Weekend Read 26 March 2022

Weekend Read 26 March 2022

Hello and before anything else, I will just tell you that I am going to have a rant in a minute, but it’s a rant with a purpose and the purpose is based upon a historical directive (2011) from the FDA about eyelash and eyebrow growth enhancing products. On from that, we will be taking a look at all the latest news and feedback, together with the unexpected resurrection of a product which was created in 1889.  So let us begin.

If I may, I would like to go back over a decade ago.  I was in LA and a certain eyelash enhancing product was being marketed with big claims about its ability to help grow eyelashes.  The beauty industry was very different then because it would often take some time before ‘trends’ would translate in the UK.  So because I rather enjoy being ahead of the crowd, I came back clutching a handful of said product and doled them out for testing.  And that’s where the problem started.  Without exception we all experienced side-effects, which included itching skin around the eye area and blood-shot eyes. 

Something was very wrong and that was the beginning of an investigation followed by a campaign led by Sarah Stacey, in her then-role as Health Editor of YOU magazine.  And I joined in. 

In 2013, the Swedish Medical Products Agency took decisive action, revealing the nine eyelash growth serums, sold as over-the-counter (OTC) cosmetic products, that contained synthetic prostaglandin hormone compounds and banning their sale. Many other countries have followed over the last decade, but the UK hasn't.  Yet

Those synthetic prostaglandins were very similar in action and effect to one called bimatoprost, which had started off as a drug for glaucoma, called Lumigan. Launched in 2001 by the pharmaceutical company Allergan, it had a surprising and desirable side effect: users found their eyelashes grew longer, thicker and darker.

In 2008, that same pharmaceutical company, Allergan, launched a prescription product called Latisse, which was approved by the US FDA for the treatment of hypotrichiasis (less than normal hair growth). It was also commonly prescribed for eyelash loss due to chemotherapy, alopecia areata and also trichotillomania, where people pull out hairs, including lashes.

But there was, and is, a problem with bimatoprost and similar synthetic prostaglandin hormone compounds: they have a number of potentially serious side effects including, ironically, lash loss. Because Latisse is a prescription drug (as Lumigan) these are all listed as warnings on the packaging.

Despite the potential side effects, Latisse became one of the most successful pharmaceutical launches ever.  And the beauty industry took note, rolling out its own OTC versions of eyelash growth serums using synthetic hormone compounds. The concern is that these had, and have, the same potential side effects as the bimatoprost in Latisse.  But there is a key difference with these OTC products because cosmetic companies do not have to list the potential side effects of any ingredient, and crucially these OTC products did not, and do not, have to be rigorously tested for safety and/or efficacy because they are regulated as cosmetics and not drugs.

These are just the top-line concerns which I have taken from Sarah’s in-depth article about eyelash growth serums, but with two long-standing class actions in San Francisco alleging that a skincare company failed to disclose the risks associated with their products, things are heating up. You can read the details of those class actions in Sarah’s article, together with a linked report on eyelash-growth cosmetic products in the EU released in February 2022 by the EU Commission Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS). 

In her article, Sarah also reports on two new products from a German company called Natucain, founded by German doctor and biochemist, Dr Stefanie Seyda, who is passionate about the convergence of medicine and biochemistry using natural ingredients.

In 2020 after a long period of research and development, Natucain released a naturally-derived, hormone-free hair activator for hair growth on the scalp.  And most recently Natucain have launched a Lash Serum and a Brow Serum.  These hormone-free treatments are both supported by clinical cosmetic trials to prove their safety and effectiveness in helping extend the length and thickness of lashes and brows.  Put to the test, they work, which is why we fully endorse these products as we launch the Natucain Lash Serum and Natucain Brow Serum onto the global market, for and on behalf of Natucain.

The patented MKMS24 formula used in Natucain is derived from Bamboo, together with Thyme and Lentil extracts.  Targeting hair loss and hair growth, the success of the lash and brow serums is dependent upon twice-daily applications. It needs to be said these products will not work as effectively if you are using silicone-based skincare because silicone acts as a shield, and as such the serums cannot penetrate the dermis. 

