My New Year Beauty Splurge

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I admit it, I decided at the beginning of the year that I wanted to treat myself, and buy some of the things I’d been lusting over towards the end of the year.

And finally all the items have arrived so I can tell you (brag) about them!

I haven’t tried all of these items yet, since, as I just mentioned, they’ve only just arrived, but I’m going to share them with you anyhow, and if I love them you just know they’ll feature in a future post!

So let’s start with a couple of bits I picked up for my hair. I have been growing my hair out mainly as a kind of experiment just to see how long I could get it to grow. I have a trim every 3 (read 6) months and tell my hairdresser to cut off as little as possible. This is all well and good, but my hair is very fine and not thick so I have to do a lot to it to make it look like it has volume and isn’t limp.

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I found out about Grow Gorgeous through twitter and decided I would take the plunge and try their Hair Growth Serum and End Split Ends serum. I haven’t started using them yet, but the hair growth serum is a 2 month supply if you use it daily (which I probably won’t) so I’ll keep you updated. It’s supposed to add thickness and healthiness to fine and thin hair and promote a longer mane. The split end serum, I’m sure you can guess, is to help with my wispy ends towards the time in which I really should be getting a trim. I’ve just had my hair cut, so I’ll be starting to use these very soon!

The next thing I picked up is a product I’m sure you all know about.

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The Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance palette was probably the most sought after palette towards the end of 2016. Every beauty blogger and YouTuber was talking about it, and it was always either sold out or just darn hard to find in the UK. I saw it was in stock at Cult Beauty so went for it.

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There were a few reasons people were going nutty over this palette. Firstly, the quality of the shadows. They’re so pigmented that you only need a slight dab with the brush to get an adequate amount of product to apply. Secondly, this palette is mostly mattes with 3 shimmers. And the colours all go together. You can get masses of looks with this palette and there are so many combinations for different looks. Third, it comes with a nice brush and mirror and it’s light. It doesn’t feel like it’ll break in your suitcase. The brush isn’t the best but it’s enough to do the job, so you would do fine if you only had this to work with. I’ll level with you, at £41 this isn’t cheap, but it’s a gorgeous palette and I can see me getting use out this all year around. The shadows blend really nicely and because you barely need to use any it’ll last a long time before you hit pan.

Next, I was totally susceptible to Stila’s tweets advertising their sale and decided to pick up a few of their lip products. I got a nude liquid lipstick set featuring three of their Stay All Day lipsticks. They’re lovely shades, and so lightweight. They dry down very quickly but don’t drag or patch when you’re putting them on. Once they’ve settled they are transfer proof. I’ve only tried the colours so I can’t vouch for how long wearing they are, but I’ll let you know.

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I also picked up one of their glitter glosses. I’d been after a glitter gloss over the Christmas period, but didn’t see one I liked or was worth the cost. This Stila Metallics gloss in Citrine was £4.50 so I guessed even if it wasn’t for me it wouldn’t be a waste of money.

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But I LOVE it. Just look at the sparkles! It offers a lovely subtle glittery finish to bare lips and a metallic sheen as a lipstick topper. It smells lovely (as do the Stay All Day, liquid lipsticks) and when it wears off it leaves your lips all glittery (which I love). It is a sticky gloss, so if you don’t like that then you might not like this. I wore it on a windy evening and my hair stuck right to my face!

Next up, I’d been wanting to try an Urban Decay foundation for a while, and when a friend raved about the Naked Skin foundation for her oily skin I thought I’d give it a try. I was colour matched in store to be shade 1.0 and I was really pleased with the finish and the colour match. I’ve used it a few times now, and here’s what I think.

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This is a medium to buildable foundation. I expected to hate the smell and though it is a little painty to start with it goes away. It offers a matte finish, and I prefer a dewy finish so sometimes I use a hydrating primer underneath and that seems to help. It’s very easy to apply, goes on streak-free and with a brush offers a very natural finish. It doesn’t stay tacky, which I appreciate, but isn’t transfer proof. However each time I’ve used this (and with different primers underneath), around 3-4pm I noticed that my chin, nose and forehead oils had broken the makeup down and there was pretty much nothing left. I always set my t-zone with a powder too, so I don’t know if this was hindering rather than helping performance. It’s a shame. I need to work around this, and find out what’s going on with my skin and also which primer will work best with this. I really like this foundation so I’m willing to make it work! I’m going to try it with a setting spray and see if that changes anything.

Lastly, and mainly to get the free shipping when I ordered my palette, I picked up a Morphe brush to apply my new foundation with.

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It looked like it would be good for foundation and the reviews agreed, so I went for it. This is the Morphe Deluxe Buffer brush (M439) and it’s my first Morphe brush so I have high hopes for it. I’m looking forward to giving it a go!

And that was my splurge! Let me know if you’ve used any of these products because I’d love to know what you think. And if you have any Modern Renaissance palette looks you like, then let me know. I’d love to see how you’ve been using yours.

