July 26, 2017

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A is for Astaxanthin...

Astaxanthin - a strange but beautiful name for a wonderful carotenoid and one of nature’s most potent antioxidants. Astaxanthin is found largely in marine life such as red marine algae, Krill and wild caught Salmon. Who wouldn’t be excited by the compound that gives flamingos their magnificent colour and helps protect them from the sun’s harmful UV rays..?

 

What makes Astaxanthin a ‘super antioxidant’?

It is 6000 times more powerful than Vitamin C

It is 800 times more effective Co Enzyme Q10

It is 500 times stronger than Vitamin E

It 500 times more potent than the catechins found in green tea

 

A number of scientific studies (links below) have shown Astaxanthin to benefit health in many ways, including:

Reducing the appearance of wrinkles and age spots

Improve endurance and exercise recovery

Improve skin and reduce sun damage

Increase energy

Reduce the signs of ageing

 

A human clinical study by Japanese scientists found that 6mg per day of oral supplementation improved subjects’ skin wrinkles, age spot size, skin elasticity, moisture content and firmness in 8 weeks.

Another human trial researching the ability of Astaxanthin to mop up free radicals in athletes, showed an oral supplement of 4mg of Astaxanthin greatly improved recovery time, as it prevented a rise of free radicals in the body (a natural side effect of exercise), which can hamper the body’s recovery time.

 

Will it make me go pink?

No, it won’t! Unless you consumed tons of it daily like a flamingo, your skin would stay the colour it is meant to be. It just might look smoother, more even toned and springier – not too bad for a little-known carotenoid compound, eh?

 

Some lovely science for a good old geek out:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22428137

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22828460

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20219323

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21984399

 

 

June 20, 2017

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The Acid Mantle & You

You’ve probably heard the term ‘acid mantle’ in various articles about skin care, but understanding what it is and how to protect it are integral to having beautiful, smooth and radiant skin.

So what is the acid mantle…

The acid mantle, or hydro lipid film, is a fine film on the surface of your skin with a slightly acidic pH of between 4.5 and 6.2 and it forms a protective barrier against viruses, bacteria and other toxins. It secretes a mixture of fatty acids, oils, amino acids, lactic acid and natural moisturising factor - your skin's own moisturiser.  Topical products, especially harsh cleansers, sun, air conditioners, antibiotics and dust can very easily disrupt this protective film and leave your skin irritated, open to infection and red.

How do you keep it healthy…

Oil-cleansing. Instead of harsh and stripping foaming cleansers, switching to a natural oil based cleanser, which will feed the hydro-lipid layer and keep it intact. This is definitely worth baring in mind even for acne-prone oily skins, as sometimes acne can be a result of an impaired acid mantle.

Limit exfoliation. Even a mild abrasive action such as rubbing a hot flannel over your face can disrupt or worsen a damaged acid mantle.  If your skin is red, inflamed, stings and feels dry post-wash, stop with the exfoliation and let your skin recover.  The idea of 'squeaky clean' skin is something to let go of if you want a healthy acid mantle.  

Essential Fatty Acids. EFA rich serums, oils and hyaluronic acid are key ingredients for repairing the function of the skin. They are anti-inflammatory, very moisturising due to high lipid content and offer protective benefits. As well as topical application, eating EFA found in oily fish, avocados, nuts and seeds is a great benefit.

Sun block. Again! Protect what you’ve cared for with a quality sun block that has broad band UVA and UVB protection.

Diet. Again too! Nourish your body from within with a varied and balanced diet full of fresh, brightly coloured vegetables, low GI fruits such as berries, oily fish, nuts, seeds and a daily dose of quality supplements including collagen peptides, co enzyme Q10 and magnesium.

May 24, 2017

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Summer Ready Body & Skin

Prep your skin and body for summer with these simple and effective tips...

