Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette Review and Swatches

The news that Hourglass was releasing an Ambient Lighting Palette was incredibly exciting.  I skipped out on the individual compacts that were released this spring in favor of the NARS Light Reflecting Setting Powder (review here).  But curiosity got the best of me and with three choices in one place I decided this was a good opportunity to give these unique finishing powders a try.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette is housed in a long narrow compact that is slightly smaller than the length of my hand.  It comes with a deluxe sized sample of the Veil Mineral Primer.  The palette includes Dim Light, Incandescent Light (exclusive to this palette), and Radiant Light.  An applicator for the powders is not included.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

What Hourglass says about each shade:

Dim Light: A neutral peach beige powder that blurs imperfections and highlights a radiant complexion with the perfect balance of warm and cool tones.

Incandescent Light: A pearlescent powder that highlights the cheekbones and brightens the complexion with a celestial glow.

Radiant Light: A sun-kissed golden beige that enhances the overall complexion with believable, subtle warmth, and also extends a summer glow.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette SwatchesDim Light / Incandescent Light / Radiant Light

I agree with the claims Hourglass makes, especially when they use the word “subtle.”  That is key…this is not by any means a life-changing product.  It gives a nice appearance to the skin, but it’s not a total game-changer which I find surprising given the price.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Dim Light SwatchDim Light blended

Dim Light softens the appearance of my skin but doesn’t hide the large pores at the center of my face.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Incandescent Light SwatchIncandescent Light blended

Incandescent Light is a stunning browbone highlight shade, but the “pearlescent” quality leaves individual pieces of glitter visible on my skin.  So anytime I will be in sunlight, the micro-glitter is obvious.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Radiant Light SwatchRadiant Light blended

Radiant Light is my favorite and does give a warmth to the skin, but not a total Victoria’s Secret supermodel glow.

I struggle with getting the powders to show in photographs.  My typical lighting setup of daylight equivalent bulbs didn’t capture the effect of these powders well.  They are most visible under actual natural lighting, namely as the sun sets…when skin tends to look fabulous anyway.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette Review

The biggest confusion I had about this palette was application.  I thought a fluffy brush would do the trick.  But as it turns out, I need a medium-dense brush and quite a bit of product for it to show on my skin.  I also need to be careful where I apply each shade as using Radiant Light on my forehead draws attention to my skin’s texture and adds shine.  Radiant light on my cheeks gives a lit-from-within glow and Dim Light puts a finishing touch across the center of my face, but there is still visible texture on my forehead and around my nose.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette Review

Under indoor lighting (to the left) the results are far more visible than natural daylight bulbs (right).  Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette puts a perfecting touch on makeup giving a soft-focus finish to the face.


Price: $58.00

Availability: Hourglass, Sephora

Summary: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette offers a very subtle glow under warm indoor lighting and is meant to be used as a perfecting finishing powder rather than a setting powder.  Pairing best with radiant foundations or moisturizers, I do not recommend this palette for oily skin.  Its price point, the unlikely use of one shade, and the subtle difference to the skin lead me to suggest testing the six individual shades in store and purchasing a compact with one shade instead.  For this price I would also like to see a metal compact rather than the plastic that, while pretty, doesn’t look particularly luxurious.  I only recommend this palette specifically to makeup wearers like myself who like options and enjoy taking the time to add perfecting touches to their makeup through more than one powder.

10am Beauty Approved?: No (as a palette) / Yes (individually)

Disclosure: This product was purchased with my own money.

  • http://www.phyrra.net/ Phyrra

    That is so gorgeous!

    • http://10amBeauty.com/ Alison M

      Thanks! Do you own any of the Ambient Lighting Powders?

  • Bella

    Oh no!! I just ordered this sight unseen from SpaceNK since I live in a European country where we don’t have hourglass and everyone online is raving about it. Ho-hum, hope it works for me!

    • http://10amBeauty.com/ Alison M

      I don’t think it’s a bad palette, but it could have been done better at this price point. I hope you like it :)

      • Bella

        I received this yesterday and am wearing it for the second time today. I ab-so-lute-ly LOVE it. It blurs imperfections like no other powder I’ve found and just gives me the most natural, subtle glow that automatically adapts from day to night. I’d say I’ve lucked out!!!! (I think it looks really good on you too :) ).

        • http://10amBeauty.com/ Alison M

          Hooray! I’m so glad it’s working well for you. Enjoy! <3

  • Shrutilaya

    Oh man, as drool worthy as this palette may be, I think I’d rather get one individuate powder. Too bad there’s no hourglass in this continent -_-

  • BooBooNinja

    I’ve been waiting for a blogger who owns both the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders and the NARS Light Reflecting Powder. :) I’ve been interested in both, but don’t know which direction to go. I don’t wear foundation — just some powder to take the shine off my sunscreen. If I’m looking for that “something extra” to put on top to finish my face, would you recommend I go with the NARS or with the Hourglass (e.g. Dim/Diffused/Radiant)?

    • http://10amBeauty.com/ Alison M

      NARS and Hourglass made two very different powders. I use Hourglass as a perfecting step, but NARS for setting. Hourglass adds radiance so if you are specifically looking to take shine off, try NARS. You can ask for a sample of the loose version to test it out before making a purchase. From Hourglass, Dim Light would be the closest thing to a setting powder.

      • BooBooNinja

        Thanks, Alison. This helps.

        • http://10amBeauty.com/ Alison M

          So many people (myself included) have had questions about applying these powders that I decided to put together a separate post just on my technique. Hopefully it will be up next week :)

          • BooBooNinja

            I’m looking forward to it. Thank you!

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  • Carole

    Hi, which lipstick/lip gloss did you use? Thanks

    • http://10amBeauty.com/ Alison M

      Hi, Carole. It looks like Too Faced Spice Spice Baby with a gloss on top. But this post is seven months old so I don’t know for sure. Thanks for stopping by!

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