Review – Zuzka Cocoa Spa Organic Orange & Vanilla Pod Exfoliating Gel

cocoa spa

In a previous post I told you how happy I was with the results I got from Zuzka Argenine Hydroxy Rejuvenating Cream. The great results I got made me curious to try some other products in the range. There are loads to try here. But the product I was gifted to try out was the Organic Orange & Vanilla Pod Exfoliating Gel from Zuzka’s Cocoa Spa Range.

I’m not really a fan of exfoliating treatments. It’s not that the results aren’t good it’s just that it’s always a bit of a faff and you have to spend time making sure that any granules are removed afterwards. But then I’m a bit lazy and like instant results.

Anyway, I’m sure that you want to hear about this product. They say:

“A luxurious face polisher with a rich, fresh, natural aroma of organic orange & ground vanilla pod. Full of antioxidants & vitamin C to stimulate cell renewal & rejuvenate the skin, the exfoliating action buffs away dry dead skin cells, leaving skin looking velvety soft & smooth.”

I expected a gel-like formula but I found it was runnier or perhaps I should say a silkier formula that I wouldn’t really call a gel. It’s chocolate coloured and smells gorgeous. It’s easy to apply and has a very fine granular feel which I’m guessing is the ground vanilla pod.

It wasn’t too difficult to remove. I’d applied it with my fingers and massaged it in. I used a face cloth to remove it and once I patted my skin dry I was so please with how my skin looked and felt. It was so much brighter and so smooth! My make up went on like a dream afterwards. I definitely won’t put off using it for so long next time!

Have you tried any of Zuzka’s products yet?


This sample was gifted to me for review. The views are my own and not prescribed.

Brand Focus – W7 Cosmetics

If you search for W7 Cosmetics on my blog you’ll find that there are quire a few reviews featuring various products from the W7 range. They’re a pretty unassuming brand and you’d find it really hard to spend more than a tenner on an item. Most products come in under a fiver!

I’ve been using a lot of different brands since I’ve been blogging and when it comes to making a purchase I tend to choose high-end brands whenever I can afford it. Believe me though there are times when I run out of a product and there’s too much month left and not enough money. That’s when I take a good look around and reach for something from a less expensive brand. Nine times out of ten I find what I need from W7.

This week I’ve had the opportunity to try a few more products from W7:

W7 face2

Absolute MascaraGolden Brown PaletteButter Kiss Lipstick – Red Light and Captain Matte Foundation – Natural Beige

The Captain Matte Foundation – Natural Beige was something that I was intrigued to try. I’ve been using Nars and Laura Mercier foundations and matching them carefully to my skin shade and type. This shade and coverage had been chosen for at random and so I didn’t expect that it would be at all suitable. Well – I was so wrong. I think that the tone is a little warmer than what I’ve been using but I don’t think  that’s a bad thing. It went on smoothly, isn’t at all greasy and covered up minor imperfections. I couldn’t fault it and it costs less that a sixth of the cost of my normal brand.

The Absolute Mascara was the product that I wasn’t expecting to be a big fat failure. I’ve got a favourite high-end product that I measure every mascara against and I’ve tried a few of W7’s mascaras before and I’m afraid they never got a second use from me but this is the one to win me over! It’s got really good coverage and makes my lashes look longer and thicker. It stayed on all day without smudging or flaking. The brush is one of those funny ones with the bobbly bit on the end and I did poke myself in the eye a bit with it but it’s fab once you get used to it and I’m wearing it again today. In fact I’m wearing all the products again today.

The Golden Brown Palette contains four shades of brown. W7 don’t like to go overboard and name their colours which is a shame. I can’t really explain the look of the shadows.  They’re not shimmery but the do have a slight fleck of shimmery sparkle in them. This means that they are great for my 50 something crepey eyelids as they don’t emphasise every little line. I used the the lightest shade on the far left on the lid and the third shade from left in the crease for a day time look.

To finish off the look I applied Butter Kiss Lipstick – Red Light. I’ve really become a fan of lip butters recently. They go on smoothly and are more pigmented than balms. I’ve been wearing another high street brand almost every day and ignored my expensive lipsticks. This shade is a winner with me. It’s a coral-red that gives my face a bit of a lift and we could all do with a lift in this cold weather.

