Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette Review

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

“I learned early on how different types of light can truly flatter the complexion. Growing up, my mother had pink light bulbs in all of the lamps throughout the house. She loved pink light because it was the softest and most flattering, and she always wanted to look good. I used this concept of lighting in Ambient Lighting Powder.”

—Carisa Janes, Hourglass Founder

Iiiiiiiiits baaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

I was beside myself when I missed out on the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette last fall. I had had my eye on the ambient lighting powders in general, but when I heard they were putting out a palette of three shades–two regular releases and one special, new release–I was thrilled. I figured it would be a nice, compact way to have a selection of these powders in my kit.

However, I waited just a tad too long to try and get my hands on one. This palette was insanely popular and by the time I was ready to purchase it, it was sold out everywhere–and I do mean everywhere. I had really wanted to try that exclusive shade, and somehow the thought of buying all of them separately just wasn’t as appealing for me. Storage space is at a premium in my collection right now and I just didn’t want to deal with all those full-sized compacts. Instead, I held out and hoped it would come back in stock. I was even one of those crazily distraught people who emailed Hourglass, begging them to bring it back again.

Thankfully, they heard our pleas and the palette was re-released just this month! You know I had mine ordered the second I saw it up for sale.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette Open

Ahhh, look at those gorgeous powders!

This palette is exactly the same as the palette released last year. It retails for $58.00 and features three shades of Ambient Lighting Powder: Incandescent Light, a shade exclusive to this palette, and two of the previously existing shades, Dim Light and Radiant Light. Ambient Lighting Powders are unique, soft-focus finishing powders produced by Hourglass Cosmetics. Each shade is meant to mimic a flattering type of light, to enhance your makeup look.

They say: “Ambient Lighting Powder is a groundbreaking collection of finishing powders that capture, diffuse, and soften the way light reflects on your skin. Unlike traditional powders, which merely cloak imperfections, Ambient Lighting Powder utilizes photoluminescent technology to filter out harsh light and refine the appearance of the complexion. The powders deliver a multidimensional luminescence to every skintone, making it appear softer, younger, and lit-from-within. The finishing powders enhance skin in any type of light, including flash photography. With six universal shades available, you can create your desired effect—not unlike having a personal lighting technician.” 

The formula is also free of talc, gluten, fragrance, and nanoparticles. (Not sure what nanoparticles are, really, but since they list it, I’m including it.)

Previously, I had only purchased some of their Ambient Lighting Blushes–in Ethereal Glow and Dim Infusion. That blush formula features ambient lighting powder swirled in with a lovely, pigmented shade of blush–lovely for adding color and glow both, but a completely different animal from these true ambient lighting powders. I was very excited to get my hands on this palette and could not wait to being trying out the colors.

I did find the formula of these powders to be a touch on the powdery side, but they are very soft feeling and finely milled. They do kick up a bit of dust when a brush is swirled in them, but they look very natural once swept on to the skin. They add a very light tint to the skin, but did not leave my skin looking dry or powdery.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette Dim LightDim Light

“A neutral soft beige that provides a perfect balance of warm and cool tones to blur imperfections.” 

Dim Light was the color I was most looking forward to trying. I mean, who doesn’t want to blur their imperfections?!

While this color swatched rather peachy on my hand (when swatched very heavily), it is more of a beige than a true peach. I found it looked quite natural on my fair skin, and it did add a bit of soft-focus glow to my complexion. I received a few compliments to how “perfect” my skin looked the first time I wore this, so I am eager to give this shade a regular spot in my beauty regimen.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette Incandescent LightIncandescent Light

“An opalescent pearl powder that brightens the complexion with a celestial glow.”

Incandescent Light is the shade that is exclusive to this palette. The closest full size powder that comes to this would be the Ethereal Light.

I used this shade for a very subtle highlight along the tops of my cheekbones and it performed beautifully. It adds a very subtle but pretty glow, which gently flashed pinky-champagne when it caught the light right. Again, this is a very sheer shade, so it is an incredibly subtle highlight. However, that’s just the sort of thing I’ve been aching to find for a more sedate, everyday kind of look. Very pretty!

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette Radiant LightRadiant Light

“A sun-kissed golden beige that enhances the overall complexion with believable, subtle warmth.”

Radiant Light was the color I figured I’d be least interested in, as I don’t normally care much for warm shades.

I was surprised how much I liked this one. It does indeed add a subtle warmth to the skin, and though it does have a slightly orange undertone when swatched,but when applied lightly with a brush, I found it rather pretty. It almost acted like a very sheer bronzer on my skin, giving me a little bit of that promised sun-kissed glow along the edges of my face.


To get the color of these powders to show up in pictures, I had to swatch them rather heavily. They apply much, much more sheerly with a brush–so sheer that they are almost colorless, adding just the barest hint of color.


Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette Swatches
From left to right: Dim Light, Incandescent Light, and Radiant Light


I am so happy they decided to bring this palette back and I got a second chance at it. I love these powders; they really are the most unique finishing powder formula I have ever tried. They add an extra dimension to your makeup, in addition to setting it, and I’m quickly becoming addicted to the soft-focus blurring effect that the Dim Light has on my skin!

What’s more, I find that the three shades in this palette also work remarkably well together, to form a cohesive look. I’ve been using Dim Light as an all-over powder atop my foundation, with Radiant Light as a “contour” and Incandescent Light as my highlight. Yes, they create a look that remains very subtle (likely no one will ever guess I’m wearing the Radiant Light under my cheekbones and along the jaw line), but that is exactly what I was looking for, so I’m thrilled at their performance.

I would definitely recommend picking this palette up to try, if you have any interest in Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders. Its a great way to try a range of shades for a decent price, and its the only way to get that Incandescent Light shade right now if you are interested in that particular shade.

One thought on “Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette Review

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s