Month Of July Part 2: Birthday Haul

Finally it’s here – part two of my month of July catch-up post, and we’re only half way through August. This time I’m bringing you a quick look at what I hauled for my birthday: gifts from friends, family, myself, etc. I’ll throw in some mini-reviews and swatches for good measure. So without further ado, lets get straight into it.

Birthday Haul Makeup Products: Hourglass, Fenty Beauty, Surratt, Natasha Denona, Huda Beauty, Chanel, Dior
Birthday Haul Makeup Products: Hourglass, Fenty Beauty, Surratt, Natasha Denona, Huda Beauty, Chanel, Dior

Pictured above are most of the makeup products that I accumulated. Thoughts are as follows:

  • Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light – previously I didn’t own many products from Hourglass as I’ve always felt more drawn to other brands over this one. But the rave reviews have given me FOMO so I figured adding their most well-loved product to my collection would be a good place to start. For £42 my expectations were high, and I’m sad to report that I am feeling a little underwhelmed. My main issue is that I bought this powder to use as an all over finishing powder, but its actually a little bit dark for my complexion and ends up making me look slightly muddy. I’m struggling to see past this and decide whether the powder is really doing much for the finish of my makeup, but I will report back.
  • Natasha Denona Mini Blush & Glow – another highly rated brand that I am only just getting into. I’m not really into big eyeshadow looks so I don’t regard myself as their target audience, but their blushers really speak to me. Pink? Luminous? Take my money. I was unsure whether the blush shade would be a bit too peachy for me but its actually a really flattering warm pinky-coral. I am not a highlighter connoisseur but I will say that the highlighter does its job of highlighting, and it’s shimmery without too much glitter. I have an excess of small cheek brushes so the pan sizes are perfect for me and the size is ideal for travel. The only con: The hinge is on the wrong side which is almost unforgivable.
  • Fenty Beauty Sun Stalk’r Instant Warmth Bronzer in Inda Sun – my first ever Fenty beauty products! Kindly gifted to me by my parents after the recommendation from myself. This bronzer is the perfect neutral tone for fair skin. It’s blendable, buildable and has a soft matte finish. I’m more of a subtle contour gal + unapologetic amounts of blush, but I’ve been getting into bronzers more and more and branching out beyond cool tones. This is quickly becoming one of my most reached for bronzers.
  • Fenty Beauty Matte Skinstick in Amber – my perfect contouring shade in a handy stick form which blends beautifully into the skin despite the dry formula, which is handy when you don’t want your hair to stick to your face! Easy peasy. I’m definitely down for trying out more from this brand, and am currently eyeing their lip gloss and new luminous foundation.
  • Surratt Lipslique in Chuchoter – Yet another kind gift from my parents – two products from Surratt beauty, which is one of my all-time favourite brands. This nude is the lightest I can go, but it has a lovely neutral tone. The formula is amazing – its moisturising, glides on smoothly, it’s nicely pigmented while still easy to throw on without a mirror and has a subtle gloss-like finish. Important to note that this tube only twists up and should not be twisted down, but as long as you know this from the beginning I don’t find it to be a problem. Next step: buy more colours.
  • Surratt Artistique Blush in Barbe a Papa – Surratt’s powder formula is my absolute favourite, there’s really nothing like it on the market. From my understanding, they are made in Japan with some special technique where they start as a liquid and are baked down into this powder form. They feel like silk and are so unique – actually quite difficult to describe them without writing a whole story. I am very slowly building a collection of them, this being my fourth artistique blush. It’s a very vibrant cool-toned shimmery pink which looks beautiful on the skin. I also really like Guimauve as a more subtle pink blush, and Grisaille is a lovely subtle contour shade. People get annoyed by the size and the packaging, however I think the formulas are special enough to warrant a higher price tag for a small amount of product and the lightweight, yet surprisingly sturdy, RECYCLEABLE plastic gets a big thumbs up from me. I do understand the annoyance of the sticker on the back that is used to secure them into the palettes (sold separately) if you want to change your palettes around or find out what the shade is called at a later date. I currently have a few of mine blu-tacked in until I am ready to commit to a chosen combination.
  • Dior Diorshow Pump ‘N’ Volume Mascara and Maximizer HD Lash Primer – a kind gift from an old friend! Looking forward to testing these out once I have finished my current batch of mascaras (review later on in the year). I have recently been getting more into Dior and have yet to try out their mascaras, so this gift was perfect.
Arm Swatches: Fenty Matte Skinstick in Amber and Sun Stalk'r Instant Warmth Bronzer in Inda Sun, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Dim Light, Natasha Denona Mini Blush and Glow, Surratt Artistique Blush Barbe a Papa and Lipslique in Chuchoter.
Arm Swatches of some new makeup
  • Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in 43 La Favorite – More gifts from more friends! Who’s a lucky girl?! First time owning a Chanel lipstick in this particular formula, which is a comfortable matte in a very wearable pinky-coral shade that goes perfectly with the second gift…
  • Huda Beauty Coral Obsessions Palette – venturing out of my comfort zone and into colour territory, this is a beautiful colour story for summer. I’m really liking the formula of this too, it’s my first encounter with these eyeshadow palettes from Huda, but they’re nicely pigmented and very easy to use. That colour in the bottom right is STUNNING as a one-and-done colour, or with a little pink to deepen the outer corner.
Arm Swatches: Chanel Rouge Allure Velvetin the shade 43 - La Favorite, Huda Beauty Coral Obsessions palette.
Arm swatches going from left to right: Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in the shade 43 La Favorite on the far left, followed by the Huda Beauty Coral Obsessions palette going from left-right, top-bottom in the palette.