Skin Food
An obvious one that we all really know, but what you take inside your body shows up on the outside… So for glowing skin you need to think about a diet that is packed with:

  • Orange coloured fruit and vegetables for beta-carotene. Not only is this a pre-cursor to vitamin A, but also a potent antioxidant shown to help the body fend off free radical damage. Beta-carotene helps protect against sun damage and also with skin disorders such as acne and dermatitis, which are often exacerbated with heat and sun cream application.
  • Collagen supplementation. As it helps stimulate the body’s own production of collagen, in the summer months, additional collagen can help minimize the damaging effects of increased sun exposure. Also, it’s a great booster for nail and hair growth. Grab a Vitness from Harvey Nichols nationwide or Planet Organic at £2.95.
  • Water-rich fruit and Vegetables. Cucumbers, melons, celery, lettuce, radish and tomatoes are not only packed with vitamins and minerals but also all around 95% water… along with your daily 2 litre clean fluids, these foods are a great way to keep your hydration levels up.

Body Brushing
If you’ve never body brushed, give it a go, it is a sure fire way to feel rejuvenated and awake first thing in the morning pre-shower. Not only is it enlivening, but the benefits go beyond helping to shed dead skin cells and encourage cell renewal. As well as smoother and brighter skin, you can expect improved blood circulation and better lymphatic drainage, which is by-word for a mini detox. Use a natural fibre brush and start at the legs brushing up towards the heart in long strokes and in clock-wise circles on the torso and up the arms. Mio Skincare do a lovely one for £14.50 at Look Fantastic.

Exercise
Ever heard the saying ‘summer bodies are made in the winter’? Well there is some wisdom in that, but it’s never too late to start and anything you do exercise wise is of benefit to your body and skin as it increases circulation and moves lymph around the body, assisting natural detox. Increased blood flow means better delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the skin, which essentially means you feed your face with all the good stuff you’ve been eating… We are big fans of lower impact high intensity spin classes (so no potential skin drag bouncing up and down on a hard surface!), try your legs at Psycle, Boom Cycle and The Pack at Virgin Active.

Epsom Salt Bath (magnesium)
Another old classic still done today for a reason; magnesium is a key mineral that activates over 300 enzyme reactions in the body, is crucial to muscle contraction, blood circulation, energy, nutrient metabolism and cell formation. It’s also worth noting that modern life means we are all generally deficient in magnesium.   A magnesium salt bath is great for repairing and maintaining healthy skin barrier function, which is your first line of defence against environmental aggressors. Pour two-cups of quality Epsom salts into warm water and soak for at least 20 minutes. Drink plenty of water during and after.

Fake it don’t bake it
Sun is responsible for around 80% of skin ageing, so it’s worth popping on a quality sun block all year round. Especially during the summer months, even on cloudy days, you’ll need a high factor spf with UVA and UVB filters. We love Ultrasun Face SPF 50 (£26) and La Roche-Posay Anthelios AOX Daily SPF 50 (£16.50). For fake tan, you can’t far wrong with Madame La La’s range of beautiful streak free mouse (in two shades for £30).

February 01, 2017

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fermented foods ›  


Korean Foods for Glowing Skin

If you didn’t already know, South Korea is one of the most innovative and exciting markets for skincare and skin product development. This is simply because Koreans of all ages and genders value the importance of healthy, smooth and beautiful skin.

Of course as with any great skincare regime, in Korea they look not only at what they put on their skin, but also what they put in their bodies.  Here’s a round up of the best Korean foods to give you glowing skin…

1. Kimchi
Kimchi is fermented cabbage, chilli, garlic and spices, which is packed with good bacteria (probiotic lactic acid). Eating fermented foods like kimchi is a great strategy to optimise gut health, which in turn helps to counteract inflammation[1] and control disease-causing bacteria[2],[3], eliminate toxins, reduce the risk of allergies, benefit mood, and improve skin health. You can make your own pretty easily too! Here’s a fantastic recipe that we often make at Vitness HQ.

2. Pig Trotters
Or Jokbal is a dish of boiled pig’s feet slowly cooked in rice wine, ginger, garlic and onions. Of course pig’s feet are no longer on many menus in the UK despite making somewhat of a resurgence in trendy eateries in London.  This is a shame from a nutritional point of view as they are packed with collagen, which is great for smooth, youthful skin and excellent for staving off wrinkles.  If pig’s feet are not going on your dinner menu anytime soon, an easier way to get your collagen fix is of course to drink a daily Vitness.

