Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer in Radiant Bronze Light - review and swatches


Finally, finally, I sit down to review my favourite bronzer of all time.

I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to review it, although more lately that's been because I wanted to wait until I'd bought Nude Bronze Light (one of the new shades) so I could do some comparison swatches, alongside Luminous Bronze Light because I own that one too.

Yes it's excessive to have three different browns from one brand, but my Luminous Bronze Light is a mini and Nude Bronze Light is better for contouring because it pulls cool on me, so I'm giving myself a pass in this case (!).

One thing that surprises me about this formula is that I love it even though it contains micro-glitter. 

Having said this, that's because I never notice the glitter on my face with these - but I do notice it if I'm wearing one of the original Ambient Lighting Powders that contains glitter (which is why I only own Dim Light, since there's no glitter in that one).

I've owned this bronzer ever since it was released in Australia and it's been my favourite from the moment I first used it.

Yes I own other good bronzers - including those from Laura Mercier, Bobbi Brown and Benefit (the ones that everyone loves) - and while I do like them all, this one remains the one I love above all others.

It's the bronzer I always choose if we're going out or have a special event on, which tells you something.

Hourglass claims/product details:
  • Blends the illuminating effects of Ambient Lighting Powder with the warming effects of a bronzer to deliver a naturally glowing complexion
  • Airy, weightless formula utilises photo-luminescent technology to provide depth and dimension to the face
  • Ultra blendable
  • Naturally contour the face for a sunkissed, lustrous complexion
  • RRP $72 AUD for 11g

If you'd like to see my review of Luminous Bronze Light, it's here.

My comments for both will largely be the same because it's the same formula, but I do prefer Radiant Bronze Light because it has a red undertone while Luminous pulls more peach on me. 

Yes I love peach in my blushes and lip products, but I don't like it in my bronzers - I find that bronzers with a red or yellow/golden undertone look more natural on my light/medium to medium, yellow-based skin.

There's the pan in direct sunlight:

And in natural light:

Now for swatches.

Below I've given you some swatches of Radiant Bronze Light alone in different lights, then I've done some alongside Luminous Bronze Light and Nude Bronze Light so you can see how they compare.

Radiant Bronze Light, direct sunlight:

 Indirect sunlight:

Natural light (outdoors):

Natural light (indoors):

Now for comparison swatches. 

First I've swatched each shade heavily in different lights, then I've blended them out. 

Direct sunlight:

*L-R: Radiant Bronze Light, Luminous Bronze Light, Nude Bronze Light

Indirect sunlight:

*L-R: Radiant Bronze Light, Luminous Bronze Light, Nude Bronze Light

Natural light (indoors):

*L-R: Radiant Bronze Light, Luminous Bronze Light, Nude Bronze Light

 Natural light (outdoors):

*L-R: Radiant Bronze Light, Luminous Bronze Light, Nude Bronze Light

  Direct sunlight:

 *L-R: Radiant Bronze Light, Luminous Bronze Light, Nude Bronze Light

Indirect sunlight:

*L-R: Radiant Bronze Light, Luminous Bronze Light, Nude Bronze Light


These are my favourite bronzers on the market, hands down. The formula is my HG for bronzing and I honestly think it can't be beat.

As mentioned above, I own one of Laura Mercier's fabled bronzers, one from Bobbi Brown and Benefit's Hoola to name a few. These Hourglass bronzers remain the ones I reach for when I want to look my best or when I just want to feel a little bit special for the day.

Now let's talk about the visible flecks of glitter: you guys know that I'm not a fan of that in my face products (including highlighters), so in theory it should bother me here. But for some reason, the glitter doesn't translate to my face and never once have I seen a speck of it when I've been wearing one of these. I have no idea why that is - especially because I can see the flecks on my face with the Ambient Lighting Powders that contain them - but I can't with these bronzers. So I wouldn't be worried about the shimmer, but certainly test these first if you're concerned.

Radiant Bronze Light is a beautifully warm shade that should suit medium-to-tan skintones. If you're paler it will be too warm and too red, and I have seen that many lasses with my colouring prefer Luminous Bronze Light, but I love the red undertone of this one so it's my favourite.

You'll see in the swatches above that Luminous Bronze Light is more peach and Nude Bronze Light is more neutral than this one (Nude also doesn't contain any shimmer), so whichever one you prefer will likely depend on your preferences and also your colouring. Note that there's also a fourth shade (Diffused Bronze Light), which I don't own because I suspect it would be too pale and too cool on me to be flattering.

While I need to be careful with Radiant Bronze Light because it's so pigmented, this doesn't mean that I've ever made mistakes with it - or if I've ever applied too much, I've been able to blend it out so no harm done. This is another reason why I prefer it over Luminous Bronze Light: with that one, it's not as pigmented on me (perhaps because it's paler) so I need more and therefore go through it faster.

Why do I love this formula so much? Because I honestly can't fault it. These bronzers can blend over glue (so I don't need to set my tinted moisturiser unless I want to) and they apply effortlessly and beautifully. Every single time. No other formula I've tried to date does it quite like this one does.

Better yet, the soft-focus effect these bronzers give takes years off my face. When I have a face full of Hourglass on (as I so often do), I just look younger and healthier - and you can't see my facial texture (pores, fine lines etc) as much as you can when I wear other products.

Indeed, if I had to part with all my collection and just keep one of everything, I would absolutely have one of Hourglass - including one of these bronzers.

In sum, I can't rave about these enough. Yes they're expensive, but they last forever and I honestly believe they're worth every penny.


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