Review: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes
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Well now. I’ve finally received all the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes I ordered, and had a chance to wear them. Clearly that means it’s time for a review! Prepare yourself for an onslaught of photos (and I promise they’re better than the swatch pics from a few days ago).
When Hourglass released their Ambient Lighting Powders about a year ago, I felt a little ho-hum about the whole thing and didn’t really understand what the big deal was about. At least, I didn’t until I tried them out and they actually lived up to the hype. Since then, Hourglass has been steadily climbing up my list of most-loved brands so it’s only natural that when they finally released the new blushes, I lost all restraint and ordered four of them :-)
Each blush is a mixture of one of the Ambient Lighting Powders along with a color pigment. As Hourglass describes it:
This groundbreaking hybrid combines the customized lighting effects of Ambient Lighting Powder with a spectrum of breathtakingly modern hues. The result is a natural radiant finish with seamless, soft-focus and buildable color.
Due to the way they’re mixed, some appear to have more pigment vs ALP than others. The veining is definitely different depending on the specific one you have. I’ve seen a few people on forums say that theirs had too much powder in relation to the blush, but haven’t seen swatches from those folks. As you can see, that’s not the case with any of the ones I received. All of them have a very nice amount of color pigment, and plenty of color when swatched or used on the face.
The Ambient Lighting Blushes are the first products in the Hourglass lineup to use their new packaging. It’s a very reflective gold color, but not a bright yellow gold. The logo font and placement have also been updated. To be honest I liked the color of the old packaging better, but I like the simplicity of the new type logo. Otherwise the packaging feels the same, and the shape of the compact is similar. And, like the ALP packaging, the blush compacts show fingerprints practically in high-def. Once again, Hourglass gets mega bonus points from me for not including useless applicators with these.
The blush compact holds .15oz/4.2g of product, which is a pretty small. It’s definitely a higher-than-average price per ounce, but that doesn’t bother me much; I’ve never finished a full size blush in my entire life, so I’m sure these will last a good long time. For reference, each powder in the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette is .116oz/3.3g and the full size Ambient Lighting Powders hold .35oz/9.9g.
Colors & comparisons
There are six colors in the blush lineup that correspond to the ALP shades. I got Mood Exposure, Luminous Flush, Radiant Magenta and Diffused Heat. The other two are Ethereal Glow and Dim Infusion. Since these are a brand-spankin’ new product, I’ll compare the shade with some of the other blushes & powders I have.
Mood Exposure is described as a “soft plum blush fused with Mood Light to brighten the complexion.” It doesn’t really look plummy in the pan to me, but in swatches and use I can see where they get that. Apparently this is a color family I’m pretty fond of, as you can see in the comparison swatches. None of them are really close dupes though; Mood Exposure is a bit more brown than any of the other ones. Like the Mood ALP, Mood Exposure has a very soft finish with no visible shimmers.
Hourglass calls this on “a champagne rose blush fused with Luminous Light to evoke a candlelit glimmer.” I’m not exactly sure what kind of color champagne rose is supposed to be – a sparkling rose wine, I guess? – but in any case, Luminous Flush is a very pretty bright, warm pink in the pan and on the skin. Unfortunately I don’t have Luminous ALP to compare it with, but based on the times I’ve swatched that one in store, the finish is similar – a glowy sheen with a few shimmer particles. Once again I didn’t have any exact dupes, but Burberry Rose is pretty close. Luminous Flush is a bit brighter and maybe a hint more peachy.
The product description for Radiant Magenta calls it “a golden fuchsia blush combined with Radiant Light for a summer glow.” I think this one is the most obvious example of how the mixed-in ALP affects the color of the blush when worn. In the pan the blush pigment is a pretty bright magenta, but once you swirl the two colors together, it warms up a lot. It’s very pretty, but I have to be honest and say I was really surprised at how similar it is to Luminous Flush on the skin. Radiant Magenta is a bit deeper and cooler, but I wouldn’t say you need both colors unless you’re just really into blush. The finish is similar to Radiant ALP, with a hint of shimmer to it.
Per Hourglass, Diffused Heat is “a vibrant poppy blush combined with Diffused Light for a subtle halo effect,” which I would say is a fairly accurate description. Irrelevant sidenote, I think this one has the prettiest veining out of all the shades I got. It goes on the skin as a bright peachy pink that I think will be perfect for spring and summer. It does have a few visible shimmer particles when swatched.
Application, texture & wear
I’m pretty thrilled with how consistent these blushes are between shades. All of them have the same texture, similar levels of pigmentation and have finishes that are comparable to the corresponding ALPs. The texture of the blushes is very close to the Ambient Lighting Powders – a bit dry, but very soft. It’s definitely possible to kick up some loose powder if you dig your brush in, and they feel like they may be a bit fragile. The extremely fine-milled, soft powder means that you only need a tiny bit of product and it blends out beautifully. The color when on easily even using the softest brushes I have. The really big deal for me – and what makes them different than other blushes – is how it looks on the skin. If you look at the swatches carefully, you can see that my skin texture is less obvious under the Hourglass blushes than it is under any of the other ones. That’s an important thing for me. Even though I haven’t had any breakouts since I finished taking accutane (knock on wood), my skin texture will probably take quite a while to recover, and anything that will visually even it out is a big plus. Some of the shades have a bit of shimmer in them, which I normally avoid (see the above about skin texture), but on the face it comes off as a glow instead of a glitterbomb. I’ve been wearing these Hourglass blushes exclusively since I got them, and the wear time is great on all of them – 10 to 12 hours with very little fading.
In Short: There’s definitely some similarity in the colors, so I can’t say you need to run out and collect them all. But if you do I totally wouldn’t blame you! These will definitely be a staple in my blush collection.
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush ($35) is available at hourglasscosmetics.com (if you can catch it in stock). It’s also available for preorder from Barneys & SpaceNK, and will be launching at Sephora stores on February 21, 2014.
BeaFebruary 10, 2014 at 7:56 am
Thanks for the really thorough review! Diffused Heat looks lovely on you. I can certainly see similarities between the shades which is oddly reassuring (no pressure to get them all!) but Mood Exposure, Ethereal Glow, and Dim Infusion seem to be quite unique. Also I’m a fan of your blush collection in general :)
NikkiFebruary 10, 2014 at 8:56 am
Thanks, I’m glad you liked it! I totally agree those three seem the most unique. I think I may have to pick up Dim Infusion eventually, though I’m not sure Ethereal Glow would show up on me – from the swatches I’ve seen it looks pretty pale.