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Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders

January 21, 2016

This spring Hourglass has launched some additions to the Ambient Lighting family with the Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders ($38 each for 0.16 oz/4.6 g) and the Ambient Strobe Light Sculptor ($22). I stopped by the Hourglass Store in Venice Beach last week to check these out and fell in love. One of the strobe powders Incandescent Strobe Light was introduced to us before in the Ambient Lighting Palette (Trio) as an exclusive. If you have this palette, you’re familiar with the beautiful natural glowy finish and smooth texture of the strobe powders. They look sheer on the hands/arms. On the face they add the perfect natural glow and highlight. The sparkle isn’t over the top and it makes the skin glow without being too frosty and they do not emphasize pores.

There are four shades of the Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders. If you ask me if you think all four are necessary to have, I would say no – but after seeing them at the store, I had to buy all four. The colors are:
  • Euphoric Strobe Light – A pearlescent beige powder bestowing a natural highlight
  • Iridescent Strobe Light – An illuminating pink powder imparting a soft highlight
  • Brilliant Strobe Light – A shimmering gold powder imparting a lustrous highlight
  • Incandescent Strobe Light – An opalescent pearl powder bestowing a celestial highlight
Euphoric is the darkest option available. Iridescent and Incandescent are very similar, Iridescent is slightly deeper and more pink. Brilliant is a gorgeous yellow/gold option. I find the powders very finely milled and apply flawlessly with the Ambient Strobe Light Sculptor or a regular powder brush.

The packaging of the Strobe Powders is similar in size to the Ambient Lighting Blushes, except the color is silver.

A quick look at size comparisons:

Ambient Lighting Powders $45 for 0.35 oz/10 g (review)
Ambient Lighting Bronzers $50 for 0.39 oz / 11 g (review)
Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder $38 for 0.16 oz/4.6 g
Ambient Lighting Palette $58 for 0.35 oz/9.9 g (review)
Ambient Lighting Blush $35 for 0.15 oz/4.2 g (review)

Close ups of each powder in sunlight:

The product in the pans will look different depending on lighting situations. The shimmer particles are highly reflective. I have a couple shots to show the base color and the shimmers depending on light. Both sets are in the same order.

Top: Incandescent Strobe Light, Euphoric Strobe Light
Bottom: Iridescent Strobe Light, Brilliant Strobe Light

Swatches and three sets of comparison swatches, first in natural light:

With sun + flash – they look frosty here, but I can assure you on the face they are more finely milled and naturally glowy:

A quick look at the Ambient Strobe Light Sculptor – it applies these perfectly to the cheek bones by tapping on the areas you want highlighted. A regular blush brush works just as good, although if you want to apply the powders damp for more color, I found the brush worked better.

Comparison Set 1: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders in Luminous Light (reviewed here), Diffused Light and Dim Light. Luminous Light has a shimmery quality that acts as a highlighter while some other shades like Diffused and Dim Light are less shimmery and can be used as an all over setting powder for me without looking too glowy. Below the swatches are done with a heavy hand to show the color differences.

Comparison Set 2: Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Powders in Starlight and Candlelight (reviewed here) are a lot more shimmery. On me Candlelight looks too white for my olive/yellow skin although it looks good on many of my friends. I prefer the Hourglass Strobe Powders by far. Also shown is Becca Champagne Pop (swatched here) and the Tom Ford Skin Illuminating Duo in Moodlight (review). The Becca is one of the most shimmery highlighters I own (and adore). By comparison the Becca Champagne Pop almost feels sharp because the shimmer is so pigmented.

Comparison Set 3: MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Lightscapade is one of the softest most finely milled highlighters from MAC that I own. It’s a lot paler than any of the Ambient Lighting Strobe Powders but has a similar effect. MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft and Gentle by comparison has a lot more shimmer/frost. I added a swatch of the MAC Extra Dimension Highlighter in Whisper of Gilt (d/c, review here) to show texture comparison. The effect of the powders is similar to that of NARS Hot Sand Duos (review here). If you already own Hot Sand, you can probably skip Incandescent or Iridescent.

Quick look at the beautiful store on Abbot Kinney:

One last shot, clockwise from top left: Euphoric, Iridescent, Brilliant and Incandescent

Bottom line all winners. I tested these over the past week and am thoroughly impressed. They lasted all day on the cheek bones without getting too glowy or dewy looking by late afternoon. I’ve been testing them over a number of foundations from Tom Ford, NARS, Laura Mercier and Natasha Denona. They all held up remarkably well. I am already on highlighter/glow overload – I’m completely obsessed with glowy highlighters, but I thnk these are well worth a look. If I had to narrow down my picks, I would say Brilliant Strobe Light offers the best strobe highlight for my olive skintone. It brightens the complexion with a gorgeous candlelight glow. Euphoric is the most natural on me since it’s deeper, but it still shows up like skin but better. I would say there’s a tie between Iridescent and Incandescent – I think the pink tones in Iridescent make it more special, but you can’t go wrong with either. The sponge is nice to have, but not a must.

You can find the Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders ($38) and Sculptor ($22) at Sephora and Hourglass Cosmetics right now. It is expected to launch at other retailers later this spring.

Have you checked these out yet? What’s your favorite highlighter right now?