W7 faceI’m so chuffed with all these products that they’ve all made it into my make-up bag. As you know I can be quite fickle and if I see a new pretty item I can often evict a piece  as quick as it went in. That said I wouldn’t be surprised if any new bits don’t come from W7 next time too!

Have a lovely week and do tell me about any budget products that you love.


These items were gifted to me for review but the opinions are my own and were not prescribed.

Review – Timeless Truth Herbal Rejuvenation Immortelle Mask

Back in November I picked up a Timeless Truth Herbal Rejuvenation Immortelle Mask when I attended a Bloggers Love Hub event at Kanaloa.

Timeless Truth Masks 2

Timeless Truth Masks 3

I’d come across the brand back in May when I’d tried the Bio Cellulose Apple Stem Cell Collagen Facial Beauty Mask  but I’d kind of forgotten how good it was.

Last night after a long hard day at the office, a pile of ironing and a bit of blog admin I decided to have a little pamper session and apply a mask for 15 minutes while I had a nice hot bath.

The Herbal Rejuvenation Immortelle Facial Beauty Mask combines an exclusive Functionality Cloth with a rich herbal infusion and Immortelle Extract that nourishes, hydrates and stimulates to help reduce fine lines, dryness and some blemishes. Herbal_Rejuvenation1

They say:

“Immortelle is a flower which grows in Mediterranean countries. Known for its anti-inflammatory, analgesic and regenerative properties, the remarkable oil from the Immortelle plant is used in many healing formulas from muscle pain, arthritis to liver problems. Imortelle’s ability to stimulate the production of new skin cells makes it popular in facial care for mature skin.”

My experience with the mask was really positive. It went on really easily and was easy to mould to my face and I think this was because of the good design which makes it fit to the contours of your face. It felt cooling and calming while it was on and the results were noticeable. My skin felt really plumped straight afterwards and when I checked it up close this morning in day-light the effects were still showing as the fine lines had disappeared. It gave me more confidence as I put on my face to head off to an important work meeting. Loved it!

The Herbal Rejuvenation Immortelle Facial Beauty Mask costs just  £4.95 here.


The product was gifted to me for review but the opinions are my own and are not prescribed.

