Skin & Tonics : Skincare Guides & Product Reviews

Skincare guides & product reviews for hydration lovers & the moisture barrier obsessed

Review: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light

When the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders were released, they were at the top of my beauty wish list. The Ambient Lighting Powders are setting powders ($45 each) that are available in six universal shades designed to recreate “your most flattering light.” After watching a ton of YouTube reviews I decided to purchase two of them – one in Dim Light, and one in Diffused Light. Today I’ll be reviewing Dim Light.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Dim Light Review

First of all, the packaging is beautiful. I read a lot of complaints from people who thought it was too bulky, but my impression was more that the compact is sturdy and substantial. The mirrored, rose pewter finish is an elegant touch, and looks gorgeous on my bathroom counter. In fact, it may be the beautiful packaging that keeps persuading me to give this powder chance after chance to prove its worth to me. And that, right there, is the rub. The product packaging is beautiful, but so far I have yet to fall in love with the actual product.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Dim Light Review

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Dim Light Review


I love the concept of the powders – that each color mimics a specific lighting effect. The Dim Light powder, a neutral peach beige, is supposed to provide the perfect balance of warm and cool tones, and blur the appearance of imperfections. The powder itself is very finely milled, but it’s also very dry, so there’s a lot of dust-up when swiping your brush over it. Hourglass does make a special Ambient Lighting Powder brush, which is sold separately. I did not purchase the brush, and opted instead to use my EcoTools powder brush. These powders are meant to be applied with a light hand, so when I’m applying it I generally like to swipe the sides of the brush over the product (as opposed to the top of the brush), and then gently sweep it over my face.


Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Dim Light Review

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Dim Light Review

Unfortunately, I’ve been underwhelmed. The Dim Light effect is visible, but in person it looks like a subtle, but unnatural tan. It definitely leans more warm than cool, and although I have a light-medium complexion, there is a distinct darkening effect on my face when using this powder. It’s not exactly Oompa-Loompa territory – nowhere near that severe – but it’s not really a look I aspire to. I think someone looking for a bronzing effect would probably love it, but as a rule, that’s not really my jam. I tried to capture it in my before & after photos, but for some reason the darkening effect isn’t as visible in pictures as it is in person. I have been trying to use it as a subtle contouring powder instead of an all-over powder lately, and for that purpose it does serve me a little better. But it’s still not my favorite contouring powder because it’s a little too warm to be a realistic looking shadow.

Left: My makeup without Dim Light Ambient Lighting PowderRight: My makeup with Dim Light Ambient Lighting PowderThe difference is definitely more pronounced in person than it is in photos.

Left: My makeup without Dim Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Right: My makeup with Dim Light Ambient Lighting Powder
The difference is definitely more pronounced in person than it is in photos.

Ultimately, I think that although the Ambient Lighting Powder shades claim to be universal, that may not actually be the case. I don’t think Dim Light suits my NC25 skin, or maybe it’s just that the effect this powder gives doesn’t suit my personal style. Either way, I plan on exchanging it. The $45 price tag is too hefty for something I’m not in love with. A couple of people have suggested to me that I try exchanging it for Mood Light, which is a sheer, lavender toned powder designed to flatter and brighten the complexion. It’s been sold out on Sephora online and at my local Sephora for weeks, but once it’s back in stock, I’m certainly willing to give Mood Light a try! I do, after all, love the concept of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders. Dim Light just isn’t for me.

Skin & Tonics Rating:

Performance: 3/ 5 – It does create some depth of color on the skin, but the look is slightly bronzed, which isn’t really my personal style. The color lasts for 5-7 hours.

Quality: 4/5 – The packaging is beautiful and sturdy, and the powder itself is very finely milled.

Value: 3/ 5 – $45 is a steep price tag, but you do get a generous amount of high-end product for the price.

Overall: 3.3/5


Follow me on Instagram:


This post contains affiliate links. Shopping through these links help support this site! Read full disclosure for details.  

Share this:

5 comments onReview: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light

  1. I saw another review of this and was underwhelmed by the before and afters. So, you were not the only one!

    • Kerry

      That’s good to know. These are such darlings in the makeup forums I’m active in, I always feel like the odd woman out when I say they’re underwhelming. It makes me wonder if they look more miraculous on other skin tones!

  2. Your skin looks amazing—finish, glow, texture, pore size, and all—even BEFORE you added the ambient lighting powder. What’s your secret?

  3. FINALLY I found a review that told me whether this would be too bronzy on my super-fair skin! I keep reading that it’ll add glow, but i’m so fair that I can layer Ethereal on with a heavy hand and not look highlighted, so I’m thinking Dim may get a little muddy.

    I recommend trying Diffused light- it’s lovely and blurry, and doesn’t add or take away color, just evens things out a bit.


    • Kerry

      Thanks for the tip, Amanda! How do you like Ethereal Light? You mention that it doesn’t show up as a highlighter, but does it have any other effect on the overall look of your skin?