Hourglass Luminous Light Ambient Lighting Powder Review

Hello ladies,

After reviewing the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette for you – close to 2 years back, I have today a review on their Luminous Light Ambient Lighting Powder (ALP). I picked it up some time back, but missed on reviewing it!
Hourglass Luminous Light Ambient Lighting Powder

A quick brief on Ambient Lighting powders from Hourglass – These are finishing powders (not setting powders) and come in a “play of lights” theme. The powders come in 6 hues:

1. Ethereal Light
2. Diffused Light
3. Dim Light
4. Mood Light
5. Luminous Light
6. Radiant Light

The purpose is to create effect of different lights on your skin surface, something which would make people turn around and ask you – hey, what’s your skincare secret? 😛

Product Details:
What it is: A collection of six universally-flattering finishing powders that recreate the most flattering light.

What it does: Create the perfect illumination for your face with Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder. Infused with the innovative Photoluminescent Technology, each finishing powder captures, diffuses, and softens the look of the skin. The micron-size, color-correcting particles refract light and create transparent coverage, filtering out harsh light and refining the appearance of the skin.  It is formulated without parabens, fragrance, talc, nanoparticles, glutent.  Not tested on animals.
Directions To Use

What else you need to know:  “I learned early on how different types of light can truly flatter the complexion. Growing up, my mother had pink light bulbs in all of the lamps throughout the house. She loved pink light because it was the softest and most flattering, and she always wanted to look good. I used this concept of lighting in Ambient Lighting Powder.”—Carisa Janes, Hourglass Founder

Suggested Usage:  Use Ambient Powder Brush to dust Ambient Lighting Powder all over the face.

Powders can be combined and layered to create a sensational, multi-dimensional glow: First, apply Dim Light all over the face. Follow with Mood Light just on the cheeks, as if it were a blush. -Finish off with Luminous Light as a highlighter and apply it to the high points of the face.

Ambient Lighting Powder is fragile. Please handle with care.

Ambient lighting powder


The compact is a metallic-looking plastic case – sleek and shiny. It is very light since it’s plastic and is pretty much a fingerprint magnet. The packaging looks high end, but the lightness of it defies that. I think it really should have been packaged with a velvet sleeve. The palette has a big mirror; however, no brush. All in all, the packaging looks sleek and luxe but does not have the heft which is generally associated with a luxe product.

My Experience with Hourglass Luminous Light Ambient Lighting Powder:

When Hourglass initially launched these a couple of years ago, there was mass confusion. People couldn’t figure if these were special setting powders (like the Laura Mercier’s Secret Brightening Powder) or a more subtle variation of a highlighting powder; all this because the whole category of finishing powders was still fairly new to the market.

Interestingly enough, since then, a whole bunch of companies, from drugstore to high end, have released their version of these with little or no success. The Hourglass ones still run the roost.

Ambient lighting powders fall in a whole new category of products. It is not a setting powder, though it can be used as one. It is not a highlighter though a couple of shades, applied with a heavy hand, could be used as one! 😉 These are meant to be finishing powder, something you apply after you have applied everything else on your face – to bring “light” back to your skin. The closest existing product in this category would be the Guerlain range of Meteorite Pearls or the Voyage compact.
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder pan

After sharing the review on the 3 shades in the “Ambient Lighting Palette,” I have for you today one of the brightest – most luminous shades in the range – namely, “Luminous Light.”

The shade is described as “Champagne Pearl” and is designed to “create a soft, incandescent candlelight glow.” It’s a lightly peachy shade with extremely fine shimmer. However, the peachiness doesn’t really translate onto the skin. On the skin, it’s a colourless dust giving a distinct glow or luminosity (if you must)! I didn’t have to go heavy handed for the effect to be visible, it’s quite apparent. The white shimmer, though visible in the swatch, doesn’t really show up as shimmer particles on the face – no, not even as fine shimmer.  It just translates into luminous skin. I think its effect is distinctly visible. Since, it is one of the most obvious of the range, I would suggest you to go light handed with this. Alternatively, if you build it up on the high points of your cheeks, it could work as a very subtle highlighter.
Ambient lighting powder closeup

I have tried it post makeup as well as on “just-moisturized” skin (sans makeup). The effect is clearly visible in both cases. Though the effect is obviously more becoming on a clearer canvas, that is, when you have your base makeup in place. Unless of course you have good skin in the first place, in which case, you could totally dust it on your face even without makeup and be good to go.
Ambient lighting powder swatch

At the cost of sounding clichéd, it really does give the appearance of a “lit-from-within” luminous skin!

As a means of comparison, to see how it rated as a highlighter, I swatched it against the Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Powder. Why the Laura Mercier powder? To me, that’s one of the most subtle/polished looking highlighters – since it’s a “Matte Radiance”! 😉 But as you see in the pic, the Laura Mercier powder is way more evident on the finger and correspondingly, on the face. This is definitely meant to be used as a finishing powder!
Laura Mercier powder

Last year, Hourglass had launched its own range of highlighters, referred to as strobing powders. So, if you are in the market for a highlighter, you should check that out instead.

In terms of texture, the product is extremely finely milled and smooth. It does kick up dust in the pan but does not feel powdery or chalky on the face, at all. I use a fluffy tapered brush like the MAC 138 to apply this. Although, the recommended brush is another Hourglass product, made especially to apply these powders, priced at $35.

To sum this up for you:

Pros of Hourglass Luminous Light Ambient Lighting Powder:

  • Extremely finely milled and smooth.
  • Gives a “lit from within” look.
  • Blurs imperfections.
  • Makes the face look brighter.
  • Brings back life to the skin, especially if you have been using a lot of mattifying products.
  • Easy to apply with a fluffy tapered brush – something like the MAC 138.
  • Can be used as a finishing powder, a subtle highlighter or a setting powder.
  • It does not make the skin look dry, patchy, blotchy or white.
  • Did not break me out.
  • Talc free.
  • Paraben free.
  • Nano particle free.
  • Fragrance free.
  • Gluten free.
  • A single pan will last you a long long time.

Cons of Hourglass Luminous Light Ambient Lighting Powder:

  • Wish it came with a velvet pouch – to avoid scratches on the case.
  • Kicks up a little dust in the pan, which might be due to the brush being used. The recommended brush is another Hourglass product made especially to apply these. Priced at $35, I don’t think I am trying it any time soon!!

IMBB Rating:

This is a really special product. Is it a must have? Not really.  It’s more like a beauty splurge. However, if you do pick it up, you will definitely enjoy using it!

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Mood Light
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder – Dim Light
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Diffused Heat
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure
Bourjois Happy Light Luminous Serum Primer
Maybelline Luminous Brown Eye Studio Big Eyes Light Catching Palette
NARS Translucent Crystal Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder
Soap & Glory Glow All Out Luminizing Face Powder


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