Hourglass’s Ambient Lighting Powders are designed to mimic the looks of great lighting on your face. This line has 6 shades, of which I have the three that have no shimmer and therefore a little more natural look.
Each of the 6 shades are named after a particular type of beautiful lighting. The ones I own are Dim Light, Ethereal Light and Mood Light. In theory, anyone can use any shade of this to create the look of a certain type of beautiful lighting. Instead of covering imperfections with pigment, these claim to “filter our harsh light”, thus creating a sort of luminescence or light diffusion that makes imperfections less noticeable. The effect these have is not super obvious (nor is it meant to be), and that makes it hard to get a photograph that conveys what they can do. But what I notice with them is that in most lighting, my skin just looks a little more healthy, radiant and flawless… and then in bad lighting I look way better than I would with a regular powder.
In all honesty, I’m in love with these. Expensive as they are, I think they are well worth it for the effect, and I also feel you’re getting a decent amount compared to other powders out there. Additionally, depending on the shade, you can use them as blush or highlighters.
Ethereal Light is the palest in the line, and also the least fabulous of the three I own. If you use too much, it can tend to get chalky and powdery and even emphasize lines, which is the opposite of what it’s supposed to do. It’s a light, light pink that looks almost white in the box. I can use it as either a setting powder or highlight. If you use it lightly, it works fairly well, but I feel the other two shades I own do better at “blurring imperfections.”
Dim Light is my favorite setting powder of the three, and I’m about to hit pan. It’s just slightly golden and luminous, adding a touch of natural-looking warmth and color to my light skin. It really looks like it airbrushes my face just a little – imperfections aren’t hidden completely, they’re just less noticeable. I don’t think this one could be used as a blush, but maybe possibly on someone very fair. It could definitely be a highlighter for someone with deeper skin – even though it’s not lighter than my skin tone, I can actually use it as a highlight on my cheekbones because it has that “glowy” effect.
Mood Light is the deepest powder in this line. It’s a mauve pink, and I can totally use it as the most soft, blendable, natural looking blush ever. I can use it as a setting powder, but have to use it very lightly or it ends up looking like a peachy bronzer that’s just a little too warm and colorful for my light skin (applying with a feather brush works). It has similar luminosity to Dim Light and never gets chalky or powdery.
These are heavy swatches of Ethereal, Dim and Mood Light from left to right. I did them heavy to give you a clear sense of the tones within each color. I mentioned it’s really challenging to capture what these can do in photographs, but I tried anyway.
This is me with my foundation on everywhere, but Dim Light applied only to the side where I’m holding up the product (my right, your left). The hyperpigmentation on my cheeks is pretty symmetrical – I think you can see it’s definitely less noticeable and overall smoother looking on the Dim Light side.
This is from the same session, and now I’ve highlighted my cheekbone/undereye area and nose with Ethereal Light. Very subtle, but the undereye area looks a little more uniform in color, my cheekbone is more noticeable and my nose looks more even and gently lit than in the first photo.
And here’s Mood Light as a blush. I feel like I don’t need to contour when I use this. The powder itself brings out so much dimension in your face that you just don’t need it.