Sunday, February 17th, 2013

Hourglass Diffused Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Diffused Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Hourglass Diffused Light Ambient Lighting Powder ($45.00 for 0.35 oz.) is described as a “soft, warm pale yellow powder.” It’s a pale, pale white with subtle yellow undertones and a barely-there sheen. This one didn’t have any sparkle or shimmer. I’m not an expert on finishing powders, as I’ve only tried a dozen or so on the market, but you can see my past reviews, which may be helpful. From what I’ve tried, I felt like MAC’s Sheer Mystery Powder may have been the most similar in terms of feel, look, and composition (pressed, soft, no sparkle), but I wouldn’t say they’re dupes for each other.

Diffused Light is supposed to “reduce redness and give skin clarity.” Like all of the shades within the new range, it is supposed to be suitable for all skin tones. The larger idea behind the Ambient Lighting Powders is that they help to make your skin look like it’s been lit by soft, diffused light; think having a bit of a photographer and his lighting crew follow you around, except in powder form.

I applied Diffused Light over Hourglass’ Veil Fluid foundation using the Ambient Powder Brush to the right half of my face (see photos below), and I think the effect is exactly as anticipated: something that’s nigh on invisible to the eye in terms of seeing the product but that it does soften the way the skin looks. The natural textures and imperfections of the skin, including some unevenness, pores, and the like, look softer and smoother. Because it is a powder, too, it will take down any shine and does help to prolong the wear I get out of my foundation by an hour or so.

It didn’t look heavy, caky, or obvious on; there’s no residual powderiness that’s there as it sits on the skin, because you can’t see what you’ve put on. This is exactly what a finishing powder should be; and really, it’s what base makeup is all about: your skin but better. I have a medium complexion, and this did not look chalky or ashy when I applied it to my face, though it did look potentially chalky when I did a heavy swatch on my arm–so if you do the same in-store, you might try seeing it blended and applied on the face.

The powder itself is incredibly finely-milled and soft, which is great for application and blending of the product on the skin. However, a downside to that is that it does kick up a fair amount of excess powder (and I used Hourglass’ own Ambient Powder Brush) as the bristles disturb the surface of the powder. Again, none of this excess turns up on the skin, but there is some waste, I’d say. It is more “pigmented” as a result compared to other products in the category, like Guerlain Pressed Meteorites.  The excess is, ultimately, wasted product, and it does get into the nooks and crannies of the compact and some disappears into the air. That’s really my only complaint!

The Glossover

P
product

Diffused Light

A+

Hourglass launches another great product, and it's easily a line I can see becoming holy grail material for some. It's impossible to over-do, and it definitely makes skin look better without looking like you've patted powder all over.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
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See more photos & swatches!

Hourglass Diffused Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Diffused Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Hourglass Diffused Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Diffused Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Hourglass Diffused Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Diffused Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Hourglass Diffused Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Diffused Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Hourglass Diffused Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Diffused Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Hourglass Diffused Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Diffused Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Hourglass Diffused Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Diffused Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Hourglass Diffused Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Diffused Light Ambient Lighting Powder (right half)

Hourglass Diffused Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Diffused Light Ambient Lighting Powder (right half)

Product & Review FAQ

Where can I purchase it? How much is it?

Sephora, $45.00.

Is it limited edition?

No.

Any dupes?

I'm not an expert on finishing powders, as I've only tried a dozen or so on the market, but you can see my past reviews, which may be helpful. From what I've tried, I felt like MAC's Sheer Mystery Powder may have been the most similar in terms of feel, look, and composition (pressed, soft, no sparkle), but I wouldn't say they're dupes for each other.

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99 thoughts on “Hourglass Diffused Light Ambient Lighting Powder Review, Photos, Swatches

  1. blueraccoon

    (Um Christine? I think the grade is off; there’s only a .5 for texture which brings the whole thing down.)

    • Should be fixed! Saw it right as it published. Thank you for letting me know!

      • blueraccoon

        :) No problem. As for the product, I picked this up in Mood Light and am thinking about Ethereal Light; I really like the concept and the idea. Do you think the brush is necessary, or could I use just a regular powder or blush brush or kabuki?

