Hourglass Cosmetics launched their first skincare products in January of this year with two items in a line they call Equilibrium. There are two items both are available in limited quantites at the Hourglass Store on Abbot Kinney, Bergdorf Goodman (New York, in store) and Liberty (London, in store).
Equilibrium Day Fluid Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($115 for 1.7 fl oz/50 ml) is a daytime treatment that is designed to give radiant, supple and healthy-looking skin created from within. From Hourglass:
This is designed to complement the evening treatment, and shield skin from the sun with SPF 30. It contains a plant-derived phosphatidylglycerol, which improves skin’s texture and tone. The light, luxurious fluid also contains a blend of four organic chemical compounds providing broad spectrum SPF 30 to shield the skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
Equilibrium Biomimetic Skin Active Serum ($350 for 1.7 fl oz/50 ml) is a rebalancing product intended for night time use only. Description per Hourglass:
This revolutionary nighttime re-balancing treatment contains a powerful family of ingredients designed to counteract the visible signs of aging – resulting in radiant, healthy-looking skin created from within. The serum is created using an ultrasonication process, producing microscopic oil droplets which deliver the ingredients into the skin at the most optimal level.
Hourglass kindly sent me a sample of the Equilibrium Biomimetic Skin Active Serum for review back at the beginning of the year and I’ve been putting it to the test for 50+ nights. This is a resurfacing and rebalancing night time treatment that comes in a black pump bottle. The bottle is made of Miron violet glass to protect the contents from harmful light. The product description recommends use of the product for 40-56 days (after a full cellular turnover cycle) to see full results. I wanted to give this a thorough test drive in order to provide as detailed a review as possible on using this.
In testing the Equilibrium Biomimetic Skin Active Serum I saw results in two weeks. If you’ve followed my skincare posts, you know that ver the past year and a half I’ve had fluctuations with skin issues. I’ve discovered a number of products that have helped to rebalance the skin and bring it back to it’s normal state. Testing skincare is usually touch and go – you have to really test things over a long period of time to see if they end up working as you hoped. The biggest issue I’ve had with my skin included texture issues all over the face, breakouts on the chin area and scarring. The items I’ve tried and tested from Ole Henriksen, Tatcha, SK-II and regular go-to’s have helped with the texture and breakouts.
The Hourglass Equilibrium Serum has helped keep my skin clear and removed my chin breakouts and has worked remarkably well in fading scars. This is a fluid type of product that is very gentle on the skin and has a moisturizing feel without any detectable scent. It absorbs nicely into the skin so it doesn’t feel like there is product that is just sitting on your face that will slide off once your head hits the pillow. It feels very soothing on the skin which is a huge plus for my sensitive face. The results have been incredibly good. My skin has noticeably (and dramatically) improved in texture and clarity.
There are three other night time treatments that I’ve used over the past couple of years that I will offer a comparison to.
1) Chanel La Nuit de Chanel is part of the Resynchronizing line. I bought this and used it up entirely. I found consistent use helped keep my skin clear but wasn’t strong enough to help with serious scars or texture issues. I used it up and really liked it, I will probably go back to this once my skin returns to it’s normal state. If you have normal sensitive skin that needs basic and simple hydration at night, I highly recommend this.
2) The SK-II Skin Refining Treatment is something I used and love. It improved my skin’s texture significantly after several months of use. This one is gentle on the face and after using this I noticed better skin texture, clearer complexion and a glow. The Hourglass by comparison exceeds the SK-II in terms of giving you results faster more dramatic improvement in skin. Both are good and over time they will give you a similar result (better complexion and texture), the SK-II will take a bit longer to give you the same results.
3) I’ve also written about and used the Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Treatment (reviewed here). This one also improved my skin’s texture and reduced breakouts on the chin area. This one isn’t the best for those with sensitive noses because it is fragranced. If you have super delicate skin you find this one tingles too much. I found the scent to be ok, but many have commented they found it too strong.
So out of the four night-time treatments I’ve tested, my top two picks include the Hourglass and SK-II. I didn’t want to fall in love with the Hourglass one due to the hefty price tag but it truly delivers results and performs exceptionally well. My husband has commented on how much my skin has improved after I used this and asked “what are you doing differently?” It’s gentle enough for nightly use – in testing this, I would recommend using this almost every night to get the best results (skipping this for 3+ nights resulted in breakouts coming back after testing some other products). I give this a super huge thumbs up.