3. Seaweed Soup
Miyeok guk is a broth made with (you guessed it…) seaweed! Miyeok is also known as Wakame and the broth is traditionally made with garlic, fish sauce, fermented soy,  sesame oil and sometimes mussels.  Rich in vitamins and minerals, Miyeok has been shown in studies to help regulate hormones, which anyone who’s suffered with acne or dry skin due to fluctuating hormones will appreciate, is great for your skin. Scientific studies have also shown the component fucoxanthin contained in Miyeok to be good for promoting fat burning[4] and controlling diabetes[5]. It is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to plump skin from the inside out.

4. Doenjang
A fermented paste made from soybeans and brine, doenjang is rich in flavonoids, vitamins, minerals, phytoestrogens, essential amino acids and healthy fatty acids. As it’s rich in plant antioxidants, it can help protect against skin damage caused by environmental aggressors[6] such as sun, pollution and poor diets. It can be easily added to soups, stews and sauces for your flavonoid and phytoestrogen boost.

5. Makgeolli
A fermented rice wine that is packed with vitamins and minerals, this is an alcoholic drink with added benefits.  Amino acids lysine and methionine help keep the skin firm and vitamins B2 and B3 help skin stay soft and smooth as well as promoting healthy hair and nails.  

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16176138

[2] http://www.kosfost.or.kr/journal/view.html?uid=1420&start=0&sort=Regnum-0&Vol=15&Num=6&code=Fsnb&JLang=en&mod=vol&year=2006&book=Journal&aut_box=Y&sub_box=Y&pub_box=Y

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19307768

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4557005/

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21475918

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15047682

January 17, 2017

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Keeping your skin hydrated all winter...

Since we a good few months of winter still to go (I know, sorry!), you still need to be proactive about protecting your skin from the harsh and potentially drying effects of the season. Below are a few quick ways to keep the dryness at bay…

Drink up!
In winter is can be tough to drink the recommended 2 litres a day of water, but since we are made up of around 65% water, it’s essential to keep your body hydrated. Dehydration can show itself in dry skin (due to lack of blood volume), headaches, muscle cramps and slower bodily functions. You can reach your daily quota with herbal teas, fruit infused waters, Vitness (packed with collagen which will help plump the skin) and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Moisturise from within!
Collagen supplementation is great for dehydrated skin and numerous scientific studies and clinical research has shown that marine collagen ingestion measurably increases the moisture levels of the skin. Hyaluronic acid, with its ability to hold 1000 times its own weight in water, is responsible for keeping skin hydrated and plump from the inside out. Supplementation in clinical trials has shown a positive effect on dry skin (see below for the science on both collagen and HA). Omega-3 fats are known to reduce inflammation and can help alleviate dry skin. Fish oil, flax seed and walnut are all great sources of omega-3.

Cool down your shower!
Hot water in the shower or bath, as tempting as it is in the cooler months, is terrible for skin. Not only does it strip valuable moisture form the skin, it also causes vasodilation, which makes conditions such as sensitive skin, rosacea and irritation worse. As you age, your skin loses the ability to shrink the capillaries as quickly, and this can result in broken capillaries on the surface of the skin and constant flushing. Turn the heat dial down and keep showers and baths shorter to minimise damage. Moisturise your face and body immediately after showing or bathing to lock in moisture.

Know your serums!
Since serum is more concentrated than a cream or lotion, it is a more effective delivery system of moisture and functional ingredients and results appear quicker. Hyaluronic Acid rich serums are great for dry skin with trans-epidermal moisture loss, and antioxidants such as vitamin C and E are great for defending skin against free radicals, stress and boosting collagen.

Gentle Exfoliation…
The emphasis here is on the word gentle. Once a week, try a cleansing balm removed with a soft muslin cloth to remove dry, flaky patches without causing irritation. Just for extra emphasis, be very gentle, too much scrubbing, rubbing and messing around just disrupts the skin’s protective acid mantle. 