        • I don’t think the brush is necessary – I tend to prefer longer handles myself, so I’ve also used it with MAC’s 116, 129, 134, and 182. I like the 134 for powders like this, though. OCC has a nice powder brush, too, that I sometimes use with finishing powders.

  2. Karen

    Ohhh NICE! Which one you prefer this one or the Guerlain Pressed Meteorites? (or the perles, maybe?):D

    • I still prefer Guerlain Wulong over this, but it’s just that perfect balance of tone and sheen for me – like Diffused Light really doesn’t have much sheen so I don’t get the subtle glow that I love about Wulong/Mythic. I don’t have either, but I’m thinking I might prefer Ethereal Light or Dim Light.

      • Karen

        Right, sheen and highlight isn’t the same.
        I’m also a big fan of Guerlain’s Meteorites, the first time I applied them, I kept my eyes closed and when I opened them…*jawdrop moment*
        This one still is worth checking out, though the Meteorites have a special place in my heart.
        :3 Thanks for replying.

  3. stacey

    Like it in this pic that you are not wearing eyeshadow or doesnt appear to wear any eyeshadow. So cute look with that tilted pic. Who takes these profile shots of you?

  4. nadine

    you look lovely, as always, but to me this product, on your skin, looks totally greasy and not beautifully highlighted :/
    definately not a look I’d like to have. I prefer Guerlain on you.

  5. Oh wow, it sure makes you look radiant. You look so natural and pretty!

  6. Marisa

    If I did not want to shell out the 40 something dollars for the Hourglass brush what kind of brushes would you recommend for this product? I have this exact color and have been using the 150 powder brush from MAC and not really liking the results. Any other recommendations?

    • I liked it with MAC’s 116, 129, 134, 182… I don’t think the brush is by any means a requirement! I’m not personally a big fan of the 150 – it is kind of scratchy at times, and that might be causing even more product to dislodge. You might try applying it with the 150 and using a kabuki/buffer brush to blend it.

  7. I’ve tried three of the Hourglass ambient lighting powders so far – Mood, Diffused, and Dim (I’ve reviewed the first two on my own blog, not the third yet). Dim is my favorite, and this one, Diffused, is my least favorite – I just don’t see much of a difference with it in most lights (a little, but not much), and if I closely examine my skin in the sun, I see flecks of visible shimmer, which I don’t like.

  8. abigailOD

    Very glad to finally know your thoughts on this Christine! =) Looking so fresh! ;p

    So, does this product make it to the “Temptalia Recommends” category? I saw it’s an A+ but not sure if it earned (or almost did maybe) the coveted label?

    Would you say this be one of those products that can last a long time even with frequent use? I noticed that when you reviewed Guerlains and Chantecaille.

    • Not quite – that recommends is really for products that speak to me (it’s my subjective label, essentially) – and while this is very lovely and hits on the claims Hourglass makes – it didn’t quite speak to me. I’m hoping one of the other shades does :)

      I don’t think this will be used up too quickly or anything – there’s plenty of product!

      • abigailOD

        Good to know! Thank you Christine! :-D

      • Alison

        I love it. I’m so excited you’re reviewing these, Christine! I hope you try them all, and just letting you know – whichever highlighter you like best on yourself after all this, I’m definitely getting it. Guerlain, Hourglass, whatever, its for me!

    • BooBooNinja

      Great question, Abigailod!

  9. Cliona

    Christine you legend! I was searching for a good review of this exact shade, thank you! It looks even better than I had expected! Do you by any chance have release dates for Ireland or the UK?

  10. Joy

    Thanks for the awesome review! Your descriptions and photos really helped as I originally really wanted diffused, but am now considering dim instead for the (supposedly) increased glow factor. Do you feel like diffused does help tone down redness at all? That would be another thing for me to consider in favor or diffused. Thanks again for your insightful review!

