The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette: Like a Portable Photograhy Lighting Kit That Fits in a Purse

Published in: Face, Hourglass, Makeup, Product Reviews

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette ($58), new for holiday 2013

Just when I thought there was absolutely no way Hourglass could improve upon the perfection of their Ambient Lighting Powders, they go and release a stunning new Ambient palette and effectively knock my cat lady socks off.

(No, seriously, I wear cat lady socks.)


New for the holidays, the $58 limited edition trio ($67 CDN) comes with three Ambient Light Powders and a travel-sized bottle of Veil Primer.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

Pans from the left: Dim Light, Incandescent Light and Radiant Light

Be warned — when you open the palette and gaze upon Dim Light, Radiant light, and the new limited edition Incandescent Light, you may experience beauty vertigo and feel the need to sit down, so take care to open it within reach of your fainting couch. πŸ™‚

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette Dim Light

Dim Light

If you haven’t partaken of these Ambients before, you’re in for a treat. The line of universally flattering pressed powders was designed to sort of simulate different lighting effects, like candlelight, by diffusing, softening and tinting light on the skin.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette Incandescent Light

Incandescent Light

Some of the powders brighten, while others do a softening number on wrinkles and pores. Basically, they’re like portable photography lighting kits that’ll fit in a makeup bag.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette Radiant Light

Radiant Light

Wear them on cheeks, or go all out by applying them all over your face, and they also layer well with other products, like blushes, which opens the door to creating even more lighting effects.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette and a Mini Me bottle of Veil Primer (CUTE!)

In a cool twist of fate, I actually wear both Dim Light and Radiant Light all the time, so I was thrilled to see them in this set! Both of them are everyday workhorse products for me.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

In my paw for scale…

Dim Light, a neutral peachy beige, slightly blurs imperfections (I use it as an all over face powder).

Radiant Light, a golden beige with a subtle warming effect, usually goes on the tops of my cheekbones, down the bridge of my nose and on my cupid’s bow for a sun-kissed, highlighted vibe.

As for the new powder, Incandescent Light, I think it’s absolutely beautiful! A pearlescent pale pink with a soft sheen finish, it brightens with a gentle highlighting effect. I can totally see it rocking atop pink blushes.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette Swatches from the left: Dim Light, Incandescent Light and Radiant Light

Swatches from the left: Dim Light, Incandescent Light and Radiant Light

Hourglass sits on the pricier side of the makeup spectrum, but this set could be a good value if you travel often with your Ambients and want to save space in your bag, since the full-sized pans, while nice to look at, are pretty bulky.

A full-sized Ambient powder typically costs $45 for 0.35 ounces of product, but with the new palette you get three pans of 0.116 ounces for a total of 0.348 ounces of powder for about 20% more that the cost of a single full-sized one.


And you get three different shades!

Yes, the Ambients are expensive, but they sure have proven themselves useful. I think they really do make my pores and fine lines appear a little softer and less obvious, while creating an overall radiant effect that I just don’t see from other pressed powders very often.

This palette might be a good fit if you love the look of flawless skin and have some wiggle room in your makeup budget.

PRICE: $58 ($67 CDN)
AVAILABILITY: Available now at Sephora, Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman and Space NK stores, and also online

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 38 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Christina says:

    Ooooh, now what I would have done for that several months ago, when I bought 3 of those powders! What a beautiful palette.

    BTW, I love your blog, but don’t post too often. I am a Bay Area gal, too, so I recognize a lot of the areas you picture. It is very smokey today here in San Bruno – how about in your neck of the woods?

  2. Noon says:

    Oh no I tripped and my wallet opened and all this money is flying out swiftly in Hourglass’ direction???

    I’ve always wanted to buy one of these but wasn’t sure which to invest in…and now I don’t have to choose. Yessssssssssss!!! /fistpump
    Noon recently posted … Review: Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Eyeshadow

  3. Sylvia says:

    I want this!! Too bad I already have the single in Radiant Light. Maybe I’ll sell that one and buy this palette.

  4. hanna says:

    These seem great. I need something to cover my pores.
    hanna recently posted … He came onto me through a message system?

  5. Stephanie says:

    This looks absolutely beautiful – totally must-have for the holiday season! My credit card is silently crying right now.
    Stephanie recently posted … Haul | L’Oreal Warehouse Sale Haul (Fall 2013) & Giveaway

  6. Natalie says:

    This set looks perfect, I don’t have one of these yet and this is a great way to try them out. I couldn’t choose, and now I don’t have to. Thank you Hourglass!
    Natalie recently posted … NARS Sin Blush, Put Some Cranberries on your Face

  7. Sassa says:

    As soon as I got the email from Hourglass about this set, I immediately whipped out the credit card and bought it! I just received it yesterday, and I’ve been playing with it since. The packaging is beautifully sleek, and the powders feel like silk. I’m still not sure about how to use the powder in the center pan, but the other 2 are marvelous.

  8. lesleyk says:

    Oh Karen, you just made me so happy. I JUST got my Diffused Light powder from Sephora after I’d been eyeing it forever. It was so hard to choose which to try, and now I’m thrilled that I can get three in a single palette. Yay! Now how’s about you tossing one of those Sephora gift cards my way soon so I can afford it? πŸ˜‰

  9. Shamini says:

    Thank you so much for the tip on this gorgeous Ambient Lighting palette, Karen! I went straight to and placed an order. I’ve been wanting to try these powders for quite some time now, but thought they were too pricey. Now I get to try three of them, and I cannot wait to received it in the mail – so anxious! πŸ™‚

    Have a wonderful weekend, and take care.

