Bronzer + Blush Hourglass Cosmetics

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush

March 2, 2014


Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes ($35 each for 0.15 oz/4.2 g) have arrived in stores in six stunning glowy shades. These are a hybrid highlighter/blush powder that have what Hourglass calls Photoluminescent Technology which gives your blush depth and dimension giving a perfect glow. I’ve been a huge fan of the Ambient Lighting Powders (previous reviews here and here) so there was no question in my mind that I would fall in love with these new Blushes. If you look at the pans in person you may think some shades will be too light but the pigment of the color in these blushes is quite intense and swirling your brush into the color creates a mix of color and highlight to give you the perfect amount of color/glow. A little swipe will go a long way. The result: radiant natural finish with buildable color for an ethereal glow.
Hourglass sent me Diffused Heat for review and I purchased four shades in Radiant Magenta, Luminous Flush, Dim Infusion and Mood Exposure from Sephora. I tested each shade for 2-3 full days each which is why this has taken me so long to write this review. Lasting power of these blushes is particularly impressive, most of the colors lasted from morning to evening without fading. The only shade that seemed subtle and less dramatic was Dim Infusion which applies very very naturally on the cheeks. Much like the Ambient Lighting Powders, these blushes have a soft powder texture. It’s lightweight and easy to blend and layer. I’ve been applying these with either Chanel Blush Brush #4, MAC #129 or Tom Ford Cheek Blush brush, but really any blush brush will do. Two soft brush swipes is really all you need with these.




Radiant Magenta is one of the most pigmented and one of my favorites. It’s described as a golden fuchsia blush combined with Radiant Light for a summer glow. This is a beautiful glowy fresh pink. The golden bronze of Radiant Light mixed in creates a perfect pink that won’t darken or turn muddy on the skin. This one had the most impressive lasting power. The shimmer is very fine in this. It’s not frosty, just a perfect glow.




Luminous Flush is a champagne rose blush fused with Luminous Light (my holy grail highlighter) to evoke a candlelit glimmer. Since these are all hand-made, some will have more pink, others like mine will have more champagne color. I was worried this one would be too light but the pink is quite pigmented so it does show up on my face.




Dim Infusion is one of the lighter colors. It’s a subdued coral blush fused with Dim Light to add warmth. I found it showed up quite well on my skin, it gives a soft peach glow. Looks fairly light but I recommend you test in store if you can. I think it will show up on medium-tan skin, but may look nearly invisible on darker skintones. I’ve noticed from some comments that those with very fair skin found this did not show up on them. It might be one of those shades that shows up better if you’re skin does not match the Dim Light powder. If it does, this may just blend in with your skin and disappear. If you’ve tested this please share your thoughts in the comments.




Diffused Heat (press sample) is the color that surprised me the most. This is a vibrant poppy blush combined with Diffused Light for a subtle halo effect. Poppy colors can be hard for me to pull off for blush. They often look so gorgeous in the pan but then darken and look muddy-ish on my olive skin. In the pan Diffused Heat looks like it could be too orange or warm but the mix of colors turns a pretty coral pink and brightens the entire face. This is one of my top 2 picks. It is a color I think will be universally flattering.




Mood Exposure is another surprise. It looks like it might be a flat and boring neutral rose based on what you see in the compact. It’s a soft plum blush fused with Mood Light to brighten the complexion. The plum is almost bronzey on my skin and gives this wonderful rose-bronze-pink. ItΒ  looks different on everyone I’ve seen this on. For some it pulls more rose, for others like myself, it pulls more warm. I would describe it as unexpectedly gorgeous. I highly recommend this color as well. It is highly pigmented, I think this one will show up on everyone.




Swatches below, note these apply much better on the face than any arm or hand swatch can show:





Comparisons to corresponding Ambient Highlighting Powders. The blushes are smaller in size but have the same style packaging. Each compact is mirrored.



Click photo for better viewing:


Bottom line: Truly amazing. Everyone needs at least one. (Yes, everyone!) I normally blend blush with highlighters to create some kind of depth, these new Hourglass Ambient Lighting blushes save me the extra step. You can control the level of pigment or color depending how you apply these.Over a powdered face the effect will be softer. If you have dry skin or a well-powdered face you may find these won’t show up as well. I have normal skin and found these applied just fine over powder. If you need more color, I recommend using these over a slightly dewy face or cream highlighter (such as Armani Fluid Sheers, NARS Multiples or Edward Bess Afterglow Highlighters). A sheer cream base will help the pigment show up better if you’re on the dryer side without impacting the color too much. The pigment will be richer and more dramatic. I don’t have a preference for either application – both ways will give a lovely effect. (I didn’t test the lightest shade Ethereal Glow because I thought it would be too pale, but I may try it the next time I’m at Sephora.)