Review – BRYT Skincare

BRYT SKINCARE is a brand that I had vaguely noticed in Waitrose. I’d never heard of anyone using it and never read any reviews until just recently when I was asked if I’d like to try it.
What intrigued me most  was that the products contain superfruits and that made me think that they might just have something different and interesting about them so I thought I would give them a try.
BRYT Skincare advocates a simple 3-step process of Cleansing, Nourishing and Protecting to maintain an uncomplicated yet effective regime.
They have developed what they call an Advanced Phytoscience System (APS), which includes pure aloe vera, healing allantoin and rich ‘super antioxidants’ extracted from organic Australian wild-harvested plums Kakadu,
Burdekin and Illawarra – these superfruits contain up to five times more antioxidant power than blueberries.
I tried 5 products:
Bryt Remove
They say:
“An extremely gentle, water-based cleansing solution that removes all traces of make-up, including stubborn eye make-up. The fragrance free formulation is suitable for all skin types, even the most delicate, sensitive skin. Key ingredients: Advanced Phytoscience System (APS); olive oil; almond oil.”
I was so disappointed with this product. I always trial skin care products for at least  a week but I’m afraid that it just didn’t work well enough for me. I stopped using it after 2 days. I need a product that takes off  all my make-up including my mascara after which I cleanse. This doesn’t work with the make-up brands that I use.
Bright Cleanse
They say:
“A soft foaming cleanser to wipe away all traces of grime and impurities. Suitable for all skin types, even sensitive skin, environmentally friendly natural apple extracts produce an extremely skin compatible light foam. Key ingredients: Advanced Phytoscience System (APS); natural apple extracts; essential
oils of bergamot, mandarin, orange, rose absolute, mimosa and sandalwood.”
The foam was really light and to be honest I would have liked it to be richer.  I appreciate that this range is aimed at young adults though so perhaps for them a richer foam wouldn’t be a preference. The foam dissipates on contact with the skin but nevertheless it’s an effective cleanser.
Bryt Nourish Serum
They say:
“Specifically created for dry and dehydrated skin, rehydrating natural oils and skin-balancing active ingredients penetrate down to cell level to revive and rebalance, rediscovering its natural equilibrium. Key ingredients: Advanced Phytoscience System (APS); African Baobab oil; hyaluronic acid; essential oils of basil, coriander, rosemary, lavender, petit-grain and jasmine.”
I’ve used this serum both day and night before applying moisturiser. It sinks into the skin quickly and feels calming. It doesn’t have the plumping effect that I look for in a serum but then it doesn’t claim to.
Bryt Day Moisturiser
They say:
“Suitable for all skin types, this light, mattifying day moisturiser contains SPF15 and hydrates the skin without clogging the pores, while simultaneously absorbing excess serum. Natural antioxidants help to protect the skin against free radicals which damage DNA. Key ingredients: Advanced Phytoscience System (APS); African Mongongo oil; essential oils of green tea, bergamot, lemon and mandarin.”
It’s always good to have an SPF in your day cream even in England in the winter. The cream is quite dense, a little like a cold cream in that it looks white on the skin when it’s first applied. It soon sinks in though and provides a good level of hydration that last throughout the day.
They say:
“Extremely effective on all skin types but in particular skin prone to dry patches, eczema and rosacea, this nourishing and therapeutic night cream treats the skin through the twilight hours. Active vitamin E, clinically proven to reduce  redness and the swelling of acne, blends with shea butter that melts into the skin.”
This feels great going on. I apply it on top of the Nourish Serum and it provided a good level of moisture.  It was calming and I haven’t experienced any dry patches which can sometimes crop up in the cold weather.
So what did I think of the range over all? I love the packaging which is bright and fun. The ingredients are all the current favourites and more. I think it’s true to say that I’m not the demographic that the range is aimed at and so it seems harsh to say that as a range it didn’t deliver for me but I’m always honest about my experiences of using products.
That said, it’s way more effective than I would normally expect from any brand stocked in a supermarket and the price point is good. I won’t be throwing out all my skin products and replacing them with Bryt. But I’d happily use it again as an everyday skincare staple.
You can find some of the range in Waitrose stores and the whole range is available on line here.
Have you seen this on the shelves?
Love to have your comments as always.

RMK Vintage Sweets Makeover


On Thursday I headed over to Selfridges for a facial and makeover. I’d been invited to a VIP session with RMK.  I always love an excuse to visit Selfridges beauty hall, it’s such a vibrant place and always makes me feel spendy! Of course I was also curious to learn more about this Japanese cosmetics brand.

Selfridges3RMK8After a long day at work and a hurried walk up Oxford Street I was so glad to be greeted by the lovely team from RMK. I was treated to a relaxing facial using some of  RMK’s hero products and then to a full makeover by Tatsuya Kaneko their leading makeup artist from Tokyo using the latest SS collection – Vintage Sweets.


The facial began with removing my make-up and then cleansing my skin with RMK products including their Cleansing Balm. This cleanser comes in a solid balm that melts into a silky liquid when applied to the face. Wing showed me how to scoop a little of the balm onto the back of your hand so that it starts to transform into a liquid before applying it to the face. She told me that each night she cleanses with this super rose scented balm and has a mini facial and winds down from the day. It contains Grape Seed, Jojoba and Avocado oils for their moisturising properties and it removes all traces of make-up including mascara.

Once my face was clean and I felt totally relaxed I was introduced to Tatsuya. He seemed up for the challenge of using the Vintage Sweets collection on me to create a look that would both show off the products and give me a chic look that was age appropriate.

The concept of the range is based on a Victorian or Edwardian afternoon tea. The colours and the scents of the products reflect this with lip glosses smelling like maple syrup and butterscotch for example.

The products that I used were kindly noted for me:

Jasmine Herb Mist – to moisturise the skin before make-up

Creamy Polished Base – this is a light emulsion-like makeup base  or primer

Control Colour UV –  a skin tone correction fluid that neutralises unwanted colour tone.

