The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders ($45 for 0.35 oz)
were undoubtedly one of the biggest make-up releases of 2013, and it seemed everyone was lemming, buying and loving at least one. I had been very much skeptical in the beginning (baked highlighters? what's so special about that?) but after reading so many reviews, I decided to jump on the bandwagon as well - pretty late at that, as the Ambient Lighting Blushes are just being released this month. But, are these Hourglass powders actually worth the hype?
I've snagged two shades: Diffused Light
(left) and Luminous Light
(right), and they're very different both color and texture-wise. Diffused is 'a soft, warm, pale yellow that reduces redness, eliminates shine, and gives skin clarity' while Luminous is 'a champagne pearl that creates a soft, incandescent candlelit glow—day or night'.
As you can see, Diffused has a very smooth, uniform appearance in the pan with no veining and hardly any microshimmer particles visible. I've picked this one up to use as my setting/finishing powder - I definitely need something to counteract the redness in my cool-toned skin, and this satin, fine powder seems to create a blurring veil on the skin, diminishing some of the texture - lines, pores, scars, you name it. In terms of color-correcting and smoothing effect, I'm very happy with it, although I can't say that it has the best oil control: it tones down the shine from a freshly applied foundation and seems to prolong the matte/satin finish for a couple more hours, but it's not going to do well if you're very oily or looking for a blotting powder. The finish on the skin is a dimensional, skin-like satin, no cakiness in sight.
Luminous Light looks more like your typical baked powder - you can see the darker veins in the pan, as well as fine pearl/shimmer. I've heard it being touted as the most universal Ambient Lighting powder, as the shade is more skin-tone like for most folks, and many use it both as a finishing powder and highlighter. In the heavy arm swatches below, you can see that Luminous is actually darker than my skintone, but more importantly, it's definitely more on the shimmery side and thus tends to slightly accentuate skin texture. On my porous self, I can only use it as a highlighter, and sparingly at that. While the darker shade still works on my pale skin when used lightly, the amount of shimmer doesn't perfect my skin's textural flaws. Mind you, compared to a standard highlighter, Luminous Light is more refined and subtle, so I can see how some use it all over, especially if they favor a glowy skin finish.
In the swatches, you can clearly see the textural difference between Diffused (left) and Luminous (right). For a closer look at Luminous used as a cheek highlight, see this post
; there wasn't much sense in showing you how Diffused looks on my face as the effect is very subtle and hard to capture in a photo, especially when used on top of foundation.
Overall, I do feel that Hourglass did a great job with these Ambient Lighting Powders, and I can see myself using Diffused in my regular rotation (it's probably the best finishing powder I've ever tried... but I haven't tried that many); less so for Luminous, as I tend to shy away from highlighters most of the time. However, I don't feel that these powders are particularly unique or innovative; Guerlain has had that fine perfecting powder thing down with their Meteorites for years, and many brands are now turning in this direction as well. Which is why I won't be rushing to buy the Ambient Lighting Blushes - it's not like we haven't seen soft-focus, radiant blush formulas from other brands, be it baked or undercooked.
What's your take on Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders? Are you planning to purchase anything from their newly released blush line?