  10. Mari says:

    I was just thinking about these ambient powders not too long ago..! They look absolutely amazing and it feels like this is a set that is actually worth the money!

  11. camille says:

    LOL! I like Noon’s post. Thank you for the heads up on this! I have “Dim”, and I use it sparingly because I want it to last forever (not working right meow, so I am saving my pricier make up for special occasions.)

    Since you broke down the math, that makes it a better deal! LoL! Be still, my wallet. Hoping to not add too much to my online cart…..

  12. Katherine M says:

    Of course, I am not getting to wear makeup much at all these days (no time and a lot of hours for my work week), but I love this palette. I would definitely buy it for the days I do get to wear makeup.

  13. Vanessa says:

    Marketers at Hourglass know how to make a hit. πŸ™‚

  14. Beautiful Clicks.. loved the ambient lightingss.. πŸ˜‰
    The palette is drool worthyy!

  15. cel says:

    OH LAWD. Is this LE? Because I think I need this in my life if only I could get my hands on it.

  16. Chris25 says:

    It’s so nice that some of the shades are darker, instead of being frosty white like other highlighters.
    Chris25 recently posted … China Glaze Autumn Night Swatches

  17. I was JUST crying over these at Sephora. Made my bday wishlist… all the way to the top! (I wear cat lady socks too)

  18. ShannoninBC says:

    damnit…now I want. thanks for posting cdn prices, that’s pretty awesome of you πŸ™‚

  19. Melissa says:

    AAAAHHHHH I thought this wasn’t coming out until Spring! It was so nice to come home after work and see this post! Hourglass, take all my money! /

  20. meghan says:

    I feel like this is still a really good deal even though it does cost more than a single pan. The variety makes a huge difference!

  21. I want this so bad! I wish Hourglass would come to India!
    Ankita@corallista recently posted … The NEW Smokey Eye : Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick

  22. Agata says:

    This is perfect! Do you remember when you went to Hourglass Headquarters I asked you if they had it out already. Now they do and I am so excited to get it!

  23. Lena says:

    sold sold sold!
    i’ve been wanting to get one of these hourglass ambient powders, but was still vexed at which shade to get. thanks hourglass for this enabling contion. *rolls eyes*
    Lena recently posted … Review and Swatches: a Perfect Brown Eyebrow Pencil

  24. Hollie H says:

    I have had this in my cart for a few days. You just convinced me to pull the trigger. It looks gorgeous!

  25. Danielle says:

    I had heard about this a few weeks ago – it looks & sounds great!
    Danielle recently posted … Julep Maven Monthly Subscription Box

  26. Caitlin says:

    I’m fair/light skin tone, do you think the ‘Radiant Light’ is too dark to use it as a highlight?

    • poof says:

      I’m fair too (2.0 in UD’s Naked Skin), and Dim Light provides a very natural warm blush sort of effect. The MUA who applied it on me said it was way too dark to put all over my skin (which I agree). Radiant light would definitely be in bronzer territory.

      Maybe the Incandescent shade would work (haven’t tried it yet, myself). Good luck. πŸ™‚

  27. Alison M says:

    Finally worth it for me…this little palette recently became mine πŸ™‚
    Alison M recently posted … NARS Eye Paint in Iskandar Review and Swatches

  28. Thanks for the swatches, Karen! I’m really interested in this product, but I wanted to see it swatched. I’ve learned if something looks opaquey white on you, it will opaquey brown on me. So I’m afraid my fears are confirmed that these are going to be too dark for me to use πŸ™ Oh well, at least I know now before I waste my money!

  29. Shaun says:

    I’ve been meaning to try another ambient powder since I got Dim Light, This is such a good excuse. I’ve been sticking to cruelty-free cosmetics, so Hourglass is great!
    Would love to see some blog posts to help us “paler pretties” look like we’re still alive now that summer is over!

  30. mary says:

    Great article re the hourglass finishes, I am seriously thinking of getting it at Sephora in the next few weeks! You look beautiful as always.

  31. Elle says:

    Oh snap. Finally a palette I like! This is going in my basket asap. I bought Dim Light a few weeks ago for a wedding I attended and the pics turned out crazy awesome…I can’t tell much of a difference when I’m just glancing at myself, but I sure can tell in photos. Thanks K-Dawg!

  32. I’m thrilled Hourglass created a palette of these! πŸ™‚

  33. These are beautiful! I think I’d have to play around with them in store myself first before committing to them though with that price tag. I think Dim is my favorite of the bunch and would be my workhouse of the palette.
    Jay @ Wayfaring Beauty recently posted … Hot Sales Today on Hautelook!

  34. Kim says:

    I am sooooo buying this. I almost sqeee’d with delight. I’ve never been sure which one to buy a full sized version of, and now I don’t have to decide. I am beyond thrilled! πŸ™‚

  35. Loren says:

    I have wanted one of these powder for MONTHS. I am trying to convince myself I don’t need it but its such a great way to try the product and plus I love palettes. Someone convince me not to get it as I stare at my Sephora online checkout debating if I should “treat myself” (slowly pulls out credit card while boyfriend is not looking…)

  36. Amber says:

    I never jumped the gun on the Hourglass powders when they came out. I really wasn’t sure which color would be best. I love the idea of 3 of them in a palette. This is definitely going on my wish list!
    Amber recently posted … CoverGirl Pyro Pink and Gelish Make You Blink Pink notd

  37. Patty says:

    Just to let you know… Sephora has it in stock now! πŸ˜‰

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