There are three new limited-edition launches from Hourglass for lips and cheeks. Two new palettes have arrived with new formulas/finishes from the Ambient Lighting line and there are new shades of the Confession Ultra-Slim Lipsticks exclusive to a set. I have all three that I’ve been playing with for the past week:
Ambient® Lighting Edit Volume 3 ($80) has six different powders for face, bronzer, highlight and blush in Diffused Light, Hypnotic Strobe Light, Dim Light, Luminous Bronze Light, Surreal Halo, Pure Effect Blush
Up first is the Ambient Lighting Edit Volume 3 which has a mix of existing and new shades. The colors included: Diffused Light (soft pale yellow satin powder), Hypnotic Strobe Light (pale champagne shimmer), Dim Light (soft pink satiny powder), Luminous Bronze Light (light bronze), Surreal Halo (mauve rose shimmer), Pure Effect Blush (light but bright pink).
The entire feel and vibe of this is on the light to medium side for color. Pigment is soft to medium with a naturally glowy feel. I thought the colors would be too light for my tan complexion but they all show up on my skin – Diffused Light and Dim Light of course have a sheer effect, almost like a finishing or softening powder. The bronzer does seem quite a bit lighter in color than the individual ones I own. Each powder is unique so I do understand there could be variation because the one I have in the palette has more highlighter vs bronzer, still the effect is noticeably lighter.
Finish is smooth and doesn’t emphasize pores. Lasting power is quite good – it stayed put on my face and cheeks from morning to late evening. All this being said if you already own a lot of Hourglass products individually you may find there are very close dupes. As mentioned in a few recent posts I’m in between places and most of my items are in storage so I don’t have access to products for comparisons. Off the top of my head I do feel this palette is very similar to existing shades although the Pure Effect Blush is one of the prettiest pinks I’ve ever swatched.
My favorite shades are still from the individual lineup but all three of these are wearable for pretty much any occasion, day or night. I’m giving away the three new launches featured in this post to two lucky readers, enter through the widget below. Here’s how this will work:
Giveaway open internationally, but you must be 18 years or older
Giveaway will run from 9/28/2017 through 10/12/2017 11:45 PM EST
Two winners will be selected at random through the widget below
The highlighter trend is still going very strong and brands show no signs of slowing down with new releases. I love a good glow and trying new highlighters is one of my favorite things to do. I tend to be ok with varying degrees of glowy shimmers but these days it seems like the more glitz the better. I can’t pull off lots of frost, glitter or super light colored shimmers with my olive tan complexion so for me this roundup has some misses alongside some hits for me. There are a number of new launches out that aren’t included in this post. I’ll add a few notes at the end with some extra thoughts.
One of the palettes that caught my eye immediately was the Laura Mercier Exotique Face Illuminator Collection Palette. It’s exclusive to Sephora and has two new shades of their Face Illuminators in Infatuation and Temptation. I already own the other two Indiscretion and Devotion in the full size (reviewed here) and while I would have really preferred to have a palette with all new shades I do like that it has these as it will be a good one for travel. Indiscretion happens to be one of my favorites that I own. Going forward if I had to travel with 1 highlighter palette I think this would be in my top 3 picks. Formulas is true to full size – smooth, easy to build, doesn’t emphasize pores, beautiful color and shimmer. They last long on my skin even in humid weather. You can wear on the eyes or cheeks, alone or over blush/bronzer. It’s a solid winner for me.
Next are the highlighters from Hourglass and Fenty Beauty. I’ve been a long time fan of Hourglass Ambient Lighting highlighters. This holiday they have two new palettes. One is the Ambient Metallic Strobe Lighting Palette and the other is the Ambient Lighting Edit Volume 3. I have the trio reviewed today and the other palette will be reviewed separately as it has more than just highlighters.
The Ambient Lighting Powders in general have a softer but noticeable glow. This season they’ve increased the intensity with the Metallic Strobe Lighting Palette which has the most intense shimmer I’ve seen from them. Pigment is smooth, nicely pigmented and very metallic. Colors are on the pale side and on my olive tan skin they look very similar on the face with the exception of the middle color which is clearly more gold/yellow. I can wear this with a very light and soft hand. I use a skunk brush to apply on the cheeks and it’s still very intense and metallic. Compared to previous powders launched from Hourglass this is very unique in color and finish. It has a less powdery finish compared to the Ambient Strobe Powders which some of you reported you found glittery or chalky (although they worked well for me). The Metallic Strobe Powder by comparison have no glitter particles and there isn’t any matte/chalky/powdery base but instead has a more metallic shimmer like a wet-look shimmer.
I’m kinda mixed on this one. I do think it’s a good palette. Quality, finish, pigment, texture and price are all a thumbs up. Color-wise it’s a miss as I find it’s a little too pale for me as I have quite a bit of tan and the paleness of color makes it look extra shimmery on my skin.
Next are the Fenty Beauty Match Stix Shimmer Skinsticks. I bought both sight unseen but have since had a chance to play with the entire line at Sephora. My first test with Starstruck (pale champagne pink) wasn’t good. I found it had a gritty texture and looked really dry. I tested it a few more times and it grew on me. However there is still something with the paleness that makes it too contrasted with my tan skintone and it ends up emphasizing texture. Sinamon works better for me as it is a pretty bronzey color. Both have a buildable shimmer quality and they adhere well to the skin and in this hot humid Florida weather they held up remarkably well. That being said if you have any dry patches or if you find shimmer can emphasize texture – definitely be aware these can emphasize both. I don’t think these would work for me in normal weather climate on the cheeks as they have a rather dry texture that almost tugs at the skin. They are easy to blend with fingers and I think the issue with most cream products in general is they are lacking in lasting power. For me the two shimmer sticks I tested held up really well so I’m ok with the slightly dry texture. I actually wanted to get Rum but my store was sold out. Given the number of highlighters I have and also keeping in mind holiday will probably have more offerings I’ll hold off on purchasing more.