 

The science bit for those of you who love a geek out:
Effects of a nutritional supplement containing collagen peptides on skin hydration and wrinkles:

http://www.jmnn.org/article.asp?issn=2278-1870;year=2015;volume=4;issue=1;spage=47;epage=53;aulast=Borumand

Ingested Hyaluronan moisturizes dry skin: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4110621/

January 11, 2017

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collagen ›   glowing skin ›  


6 Quick & Simples Tips For Glowing Skin

Skin is the largest organ in your body and is the biggest reflector of your health… get your skin clear, radiant and glowing with these easy tips…

collagen drink - beauty drink - vitness

  1. Wear sunscreen. An oldie but a goodie, this is one of the most important steps for younger looking skin. Throughout the year, UVA and UVB rays penetrate the skin and wreck havoc with your DNA and cause 90% of skin ageing.   Skincancer.org recommend an spf of 15 or higher with both UVA and UVB protection all year round. Luckily today it’s easier than ever to find a formulation that works for you and many brand have incorporated a tint so you don’t need to wear foundation over the top. Some of our favourites are La Roche-Posay Rosalian CC Cream spf 30 £19.50, Ultrasun Face Tinted (in Honey or Ivory) for all day protection £26 and Clinique Super City Block spf 40 £18.00.
  1. Stay hydrated. Water and other ‘clean’ fluids help clear the toxins from your system that can cause inflammation and potentially blemishes. If your liver and kidneys are struggling to get rid of unwanted nasties (especially around the festive season with more alcohol, sugar and rich foods) it will show up on your skin in the form of blemishes, uneven skin tone and potentially premature ageing. Sugar creates Advanced Glycation End products (apply the acronym is ‘AGEs’), which creates inflammation and affects the cross-linking of collagen, leading to vascular stiffening and accelerating ageing. Herbal tea, green tea, Vitness (£2.95 from Harvey Nichols, Planet Organic or online for packs) and good old water will all add to your fluid intake for the day.
  1. Get some shuteye. Increasingly difficult as it is in our 24/7 world to get enough sleep, it’s imperative to keeping your skin radiant and healthy-looking. Blood flow shifts when we are sleeping and shuttles nutrients and oxygen-rich blood to the surface of the skin, allowing repairs to be made and your skin to do its job properly. Without enough sleep, your poor skin is left unrepaired, pasty and dull. Get yourself a bedtime routine in the week where you switch your smart phone off, do something relaxing (a bath, read a book) and go to bed at roughly the same time. We love This Works Pillow Spray £20, Clarins Body Treatment Oil ‘Relax’ £40 and Pukka Night Time Tea £2.45.
  1. Feed your face. We all know you are what you eat, and skin is clear reflection of this. Feeding your body the right nutrients and bioactives from the inside is crucial to maintaining glowing, radiant skin. After all, you wouldn’t put rubbish in your car and expect it to run smoothly, would you… Eating a nutritious diet full of fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts and clean protein (fish, soya and lean meats) keeps your body fuelled and provides skin with the building blocks for repair and maintenance. Adding a collagen supplement to your diet is a great way to boost collagen production, as once absorbed, collagen in the blood stream triggers your fibroblasts (the collagen production sites) to produce more collagen, which helps reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles and boosts nail and hair growth to boot. Vitness Tonics (£2.95) have 3.3g collagen per bottle, plus resveratrol, vitamins C, E and zinc and powerful plant antioxidants from noni berry, goji berry and green tea.
  1. Clean your phone. Various scientific studies have revealed that smart phones are excellent harbours for germs (more than a public toilet in a Stanford University study!). We touch them constantly and whilst sharing them is neighbourly, it’s also a great way of spreading viruses and bacteria. It’s common sense that if your pressing the phone against your face, the bacteria will migrate to your skin, potentially causing spots and irritation. Give your phone a clean with an anti-bacterial wipe at least once a day to keep it germ free. 
  1. Clean your makeup brushes. Apparently the majority of British women (72%) do not clean their makeup brushes, which harbour bacteria and dirt that can cause spots, blemishes and irritation. Once a week just give them a wash with a gentle shampoo under warm running water and rinse till the water runs clear. We love Johnsons baby shampoo £1.99 and MAC Brush Cleaner £12.
November 10, 2016

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Vitness launches at Revital!

collagen drink - beauty drink - vitness

We are extremely excited to launch Vitness in Revital Health stores this month!  Revital have a great 25-year strong ethos centred around helping their customers achieve healthy habits on a day-to-day basis.  With stores across London, in Cambridge, Windsor and Stratford-upon-Avon, you're never far from finding the perfect health solution at Revital.  Pop in to a Revital near you to grab a tasty collagen-rich Vitness and protect your skin from the harsh winter weather.

