Hourglass Ethereal Light Ambient Lighting Powder Review, Photos, Swatches

Hourglass Ethereal Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Ethereal Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Hourglass Ethereal Light Ambient Lighting Powder ($45.00 for 0.35 oz.) is described as an “opalescent sheer, cool white powder.” It’s a very light, ivory beige with subtle, cool undertones and a delicate shimmer-sheen finish. MAC Hot Sensation (LE, $26.00) is similar. Cle de Peau Pastel (11) (P, $55.00) is more shimmery. NARS Paloma Highlight (P) is similar. Chanel Jardin de Camelias (LE, $65.00) is warmer. MAC Forever Marilyn (LE, $26.00) is pinker, cooler-toned. Guerlain Mythic (P, $55.00) is more shimmery. Guerlain Clair (02) (P, $62.00) is slightly more luminous. See comparison swatches / compare dupes side-by-side.

Lo and behold, I never reviewed this shade of the Ambient Lighting Powders! For those unfamiliar with the formula, it’s a finishing powder, which is supposed to “capture, diffuse, and soften the way light reflects on your skin.” This is the lightest of the six available, and it is also one of the shades with the least visible shimmer/sheen to it. Hourglass says that all six shades available are universally flattering, though I’m not sure that this will work on deeper skin tones (and certainly would recommend one of the darker shades in that instance). On my medium skin tone, it softens the look of pores, lines, and my skin’s natural texture to a more even, smoother-looking canvas, while giving just enough of a natural finish that the skin doesn’t look dull or lifeless, but it doesn’t look shiny or shimmery either. The texture is lightweight and doesn’t look cakey, though it is so soft that it does kick up some excess powder when used. It extends the wear of my base products by about a half hour to an hour, though it is a finishing powder so it’s a happy bonus but certainly worth mentioning.

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See more photos & swatches!

Hourglass Ethereal Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Ethereal Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Hourglass Ethereal Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Ethereal Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Hourglass Ethereal Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Ethereal Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Hourglass Ethereal Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Ethereal Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Hourglass Ethereal Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Ethereal Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Hourglass Ethereal Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Ethereal Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Hourglass Ethereal Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Ethereal Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Hourglass Ethereal Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Ethereal Light Ambient Lighting Powder

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Makeup Look

On face:
  • Guerlain Parure Gold Foundation
  • Urban Decay Naked Loose Setting Powder
On eyes:
  • Rouge Bunny Rouge Alabaster Starling
  • Rain Dove
  • Eclipse Eagle
  • Bohemian Waxing
  • Umber Fire Finch Eyeshadows; MAC Royal Wink & Blue Peep Fluidlines
On lips:
  • MAC Diva-ish Lipstick

About the Reviewer

Reviewer

Christine has normal-to-dry skin with areas of dryness (cheeks, nose, and under the eyes). She has a light-medium skintone with subtle, warmer yellow undertones. Her best foundation matches include: Tarte Rainforest of the Sea in Light-Medium Neutral (best match), Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup in Desert Beige 2N1, Giorgio Armani Maestro Glow in 4.0, Hourglass Warm Ivory Vanish Seamless Finish, Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous in Dusk, MAC NC20/NC25, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Liquid in Y305 (140). For more matches, please read our full Foundation FAQ. For more information on our review process, please read our Review FAQ.

Compare Any Two Swatches

Curious how two shades compare to each other? Type in the shades below to get instant side-by-side swatches!

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80 Comments

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I guess it depends on the finish you’re after, Carmen! 🙂 The left side is my foundation in its natural state, which for me, I always prefer to set with powder that doesn’t totally mattify but gives it a subtler glow and smooths out the skin, because I prefer natural but not too dewy of a finish on my skin type! Ethereal Light is the lightest and least “glow” adding, so you might prefer one of the ones intended to give a more obvious effect, but as these are finishing powders, the effect is designed to be subtle. Hope that helps!

I echo Christine. To put it another way, this is meant more as a softening powder, to soften your appearance in a suble finished way that is undetsctse and flawless! Outside, the brightness does show up more, but these are meant to curb the glow. This one especially, and also diffused light. The rest are all glowy ligh & mood enhancers for your skin, depending on what it needs! 🙂 More magical than a diffuser, and effortless to use, when applying, you kind of just go, “oh ahh, that’s so pretty.” 🙂 As well, price is great! These are very hard to use up! They last sooo long! If you’d like to glow from a white pearl color, I’d recommend Becca Shimmering Skin perfector liquid in Pearl! I also like NARS’ luminizing cream in Copacabana! But the Becca mixes flawlessly with any liquid and applies like a dream over or under any type of face makeup! Very easy to work with, you get a lifetime supply in one tube, and can honestly use it everywhere! So maybe you may want to try that route? I still suggest giving this a try. It’s the time during application when you really witness the magic and get to enjoy it all day! 🙂 xx

I know I am breaking the rule, but I do set with this and the other ambient powders and I have really no problems. But, I have pretty dry skin. I like to use this one as like a highlight type powder along with the yellow one (diffused?). I find when I put too much powder layers on my face, it just gets to dry-ish. So, generally, only my T zone sees a “setting powder” these days. You look lovely with your hair down! So used to seeing you with it up! Very pretty both ways!