I was able to wear both without any irritation or clogging of skin. This is something I’m always concerned about when it comes to cream or liquid cheek products. I give these a thumbs up for formula even if the colors I picked aren’t really all that unique. Starstruck just didn’t work color-wise on the cheeks for me but the formula is still really good and I find it’s lovely on the eyes.
Edward Bess makes my holy grail cream highlighters with the All Over Seduction compacts. This fall he has new launches with a Harmonious Hues Light Stick Trio which are twist up highlighters in a chubby pencil form. The colors include Candlelight (champagne), Ambience (peachy gold), Aura (soft bronze) and I absolutely love these. The shimmer is subtle but still noticeably glowy, the texture is creamy and easy to swipe on the face or eyes and easy to blend. They have a semi-emollient finish which makes the color adhere well to the skin. It’s as natural as it gets without being invisible. The colors are right up my alley.
He also has a new powder highlighter called the Marbleized Rose Gold Highlighting Powder. It’s a very pale yellow gold with smooth luminous shimmer. I love this video he did with an application on lighter skinned complexions. I think it looks amazing on them! Yellow golds really aren’t my thing as I already have yellow-based skin but I like this one on the eyes for me. The texture is very smooth and beautifully pigmented without the frost.
Cover FX launched a new set of mini Custom Enhancer Drops in a set of 4. These are larger than the ones you may have seen in a few GWPs or Beauty Insider gifts but smaller than the full size. I’ve shown them below. If you’re one who wants to try a bunch of colors or want to travel with more than 1 these are perfect. When I ordered them I didn’t realize they were existing shades (I should have read the description). I saw “minis” and it went in my cart and I didn’t think twice. Since I already own these I’m sending these to my niece. They come with a similar dropper style packaging as the full size. The shimmer is buildable to full intensity. Don’t be scared at how shimmery they look. They are actually very wearable and easy to blend out. Review on the full sizes here and here.
I managed to get a few decent face swatch shots. We are in between places living a rather nomadic life and are about to make our fourth move this year very soon. My setup for everything has been rather on-the-go for the past few months and I couldn’t get the focus right on the camera the last few rounds of reviews. Four highlighter face swatches shown below:
Top row left has the new Laura Mercier L’Amour Exotique Face Illuminator Collection with Infatuation
Top row right has the new Laura Mercier L’Amour Exotique Face Illuminator Collection with Temptation
Bottom row left has Hourglass Absolute Strobe Light
Bottom row right has the FX Custom Enhancer Drops in Rose Gold on the right
Additional ones that were on my radar that I haven’t tested (yet):
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Smoky Quartz is on my wishlist, I wish it were available at Sephora or Ulta because it’s where I can get points or perks, this one looks so so pretty, I obviously do not need, but if you have it let me know what you think
Fenty Beauty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighters are something I swatched in store and the colors/pigment is quite impressive, with each duo at least 1 side has some micro sparkles which I thought would be too over the top for what I’d normally wear, I may give one a try – the pigment is soooo good!
By Terry Compact Expert Dual Powders are new powder + highlighters in a compact, I will have a review on all the shades soon, I bought 5 of the 8 shades, fell in love, ordered the remaining 3 which should arrive soon, the texture and finish is so naturally beautiful (some look light in color like they could be highlighters but I’ll have to do some more testing to report)
Burberry Fresh Glow Highlighters have such a lovely glow, I’ve swatched on several occasion in stores and have been extremely tempted but I really love my Laura Mercier and Dior highlighters and felt it would be like owning duplicates
Victoria Beckham Estee Lauder Modern Mercury has been on my radar for quite some time but it kept selling out with previous launches, that being said it should be easy to find now, if I can test it in person first I’ll give it a try, I still own the Modern Mercury color before it was part of the VB collection (I had a backup) and I suspect it’s identical so I don’t think I’ll be purchasing it
All this being said, if you feel overwhelmed by all the highlighter options, you are definitely not alone. I’m on highlighter overload (and also feel that way about new foundation base launches too). I still feel my top highlighter picks include the Dior Nude Air Luminizer Powders (all four reviewed here), Laura Mercier Indiscretion (review here), Hourglass Luminous Light (review here) and Edward Bess All Over Seduction (reviewed here).
Out of the new launches the Laura Mercier palette is my favorite, followed by the By Terry Compacts (not reviewed yet, but will be soon!).
Have you jumped on the highlighter bandwagon for fall launches? What have you picked up lately (new or previously launched colors)? Let me know what you’ve been loving!
Press samples include items from Hourglass, Edward Bess and Charlotte Tilbury.
I’m back in Florida with my family and we are all safe and sound. We are all slowly getting back into the swing of things and today I have a review on the Hourglass Confession Ultra Slim High Intensity Lipsticks ($34 each 0.03 oz/ .9 g, $22 for the refills). I had planned to publish this weeks ago but as some say better late than never. I initially reviewed one shade called I Woke Up in my neutral lip haul back in July (time flies!). At that time there were only select handful of shades that launched in store but by now the Sephora stores I’ve visited have the entire color lineup. The Hourglass team sent all the refills for review and I’ve swatched them by color grouping below. Due to time restraints, life and travel I didn’t have time to photograph and edit all the lip swatches, but I did test each color. I find my initial thoughts to be the same across the board. The Confession Ultra Slim High Intensity Lipsticks are among the best formula I’ve tried. They’re creamy, opaque, smooth, incredibly long-lasting, they don’t feather, they don’t dry out the lips and there’s no detectable scent. The slim packaging has a good weight in the hand when you hold them – it’s actually a lot nicer in person than I had anticipated. The only downside is the price which I still think is too high considering the amount of product you get. After falling in love with I Woke Up, I had planned on purchasing 2-3 more colors as the formula is very very good. A press package arrived before I made it to the store.
