Hourglass Surreal Light Ambient Lighting Edit Palette Review, Photos, Swatches

Hourglass Surreal Light Ambient Lighting Edit Palette
Hourglass Surreal Light Ambient Lighting Edit Palette

Hourglass Surreal Light Ambient Lighting Edit Palette ($80.00 for 0.30 oz.) includes a finishing powder, bronzer, two blushes, and highlighter inspired by Surreal Light, which is a new shade in the Ambient Lighting Powder family (currently only available in this palette). This palette will work best for someone who is less concerned about a “value-packed” palette/is unlikely to finish their products and really needs everything in a single compact. I think the palette, all being in the same family of Surreal Light, ends up getting muddled a bit between the blush, bronzer, and highlighter with the Surreal Effect blush being the one lone shade that stands out as a bit different. It is a distinctively warm-toned palette, so it will likely not work for everyone. The texture seemed a bit drier across the majority of the powders as the permanent range, though I did not notice the dryness as applied to the face in practice.

Like last year’s palette, the only value is in whether you like the idea of getting five shades for less than the cost of two or three full-sized Hourglass Ambient Lighting products (which range from $38 to $50 in price). There’s only $53.30 worth of product in the palette, so it’s obviously not a value-packed palette. This is something that will be best for someone who wants everything in a single palette and will wear at least three of the five shades often. This year’s palette is marginally better in value than last year’s (which was $48.05 in product value at the same $80.00 price point), but their palettes prior to that were significantly better in value.

  • Ambient Lighting Powder | 0.14 oz. is worth $18.40
    Ambient Lighting Blush | 2 x 0.04 oz., 0.08 oz. total, is worth $20.27
  • Ambient Lighting Bronzer | 0.04 oz. is worth $5.13
  • Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder | 0.04 oz. is worth $9.50
  • Total Value: $53.30