I believe I swatched this one and two others when I was trying to decide which shade to purchase. I asked the MUA at Sephora for his recommendation and he felt strongly about Luminous Light. I went with his suggestion but truth be told, it’s too dark for me and I think it makes my face look dirty. I wish I had exchanged it before it was too late as I seldom wear it.

In the winter time when my skin is more fair i like to use the Luminous Light to contour my cheeks and it looks beautiful. This is the kind of product that you can make work for you with some playing around with. I hope my suggestion helps 🙂

As long as Sephora still carries a product, or at least has it in their system, you should still be able to exchange it. Just explain you have no receipt, and unless you have an extensive history of returns, they’ll give you a store credit.

I exchanged a product about 2 weeks ago, but other than that, I don’t usually return things. Honestly, I just want to exchange it for a different shade that not so dark on me! But I bought this more than 6 months ago, so I don’t know if they’d let me exchange it. It’s hardly used 🙁

I use this shade under my eyes especially and other highlight areas, but Mood Light is my favorite for adding glow to cheeks. 🙂

Ethereal is great for giving skin a soft focus effect – smoother, minimizes the appearance of pores, and keeps the skin looking like skin, but if you want a dewy finish, you’re better off with a highlighter!

I have the dupe CdP Pastel. I find it too white for my tastes, but I love the opal finish so mix it with some of my hourglass powders. Mood Light comes to mind..nice combo.

Ooh, nice! I definitely like Pastel has a starker base color, since it is less translucent, so good to see it works well with Mood Light!

I love love love these powders! and when i played around with them and really learned how to best use them for my face i loved them even more! Though it does seem on the pricey side you do get a lot for your money. For the most part im always very impressed with hourglass face powders and primers 🙂

Yes, it is similar! I think the Meteorites tend to feel lighterweight/more forgiving on really dry skin types, just because the Ambient Powders have more powder to them.

I have a weak spot for these powders! I have a diffused light dupe from Pumpkin&Poppy but I’m not sure how close it is to the original one. I loved the look it gives on you. It looks so… perfected! 🙂

I think this would look nice on lighter skintones, if you want a sheer dusting of powder/sheen. Since I have yellow undertones, I have Diffused Light. In the winter, when my skin is drier, I use it to set foundation, as it doesn’t look dry or cakey. In the summer, when my skin is more normal/combo, I use it to set a more matte foundation, then go over my T-zone with a blotting powder.

It’s definitely one that would be perfect for very fair skin tones, but I was surprised it didn’t go ashy/chalky on me.

Clair is a bit more luminous! I actually compared it above so you can click the links in the post for a side-by-side as well! 🙂

Looks really pretty on you! I might have to give this one a try. All of the other colors I’ve tried have looked more like a bronzer on me. Dim, Luminous & the 3 colors in the palette were way too dark for me, but I like the shimmer in them. Did you like the Mood Light?

Mood Light is good, just depends on your coloring. If Dim/Luminous were too dark, Ethereal is probably your best bet!

This looks lovely, thanks for the review. I have the Guerlain pressed meteorites finishing powder and wonder if the Hourglass is different enough to purchase.

Not going to lie, I pretty much bought this so I could pretend I was Cate Blanchett in Lord of the Rings floating around ethereally (sorry not sorry), Hasn’t *quite* worked that well but I do think it’s a very subtle glowy highlight on my pale skin! 🙂

I love the ‘opalescent’ sound of this product – it looks pretty but I don’t see it on your face : ( ‘Sheer, white powder?’ Both sides of your face look lovely LOL

It’s not shimmery as like a full-on highlighter – if you had a really matte foundation, you could see it add back a natural finish, or in my case, it gives me all that smoothing-out that a setting powder does without mattifying my face entirely.

I bought this quite some time back, after buying the Ambient Light palette and loving Incandescent, which is only available in the palette. It seemed that Ethereal was the closest I could get in the full size, so got it and I quite like it. I use it as a finishing powder when I need some brightness and I often use it to set my under-eye concealer.