Trialling the products herself, Sarah has noticed a significant difference in her lashes within seven weeks of use together with more density in her very thin, over-plucked brows. But please note it could take longer and generally the Lash Serum will give results sooner than the Brow Serum, so a degree of perseverance is required, as is the case with all lash and brow growth serums. 

In conclusion, I have written about this subject several times over the past decade.  As far back as 2011, as referred to above, the FDA issued a warning letter to one manufacturer about claims for three lash and brow products saying they were considered to be ‘misbranded’ cosmetics.  In my opinion, that holds true for all the synthetic prostaglandin hormone compounds used in an increasing number of OTC cosmetically branded eyelash and eyebrow growth serums.

I find it inexplicable that these ‘misbranded’ lash and brow serums are still being heavily promoted across many beauty sites and the media.  It is the easiest thing in the world to carry out due diligence before listing products or writing about them, and failure to carry out such basic research is, I’m sorry to say, quite shocking.  Or, just maybe, research was conducted yet ignored for financial rewards.  And with a prediction that by 2023 the US market alone for lash and brow serums is expected to reach $234.59m, I suspect my last statement is rather close to the truth. 
The Natural Eyelash Growth Enhancer That’s Safe And Really Works by Sarah Stacey; Lash Serum by Natucain £59 for 3.9 ml; Brow Serum by Natucain £59 for 6.2 ml; Hair Activator Growth Serum by Natucain £99 for 100 ml

Taking a deep breath, a few more words about haircare products here.  And of course it is pretty obvious that I am going to talk about the Fulvic range of haircare products, which sit rather neatly with Natucain’s Hair Activator Growth Serum, so let’s drop the price of the Fulvic Travel Trio from £25 to £15 across the weekend for all those who have yet to experience the considerable attributes of the Fulvic products for hair thinning and hair loss, and I’ll follow through by taking the price of the big boys, the Fulvic Hair Trio, down from £75 to £60.  Dedicated to hair health.  And efficacy.
Fulvic Travel Trio £15 (Fulvic Acid Shampoo 60 ml; Fulvic Acid Conditioner 60 ml; Fulvic Acid Mist 60 ml); Fulvic Hair Trio £60 (Fulvic Acid Shampoo 240 ml; Fulvic Acid Conditioner 240 ml; Fulvic Acid Mist 120 ml) (Offers end at midnight BST, Sunday 27 March)

I think it is pretty clear that this Weekend Read is going to be longer than most, so please bear with me because I still have quite a lot to talk about.  So let’s talk about collagen supplementation.  In fact I have written rather a lot about collagen supplementation over the past few weeks, and of course Shabir has written an extensive article on the subject, which I will link below.  Shabir believes that Ultimate Collagen+ is the current gold standard in collagen supplementation.  It also happens to be our bestselling collagen supplement, so a treat, without further ado.

With every two bottles of Ultimate Collagen+ sold (60 day supply) we will automatically include a free pouch containing 45 capsules.  This equates to a 15 day supply and is worth £30.  For ease, I have put this whole package together, so in effect this is a one-click purchase and I really don’t need to tell you that this is a limited time offer, and because of that I’m unsure how long this will last, but all things being equal, we should hopefully get through the weekend.    
VH Editorial: How To Take Collagen Supplements; The Ultimate Collagen+ Treat £120 (includes 2 x Ultimate Collagen+ 90 Capsules each and a free 15 day supply of Ultimate Collagen+ with a value of £30)

I was sitting looking at the ordering screens last week and I did a double-take because an abundance of orders were coming in for one particular product and I knew I hadn’t written about it.  In fact I probably haven’t mentioned this particular brand for several years, but there it was, the rather iconic pink box kept popping onto my screen and I didn’t know why.  I suppose it would help if I followed social media, which I don’t, and it would also help if I was interested in celebrity endorsements, which I’m not.  So little did I know that the Kardashians were reportedly using Frownies, after Kris Jenner apparently gave them away to her family as her 'beauty secret'.

And as these things do, it went viral and articles started to appear in the media describing Frownies as ‘Botox skin patches’.  This is the product I was talking about in my opening paragraph because Frownies were created in 1889 in America by Margaret Kroesen when she noticed that her daughter had developed unsightly frown lines. The formulation hasn’t changed since that time, and I have always thought that Frownies were quite brilliant, which is why I listed them on our site over twenty years ago. 