Bronzer + Blush Hourglass Cosmetics

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzers

April 11, 2015

Last week I was lucky to get a preview of the new Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzers ($50 each for 0.39 oz / 11 g) at the Abbot Kinney store in Venice Beach. There are two additions to the Ambient Lighting collection. There are two options of bronzer infused with highlighter combined into one mirrored compact:
  • Luminous Bronze Light is described as a medium tan shade fused with Luminous Light, a champagne pearl powder, for a softer candlelit warmth, ideal for fair/light complexions
  • Radiant Bronze Light is the darker option described as a warm bronze shade fused with Radiant Light, a golden beige powder, to mimic a summer glow, ideal for medium/deep complexions
Both are available now exclusively at Sephora.com for VIB/VIB Rouge Members. For the official launch details and dates:
  • April 7 – 14 the bronzers will be available to Sephora’s VIB Rouge customers
  • April 15 the bronzers will launch wide on Sephora.com and HourglassCosmetics.com
  • May is when the bronzers will hit stores
A quick peek at the Hourglass store + event before I get into the review:

Ambient Lighting Bronzers and Blush (blush review here)

Incandescent Electra which is currently exclusive to the Ambient Lighting Blush Palette will be available separately Sephora.com on 4/15 and HourglassCosmetics.com on 4/23, and will also hit stores in May, also shown below the Hourglass Brushes

Another reason to visit the Hourglass store: you can create your own custom Ambient Lighting Palette with any of the highlighter options

The two new bronzers are absolutely stunning. As a huge fan of the Ambient Lighting Powders and Blushes, I could barely contain my excitement when I was able to see the new bronzers in person. Both are on the warm side and are extremely pigmented. Although they have the highlighter aspect mixed in, I found them to have a more satiny glow with a very soft luminous shimmer. As with the blushes, the color portions and swirls are rich and super saturated so a little goes a long way. The colors are easy to blend and layer.

The Ambient Lighting Powder Brush is super soft and plush which will dispense just the right amount of product for a soft glow. If you want more color, use the tip to contour the cheeks or a denser blush brush. The texture is soft and airy which makes them glide on the skin in a soft smooth manner. Each one is hand blended so the swirls will be different in every compact.

Close ups of each Ambient Lighting Bronzer, Luminous Light has a mix of champagne and soft tan, it looks neutral in the pan but applies warmly on the skin.

Radiant Bronze Light is the deeper option and is a few shades darker than the Luminous version:

Swatches with different light and angles, first in natural light without any flash:

In direct sun with a flash:

Detailed close up:

Comparisons to the highlighter counterparts:

Two sets of swatch comparisons to other bronzers:

Hourglass Radiant Light (reviewed + swatched here)

Chanel Les Beiges Multi Color (from Summer 2014, reviewed here)

One last shot: left is Luminous Bronze Light, right is Radiant Bronze Light

I’ve been alternating between the two since the event and am partial to the lighter option Luminous Light. On my medium olive toned skin they add just the right amount of warmth and glow. They are both warm without being orangey. There is just the right amount of shimmer and glow to give the face depth and dimension without emphasizing pores like some highlighters do. I like these layered on top of blush or alone for warmth. Even though Luminous Light is designed for light to fair skins, I think it will still show up on medium skin tones like Chanel B40s (I’m a Chanel B30/NARS Punjab). These last all day long without fading or darkening, although I suspect if you are extremely fair these may be too warm for your taste. If that is the case and you are in search of a new bronzer, I recommend the Edward Bess Daydream, although the Hourglass ones are very different in finish and concept.

I give both a huge thumbs up. They both are similar on me so I don’t think you need both, although I am happy I do have one of each color. They are different enough from the highlighters to justify both. Even though they come with a hefty price tag at $50 each, I think they are well worth every penny.

You can buy the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzers at online at Sephora now if you’re a VIB/VIB Rouge. Starting April 15th which is just around the corner for everyone else. In stores starting May. Have you checked out the latest from Hourglass? If not what are your favorite Hourglass items?

The Luminous Bronze Light and Ambient Lighting Powder Brush were gifted at the press preview. 

Hourglass Cosmetics

Hourglass Equilibrium Biomimetic Skin Active Serum

February 27, 2015

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.

Equilibrium at the Abbot Kinney store opening last September, more on the beautiful store here

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 Cosmetics

Hourglass Modernist Eyeshadow Palette in Infinity

January 22, 2015

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.

Swatches:

Larger and heavier swatches:

Comparisons:

Burberry Nude Blush (review)
Urban Decay Naked2 Basics (swatched)

Tom Ford Orchid Haze (review)
Tom Ford Cocoa Mirage (review)

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.

You can find the Hourglass Modernist Eyeshadow Palettes now at Sephora, Barneys New York and Hourglass Cosmetics. It will be available at other retailers later this month.

Did you try any of these palettes? What did you think? 

Bronzer + Blush Hourglass Cosmetics

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette

October 3, 2014

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.

The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette is currently listed as limited-edition for this fall/holiday. You can find it now at Sephora and Hourglasscosmetics.com. It will also be available later this month at Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Net-A-Porter, Space NK.

The blush palette was provided courtesy of Hourglass for review consideration.