Surreal Light is a light, yellowed beige with fine gold shimmer over a matte finish. This is the original Ambient Lighting Powder, which is a finishing powder, so it is something applied after setting powder, at the very end (hence “finishing!”) to “diffuse” and “soften the look of the skin.” It added very subtle warmth and made my skin appear smoother and more matte, but this particularly iteration had very subtle shimmer, which added a little bit of light all-over but was only noticeable in certain lighting in person. The texture was soft, a little dusty and prone to kicking up excess product in the pan, but it applied well and dispersed easily. It was sheer, as promised (and as you would expect for a finishing powder). Tarte Filtered Light (PiP, ) is lighter (90% similar). Guerlain Perles de Legende (LE, $65.00) is more shimmery, cooler (90% similar). Dior Luxurious Beige (LE, $82.00) is more shimmery (90% similar). Dior Cosmopolite (LE, $45.00) is more shimmery (90% similar). Too Faced Light Cocoa (PiP, ) is less shimmery, lighter (90% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Surreal Glow is a light-medium peach with warm undertones and a satin finish. It had semi-sheer to semi-opaque coverage, which is in line with the brand’s promise of “buildable color.” It does not deliver the “otherwordly glow” much, as it is more satiny and just keeps the blush from appearing totally flat. The texture was soft, a little dry and dusty, but it blended well and was impossible to overdo on my skin tone as it barely showed up (that’s a warning for those with similar skin tones!). I think this color would be better on fairer complexions. It wore well for seven hours on me before fading. Kevyn Aucoin Sahara (P, $54.00) is more shimmery (95% similar). NARS Silent Nude (LE, $30.00) is lighter (90% similar). Kevyn Aucoin Sahara (P, $54.00) is more shimmery (95% similar). Make Up For Ever B304 (P, $23.00) is darker (90% similar). Kevyn Aucoin Sahara (P, $54.00) is more shimmery (95% similar). Catrice I Am Nuts About You (P, $5.99) is cooler (85% similar). Sisley Paris Mango (3) (P, $85.00) is lighter, brighter (85% similar). By Terry Savannah Love #4 (LE, ) is lighter, cooler (85% similar). Glossier Dusk (P, $18.00) is darker, glossier (85% similar). Benefit Gold Rush (PiP, $29.00) is darker, cooler (85% similar). Zoeva CR040 (P, ) is lighter, brighter (85% similar). Surratt Beauty Coup de Genie (P, $32.00) is lighter (80% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Surreal Effect is a light-medium pink with warm, coral undertones and a satin finish. It had semi-sheer, buildable pigmentation that was very soft, silky, and smooth without being dusty or excessively powdery. The texture sat well on the skin, and it did become a little more satiny when buffed and blended on the skin. For reference, I get noticeable color when applied to my skin, but it is very subtle and doesn’t get any more intense than as shown in the face swatch below, so it would not be good for someone with deeper skin and/or someone who wanted bolder blush. This shade stayed on well for seven and a half hours. Tom Ford Beauty Frantic Pink (Discontinued) (DC, $60.00) is more shimmery, lighter (90% similar). MAC Cheeky Bugger (LE, $24.00) is brighter (95% similar). LORAC Wavelength (LE, ) is more shimmery, lighter (95% similar). Shiseido Twilight Hour (02) (P, $29.00) is darker, cooler (95% similar). Milani Berry Rays #4 (PiP, ) is cooler (95% similar). Chantecaille Bliss (LE, $44.00) is lighter, cooler (90% similar). Too Faced Peach Cobbler (LE, ) is lighter, brighter (90% similar). Clinique Pink Honey Pop (P, $21.00) is more shimmery, lighter (90% similar). MAC Fun Ending (LE, $24.00) is lighter (90% similar). MAC Mocha (P, $24.00) is darker (90% similar). Guerlain Ors et Merveilles #6 (LE, ) is lighter, brighter, warmer (90% similar). Catrice La Vie En Rose (P, $5.99) is more shimmery, lighter (90% similar). Burberry My Burberry Blush (P, $68.00) is darker, cooler (90% similar). Tarte Unleashed (LE, $29.00) is warmer (90% similar). Makeup Geek Spell Bound (P, $10.00) is more muted (90% similar). MAC Sweet Enough (P, $29.00) is darker (90% similar). Makeup Geek Spell Bound (DC, $9.99) is more shimmery, lighter, warmer (90% similar). Catrice Coral Me Maybe (P, $5.99) is brighter, cooler (90% similar). Dose of Colors Statemint (LE, $22.00) is brighter (90% similar). Colour Pop Trickery (DC, $8.00) is more shimmery, lighter, brighter (90% similar). Top 20 dupes listed, see the rest. See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Surreal Bronze Light is a soft, light-medium brown with warm, rosy undertones and a soft, dusting of gold shimmer. It had semi-sheer to medium, buildable coverage that sat well on the skin, even though the texture seemed a little thin and dusty. I had no trouble blending and diffusing the color, and it showed up a little more noticeably than Surreal Glow. I think it would be a lovely option for someone wanting a subtle bronzing shade that wasn’t too yellow or too orange in tone. It wore well for seven and a half hours on me. MAC Golden Rinse (LE, $34.00) is more shimmery (95% similar). MAC Spring Bling (LE, $35.50) is darker (95% similar). Colour Pop Wild Card (LE, $8.00) is darker (90% similar). Urban Decay Streak Bronzer (-, ) is more shimmery, brighter (90% similar). Laura Mercier Bronze (03) (P, $40.00) is lighter, warmer (90% similar). MAC Optical (LE, ) is darker (90% similar). Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze (Original) (PiP, ) is lighter, warmer (85% similar). Urban Decay Sun-Kissed (P, $28.00) is warmer (90% similar). Clinique Sunkissed Pop (LE, ) is more shimmery, lighter, warmer (85% similar). Too Faced Sun Bunny (Left) (PiP, ) is lighter, warmer (85% similar). Wet 'n' Wild Bronze Dynasty (LE, $4.99) is more shimmery, lighter (85% similar). Dior Soft Sunlight (002) (P, $48.00) is lighter, warmer (80% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Surreal Strobe Light is a soft, light-medium yellowed peach with warm undertones and gold shimmer. It had sheer coverage that did not really build-up, while the texture was drier and looser. It is supposed to be sheerer, though this is a lot sheerer than the other permanent shades. I do not think this would apply as well over drier skin types as it would just not stick well, but if you normally wear primer, liquid foundation, and so forth, it should be okay. It does add a nice, luminous glow that isn’t metallic or shiny, so I think those who like a a more subtle sheen may like the finish of it. This highlighter wore well for seven hours on me. MAC Glow Rida (LE, $22.00) is darker (95% similar). Clinique Nude Glow (P, $27.00) is lighter (90% similar). Cle de Peau Sand Beige (13) (P, $55.00) is more shimmery (90% similar). Tom Ford Beauty The Afternooner (Highlighter) (LE, ) is more shimmery (90% similar). Essence Be My Highlight (P, $4.49) is more shimmery, cooler (90% similar). Urban Decay Side Piece (LE, $26.00) is more shimmery, darker (85% similar). Cle de Peau Gold (12) (P, $55.00) is more shimmery, lighter (85% similar). Hourglass Euphoric Strobe Light (LE, $38.00) is more shimmery, lighter (90% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

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See more photos & swatches!

