Highlighters Hourglass Cosmetics

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder – Luminous Light

February 4, 2013
Hourglass has released a series of beautiful finishing powders designed to emulate various lighting effects. There are six shades of their new Ambient Lighting Powder ($45 each for 0.35 oz/10 g, currently available online at Sephora.com). According to Hourglass, the Ambient Lighting Powders are not your typical highlighting powder. These powders have “photoluminescent technology that refracts light, creates transparent coverage and renders the skin gorgeously radiant.”
I received Luminous Light (a champagne glow) from Hourglass and have been playing with this for a few weeks now. Luminous Light was designed to give a candlelight glow to the face and this fits the product perfectly. It’s a stunning champagne pearl with a slight pinkish tint that gives THE prettiest natural glow. The application instructions on the box recommended that you use their Ambient Powder Brush ($35) and dust the powder all over the face. I’ve been using my regular blush and powder brushes to test which have worked quite well. Given the glowy nature of the product, I found it best used as a highlighter (rather than all over). I’ve used it numerous ways, under and over blush, mixed with a powder bronzer, over a contour powder or over a cream bronzer.  The formula is soft and the color-intensity has just the right balance of pigment and softness to make the entire face glow. It melds into your skin and illuminates the face (rather than sitting on it or emphasizing pores like some highlighters can).

What amazes me is how complex the pearl particles are. Depending on the angle you will sometimes see a straight champagne, other times more pearl, other times a hint of pink. I attribute the candlelight glow this product gives to the complexity and perfect blend of pigments. On the arm, Luminous Light swatches more pinkish but on the face it’s more neutral/flesh toned for me.






There are a number of champagne highlighters on the market. Luminous Light stands out to me because it adds a natural glow without looking too frosty. It has the perfect balance of glow and color to look mimic lighting effects. The lasting power was quite good – on me it lasted all day. Other highlighters pale in comparison – the difference is difficult to capture in photos or swatches, but I’ve included a few to help show the difference.


Below: Chanel Poudre Signée de Chanel, Mouche de Beauté, Bobbi Brown Beige Shimmer Brick, Estée Lauder Tom Pecheux Highlight, Laura Mercier Stardust.


I can’t wait to order more shades and the brush from Sephora – however I do want to try them in person. As of this past weekend I did not see any of the Ambient Powders or brush at my local Sephora, but I’ve been told they will arrive instore mid-February.


Here is the ingredient listing:



I’ve found my holy grail powder lighter in Hourglass Luminous Light. I haven’t tested or tried the other shades to compare but based on what I’ve seen I am impressed. Few products make it into the “this changed my life” category and the Ambient Lighting Powder from Hourglass has made it. It gives that perfect glow that I aim for with cream highlighters or liquid ones – but in powder form (the benefit is that this one lasts much better than liquids). I think everyone needs at least one in their collection. More information and insight on HourglassCosmetics.com and Sephora.com.
Have you tried the Ambient Lighting Powders? What shade did you try? Thoughts on the brush? Do I need it?
This review contains a product sent by PR without charge for review. This post also contains affiliate links. For more information please refer to the About/FAQ section.

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  • Flyavsted February 4, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Looks like the perfect highlighter.

  • Renee Parpart February 4, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    Beautiful, I love how it just melds into the skin compared to the other swatches. Do you have Stila kitten? How do you think that would compare? I use that eyeshadow as a highlighter.

    • Sabrina February 4, 2013 at 7:51 pm

      Hi Renee, I used to have Stila Kitten but I'm not sure if I still do. From what I remember, Stila Kitten was highly frosted and on my skin had a strong almost whitish cast due to the frost. I never used it on the face but I suspect the finish is very different from Hourglass's Ambient Powders. The Hourglass is a lot more subtle and not frosty like Stila Kitten. Perhaps someone else can add input?

  • Kate February 4, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Out of Chanel Poudre Signée de Chanel, Mouche de Beauté, and this Hourglass one, which one do you prefer? Thank you! 🙂 They all look great!


    • Sabrina February 4, 2013 at 7:55 pm

      Hi Kate – all three are so different. On my skin the Chanel Spring Poudre de Chanel is more yellow/gold with a soft shimmery sheen. The Mouche from the Versailles Collection is the most sparkly and more of a finishing product to give a sheer but sparkly glow. The Hourglass is more pinkish but neutral on my skin – it gives the most natural glow for my skintone.

      Being the highlighter fanatic and die hard Chanel fan that I am, I would say all three are must-haves. However I do have a slight preference for the hourglass as my top pick.

  • Emi at Project Swatch February 4, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    This is really lovely, thank you for the review. I purchased Diffused Light and Mood Light – I have a review with swatches of both on my blog if you'd like to see, the finish is slightly different than of Luminous. Diffused has more visible shimmer, Mood is less shimmery, more sheeny. I was already thinking of picking up Dim Light – now you have me wanting Luminous as well!