There are 30 shades total available at most stores and counters which I have swatched and reviewed today. There are a few colors exclusive to the Hourglass website in I Dream and I Love, along with three shades exclusive to a Holiday Trio Set with My One Desire, True Love Means and You Are My. I don’t have these featured in this post but I will review the colors in the holiday set soon though.
In swatching 30 of the colors on the arm and testing them on the lips I was really impressed that each color had smooth opaque coverage. In lipstick launches I usually find at least a few colors that are either too pale and streaky or too dark and streaky. All the colors I tested covered my pigmented lips entirely with ultra smooth pigment and coverage. There were a few pale colors I found a bit too pale for my skintone but they still performed really well. As usual a lot of the reds looked really similar on my complexion but that is the case with most reds. You can see a slight difference in undertone in the arm swatches so if you lean more towards a warm or cool base I hope the swatches help you find your perfect red.
A quick look at the packaging. These are refillable lipsticks and they are easy to assemble. You can buy them as a complete lipstick for $34 or the refills at $22 each. The refills themselves are usable alone so if you want to skip the exterior you can. For the refills you basically remove the cap and base and insert them into the gold exterior. They twist up and down.
I’ve swatched these by color grouping, up first are the lighter shades:
The First Time – pink beige
I Wish – neutral pale nude beige
One Day – neutral beige pink
No One Knows – light pinky peach
I Lust For – peachy beige cream
I’ll Never Stop – beige nude cream
I Want – deeper pink beige
I Always – bright fuchsia cool pink
You Can Find Me – peachy coral pink
My Favorite – neutral-cool pink
I’ve Kissed – medium neutral rose pink
I’m Addicted – tawny rose pink
If Only – pink with some berry tones
I’ve Never – medium peachy tan beige
I Woke Up – soft rose pink
Brighter and deeper shades:
I Believe – bright cool pink
I Can’t Wait – vibrant peony pink
I Live For – bright orange red
I Desire – bright orange red, slightly deeper than I Live For
I Crave – brick red
My Icon Is – true red
Secretly – slightly deeper red
I Can’t Live Without – deeper berry red
At Night – brick red with brown tones
I’ve Been – brown with red undertone
One Time – bright rose pink
When I’m With You – bright pink with cool plum tones
As mentioned in my previous review these are excellent in formula, presentation, packaging and lasting power. They aren’t moisturizing but they don’t dry out my lips. These Confession lipsticks also feel comfortable and weightless on the lips even though they are full coverage. The slim design and angled mold these are formed in helps create a clean and precise line. By comparison the GIRL Lip Stylos have a creamier feel with more shine but also can get prone to looking messy once you wear the tip down (not a deal breaker for me, but just an observation). I love that the Confession lipsticks have a tiny bit of shine to them as I don’t find that matte finish lipsticks wear well on me (with the exception of the Louboutin and Charlotte Tilbury mattes). In terms of lipstick launches this formula is excellent with full smooth coverage. A quick note that Tom Ford did just launch new shades of Lips and Boys and their new Lips and Girls (which are significantly sheerer) – I splurged on quite a few shades (review soon) and since fall beauty launches are still trickling in you might want to wait and shop or swatch before you decide what to buy. Out of the new launches I have tested so far, I have no regrets purchasing I Woke Up and would have had no regrets buying a few more although I still think the price tag is too steep for the amount of product you get. If you are looking for a high quality full coverage long-wear lipstick that doesn’t look cakey or matte this is a great option.
I’m a neutral lip addict and have a roundup review of some new formulas and color out right now. All of these picks are from Sephora as it seems like that’s where most of the new launches are at for the moment. Sephora stores are actually where quite a few of my readers have run into me – in multiple cities and not always my hometown stores lol. Many thanks to each of you who have been so kind to introduce yourself and say hello – I’ve been really touched with how nice you all are in person.
So for the new stuff – many of you have been asking about the new Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Liquified Lip and NARS Powermatte Lip Pigments. I’ve put some shades from each formula to the test. I also have some new Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Glosses swatched, Make Up For Ever Artist Liquid Matte Lipsticks reviewed (not new, but new to me) and a first impressions of the Hourglass Confession Ultra Slim High Intensity Lipstick. There are also quite a few comparison swatches in this post for reference. It’s a little bit of a lot for the lips.
Up first are the new Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Liquified Lipsticks. My DMs and emails have been literally flooded with review requests. Since I really loved the Amuse Bouche Lipstick formula this was an easy yes for me. I went to multiple stores to track these down because one didn’t have all the colors. And one of these is an online exclusive for VIB Rouge.
These aren’t like the normal liquid lipsticks on the market which dry down to a matte finish. These are essentially lipsticks in a liquid form but with a creamy finish. In my opinion this is what all liquid lipsticks should look and feel like, but I know not everyone will agree with me. Cava is the VIB Rouge Online Exclusive shade and with one swipe on the arm I knew immediately this would not be a wearable one for me. On my tan/medium skin it looks like a lilac. I do think it will suit fair skins better so I did not swatch this on my lips and instead am saving this for a friend. Caramelized is a beige with warm tones, Whip is the perfect nude pink, Chutney is a medium rose.
