Review: Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder in Iridescent

Posted on March 16, 2016 under Reviews

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder in Iridescent Strobe Light

Several months ago, I commented that I would love if Hourglass came out with proper highlighters. The Ambient Lighting Powders just didn’t do it (or anything at all) for me, but I’m a huge fan of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes – it seemed to me that actual highlighting powders from the brand would be exquisite. A few months later, I learned from Lisa Eldridge’s Instagram that my wish had been granted. Of course, I had to pick up one of the new Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders as soon as I had the opportunity. After swatching them all and going back and forth, I finally selected Iridescent Strobe Light, a peachy pink shade, although I know I will be picking up Brilliant at some point. (Honestly, I’ll probably collect all four – I seem to do that with Hourglass products.)

Like other Hourglass powder products, the Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders are very soft and finely-milled – a term which is thrown around a lot but which I think is absolutely exemplified by these powders. They don’t feel creamy (or, to use another oft-used beauty blogger term, “buttery”), nor do they feel powdery. They do feel incredibly smooth and soft – dare I say silky?

Anyone who’s used to the likes of theBalm Mary Lou-Manizer or Becca Shimmering Skin Perfectors will find quite a difference in the effect of the Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders: they just don’t have the same strength. These are highlighters for people who don’t want to look like they’re wearing highlighter. It seems now that the trend is to really pack the intense highlight on – like, if your highlight isn’t basically a mirror, does it count? I’m not necessarily opposed to this look, but highlighter isn’t a staple for me – though in today’s makeup climate, that’s practically blasphemy. I mean, do I have Becca Moonstone and the Mary Lou-Manizer? Yes! But they’re not a must for me, and having a subtler option is welcome, as well. To use yet another term that’s been beaten to death, the Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders will give you more of that “lit from within” look than the disco ball look. I mean, both have their uses. But it’s nice to have something slightly more subtle. (Not that I always want that – my favourite highlighter is Topshop Polished, which is anything but natural.) I will note that Christine from Temptalia used Iridescent wet and did get a slightly more intense look, so it can be used that way as well!

I think you can best see the colour of Iridescent when compared to two other highlighters, Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Moonstone (top right) and Pearl (bottom):

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder in Iridescent Strobe Light comparisons

Here you can really see how much more peachy Iridescent is compared to the pale gold of Moonstone and the stark white of Pearl.

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder in Iridescent Strobe Light swatch

In swatches you can also see that it’s more toned-down than the Becca products: it’s not shimmery, it’s just glowy. It’s also a bit more sheer. (Side note: I haven’t decided if I’m going to keep Becca Pearl. In theory a white highlighter should be my pale face’s ideal, but I’m not blown away!)

Lasting power on the Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders is strong, not that I’d expect anything else from the brand that makes the longest-lasting blush I’ve ever personally found. I’ll admit that when I’m checking on my makeup I don’t tend to make sure my highlight is intact, but in testing this product specifically I’ve found that it can easily get through 6 hours on campus – though, granted, that does not involve any physical exertion whatsoever.

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder packaging

I mostly like the packaging: I’ve talked in the past about my love for Hourglass’s compact packaging. From a purely aesthetic standpoint, the packaging is attractive to me. I also like that the Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder compacts are silver, to differentiate them from the gold of the Ambient Lighting Blushes and deeper brown of the ALPs. Really the only downside is how quickly mirrored packaging attracts fingerprints – I’d been keeping mine in its original box to preserve it prior to photographing it. (I didn’t fully succeed, but it’s in a lot better condition than my positively grimy Ambient Lighting Blushes!)

Here is how it looks on my face: nowhere near the level of intensity as my beloved Topshop highlighter, but still clearly doing something for me.

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder in Iridescent Strobe Light on my face

Please excuse the following: my fading hair, the smudges under my eyes, my flaky nose, my creasing undereye concealer, the mascara dots on my upper eyelid. That makeup has been sitting on my face for awhile!

I suppose I spoiled my conclusion by telling you upfront that I intend to buy at least one more Ambient Strobe Powder! I personally really enjoy this product and find that it fits well into my makeup collection and routine as someone who isn’t a diehard highlighter fan. If Becca SSP-style highlight is your thing, you may find the Ambient Strobe Powders a bit too subtle for your liking. But if you’d like a glow without it looking too obvious, if you find that highlighter tends to emphasize your pores, or if you’re just looking for a bit more variety in your highlighter collection, you may want to look into the Ambient Strobe Powders.

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders retail for $41 USD or $48 CAD at Sephora and Hourglass stores and counters. With 0.16oz of product, that’s $256.25 USD or $300 CAD per oz.

There are 2 responses to “Review: Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder in Iridescent”

  • Love the comparison between these highlighters! I’ve heard only great things about the hourglass ambient ones, but never opted to try because they’re so expensive! I love the packaging, but it looks like it marks easily with fingerprints.

    Lindsey Elyse | lindseyginge

    • They are very pricey! I acquire my Hourglass products very slowly, and mainly with gift cards. But they’re actually only $2 more than the Becca ones everyone raves about, so maybe that puts it into perspective a bit? Though the Becca has a lot more product. (That’s not a huge concern for me when it comes to highlighter – I can’t imagine going through one very quickly, haha.)

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