I’m surprised Hourglass didn’t market these as a combo finishing/setting powder, because they work pretty well as a duo.

I still haven’t dipped my toes into the Hourglass sea and I do feel the need to dive in to it. I think I’d love this powder, and some of the blushes.
I don’t know where I can buy their products, but that’s easy to find out. Might doa head first next month, after pay day 🙂

I’ll most likely pick this one up at some point. I’ve been wanting a talc-free finishing powder that doesn’t mattify, and I think this will work.

I don’t really see any difference except that the right side doesn’t look as shiny. I’m also not sure where u applied it, all. Over the right-side or just cheeks? (didn’t read y whole description just scanning through and checking out photos)

Ugh! This is my absolute most favorite one! I so adore it! It does everything and in such a demure way that this is truly one of my most favorite products from Hourglass. Perhaps it has to do with the fact I’m blindly pale. Yet with the other ALP, I don’t find the formulation to be so embracing as this for me! 🙂 it’s insanely gorgeous. A lightscapade down scaled, but still the perfect complexion blur and enhancer for my color! I love to use it under the eyes, it absorbs oil as well from the cheeks just below while still brightening. Actually, this is one of my must have products! 🙂 I’m glad you finally reviewed it! Even on your skintone and coloring, it gives you an ethereal touch! I hope you enjoy it! It’s lovely to use as a base for eyes after primer as well as areas you just want to receive more light. I’d rather have all this color than have bought every color, but you know I struggle! 😉 Beautiful!

Ah! Exactly! And where Etvereal has not been enough, patting on Lightscapade fits the bill! I’ve even set Lightscapade with Ethereal! 🙂 So pretty!

The other side does seem more dewy but I still like how this looks on you. Seems like a great setting powder as it didn’t make your face look too flat or made up

I love this one. I use it to set my makeup and on its own on no makeup days. It just make my skin look flawless, which is awesome because I have oily sensitive blemish prone skin. Its definitely a holy grail product for me.

Omgnesssssss for the eyes n lips …. the two shades meeting at lower lash line … wow n soooo wow 🙂
I do this on upper lash line with purple n teal but am amazed to see your pic here …

I returned this one and exchanged it for Mood Light, which I found had a much better formula. Maybe it’s because I’m so fair (MAC NW15), but this powder did not show up on me at all, and only made my face look chalky. I also found the texture of this to be so much different to that of Mood Light, and I was really disappointed by it. That said, I love Mood Light.

I’m so surprised to hear it looked chalky on your fair skin, Audrey (because I would have expected it to then be ridiculously chalky on me, lol). I didn’t notice a texture difference either. How strange 🙁

Sometimes, I almost wonder if it has something to do with the batch. I’ve seen so many rave reviews of this one that it makes me think I need to give it another shot.

Possibly! I don’t see too many negative reviews on the Hourglass powders in terms of the actual consistency/quality of the powder itself, but there shouldn’t be inconsistencies :/

Well… I have Dim Light and Mood Light in my collection, but it seems as if my life won’t be complete without Ethereal Light. =) The other two are too dark for all-over application but work well with my contour and blush. I’ll probably pick this up when my Meteorites start running low to see if I like it as much.

And, yes, it is always a special treat to see you with your hair down because it’s so rare and because your hair is so shiny and healthy.

It looks really natural which I like. The word blur calls my name. I bought the Too Faced Primed & Poreless powder for the blur, but it kind of gives an odd cast, grayish or dead-ish, to the skin if I go for broke with it to achieve maximum buffed in porelessness. I’m fair, cool undertone so I was surprised to see a color shift on me.

You may really like the Ambient Lighting range then, especially the ones with less shimmer (I believe, by memory, that’s Ethereal, Dim, and Diffused) as there is that slight sheen/shimmer so it doesn’t get too matte.

I use Mood Light as a highlighter but I put it on the high points of my face. I’m a bit hesitant to try this as setting powder as I have combination skin (yes I’m dry on certain parts of my face and oily in T-zone) yet I prefer a matte finish on my face. I do like the way these powders look and feel, they’re luxurious.

You could try Mood Light as a setting powder since you already have it and see how it looks (in terms of finish) 😉

Thanks for including this swatch! I’ve been in the market for one of these, and I’m leaning towards mood lighting, but I’m still going to have to ponder a bit more before I bite the bullet.

So I have this and I was disappointed with it when I tried to use it as a subtle highlighter. I need to go back and try it all over. I think it looks good on you!

The best way to use these is all-over – definitely not so much a highlighter for like… cheek bones, you know?

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