Alyson Hogg – The First Female Patron of the Princes Trust Northern Ireland

Alyson Hogg – The First Female Patron of the Princes Trust Northern Ireland

Yesterday I had the absolute honour of being named the first female Patron and Enterprise Fellow of the Princes Trust in Northern Ireland. In accepting the honour it occurred to me that it takes a very different set of skills to thrive in business than it does to survive a turbulent childhood, homelessness, and worse. When I met with all the guys at the Princes Trust on Thursday I was humbled by the passion, enthusiasm and sheer guts of them all. From the staff to the young people enrolled, every one of them has such a positive outlook on life. Some of the programmes offered are breathtaking in their practical response to the needs of those with the greatest challenges.  I met two wonderful young men who had just baked scones for the first time in their lives, as part of their basic life skills training.  Not only were the scones stunningly delicious!! And they were!! But the boys were so shy of my enthusiasm, so unwilling to take my praise and so unable to accept a positive word that I was at once saddened by their lack of self esteem but heartened at their delight in the achievement of making this crazy woman giggle with the deliciousness of it all.  It took me to dive in to a second scone for them to fully believe that I wasn’t blowing smoke up their a**! Yesterday evening I spoke with the BBC about my new work at the Princes Trust and was challenged as to what I, middle aged, middle class, “successful” international business women could possibly have in common with the... read more
Self Tan is not a joke! Treat your skin with respect

Self Tan is not a joke! Treat your skin with respect

This is not a joke…   As much I hate it, and it pains me to say it, self tan is often the butt of cosmetic jokes.  We’re the Irish man in an Englishman, Irishman and Scotsman joke, which being Irish, also irks me!  I understand why though, in the history of cosmetics self tan is a relatively new product, and for a long time it was a terrible product; it smelt bad, it streaked and it turned you a completely unnatural colour.  But we’ve come a long way since then.    I make sure my tans are packed with natural extracts that nourish, feed and protect skin.  We have developed Advoganic (advanced organic) technologies that produce a beautifully natural colour that fades perfectly, and negates the need for harsh cosmetic chemicals.  And our Odour Remove technology doesn’t just mask the traditional self tan smell, it removes it completely.   And sunless tan isn’t just a cosmetic, it is a viable alternative to sun exposure.  We all want to be tanned, to banish the pallor associated with sickness, and “glow” with good health, and now you don’t need the sun to do it.  You can be bronzed and beautiful all year round regardless of the weather, and without once putting yourself in front of the sun’s harmful rays.   Around 72,100 cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the UK every year. In the US over 4 million cases are diagnosed every year, and it’s estimated that between 40 – 50% of ALL Americans who live to 65 will have skin cancer at least once.  Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer... read more
Ten Minute Tan – My Latest Self Tanning Innovation

Ten Minute Tan – My Latest Self Tanning Innovation

A tan that works in just ten minutes? Wouldn’t that be the dream! Well imagine no more, because it’s real. We made it happen here at Vita Liberata with our latest tanning innovation, Ten Minute Tan. Its not too long since awards season came to an end, and at Vita Liberata we ran the gauntlet of the Globes, the BAFTAs, the SAGs and the Oscars. Vita Liberata’s pHenomenal Tan Mousse and Body Blur Instant HD Skin Finish have graced red carpets in the UK and the US courtesy of Sienna Miller, Taylor Schilling, Sofia Vergara, Auli’i Cravalho, Martha Hunt and Alessandra Ambrosio, amongst others. But, while these lovely ladies have weeks to prepare and a team of beauty experts on hand to ensure they look flawless, what help is there for us mere mortals, with an average of just 10 minutes of grooming time before we fly out of the door? Well I have the answer, Ten Minute Tan! Formulated specifically for women with hectic schedules, but nevertheless a desire to be beautiful, Ten Minute Tan can have you glowing with good health in, yes you guessed it, just 10 minutes! Pop it on while planning your outfit, shower it off 10 minutes later, then dress without any worry of transfer at all. While you’re doing your hair and makeup, and heading to your venue, your flawless, natural tan will develop. And it’s not just a self-tanner, Ten Minute Tan is a full-body treatment. It contains Matrixyl 3000, which promotes the production of collagen and elastin, Rose Oil, which is rich in Vitamins A, B3, C, D and E, and... read more
25th November: International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