The Equilibrium line is available at select locations: Hourglass Store on Abbot Kinney, Bergdorf Goodman (New York, in store), Liberty (London, in store). More online at Hourglass Cosmetics. Have you tried any of the Hourglass Equilibrium products? If not, what do you currently use at night?
The Equilibrium serum was provided courtesy of Hourglass for review consideration.
Hourglass just released seven new eyeshadows called the Modernist Eyeshadow Palette ($58 each for 5 x 0.035 oz/1.0g). Each palette seems to offer a diverse range of textures and finishes. There are different color variations for a soft to more dramatic eye. I went with the safe option and purchased Infinity a soft palette of warm neutrals which includes Warm Ivory, Dusty Rose, Bronzed Mauve, Cool Taupe, Dark Cocoa.
The shadows are extremely soft powders with an easy to blend texture. Pigment is very good on this palette and easy to blend and layer for a softly defined eye. Many of my readers have commented on the lack of soft satiny matte palettes in the high-end beauty market. If you’ve been on the hunt for a good palette of soft mattes (with one wearable shimmer) this is the answer to what you’ve been searching for. The only downside is the soft texture is so soft that there is a lot of powder kick-up when you swipe the palette with the brush. I didn’t find that the powder fallout translated to how it applied on the eyes though. With a good brush (like MAC 217, 219 or 239) I was able to get a soft medium gradient.
With soft neutral mattes like these sometimes the colors can end up looking muted or the same on the lids. I like to start with the medium shimmer shades first and then add the others to either highlight or contour the rest of the eye. The middle shimmer color is very soft but adheres well to the lids. The other mattes are softer and lighter in texture (although they have good pigment) and for me are better used as washes. The darkest color is best used with a damp brush or over a creamy liner to help the enhance the pigment.
The packaging and product design is incredibly unique. The powders in the compact are pressed together making them look like a wave pattern. When there is no separator between colors in palettes I usually get worried. I like tiny dividers because I find they make it easier for me to dip my brush into the palette without having to worry about mixing colors. The stripes are large enough for my MAC brushes for now. I do wonder how it will work once the surface is worn down after use.
They come packaged in a similar design to the Ambient Lighting Powder Palette, but the Modernist Eyeshadow Palettes are smaller. For the price and for consistency, I do wish they were larger in size.
Based on the comparisons above you can see similarities in the shades to other palettes. If you own a lot of neutrals you may find this easy to dupe. To me it seems to be a cross between Orchid Haze and Cocoa Mirage from Tom Ford. I’ve found this palette beautiful to wear and gives a lovely soft defined eye. I do wish the powder texture was a bit less soft because the palette itself can get quite messy with the powder kick-up, although as mentioned above, they meld nicely on the eyes and I experienced no fall out once I put it on the skin.
I know from reading other reviews that there are mixed thoughts on this, my recommendation is try before you buy if you are skeptical. Reviews with thumbs up from Goss Makeup Artist. Lukewarm review from Color Me Loud. Thumbs down from Temptalia.
I personally am really happy with my purchase, I haven’t seen or tested the others to give you a review on the entire collection of the Modernist Palettes (some look like they have more dramatic sparkles). Given the mixed reviews I don’t suspect this will be a universally loved palette, but I do know I’m not alone with my thumbs up thoughts on this.
The latest addition to the Hourglass Ambient Lighting line is the Ambient Lighting Blush Palette ($58 for 3 shades, each 0.116 oz/3.3g). It’s a limited-edition palette with three of the Ambient Lighting Blushes in Luminous Flush (champagne rose), Incandescent Electra (cool peach, exclusive to the palette) and Mood Exposure (soft plum). I’ve been a huge fan of the Ambient Lighting Powders (palette review and Luminous Light review here) and Blushes (review on individual colors here). The addition of a travel-friendly blush palette is just pure genius (for me at least).
If you’re new to the Ambient Lighing Blushes, they are multi-dimensional powders with swirls of pigmented color and highlighter. They are infused with what Hourglass calls “photoluminescent technology” which creates depth and dimension. Hourglass claims these give your face an “otherworldly glow” and I can’t find any words to better describe their Ambient Lighting products. All of the powders are handmade so no two look alike.