Hourglass Surreal Light Ambient Lighting Edit Palette
Hourglass Surreal Light Ambient Lighting Edit Palette

Hourglass Surreal Light Ambient Lighting Edit Palette
Hourglass Surreal Light Ambient Lighting Edit Palette

Hourglass Surreal Light Ambient Lighting Edit Palette
Hourglass Surreal Light Ambient Lighting Edit Palette

Hourglass Surreal Light Ambient Lighting Edit Palette
Hourglass Surreal Light Ambient Lighting Edit Palette

Hourglass Surreal Light Ambient Lighting Edit Palette
Hourglass Surreal Light Ambient Lighting Edit Palette

Hourglass Surreal Light Ambient Lighting Edit Palette
Hourglass Surreal Light Ambient Lighting Edit Palette

Hourglass Surreal Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Surreal Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Hourglass Surreal Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Surreal Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Hourglass Surreal Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Surreal Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Hourglass Surreal Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Surreal Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Hourglass Surreal Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Surreal Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Hourglass Surreal Glow Ambient Lighting Blush
Hourglass Surreal Glow Ambient Lighting Blush

Hourglass Surreal Glow Ambient Lighting Blush
Hourglass Surreal Glow Ambient Lighting Blush

Hourglass Surreal Glow Ambient Lighting Blush
Hourglass Surreal Glow Ambient Lighting Blush

Hourglass Surreal Effect Ambient Lighting Blush
Hourglass Surreal Effect Ambient Lighting Blush

Hourglass Surreal Effect Ambient Lighting Blush
Hourglass Surreal Effect Ambient Lighting Blush

Hourglass Surreal Effect Ambient Lighting Blush
Hourglass Surreal Effect Ambient Lighting Blush

Hourglass Surreal Bronze Light Ambient Lighting Bronzer
Hourglass Surreal Bronze Light Ambient Lighting Bronzer

Hourglass Surreal Bronze Light Ambient Lighting Bronzer
Hourglass Surreal Bronze Light Ambient Lighting Bronzer

Hourglass Surreal Bronze Light Ambient Lighting Bronzer
Hourglass Surreal Bronze Light Ambient Lighting Bronzer

Hourglass Surreal Strobe Light Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder
Hourglass Surreal Strobe Light Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder

Hourglass Surreal Strobe Light Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder
Hourglass Surreal Strobe Light Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder

Hourglass Surreal Strobe Light Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder
Hourglass Surreal Strobe Light Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder

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Product Availability

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Palette $80.00/0.29 OZ.
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Makeup Look

On face:
  • Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Foundation
  • Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder
On eyes:
  • Smith & Cult Interlewd Book of Eyes Quad
  • Sephora Snakeskin Dress Eyeliner
On lips:
  • Anastasia Raisin Lipgloss

About the 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 information, please check the FAQ.)

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52 Comments

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You know what? Despite the lack of value, I think this is the travel palette I I’ve been looking for. If this is still available when I have my 20% off coupon I think it will be worth it for me, as it will replace my pressed finishing powder for travel, as well as fill a gap in my travel makeup kit. These are all definitely my colors, but I can see it not suiting many skin tones.

Meh, I think the only thing “surreal” about this palette is the price! $53 worth of products for $80?? Yikes. The powders look kind of flat and dull, I was expecting a more glowy or satiny finish, and not a fan of the bathroom tile packaging. I will stick to my $6 ELF Illuminating Palette. But love your eye and lip look, a very nice Fall/Autumn combo.

i wanted to love this but it barely showed up on my skin! Granted I’m a little tan from the summer but I don’t think there will be enough pigment in the products for when I’m not tanned.
I had returned it to Sephora last week…it cost $95 Cdn!

Like last year’s palette, I think the Hourglass holiday palettes are grossly overpriced for what you’re getting – I’ve also seen some swatches on medium skintones that shows the powders barely show up! i love the marble look though and I enjoy their previous palettes (The blush one was great!) Hopefully they’ll bring those back for the holiday again!

Eighty bucks. Huh uh. Even if I could justify spending that much for a what amounts to a few bucks worth of mica, I’d decline on principle.

That said, you look smashing, girl!

