I’ve been playing with something very exciting which is the new Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Palette in Surreal Light ($80 for 9.6 g). It’s a limited-edition for this season a part of their holiday launch. Right now you can find it at Sephora, Nordstrom and Hourglass but it will be available at all other counters soon. The colors have good pigment and enough color to show up on medium to tan skin. I’d consider myself to be medium bordering on light-medium now and the colors show up very well on me.
I’ve been a long-time fan of Hourglass Cosmetics especially when it comes to their entire Ambient Lighting Powder line. The Ambient Lighting Powder in Luminous Light (originally reviewed here) is one of my top picks for powder highlighters for my skintone. It gives that glow from within kind of effect, melds beautifully with the skin, looks glowy but natural, doesn’t emphasize pores and lasts forever! (Well almost … mine has lasted years!) Since the initial launch back in 2013 I’ve looked forward to each new year’s launch. They’ve added something special to the line with new products and variations. Last year’s palette was the first launch I skipped because of the repeated shades. This year’s palette is cased in marble pattern packaging (gorgeous!) and has shades that are different from existing colors.
You have five shades of powder. All are finely milled with a soft touch. There will be some powdery kick up if you dip your brush in the palette but there isn’t any fallout once it’s on your face. The colors and product sizes:
Finishing Powder in Surreal Light (4 g / 0.14 oz) is a sheer nude warm shimmer, I thought this would be too shimmery to use as an all over setting powder but it actually works well without making me look like a statue, it has a yellow undertone
Bronzer in Surreal Bronze Light (1.4 g / 0.04 oz) is a neutral bronzer shade, it’s lighter than the two existing Hourglass bronzers by a little bit making it more natural looking
Blush in Surreal Glow (1.4 g / 0.04 oz) is a what Hourglass calls a “pale peony blush pink” it’s a nude pink on my skin and it shows up
Blush in Surreal Effect (1.4 g / 0.04 oz) is a cooler-toned rose pink compared to the other shades in the palette, there is a soft warm peachy shimmer mixed throughout which makes the color itself more on the neutral warm side
Strobe Powder in Surreal Strobe Light (1.4 g / 0.04 oz) is a golden peach yellow shimmer highlight
Below are close ups of the palette in different lighting. I did order two (by accident) and as you can see the swirl patterns are unique in every palette similar to that of the Ambient Lighting Blushes and Ambient Lighting Bronzers. If you’re new to the Ambient Lighting collection the powders brighten and highlight the skin. Their powders have what Hourglass calls “… Photoluminescent Technology to capture, diffuse and soften surrounding light to refine the appearance of skin.” These powders do indeed smooth the skin.I’ve been able to use all five colors on the face at once. I’ll use the Finishing Powder to set my foundation all over the face (it’s not too glowy for me). I’ll mix both shades of blush and apply them on the cheeks, although you can definitely just use one. Bronzer is added to warm up the face. The strobe powder is used to highlight temples, cheekbones or eyes. You can use it however you feel comfortable using it though – no need to use all the colors at once.
Swatched with numbers labeled according to the chart on the back of the box and what’s on the Hourglass website:
Ambient Lighting Bronzers in Luminous Bronze Light and Radiant Bronze Light (review here) are both more golden and bronzey compared to the palette
I didn’t swatch compare the Surreal Strobe Light because it’s one of the darker more yellow/gold highlighters in the Hourglass line and I could not find anything similar
The powders perform really well and I like that it has enough color to show up even though the overall feel is neutral. Sometimes those neutral palettes can be a bit too neutral but this one has visible color. The pans are small – I remember from last year’s reviews many had done comparisons on the pan sizes in the palette to individual full sized products. I think the biggest complaint about this one is the price for the size and product amounts but this year’s palette does contain more product in grams and ounces compared to last year’s. I do think the $80 price tag is extremely steep but I don’t feel as though it’s outrageous. Here’s a comparison break down in price per grams:
Palette $80 for 9.6 g is $8.33/g
Powders are $46 for 10 g which is $4.60/g
Blushes are $38 for 4.2 g which is $9.05/g
Bronzers are $50 for 11 g which is $4.55/g
Strobe Powders are $38 for 4.6 g which is $8.26/g
I personally feel this was worth the splurge. I love all things glowy and this is one of the most natural highlighter palettes I’ve tested. There are a number of highlighter palettes I’ve seen pop up online (in particular at Sephora) so you may want to do some browsing or swatching in stores if you can before deciding which one to buy. I’ve taken a quick peek online and this is the only one I’ve bought so far and I’m very happy with that decision. The packaging is so pretty, colors work really well for my medium olive toned skin. Many of you keep asking what MAC shade I am for reference and I’ve been severely allergic to MAC Studio Fix for many years so I stopped using it. I’ve always been in between NC30 and NC35 but it’s been a long time since I last tested any of their foundations so out of curiosity I went and got shade matched. For MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation I can go with either NC35 or NC37 (for some reason NC37 is a bit lighter than NC35) and for Matchmaster I’m a 3.0 (but it runs slightly less yellow than I like). In the Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation I’m in between Warm Ivory and
Nude. In NARS I’m in between Groenland and St. Moritz for the Velvet Matte Skin Tint.
One quick note on brush testing. There is an Ambient Lighting Edit Brush ($46) which is a double-sided brush designed and sized for this palette. In my experience Hourglass brushes are very well made and perform well. They’re synthetic and PETA-approved. I did not buy it but have been using my Wayne Goss Brush #2 for the smaller pans and MAC #187 Duo Fibre brush for the finishing powder.
Bottom line spendy but worth it for me. It exceeded my expectations. I knew I would like it but didn’t know if I could “love” it at the $80 price. After testing it I can say that I do love it. It will be a great one for travel and it’s a palette I can see myself using every single shade. It’s an exquisite well-executed palette. I’m not sure if the shades will show up on deeper skintones but if you’re about 3-4 shades darker than me I do think it will still show up. Now that you know what MAC shade I am if you have tested it any have any thoughts let me know in the comments.
You can find the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Palette in Surreal Light at Sephora, Nordstrom and Hourglass but it should launch at all other counters very soon. The palette is limited-edition.
Hourglass just launched a new foundation called the Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick ($46 for .25 oz/7.2 g) which is a new product described as having the full coverage of a concealer, fluid texture like that of a liquid, and weightless feel like a powder. It’s a concentrated formula that combines foundation and concealer in one that you can build for full coverage but looks natural on the skin. Also launched with 26 shades of foundation include the Vanish Foundation Brush ($46) designed to buff and blend the new foundation formula to flawless smooth perfection. Both have launched at Sephora, Nordstrom, Hourglass Cosmetics and is currently on pre-order at Barney’s New York.
I received two shades in Ivory and Warm Ivory to test out based on the note that I currently use NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tints in Groenland and St. Moritz mixed together. When I first saw both shades and swatched them I suspected they would both be on the light side for my skintone, but Warm Ivory warms up to give an exact match for me right now. The chart above breaks down the color options and ranges. I would say the sequence of names is accurate from light to dark, but the color swatches are not. For me Warm Ivory is definitely darker than Ivory but the card makes it look like the opposite.
First a look at the foundation. These come in compact triangle-shaped twist up sticks designed for precise application. I tested both shades out and found both work well for a good match which surprised me because they looked really light compared to other foundations I use. I tried it three different ways. Here’s the before and after with Warm Ivory swiped and then buffed. In these photos I put around 3-4 swipes per side of the face and then buffed it out with the brush.
Method 1: Apply all over the face with 4 swipes per side over Creme de La Mer Moisturizing Soft Cream and set with NARS All Day Luminous Powder Foundation in Punjab. The result was an oily mess within a couple of hours although I was outdoors for lunch in 85 degree weather on a hot day with mild humidity. This usually happens with all foundation sticks on my skin though if I use them all over the face.
Method 2: Apply on top of AmorePacific Moisture Bound Refreshing Hydra Gel + Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer, then set with NARS All Day Luminous Powder Foundation in Punjab. I have not really used the Hourglass Primer a lot because I feel it’s best suited for more oily/combo skintypes compared to mine. I have accumulated quite a few minis and a friend recommended I try it for summer. She was right, it extends the wear of foundation especially in warmer weather. This combination lasted all day, even through being outdoors in the afternoon for a few hours. By evening, makeup was a tiny bit dewy on the nose, but it stayed put without any creasing, melting or budging.
