The secret of great skin is good hydration, we all know. But can anyone stick to a plan to drink 1.5 litres a day for six weeks?
We all know that drinking water throughout the day, every day, is a good idea. But how many of us actually drink enough of the stuff on a regular, ongoing basis? And would it really make a difference if we did?
For six weeks, my challenge was to drink a litre and a half of Willow Water every day, and see if it had any effect on my skin, health and fitness.
Willow Water is spring water from the Lake District. It comes from the underground source of the famous Holy Well of Cartmel, which has been renowned in the North West of England for its restorative qualities since the 1700s.
Its unique mineral composition includes salicin, a mineral with anti-inflammatory properties, that is found in white willow bark. The region of Cartmel, where Willow Water is sourced, was once the site of a prehistoric forest of white willow trees.
When metabolised, salicin turns into salicylic acid. In this state, it works by causing the cells of the epidermis to shed more readily, preventing pores from clogging up, and allowing room for new cell growth, making it great for spots and blemishes.
The water is also rich in calcium, thanks to the limestone layers through which it is filtered.
So would glugging a big bottle a day of this borderline miracle water actually make a difference, and would I remember to drink it?
Well, the first few days were a cinch. The only pain was having to transport a heavy bottle of water to work every day - but I guess that was good for my shoulders; no pain, no gain! Having a bottle of Willow Water on my desk throughout the day meant it was easy to drink up, and I whizzed my way through glass after healthy glass.
Yes, I had to visit the loo more frequently than usual, but even that's got to be a good thing, right?
Indeed, although Willow Water boasts health benefits relating mainly to your complexion, increasing your intake of water is known to aid digestion, circulation, nutrient absorption, prevent constipation, and helps to regulate the body’s cooling system.
I can testify to that. Drinking more water on a daily basis has definitely improved my digestive issues.
What about my skin? Well, by the time I'd got to week five of the challenge, I was definitely feeling better hydrated - and missing my water if I forgot to drink a glass regularly.
Then came the ultimate compliment - I met up for coffee with a friend I hadn't spoken to for a few months. She had no idea about the Willow Water challenge. The first thing she said when we met? 'Nicola, you look vibrant!'
My skin was glowing, and I looked the picture of health, she remarked. Wow! If her reaction is proof that Willow Water boosts your complexion, then I'm a believer.
Would drinking a litre and a half of plain tap water a day have had the same effect? Willow Water says not. Tap water comes from a variety of sources, such as reservoirs that have to be treated with chemicals, whereas Willow is natural and is bottled at source. Remember, too, Willow Water's unique blend of naturally occurring minerals.
And the company boasts of hundreds of testimonials from people across the UK who have said that Willow has helped all manner of skin conditions.
Would I recommend it? A resounding yes.
Take your own Willow Water Challenge, and if you don't see an improvement in your skin after six weeks, they'll send you another six weeks' worth of Willow Water for free.
Willow Water is available in 500ml and 1.5 litre still and sparkling varieties, from Waitrose, EH Booths, selected Tesco stores, online through Amazon and Ocado and from independent health food stores and retailers.
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