I’ve been testing the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette for the past couple of weeks and am really pleased with it. Two of the shades can be purchases individually which I already own, so while this is mostly a duplicate of what I have, I do find the packaging design and size of the palettes to be very user-friendly and perfect for travel. I almost always bring the highlighter palette with me on all trips. The compact is sleek and long so it fits easily into my travel bags.
The powders in the blush palette are identical in size to those in the highlighter palette. They are smaller compared to the blushes that you purchase individually. I’ve photographed them side by side for comparison purposes.
I’ve found the colors in the palette to look slightly lighter than the ones I own individually but they apply the same on the skin. In my experience, the Ambient Lighting Blushes are all very pigmented on my skin and show up just like blush with a couple exceptions. Dim Infusion and Etheral Glow are both very light and give a very slight hint of color on my medium/tan skin. If you are medium to dark, you may find these don’t show up on you. In terms of application, all the other colors, including the shades in the Blush Palette show up very well on my skin. What I love about these is that they are soft but buildable. The blush color is very pigmented but the mix of the soft highlighter inside each shade gives the product a very beautiful glow. I do think these work best on skin that has a bit of moisture. If you have super dry skin or a very powdered face, you might find they don’t show up as well. For me over foundation with powder on top these apply just fine. If you don’t see any color you may want to add a bit of a sheer highlighter like Armani Fluid Sheers on the cheeks under these.
Comparisons of the individual blush shades in Luminous Light and Mood Exposure (they look different in the pans but swatch identical):
Swatches, on the face they are glowy and not frosty:
Close ups of each shade in the palette:
The Ambient Lighting Palette is bottom line love. After playing with this for a few weeks I’ve found it really versatile. The colors look good individually or with two of them layered (any combination works). All the colors look good with neutral pinks, nude, plum or peach lips. The blushes have enough color to bring life to the face, but are subtle enough to wear with a bold lip.
If you’ve been waiting and thinking about the blushes I think the palette is definitely something worth splurging on. Product size differences aside, the palette retails for $58 while three individual blushes at $35 each will cost you $100+. If you already own Luminous Flush and Mood Exposure, then I don’t think this is something that falls into the “need” category, however I do think it’s a must-have for me. The Ambient Lighting Blushes are compact in size already so they don’t take up a lot of room in your makeup bag. I do really like the convenience and packaging of the Hourglass palettes and Incandescent Electra is one of the prettiest light peaches I’ve ever seen.
On Thursday Hourglass Cosmetics hosted a special preview event to celebrate the opening of their Flagship Store on Abbot Kinney in Venice Beach. The unveiling of their first retail store marks the brand’s 10 year anniversary. Per Hourglass founder and CEO Carisa Janes, “it is a milestone occasion” where a”brick-and-mortar location is an opportunity to bring the brand to life with state-of-the-art design and exceptional service.”
I was thrilled to be able to attend the preview celebration and was thoroughly impressed with the sleek and modern design of the store. The store itself is 1400 square feet with an upper level for makeup application, lessons and private services. At the event they had several stations where you could get your lip makeup done by one of their artists. By the time I arrived I found the entire store was extremely busy and packed with makeup artists, editors, bloggers and other industry experts who were invited. I only stayed for a short time but saw some familiar faces and said hello to Beauty Professor and Beauty Frosting. Even though it was very crowded, I managed to weave my way through the store and snap a few detail shots. The store has an exquisite design that is beautiful. It is sleek, modern and inviting. I hope to be able to visit Venice Beach again in the upcoming month to experience the store in its entirety.
The store officially opens to the public on Septenber 22, 2014.
Among the items I was able to preview in the store include the line’s first skincare item, the Equilibrium Serum which will be exclusive to the boutique for a while (scheduled to launch soon). There was also an Ambient Lighting Bar which looked interesting and I need to find out more about. It’s designed to be a way for clients to customize their own palette with three shades of the Ambient Lighting Powder (review on Luminous Light and Radiant Light). I saw most of the product lineup displayed with the exception of the eye palettes/shadows but it could have possibly been something I simply missed due to the crowd. I was really hoping they would have the new Ambient Lighting Blush Palette available for preview at the store but it had not arrived yet.
As we left there was a small gift bag given away to each attendee, mine included one of the Ambient Lighting Powder Palettes. Since I already have one of the palettes, I’m giving my extra one away. You can enter via the Rafflecopter widget below (refer to the widget for terms and conditions). There are several ways to enter and I’m making this an international giveaway where 1 winner will be selected to receive 1 Ambient Lighting Palette (you must be 18 years or older).
