Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette ($58.00 for 0.35 oz.) contains three shades of the brand’s Ambient Lighting Powders. The three shades include Dim Light and Radiant Light, both which are part of the permanent range, and a new (and limited edition) shade called Incandescent Light. Each shade is 0.116 oz. in size, compared to the full-sized compact which contains 0.35 oz. At a $45 price point for individual shades, the palette is a nice way to try the new powders and have multiple shades to choose from. You do also get a 0.16 oz. vial of Veil Mineral Primer (worth about $8), which I’ve reviewed here. It’s not a value-packed palette in terms of price-per-ounce (total value of the palette is $53, including the primer), but getting a variety of shades of a product that is quite pricey individually may be worth it–it will take awhile to get through these pans even at this size.
Dim Light is described as a “neutral peach beige powder.” It’s a pale, light beige with neutral to warm undertones and a very subtle satin shimmer/sheen. The color is barely visible against my skin tone when layered heavily (to show color), and it blends out seamlessly without making me look any darker or lighter. I applied this all over my face like a setting/finishing powder with Hourglass’ Ambient Lighting Brush. I couldn’t think of anything I have that’s quite like this and in this shade. The closest product that I’m familiar with is Guerlain’s Meteorites Voyage Powders, which are more translucent and sheerer. According to Hourglass, the main purpose of Dim Light is to blur imperfections–which it does admirably.
Incandescent Light is described as a “pearlescent powder.” It’s a pale, light beige with neutral undertones and a soft ivory shimmer. It’s a bit different from the other Ambient Light powders, because it is a lot more shimmery, and Hourglass is positioning it to “highlight cheekbones and [brighten] the complexion with a celestial glow.” It works well for illuminating the skin where it is applied, and the shimmer doesn’t emphasize pores or make the skin appear oily. Urban Decay Naked (P, $29.00) is more sparkly. Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight (P, $44.00) is similar but a smidgen warmer. NARS Debbie Harry Highlighter (LE, $29.00) is lighter. See comparison swatches.
Radiant Light is described as a “golden beige powder.” I reviewed it here when it was originally released. The purpose of Radiant Light is to had subtle warmth; very pale complexions will see this work more obviously on their skin tone than medium or deeper complexions. You can see some comparison swatches</> against Chanel Lucky Stripes, which is much more golden and darker (more of a bronzer on the skin) and NARS Miss Liberty, which is a bit more sparkly.
The Ambient Lighting Powders breathe life back into the skin after you’ve applied foundations and setting powders–especially if you have more mattifying base products on. They’re not full-on highlighters, but they’re not exactly setting powders (by Hourglass’ definition, they are finishing powders). If you have very oily skin, you may still need your usual setting powder, but for my normal-to-dry skin, the Ambient Lighting Powders work as a setting and finishing powder in one for me. I get extended wear out of my base products, but the powders also smooths the skin’s appearance, minimizes pores and imperfections, and gives the skin a natural luminosity (not shiny, not shimmery). It is that something extra that someone won’t see and go, “Oh, nice lipstick!” but “Did you do something different with your skin?” When people start asking you about your skincare routine, that’s when you know a product is really delivering on its promises! I’m not alone–there are 47 reader reviews with an overall rating of 4.5. The only negative I have to say about the products is that the texture is very, very soft, so depending on the brush you use, excess powder can be kicked up (and wasted).
If you were one of several readers wondering about my skin in my last NARS’ post, this palette is responsible as I wore Dim Light all over my face with Incandescent Light done the bridge of my nose and along the tops of my cheekbones as a highlighter.