September 16, 2016

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Vitness launches at Planet Organic!

collagen drink - beauty drink - vitnessWe are very proud to announce Vitness will launch in Planet Organic this month. Planet Organic opened its doors in 1995 and has since offered the best and widest range of organic, natural and health foods available. Founder Renee Elliott’s dream was to promote health in the community and to bring a sense of discovery and adventure into food shopping, something certainly achieved at Planet Organic. 

Revitalising post-summer skin & energising your body is easy, grab a Vitness with your lunch for a collagen and nutrient boost.

August 17, 2016

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Vitness collagen drink: The Perks of Mollie Quirk Blog

 

If you're looking for an energising and refreshing boost, Vitness is the answer. The Vitness Beauty Vitamin range is the perfect range for you if you're looking to up your collagen intake, improve your skins suppleness and revitalise your body - keep reading to discover their 3 different and unique flavours...

When I was contacted by the lovely people at Vitness asking if I'd like to try their unique collagen beauty vitamin drinks, I just couldn't refuse. Over the past couple of months I have been upping my game on the health front and have been very open to trying new and innovative products that aid the wellbeing of my body, overall health and skin too. Vitness naturally boosts the production of collagen, heals the skin, fights free radicals and damage caused by UV, reduces wrinkles and fights premature ageing too - which is perfect for me as I approach my 20s.

The Beauty Vitamin drink comes in a variety of three different flavours, flavours that excite and revive your pallet - Cucumber and Melon, Rhubarb and Rose & Elderflower and Chilli.

CUCUMBER & MELON

On first impressions before tasting this flavour, I was dubious. I am not a keen lover of cucumber so I was rather weary to try this drink. Upon tasting this rather refreshing and delightful sparkling drink I discovered how much I actually adored this flavour. A true to life flavour with a slight effervesce that tantalises your tastebuds and refreshes your pallet. This flavour has to be my favourite of the three as it's highly uplifting, refreshing and ensures my body feels alive. I particularly enjoy drinking this after a workout or long day.

RHUBARB & ROSE

I did anticipate this flavour to be my favourite from this trio of beauty vitamin drinks. Rhubarb and Rose is everything I expected and more - uplifting, sweet and a floral rose aftertaste, which I adore. Rhubarb and Rose is a delightful drink which definitely ticks all of the right boxes. A similar taste to the old classic Rhubarb and Custard hard-boiled sweet, this beauty vitamin is perfect for those of you who enjoy sharp yet soothing flavours.

ELDERFLOWER & CHILLI

The initial taste of this flavour is subtle and sweet, but don't let this fool you. The taste of Elderflower caresses your tastebuds whilst the fiery Chilli kick packs a punch at the back of your throat, which can be very surprising. Such a contrasting drink that I'm still dubious about, but still unique, refreshing and enjoyable too. This Elderflower and Chilli drink is perfect as an evening treat, great for unwinding and would be great with a meal too. This flavour is both sophisticated and fiery.

After prolonged use of these fabulously refreshing drinks, your skins texture, elasticity and appearance will be improved, your body will feel more energised than usual and premature ageing will be prevented.


Vitness Beauty Vitamin drinks are stocked in high end stores and fitness clubs such as Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Equinox.

 

August 17, 2016

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Vitness collagen drink: On The Becca Edit

collagen drink - beauty drink - vitness

 
As I get older, I'm becoming increasingly interested in taking care of my skin. I'm not sure if it's due to my obsession with beauty vloggers, the increasing number of stories I see about sun damage, or just because in general I'm starting to strive for a more sustainable lifestyle, rather than my not so healthy go-hard or go-home approach. It's probably a combination of all mentioned. 
 