I didn’t even have to think about last years palette, I was actually annoyed with Hourglass for the lack of value so I’m almost embarrassed to say how much I genuinely love this palette. I purchased it , partly for the packaging and partly for the brand new shades and I honestly do love it. I do have fair skin though and all the colors look great on me and diffuse my skin beautifully. I do think it’s annoying that they don’t have a variety of shades for different skin tones, I’m sure it can be disappointing and disheartening for those with deeper skin that would like this concept and the formulation of the powders.

I don’t know how I feel about it. I like it more than I thought I would. Being more pale than you are, I’m sure it would look just as good if not better. I just can’t see me spending $80. UG. I should probably at least swatch it in store.

I hate returning product as I know it drives the cost up for all of us. But I will say I returned all four of the products I’ve bought over the years from Hourglass — primer, blush, and two different ambient/highlighting powders. I’d be disappointed then go back and give them another try — they sure look beautiful. Nothing showed up well on my skin, nothing wore particularly long. For me, I won’t revisit this line any time soon.

I’ve made my feelings about this year’s Holiday Ripoff, er, offering from Hourglass. Even if I liked the colours, I wouldn’t buy it because it really makes me angry that they have done this AGAIN. In fact, I’ve not purchased a single item from Hourglass since Christine was good enough to inform us of the obscene overcharging. I can find products just as nice from Becca, UD, Nars, etc. and they are getting my business now. I won’t buy Hourglass again unless they turn this around and start to give customers a bit of a “value gift” at least at the Holiday season.

I’m just surprised that it isn’t closer to 1:1 in terms of value/price – it is just very out of sync with the large majority of palettes and holiday offerings.

Exactly – even if it were even with the prices of their regular products in terms of cost per ounce, I wouldn’t mind. But it’s this overcharging that really galls me (in case you couldn’t tell) and it does look even worse when most other companies are offering a “little extra” (or a lot extra sometimes) on their holiday offerings ($100 worth of product for $70, for example).

Definitely! With higher end brands (Hourglass, Dior, Guerlain, etc.) it wouldn’t surprise me if you paid a little more for everything together, but by a few dollars, not by almost double. I can completely understand why it’s so off-putting!

This palette looks amazing on you! But it just seems like there are soooo few people this could actually work for… The blushes/bronzer are too light for most skin tones, but it seems like the finishing powder/highlighter would be too dark for fairer tones. I get that powder face product palettes are naturally going to be somewhat limited in range, but this seems ESPECIALLY unforgiving–it looks like it would only really work for light to light-medium, warm skin tones. Not good for me (and most everybody else!), but very flattering on you!

Ps. It’s always so crazy how differently marbellized products look swatched, compared to how I imagine them!!! Is that just me?

Aside from mood, these hgs are anything but HGs for me. But I still like thinking about them and analyzing. Imvho, at least on my iPad, your face is perfection with just the LdeP and LM finish. The finishing powder is drabbing, rather than enlivening. You lose the natural highlight present in the ‘pre’ face, and it is definitely warmer than your tone, but not unflatteringly. Glow and Effect both look lovely, with the latter being more pronounced and blushed. The bronzer I think, is my favorite on you. It could go well with many of the browner toned fall/winter lip shades. The strobe is fairly subtle on the bronzer. It looks quite polished and put together, overall. But, truthfully, I think you flatter the product, rather than the other way around. Not really sure this will give warm toned people the effect they expect or want.

I’m tempted by this palette, even though I’m not even close to hitting pan on last years! These really do last a while…

By the way, that Anastasia lip gloss looks amazing on you! Is it part of the fall lipgloss set?

I get the impression that they shades in this one would all turn slightly orange on me and a fair skin. Pass for me and I’m just happy to get a Ethereal Light after so many years trying to convince myself that the other shades worked for me. lol

What a disappointment! 3 of the five shades look very similar on the cheeks, which means you can’t use them together for a sculpted look, and well, it takes down the value of an already very pricey palette… Plus I don’t see who can use these shades of “blush” and “bronzer” besides people with fair to very light skin tones except maybe for Surreal Effect. That excludes a whole lot of people!

I think this would be a great palette for fair skinned people who like natural makeup. But it does not make me think surreal. Next time they should have a blue toned setting powder called Picasso.

Hi Christine,

I know this is an old post but I just read your review on this gorgeous item. I have been wanting to purchase it but wasn’t sure how this would work for my skin tone, I am medium to deep skin tone. What are your thoughts on this for my skin tone, if nothing else this is is gorgeous packaging and just travel friendly.

I’m light-medium and would not reach for this myself – just depends on the types of shades you’d use! It’s not my first recommendation for someone who is medium or darker, though.

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