25th November: International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

The 25th November is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women. It is easy to forget, living in societies where women can challenge for the highest offices in government, that countless of our sisters all over the world cower in fear for themselves and their daughters. It is hard to believe, and impossible to accept, that in 2016 2.6 billion women still live directly under the threat of legal rape and violence in their own home, and countless more as victims of war. Is it society that fosters violence? Or culture? Or religion? Or leaders? I suspect that it is all of the above. In England and Wales violent crimes against women rose by 10% in 2015. In Ireland 1 in 7 women have experienced severe abusive behaviour of a physical, sexual or emotional nature from a partner at some time in their lives, in Ireland!  One of the happiest countries in the world! These are unforgivable figures. The UN and governments around the world are taking action to bring in new legislation and action plans that address all forms of violence against women.  However, it will take all of us working together to end... read more
My Diary: “Desk-sides” in New York

My Diary: “Desk-sides” in New York

One of my favourite parts of my job is finally getting to tell people about a new product.  The process of getting a new product on to the market is like having a baby.  You incubate it for months in development, trials, design, and then production before finally it’s there, right in front of you, in all its new born glory. And like every good parent you can’t wait to tell the world about it! This week I’m doing “desk-sides” in New York.  This is basically a crazy few days of back-to-back meetings with beauty editors, journalists and influencers across the city, to introduce next year’s new products to them in person.  It’s exhausting but exhilarating, and I wouldn’t have anyone else do it but me. As the world becomes increasingly more connected, getting word out about a new product has become easier, but getting drowned out amongst the ever streaming chatter is a constant threat.  Desk-sides, social media interaction, and influencer collaborations are all now more important than ever, so I’m grateful for these days and just hope that everyone thinks my “babies” are as beautiful as I do! Catch up with the latest and follow me... read more
Skin Chemistry: Marula Oil

Skin Chemistry: Marula Oil

I love how the cosmetic industry is embracing naural, organic oils . It has meant that my beauty products are migrating around my household. Delicious Coconut Oil has moved from my bedside table to the kitchen for healthy cooking. Argan Oil has moved from the kitchen, (where it’s stunning simply drizzled on fresh bread) to my dressing table where it adds shine and texture to my hair. Now Marula Oil has found its way in to my home. Marula Oil is extracted from the kernels inside the fruit of the Marula tree. Native to Southern Africa, Marula Oil has been used by the Tsonga people as a moisturizer and massage oil for babies, for centuries. It contains 60% more antioxidants than other oils, four times as much vitamin C as oranges and is incredibly hydrating. It is literally a cosmetic super power, which is why I put it in all our Fabulous products and made it central to our Marula Dry Oil Self Tan SPF 50. Launched this summer Marula Dry Oil Self Tan is our triple action tan, offering a gradual, buildable tan that lasts for up to 10 days. The marula oil in it provides moisture locking hydration and the SPF50 means you’re fully protected by the pool and on the beach. A wonderful dry oil, it’s non-sticky and goes on with a lovely dark guide colour so you don’t miss a spot!... read more
The Secret Behind Alicia Keys’ No Makeup Look

The Secret Behind Alicia Keys’ No Makeup Look

The #nomakeup trend is well and truly gathering pace.  Alicia Keys has anchored her comeback to it and IT girls of the moment Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner are advocates. Even well-known contouring junkie Kim Kardashian showed up to Paris Fashion week in #nomakeup. Naked skin is something I truly believe in. I went in to skincare in order to emancipate skin!  I’ve spent years trying to get that wonderful, natural glow you get from a bracing walk along the Irish coast in to a bottle.  The effect of a soft blanket of mineral sea spray covering your face, the coastal breeze whipping the sand up and into an exfoliator, then the warmth of a pub fire melting all that goodness in to your pores.  The tanning serum that Alicia is using instead of makeup to achieve her effortless luminosity, Vita Liberata Self-Tanning Anti Age Serum, is that bottle. Our skin is our greatest asset.  If the #nomakeup campaign means more of us enjoying it in its natural state and looking after it properly, all the better. Get your hands on the product behind the secret to Alicia Keys’ No Makeup lookFind out more about our Self Tanning Anti Age Serum... read more
Ingredient Spotlight: Matrixyl 3000 – What is it and what does it do?

