The New Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders Light the Way to a Flawless Face, Casting Their Spell on Complexions This Spring

Published in: Face, Hourglass, Makeup, Product Reviews

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Dim Light

Wearing the new Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light ($45)

I tell El Hub all the time that if we ever win the lottery, I’m hiring Heidi Klum’s Project Runway lighting crew to follow me around wherever I go (ever notice how they light her compared to how they light the other judges and contestants?).

He thinks I’m kidding, but I’m COMPLETELY SERIOUS.


I don’t know, though. Maybe it doesn’t matter anymore, now that I’ve found these Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders. πŸ™‚

You know how skin looks so warm and buttery and beautiful at sunset? Or the way it looks by candlelight? You’re having dinner at a nice restaurant, they’ve got the lights turned down low, and you reach into your purse for your compact, check your gloss and think, “Wow! Where did my smile lines go?”

The right lighting makes a big difference. This, Hourglass knows, which is why they designed their six $45 Ambient Lighting Powders to make skin appear as if it’s bathed in flattering light.

Hourglass Ambient Powders

No need for a film crew or an expensive studio setup. Just pick your powder by its illuminating effect — Diffused Light, Ethereal Light, Radiant Light, Mood Light, Dim Light or Luminous Light.

The secret, Hourglass says, isn’t lumens or wattage. It’s the transparent, color-correcting particles in the powders that filter and manipulate light.

Never mind that I’m thinking that same answer would probably also apply to other products from other brands. I’m more concerned about one thing: how well does it work?

Here in my own little photo studio, also known as the hallway outside of my office, I’ve been testing three of the six — Dim Light, Luminous Light and Radiant Light — I have to say, I’m impressed. What Hourglass does by varying the finishes, shimmer, sheen and pigment does seem to emulate different kinds of light.

No, I doubt Heidi Klum is going to give up her zillion-dollar studio setup for one or two of these, but still — pretty neat!

I love all three. Both for their fancy finishes, and for the way the almost imperceptible grains of powder disappear on my skin.

Dim light

I’d swear that Dim Light, hands down my favorite of the three, takes 10 years off my face. A neutral, peachy beige, it has a soft sheen and a lovely satin finish. With it on, I feel like my pores and fine lines look a little less obvious, and my skin has this certain quiet radiance to it that I remember being there when I was in my 20s and teens (lately, not so much, LOL!). “Siri, remind me to stockpile this before the zombie apocalypse.”

Luminous Light

With Luminous Light, the champagne pearl, Hourglass turned up the shimmer to re-create a soft, candlelit glow. Think angel halos…or a MAC Shell Pearl Beauty Powder with a softer, finer pearl sheen. This is the one I’d wear when I want to draw attention to my skin. I’d apply it just over the center of my face to highlight and lift my look.

Radiant Light

Radiant Light, a super sheer, semi-matte golden beige/bronze with flecks of golden glitter, is probably the flashiest of these three. Where this one lives, it’s always summer in Las Vegas. Picture the desert sun falling on the faces of Las Vegas Ladies Who Lunch.

Hourglass Ambient Powders closeup

The new Hourglass Ambient Powders ($45 each) and Ambient Powder Brush ($35)

Hourglass Dim Light Ambient Powder

Dim Light, a neutral peach beige ($45)

Hourglass Radiant Light Ambient Powde

Radiant Light, a golden beige ($45)


Hourglass Luminous Light Ambient Powder

Luminous Light, a champagne pearl ($45)

Hourglass Ambient Powder Dim Light Luminous Light Radiant Light swatches

Swatches from the left: Dim Light, Luminous Light and Radiant Light (I built them up to show the color; when they apply, then melt right into the skin and look invisible)

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light

Wearing Dim Light all over my face

Hourglass Ambient Powders small

I also like how well these powders control oil, which means less frequent touchups, and — HALLELUJAH! — so far, no breakouts.

Oh, yeah… I am digging these. πŸ™‚ The $45 price, not so much, but I’m loving the quality here.