A huge thanks to Hourglass for hosting such a lovely and well organized preview event for inviting me! I can’t wait until my next visit to the store to experience the entire line in person. The store officially opens to the public on September 22, 2014.
You can enter the giveaway below, there are multiple ways to enter, entries will be collected through the 25th of September and end at 11:45 PM PST. See terms in widget for more information.
New this fall from Hourglass is their 1.5 mm Mechanical Gel Liner in Obsidian ($45 for pack of 3 or $16 each). It’s their thinnest and softest waterproof eyeliner that comes in a twist up pencil. The product description:
The precision 1.5mm tip ensures effortless control, and allows for lining in between lashes
The unique formula, poured into a slim mechanical component, has the malleability, intensity and staying power of a traditional gel; no pot, no brush, no clean-up required
The waterproof, transfer-proof and long-lasting formula delivers extended wear
The supple, moisturizing formula glides on smoothly and dries quickly
Two clicks is all you need to line the eye, each advanced mechanical pencil lasts for approximately 17 to 20 uses
Only dispense product as needed – mechanical pencil does not retract
Free of phthalates, sulfates, talc and gluten, no animal testing
I’ve been testing the new eyeliner this week in warm humid weather in Southern California and have been impressed with the lasting power. It holds up quite well throughout the day. I tested it on a few nights out and it didn’t bleed, smudge or fade. The tip is super tiny for precise application – the 2 click claim is true. You only need 2 clicks to dispense enough liner for each eye. I’m rarely able to apply eyeliner in a single stroke. The same applies with this one. I prefer to feather it along the lash line. I like that it doesn’t tug or pull. The formula is soft but not too soft. Some eyeliners can tug on the eye irritating my sensitive eyes. This one from Hourglass is gentle and I had no irritation.
The 1.5 mm Mechanical Gel Liner comes in one color right now, Obsidian, which is an intense black. It’s not quite as intense a color as you can get with some liquid liners, but for a pencil and gel formula, it’s still a true black. Many black eyeliners turn greyish on my skin or look ashy so I typically opt for colors like plum, brown or bronze. Hourglass Obsidian is a true rich black without looking harsh.
I’m still working on taking face photos, it’s harder than it looks. I’ve found it pretty difficult to get eye photos. Here’s a close up I took of my eye although the flash washes out everything:
A few comparisons here to some other black eyeliners. You can see how the Hourglass 1.5 mm tip is small compared to other eyeliners so it offers a truly precise line:
Thumbs up. I’m often skeptical of black eyeliners because I’m picky with the color and pigment. I can’t always pull of the color because it often looks harsh or ashy on my skin. The Hourglass 1.5 mm in Obsidian is good in color and the formula is very good. I find it well priced for a higher-end liner. I’ll have a round up post next week of my favorite black eyeliners.
The packaging is really well designed. It twists up easily and I love that there is no sharpening required to keep that super fine precise tip. It glides on easily, stays put and doesn’t smudge. It’s all I could want in an eyeliner. I hope Hourglass will expand the shade selection.
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.
Hourglass released their Femme Nude Lip Stylo in six shades of nude last fall ($30 each for 0.08 oz/2.4g). It took me a while to test in stores at Barneys and Sephora but when I did, I fell in love with all the shades but could only pull off the two darkest ones #5 a shimmering nude gold peach and #6 a mauve-toned nude pink. The concept behind the Femme Nude Lip Stylo pencils is that the best nude lip isn’t naked but rather enhanced. I agree since many of those perfect-looking nudes end up being too nude once applied on the lips. These pencils come in six full coverage shades to either create a dramatic nude or subtly defined nude. There is Vitamin E to help nourish and moisturize lips. I don’t see these pencils as moisturizing, however they do not dry out my lips. Paraben, phthalates, fragrance and sulfate free. No animal testing.
#5 is on top, #6 is on the bottom
#5 and #6 both look fairly similar when swatched on the hands. The difference is noticeable on the lips. #5 applies a nude peach with a slight hint of golden shimmer. #6 is clearly more mauve and pink but still very nude. I really like the packaging. These come in a sleek twist up tube with a removeable cap. Lasting power is quite impressive, I found them to last longer than normal lipsticks. The finish is not quite matte but almost. These have a satiny finish so there is just the slightest bit of shine but not much. If you’re a fan of nude lips definitely try one or two the next time you are at Barneys or Sephora.