Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette


Although we’ve been spoiled when it comes to new beauty launches in Belgium in the past couple of years, there are still quite a few luxury brands I’m dying to welcome. One of them is US-based Hourglass Cosmetics. This relatively young niche luxury brand launched in 2004, but it wasn’t until 2013 when it hit my radar because of the tidal waves it caused in the beauty industry. The reason for that was without a doubt the launch of the Ambient Lighting Powders: 6 soft-focus finishing powders that utilize Photoluminescent Technology to filter out harsh light and refine the appearance of the complexion. Despite not being a diehard fan of powders, I must admit I was intrigued by the get-go and spent hours on the Sephora site trying to figure out which one would be the best fit. After a while more reviews started to appear and it became clear the powders were pretty fragile so in the end I didn’t want to take the risk by ordering them overseas and I waited..

..and boy was I glad I did! Hourglass released the first images of the Ambient Lighting Palette, the perfect solution for the ever-doubter like myself, and everyone went mad. I was lucky enough to find one of the last remaining palettes during my Xmas shopping trip at Space NK in London since, at the time, the palette was still a limited edition. Now that the palette has been officially added to the permanent collection I can finally share my thoughts with you. Is it really worth the hype and should you be looking into this years release? Let’s find out..


First off let me start by saying that if you plan on getting one of the powders and don’t know where to start, this palette makes up a great alternative. One individual powder (10g) will cost about $49, while this palette will set you back $ 62 (for 3 x 3,3 g). The pans are smaller and it’s more pricy but you do get more options. Plus, with the palette you also get a sample of the equally famous Veil Mineral Primer, which I will discuss later on. The palette comes in beautiful brown-gold metallic packaging that is about the size of my hand. It’s sleek enough to travel with but do make sure to give it some extra protection. The finer the powder is, the more fragile it is to break. Personally I don’t take this with me because it’s quite expensive and difficult to get a hold of.

The Ambient Lighting Palette includes three shades;

  • 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(exclusive to the palette): An opalescent pearl powder that brightens the complexion with a celestial glow.
  • Radiant Light: A sun-kissed golden beige that enhances overall complexion with believable, subtle warmth, and also extends a summer glow.


The powders are designed to be universal and suitable for any skin tone, which is true to some extent. I prefer to wear Radiant Light only during summertime though, when my skin is a little darker. The other two I can wear all year round without worry. I use Incandescent Light on all of the areas where I would usually highlight (brow bones, nose, cupid’s bow, cheekbones), whereas Dim Light is a shade I use pretty much all over the face, but mostly the outer perimeter. The great thing about these is that they’re so subtle, so you can wear them on their own or layer them without having to worry about it looking too caky. For the swatches above I really had to go in with my finger a couple of times before the colours would actually show up.


Dab your brush in the powder and apply gently to the face; focus on areas to be illuminated like cheek bones.

1. Dust Dim Light all over the complexion but focus on the center of the face to soften imperfections.
2. Add Radiant Light as a contour under the cheekbones, on the temples and on either side of the bridge of the nose.
3. Finish off with a light dusting of Incandescent Light on the tops of the cheekbones, under the brow, on the center of the eyelids, the bridge of the nose and the cupid’s bow to brighten the complexion.


The result of using these powders is a healthy luminous complexion. It’s pretty hard to photograph but the effect in real life is pretty mesmerizing. I’ve never come across anything like it really. One thing’s for sure though; if you’re looking for a full blown glow, this product won’t do that for you. The Ambient Lighting Powder is simply a product that does a job that is pretty difficult to put a finger on. Of course you can always choose to put a highlighter on top of the desired areas. Either way I’m definitely sold on the Ambient Lighting Palette, even when it comes with a hefty price tag. I try to use it both regularly and sparingly.

In the meantime I’ve also set my eyes on the new limited edition Ambient Lighting Edit – Surreal Light palette, which contains an Ambient Lighting Powder, Bronzer, 2 Blushes and a Strobe Lighting Powder. Oh yes and the marble packaging is to die for. Now all is left to to is find $80…


Veil Mineral Primer

Another product from Hourglass I had on my wish list since ages is the Veil Mineral Primer. I was happy to find out the palette came with this little extra. The 5ml bottle contains just the right amount to be able to decide whether or not this could be worth a purchase. This oil free, weightless and multipurpose primer goes beyond traditional formulations by concealing redness, minimizing the appearance of pores, fine lines and wrinkles, and shielding skin with Broad Spectrum SPF 15 protection. In addition, it repels water to keep your make up looking freshly applied all day long.



I hate to be like ‘oh everything is so great’ but I can see why this is such a well-loved product. It feels very light and silky on the skin and succeeds in evening out minor imperfections of the skin. Don’t expect it to cover all of your redness though, especially if you have blemishes, but it’s a solid base that will keep your foundation in place all day. It also didn’t break me out which is a huge plus if you have acne-prone skin. If you’re looking for a cheap alternative, I would recommend Max Factor’s Face Finity Primer, but that one still isn’t as silky as this formula. This is definitely something I would consider purchasing a full size from in the future.

Conclusion: if you feel like spoiling yourself or checking out what needs to go on that Xmas wish list I’d say have a look at these powders because as far as I’m concerned, they’re worth the hype. Every time I open up the palette I feel happy to the bitterness of the hefty price tag has been long buried in my memories. Also it made a pretty good souvenir from a lovely trip to London.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette – € 68 / $ 62 / £ 59
Available at Hourglass Cosmetics, Sephora US, Space NK,
Nordstrom, Liberty, Net A Porter, John Lewis etc.



  1. October 12, 2016 / 1:43 pm

    Pretty! And for some people this will definitely be worth the investment. Not for me though. It’s just not my kind of palette.

  2. October 29, 2016 / 2:26 pm

    Hele fijne review! Ik twijfelde zelf al langer tussen de verschillende palettes van Hourglass en heb mezelf uiteindelijk verwend met de Surreal Lighting Edit. Love it! poeders zijn stuk voor stuk prachtig en zo fijn van textuur <3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *