Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light Review and Swatches

I have a weird review of the cult-classic Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light ($45). I like it, I think it’s a good product for most people, and I think it’s not for me. Here’s why:

I bought this on a random trip to Sephora where I was determined to use my VIB 15% off promo on something. I’ve checked out this product range before, but this time was for real. I swatched all of the lighter shades and liked Dim Light the best because it’s the most subtle. The others have teeny, tiny microglitter, but this shade had a totally glitter-free, luminous shimmer that I loved. I bought it, and then found out as soon as I got home that Hourglass was re-releasing the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette ($58) with three total shades. I probably would have preferred that, but I decided to stick with the full sized Dim Light.

hourglass ambient lighting powder packaging design hourglass ambient lighting powder dim light

As you can see above and below, it looks a little different depending on the light.

hourglass ambient lighting powder in dim light

The shade seemed ok under the harsh lights at Sephora, but when I applied it at home, something seemed off. I had read about how this worked as an all over setting powder, so I slathered as much as I could on my mug. Before I knew it, my face was a little too dark, super pink, and awkwardly mismatched with my neck. I had just tried a new foundation routine, so I was convinced it was the mix of foundation products. It couldn’t be the Hourglass powder, could it?

Unfortunately, it was. Since I am weirdly colored, this highlighting powder was too dark for me. And even though it’s pretty neutral, on my skin it skews pink. Here it is swatched on my arm (heavy on the right, blended out on the left):

hourglass ambient lighting powder dim light swatch

I can really only use this as a blush, and I have enough blush, plus $45 is a lot for me right now. Based on what I’ve seen online, maybe Diffused light would have been a better all over Ambient Lighting shade for me? Ethereal Light is also very pale, but might be too pink-y based for me. Incandescent light from the re-released palette is probably my best bet, but I don’t know if I want to shell out $60 for what I’d essentially use as a very subtle, shimmery contour palette. I might swatch it when the palette shows up in stores and see. In the meantime, I’m returning Dim Light.


So what’s my overall impression? I think this is really great product… for the right skintone. The shimmer is so great, and the finish looks very natural on cheeks. It just works best on medium skin tones (darker skinned ladies have complained about it being too light for all over use). Yes, Hourglass makes other shades that would probably match different tones better, but they all have the microglitter. Super subtle microglitter, but glitter nevertheless. Microglitter is fine, but the reason I was willing to shell out $45 was for the non-glittery finish that would look completely natural, which is only on the Dim Light shade. So keep that in mind, depending on your skin tone and what finish you like.


That said, I do have a cheap alternative for ghostly girls (and sometimes boys) like me. Meow Cosmetics Crystalline Cat Glow Powder ($12.95) is a loose powder with the same non-glitter shimmer and natural finish, but it is white, so this is definitely more useful for pale people. Swatched heavy on the right, blended out on the left:

meow cosmetics crystalline cat finishing powder swatches

If you’re super pale, it works great as a glow-y setting powder. It’s very, very finely-milled and it looks great on. I use it all the time (so who knows why I even went for the Hourglass powder at all). If you’re darker toned it would only work as a highlighter, but Meow also makes some different shades of tinted glow powders. The online shades don’t translate super well and are also fairly pigmented, so I would recommend stocking up on samples before buying full sized. The tinted samples I tried ended up being better as luminous blushes and not the subtle all-over flush I expected. You can see it in action here in my previous Meow review, where I wore Crystalline Cat Glow Powder in Quartz ($9.95) as a blush.

And here’s what I did with my face today. Obviously I didn’t do anything with my eyes or lips, but I’m wearing Purrrfect Puss Mineral Powder Foundation in Frisky Chartreux ($23.45), Meow Cosmetics Crystalline Cat Glow Powder ($12.95) all over as a setting powder, and  Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light ($45) as a blush.

meow cosmetics crystalline cat finishing powder hourglass ambient lighting powder in dim light swatch


6 thoughts on “Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light Review and Swatches

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  3. I am also very pale (lighter than NC15 from MAC) and I bought Diffused light. I use this as an all over powder and it’s simply AMAZING! It doesn’t look too shimmery or glittery on my face. I really want another one and read a lot of positive reviews about Dim Light (a lot of people favorites) but I am glad I’ve read your review. It seems like it will definitely be too dark for my skin tone. I really wanted to dry the palest shade in the palette but like you, I’m not willing to pay the price if I only buy it for one color. I think I will try Ethereal Light!

    • Glad I could help! I hope you found one that works for you- the products are such high quality that I’m sure you’ll find something you really like.

    • Yeah, I’ve tried Siberia and that foundation was too light on me, so if you wear that then Dim Light would definitely be too dark as an all over powder! I have Diffused Light now and I like that one a lot. It could be worth a try for you.

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