    • I think it will/would – I don’t have a ton of natural redness in my own complexion, so it was hard to tell on me, personally. (A little concealer/foundation is usually enough to hide what I do have.) The coloring is right, though. I don’t have Dim, so I’m not sure how much peachier it is, but generally, anything peachy will help minimize redness.

  11. Winni

    Nevermind, I see it is now fixed!

  12. Jennifer Rivera

    I hope you review the rest of the Hourglass Ambient powders. They all sound very interesting :)

  13. NOOOOO. I was SO hoping these wouldn’t get a high grade from you, because NOW I HAVE TO GO BUY ONE.

    I have been lemming the ‘Mood’ one pretty hardcore. But so expensive!

  14. Mariella

    Christine, is their special brush a necessity or have you tried it with other brushes that some of us might have? If so, are the results just as good or is this special brush really necessary (and can you comment on the brush itself or perhaps review it?).

  15. Stacey

    Can you please review the others?! Especially “Ethereal Light” and “Mood Light”
    Thanks for being the most trusted awesome makeup reviewer ever!

  16. So happy that you are reviewing this Christine! I’m always curious about your opinion and the swatches are always so excellent. Are you going to review any other shades? I just can’t seem to pick a shade ^^.

  17. Nads

    Have you tried the Laura Mercier Smooth Focus Pressed Setting Powder? I know it’s marketed as “shine control” but I think the smooth focus benefit is amazing.
    How would you compare the two? I’m loving the “candlelit glow” / “diffused light effect” of a finishing powder… any recommendations?

  18. Maryann

    I love this review! I am quite interested in the luminous! I hope that you review it!!

  19. I was curious to see how this compared to the only one I’ve tried (Radiant Light) and it’s interesting to see that this one is much less shimmery and sparkly and more like a regular setting powder. I definitely NEED to try this one! I love my Radiant Light but it’s much more suited as a light bronzer/highlighter on me and I am dying to try one as a setting powder!

  20. Sunny

    Hourglass has such fabulous products! Even with their sometimes ridiculous prices for their cosmetics, they make me want to hoard them all. I adore their veil foundation, it makes me feel and look my best and very much looking forward to trying these powders out. Thank you for a great review.

  21. How would this compare to the Guerlain Meteorites? I’ve been eyeing those for the longest time, but this really interests me also!

  22. Moena

    This was horrible IMO. At once chalky, drying, sticky, and gummy, it was uncomfortable to wear and accentuated/worsened the flaws in my skin texture.

  23. Irene

    Beautiful! I’m looking for a new pressed powder and there have been such wonderful products being released lately. This one has definitely caught my attention! Do you have any plans of reviewing the new NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder? I’ve heard that the texture is really unique and although it’s a fantastic product, brushes won’t work with it, so I’m curious about your opinion.

  24. Ellen

    I got this and I LOVE it. I feel airbrushed and perfect. It’s amazing on my NC15-20 skin, but would be great on skin a bit darker too, I think. LOVE.

  25. I’m so glad you reviewed this! I was just talking to a friend about it last night on the phone and saying, “I donno… I haven’t seen it. Maybe Christine will review it?”

    In fact… the phrases: “Maybe Christine will review it” and “Christine has a review on that, I’ll send you the link” are probably two of my most spoken sentences in the course of a week. LOL!!

  26. Carol Holmes

    It looks gorgeous on you! I love it!

  27. Veronica

    Amdist Hourglass, NARS, and Guerlain, I am going to have way too many setting powders by the end of this year. :(

    • xamyx

      I’m *seriously* lemming the new one from NARS, but even after a major purge, I still have waaaaay too many “face” products, LOL. I’m trying my best to make through the rest of the year before buying anything more, but the temptation is too much…

      • Veronica

        The NARS one is definitely going to get me, haha – I just can’t decide if I want the loose or the pressed version. I swatched it at the store and my heart went all a-flutter at the lovely sheen it gave off.

        I’m going to have set up an alternating schedule just to get them all in rotation regularly. :P

  28. maria

    Does this have any fragrance or alcohol in it? thanks!