Ingredient Spotlight: Matrixyl 3000 – What is it and what does it do?

Have you heard about Matrixyl 3000? This super smart, natural ingredient stimulates skin to produce more collagen for a plumper, firmer result. Read on to find out more. One of the best parts of running my own beauty business is the time I get to spend developing new products. When I started out I wanted to create products that made women’s lives easier; beauty that takes no time at all to achieve, delivers amazing results and that would fit into any woman’s busy schedule. This focus is at the forefront of all new product development at Vita Liberata and there is nothing I love more than being in the lab working on new products to bring to market. One thing I am truly passionate about is anti-aging skincare that really works. We do this by bringing together the smartest technologies with the most natural ingredients and the result is high-performance skincare that is actually good for your skin. But what are the wonder-ingredients that make the products work? I’ll be taking you through some of the ingredients in our products and telling you what they are and exactly what they do. First up, Matrixyl 3000, the ingredient that helps your skin to produce more collagen. The result? Plumper, conditioned skin and reduced fine lines without having to go anywhere near a needle! Matrixyl 3000 – What is it? Matrixyl 3000 is a collection of peptides that stimulate collagen and skin repair. Peptides are made up of amino acids and they send signals to our skin cells. What does it do? Matriyxl 3000 contains multiple peptides that work together to... read more
Finding Inspiration: How Travel Broadens Your Mind and Inspires Creativity

Finding Inspiration: How Travel Broadens Your Mind and Inspires Creativity

Finding inspiration amongst the day-to-day can be a challenge, which is why every summer I take some time to travel, to broaden my horizons and discover new places in the world. This is not really a ‘holiday’ as such, I continue to work and take meetings remotely, because of course, the business never stops! But it is a chance for me to take a step back and reflect, if only for a short period. Travel gives me the opportunity to learn about different cultures, see things I’ve maybe never seen before and to experience something new. Three things I value highly! As the CEO of Vita Liberata I’m ‘always on’ so finding time for inspiration can be a challenge. This summer I’ve been travelling around Spain and have encountered some awe-inspiring locations and buildings. There are too many sights to name them all, so I’ve gathered some of my personal highlights for you below.   The Alhambra, Granada The Alhambra is a palace of diaphanous pillars and arches that command you to look up. It adds to so much the mystery and romance of the place. I can imagine silken veiled ladies floating between them, with huge dark kohl lined eyes fluttering alluringly at the courtiers being received into the wonder of this place. And we only see the skeleton. The colours have mostly gone. It would have been overwhelmingly blue and gold.   Casa Mila, La Pedrera – Gaudi, Barcelona There is no filter needed for this magnificent Gaudi piece on the roof of La Pedrera in Barcelona. I could not make the sun seem brighter, the sky seem... read more
Receiving the Distinguished Graduate Award at Ulster University

Receiving the Distinguished Graduate Award at Ulster University

This week I was honored to be given the title of Distinguished Graduate by Ulster University. To commemorate the achievement I was asked to give a speech at the university’s winter graduation ceremony – wow! I was humbled, in such esteemed company, to have been asked to give this address. For those who couldn’t be there, I wanted to share the transcript from my speech. Throughout my time at Ulster University I learned to view, think about and approach the world  in a way that has helped me to no end in business. I have also learned a great deal since graduating from the University and it is this advice that I wanted to share with the graduating students.   I came to the University of Ulster as a mature student, when my two eldest children were 26 months and 4 months old. I was 29, and had already had a few careers behind me. I had worked in fashion, television, radio and was running a guesthouse in Portrush when I started my degree. I didn’t even know what I wanted to study. I just wanted to learn. To get a broader view of the world. All those old fashioned reasons for third level education, that were popular when I was at school in the late seventies.   I remember the University library as one of my ultimate happy places. A retreat at times from the needs of guesthouse and babies alike. It was here that, probably for the first time, I truly learned… stuff! Philosophy was my subject, and I became passionate about it. The concepts of truth, and morality, existence and perception, life and death, right... read more