For reference I put together a collage on all the shades for you to see how each blush has a mix of each corresponding with a particular highlighter. Although I already own a number of the Hourglass Ambient Light highlighters, I do think these blushes are unique enough to justify owning.



My top three picks are Radiant Magenta, Mood Exposure and Diffused Heat.
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes retail for $35 each. These are free of parabens, talc, fragrance, nanoparticles and gluten. No Animal Testing. Available at Barneys New York, Net-A-Porter, Sephora, Space NK and


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  • I love these, I have Dim Infusion and it's gorgeous. I'd love Mood Exposure next!

    Love Beth | BethBlogsBeauty

  • After your glowing review, I may *need* Radiant Magenta πŸ™‚

  • I snagged Radiant Magenta during the VIB Rouge preview and fell in love, so I picked up Mood Exposure and Ethereal Glow when they hit the shelves! I always layer my powder blushes over some sort of cream product, which is why I've totally fallen for Ethereal Glow. It looks gorgeous layered over everything from YSL Creme de Blush in 09 Babydoll to the NARS Matte Multiple in Siam. It adds so much dimension!

  • I bought 3 of these – diffused heat, luminous flush and mood exposure and love them. My skin is #2 in Guerlain Lingerie de Peau and I find I need to be careful because the color can build fast so even if you're fair a little goes a long way. I tried Ethereal Glow and it was a bit chalky against my skin, might be better for cooler tones.

    • Thanks for the input Evelyn, I love comments like these because they are so helpful to others with similar skintone πŸ™‚

  • I love all of them!

  • They look gorgeous, i must try them! Especially the dim fusion looks great.

  • I don't think my bank is going to see much of my wages.

  • I love the beautiful packaging! Mod exposure looks particularly lovely.


  • Hi Sabrina,

    Gorgeous swatches! It's so helpful to see them, as it's hard to discern the true colors from the pans alone. I go back and forth on how I feel about the ambient lighting blushes – on one hand, the marbling is stunning, and formula is wonderfully pigmented and smooth. On the other, the powder does seem a bit thick (if that makes any sense). Of the six, Hourglass Ethereal glow struck my fancy, and I may have to go back and try it again after reading your *glowing* review πŸ™‚

    • I can't wait to read about your thoughts on these on Cute and Mundane πŸ™‚

  • They all look so beautiful. I'm mostly curious about Radiant Magenta and Diffused Heat. Radiant Magenta looks a bit scary at first, but I think it's really pretty!

    • I agree – the Magenta looks quite intense in the pan, but it's so pretty on the skin!

  • Anonymous

    Hi Sabrina,
    Thank you for this wonderful and informative post! I have both Diffused Heat and Mood Exposure and have been so impressed by the quality and longevity of both of these. Mood Exposure melds with my light,cool complexion, while Diffused Heat provides a pop of color. I need to use a light touch with these, as the pigmentation is strong. Just when I thought I didn't need any more blushes, Hourglass comes out with these fantastic choices. Happy weekend! — Louisa

  • So many people love these, but they do look absolutely gorgeous! x
    Elise –

  • I reeeeally want Diffused Heat.


  • I love this post! Thanks for all the swatches. I'm definitely going to need to check these out next time I'm at Sephora.

    Connie | Sponsored by Coffee

  • I need at least one haha. Honestly though I do need one πŸ™‚

  • This is a simply amazing, well thought out, fantastically designed post. I can see how much work you put into this post and it really paid off! πŸ™‚ I think diffused heat is a good pick for your top two, it looks absolutely stunning!

  • Hi Sabrina,
    Thanks for the great post. Just wanted to give my two cents about the Dim Infusion not showing up on medium skintone. I'm NC 35 and Dim Ambient Lighting Powder tends to disappear perfectly into my skin. Dim Infusion just disappeared into my skin and no matter how hard I tried and layered, I couldn't get it to show up. It might have just slightly brightened my cheeks but definitely no visible pigment.

