Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Review: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Ethereal Light

Some of y'all already know about my frustration about choosing an Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder. The Ambient Lighting Powders are much-hyped finishing powders that allegedly mimic different types of lighting. Because they are all super different, it can be really difficult to decide which one is actually going to make you look like a glowing, lit-from-within goddess.

I did actually manage to make my way into a Sephora (which is a serious accomplishment when you live in the middle of nowhere, like I do), so I did get to see all six shades in person. In general, I would say that medium-skinned ladies can probably get away with any of these colors. Dark skinned ladies might find that a few of the lighter colors will work as highlighters, but not all over the face. (Shades like Radiant Light, though, will probably be gorgeous.) As a fair-skinned motherfucker, the only two to which I responded, "Uh... well, that's obviously not gonna work" were Mood Light and Radiant Light, although several of the others would still have to be applied with a very light hand.

As you can see from the title of this post, I did end up buying Ethereal Light. (Note: I also bought Luminous Light, which I haven't used enough to form concrete opinions about. I'll be reviewing that at a later date.)


I want to go ahead and note that some people have been using these powders as highlighters. Based on my experience, those people must like their makeup to be as subtle as fuck. Even as all-over face powders, these have a pretty understated effect. I'm certainly not Kim Kardashian or anything, but any highlight worth its salt is not something in which I want to coat my face. (Although it would probably work in lieu of wearing reflective clothing at night...)


The packaging is solid and modern. I adore Hourglass packaging save for their terrible font. (It's not Comic Sans or Papyrus, but it's in their league.)


Ethereal Light is touted to "[mimic] a moonlit glow—even in broad daylight." The powder is a soft, cool white, with just a hint of luminosity. The finish is somewhere in between a pearl and a matte.

Ethereal Light heavily swatched (left) and blended (right).
It's hard to capture the effect of these powders on camera. In general, I feel that it adds a small amount of dimension to my face (something that can be lost when you cake on a truckload of foundation, like I do) without altering the color or lightening my foundation. I also find the effect on blemishes, scars, and other imperfections to be flattering.

Here's how it looks on my face in the lighting I usually use:


And here's how it looks in a closeup on my cheekbone in direct sunlight, in case that has always been your secret desire:


Overall, I like Ethereal Light. It's not magic, but it's definitely flattering.

The Hourglass Ambient Light Powers retail for $45 for 0.35oz ($128.57 per ounce).

29 comments:

  1. But will it make me look like Galadriel from Lord of the Rings??? Because I'm sort of hoping it will!

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    1. That depends: do you already look almost exactly like Galadriel from Lord of the Rings?

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    2. Robyn, I have laughed at your reply here like nineteen times.

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    3. More like a Hobbit, sadly. :-( (hides feet)

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  2. I love Ethereal Light, and I'm glad you chose to review it. Not many people have that shade from what I can tell.

    I usually apply it sheerly as a setting powder (yes, I am *that* pale), but it works as a bit of a subtle highlight for me as well.

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    1. That's essentially where I'm at with it as well!

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    2. Now this is interesting! I really appreciate the review for the same reasons as unebranche, and I would probably use this powder for the same purpose as well...

      *hisses in direct sunlight*

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  3. Beautiful as always, Ms. Mango! Is there any way you would consider snapping a before and after ALP application next time you reach for it? It's hard to tell the true effect without a side by side. If not, no worries, and thanks for the review!

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    1. I... tried.

      Before: http://imgur.com/dQt9Lyh

      After: http://imgur.com/H3tZrN8

      I swear, there really is a difference. My camera is just not interested in the subtleties.

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  4. The font is different on the ambient lighting blushes! I'm wondering if they're going to change all the packaging.

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    1. You are right! I didn't notice. I hope they do; I think the font on the blushes looks much better.

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  5. I have Diffused and looove it. I use it every day as a setting powder, and build it up to highlight, which it does quite well (the Diffused blush counterpart seems really shimmery, which the normal powder is not).

    I also have Luminous. I'm curious to see your take on it, because it makes me look greasy as an allover, though it can work as a highlight. I don't love it $62 worth, which is what they cost here. But it hasn't killed the itch to get most of the others. Gone and started on the blushes too, after reading your review of Radiant, which I bought and found nicely purple.

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    1. I have mixed feelings about Luminous. It's not quite working for me right now, but I haven't given it a lot of chances to work, haha. I know I wouldn't re-purchase it, at least.

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  6. It looks great on you! I can't wait to see your other review with Luminous!

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    1. Look for it in a couple weeks. I have more experimenting to do!

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  7. Such a gorgeous color!
    Glossedonbeauty.blogspot.com

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  8. Ive got medium skin and I absolutely love Ethereal Light. You're absolutely right when you said that these are best suited for medium skin. My all time favorite is Mood Light! Luminous Light is the one that makes me feel like Galadriel, though. Lol.

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    1. I'm glad they are working well for you!

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  9. I haven't hopped on the Hourglass train yet (bacon!blush didn't appeal to me) but this does. I imagine I could be glowy and stuff.

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    1. Glowy is good. I've liked tons of the products I've tried from Hourglass, so I'm definitely on the bandwagon.

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  10. So, worth or not worth the 45 dollars?

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    1. Tentatively worth it, but not necessarily something you OMG MUST HAVE.

      Also worth noting that some other products like this are less expensive, but also smaller. I don't think this is THAT expensive per ounce.

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    2. I am also pale but with a yellow undertone. Anyone that you recommend getting?

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  11. I dunno, I tried dim light and I was underwhelmed. Yes it gave a nice bit of dimension to my face, but I didn't really feel like it "blurred imperfections" the way it claimed. And frankly, extra glowiness is only a good thing for about the first half-hour; by the time I get to work, it's just making me look even shinier than I already do. It's a nice quality powder, but I can't for the life of me understand the hype for this product at this price point. I'd consider this a nice addition to my makeup wardrobe for occasional use if it cost, say, $25.

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    1. That's fair! I would definitely buy more if they were cheaper.

      I will say that all of the powders are REALLY different, so not liking one doesn't necessarily preclude you from liking others. On the other hand, if you think they are too pricy, there are cheaper things that will probably do the job.

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  12. I have light/medium skin, but with a decidedly yellow cast and I adore these powders because they are light not-foundations powders that leave no white cast. (Although I haven't tried ethereal). Diffused and dim are my favorites. Too Gaced Primed and Poreless and Nars Light reflecting powders both leave a white shadow on me, even though they are supposed to be translucent.

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    1. Ethereal Light may also leave a very slight white cast on you... I'm not sure.

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  13. I tried this, I am an medium olive tone skin..I like it though most of the time I am not sure if Im trying to make mah self believe that this is doing something cos of the price tag!

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