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. It 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.