    I think I'm the only person on the planet who was a little disappointed with these blushes… I so wanted to love these but just can't get them to work for me the way I would like…

    Great post, as always!

    • Thank you for the input!! I don't think you are the only one disappointed. I do think Dim Infusion is one of the least-liked shades. I think it may have something to do with the fact that each color is handmade so you get a different mix of blush/highlighter in each. I suspect since Dim Infusion is so light it disappears on many people. I wouldn't write off all the shades, maybe try another one.

      But you're definitely not alone. I think many have been very disappointed with the shade you picked out. It's definitely the lightest on my skin.

  • I spent a lot of time trying to decide which shade to buy- I ended up with Ethereal Glow and love it. It's perfect on my super-pale skin. I think it gives such a lovely, polished look. I keep debating on picking up a slightly darker shade next since these sheer out so well. Great post and photos as always!

    • Ethereal Glow is the one shade I still haven't tried yet. I need to add it to my Sephora trip list. It sounds amazing on you!

  • I really want to try these now especially Mood Exposure.

  • Dim Light Powder does match my skin very closely, and Dim Infusion blush almost disappears into my cheeks. Honestly, I don't know if I like it or not, but I want to see how it will look on my summer skin. Mood Exposure and Luminous Flush are my favorites, with Diffused Heat up there too. Radiant Magenta is too pink on me. My Diffused Heat and Radiant Magenta look a lot more similar in color than yours do.

  • Anonymous

    Your blog is very bad for my bank balance! I think I have purchased more things from your recommendations that any other blog I read. πŸ™‚

    • I hope I can save you some $$ too with my dupe attempts!

  • Wow, such a comprehensive post! And you are right! Everyone should own at least one. Mood Exposure and Luminous Flush are on my radar >.<

  • There are so many review of these blushers, but yours is one of the few that I found helpful! Thanks! Radiant Magenta and Diffused Heat look gorgeous πŸ™‚

    • Aww, thank you Marina, I'm so glad this helped. Wish I could have taken face photos to show how they looked on my face, but I'm still working on that. It's so challenging to take photos of the entire face and have it look accurate!

  • Anonymous

    This is easily the best review I have seen of these blushes. Excellent pictures, text, and comparison swatches. Well done and thanks for the info!!!

  • Such a great post! These are all so beautiful, but I think I want to try Diffused Heat.

  • What an outstanding review! I can not thank you enough Sabrina! Love the Magenta, the Luminous Flush and perhaps even the Mood . . . . .

    • Thank you Lisa – which color did you end up getting?

  • These all look beautiful and I'm surprised at how gorgeous they look on your arm.
    I've heard other reviews from people saying they're not that great but after looking at these pictures I disagree with them completely as they look gorgeous!!!

    Layla xx

    • Layla – I think these are hit or miss depending on which color you use and what skintone you are. Skin texture also has a major impact on performance as well. I hope you find one you fall in love with!

  • Thank you for your detail post!
    Always love how you go into the details and allow your readers to appreciate how the product is conceptualize.
    Now I am contemplating to get one of these blush or a Burberry one. I have neither at the moment.

    • Thank you Zibbeiko, I am always very happy to hear that my posts are helpful πŸ™‚ You can't go wrong with either Hourglass or Burberry!

  • Great roundup! I have Diffused Heat and am totally smitten with it πŸ™‚


  • NEED these. Going straight to the top of the list of 'must buys'

  • I jump on Dim Infusion naturally since Dim Light is my favorite but you are right about Dim Light match my skintone perfectly that can be use as finishing powder, the blush almost disappeared on me. I really love how it looks in the compact but not on my face which barely there. Chanel Spring limited edition Sakura blush shows up nicely on my skin btw. and I was hoping Dim Infusion is similar. Surprisingly, Mood Exposure is my absolute favorite and will be getting that this weekend, Rouge VIB 15% off promotion at Sephora πŸ™‚ Thank you for the comprehensive review as I might pick up another. Your blogs and photos are always my top go-to. Love your photos!

  • I've got Luminous Flush coming in the mail! I'm so excited, I've heard such great things about this blush and about Hourglass in general πŸ˜€ Definitely going to have to write a blog review on it once I get it πŸ™‚

  • Your swatches are the best! I bought the dim infusion and love it.

  • This is quite an expensive blush. But I’ll definitely give it a try! πŸ˜€
    ~Pauline @ NYX Philippines