Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit: review, swatches, intense internal debate

Sometimes, the heart wants what it wants. 

And this year, as the season of beauty holiday limited editions opened with an avalanche of sneak peeks on Instagram, my heart wanted the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit palette.

Size comparison: almost 10 grams of Luminous Light Ambient Lighting Powder, versus the 1.4 grams x 6 in the Ambient Lighting Edit palette. But so pretty AMIRITE?

Size comparison: almost 10 grams of Luminous Light Ambient Lighting Powder, versus the 1.4 grams x 6 in the Ambient Lighting Edit palette. But so pretty AMIRITE?

Logically, I knew it was a bad deal - in terms of value you'd be much better off getting the Ambient Lighting Blush or Powder palettes (see Temptalia's breakdown), plus you'd get pans of a size you could actually fit powder and bronzer brushes into. 

But in terms of unit price, I could own six of the Ambient Lighting range - powders, blushes, and a bronzer -- for only £9 more than one of the trio palettes. I use Luminous Light, which weighs in at just under ten grams, at least two to three times a week, and two years on I still haven't hit pan. So I knew that the amount contained in each pan in the palette (roughly 1.5 grams) would last me a decent amount of time, even with regular use. I mean, when was the last time I finished a highlighter, blusher or bronzer? Uh, never. 

Anyway, I've been pretty restrained in my makeup buying this year, focusing in on a few big hits (as in "to my wallet: and "products that made a big splash") and limiting my impulse purchases. Just because Boots always has 3 for 2 promos on doesn't mean I NEED ALL THE THINGS, and I get that smug sense of satisfaction every time I walk away. Why not reward my self-control with a £65 palette? 

(Don't answer that.)

Closeup on Mood Exposure and Luminous Flush Ambient Lighting Blushes in the Edit

Closeup on Mood Exposure and Luminous Flush Ambient Lighting Blushes in the Edit

Let's be clear: if you already own one of the trio palettes, or even a couple of the individual products, I wouldn't bother with this. Only if you are head-over-heels obsessed with the range, or maybe wanted one for travel, would I even remotely think of recommending this. They're just too similar on the skin -- to each other, and to other highlighting or finishing powders and blushes. If you're the kind of person who would buy into a brand like Hourglass, you likely have all the requisite products to put together your own edit.

Closeup on Iridescent Light, a highlighter exclusive to the Ambient Lighting Edit palette. It's pretty similar to Luminous Light on me!

Closeup on Iridescent Light, a highlighter exclusive to the Ambient Lighting Edit palette. It's pretty similar to Luminous Light on me!

I've been using it almost every time I've worn makeup for the past month, and I'm really pleased with it. These powders don't emphasize my big pores and don't read as greasy on my oily skin. Dim Light and Diffused Light are great as setting powders, and the stuff is fine milled and translucent enough to work for my NC35-ish skintone. I was worried that it would have obvious particles of shimmer, but they are so fine that they translate as more of a sheen than sparkle. 

My attempt at swatching the Ambient Lighting Powders: in the foreground is Luminous Light, then the peachy one is Dim Light, followed by Iridescent Light and the more yellow-y Diffused Light

My attempt at swatching the Ambient Lighting Powders: in the foreground is Luminous Light, then the peachy one is Dim Light, followed by Iridescent Light and the more yellow-y Diffused Light

Iridescent LIght is a soft, subtle highlighter, although I find that it's really similar to Luminous Light, if that helps anyone decide for or against the palette. I really like the effect it gives, both on its own and over the top of blushes. It's absolutely a good pick for a sophisticated, rather than a shiny, disco beam highlight. 

Despite appearances, the blushes actually read pretty similarly on the cheeks -- Mood Exposure leans more deep and plummy while Luminous Flush is a touch more warm pink. Both have a satin texture, although I find that Luminous Flush has a touch more micro-shimmer than Mood Exposure. I was surprised by the wear time on these -- on Friday (during my descent into zombie flu) I could see it on my cheeks at least ten hours after I put it on!

Swatches of Mood Exposure, Luminous Flush, and Luminous Bronze Light on NC30 skin

Swatches of Mood Exposure, Luminous Flush, and Luminous Bronze Light on NC30 skin

The Luminous Bronze Light bronzer performs similarly, and I find that it complements the two blushes well. There's a bit more shimmer in this compared to all of the other products, but again, it doesn't scream, "Look at my glitzy tanned cheekbones. Natural, right?".

Closeup on Luminous Bronze Light in the Edit palette

Closeup on Luminous Bronze Light in the Edit palette

I'll likely post face shots of all six products used in context at some stage. The thing about finishing powder-type products is that they're so hard to capture -- they're definitely a makeup lover's thing, rather than a must have. But there's something to be said about beautiful objects in and of themselves, and man, have Hourglass captured my heart on this one.