your lips that is truly incredible. I actually don’t really care what the science is behind this, all I know is that I use it every day and I wouldn’t want to be without it. I rarely wear lipstick anymore; I only ever wore nude colours anyway, but somehow I prefer the naked-full-lip-look and somehow, and I don’t really know how, it gives me a lip liner effect. It’s as if I am wearing Spice by MAC, but I’m not. Follow through with Drench and you will become a fully-fledged member of the I-have-amazing-lips-club. Lip dreams are made of this.
Sculpt by ESHO £29 for 15 ml


Unlike traditional lip hydration offerings that use mainly oils and waxes to coat the surface of the lips for an immediate masking of dehydration, Drench uses water reservoirs to offer lasting water hydration to the lips. The lightweight formula acts as an instant, non-oily hydrator that helps maintain comfortable water content with continued use.

If ever a name described a product pretty perfectly, Drench is it. Even if I never used the product, I would throw this into my bag based on the name which makes me extraordinarily happy just by looking at it. But use it I do and although we all have a choice in the products that we use, if there was such a thing as a compulsory buy, this would be it.

Dry, cracked, chapped lips are not on my agenda and I doubt they are on yours either. A revolutionary product. Absolutely. But then this has come out of the DECIEM lab and I don’t think I need to say any more except Drench may well take over the lip balm world. Lip by Lip.
Drench by ESHO £12 for 15 ml


Pause complements lip injection treatments to help encourage and maintain lip volume appearance for longer in between each injection. The formula uses several peptide-based and plant-based bio-actives to reduce the need for frequent injections.

This is the one product that I haven’t tested because actually I can’t. With all due respect, I don’t have injections, I don’t believe in needles and I think everybody knows that because I have written it so many times. But, that is only my opinion and my choice. For those who partake, this one’s for you perhaps.
Pause by ESHO £27 for 15 ml

Slixir Hand & Polish Cream – The Secret To Keeping Nail Polish Perfect For Longer

I’m having a moment. This product landed on my desk and I knew that I wanted it on my hands, on my nails and on our site. I had barely read two paragraphs about the product before I began applying it to my nails and then I ran around the office with the tube in some kind of hyper-excited state. The ultimate hand cream for nail polish wearers had arrived. Salvation for our manicures.

Slixir is a luxurious, multi-function daily use hand cream which is designed specifically for nail polish wearers. It keeps nail polish chip free for longer, whilst maintaining the health of the natural nail beneath.

Slixir Hand & Polish Cream is the brainchild of Helen Gilmore, a former Head of Marketing and Innovation for the Revlon nail brand CND, makers of Shellac, the world’s first gel polish. In Helen’s words:

‘When gel polish exploded onto the market in 2011 it completely transformed nail care, bringing convenience and everyday glamour to millions of women worldwide. This unprecedented success did however bring other, less glamorous consequences. Correct gel polish removal can be challenging to those who are untrained. Countless women attempt to apply and remove gel polish at home; this almost always results in some kind of damage to the natural nail’.

But it’s not only about Shellac, it’s about all nail polishes as Slixir works with any nail polish and is the perfect re-hab for damaged nails too. One of the main causes of chipping or cracking of the nail coating can be its loss of suppleness over time. This loss of suppleness is caused by the inevitable exposure to water, sunlight and everyday chemicals. Slixir has been formulated with a patent pending blend of natural plant oils, vitamins and minerals which are designed to keep that suppleness and flexibility to get the most out of a nail polish.

Over 70% of UK women buy at least one bottle of nail polish a year and Slixir has the ability to work for all of them; it is also claimed that 41% of women think that nail polish never lasts as long as they want it to. I’m one of those women, so I put it to the test.

It is recommended that for best results you should start with a new nail coating, but I had four-day-red-nails and I didn’t have the time for a re-varnish. On it went and I noticed an immediate difference, my nails looked like they had just been painted. I thrust them in Shabir’s face and all he said was ‘very nice’. ‘Very nice’, what is the matter with men. This was a pioneering moment in the history of painted nails and it was just ‘very nice’!

It is further recommended that for best results you should apply Slixir twice a day, just squeezing a hazelnut sized amount onto the back of each hand, gently spreading the cream down over the fingers to the nail coating. Massage firmly into the back of the hands, fingers and nail coating. We are all different, but you should start to see beneficial effects after three days of continuous use.