The formula is opaque and creamy. There’s a beveled sponge tip applicator which allows for precise application at the tip and the angled end covers/fills your entire lip area. Lasting power is quite impressive. There is color transfer to cups if you drink but it still stays put really well for hours. Formula has a nice nourishing feel – since it’s opaque it is a bit thick, but you can easily blend it out since a little goes a long way. Most of the colors in the line ran dark. I picked the lightest options and then it jumped to fairly dark or deep. To me they have a fall vibe but I guess since fall is going to be here soon these have arrived right on time.
I think the best color is Whip.
Below all four shades I bought swatched, compared to the Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Honeycomb, Pepper and Sake. I normally can’t wear super cool-toned colors on the lips because of my yellow skintone, Sake is about as cool as I go unless it’s a darker plum. The Liquified Lipstick has more opaque coverage compared to the Lipstick version.
Next is are two of my favorite lip gloss formulas. I’ve already featured the Marc Jacobs Enamored Hi-Shine Lip Lacquer in Skin Deep here in May but wanted to feature it again. It’s the perfect neutral-cool toned nude that has medium sheer pigment. On me it goes on a bit mauvey because of my tan and pigmented lips. If I were lighter it would be more on the neutral side. About a year ago Anastasia Beverly Hills launched some mini lip gloss sets with colors exclusive to that set. Set I purchased reviewed here. The other set has been repromoted this year at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale now. Earlier this summer she finally launched most of them individually in full size. I bought three Lip Glosses from Sephora in Toffee, Amber and Caramel as they are my favorites. For quick reference I’ve swatched a couple other neutrals from her line. Her packaging has changed slightly but the applicators are the same.
Descriptions of the following: Marc Jacobs Skin Deep is a neutral nude pink. It has medium coverage with a glossy sheen. The Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Glosses have full opaque coverage and a flat sponge tip applicator. Toffee is a neutral beige, Amber is a light peachy cream, Caramel is a medium warm pink, Kristen is a neutral pink-brown, Vintage is similar but more pink/rose. The Anastasia Lip Glosses are perfect – I wish she had more wearable conservative neutrals but for now these are perfect.
Next is the Hourglass Confession Ultra Slim High Intensity Lipstick. These are refillable and my local Sephora had a small handful of shades. The colors on display pretty much all looked the same and they were all neutrals. I swatched them on my hand and every single one looked perfect. Texture is creamy with a natural shine and it had impressive coverage. I limited myself to 1 in I Woke Up which is a perfect medium rose pink. Everything about this is perfect from color, formula, finish, feel and lasting power yet it has one major drawback for me: I find it overpriced for the size. I’m not one to pass up a lipstick because of price (ie Tom Ford, Louboutin, Cle de Peau, Surratt etc.) These lipsticks are supposed to be refillable with the refills priced at $22 which seems a bit more reasonable. But when you see these in person, they are SUPER tiny. The upside is that if you buy one or a few you will most likely use it up entirely before it goes bad. I feel conflicted about these – I actually find the packaging sleek and pretty. It’s something you have to see and feel in person to see how nice they are. The formula and coverage is excellent. I just can’t help but feel the price can’t really be justified for the size. These are 0.03 oz for $34 while Tom Ford Lips and Boys are 0.07 oz for $35.
Last are the mattes. In general matte liquid lips do not do so well on my lips. I have full lips and the matte dry down tends to emphasize lip lines and make my lips look very dry. I have still put quite a few to the test – I can make them work by adding a balm like the Dior Addict Lip Glow Pomade or Reviver Balms underneath or by dabbing a tiny bit of gloss on top. Some of the colors from these lines are so perfect – I wish they were made in other formulas. The Make Up For Ever Artist Liquid Matte Lipsticks have been raved about by so many people. For me the lighter shades 101 and 103 are a miss because they’re too pale for me, but deeper ones like 109 work better. The formula is a true matte and it’s super opaque. You only need a thin layer to get full coverage. I dab a tiny bit and blend with the fingers. These dry down to a full matte which I’m not a fan of – still the formula didn’t dry out my lips even if it made them look dry and they do stay put once you apply them.
The NARS Powermatte Lip Pigments were sent to me for review. I have all the colors and if you’re interested in a separate review let me know in the comments. For this post I tested the colors I knew I would wear on a regular basis. These are liquid matte lipsticks with a thinner formula which makes them easier for me to work with. Still they dry down to a velvety matte finish which I don’t like so to test these I had to apply the Dior Addict Lip Glow Balms underneath to make them work. The colors of the Powermatte Lip Pigments are so good – American Woman and Walk This Way are the best colors pinks I’ve tested in a long time. They’re not quite neutral but at the same time aren’t super bright. Just What I Needed is a perfect mauve neutral. I’m a huge fan of the Velvet Lip Glide because they’re more forgiving and don’t dry down to a full matte. I wish that NARS expanded that color range instead of this formula, but I’m happy that I can make it work with a bit of balm underneath. Lasting power even on top of a balm is really good – like most liquid lipsticks it will stay put for a long time. They don’t dry out the lips.
That wraps up my neutral lip testing and buys from Sephora. I hope you found this review helpful. To sum up all this testing, I’m still a lip gloss person at heart. My favorite lip gloss formula for opaque coverage is the Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Gloss. Marc Jacobs has the best shine and smooth finish for a cushiony non-sticky feel. The next best opaque liquid lipgloss is the Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Liquified Lipstick. If you’re in search of a more traditional matte finish go with the new NARS Powermatte Lip Pigments.