And last from the makeup haul is the Anastasia Beverly Hills Sultry Palette from my brother (thank you!). I’ve always wanted one of the ABH eyeshadow palettes, but none of the colour stories have ever really spoken to me, and as someone who isn’t a big eyeshadow wearer I would much rather invest in Tom Ford quads for each occasion. The Sultry palette that was released last Christmas is the first that really appealed to me, and after watching a 7 looks tutorial on Mandy Lea’s Youtube channel, I realised that it was very versatile for creating subtle everyday looks and immediately added it to my wishlist.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Sultry Palette
Anastasia Beverly Hills Sultry Palette

I am loving the shades and versatility, but am still on a learning curve with this eyeshadow formula. I had read a lot about the ABH palette formula prior to this, but I was still shook by the amount of kick-up from this powdery formula. One light tap of a brush and *poof* a cloud of eyeshadow fills the room. I have to tap off quite a lot of excess from my brush which feels like a huge waste (and a concern for carpet stains). The shimmer shades are chunkier that I anticipated and I sometimes struggle to pick them up with a dry brush. I am willing to learn with this palette as I really do like the colour story, but it is requiring more effort than I like and so I may not be purchasing any more of these. I can see why people are attracted to this very pigmented and blendable formula, but again I’m not really the main target audience. YMMV.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Sultry Palette Arm Swatches
Arm swatches of the ABH Sultry Palette, going from left-right is the top row followed by the bottom row. The shade ‘Fresh’ is far left, but difficult to see on my skin-tone.

Finally, I’d like to share the three Sonia G brushes that I ordered from Beautylish using the remainder of my birthday money.

Sonia G makeup brushes: Sculpt Two (new), Pencil One (new) and smudger one (new)

Sculpt Two

I did not own the original Sculpt Two brush, but I did want to pick up the revamped version which has slightly longer bristles as I thought it would make a good powder “brontour” brush. Super soft dyed saikoho goat hairs, densely packed, and an absolute workhorse for applying and blending. I would expect no less from Sonia G.

Sonia G Sculpt Two Brush
Sonia G Sculpt Two Brush

Key features:

  • Fibres: Dyed Saikoho Goat Hair
  • Total length: 167 mm
  • Hair Length: 27 mm
  • Ferrule Width: 18 mm
Sonia G Sculpt Four (left) and Sculpt Two (right) Brushes comparison
Sonia G brush comparison: Sculpt Four (left) and Sculpt Two (right)

In comparison to the Sculpt Four, which I prefer for contouring, the Sculpt Two has slightly longer hairs giving it a bit more flex, but they do have the same width. Sculpt Four is un-dyed so can be used with cream products, whereas dyed bristles are recommended for powders only. I tend to reserve both of mine for powder products, which I use more often anyway.

Smudger One

Sonia G new Smudger One Eyeshadow Brush
Sonia G Smudger One Brush

The original squirrel hair Smudger One (which I did not own) was recently replaced with un-dyed saikoho goat hairs. This brush tip is not as sharply pointed as the Smudger Two, so works better for a more smudged-out eye liner effect. Otherwise, the Smudger One and Two are pretty similar.

Key features:

  • Fibres: Un-dyed Saikoho Goat Hair
  • Total length: 147 mm
  • Hair Length: 7 mm
  • Ferrule Width: 9 x 6 mm

Pencil One

Similarly to the Smudger One, the Pencil One had its original squirrel hairs replaced by un-dyed saikoho goat hairs. It is still extremely soft and is otherwise identical to the original design.

Key features:

  • Fibres: Un-dyed Saikoho Goat Hair
  • Round Ferule
  • Total length: 148.5 mm
  • Hair length: 8.5 mm
  • Ferrule width: 6.5 mm
Sonia G New and Old Pencil One Brushes
Top: New Pencil One (un-dyed saikoho goat hair)
Bottom: Old Pencil One (Blue squirrel hairs)
Sonia G Pencil One Brush (new), top view.
Top view of the Sonia G Pencil One Brush

Right on! I hope you enjoyed this little July catch-up. Don’t be afraid to comment with any questions down below! I’m trying to step up my game and create new content slightly more often, hopefully starting with the NEW Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation – mine should be arriving tomorrow and I’ll get straight into testing it out so I can review it asap. Speak soon!!


This is not a sponsored post. All products mentioned in this post have been purchased by myself, family or friends.

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  1. Victoria
    August 21, 2019 / 3:35 pm

    The Natasha Denona and Huda Coral swatches are gorgeous! I usually stick to my tried-and-true’s when it comes to makeup but I’ll def be checking these out!

    • lydiamkirkham
      August 21, 2019 / 4:14 pm

      Glad you like them!! The colours are equally as stunning in real life 😍