The moment ends by me telling you that after ten days my nails were still perfect. The polish wasn’t lifting, I didn’t have one chip, not one. I was amazed. My nails grow really quickly, so they do need polishing pretty regularly, but if they didn’t, I honestly believe my polish would last about three weeks using this. For the record, I just have regular polish on my nails, I don’t use Shellac. Oh my. A star is born.
Slixir Hand & Polish Cream £21.95 for 75 ml (will last ages)

A Probiotic To Help Prevent Colds – Florassist Immune Health

Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria that are known to help digestion and a host of other concerns. Studies now indicate that specific species of probiotics may help elevate mood, enhance our immune system, protect the heart and are even known to protect our teeth and gums.

The specific make-up of these probiotic bacteria in the gut is determined by our genetics, eating and drinking habits and other lifestyle factors such as stress. These beneficial bacteria in the gut release lactic acid which inhibits pathogens from thriving in the gut and thus preventing infections.

Scientists have also discovered that complex interactions between these bacteria are responsible for the optimal function of the immune system. Our bodies secrete an antibody called immunoglobulin A, IgA, which is normally found around the membranes lining the nose and the upper respiratory tract. It is this antibody that acts as a first line of defence against bacteria and viruses. Unfortunately, as we age, levels of IgA decline making many of us susceptible to bacteria and viruses.

Every day we swallow billions of bacteria and viruses through our mouth and through our respiratory system. The linings of the nose and respiratory tract contain specialised antigen cells called dendritic cells which play an important role in adaptive immunity. These dendritic cells detect molecular patterns on the bacteria and viruses which enter the nose and respiratory tract. Depending upon the nature of the threat, they then signal the appropriate amounts of IgA to be secreted by immune system cells. Larger quantities of IgA are secreted if there is an increased threat of infection.

A specific probiotic called Florassist Immune Health contains selected strains of bacteria which are capable of stimulating the intestinal immune system. This in turn results in an increase in secretory immunity which means greater levels of IgA. IgA antibodies work to deactivate bacteria and viruses presenting them for destruction by the immune system. Blocking viruses from attaching to the mucous membranes prevents viruses injecting their genetic material which prevents their replication.

Studies indicate that supplementing with the specific strains of probiotics found in Florassist Immune Health resulted in significant reductions in the number of incidences of infections. There was an 81% reduction in cold-type infections when compared to the placebo group. Additionally, these studies also indicate that the duration of respiratory infections is markedly reduced.

A respiratory infection can pose serious threat to adults and more so for ageing individuals. Taking a specific probiotic supplement such as Life Extension’s Florassist Immune Health may be invaluable to protect against respiratory infections and the complications which may arise from these.
VH Editorial: A Probiotic To Help Prevent ColdsFlorassist Immune Health £22 for 30 Vegecaps

Triple Flu Defense (2017-2018)

Just released. Triple Flu Defense, as many of you know, is formulated specifically for the current flu seasons. The best match for flu symptoms for the coming season, Triple Flu Defense is reformulated each year using CDC (Center of Disease Control) and WHO (World Health Organisation) data. At the first sign of flu take three times a day for symptom relief and once a week for maintenance. The adult dose is 20 drops. One for the medicine cupboard.
Triple Flu Defense (2017-2018) £26 for 30 ml

Curly Ellie

I have known about this brand for several months, but I haven’t written about it before now because I knew that as a new brand, they would not be able to cope with volume orders. So I waited for the moment when they could and that moment has now arrived.

Curly Ellie, as the names suggests, has been formulated as a haircare range for those with curly hair. It was developed and created by a mum, Zaina, for her daughter, Ellie, and Zaina’s motivation was the heartbreak of seeing her daughter wince as she combed through her forest of curls each night. Turning to friends, family and social media to try and find out how to deal with curly hair, the consistent theme in the responses was that nobody was really happy with the products they were using. So she created her own, the Curly Ellie Hair Collection.

There are four products in the range and they have been formulated and designed for sensitive, curly, kinky and frizzy hair to help moisturize, hydrate, detangle and shine curls. Although created primarily for children, this range is good for all ages and put to the test, the products work rather fabulously. I don’t have curly hair, but I have used the shampoo and conditioner and I had bouncy, shiny hair after using, which is good with me.

