Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light: Review

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Hello gentle readers.

I know. The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders have been out for forever, they have been reviewed by anyone who matters and are now practically a cult favorite product. So what the hell do I think I'm doing, posting a review on such a well known product?

Well, I just recently bought my first Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder. I picked it up during the recent Sephora VIB/Beauty Insider discount promo. I had been wanting to try this powder since it launched but could never really justify the splurge until I had a little extra money lying around and a discount, too.

What Hourglass has to say (From their website):

A wardrobe of six universal finishing powders that recreate the most exquisitely flattering light - from ethereal moonlight to luminous candlelight. Each powder captures, diffuses and softens surrounding light with groundbreaking photoluminescent technology. Choose one of more and step into your perfect light. 

  • Powders capture, diffuse and soften the way light is reflected on skin, brighten the appearance and conceal skin imperfections, pores and wrinkles.
  • Infused with technologically advanced soft focus particles that help make skin appear younger, even - toned and radiant.
  • Unlike traditional powders that use opaque pigments, Ambient utilizes "photoluminescent technology" - micron-sized spherical particles that refract light and create transparent coverage.
  • Universal powders make them suitable for every skin tone, while each can be worn for day and night.
  • Free of parabens, talc, fragrance, nano-particles and gluten.
  • DIM LIGHT (the shade I chose) is a neutral peach beige powder that blurs imperfections and highlights a radiant complexion with the perfect balance of warm and cool tones.

Gentle reader, those are some lofty claims! Does the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder live up to them? Let's see.

Why don't we begin with the packaging? It is, in a word, luxe. The dark bronze square plastic compact is sleek, rounded and smooth. It feels weighty without being heavy and just holding it in the hands is a pleasure. The finish is a unique, highly polished almost mirror finish. This compact was a bear for me to photograph! I am not a skilled photographer and I don't own the equipment or know how necessary to perfectly, accurately show this gorgeous thing properly in photographs. Since most of you have no doubt at least seen the packaging, you know what I am talking about.


The compact is truly beautiful. It is highly reflective and the unique colour makes this a beautiful object to look at and to have sitting out on my dressing table. It is lovely to handle, just the *snap!* it makes when you close it is satisfyingly strong and crisp. It is rather like closing the door of a really great car. There is nothing tinny or lightweight about it.

Open this package and inside is a large mirror in the lid and a domed, square cake of pressed powder.


This is Dim Light, it is a soft peachy-beige that is lightly marbled with lighter, brighter veins. This powder looks a bit dark, especially for we paler skinned humans but Dim Light is the perfect shade for my fair not porcelain, neutral toned complexion.


The surface of the powder provides a beautiful tactile experience. The softly domed cake is very smooth and silky; as you run a finger over it there is no graininess, no rough areas to catch the skin or jar the spirit.

The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder cake, it's self is very soft and care needs to be taken in transport and use not to break it. I have seen people lament their broken Ambient Lighting Powder after dropping it or letting it be jogged around in their handbag so I don't carry this powder with me when I am out and about. I would love to but I don't want to risk breaking it. You know... Hourglass should make a touch up compact, a mini, extra rugged, cushioned compact that can be popped into a bag or backpack or carry on that would protect the little powder cake inside and would be refillable. Aw, who am I kidding? As if. I need to stop trying to design makeup and just get on with this review.

Now, Hourglass recommends that we use their Ambient Powder Brush to apply this powder to the skin. Uh... At $35.00 on top of the $45.00 investment I was making just for the powder? Nope. Sorry. Can't do that. I'd love to but my budget won't stand for it and besides, I own lovely, soft synthetic brushes that I figured would do the trick.


I use the Real Techniques Blush Brush to apply my Ambient Lighting Powder. The soft, synthetic bristles pick up just the right amount of product, not too much or too little, then sweeps it onto my skin, gently buffing the powder into the foundation or CC cream I am wearing without disturbing my makeup.

The finish is dreamy. As this powder is applied, there is a silent sigh as it it morphs into my skin and smooths away the appearance of uneven tone and texture. My skin suddenly looks softer, smoother, almost silky. My complexion looks balanced, brightened and slightly warmed by the peach tones in the powder, making me look more awake and refreshed. To my eye, my fine lines and wrinkles do appear diffused, softened. Pores are not as visible. My foundation is set without looking cakey or heavy. I have dry skin so I rarely need to touch this up, the finish lasts pretty much all day, for me. We'll see how it holds up to a long day as the Arizona Summer heat settles in. I suspect it is going to do just fine.


As you can see in this swatch, the powder has softened and blurred the wrinkled, old hag aspect of the back of my hand and added a subtle luminescence. This powder gives a very faint glow, not shimmer or real radiance, just enough light bounce to enhance, not turn one into a disco ball.

Below are two face shots, the top one was taken with me wearing a typical setting powder. In this case, the Revlon ColorStay pressed powder. It is a perfectly good setting powder, finely milled, soft and smooth. The pigments are quite opaque and, while I apply my powder with a light hand, this powder did leave me a little cakey and paled out. I know... Old broads aren't supposed to wear powder. I am an old school old broad and I use powder. Just a little to set and finish. Always have, always will. I just don't like the feel of foundation/CC cream without it. So there!


The secret to old broads rocking powder is to find the right powder! In the photograph below, my foundation is set with the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder. There is a pretty clear difference. My skin looks smoother, less cakey. My fine lines and deeper wrinkles are diffused and less apparent. No, this powder won't give you a face lift or take twenty years off of your face (unfortunately!) but in my opinion, this powder makes me look... Better. Maybe a teeny bit younger. Add to that the fact that it sets and locks down my makeup all day long and we have a winner. A big one!


And, we also have a problem. A big one! I love, love, love this powder but I don't love, love, love the price tag. The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder retails for $45.00. That is pretty spendy for a girl on a budget. Shopping for it when Sephora is running their now and again discount promotions makes it a little more affordable for me. As expensive as this powder is, I feel that it is well worth the price and, when this runs low and I have another delicious little discount, I will be re purchasing. I just hope that my current compact holds out until then! This is a product I really don't want to be without. If I get a little extra moolah, I wouldn't mind treating myself to another shade or maybe the three powder palette.

If you haven't yet and would like to try the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder, you can find it on the Hourglass website and in Sephora stores and on Sephora's website. I suggest that if you live near a Sephora store that you go in and play with the testers. Swatch the various shades and feel it out before you commit to purchasing a shade. I went in thinking I would want Diffused Light and I walked out with Dim Light. And Dim Light is definitely the right choice for me.

Do you own this powder? What do you think of it? Love it? Is it a "meh" for you? Please do tell, I'd like to hear your experience with this product.

Thank you so much for coming by and reading. If you got through this entire loooong post without falling asleep, I salute you. Take care and have a beautiful day.

*This post contains an affiliate link. Other links are provided for the convenience of my gentle readers.