We have come a very long way with the evolvement of skincare patches, but I am as excited about Frownies today, as I was all those years ago.  They are the original wrinkle patches, and some would say, the best.  Include me in that statement.
Frownies Facial Patches £23.95 for 144 Patches; Frownies Rose Water Hydrator Spray £17.95 for 59 ml

Well, that was all a bit ‘Hollywood’, but we must move on and we will do so with another updated editorial from Shabir.  This time it’s all about broccoli seeds and their health benefits.  Nothing at all has changed with the health benefits, as it remains that broccoli seeds contain an important compound called Sulforaphane, which is one of the most important phytonutrients to have been discovered over the past thirty years.  What has changed is our product recommendation, which can often happen, so with that said, I will just link the article and tell you that Shabir’s recommended product is now Broccomax.  We move over.
VH Editorial: Brocolli Seeds And Their Health Benefits; Broccomax by Jarrow Formulas £24 for 60 Capsules

I think it best if we just do two or three treats and leave all the other things I was going to talk about until next week, otherwise it will be next week by the time you have finished reading this.  So, let’s begin with a skincare treat from Aurelia.  It is their Day & Night Duo, which consists of their Cell Revitalise Day Moisturiser (30 ml) and their Cell Revitalise Night Moisturiser (30 ml).  This powerful skincare due should be £64, except it won’t be by the time you get to the end of this sentence, as the price drops down to £29, whilst stock lasts.  And if they have all gone by the time you read this, I’m so sorry, but as ever, this was a limited edition.
Day & Night Duo by Aurelia London £29

An Ameliorate treat.  Please note that I am keeping these treats short and sweet, and this is an easy one.  If you spend £20 or more on any Ameliorate products, we will automatically include their Exfoliating Body Mitt, which is worth £10, with each order.  Once again, this is a limited edition offer, so in order that we are able to share as widely as we possibly can, there is only one gift per customer.  And I think you know the drill by now, if it fails to go into your basket, the offer is over.

And the final treat, before we head into the Saturday only treat, is the oversized Niacinamide Serum by Garden of Wisdom.  And I’m smiling here because all I need to do is link you to Shabir’s article on the reasons why you should introduce Niacinamide into your skincare routine, which saves a considerable amount of space, and to confirm that oversize means that you will receive 45 ml of Niacinamide Serum for the same price of 30 ml.
VH Editorial: Why You Should Introduce Niacinamide Into Your Skincare Routine; Niacinamide Serum £10 for 45 ml

So here it is, the Saturday only treat, and this week with every order placed for £30 and above, excluding p&p, we will automatically include De-Stress Muscle Gel (40 ml) by Aromatherapy Associates.  Specifically formulated to help ease muscle and joint pain, De-Stress Muscle Gel is loaded with Rosemary, Black Pepper, Lavender and Ginger.  Full product details listed below.
De-Stress Muscle Gel by Aromatherapy Associates £28 for 150 ml

Well, this would have been the end of another Weekend Read, but I have just received some breaking news, which I need to share with you.  It’s all about Frownies, and somewhat unsurprisingly I have just been informed that there is now an official global shortage of the Frownies Facial Patches.  I am also being told that they are not expected back in stock until at least mid-June.  This means we are unable to get further stock right now, so once we have sold the stock we have, there won’t be any more until that time.  Obviously this is completely out of our control and I dread to think what the global wait lists are going to look like.

And as we do finally come to the end of this Weekend Read, may I remind you that the clocks go forward tonight, so we lose one hour’s sleep.  That’s it.  I’m done.

With love

Gill x


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*Free gifts will only be granted if the items purchased are physical products and your total basket value exceeds the required amount noted.  Saturday only treats are subject to change should the specified gift run out prior to your purchase and are only included in orders placed between 7.45am (GMT) and Midnight (GMT) on the Saturday the Weekend Read is sent.  VH Addicts membership is a digital product and therefore will be excluded from the basket value.  Some gifts are blocked from international shipping due to local limitations imposed based on the country destination.  If this is the case, we will replace the gift with one that is able to be shipped to your destination.