  • Eileen February 4, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Sabrina, I can't thank you enough for the comparison swatches. Although I am a self-professed highlighter junkie who has never let similarities stop me from adding a new one to my stash, it's good to know that Luminous Light is actually quite different in effect from my beloved Poudre Signée and my newest addition, Mouche de Beauté. Whereas Signée and Mouche are more like conventional highlighters, Luminous Light will be more like a light diffusing luminizer. In short, I "need" this new beauty by Hourglass :-). I can hardly wait to see it along with the other light effects in the collection.

  • Chrissy February 4, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Oh wow… Thank you so much for these swatches. As a makeup artist I'm constantly looking for great products to try (for myself and for my clients), and I'm thinking this (along with the others you swatched) will definitely be on my "check out" list!

  • Chris El @ MyFashionTrendencies February 4, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    Between Chanel Poudre Signee de Chanel and this, which do you prefer as a highlighter?

    • Sabrina February 4, 2013 at 8:01 pm

      Hi – I find both very different on the skin, both are stunningly gorgeous. For me I have a very slight preference for the Hourglass, but I wouldn't be able to pick just one.

  • Kristin Sekora February 4, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    As to Mouche de Beaute and this, are either of them useful in the daytime? Also, I just bought Nars Light Reflecting Setting Powder. Can I use either illuminating powder with the Nars? Which would I apply first, the Nars or the illuminating powder?

    • Sabrina February 4, 2013 at 8:05 pm

      Hi Kristin, I think both the Chanel and Hourglass are suitable for daytime. The Moche is more sparkly so I think the Hourglass would be better suited for those with conservative taste/style.

      I don't have the NARS and haven't tried it to compare. From what I've read the NARS is more of a setting powder for all over the face while the Hourglass is designed to be more of a lighting powder to contour and illuminate the face.

  • Annick February 4, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    Great review! I find it very interesting that most reviews are saying the product is absolutely life changing. I'll definitely have to give it a go even if I'm not sure which shade would suit me best! I think like you, I'll need to see them in Sephora 🙂

  • Arianne February 4, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    I love how you describe this product. Thanks so much for the in-depth review and swatch comparisons! I'm dying to try them all.

  • Gail February 4, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    Thanks for the lovely review Sabrina, and especially thanks for the ingredient listing. I'm thrilled to see the ingredients look good for my sensitive skin and am definitely interested in checking it out for myself now!

  • Kim February 4, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    great review! i've been waiting to hear a review from someone who actually tried it. i have been using kevyn aucoin's celestial powder, but i have to blend really well (it's a bit on the frosty side). can't wait to see the other colors; i saw there's "radiant," a sun-kissed beige which may work on my darker skin.

    • Sabrina February 6, 2013 at 2:51 am

      Kim – radiant is on my wishlist!

  • Dustyn February 4, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    I want all of these, they're gorgeous! But I have a whole drawer of similar items. So will have to add it to my Sephora wishlist 😀

  • The Unprofessional Beauty Blog February 5, 2013 at 12:24 am

    I can't decide between the different ones in this collection. I'm really tempted to get Dim Light.

  • Anonymous February 5, 2013 at 1:10 am

    I have all 6 colors. I think that you'd need one to match your skin tone, really. The Sephora site has purpose for each different color (and that's why I ordered them all), but it's hard to tell the difference on skin, unless you layer the product. I am very pale, with slight pink undertone, and I could live with Mood or Radiant. I did not order the brush though, just using my big face powder brush (a very soft one, from Japan) and it does the job just fine 🙂

  • Teri February 5, 2013 at 1:38 am

    Gosh, all those raving reviews only makes it harder for me! I honestly can not decide which shade to pick, but this one is amazingly pretty! I love that it seems to add some warmth to the skin, great for my colouring!

  • kittymakesup February 5, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    I'm in lust! x

  • Gladys February 5, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    All are really amazing and beautiful! I like so much the Poudre Signée de Chanel!

  • Perilously Pale February 5, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    I have been testing Dimmed Light. I LOVE the look of Luminous! SO beautiful. So exciting to see you so in love with a product.

    • Sabrina February 6, 2013 at 4:17 am

      Can't wait to read your review on Dim Light!

  • LinasBeautyDiary February 5, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    It's not shimmery, nor glittery…it really looks like you're glowing from within! absolutely gorgeous! xx

  • Catherine (@bcrueltyfree) February 5, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    I'm dying to try this. I'm holding off until I see all the colors BUT I'm leaning towards Radiant Light. I would love the brush too, but I do have plenty of other brushes, so I can't justify buying it as well.