  29. Great review! I’m so glad you like this. I have all the colors except one and I love them so much. I have the brush too, I love it so much I bought a backup. In my opinion this is one of the more innovative new product launches I can think of in recent history. It’s not like any other product in my collection and the product really does what it claims. They came out with a great variety of shades and there really is something for everyone. I have used these on people of all different skin colors (I’m aMUA) and they really do work on everyone if you choose the proper shade. Hourglass is quickly becoming my favorite brand.

  30. Fortheloveofmakeup

    Hi Christine,
    This is the first time that I have ever commented on one of your reviews although I am an avid reader and huge fan.
    What I am wondering is how this compares to Meteorites? I would love the Meteorites but price is a factor if this is comparable then this maybe the way to go.
    I also wanted to say what a fab site you have and love that your reviews always show the product on your whole face not just a swatch. It gives such a better all over review. and also your colouring is incredibly similar to mine which I love.
    Keep up the fantastic work.

    • Which Meteorites? The problem is that there’s the pressed Voyage powder, mattifying pressed, and then the actual pearls! So many to choose from :) This is closer to the mattifying pressed but not really like the other two, because this is mostly matte in finish!

      Thank you so much! :)

      • Fortheloveofmakeup

        Sorry I forgot to say which one. Either the pearls or Voyage. Do the pearls give the same effect as voyage?
        Thanks so much for your reply.

        • The pearls have more sparkle than the Voyage powders :) I think Diffused Light is more mattifying and less luminous compared to both the Pearls and the Voyage powders!

  31. Ooh nice work! Thanks for answering my question on the Mythic page with an entire comparative review here. :)

    This was the shade that I was most excited about of the six available. However, I personally don’t see how this is in any way special. I mean, it just looks like a pale yellow powder. In fact, it really reminds me of the Bobbi Brown Sheer Finish Pressed Powder in Pale Yellow… Lol! And that actually has quite good oil-controlling properties, unlike this.

    Hm, while this product earns an A(+?), I’m a bit disappointed by this product. As I compared the photos of you with the Hourglass and the Mythic powders side by side, you do look markedly better with the Guerlain. But then again, that could be because of the difference in foundation (Veil Fluid vs Maestro). And as I’ve tried both of those, I agree that the latter is far more flattering in finish.

    Is it possible for you to wear the Guerlain and Hourglass powders side by side over the same foundation, and let us know your thoughts?

  32. Terri

    I have had radiant light since it came out and I really, really love it. It blurs and does make me less shiny and also gives just a hint of color….my skin just looks better with it on. I agree, I don’t think the brush makes a difference. I have used MAC 116, RMK face brush and the Hourglass foundation brush and it works great no matter what you use. I’d rather get another shade of powder than shell out money for the brush!!!

  33. Ruthless

    These are 52 bucks in Canadian sephora, so expensive. I don’t know if I NEED a glow powder-I prefer to set, since my skin is oily and these do make you shiny-but they are so, so beautiful to touch in store

  34. Wow, great before & after Christine, thank you for doing that… I can really see the difference. I was so excited to read your review on this powder, it’s one of a small handful of recent releases that I feel really excited about. When I first learned about it, I immediately thought it sounded like how you described the Meteorites, so it’s awesome that you included how it compares. I’m so glad it got an A+… I think I’ll be picking up Radiant Light :)

  35. Rei

    I love how it looks on your skin, very natural! The effect is very much akin to airbrushing away unevenness/pores to reveal a smoother canvas. Hoping that you’ll do a review of the other ambient powders as well. :)

  36. Daniella

    Thanks, Christine. I think this may be a good cheaper alternative to the Guerlain Meteorites. I have a question though – what about all of the other shades they offer for this product? Is this good for all skin tones? I’m really fair…what shade do you recommend?