July Favourites

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July was a super busy month for me. I attended one wedding, one festival and one open air cinema event (blog on this to follow!). The UK had a heatwave, which is still going (yay!) and politically the world is still falling apart. I also placed my first ColourPop order (yay! – more on this when it arrives!) and continued to plan my epic anniversary holiday to Orlando.

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I also tried and continued to use some amazing beauty products and watched some awesome TV. So here’s what I’ve been loving this month:

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Argan 5+ Nourishing Lip Balm has been saving my lips in this hot weather. I suffer from dry and cracked lips and usually need to apply lip balm all the time. This really prevents me from wearing matte lipsticks or liquid lipsticks because I always feel the need to hydrate my lips throughout the day. I picked this up from Waitrose in the hope that I could use it as a treatment. I’ve been applying it every night, just before I go to sleep and honestly my lips have never felt better. The balm contains argan oil and shea butter and soaks in very slowly but doesn’t feel oily or greasy when it goes on. It’s subtly scented and doesn’t offend my nose. I have noticed I can now go a whole day without reapplying lip balm, and my liquid lipsticks feel a lot comfier.

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This month’s GlossyBox was pretty darn good (check out my Instagram @groggits for a full photo of what I got this month) and I was delighted to find this brush included. I’ve been searching for a brush to use with bronzer for a while now, because none of my existing brushes really do it for me bronzer-wise. This brush is awesome. Not only does it apply bronzer really nicely, but the flat top allows me to contour and buff too.

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I saw Makeup Revolution’s Radiance Palette through one of you guys on Twitter (follow me @Shutterbug_Blog) and it was mentioned that it was a dupe for the Hour Glass Ambient Lighting powders. At just £8 I knew I had to give it a try. I’ve not used the HG powders, but I read that these cheaper powders were more natural and less glittery. I’m guessing the powder texture is a lower quality in this palette, but what I don’t know can’t hurt me! The first time I used these I was underwhelmed. There appear to be little-to-no colour payoff and I couldn’t see it on my skin. But then I tried it again and realised it was making a difference but that it was so natural I hadn’t noticed it.

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The darkest shade on the far right is great for a summertime bronze. Subtle but gives my face a gorgeous bronze which doesn’t look fake, chalky or glittery. The far left shade is good for contouring but I think will be better in the cooler months when I don’t want to look so warm. And the middle shade is a lovely subtle highlight. It’s not a crazy highlight but it’s nice and subtle and suitable for day to day. The palette quality is amazing for £8, with a lovely large mirror in the lid, so it’s great for travelling. Go grab one!

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If you watch Michelle at ReadySetGlamour’s YouTube channel, you’ll have already heard of the PUR Cosmetics HydraGel Lift eye primer. This little stick is amazing. It’s an under eye primer, which you can actually use on the lid and any area that you suffer with fine lines, and allows you to apply your makeup without it creasing. It won’t banish fine lines, but your makeup just won’t crease when you use it. You can pop it in the fridge before using, or just use it as is, and either way you benefit from cooling effect. The gel sinks into the skin pretty fast and doesn’t ball up when you apply makeup on top. I actually used it one morning when I’d had a heavy night before, all over the lid and under the eyes. I didn’t put any makeup on, because I wasn’t going anywhere, but the gel cooled and hydrated my eye area and made me feel less sleepy. It’s a little magic stick! I bought mine from Beauty Bay for £18 and this was the only place I could find it in the UK.

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My last beauty favourite this month is the NYX Butter Gloss in Crème Brulee. I mentioned this in my NYX First Impressions post, and I wasn’t too sure about it at the time. The colour seemed to go onto my lips unevenly and settle in the lines of my mouth. But I tried it recently as a liquid lipstick topper and then on its own, and I realised I actually really like it. Not only does it smell so yummy, but once I’ve left it on for a few minutes any unevenness melts away and leaves a lovely subtle wash of colour on my lips.

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It’s a winner. I’m looking forward to increasing my NYX collection when our Boots eventually gets their counter (they keep moving the launch date!)

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Now to entertainment – You’ve probably heard the hype over the latest Netflix series Stranger Things. If you like sci-fi, horror or gaming I think you’ll like this. Set in the 80’s this series pulls from John Carpenter, Stephen King and even from Silent Hill, to create an intriguing and totally immersing tv series. The young actors are amazing, and it’s nice for me to watch something with Winona Ryder in and me not hate her! If you don’t like sci-fi, horror or jumps then steer clear, but if you want to watch something that takes influence from so many places but still comes out seeming totally original then check it out!

And lastly this month, I have a drink! Costa have just released some new ‘over ice’ drinks and I recently had the pleasure of trying their new Pineapple Coconut Water. It’s a refreshing virgin Pina Colada in a cup and now it’s the only thing I ever want to drink!

So that’s it for this month. Have you tried any of these? I’d love to hear your thoughts 🙂