    • Sabrina February 6, 2013 at 4:21 am

      I agree – I'm tempted by the brush but have so many others already. I will need to see in person too. Same with Radiant Light – so tempted but trying to wait to until they arrive instore.

  • Lynnsey February 5, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    Ahhh. the brush feels like a kitten! I bought 2. One for at home and one for my purse. I picked up the powders in Dim, Luminous and Mood. I am pretty sure I will end up just getting all of them though. They are fabulous.

  • Candice February 5, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    Hi Sabrina! Thank you for your indepth review. I love how it's not too frosty. Would you recommend this product for a makeup beginner?

    • Sabrina February 6, 2013 at 4:22 am

      Yes! I would definitely recommend for anyone. It's very easy to apply and I don't think it can be overdone.

  • Anonymous February 5, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    Dear Sabrina,if I have light skin color with rose undertone, what color of highlighter to choose? Hourglass Luminous Light will be good for me? I have the same wishes to highlighters as you dreamed about.

  • Delacotta February 6, 2013 at 2:31 am

    Is it a lot different from Guerlain's Meteorites (I have the Teint Beige)? How on earth to decide on which gorgeous color…sigh… (I'm a MAC 20-25NW). Thank you!! (I adore this blog!!)

    • Sabrina February 6, 2013 at 4:32 am

      Hi Delacotta – I've never had much luck with Guerlain Meteorites (I have some of the seasonal ones). I've always found them overly fragranced, very sheer in color and that they emphasize my pores – but it could be that I just picked sheerest ones.

      The Hourglass provides a more visible glow without being overly frosty and doesn't emphasize pores for me. I think that it's different enough to justify owning one if you already have Guerlain's Meteorites.

      On deciding which color – so difficult!

  • lexi920 February 6, 2013 at 3:52 am

    I need to try this out, just afraid it may look chalky on my skin.

    • Sabrina February 9, 2013 at 11:55 pm

      Hi Lexi – from what I've seen on other blogs, I think you would love Radiant Light. I think since you're a few shades darker than me Luminous Light might look a bit whitish on your skin.

  • Becca @ The Beauty Sample February 6, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Oh God, I KNEW this one would be gorgeous–I just didn't realize HOW gorgeous! You are completely right about this not just being another beigy highlighter, Sabrina. I was hesitant about picking this one up until I saw swatches/swatched for myself because I've recently acquired several beige highlighters and I didn't want to get just another beige one. But this one is soooo luminous and soft and I definitely do see that slightly pinkish tint to it, but it's not so much that it will look ashy on warm skin tones. It looks great on your skin and I definitely plan on making this one mine! I have Radiant Light and I love it a lot as a very subtle bronzer/highlighter. I think if I just pick up Luminous Light, I will be satisfied

  • Paige February 6, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Mine just arrived today after I got home from work and what a perfect timing it was. I got Diffused Light and I tried it on half of my face and compared it to the other half in which I lightly reapplied my usual go to setting powder (YSL Poudre Sur Mesure #2). Now, last night I stayed up really (really) late to work on a project and my face definitely looked tired. The half covered with Diffused Light now look less tired and has this nice glow (not shimmery) to it.

    I agree with Anonymous in choosing the shade that best match your skin tone. I'm NC25 and the pale yellow color of Diffused Light fits me perfectly. The NARS light reflecting powder on the other hand gave my face a white cast effect.

    I may get Radiant Light for summer. It look like a good alternative to bronzer esp. when I find bronzer too much for my face. Btw, I didn't buy the brush. I simply use my Shu Uemura Natural Brush 27 and it works great.

  • JoanneP @ The Convenient Beauty February 8, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    I'm anxiously waiting for the powders in store. Dim, diffused and luminous are my picks right now. Can't decide aahh

    • Sabrina February 9, 2013 at 11:56 pm

      Me too! I can't wait. I want to try one that is darker than Luminous, can't decide between Dim or Radiant.

  • JENNNY February 10, 2013 at 2:56 am

    I must splurge on this! Too gorgeous!

  • homerjmo February 10, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Do you know how this compares to Benefit Watts Up or Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector?

  • Silk Mandel February 11, 2013 at 5:31 am

    This is a MUST have!

  • Amy February 21, 2013 at 4:14 am

    Best review I've seen of this product! Love the swatches of other products. Definitely on my wish list.

  • Michelle February 23, 2013 at 5:21 am

    Thank you so much for the in depth review! I really want to get this product, but they dont sell this in SG… But it's on the top of my list when I visit the US!

  • Reem Makeupforlunch October 3, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    It looks like it wants to jump into my makeup bag :'D

  • Jas K February 1, 2015 at 1:31 am

    How well does it work with flash photography??

    Thank you!