Super Basic Concealer Pact two concealers in different tones and the Super Basic Powder in one compact.

Creamy Foundation – creates a natural dewy finish and hydrates skin with its high water-retention oil formula.

Face Colour – This four-shade face colour has a delicate scent of black tea.

Ingenious Waterproof Pencil Eyeliner - The unique formula is a blend of different waxes and compounds.

W Colour Mascara –  A double headed mascaras with two different shades, for upper and bottom lashes.

Powder Eyebrow - An eyebrow powder compact with three powders to complement your hair colour and make-up.

Vintage Candy Cheeks – A two-shade cheek colour for soft, glowing skin.

Vintage Drop Gloss – With scents of Rose, Maple Syrup, Cassis or Butter Scotch.

So you’ll see that it took a whole lot of products to make me look like this. I’m not too keen on sharing my pictures generally but I thought it would be ungrateful not to share with you what a great job Tatsuya did on me.


makeover 3

The products are on sale at the RMK concession in Selfridges and I know you’ll love them. I enjoyed my time there so much and I know that you will too.

It’s been lovely getting to know this brand and I’m looking forward to trying out more of the products soon and sharing reviews with you here.

Have you tried RMK? Or have you discovered any new brands lately? Do share your thought with me.




Strand On Beauty’s 1st Blog Birthday Giveaway!

It’s time for me to say all those things that people say when they reach a milestone in their blogging “journey”. First though I want to say thank you!

I really can’t believe how much I’ve achieved this year. I started out just taking a look at WordPress to see what the fuss was about. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a beauty blogger! Now a year on I’ve posted almost 200 times and have almost 3000 followers across all social mediaplatforms!

I’ve been humbled by how each one of those followers has taken the time to follow me, tweet, comment on, and share the things I post. I’ve made so many friends and met some of you at events. I’ve worked with brands and PR that have all taken the time to welcome me into this lovely community and I can’t really remember how life was before Strand On Beauty was launched!

The Giveaway

PicMonkey Collage

So this is why you’re here – to find out how to win this gorgeous prize worth over £90! Here’s what I’ve chosen for you:

DHC Liquid Eyeliner in Black 

DHC is one of the new brands that I’ve discovered this year. Read more here.

They say:

Define your eyes like an expert with the DHC Liquid Eyeliner EX, an intensely black, gentle brush-tip applicator pen. This easy-to-use, long-lasting and smudge-proof eyeliner pen dispenses just the right amount of liner to create any look, from a bold cat-eye flick to a sleek line for elegant definition. The fine brush nib ensures precise application, whilst the water-resistant formula will keep your look intact throughout your day. Quick-drying formula.

Givenchy Le Prisme in Couture Beige

A iconic cosmetic brand that I want to experience more of. One of the first fragrances I bought as a teenager was from Givenchy.

They say:

The Le Prisme Yeux Mono Compact is unique in the world of eye shadow thanks to its clever combination of four different textures of the same shade in one convenient case, a true make-up revolution! This delightful presentation of textures range from matte to glittery, sheer to pearlescent to ensure you can create a range of beautiful looks and the eyes of your dreams.

Daniel Sandler Water Colour Blush in Angel 

I’ve given up using any other blusher! Read more here.

They say:

The cult Daniel Sandler Watercolour Blusher was created for those who want a gorgeous, natural flush that is easy to apply and lasts all day. Whereas some cream formulas wear away too soon, and some liquid or gel stains dry quickly and are a nightmare to blend, the silicone-based Watercolour Blush is a dream to apply and lasts forever. The buildable fluid gives skin a dewy glow, and is available in a range of divine shades to suit all skin tones.

Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfector in Petal Shimmer 

This classy brand never disappoints. Always want to buy more than I can afford!

They say:

Get fuller, more irresistible lips with this gorgeously sweet, melting gel formulation. It nourishes, repairs and protects your lips whilst giving their natural colour a boost with a shimmering touch. Protect them from free radicals and environmental aggressors so that they become more kissable day by day.

Dior Show New Look Mascara in Black

Did I save the best till last? Well you can be the judge if you’re the winner. Here’s more.

