Review: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette
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I’ve been excited about the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette since I first heard about it, but didn’t buy it right away – partly out of a need to prioritize my makeup purchases and partly because I couldn’t find any information on how much product was in it (hey, we all want a good deal, right?). The fact that I already had one of the colors in the palette complicated things too. My self-restraint crumbled pretty quickly though, so here we have it. I have two warnings though – 1) this post will be pretty picture heavy (that’s ok, right?) and 2) all the swatches are really heavy to show the color and finish (don’t wear them like that!).
The palette comes in reflective red and silver cardboard box. The palette and the primer sample are nestled in a thick foam insert.
The compact for the palette itself looks like an elongated form of the individual Ambient Lighting Powders. The lid of mine had a few faint scratches on it, which I was a little disappointed by. The powder inside was pristine though, so I didn’t think it was a big enough deal to go through the trouble of returning it (not to mention I always feel bad returning things because it’s such a waste of materials and good makeup).
Here’s a comparison of the palette to a full-sized Ambient Lighting Powder (Ethereal). Each pan in the palette is .116oz/3.3g, adding up to .348oz/9.87g. That’s just a hair less than a full size powder (.35oz/10g). The palette costs $58 rather than $45 for the singles, so it is a little more expensive per ounce, but then again, you get to try three colors, including a limited edition one. It’s looking like it’ll be foreeeeever before I hit pan on the full size, so I still think the palette is a decent value for the money.
Usability-wise, the pans are a little smaller than I prefer, at least for Dim, which I use as an all-over powder. I apply that one with the Hakuhodo J104, which is large and fluffy. It fits perfectly in the full size powders, but when swirling it in the smaller pans it spills over into the next color. For Incandescent and Radiant I use smaller brushes (Hakuhodo G5521/Wayne Goss 02/Hakuhodo J5538) so I don’t mind the smaller pan size.
As far as the colors go, I love them, and I think they’d work fairly well for a wide variety of skin tones but they maybe aren’t quite universal. My skintone is mediumish (NW25-30 on the MAC scale, depending on how much of a tan I have), so keep that in mind if you’re thinking of picking these up for yourself.
Hourglass describes Dim as “a neutral peach beige.” I’d say that’s pretty accurate. It doesn’t have visible shimmers, and I use it all over as a setting/finishing powder to even out my complexion and add a little bit of luminosity. It doesn’t leave a color cast on me, but I’ve heard other people mention that it can on very pale skin (NC/NW10-15 or NARS Siberia/Mont Blanc).
Incandescent (the limited edition shade) is an “opalescent pearl”. It’s a slightly pinkish beige that does have visible fine shimmer particles when swatched. Used on the face (I use it as a highlighter), it has a bit of a sheen but it won’t turn you into a disco ball. It’s light enough that I think it would look good on pretty much all skintones, though you might want to use it sparingly on very deep tones to avoid it looking ashy or chalky. I like more pink-toned highlighters so this is perfect for me, but it might not be your first choice if you like warmer highlight colors.
Radiant is a “sun-kissed golden beige” which again I think is a spot-on description. It also has fine shimmer particles, but not quite as many as Incandescent. For light-to-medium skin tones it could work well as a luminous bronzer, or as a golden highlighter for most skin tones. It’s warmer than the other colors but doesn’t appear orange, even on cooler skin tones.
Here are some heavy swatches to show off the colors (I included Ethereal because, hey, why not?).
And the same swatches blended lightly to give you an idea of the finish, though they’re still much heavier than you’d use them on your face (click to enlarge the photo – it’s easier to see the difference).
For the especially curious, I’ve swatched Incandescent and Dim along with the most similar highlighters I have – Benefit High Beam and Becca Shimmering Skin Perfecter in Opal, which are both liquid formulas. Incandescent is more beige and has a less frosted appearance than High Beam. Compared to Opal, Radiant is more of a bronzy gold and is deeper in color. Both of the powders apply less densely than the liquids, giving them a more subtle effect.
In Short: This is an excellent buy if you want to try out some different shades of the Ambient Lighting Powders without committing to the full size ones.