For months I heard the Hourglass Ambient Lighting powders raved about on YouTube. However, every time I swatched them at Sephora I was confused. They seemed too sparkly to work as a an all over face powder, but not sparkly enough to work as a highlighter.
At $45 each, or $62 for the trio, it seemed like a steep price to pay for this confusing powder. But everyone who knows me is well aware that I don’t need much convincing to purchase a new product. So, at the slightest hint of encouragement from my hubby (he was probably just nodding at something else) I took the plunge and purchased the Ambient Lighting Palette which comes with 3 shades: Dim Light, Incandescent Light and Radiant Light.
Given my confusion from swatching the products, I started researching how these are supposed to be used. And let me tell you, I found quite a bit of conflicting information. According to Hourglass, these are “high-tech, soft-focus finishing powder that recreates the most exquisitely flattering types of light”. Yet most people on YouTube seemed to be using these in all kinds of ways.
Long story short, I started to experiment and found five ways you can use these:
1. Use to set your make up
I have combination skin so I usually need to set certain areas of my face to get rid of the sticky feeling some foundations can leave. I use this with a damp beauty blender and press into the skin. I prefer to use the radiant light shade for this.
Warning: if you are very oily, I would not suggest setting with these as you can end up quite shiny at the end of the day.
2. Use to set your under eye concealer
To prevent your concealer from creasing, you should always set it with a little powder. I am loyal to the Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder, but I can also use the Incandescent shade to set. I also find that I can use a little of the Secret Brightening Powder and then press the Incandescent powder on top for extra brightness.
From top to bottom: Radiant Light, Incandescent Light & Dim Light
3. Use as a very natural highlighter
I know the statement highlight is in. But, even though it can look great on instagram, for some people the crazy cheekbone highlight isn’t feasible for every day wear. You can use the Incandescent or Dim Light on the top of your cheekbone, under the brow and cupid’s bow for a very subtle glow.
4. Use as a bronzer/blush topper
If your blush or bronzer are looking a little flat or too matte, you can use any of the shades in the trio on top to give your face a little more dimension. I always prefer to press powders onto the skin instead of using a brush. Otherwise I feel like I am just swirling things around.
Very fair skin tones could probably pull off Dim Light as a bronzer.
5. Use as a finishing powder
Last but not least, you could use these as a finishing powder (as they are intended). If you are not as familiar with all the different types of powders, a setting powder is used to set your foundation in place and helps extend the wear by helping absorb oil throughout the day. They are usually matte. A finishing powder is meant to be used AFTER setting powder and generally is lightly dusted all over your face. Finishing powders tend to be more finely milled than setting powders.
If you have dry skin, you can probably skip the setting powder and head straight to a finishing powder.
Using these as a finishing powder leaves your skin with a very subtle all over glow. I was very skeptical because when I swatched the powders I could see little sparkles. I thought if I used them all over I would end up looking like Edward Cullen in the sunlight. But I was pleasantly surprised to find this was not the case at all.
Since I have combination skin, I always need to set my make up. I also usually lean towards using matte finish foundations. These powders are perfect to give me a glow without having to end up like a greasy mess for trying to use a dewy finish foundation (I am looking at you Make Up Forever HD stick).