The new prodigious mascara with volume enhancer action, lash by lash. An exclusive nano-brush captures and coats every single lash, even the tiniest ones.

A Lash Multiplier TM serum treatment formula thickens, separates and extends the lashes for an infinitely multiple lash effect. Day by day,  a repaired and strengthened appearance is achieved for a fuller lash look.

How to enter

Entry is by Rafflecopter here. The giveaway is international. The closing date is 1 February 2015 at midnight. The winner will be contacted by e-mail and announced on Twitter. The winner will need to provide their address so entrant under 18 should have their parents permission to enter.

Good Luck!

If you can’t wait to try these beauties then they are all available to buy on


This post contains affiliate links.

Review – Zuzka Argenine Hydroxy Rejuvenating Cream

rejuvenating cream2

Wow! Before I start to tell you anything about the brand, the product or the packaging or anything else I just have to say – I love how this Zuzka Argenine Hydroxy Rejuvenating Cream makes my skin look!

If you are a similar age to me you probably do that thing in the mirror where you use your fingers to lift the skin on your face to make it look tauter. Well once this cream is on, I don’t need to do that. I mean really and it’s pretty much instant! Now that blew me away! It isn’t really one of the product’s claims but that makes it all the more amazing. It’s one of the reasons why over time I’ve started to try products and then read the claims afterwards. Otherwise you see what you expect to see.

They say :

“A high performance cream containing Argenine Hydroxy, our exclusive ” Botanical Botox ” formula. Offering intense correction of wrinkles & expression lines & a relaxing anti inflammatory effect on tired, stressed looking skin.”

So now back to where I would normally begin – Zuzka Natural Beauty is the creation of Susan Kohutova a qualified Beauty Specialist & Registered Medical Herbalist.

This range of natural cosmetics is free from harsh detergents and synthetic ingredients. Studying Medical Herbalism provided the in-depth knowledge of herbs, plants and flowers needed to create a cosmetic range that utilises precious natural ingredients to their best  potential. Only certified organic herbs, plants & flowers free from pesticides & chemicals are used in Zuzka cosmetics.

So what was my experience of trialling this product? Well, to be honest I didn’t want to like the product. It wasn’t a brand I’d heard of and it came to me in a sample size so I wasn’t sure that I liked the packaging. Then I didn’t really like how it smelt or how it applied. It sinks in and dries quickly which I wasn’t expecting. I know you probably think I’m being fussy but I try a lot of products and I know what I like. Then as I put on the rest of my beauty products (I used this as a serum substitute under my usual moisturiser) I noticed the effect on my skin. I did the lifting skin-tautening test and – well = I was sold! That was on the first use! So I don’t care about the smell – it fades anyway  – and I can see the full size packaging is lovely. Here’s a pic (the sample is in the photo above).

rejuvenating vream

Let’s face it – it’s the outcome that’s the real test of a product’s worth and this has exceeded all expectations. It costs £36.99 for a generous 50ml pot.

I have another product from Zuzka to review soon – and I have high hopes for it so keep your eyes peeled.

Have you heard of this brand or used it before? I’d love to hear what you think.


Review – Rimmel Brow This Way Eyebrow Gel

Brow this way

Ever on the hunt for products to make my eyebrows look natural but perfect (is that achievable?) I bought this little gem in Superdrug the other day. Over time I’ve started to use two products for my brows. One is the  Sleek Eyebrow Stylist which I’ve reviewed several times and is available here and the other is the GOSH Defining Brow GelBut when I went to replace them this Rimmel Brow This Way Eyebrow Gel caught my eye.

They say:

“Get perfectly groomed eyebrows in one easy, smooth application. Define, fill and fix your brows all day with a tint of colour. Dial up your brow look from natural to intense for a brow statement! The Long lasting formula also feels lightweight and comfortable on eyebrows all day long. Precision brush defines eyebrows evenly for perfected and defined eyebrow-look. Smudge proof, Fade Proof, stays fixed all day!”

So what did I think? It certainly stays on all day which is great as I do tend to touch my face a lot and find that other products wear off during the day. I bought this in Blonde and found that it was just the right shade and didn’t have any red tint to it. I do also use a pencil to fill in and extend my brows but for me this is a great base.