The four products are Curly Ellie Gentle Shampoo; Curly Ellie Nourishing Conditioner; Curly Ellie Curl Defining Leave-In Conditioner and Curly Ellie Moisturising Detangling Spray all delivered in colourful, happy packaging that makes us smile. Oh yes and one more thing, they are multi-award winning too.
Curly Ellie Gentle Shampoo £12.99 for 250 ml; Curly Ellie Nourishing Conditioner £13.99 for 250 ml; Curly Ellie Defining Leave-In Conditioner £13.99 for 250 ml; Curlie Ellie Moisturising Detangling Spray £14.99 for 250 ml

The Podium

Each October an annual event takes place. It is the Women of the Year Lunch. Removing my VH hat for the moment, I have been privileged to sit on the Nominating Council and Management Committee for approximately 15 years. We are the original. Founded in 1955 we are not about celebrity, we are not about money, but we are about the celebration of women who have achieved, often against tremendous adversity.

This year’s Lunch is being held in London on Monday 16 October. You cannot ‘buy’ an invitation, you have to be nominated and I am sure we all know women who deserve recognition for the work that they do across so many fields. I was sent information about one such woman just a few days ago. Had I known about her earlier, I would have nominated her to attend the Lunch, but I didn’t and so I would just like to take this opportunity of writing a few words.

Having access to menstrual sanitary products is a basic human right. After seeing refugees stuck at various border crossings in Europe on the news, one woman wondered how they managed their periods.

As the child of Iranian refugees herself, this was a cause close to her heart and so she began speaking with refugees and women in developing countries and researching the femcare industry. Her name is Affi, she has created a subscription based website delivering period-care products to your door. It is hoped that the commercial aspect will help support women and girls in need. Please help if you can. And please follow us on 16 October as we celebrate the achievements of 450 remarkable women. I doubt there will be a dry eye in the room. Thank you.
Women of the Year; MyFreda

Right, back to it, but before anything, and following on from the above, I would just like to say that supporting each other is so very important. It really matters to me that we all hold hands and on that note I would just like to congratulate Nigella on the publication of her gorgeous new book, At The Table: A Celebration of Home Cooking. It is no secret that she is one of us, so if you haven’t done so already, you can order her new book here. One more mention for another very special friend; Jackie, I love what you are doing with Soda Shop. Go take the world by storm. Standing right next to you.

EUK 134 0.1% by The Ordinary

I’ve lost count of the number of times that I have written that I am a NIOD girl; I occasionally use one or two products from The Ordinary (aside from the primers which I use every day) just because there are times when I feel like having a Squalane hit for example, but basically if you are on a NIOD regimen, then you really don’t need to introduce any of The Ordinary products – up until now. EUK 134 0.1% has just become the exception to the rule.

It is very rare for me to flip over an O. product, but I’m flipping and so is Brandon; we are currently having a competition to see who can flip more and I’m winning! So what’s the big deal. Well the big deal is that EUK 134 is a super-strong antioxidant that regenerates itself, unlike most antioxidants. Everybody talks about antioxidants as if they are all basically the same thing. Almost everything from green tea to Vitamin C to hydroquinone is an antioxidant, but most antioxidants are not able to regenerate as they scavenge free radicals. EUK 134 can. EUK 134 does.

EUK 134 at 0.1% is an extremely high concentration and is more than ten times the low suggested amount used in many (actually most) skincare formulations. But then of course we are not ‘other’ skincare formulations and we are recommending you incorporate this into any skincare regimen because suddenly we are upping the ante on antioxidant use at an accessible price.

If you are on a NIOD regimen, then you can either use EUK after MMHC, or do what I do and drop some into Hydration Vaccine. If you are on an O. regimen then you can either use it neat or mix it with Natural Moisturizing Factors. In fact you can drop it anywhere and I will admit to pouring an entire bottle of EUK 134 into a body lotion. There is only one rule. Please only use EUK 134 with non-acidic products. EUK and acids don’t get on together. That’s a wrap. Face and body. Thank you.
EUK 134 0.1% £6.90 for 30 ml

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a common concern as we begin to age. The term ‘silent killer’ describes high blood pressure well because unless you know what the symptoms of high blood pressure are, you would not necessarily know that you actually have high blood pressure. Medically high blood pressure is known as hypertension and it is a serious concern which leads to thousands of deaths every year from heart attack, stroke and kidney failure.