  37. Elizabeth

    Hi Christine! I also really like this powder, I picked it up in Dim Light and I’m pleased with it’s “invisibly noticeable effects” (lol!!!). I have a possible solution for with regards to it kicking up a lot of wasted powder; I found that when I used a super soft and less dense powder brush with natural bristles (I have a small squirrel powder brush hats extremely soft to touch but still picks up product well) I don’t get much, if any, powder kick-up. My goat brushes on the other hand made a real mess of it! Perhaps the bristles are just a bit too stiff for such a soft powder?

  38. Jennifer

    I first saw this product on another website in dim light and it had such great reviews I decided to try it, even though it was hard to see the diffrence in a picture. i am so glad I did because it lived up to every claim it made. It is too bad that it is difficult to photograph what luminizers do for the skin, or I would have tried them a lot sooner.

  39. Abriana

    Hi, Christine !
    Do you think if someone about NW/NC 10-15 tried this powder but used a powder pouf rather than a brush, would it still work ? I prefer to use poufs to avoiding disrupting the foundation underneath because I have lots of discoloration and acne to hide. I thought that if I maybe used a pouf I might end up making my face look yellowy if that makes sense ? Like if I wasn’t using the brush that I would end up without a sheer layer so the powder would be true to pan on my face !
    Thanks for any reply !

  40. I want this one so badly in either Ethereal Light or Diffused Light but the $52CAN price tag makes me cringe.

  41. Tracey

    Christine, thanks for reviewing these, first of all :) On my way to Sehpora right now!

    That, and, kind of off the wall, but Id love to see you doing a bitchy model face for some of your review photos :) hehe

  42. Cat Luuuruver

    I’m do confused with this setting & finishing powder category. If I have small amounts of flaws in my skintone & don’t require a lot of coverage could I use this as the only powder I put in my face? I rarely wear powder, if I do, I’ll wear MAC Natural MSF in medium, eventhough I’m NC20. So, I wonder if this could take the place of that & work over a primer with SPF in it. Also, do I put on my highlighters & blushes before or after setting &/or finishing powders. So confusing to me!

    Thank you.

  43. Angie

    *Sigh* I think I’m going to have to buy this after I get paid. I’m looking for that little extra something, and I’m hoping this will be it. Definitely looks great on you!

  44. Caramel Beauty

    I absolutely love the Dim lighting powder! I went to Sephora today and after swatching all of them except Ethreal, I choose Dim. I narrowed it down to Luminous and Dim and choose Dim because I can create the effect of Luminous by applying Nars Albatross with a light hand. You can see the glitter in Luminous so some may want to use it as a highlighter only. Radient light has gold undertones and very small specks of glitter. My completion by the way is MUFE 173/NC 45. I personally think Dim, Luminous, and Radiant light powders would look great on WOC!

  45. Madeeha

    Hi Christine! Which color do you use in the Hourglass foundation? You and I have the same skin tone.

  46. Thank you so much for the review and swatches, C-Note! I’m going to call you C-Note because your reviews and photographs are MONEY!

    I picked up one of these beauties in Mood Lighting yesterday and I’m so excited to try it out this week. I had no plans to buy one of these but after seeing so many positive reviews online and testing out the powder at Sephora and finding pure buttery yumminess, into the bag Mood Lighting went! :)

  47. gloria

    hello! can i use this powder to set my under eye concealer too?, thank you. =)

  48. Cate

    I was wondering, how does this compare to mac msf? I never really used finishing powder because they usually look too powdery on my dry skin until I tried a msf natural.

  49. Huda

    Hey Christine.. I usually use Mac MSF Natural in Light.. but lately have been looking for something new.. although I don’t want something so mattifying (I think the other shades would be better I just dont know which..).. do you have any suggestions for which of these I should be using in terms of which shade? I’m Pale Ivory in Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation.. any suggestions would be appreciated!

  50. lulu

    christine, are you sure it doesnt have any shimmer? ibought this and it has tiny little silver shimmers in it.
    thanks :)

    • Hi Lulu,

      It doesn’t have any shimmer – but there is a sheen, so it isn’t matte, but I couldn’t detect more individual shimmer particles/pieces – more like a satiny sheen.