It’s a really good price at only £3.99 but it’s currently on offer for only £2.99! So if you fancy giving it a try the time is now!

Do you have fair or sparse brows? I’d love it if you’d share your tips with me for making them look fuller.


This post contains affiliate links

Luscious Lip Looks for Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Lip Colour

Christmas is over. New Year’s Resolutions have been made and broken. You’ve started the health kick and given up at the sight of the Cadbury’s Creme Eggs (even though there are only 5 in a box and the chocolate’s been americanised!). So it must be time to think about Valentine’s Day!

That’s right it’s time to pucker up and pout and give some thought to what kind of lipstick look to go for on the night. Will you go for romance or passion?

I thought that you might be looking for a bit of help in choosing a lip colour so I’ve taken a look at some luscious shades and textures from Collection.

Collection Work the Colour Lip Butter in Vintage Rose

Lip Butter Vintage Rose

This is a buttery soft moisturising formula. It’s a delicate romantic colour. Perfect for a night in with that special someone. Keep lips soft and hydrated with a burst of vibrant colour. It’ll  cost you just £2.50 here if you’re quick.

Collection Lasting Colour Lipstick in Passion Fruit or Sweet Tart

Passion Fruit2

Sweet Tart2

Just a little bolder – like  the beginnings of a blush are these two flirty shades. This is a creamy full pigmented shade that glides on like a dream. Experience the lip of luxury to take you from your every day look to femme fatale! They cost £2,50 currently here.

Collection Deluxe Lipstick in Silent Movie or Prohibition

Silent Movie2


If you want full on passion and maximum pout power then these are the shades for you. These creamy lipsticks with a luxurious feel, not to mention a sweep of divine colour are a bargain at £3.99 here.

I’ve loved trying out all of these shades. They won’t break the bank and they’ll make you feel ready for anything. The rest is up to you!

Enjoy getting ready for Valentine’s! Share your success stories below if you dare!


This post contains affiliate links

The products were gifted for review but the opinions are my own and not prescribed.

Review – Viktor & Rolf Bonbon

Viktor & Rolf2

Ever since I got my first sample of Viktor & Rolf Bonbon at a Debenham’s event (here) I have wanted more. It’s been on several wish lists, I’ve recommended it to everyone that would listen and tweeted about it endlessly.

This Christmas I finally got not just the perfume but a beautiful gift set. Thank you Safi! It’s taken me a while to write this post because there has been such a debate about whether it’s showing off to say what you had for Christmas or whether people like to be nosey. Anyway I’ve decided that as I’ve been writing about every single beauty item I’ve tried for almost a year it would be silly to leave out this one – because I just love it!

What they say:

“Bonbon is composed of sparkling, effervescent mandarin and orange slices – crystallized into crackling pieces of caramel wrapping succulent fruit. The sweetness of paradise peach accord flirts tenderly with supple caramel notes, clinging to the roundness of peach’s fleecy surface. Sun-filled jasmine is sustained by orange blossom whose sweet flavour clings to the soft smell of caramel. The fragrance flows languidly across the skin, as caramel would generously drip over an indulgent dessert. Finally, gaïc and cedar woods blend into the base note to achieve a surprising balance between smooth, creamy, milky sandalwood notes and the upright, stronger and darker notes of woody amber. The rich brown facets of the caramel accord are tenderly overcooked. Caramel characterises the scents evolution. From inception to completion, the caramel notes mature from a sharp, edible top note to softer and milkier in the middle then darkening to add depth to the base note.”

Now that is some description! I thought that was I was going to say about it was going to be effusive!

The thing is it smells sweet and warm and a bit like candy. I didn’t think about caramel until I read it but now I really feel that it is one of the main themes of the scent. I wear it every day and feel bad about all the other bottles of fragrance that are just sitting there waiting to be used – but I just can’t help myself.

The final element that I just love is the bottle! It’s the most gorgeous over the top bonbon shape. It’s girly, it’s classy and it’s adorable!

It was a gift so forgive me if I don’t look at how much it costs – but you can find Bonbon products here.

Oh and don’t blame me if you can’t stop wearing it once you’ve tried it!


This post contains affiiate links.