Review: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes

Posted on October 01, 2016 under Reviews


In the past year and a half, I have moved to a quality over quantity approach in my makeup acquisition. When I was just starting out, it didn’t make sense to pay big prices for products that I didn’t know how to use. Now, though, I have everything I reasonably need (insofar as anybody can “need” makeup), and my purchasing has decreased at a steady rate. I’m a big fan of regularly evaluating my collection and decluttering items I’m not using, but I’m also decidedly not a minimalist. I will continue to acquire new makeup – just at a slower pace.

Although I do love a good bargain and swear by many a drugstore product, much of my makeup interest lies on the more expensive side of things these days. Well, that’s not strictly true. For boring things (the necessities, you might say), I’m more likely to spend my money at the drugstore. But for colour cosmetics, things that excite me, I’m all about those fancy products!

I wholly acknowledge that, often, higher end products are all about marketing and nice packaging. I used to scoff at people who shopped at Sephora, thinking that there was no way any of those products were worth it. But, well, some of those products are worth it.

This probably doesn’t come as any surprise to those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile, but I adamantly believe that the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes are worth their weight in gold. (Incidentally, ounce for ounce, gold is currently worth almost six times as much as an ALB. Adjusting for Canadian price differentials, the closest blush I could find to the weight of gold was Tom Ford, at $313.71/oz.) Aisling gave me Diffused Heat in January 2015, and over the course of that year I collected four of the seven shades, adding Luminous Flush in June and Radiant Magenta and Mood Exposure in December.


Maybe I’m just looking in the wrong places, but I feel like a lot of the time blush reviews talk about colours, pigmentation, texture, and blendability and completely skip over longevity. I don’t know about you guys, but I have a lot of blushes that are beautiful colours and textures that fade fairly quickly. These blushes are the antithesis to that – they check every box, including longevity. I always put products to the work test – if they can survive eight hours of me being run off my feet in a busy retail environment, they can’t be too bad. The other week, I applied Diffused Heat at 2pm and got home past 12am. When I looked in the mirror, it had not budged. That’s why I think Hourglass has managed to edge out some of the other more expensive blushes that may be pigmented, soft, and blendable but not intensely long-wearing. They also give the most gorgeous glow to the face without ever looking shimmery. I was not a fan of the Ambient Lighting Powders, but damn they’re nice mixed in with a blush.

My only real complaint with these (other than the obvious – the price point) is that the shade range is not great. There are only seven shades to begin with – which seems to be about average compared to luxury brands like Tom Ford and Guerlain – and, more disappointingly, the actual range is honestly not the best. There is only one truly cool-toned blush out of the bunch, Ethereal Glow, and it’s so pale that I can’t imagine it would be serviceable for a very wide range of skin tones. Mood Exposure is the only other standout in terms of sheer difference; it’s a warm mauvey plum. The others are all variations of coral or peach – and, let’s face it, when blended out they’re not going to look that different. I wish that Hourglass would bring out more shades, but also that they’d thought through the original six a little more fully. I think a deep, cool pink is missing from the range, and a deeper berry or soft rose would be welcome additions in my mind!

You can see what I’m talking about in my swatches:


Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Diffused Heat is a warm coral red. It has visible shimmer in direct sunlight. It’s pretty pigmented right out of the gate, but not too much so.


Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Luminous Flush is a peachy pink. Like Diffused Heat, it’s quite pigmented.


Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Radiant Magenta is a toned-down fuchsia. It has visible shimmer in direct sunlight. It’s a bit sheerer than Diffused Heat and Luminous Flush.


Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure is a brownish plum, or maybe a plummy brown. It’s my favourite of them all because it’s so versatile. It looks boring in the pan but on the face it’s stunning.



Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Luminous Flush on my face.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes retail for $45 CAD for 0.15oz, or $300 per oz. (For those wondering, at the time of writing, gold is currently $1730 CAD per oz.)

There are 7 responses to “Review: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes”

  • I love how you actually did the comparison ounce to ounce for gold haha! I think this is a more affordable and useful option than an ounce of gold though. I love the Mood Exposure blush. I haven’t tried any of the hourglass brand to be honest… but I have ogled over them for a long time.
    I agree that colour is important, but longevity even more so. Blushes can be so finicky and look great for a couple hours but fade or disappear super quickly for some weird reason. You make a great point.

    Great review :)

    Lindsey Elyse | lindseyginge

    • Definitely more useful than gold for my day-to-day life! Hourglass is pricey (especially here) but they have some really nice products. The blushes are truly top notch if you’re looking to splurge.

  • I’ve been feeling the same way about quality over quantity: at this point I know what I like and what works on me, and it kind of bums me out to use products with cheap, ugly packaging. I don’t regret buying lots of cheap products as part of the learning process, but I no longer feel shallow when I decide “nope, that otherwise perfectly fine product isn’t pretty enough.”

    I’ve never been interested in the Ambient Lighting Blushes because, as you say, most of them lean warmer than I prefer. Mood Exposure is gorgeous, though! I might look at it when I finally run out of Illamasqua Zygomatic.

    • I’ve always been easily swayed by packaging. I don’t feel as bad about it now because I’m much more careful about adding new products into the mix, so while pretty packaging may certainly be part of my consideration I know I’m still buying products I will use and enjoy.

      Definitely check out Mood Exposure! It’s by far my favourite of them all, although it’s quite drab in the pan compared to the others. It seems like it would fulfill a similar function to Zygomatic: they’re both nice neutral workhorses.

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