PRICE: $45
AVAILABILITY: Available now inside Barneys New York stores, Bergdorf Goodman, Space NK, Sephora stores, and online at

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 79 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Oh yeah I love my Dim Light too! On me it gives me a healthy, light tanned glow and I love it! It looks really gorgeous on you too! I want the pinky one next!
    Tracy@Beauty Reflections recently posted … AVON Totally Kissable Lipsticks Will Make Your Lips Kissable!

  2. LOVE Radiant Light. I can’t really wear it as a finishing powder (my skin is CRAZY oily) but as a highlighter/subtle bronzer, it’s insanely gorgeous!! Dim Light looks great on you, though. Your skin looks so luminous!
    Becca @ The Beauty Sample recently posted … My Current Skincare Routine

  3. These sound amazing, Karen! I feel like they’re one of those products that you don’t really “get” until you see them in person… But all that means is that I really need to see them in person πŸ˜›
    Rae // theNotice recently posted … Karl Lagerfeld x Shu Uemura | Mon Shu Rouge Unlimited Lipstick reviews, photos, swatches

  4. Agata says:

    You look beautiful. I know it’s pricey but I think I will have to splurge on one or two, not sure which one I’d pick though.

  5. Sunny says:

    Dim Light looks SOOOOOO frickking awesome on you!! Can’t wait to try one myself!
    Sunny recently posted … Flirt with this Bold Fuchsia Berry on Your Lips this Spring: Guerlain Flirt Shine Automatique

  6. Alison M says:

    ‘M so undecided about these! I am most interested in Ethereal and Mood Light (white and purple… Gosh I think those are the names) but I am always crazy skeptical if shimmer. I totally love the new NARS powder, but I think i need to see Hourglass in person.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Alison,

      I’m betting the shimmer’s going to be very elegant, judging from the three I’ve tried. I get the sense they didn’t want to do over the top skin…

  7. Kim says:

    You had me at “takes 10 years off my face”. I’ll gladly shell out $45 for that! It does look absolutely amazing on you. I’m totally checking this out in person!

    Oh, and Happy Friday! We made it! πŸ™‚

    • Karen says:

      OMG, Happy FRIDAY!! I woke up this morning and felt waves of relief washing over me, LOL! It’s been a long week. What’s the plan for the weekend?

      • Kim says:

        I hear you! We brought the boys to dinner and bought them some new bikes for their birthday (next week). As usual, it’ll be hockey and more hockey this weekend. We’re headed to a friend’s house on Sunday for a Superbowl party. How about you guys? Any SB parties? I’m sure it’s going to be rocking in the SF area. Go Niners! πŸ™‚

  8. Teri says:

    You really make me want Dim Light now Karen :p. Everyone can use an instant younger-looking powder! Honestly they all sound awesome tho, it’s gonna be hard to just pick one!

  9. Ruchita says:

    Now that I am firmly in my mid-30s I don’t paying top dollar for a product that will make me look younger. πŸ™‚ In fact, I was planning on heading to Sephora this weekend so I will definitely check these out!

    • Karen says:

      I know what you mean. I’m at that point where if something shaves off a couple years and actually works I whip that credit card out without any hesitation, LOL!

  10. Erin says:

    I’ve waiting for your review to order one of these! I definitely want one, I am still not sure which one. Would you mind taking a picture of you wearing Radiant and Luminous like you did with Dim? That would be awesome πŸ™‚
    Erin recently posted … L’Occitane Extra-Gentle Lotion Reduces My Resemblance to a Lizard!

  11. Arianne says:

    MROW! Loving the look of Dim Light on you, Karen! These powders are getting so much hype and rave reviews that I need to try them NAO. πŸ™‚
    Arianne recently posted … My “Crazy Fairy” YSL Arty Stone Collection for Spring 2013 Look

  12. Thank you so much for the review! I purchased Mood Light & Diffused Light – so I’m glad you reviewed three of the ones I didn’t try πŸ™‚ It sounds like Dim Light will be my next purchase (if I go for another one – which I very well might!)