I personally would give the Make Up For Ever Liquid Lipsticks a miss because I really don’t like the super matte dry down. These are ultra matte even with a balm underneath. I’m still undecided on the Hourglass lipsticks. If I were to rate them just on performance, quality and color, I’d 100% give it an A+. The price is what is holding me back from giving it a huge thumbs up – but product-wise it’s excellent.
All this being said, fall is usually a huge season for lip launches. I don’t know what’s in store for the upcoming season, but if you’re unsure about any of these there should be no rush. It appears that all are permanent, at least for now until the brand decides to reformulate something or discontinue a product. They will be around for a while. If you want to know what one new lip formula I think you should buy from this round up it would be to try one of the new Bite Liquid Lipsticks. If those really aren’t your thing I’d say wait a month or so to see what fall has in store for us.
Have you tried any of these formulas or colors yet? What did you think? You can find all of these now at Sephora. The NARS Powermatte Pigments were sent for review. All others purchased by me.
For the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale the Beauty Exclusive for Hourglass this year is the Ambient Diffused Light Palette ($62 for .34 oz/9.7 g, made in Italy). I’ve been a fan of the Ambient Lighting line since it launched in 2013 and to date I haven’t missed any of the limited-edition palettes except for one of them. They’re great for travel and if you’re new to the line it’s a nice more affordable way to try multiple colors rather than buying individual ones separately. The Ambient Diffused Light Palette has existing shades:
Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light – light pale yellow with fine shimmer
Ambient Lighting Blush in Diffused Heat – poppy with the Diffused Light Powder swirled in to the color (full review here)
Ambient Lighting Bronze in Diffused Bronze Light – soft warm bronze swirled with the Diffused Light Powder (full review here)
These performed true to Hourglass style – they’re soft and luminous without any harsh frost. In terms of a highlighter or hybrid kind of product these give the prettiest soft glow to the complexion to mimic the way light hits the face naturally. Pigment is medium but can be sheered out or layered for more impact. On me they are easy to apply and never look frosty. If you’re like me you most likely already have all the colors individually – I usually still get the palettes anyways because they are super convenient for travel or to carry around for touch ups. I rarely calculate the prize per oz of palettes vs individual items but for those curious, individually the Powder is $46 for .35 oz ($182.35/oz), the Blush is $38 for .15 oz ($253.33/oz) and Bronzer is $50 for .39 oz ($128.21), Palette is $62 for .34 oz ($182.35/oz).
In this palette for some reason when I saw it in store, Diffused Heat looked pink rather than poppy in color. I compared them when I got home and the difference is slight but still noticeable. The individual Diffused Heat is clearly more red while the palette version is a bit more pink. On the face however the difference is slight. Comparisons below. I threw in Luminous Flush as well for comparison. Since these are hand swirled no two powders will look the same.
Palette swatched next to the individual colors. You can see the Diffused Heat in the palette is a bit more pink than the Diffused Heat in the individual version. Let me know if you see the same in yours (I checked about 4-5 compacts in store and they all looked consistently the same).
Left photo is just with a base, right photo is with the palette. For those curious on what I used to prep:
One last look, it also comes with a tiny sample pack of their Mineral Veil Primer (not shown):
Bottom line pretty and very wearable. Perfect for travel or if you’re just getting into Hourglass. If you’re like me and have been collecting for years this is a pretty redundant option. If you already own these, unless you travel a lot or want something for on the go that’s easy to touch up, you might want to explore other options. For me it was worth purchasing even though I already have the colors.
You can find the Ambient Diffused Heat Palette exclusively at Nordstrom for the Anniversary Sale. Don’t forget to check out the Gift With Purchase page – there’s a gift with $75+ beauty purchase going on from multiple brands, you do need to enter a code (site has different options). Is this one on your wishlist?
Press samples featured include the Dior skincare and Wayne Goss brushes. All others purchased by me.
By popular request I have a roundup of foundations and bases I’ve been testing since I’ve moved to Florida where the weather is warm, sunny and humidity levels are very noticeable. By comparison, San Diego is very dry although to me it always felt moderate and what I considered normal. We live in the Tampa Bay area and so far the humidity isn’t quite as bad as I had expected. I’m saying this because in December we drove to Key West which is extremely wet and humid feeling – so humid the air feels like you’re walking around in a sauna. Also a few years ago we took almost a month to travel throughout Europe through Italy and the Mediterranean in late June. It was so scorching hot and humid during out travels I completely gave up wearing makeup on most of the days after trying and failing. That being said, yes Florida is humid and hot and finding a makeup base that stays put, doesn’t budge and that won’t slide off has been a challenge.
To date I haven’t found any makeup base or combination of products can truly 100% last or stand up to serious humidity especially if I sweat. I’m the type of person who doesn’t break a sweat easily but since moving to Florida I start sweating if I’m outside for 5 minutes and there’s no wind or breeze. I’m rounding up what I’ve tested by formula and coverage and note what I’ve found wears the best. Even though it’s humid here the reality is that both Andrew and I are rarely outside for long consecutive hours unless we’re at the beach or a park doing touristy things. Also even on those occasions we can take a break from the heat while in the car with the AC or take a stop at a coffee shop or restaurant.
Up first are the more natural looking foundations with sheer to medium coverage. The most requested reviews I get are for BB Creams and CC creams and I am sad to say that those are products I really do not like. Most feel thick on my skin or look pink in undertone. As one with really yellow/olive skin I can’t do bases that have pink so unfortunately I will probably not review any. Also a quick note on shades – many of you have commented over the years that you’re the same shade as me. Since moving to Tampa I’ve tanned quite a bit – it’s something I can’t avoid. I also lose my tan quickly so my color changes on a weekly basis. Because of this annoying fact I have to mix colors a lot – more than I ever have.