As a teenager, a baby wipe and Loreal moisturiser was about as complex as my skincare routine got. If I took my make-up off at 3am after a standard boozy Thursday night celebrating yet another 18th, I gave myself a pat on the back. Since then my interest in wellbeing has sharply grown and combined with my willingness to look after my skin rather than batter it, it was only a matter of time before my habits changed and I gave my daily routine a promotion. Somewhere in between the ages of 19 and 23 I discovered a love for Origins and Kiehls, became passionate about plant power and started to connect the dots between nutrition and good skin. 

So far this year I've loved being a bit experimental with products, on the never ending mission for glowing skin, but a visit to the professional beauty expo back in February sparked my interest in a new generation of products and a new way of thinking about my skincare routine. I set out on a mission to simply get HD brows and matte lipstick, little did I know I would leave with an appetite for unearthing a new generation of skincare concepts.

Upon arrival I was somewhat alarmed to be informed by a skin analyst that my T Zone was severely lacking vitamin E, my skin was dehydrated and was showing sun damage way beyond my years. Feeling quite deflated, it was by chance I then stumbled across the new drink brand Vitness later on in the day. I was quickly lured in by the promise of samples and the words "Sparkling" and "Elderflower".

"She was empowering and educating all of us to think about our skincare from a different perspective. "

I'm absolutely not a believer in fads, quick fixes or novel money wasters, and the notion of "beauty water" frankly made my eyes roll but I'm easily sucked into pretty packaging and before I knew it I was sipping tasters and listening to Kate proudly singing the impressive scientific praises of her new brand. She had my attention - this was so much more than just a new fizzy drink brand. She was empowering and educating all of us to think about our skincare from a different perspective. 

I always eat my greens and I work hard in the gym, why? So my body feels good inside and out. But i've never given much thought to the improving the condition of my skin through my lifestyle - other than smothering it in Sudacrem whenever I feel a spot coming and going crazy with the highlighter when I look tired. That day in February shifted the way I thought about my skin - it shed light on the importance of looking for solutions from within. 

Make A Change 
In the past few weeks I've therefore become increasingly intrigued by the emerging trends and technologies in the industry and sought some top new habbits to incorporate into my lifestyle. More important than spending hundreds on products is finding hormonal balance and looking at what goes in. Drinking water is not a myth, it DOES make a difference. That day in February my skin hydration levels sat at just 35% (optimal is over 50), and despite my thinking my skintype was more oily that dry, turns out it needed a heap of hydration. This discovery also prompted me to change my opinions of tanning my face. For years I've layed in the sun bare faced, shortsightedly not thinking beyond vanity and returning home from holiday looking bronzed. Alas, I recently took it upon myself to invest in some Factor 50 La Roche Posay, along with a healthy routine of regular application on this years getaways. It's a decision I did not regret, my face may not be quite so brown, but in 30 degree conditions my skin felt happier and I know my future self will be thankful. Alongside water and a consideration for UV, I've been keeping my intake of healthy fats and vitamin E rich foods high in a bid to keep my skin supple and support cell growth. (That means aaaaall the Avo.)  

With all that said, it was to my delight to have a parcel of Kate's Vitness Beauty Vitamin arrive on my doorstep last week. I fly to Croatia in 10 days and the timing could not have been more perfect to give my skin a boost. The drinks taste delicious. The flavour combinations are unique and moreish and the ingredients list boasts natural and botanical extracts, while importantly keeping the sugar content low. Beauty Vitamin helps to maintain healthy skin from the inside out by actively rebuilding and maintaining the collagen matrix, below the skins surface, which helps to keep skin hydrated, soft and smooth. A key benefit for me was the fact this helps to protect from the harsh environments we immerse our skin in everyday; it ultimately enhances protection against UV sun damage, pollution and ageing. 

It's a supplement in the most refreshing form and an addition to my skincare routine I'm thankful for discovering. 

If I ever needed an excuse for adding this ice cold, frosted glass bottle of goodness to my gym bag, that was it.