Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit, Unlocked - review and swatches


I bought this palette as soon as it was released, and I took the photos when it arrived so I've been using it for close to two weeks now and I'm definitely ready to review it.

Long story short, I bloody love it and I've considered buying a back-up because all these shades are limited edition, but I've reluctantly decided not to. I would rather save myself for the next palette release in 2019, plus I have so much stuff that I'm not going to be getting through this any time soon.

This palette is 100% vegan and it's been done as a celebration towards Hourglass' commitment to becoming 100% vegan across all of its products by 2020.

A portion of proceeds from this palette will also be donated to the Nonhuman Rights Project, and you'll note the little cruelty free bunny symbol on the top of the packaging - showing Hourglass' commitment to being a cruelty free brand. It's sweet. I like it.

Hourglass claims/product details:

  • Say hello to your new must-have, the next iteration of the original Ambient® Lighting Edit
  • Featuring six new shades, all sure to give you a glow everyone will be enviable of
  • Create your most flawless finish with this next-gen palette from Hourglass that'll brighten, bronze and soften all in one
  • Contains: Ambient® Lighting Powder in Soft Light and Filtered Light, Ambient® Lighting Bronzer in Golden Bronze Light, Ambient® Lighting Blush in Nude Glow and Mood Flush, and Ambient® Metallic Strobe Lighting Powder in Champagne Strobe Light
  • Suitable for all skin types, this palette is universally flattering
  • RRP $117 AUD for 6 x 1.4g (8.4g total)

So you're receiving two finishing powders, two blushes, one bronzer and one highlighter. Happily I think this palette is more suitable for deeper skintones than it has been in past years, although I'm not sure how you'd go with it if you were darker than a medium-tan. I'd be interested to hear.

I'm also really pleased to see Hourglass release one of these face palettes that doesn't contain powders from its permanent line. I personally feel we've seen enough of those recycled edits, and I like that this one and also the Surreal Light edit from two years ago contain all new shades. More please!

There's the palette, direct sunlight:

Below I've swatched everything in order, left to right and top to bottom.

Direct sunlight:

Indirect sunlight:


This is an excellent palette and I recommend it. I can see myself using it a lot, and I love all the colours so that's a huge plus and of course it means the purchase was good-value for me because I'll use and love everything.

Both finishing powders (Soft Light and Filtered Light) are in colours I can get away with (my skin is light medium to medium, with yellow undertones). I love that neither contains shimmer, so they're more like Dim Light or Mood Light and less like the others, which do contain micro glitter that's visible in direct sunlight. More glitter-free finishing powders like these ones please!

The bronzer (Golden Bronze Light) is just gorgeous and I would love to see Hourglass come out with it separately. It's warm but not too warm, and it's more golden than orange so it's super flattering - plus I love bronzers with golden undertones so this one's perfect. If Hourglass does release this individually, I will absolutely buy it.

As for the blushes (Nude Glow and Mood Flush), they're both right up my street. I love nude peach shades like Nude Glow and while I was worried that it might be too glowy for my cheeks, I've found that it isn't. Normally glowy blushes don't suit me (I feel like they're too much) and they tend to emphasise texture. This one's fine, provided that I don't apply too much of it - which I wouldn't anyway because I prefer a more natural look.

Mood Flush is probably the only mauve or plum blush I've found to date that doesn't look dead, brown and flat on my face. I don't know why mauve/plums look like that on my skin, but they always do. This one doesn't. It's not as glowy as Nude Glow so it's nicely understated and perfect for everyday wear, plus the colour is a beautifully flattering mauve that has enough life to it that it lifts the face, but it doesn't suddenly turn pink on the cheeks either (which can also happen). It's definitely mauve. Beautiful.

The highlighter (Champagne Strobe Light) was also a pleasant surprise. I didn't love the Metallic Strobe Powders that came in the palette last year (reviewed here) because they emphasised texture and tended to look a little dry on my skin. Although this one is named in the same category as those, it's different. It's softer and creamier in texture and it also looks less dry on the skin. Yes it's more intense than Hourglass' original highlighters, but it's a better formula than the ones in the palette last year and it doesn't emphasise texture on me like those ones do - provided of course that I don't wear too much of it.

Overall this palette is just gorgeous and I can't recommend it enough. All of the powders do exactly what I've come to expect from Hourglass - so they airbrush the skin, reduce the look of pores and imperfections, and also add a gorgeous, natural glow - and they apply, blend and diffuse beautifully. I honestly can't fault this palette and I love every single shade. 

Love. I've given it an HG tag.

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