Yup I agree totally on your assessment! I fell for the hype too, but then I noticed that my Guerlain Meteorites did the same thing, if not better as they didn't change my skin tone so much. I don't even use mine anymore. And same about the blushes-from swatches I've seen of them they don't look all that different from any other blush.ReplyDelete
I'll try Guerlain once I'm done with these - this just shows how the hype influences my blogging habits, I could have just gone with Meteorites from the start :) But it's nice to try new things anyway. I'm sure the blushes are quite pretty but yep, nothing revolutionary.Delete
Thanks for this review, Monika. I don't understand the hype, myself...and they are meant to be color-correcting, so they do have a distinct tint to them, and so they're not just powders to be used willy nilly, and I don't have the skill :P. I don't have one and don't intend on trying one - not really a finishing powder!ReplyDelete
Hmm, I don't really understand how Luminous can be color-correcting... perhaps it gives a bit of warmth? Not sure. I'm sure you'd have the skill but they're just not that essential - and your gorgeous face doesn't need any help anyway!Delete
I have the special edition palette which I do like to play with but I do agree with you, it's not the end of all. I enjoy my Météorites compact much more on a daily basis. It's pretty HG at this point. :)ReplyDelete
I've had my eye on Diffused Light because I have pretty yellow skin and think this would suit it well. But I have quite oily skin, especially in the summer and I think I'll have to hold off on trying this for awhile. You're probably the first person I've seen so far that isn't completely praising this like HG material which is nice because sometimes I think people get too caught up in the hype to assess products honestly.ReplyDelete
I have quite oily skin too but I've kind of given up hope on completely controlling the shine, so this works for the time being (with blotting sheets). I definitely wouldn't call this HG - first off, I haven't tried very many finishing powders, and even still, it doesn't knock my socks off. And I like being stubborn :)Delete
Thanks for the nice review. I have dry skin so I rarely set anything with powder -- if anything, I feel powder makes me look older. I am curious about these powders but just thought to myself that these are non other than re-named highlighter/finishing powder in the line of Chanel Les Beiges and the like. I am, though, intrigued by the baked blush that are forthcoming. I do like a bit of sheen on my powder blush so I look forward to trying those in person.ReplyDelete
I have Radiant Light and I LOVE using it as a highlighter/subtle bronzer. I was really surprised though when I first got it and saw all the fine shimmer plus those added flecks of micro-glitter. You're really supposed to use that as a setting powder? But I love it--it's great. Even though I have oily skin, I'm still tempted to get one of the other shades to use as a setting powder. I know I would quickly get tired of it though because while the idea of soft-focus, luminous skin always sounds amazing to me, in reality my skin is just way to greasy for that kinda thing :PReplyDelete
I still love these powders. But they're my first brush with finishing powders and I didn't have anything else to compare these with (i.e. Guerlain Meteorites). I never had expectations for these to set anything or control oil since even mattifiers fail in that regard, but for adding luminosity and subtle contours back into the face after a flat mattifying powder, they're still the tops for me. Sorry to hear you don't find them up to par, especially after investing in two shades!ReplyDelete
Having said that, I'm not overly enthused about the new blushes anymore after seeing swatches and reviews. I still want them because I'm an incurable #blushfiend and Hourglass lover, but I agree that they don't look like anything revolutionary. :-/
I don't know, whenever something gets hyped, like every second person is saying how good it is etc. in the end, how revolutionary can a powder or blush be in 2014? I think it all comes down to preferences, skin condition/type/tone in the end. As for me, I already own so many blushes and powders that I don't need more colour dupes and I won't get products only for 'swatch purpose', they may be nice and such but the blushes are too similar to what I already own. Very nice review Monica. / Claire xxxReplyDelete
i went in for dim and mood. i use dim all over to blur everything and mood as a blush. there's nooo way i'd use mood all over my face lol i would end up look so pink. i know that the guerlain ones are about the same but i guess i wanted to pick these up first. i really don't think you'd need both and when i'm done with dim (which might not be for a long long long time) i think i'd be happy to try the guerlain ones next.ReplyDelete
the effect of dim on me is not very obvious. its more like a 'oh wow' when you do a double take in the washroom mirror as you leave becuase you realized there's something really smooth about your face today lol.
i always wondered what the hype was about with these powders haha. i repeatedly thought about buying diffused but never have lol. And in the meantime I've collected other finishing powders that seem like I would like better anyway. Too bad I hardly use powder lol! I don't think their new blushes are anything revolutionary either but i bought the radiant and diffused ones and they are definitely pretty blushes lolReplyDelete
I haven't tried any of these, though I reeeeeally wanted them when they came out. I think Diffused is the only one that might work on my very pale skin, and I haven't yet felt like spending $45 on something that doesn't super control oil (my skin is rather overenthusiastic in its sebum production). Thank you for sharing your thoughts!ReplyDelete