Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette Review, Swatches and Photos

Here’s my overdue review of Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette, released for Holiday 2013! I first got a sneak peek of the limited-edition palette backstage at Christian Siriano S/S ’14 during New York Fashion Week, and since then, I had been DYING to get my hands on it.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette Review
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

The Ambient Lighting Palette comes in a sleek, portable case in Hourglass’ signature dark bronze metal packaging. Inside is a mirror on top and 3 Ambient Lighting Powders on the bottom. Each powder contains 0.116 oz of product, which is roughly 1/3 of the full-sized product. Included with the set is a 5 ml Veil Mineral Primer.

The Ambient Lighting Powders were first launched during Spring this year and utilize a photo-luminescent technology to filter out harsh light and refine the appearance of the complexion. They claim to deliver a multi-dimensional luminescence to every skintone in any type of light (even flash photography), making it appear softer, younger and lit-from-within. They are also formulated without talc, gluten, fragrance and nanoparticles.

Dim Light is a neutral peach beige powder that blurs imperfections and highlights a radiant complexion with a balance of warm and cool tones. It is just a tinge darker than my NC30 skin and the finish is neither matte nor shimmery. I use this all over to set foundation and concealer.

Incandescent Light is a new, limited-edition color that is exclusive to this palette. Described as a “pearlescent powder that highlights the cheekbones and brightens the complexion with a celestial, holiday glow”, it is a shimmery cool-based color that is lighter than Dim Light. I love this as a highlighter for the top of the cheekbones and down the nose.

Radiant Light is a sun-kissed golden beige powder that enhances the overall complexion with believable, subtle warmth. It is the darkest shade out of the 3 but not that much darker than my NC30 skin. It is less shimmery than Incandescent Light and it warmed up and contoured my skin very nicely without looking orange or over the top.

The powders felt super smooth and silky, and seemed even finer than my favorite MAC Mineralize Skinfinish. Though sheer, they were very buildable and added a gorgeous, radiant glow to my skin without looking cakey or dry.

The $58 price tag may seem a little steep (each powder evens out to be a little over $18, making it more expensive per oz compared to the regular full-sized powder, which contains 0.35 oz of product for $45). However, you are getting a good selection of shades in one compact without having to splurge on individual colors separately.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette for Holiday 2013

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light
Dim Light

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Incandescent Light
Incandescent Light

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Radiant Light
Radiant Light

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette swatches
Wearing Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders in Dim Light, Incandescant Light and Radiant Light
Wearing Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

The Ambient Lighting Palette is available at Sephora and SpaceNK for $58.

Disclosure: The product in this review was purchased by us. It may also contain an affiliate link, which gives us a small commission if you purchase the item. Please see our Disclosure for more information on our posting policy.

Review overview
Color Selection
Phyllis Li is the Founder and Editor-in-chief of Makeup For Life, one of the top 50 beauty blogs that focuses on celebrity makeup breakdowns, product reviews, makeup tutorials and all things beauty. Having lived and traveled in North America, Europe and Asia, she was exposed to different techniques and products at an early age and hopes to put a global perspective towards beauty. Phyllis won the Best Content Award by Total Beauty in 2008 and has been featured in various publications and websites including ELLE, Glamour.com, Yahoo Shine!, AOL Stylelist, Nylon Korea, VOGUE China, Ming Pao Daily (Canada) and Shanghai Weekly. In 2010, she was appointed one of the nine Real Women Ambassadors in the United States to take part in the Latisse® Wishes Challenge, working with Hollywood celebrity Kathy Ireland and raised over $400,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant wishes for approximately 54 children. In 2012, she teamed up with luxury skincare brand TATCHA and released a limited-edition 3-Piece Set of her favorite beauty products. Phyllis currently lives in Chicago, US. She is a regular contributor to Shanghai Daily's StyleHai Magazine and a member of the Glam Beauty Network.


  1. Hi,

    Do you use Radiant Light to contour with frequently? If not, may I ask what your HG (if you have one), current & or past contouring shades that you find work best for you?

    Thank you in advance.

    • Yes I have been using this palette quite a lot lately… mostly because it’s so easy to use and comes with 2 other shades that are great. I also love the following products to contour my NC30 skin:

      Smashbox Step-by-step Contour Kit
      MAC Pro Sculpting Powder in Shadester

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