    Now I just need to find a review of Ethereal Light.
    Emi at Project Swatch recently posted … Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Review, Swatches, Photos

  13. Chelsea says:

    These look gawgeous! I can’t wait to see them in person! I was leaning toward Ethereal Light (because I’m pale, yo) but dim light is gorgeous too!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Chelsea,

      I haven’t had the chance to play with Ethereal Light, but I’m STALKING Sephora, so hopefully it’ll be soon! You could prolly pull off Dim Light…I know it looks kinda dark in the swatch, but that’s because I built it up to show the color.

      • Chelsea says:

        Yeah, I’ll try out a couple of them when Sephora gets ’em in!

        • Karen says:

          I hope you get them soon! The Sephora girls are sick of me going in there every five minutes (“Are they in yet? Maybe check the back?”). LOL

          • Chelsea says:

            Dude, seriously. The girl had no idea what I was talking about. I have a physical next week, and the doctor’s office is right across from the mall (how convenient!) so I’ll probably check again then.

          • Karen says:

            Yeah, I think it takes a while for the products to arrive at most stores. The one in my town still has holiday stuff out!

  14. I absolutely love the concept of these! I definitely want to pick up Dim Light when I get the chance. I’d say it would be worth the $45 according to your results!
    Tina @ My Highest Self recently posted … Win a $450 Visa Card in the Beauty Blog Coalition Valentine’s Day Sweepstakes

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tina,

      Dim Light’s my FAVE. What’s also great about it is it works fab on bare skin, BB cream, tinted moisturizer and foundation! So flexible.

      Have you tried anything else from Hourglass?

  15. Elle says:

    Wow – looks so great! What do you use to apply this Karen?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elle,

      I used the new $35 Hourglass Ambient Powder Brush. It’s cool — the brush is wide and covers a large area so I can powder fairly quickly, but you could probably get away with using a regular ol’ powder brush or kabuki brush.

  16. thepaigest says:

    Karen I love it! Thanks! LOVE Hourglass products. I tried to stay up to wait for this post but feel asleep! Hey do you watch Vampire Diaries? I know You watch True Blood. If you don’t YOU gotta watch it!! Don’t judge it by the first couple episodes. It’s on NETFLIX. SOOO AWESOME! (Sorry side convo!)

    • Chelsea says:

      not Karen, but Vampire Diaries really is great!

      • thepaigest says:

        I know!! I was looking to fill a void between True Blood now I’m a super nerd. I’m going t see them in Dallas this year!!

        • Chelsea says:

          Have you read the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris? I like them a lot, although they’re drastically different than the show.

          • Karen says:

            I’ve read a couple of them and like them for mind-numbing reading, LOL!

            P.S. Paige, when you see Vampire Eric please ask him to take his shirt off! Kidding! Kinda…

    • Karen says:

      Hi Paige and Chelsea,

      I don’t watch the Vampire Diaries. My new vamp show of choice is Being Human on SyFy. There’s also werewolves and ghosts in it, WOO HOO!

      • Chelsea says:

        I like Being Human too!

        • Karen says:

          Yeah, things have taken an interesting turn this season! The first ep was SO GOOD. Feels like they hired new writers!

          • thepaigest says:

            No! I’m going to the Vampire Diaries convention! LOL But I would also like them to take their shirts off as well. Vampire Diaries is another show with Vampires with never ending abs πŸ™‚ I’ll have to check out Being Human for sure!! Chelsea I actually haven’t read the books. I’ll have to check them out! I was looking for something to read. Just finished The Host and the Mortal Instruments series. I was thinking about starting Beautiful Creatures.

          • Karen says:

            OMG!! The Host. By the end of that book I was sobbing. Did you know that they’re making a movie based on the book? I hope it’s better than the Twilight flicks.

  17. Ada says:

    Going straight for Radiant light – I think it’s going to flatter darker skinned ladies such as myself really well. I’m excited about it!

