Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light Review and Swatches

Well, look what I have in my hot little hands! I finally picked up one of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders, those much-buzzed-about beauty products! 

There are six shades of the Ambient Lighting Powders, each designed to mimic a type of lighting.

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 or 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-size 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

ETHEREAL LIGHT is an opalescent sheer, cool white powder that mimics a moonlit glow – even in broad daylight

DIFFUSED LIGHT is a soft, warm, pale yellow powder that conceals redness and gives skin clarity – like a soft ray of morning light

DIM LIGHT is a neutral peach beige powder that blurs imperfections and highlights a radiant complexion with the perfect balance of warm and cool tones

MOOD LIGHT is a soft, sheer lavender pink powder that mimics the softest most forgiving light and reveals your brightest complexion

LUMINOUS LIGHT is a champagne pearl powder that creates a soft, incandescent candlelit glow – day or night

RADIANT LIGHT is a sun-kissed golden beige powder that enhances the overall complexion with believable, subtle warmth, and also extends a summer glow

Lighting can dramatically change the way we look and I think Hourglass is genius for coming up with the idea of these powders AND managing to make them so effective. Watch this short video that shows how different lighting can make someone look very different. 

OK, so the Ambient Lighting Powders aren't going to create shadows or do anything as dramatic as the lighting effects in this video, but I think you'll be impressed. I was. 

When I visited the Bloor Street Sephora in Toronto, most of the powders were out of stock but the one I wanted - Diffused Light - was not. The Ambient Lighting Powders are $50 CDN.

From all that I'd read about these powders, I was excited and apprehensive at the same time. I'd seen only raves about these powders. Could it actually be as good as everyone says? Is it possible that this powder would give me that soft-focus quality that the perfect types of lighting can?

Let's start with some thoughts about the packaging. Hourglass is a luxe brand that makes mainly specialty products of superior quality. The packaging reflects that. Here's the compact of the Diffused Light Ambient Lighting Powder next to my MAC Forever Marilyn Beauty Powder (standard MAC compact size) for a comparison of size. The MAC packaging is decent, it doesn't feel flimsy or cheap but the Hourglass Ambient Powder compact feels like a Humvee compared to it. It's very solid, feels substantial and has a good weight. It's beautiful to look at too, shiny and sleek. There is a mirror inside. The Ambient Lighting Powders are 10 g/0.35 oz (the MAC Beauty Powder is exactly the same amount).

It was difficult to capture the appearance of the product. This was the best photo I managed to capture. The colour is a very soft yellow and there is a teeny bit of sparkle to it (visible in the photo below). The product looks beautiful in the compact, smooth and subtly shimmery.

It was also difficult to photograph the swatches I did on my inner arm. I had to use black lines of eyeliner so my camera had something to focus on and although I swatched Diffused Light fairly heavily, it barely shows up. Bad for photography, good for application, though!

NW15-20 skintone

NW15-20 skintone
There is a brush you can purchase to use with the Ambient Lighting Powders. It retails for $41 CDN and I couldn't justify the expense on top of a $50 powder. You can use any powder brush to apply the Ambient Lighting Powders, though I'm sure the quality of the Hourglass brush is excellent and applies the product like butter. I used a powder brush to apply and also tried using a finer, fluffier contour brush. 

The Ambient Lighting Powders are designed to be applied after you've applied your other makeup. It's not a setting powder, though it claims to keep oiliness at bay in shinier skin types. As soon as you use it you can see exactly what it's meant to do. It did not dilute the effect of the blush I'd applied (in the below photos) or the highlighter (not pictured). 

I think it'd be difficult to overdo the application of this powder. It's very fine and you'll see a kick-up of very fine powder as you apply the brush to the compact. In the photos below, I am wearing Diffused Light on the left side of my face (the right side of the photo). 

The effect is very subtle, but you can see that the left side of my face I look slightly softer than the right side. My skin has a soft, smooth, almost glow to it. It's so very subtle, but so very obvious once it's applied. The right side of my face looks just fine, but my left side with the Diffused Light is just that much better. Since Diffused Light is supposed to minimize redness, I was concerned that it'd fade my blush but it doesn't. It gives it a softness, just like my skin. 

Underneath I'm wearing a BB cream, and a bit of concealer on my lower right cheek as well as under my eyes. I used MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium to set the concealer and on my t-zone. My blush is MAC Pink Swoon.

Wearing Diffused Light on the left side of my face.  This side ^^^.
The above photo was taken with regular flash and the photo below with slow sync flash (there are slight variations in the colour of my eyes, skin and hair as a result, also my pupils are tiny in the below photo). I thought I'd show you what my skin looked like, again with the Diffused Light on the left side of my face only. 

Wearing Diffused Light on the left side of my face. This side ^^^^.
You've probably guessed that I am really impressed with this product. It lived up to my expectations, absolutely. I want to try some of the other Ambient Lighting Powders (especially Ethereal Light and Luminous Light) now. I think it gives my skin a soft, very flattering glow, much like soft early morning light, as it's meant to mimic. 

Damn, this is going to be a staple for me. It wears very well. Even after doing yoga at lunchtime in my office, there was still a softness to my skin, even though my undereye concealer had faded considerably, as had my blush. 

So, yes. You should check these powders out. They add a quality to the skin that you can't get unless you carry around a specialty light to shine on your face all day! Anyone can wear them as this won't settle into fine lines or wrinkles, despite the shimmery properties. It's a very, very soft and subtle effect. Even super-healthy skin will see an effect using these. 

This stuff is fantastic. Check it out at your own risk, but I can guarantee you'll probably like it. 

Grade: A++++++++

- C.

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