Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light - review and swatches


I've owned this product for years and it always makes my yearly favourites, so I can't believe that I haven't yet reviewed it.

I guess the reason for this is that it's only recently made my Project Dent list for the first time, and it's the Project Dent items that I tend to review. I suppose I haven't felt the need to include it in Project Dent because it gets used enough as it is: it's always the powder I reach for when I want to look my best.

But it's time, now, to review this thing. At last.

Hourglass claims/product details:

  • A universal setting powder that features cutting-edge technology to mimic the effects of the most flattering variations of light
  • The Ambient Lighting Powders recreate soft focus effects, emulating the most beautiful lighting sources
  • Each powder captures, diffuses and softens the way light reflects on the skin
  • They brighten the skin's appearance while blurring imperfections, pores and wrinkles
  • Ground-breaking Photoluminescent Technology transforms the complexion, mimicking the appearance that your skin is in its perfect light for a flawless finish
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Dim Light is described as 'neutral beige'
  • RRP $67 AUD for 10g

Hourglass has long been one of those brands that I just can't get enough of, and indeed it's become 'my brand' in many ways.

I watch all Hourglass releases with interest, and even if I don't buy everything, I certainly make sure to swatch or test it. As Wayne Goss says, 'Hourglass can do no wrong.'

I couldn't agree more. Sure, Hourglass has products that don't work for me, but they're few and far between.

These Ambient Lighting Powders were the first powders released in the Ambient range (there are now bronzers, highlighters, blushes and strobe blushes to choose from too).

While I love them all - they're all among my favourites - I think these original finishing powders are the ones I would pick above the rest, for the simple reason that you apply them to your whole face so they're covering a wider surface area and therefore doing the most for your skin.

And what they do for your skin. My golly. It's some kind of witchery, make no mistake.

Six shades are available in the range, and Dim Light and Mood Light are the only two that don't contain tiny bits of shimmer - so they're of course my favourites.

While I've never owned Mood Light individually, I have owned the blush Mood Exposure (which contains swirls of Mood Light) and I've been able to separate the swirls and use Mood Light as my finishing powder. I do enjoy it, but I think that Dim Light is a better match for my light-medium to medium, yellow-based skin.

There's a shot of the pan in natural light:

And in direct sunlight:

Now for swatches.

There's a heavy and a more blended swatch, direct sunlight:

And in natural light:


This is hands-down the most amazing makeup item I've ever put on my face. Indeed, you may have heard me say before that if I could only ever use one product for the rest of my life, this would be it. I can't see that changing: this has been my number one for years.

It's a soft, silky smooth powder that's finely milled and feels almost velvety to the touch. Often baked powders can feel dry to the touch, but these don't. They're gorgeous.

Dim Light is a neutral beige with peach undertones, and it should suit those with light to tan skin. If you're super pale or quite dark, this mightn't be the right shade for you - but hopefully one of the others will be a good match.

What I've always liked about Dim Light is that it doesn't have any shimmer in it, but rather offers a natural sheen. As mentioned above, only Dim Light and Mood Light don't contain any glitter flecks, and while you'll hear people say that the glitter doesn't translate to the face, I personally think it does. In any event, it's worth having your chosen shade applied to your face before you buy it - just so you know whether you're happy with the glitter aspect.

On that, you need to have these applied to your face anyway. Swatches don't tell you anything about them, other than what shade they are when built up. But the shades don't really matter in the end. What matters is that they airbrush the skin like nobody's business and take five years off my face.

I've no idea what's in these things, but they diffuse light so my facial texture (eg pores and fine lines) looks less noticeable, and they smooth the surface of my skin so that it looks healthier and younger. They also add a subtle radiance that's never too much, and I can't live without wearing one of these every day. Indeed, I've come to feel that I look 'wrong' without one.

Do note that while most people love these, I have heard some people with oily skin say that they don't like them, so it's worth testing one before committing to a (substantial) purchase if that's you.

I've also heard some people say that these don't work as well if you wear full-coverage makeup, and while I can't speak to that because I'm not a full-coverage girl, I can confirm that these do more magic when I'm wearing a sheerer base, and less magic if I put them over heavier makeup (eg over my eyeshadow) - so that seems to fit with what people have said.

Overall I can't live without Dim Light and I've given it an HG tag. It makes my face look better and it offers a nice, subtle glow that looks like it's coming from inside my skin, rather than sitting on top of my skin. I'm yet to experience another powder that can do this.

Funnily enough I've already converted a bunch of family members and friends to these Hourglass powders (they now won't wear anything else), so I guess that says a lot too.


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