    • thepaigest says:

      Me too totally crying! I did. My little nephew has a little extras part in it! A little alien. It was his first thing he has ever done. They had to put contacts in his eyes. Hope he doesn’t get cut!! πŸ™‚ Great book! I think this is going to be better not as “Young Adult” πŸ™‚

  18. Savannah says:

    I was going to spend a gazillion dollars on the Archie’s girl collection, but this seems like a better thing to spend my hard earned cash on. Like most girls, I’m obsessed with my skin (in a bad way) and anything to make it look better? I’m all for. I’m not sure which one to pick, dim, diffused or mood light. I just want something to reduce pore size, fine lines, give my skin clarity and hold up to oil. If any girl knows which of the 3 will suit me best let me know! Hopefully to the naked eye and normal photography it will look like I have good skin, high def is my arch enemy. Reveals things I didn’t even know I had πŸ™

  19. Kimmwc03 says:

    I’ve been waiting for a review on this before I decided to buy one. I think I will have to order one now. You look lovely in the pics.

  20. virginie says:

    I had spotted these one when there was the Golden globes, when I don’t know which make up artist used on a celebrity…..I am gonna get all of them!! Ahahahah
    question though: DO you really need their brush, like is it really essential to get it, or any brush will do????I am drooling…

  21. Dim Light looks really amazing on you. I wasn’t going to get anything but after seeing some before and after pictures on a few blogs, I’m going to place an order with Sephora. Thanks for the review.
    Angela @ The Unprofessional Beauty Blog recently posted … Chinese New Year Makeup Tutorial Part 1: An Avant Garde Spin On Traditional Look

  22. steph b says:

    How do these compare to Guerlain’s pressed powder Meteorites? Have been lusting after that for a while, but the sticker shock is a bit much.

  23. virginie says:

    OMG!!!! When I saw your post, I just realized that I had dreamt about it this night!! OMG, this is when you understand you have a serious addiction/problem, should I go now to the Hospital????

  24. JoanneP says:

    I’m browsing all reviews on this powder like crazy now. All of my local sephoras haven’t gotten the products yet. I must agree that I still don’t really “get” how this powder works until I see it in person. Not sure if I need Dim light or Diffused light, aaaahhhh

  25. Sophia1105 says:

    You had me (as well) at ’10 years off’ dim light it is!

  26. Veronica says:

    Soooo pretty! I’m debating between Dim Light and Mood Light to perk up my winter zapped skin. Do you know if the compact comes with the brush? Sephora lists the brush separately for $35!

  27. Steph says:

    I want Dim Light, even though it would be $52 here. I think it’s a worthy investment!
    Steph recently posted … Life in Pictures vol. 01

  28. Jenny says:

    Great! Now I know which one to get. Dim light!

  29. sirilovise says:

    I wants! But there’s no Sephora hereabouts. My bf’s going to London for a week, though and I figured I’d send him off on a raid of cosmetics counters (have got my eye on those OZ palettes by UD as well). As it happens I’m considering all of the powders you’ve swatched here, and while I think luminous might be too, well, luminous, I’m still undecided. Which do you think would be better for everyday use on Scandinavian, sallowtoned, dry skin?
    I tan fairly easily, so radiant shouldn’t be out of the question, but have a fear of being tangoed by powders turning orange on me.

  30. camille says:

    Hello! I just received the Dim shade, today! I’m super excited for tomorrow, so I can do my make up and try this powder out! I was satisfied with the sleek packaging and, what seems like a lot of product. It is a bit pricey, but I’m sure it’ll be a nice little self-esteem investment. πŸ™‚

  31. Lisa says:

    I ended up buying the Dim powder on your recommendation and am really excited about it. Sometimes I wear a powder foundation on top of my BB cream- have you tried their powder foundation?

  32. Amy says:

    Officially on my wish list! I just switched to a less intense moisturizer, which has made my skin much more balanced. I’m thinking I could pull this off now! Very exciting!

  33. Gillian Jeremie Sy Pua says:

    Hi! I’m looking for a subtle highlight and am considering either Hourglass Strobe or Laura Mercier Matte Radiance. What would you say are the differences between the two? I tried Laura and idk but that may be a little too subtle for me, but then I don’t like glitter so I like the Laura one because of that. I am also considering maybe getting these ones as highlighters instead?

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