Method 3: Apply a light base such as any of my regular foundations all over, I tried it with my NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tints. Moisturizers used on separate days included the Creme de La Mer Moisturizing Soft Cream and Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream (primers skipped on these days). Use the Hourglass Vanish Foundation stick like I use most of my foundation sticks along the T zone and areas I need more coverage and buff in. Then set with powder. This method also worked well in terms of lasting power.
A look at the product itself with swatches, Ivory next to Warm Ivory. In the tubes they look yellow/olive toned pre-swatching. Once you swatch they appear a bit more neutral.
Comparisons to two other foundation sticks:
Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation is currently my favorite stick foundation of choice. I had planned a summer base roundup and then samples of two foundation formulas arrived so I wanted to put those to the test before doing my roundup. This so far is the best full coverage foundation I’ve tried that covers dark spots but still looks natural. My shade match is 123. Initially I was matched to 128 (as seen in this story here) but I can change skin color quickly if I’m outdoors for an extended time (or lose it as well) so I alternate between the two.
The MUFE stick offers more coverage but has a more emollient texture (not greasy though). Product is also larger at 12.5 g.
Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Stick for many years was my go-to for foundation sticks (original review here). I’ve gone between two shades, 4 Bisque and 5 Natural. To this day I still think this is an exceptional product – but I cannot wear this all over the face. The best way for me to use this is on top of regular foundation on areas I need coverage. For my skintype which is normal combination, the all over the face method results in a very dewy mess within a couple of hours – with or without any primer. Coverage is smooth and easy to build for a flawless finish. A little goes a long way – it has a foundation makeup scent that is hard to describe almost like cardboard or paper that I’ve found in some foundations and for some reason I find really soothing. A single stick has lasted me well over a year and the product did not go bad.
For the TF vs Hourglass, the Tom Ford is probably better suited for normal to dry skin types, it is more dewy in finish, feels slightly thicker but not too thick, it also has more product at 15 g.
Sticks swatched side by side, note my arm is not the same shade as my face. Right now the MUFE 123 matches perfectly. Hourglass Vanish in Warm Ivory blends out to a more matte finish compared to the others.
A quick note on the brush. I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to use. It reminds me of my Marc Jacobs The Face II Brush (full review on foundation brushes I love here) in the sense that it’s angled to match the contour of the face. The Hourglass Vanish Foundation Brush is more compact, has a smaller head, but just as soft and a bit easier to move along the face because it’s slightly less dense. It’s super soft and fits in my hand perfectly. I haven’t tested it with liquid foundations but I have with the other foundation sticks – it’s amazing. I highly recommend it.
The Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick does indeed offer a seamless smooth finish. It’s easy to blend and does not look cakey, nor does it emphasize pores.
Coverage is medium to full depending how much you layer. It does a good job at smoothing out dark spots or under eye circles, but I still prefer spot touch ups on blemishes and under eye with other concealers. (My favorites rounded up here.)
Lasting power will depend on your skin type and what products you use underneath. If you can normally wear foundation sticks all over the face without any issues this will probably work the same for you. I have never been able to wear a foundation stick all over the face with the exception of the MUFE Ultra HD Foundation Stick.
Best ways for me to wear the Hourglass Vanish Foundation stick was over the Mineral Veil Primer or over areas after applying regular foundation.
On color matching, I suspect based on the online stock swatches and chart that Sand might be a better match for me on my more tan days now that it’s summer, but Warm Ivory works for a very good match – no tweaking required. Even though this is a full coverage product and I do recommend finding a match as close as possible, there is a natural quality to the finish that makes it forgiving even if it’s not a 100% match. Warm Ivory swiped on my skin looks about 1-2 shades too light but as with most foundations you need to blend it out to see if it works. It matches my face to my neck well. I will check out the shades in store later this week though – if Sand is a better match I will let you know.
That wraps up my review of the latest from Hourglass. You can find both the Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick and Foundation Brush at Sephora, Nordstrom, and Hourglass Cosmetics right now. For the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale there is an Hourglass GWP going on (featured in this post).
Have you tried the Hourglass Vanish Foundation Stick yet? It launched online last week – so if any of you have ordered or tested let me know! If not, have you tried other Hourglass Foundations? Which ones?
Both the Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick and Foundation Brush provided for review consideration.
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.
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.
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?
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)
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:
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 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.