Knowing your blood pressure reading is important regardless of how you feel physically and this should be carried out frequently. Blood pressure is simply the force of your blood flow pounding against the arteries. The higher the pressure, the greater the chance of damaging the arteries leading to complications.

Blood pressure readings include systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure and are a series of numbers. Systolic pressure is the blood pressure when the heart is pumping blood and diastolic pressure is the resting pressure on the walls of the arteries in between the heart beats. The normal reading for blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg.

Generally there are no major symptoms for high blood pressure, which is why it is referred to as a ‘silent killer’. However, if your blood pressure is very high, then the following symptoms may become apparent; vision problems, severe headaches, pain in the chest area, breathing problems, blood in urine and a heartbeat that feels irregular. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you must see a doctor as soon as possible.

High blood pressure is preventable to a large extent and Shabir takes an in-depth look at the possible causes and then recommends a natural supplement to help support the heart, Cardio Peak.
VH Editorial: High Blood PressureCardio Peak with Standardized Hawthorn and Arjuna £32 for 120 Capsules

VH Editorial

Let’s do this month’s editorial features and I am really going to have to start with Arly’s article. After writing three extraordinary features on The Ordinary, Arly decided she wanted to write the definitive on NIOD and I nearly fell over when she told me. I am almost lost for words because it has taken her several weeks to do this and to say I am in awe is an under-statement. It is everything about NIOD you ever wanted to know according to Arly. Arly, thank you.
NIOD – The Definitive by Detail Oriented Beauty

Bad Behaviour is the title of Carole Morin’s editorial; I was almost frightened to open it when it arrived because her copy is always sent with an email asking whether she has been sacked yet. She hasn’t. She, and her articles, live on – by a thread.
Bad Behaviour by Carole Morin

In other editorials, Jo Fairley writes about the joy of a daily routine as a framework for life, Carolyn Asome brings us up to fashion speed with her autumn wardrobe digest, the Beauty Bible girls enter the vest and black opaque tights season and Catherine Turner talks us through sustainable exercise.
Autumn Wardrobe Digest by Carolyn Asome; The Joy of Routine by Jo Fairley; Bodycare by Beauty Bible; Sustainable Exercise by Catherine Turner; 

News and Updates

I need to report on two things that happened when we released the September newsletter:

I Woke Up Like This

I wrote on the newsletter that I knew ‘I Woke Up Like This’ would be the bestseller of all the new BioBelle products, but what I didn’t know was that within ten minutes of releasing the newsletter I would have to send an urgent missive to BioBelle asking (actually begging) for more stock ‘I Woke Up Like This’ and ‘My Dairy of Beauty Secrets Kit’. The feedback has been extraordinary, we have totally wiped their stock levels and I’m hoping that we have enough to get us through the next few weeks; all things being equal, we should.

Apologies if you had to wait to receive your mask, but these things are out of my control and if ever a launch went out of control, this one did. You would think I would be used to it by now, but I never am and basically by about 11 am on newsletter release day, the stress levels had peaked and running away seemed like a rather attractive option. Brilliant products, utterly brilliant.
I Woke Up Like This £4; My Diary of Beauty Secrets Kit (Six masks) £24

Dream Coat by Color Wow

As predicted, we didn’t get to the end of the day before we had to put Dream Coat by Color Wow back on a pre-order only status. As I am writing this I still don’t have a confirmed date when we will receive our next consignment, but I live in hope that it has arrived or will arrive imminently.

The response has been completely staggering, which would explain the global shortage. Two more things to say, if you missed what I wrote then please click here to read all about it and in the meantime if you go to the product page, you can watch a short video which will show you how to banish the frizz out of your hair and out of your life. Forever.
Dream Coat by Color Wow £22 for 200 ml

The End Bit

That’s it, we have come to the end of another newsletter and once again, together with Shabir and the entire VH team, I thank you for your ongoing support and loyalty.

I would also like to thank so many of you for taking the time to send us brand and product suggestions, together with your feedback on the products we launch. Each email touches me deeply, so thank you.

I hope you have a wonderful October.

With love

Gill x