Thursday, March 7, 2013

Spotlight: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders 

If you've read my January Favorites post, you'll know that I have really been enjoying the new Ambient Lighting Powders by Hourglass. With six beautiful colors to choose from, you may be wondering which is right for you. Luckily, Hourglass put out something for everyone!  While I don't have all six, I do have five of them. Some of you have been asking to see swatches, so I thought I'd include swatches, better descriptions and which brushes I prefer for application.

Here is a closer look at the shades I have:

 From left to right: Ethereal (white), Diffused (yellow), Luminous (champagne), Mood (lavender), Radiant (golden beige with shimmer) - Above with flash, below without.
 These were somewhat difficult to swatch because the shades are sheer. They are not highlighting powders, but rather meant to be worn allover the face as a setting powder. Therefore, they are not heavily pigmented like an eyeshadow, but rather bathe the face in a sheer cloak of light. 

Ethereal Light is a sheer opalescent, cool white powder. This is ideal for those with very fair skin and is meant to mimic a moonlit glow.  If used on a darker skin tone, it could work as a subtle highlighter rather than a setting powder.

Diffused Light seems to be the best match for my skin tone. It's a soft warm pale yellow which is great for those who wish to neutralize any redness in their skin. This is my favorite of the ambient powders because I feel like it really has some corrective properties in addition to setting my makeup.

Luminous Light is a champagne shade that will work best on those with a medium skin tone. However, I feel that of all of the shades available, this one is probably the most universal. Keep in mind the finger swatches are deceiving, because when applied with a brush, you get a light sheer effect, not the concentrated one seen in the photo below. I felt it was important to show a more concentrated version, to give you a better idea of the colors. This does appear to have some super fine shimmers in it, but the shimmer is undetectable on the face. Luminous creates the illusion of a candlelit glow on the face.

Mood Light is a sheer lavender/pink. Don't be scared of the word lavender. It's very light, and creates a brightening effect on the face. This is best for those who suffer from a dull or lackluster complexion. If you are looking to use some of the powders together, this one also looks pretty over a cream or powder blush just on the cheekbones. I also like this dusted lightly on the eyelids for a more awake appearance.

Radiant Light is a good choice for those with darker medium complexions to deep skin tones. This is the powder I reach for when I am going for a super bronzed look. I love this over a bronzer or self-tanned skin dusted lightly along the perimeter of the face. This really enhances deeper skin tones beautifully, and for those with lighter skin, it can help enhance the appearance of a faux tan.  This is the only powder with real noticeable shimmer in the pan and in the swatches. However once applied to the face, the shimmer is so subtle, it creates more of a satin finish than anything, but certainly does not look like glitter on the face by any stretch of the imagination. This is a very warm toned powder and the most pigmented of the ones I have.

Dim Light (not pictured) is a mix of warm and cool tones. It is a neutral peachy beige powder that I didn't purchase because I simply feel it would be too dark for my complexion and I don't think I would get much use out of it. However I am very happy that Hourglass Cosmetics included shades for everyone. It is rare that brands take all skin tones into account, so I commend them for doing so.

Now that you know the available shades, you are probably wondering how to apply this beautiful powder! I did purchase the Ambient Powder Brush (sold separately) which comes in a convenient pouch to carry in your purse without it getting dusty or damaged. I originally thought this powder would work with any large powder brush. However, I've had these for a few months now, and find they apply best with a flat brush that allows you to paint the product on rather than using a buffing type motion. 

These are the brushes that I have found work well to apply these powders:

 Pictured Above: OCC (Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics) Large Powder Brush
 Pictured Above: Cozzette S125 Oval Powder Brush
 Pictured Above: Purely Pro Cosmetics Vegan Brush - Large Pointed Face
 Pictured Above: Everyday Minerals Kuuki Brush
 Pictured Above: Eco Tools Tapered Blush Brush

 Pictured Above: Hourglass Ambient Powder Brush

I am not saying you have to run out and buy one of the brushes I've mentioned. However, I do feel this product is best applied with a flatter brush rather than a round bronzer type brush to get the full effect of the product. I tried to include brushes in every price range as I realize the powders are a bit of a splurge, and adding the cost of the brush is not feasible for everyone. 

The texture of these powders are amazing. They are finely milled, not chalky at all, and just blend so smoothly. These powders are housed in a mirrored gunmetal-like compact, which is the signature packaging of Hourglass Cosmetics. They come with a warning that they are fragile, but I am pretty clumsy and haven't had any mishaps yet (knock on wood). These miraculous powders have the ability to control shine, yet add luminosity, a task not easily mastered by any other makeup product in my arsenal. These are not highlighters, so if that's what you are looking for you may want to try another product. Like all Hourglass products, the price tag can be a bit of a shock at first. However, I think these are a worthy investment. If you are going to splurge on one makeup product this season, this should be it. These are unique, they do what they claim to, and most importantly, they really help you look your best. I am in love with these and really happy I purchased them. 

If you end up picking one of these up, I'd love to hear about it! Drop me a comment in the box below. As always, comments are approved individually, so don't worry if you don't see your comment right away. 

All products and brushes seen in this post were purchased by me. I never accept money in exchange for writing a review. As always, all products seen in this post are cruelty-free!


  1. This is such a helpful post, Liza! I've been wanting to try these powders but have been unsure which to pick. Been leaning toward Radiant Light, but now I'm not so sure. I usually gravitate away from shimmer so the fact that this one has the most shimmer makes me wonder if the light yellow may be better. But you did say it gives more of a satin finish overall, which sounds really lovely. Once applied, do you notice the shimmer particles of Radiant Light at all?

  2. I also found this review super helpful!! Thank you so much for providing various swatches of the ambient powders you had, it was really nice to see the more concentrated versions as well. Thanks!

  3. Thanks for the help! I wasn't sure if it was worth the splurge, but I'll definitely consider it now :)


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