Shown below from left to right:
MAC Next to Nothing Face Color is the sheerest base I’ll do. It really has a super natural tint but adheres well to the skin. I fluctuate between Medium and Medium Plus. The shades run on the pink side but since the formula is so sheer it’s really forgiving. Review and swatches of all shades here.
Bobbi Brown Nude Finish Tinted Moisturizer with SPF15 is more like a natural foundation. It’s sheer like a tinted moisturizer but gives better coverage than most that I’ve tried. It does contain Octinoxate 7.5% and Titanium Dioxide 3% so if those cause problems for your skin you may want to skip. I had no issues with this formula for my skin. If I were still in San Diego I would probably use this more regularly – since it has a mild moisturizing quality it can get a little bit dewy. I bought mine at Nordstrom but Bobbi Brown Online has more shades available.
NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint with SPF 30 is one you’ll see me wearing a lot in beauty looks or lip swatches. This one has Octinoxate 7.5% and Octisalate 3% – it’s one that doesn’t irritate my skin and has a natural looking finish that isn’t too matte, just naturally velvety. I wear St. Moritz now but on my lighter wear Groenland or mix the two.
Diorskin Forever Foundation SPF 35 is one of the best foundation bases I’ve ever tried. The only downside is finding a match can be a bit tricky. I tested 30 and 31 first – in store I had one on each side and they both matched perfectly. When I got home and tested again I found they sometimes darkened about a 1/2 shade. 31 is more yellow while 30 is more pink so I kept 31. I went back to find the next shade down which is 21 (even though there are a lot of shades in between). 21 is the most yellow. If you’re normally my skintone go with either 21 or 25. I use both 21 and 31 mixed together to get my perfect match. For me it’s 100% worth it because this looks naturally flawless on the skin and gives me exactly the coverage I want. It also stays put the best for me. It has 3% Octinoxate and 1.75% Titanium Dioxide.
I have tried the Diorskin Forever Makeup Primer and it’s quite good. I’m just not really a primer kind of person but do think this one is one of the better ones I’ve tested.
Next up medium to full coverage foundations which is what I usually prefer. Most people, friends and family included don’t realize that I’m almost always wearing a full coverage foundation until they see me with bare skin and see all my freckles. I was active in outdoor sports while in high school and even though that was YEARS ago I still got a lot of freckles and sun spots from being outside a lot. I have tried a number of whitening/brightening treatments over the years which has helped with acne scars and dark spots but I still have a lot of freckles.
Shown left to right:
Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation and Concealer is hands down my most-worn foundation base. It offers medium to full buildable coverage and I love everything about it. For me Tom Ford Beauty has the best foundation shades to match my skin tone. It blends easily and covers my skin exactly how I like it without getting cakey. It lasts an impressive amount of time without sliding, creasing or budging. Review + swatches here.
Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation is the newest one I’ve tried. I got an early sneak peek at some of the shades and given my challenge finding a match in the Candleglow version I was skeptical about this one. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how good a formula is for a base – if there’s no decent match, it’s going to be a no-go. I was lucky to find my match to either Buff or Dusk. Right now Dusk is the better match because it’s more olive. On a few occasions I have found I need to mix in a bit of Macadamia to lighten it just a slight amount. I am extremely impressed with this formula. You do need to blend quickly as it dries and sets in a short amount of time. Once it sets it gives a flawless finish that looks matte but not flat. This is one of the few true matte finishes I’ve tried that I like the look of. I’ve found it pretty budge-proof – this is one I wore this on the 4th of July. I applied a fresh face of makeup in the early evening before we headed downtown to scope out some firework locations. I had this on from 4:00 pm until around midnight. That evening the air wasn’t too and we were thrilled that it actually stopped raining by the time we found parking and walked a mile to downtown. After looking around the Channelside area we decided downtown was not for us so we walked back to our car and drove to Hyde Park Village for dinner. After we then walked another mile to Bayshore Boulevard to watch the fireworks. All this rambling is to explain how this formula held up. The humidity was probably the highest I’ve felt here to date – this one held up remarkably well although I did get very glowy looking, it did not slide off or budge.
Giorgio Armani Power Fabric is another long-lasting full coverage foundation that works well in this heat. Before I had to mix 4 and 6. Right now I’m probably 6.5 which is more golden, but I can make 6 work. If you can find a shade match this an exceptionally good one for lasting power.
Next are cushions. I’ve always been interested in cushions but testers usually look pretty gross and also finding the right shade can be a challenge. Korean brands tend to run pink (at least the ones I’ve tried) but I’ve had luck with a few in the past. The best thing about the cushions is that they usually come with a refill pack so you’re getting 1 plus a backup. Right now there are 3 cushions I really like:
Dior Capture Totale Dreamskin Cushion is one I featured in my sunscreen story. It has SPF 50 and isn’t really a foundation but actually a skincare product. I can use this alone or as a base for other foundations. I think the swatches can be a bit misleading because you have to put this on your skin to see how it matches. 30 looks way too dark for me but because it’s sheer it blends in seamlessly with my skin.
Saturday Skin All Algow Sunscreen Perfecting Cushion Compact with SPF 50 is probably the best cushion I’ve tried. I ordered two shades online sight unseen. 05 Honey is my match as this darkens just a tiny bit on my skin. Color selection is pretty limited – so far I’ve only been able to find 4 total, 3 are available at Nordstrom and all 4 are available at Urban Outfitters. It offers medium to full coverage but pulls more towards the full size. It gives the skin a very natural looking glow without being too dewy. It also stays put and doesn’t budge. Active Ingredients are Octocrylene 2%, Octyle Methoxycinnamate 7%, Octyle Saliclate 4.8%, Titanium Dioxide 9%, Zinc Oxide 2%.
Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion has full coverage with limited shades. I bought the Brightening Version while in New York in 25 and 33 and after testing them at home was so disappointed to find they are simply too pink for my skin. I ordered the Perfecting Cushion in 25 to try instead which has fuller coverage and a better match. This darkens about one full shade on my skin. The formula is a bit on the heavy side for my preference but still holds up well in warm weather. I don’t hate this but don’t love it – I suspect it’s due to the fact that I don’t have a 100% shade match but I can make Shade 25 Deep Beige work for me.
Next are a few miscellaneous items I love for powders, concealers and a couple tools. I own a lot of loose powders but in general prefer pressed ones because they’re not as messy and easier for touch ups.
For pressed powders:
Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Skin Perfecting Micro-Powder has one of the longest product names I think I’ve ever seen but it’s seriously THE best pressed powder I’ve tried. I saw this applied in action on my BFF at a Charlotte Tilbury event. Her foundation/base had completely worn off already and she told the artist she didn’t really want to try the foundation. The artist applied #1 on her skin and it was literally transformed into a smooth flawless canvas in front of my eyes. My shade is #2 and although I think she could add more options this one has been my go-to for at least a couple years now.
Armani Luminous Silk Compact Dual-Use Powder is another great setting powder. This one has more color options compared to the Charlotte Tilbury. It offers medium natural coverage and comes with a dual-sided sponge so you can either apply it for sheer or more full coverage. I use a powder brush to set my liquid foundation with this one for the most part. The sponge is something I use for touch ups. Even though I’ve darkened quite a bit I’ve still found Shade #4 to work perfectly for me.
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium Plus is one of the few mineral powders I actually like. I tried so many when mineral powders were in – so many just looked too heavy on the skin, even after buffing it in. This one offers medium coverage and I use a brush to set my foundation. It gives an airbrushed finish but it’s not completely weightless in feel. It is a very natural looking product though and holds up well with the heat/humidity.
For concealers, I really don’t find myself using concealer a lot anymore. I simply don’t need it with good coverage foundations but my 3 most-used ones:
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer is my all around go-to for everything, spots, under eyes, red areas. It’s creamy and blends in seamlessly with the skin. Coverage is medium but can be built up. It never looks fake or cakey and stays put as long as I set it with powder.
Tools, an updated brush tool series coming up soon on the blog, but for now my two must-haves:
beautyblender is the best foundation application tool I’ve used. I’ve tried a number of the different colors and while technically they should all perform the same, I don’t find they do. The best ones for me are the original beautyblender (bright pink), bubble and nude. Review from a few years ago in this post here.
MAC Brush 140 S Synthetic Full Fan Brush is probably the best powder brush I own. It launched with the MAC Next to Nothing collection and has the perfect density and softness to pick up powder and apply it in a sweeping motion all over the face.
I wasn’t able to face swatch and photograph all the foundations, but here’s a look at two and also what my bare face looks like. With the Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Foundation in Dusk I’m just wearing the foundation (no powder to set). It was taken with a low flash and I didn’t get any white cast or flashback. Lipstick is MAC Faux.
I hope this roundup was helpful for you! A few notes on other formulas I tested, previous favorites and why I don’t use them as much now:
The Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer worked better for me when I was in San Diego. Right now it’s really too dewy for my skin type. It’s still a great product for sheer coverage.
The Make Up For Ever Ultra HD is still an amazing line for the liquid and stick foundation. I used my shades up the first month I arrived here (this was back in March). Since I’ve gotten darker I haven’t had a chance to investigate other shades to find what my current match is.
The Becca Aqua Luminous Foundation is too luminous for me right now. Earlier in the spring or even when I was here in December it worked perfectly. Right now it’s a no-go just because I have normal/combo skin.
I will be testing the new Diorskin Forever and Chanel Les Beiges cushions. Will keep you posted. I have tried the Lancome Cushion but it’s really heavy in coverage – too heavy for me.
MAC Studio Fix Fluid is one of the most full coverage foundations I’ve tried, I do like the formula but it’s a bit too opaque for me on its own. I can wear it and find it has impressive lasting power in this heat but I need to mix it with a Strobe Cream or something along those lines to sheer it out for my coverage preference.
Some final thoughts and favorites:
Best foundation for me is anything from Tom Ford, but right now my favorite formula is definitely the Waterproof Foundation/Concealer. I used to use Bisque. Now I alternate between Natural (more neutral) and Sable (more olive/yellow).
Longest lasting matte base is the new Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion. If you have normal to dry skin definitely make sure your skin is well moisturized or add a hydrating primer. Reason for this is it’s medium to full coverage and matte formulas can emphasize lines. For me this one went on flawlessly without a primer but my skin is a bit more combination with the heat/humidity.
My most-used concealer is from NARS.
Best sheer/natural looking foundation is the NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint.
Best new discoveries this year for me are the Diorskin Forever Foundation and Saturday Skin All Aglow Cushion.
I really can’t pick 1 favorite powder (sorry!) – it’s tie between the Charlotte Tilbury and Armani. If you want a flawless truly airbrushed look go with the Charlotte Tilbury. However shades are limited as there are only 3 so the next best option is Armani. The Armani has sheerer coverage with a brush.
For other touch ups and this heat I swear by the Tatcha Japanese Blotting Papers. While my in-laws were visiting we went to Orlando. All of us were sweating with the heat, humidity and thunder showers. I kinda forced them to use these – even my husband didn’t want to use it, he looked at the little square and said “there’s no way that’s going to help.” I gave them 2 each and assured them it really would help and after they tried it I was really happy to find that they did feel a lot better after using them.
Finding a good base in truly humid weather is going to be a challenge and results will definitely vary depending where you are located. Even within the Tampa Bay area humidity levels vary depending on how close I am to the coast. We live in one of the canal areas and while we aren’t directly on the bay we can see if from our house. Temperatures just a few miles inland in certain areas fluctuate and since the weather changes by the hour here so there are some times and places where it’s so hot literally nothing will truly stay put.
For those who are looking for a new base to try I hope this gave you some good ideas. If you have any you swear by let me know in the comments!
Press samples featured include the Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion, MAC Next to Nothing, Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealer, MAC Brush 140S Brush. All others purchased by me.
Hourglass fans rejoice because they’ve added new products to their Ambient Lighting Collection with their Ambient Strobe Lighting Blush ($38 each for .15 oz/4.2 g) and two new shades of Ambient Lighting Bronzer ($50 each for .39 oz/11 g). Sephora.com has an early exclusive on these right now, they’re expected to launch in stores on May 5th. As a long-time fan of the Hourglass highlighters I’m thrilled to be able to review the new shades and swatch them for you.
Up first, a look at the blushes. For those new to the Ambient Strobe Lighting Blushes these are the most glowy blushes in the Hourglass line. I find that on my medium toned skin the colors appear borderline more like highlighters than blush. The shimmer is finely milled but on the glowy side. While I don’t see any frost in them, I will note that if you don’t like shimmer, you may want to opt for the Ambient Lighting Blushes instead. They have more color and less glow.
What I love about these is that they are glowy without being too frosty. They apply smoothly on the face and don’t emphasize pores. I do find they warm up a little bit about 30 seconds after application, however they don’t oxidize in color.
Ambient Strobe Lighting Blush comes in 4 colors:
Incandescent Electra is described as a cool peach blended with Incandescent Strobe Light
Brilliant Nude is described as a deep amber blush with Brilliant Strobe Light
Euphoric Fusion is described as a lilac blush blended with Euphoric Strobe Light
Iridescent Flash is described as a vivid magenta with Iridescent Strobe Light
Note that three of the four Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders were in the limited-edition holiday palette and Incandescent Electra has been released as an individual color for quite some time
Hourglass Incandescent Electra with YSL Volupte Tint in Balm #7 (swatched here)
Hourglass Brilliant Nude with GIRL Lip Stylo in Believer (review here) + YSL Volupte Tint in Balm #7
Hourglass Euphoric Fusion with GIRL Lip Stylo in Activist (review here)
Hourglass Iridescent Flash with GIRL Lip Stylo in Creator + Achiever mixed (review here)
Up next are the bronzers. The original two bronzers Luminous Bronze Light and Radiant Bronze Light looked almost identical on me. The variation for me was slight but I do suspect colors will vary depending on how much highlighter versus bronzer you have mixed into yours. The powders are hand made which means each one is unique and different. I really loved Luminous Light and I still do. On me for some reason Diffused Light pulls warm even though it looks cool-toned in the pan. I love Nude Bronze Light because it appears slightly more matte than the other two. That being said they all look similar on me. The difference is in the undertone. These bronzers also warm up a little after application but they don’t darken or oxidize. A little goes a long way and they are super easy to apply/blend.
Ambient Lighting Bronzers are now available in 4 shades:
Luminous Bronze Light is a medium toned bronzer with Luminous Light highlighter mixed in (reviewed here)
Radiant Bronze Light is slightly deeper and warmer with Radiant Light highlighter mixed with a beige base (reviewed here)
Nude Bronze Light is a new shade with a neutral nude bronze and a soft matte nude powder
Diffused Bronze Light has a mix of cool brown bronze and a pale yellow powder
These were swatched with a heavy hand on the face to try and show the difference in undertone. On the lips is GIRL Lip Stylo in Idealist for all the face swatches below. To me they all look very similar. Nude Bronze Light seems to be the darkest on my complexion. Brush shown below is the Hourglass Brush #2. I have a couple of their brushes and need to explore more of them. They are synthetic and PETA friendly. They’re among the softest smoothest brushes I’ve tried. I think they’re under-rated.
If you missed out on the holiday palette you can find the shades individually now. I swatched my palette next to the individual ones and the colors, pigment and texture are the same. I still stand by original review and feel like the Ambient Strobe Lighting Blushes have more of a highlighter feel on me, but I still love them. For the bronzers variations will most likely be more apparent on you if you have lighter or deeper skintone. I’m right in the middle where all four have a very similar effect. My favorite is Luminous Bronze Light.
Bottom line beautiful powders, gorgeous packaging, seamless application. I love a good glow and these have a perfect mix of shimmer and color to look natural but still noticeably glowy.
You can find the Hourglass the blush and bronzer additions now at Sephora.com and Hourglass. Also available online at Nordstrom. They are expected to arrive in stores in May. Have you tried these yet? Or did you buy the palette over the holiday? What did you think?
Don’t forget if you’re shopping at Sephora to take advantage of the Beauty Insider Event! Dates and discounts as follows below. Also my recommendations in this post here.
4/18 to 4/24 VIB Rouge will receive 15% off, use code ROUGESPRING
4/19 to 4/24 VIBs will receive 15% off, use code VIBSPRING
4/20 to 4/23 BIs will receive 10% off, use code BISPRING
Many thanks to Hourglass for sending the Ambient Lighting Bronzer and Strobe Lighting Blushes for review.