For the longest time I wanted to start new series on this blog and finally - here I am. New In My Make-Up Bag are about some of the not-so-new-yet-still-cool-beauty-products, which I will be reviewing once the hype goes down a bit. Here is why.
What are these new series about?
New products launch every single week and while I would want to review them right when they are out, sadly that's not always the case. Many brands, including Hourglass, are not yet available in Dubai and our Sephora often gets products a bit later that the rest of the World (due to shipping time etc). But whenever I asked you guys on my social media (or here on the blog) whether you would still want "my [unbiased] two cents", majority of you said yes and to me - that was the sweetest thing ever.
After all, the point of this blog is to tell you whether certain products are worth your investment or not, despite their launch dates; I always have real-life consumers in mind and even if it takes me a few extra months (and pennies), I am happy to discover these hot new products with you. Thank you for your patience and being amazing readers and let's review these Hourglass babies already!
Vanish Foundation Stick
AKA Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick came out a year or so ago and being a fan of stick foundation in general, I knew I wanted to try it. Now, the reason why I refused to order it online was mainly due to the fact that I wanted to find a colour-match in person (not via brand's description) and you know what? It was worth waiting.
Claims: long-wearing (12hr)/ weightless/ full coverage/ foundation + concealer in one/ waterproof/ seamless finish.
Packaging: unlike most stick foundations I know, this one has a unique triangular shape "for precise application along the contours of the face". You get 0.25oz/ 7g of product here, which is a bit less compared to Tom Ford's 0.5oz/ 15g or Bobbi Brown's 0.31oz/ 9g. Now, while Traceless Stick Foundation costs almost twice more (85USD), Bobbi Brown Stick Foundation retails for the same price as Hourglass (46USD). So that you get an idea.
Shade Selection: there are 26 shades available, ranging all the way from Blanc (fair) to Esperesso (deep). I found this little gem when I was in Italy earlier this summer. Hourglass is a new brand for Italian Sephora and a girl, who was at the counter, was the sweetest sales assistant ever. She helped me find the right shade, which is so spot on. I am talking about Shell, which the brand describes as "light with neutral undertone". It is very similar to my shade in Tom Ford, which is Cream 1.5; and is less yellow than NC20-25 (my MAC match).
Here is what shade Shell looks like on my hand (both freshly applied and blended). I don't alter my swatches, so that you have a better idea of what colours look like in real life.
Application: this foundation is very creamy. It does not have that glossy sheen, which I typically associate with my Tom Ford foundation, probably due to the fact that Hourglass has a much fuller coverage. I would say that it is medium at its sheerest, but can be easily layered for that ultimate "I've been photoshopped" impact. Now, I rarely read instructions or descriptions; I prefer to figure things out on my own - so, naturally I had zero idea that this was a "foundation+concealer" type of a product. I had a few red spots and blemishes when I was testing it and you know what? I truly didn't need any concealer with this little guy - it covered everyyyything (including some of my freckles).
My favourite way to apply it - is by drawing a few stripes on my cheeks, forehead, nose, chin and then blending them all out with a damp make-up sponge. Hourglass do sell a dense, synthethic brush, which you can use with this foundation; I guess it is all about your personal preference, really. Foundation blends beautifully, leaves no stripes, doesn't cling to dry patches (yay!) and won't accentuate your pores. As for the triangle shape - I don't really care for it that much; to me it is more of a design-, rather than application-thing (just saying). I also use a smaller liner brush for pinpoint concealing and this foundation alone does a fab job. I would not apply Hourglass Vanish under my eyes though, simply because I already have a hydrating corrector/concealer for that.
Wear: from what I have noticed, when I don't set this foundation with powder, it does "vanish" in certain areas of my face in about 3-4 hours. I talk about bridge of the nose (if you wear glasses), chin, nostrils etc. If you touch your face often (like I do sometimes when I am writing), then know that it will disappear in those areas easily. You can actually see me wear it on this photo right here. Although this is a full-coverage product, it doesn't make your skin look dull/cakey/matte. I would say it has more of a natural/satin finish, which gets more dewy as time goes by.
Verdict: I really love Vanish Stick Foundation. Since I normally wear a sheer coverage, I would say that for me Hourglass Vanish is perfect for a special event or even photoshoot. It can easily take your complexion from dull to glam (also, next time you get those passport pictures taken, you know what foundation to wear). It does not feel drying at all; also if you have dry skin too and want full coverage - don't even sleep on it - this is the best one yet. From my experience I would say that if your skin type is: normal/normal to dry/combination/dry - then you will really enjoy it. Anyone, who is extremely dry or oily, might find this foundation either too dewy (especially throughout the day) or heavy/not hydrating enough (that is if your skin is already quite dry/dehydrated).
I also find that, since this is a full coverage product, do pick it up from a store (not online). It is important to get a shade, that is a perfect match in terms of both undertone and your skin colour; otherwise you are just one step away from a make-up disaster. My only complaint would be that you only get 7g of product here, but! Given the fact that it is more of a "special occasion" kind of a product for me, I think one tube will last me a long time. I like it much better than ABH, Bobbi Brown, MUFE (the latter one feels way more tacky in comparison). Guess you could say that both Hourglass and Tom Ford are winners today. The only reason why you would not like it is: (a) you don't like full coverage; (b) you don't wear foundation.
Ambient Lighting Blush
You might know that Hourglass is famous for their Ambient Lighting Powder, a product that made the brand truly famous. Mainly due to the powder's ethereal, lightweight and imprefections-blurring formula. These are "baked" goods, if you will; primarily based on Italian technology, that is used to produce thousands of mineral powders (eyeshadows included) for a plethora of make-up brands (both drugstore or high-end). However, none of these baked powders are even remotely as heavenly and luminous as Hourglass ones.
I already own the brand's bronzer and powder, which I adore and have mentioned multiple times on this blog; so getting one of their Ambient Blushes was a no brainer.
Claims: seamless blending/ dimensional/ airy/ lightweight/ soft-focus/ lit-from-within effect/ brightening/ "no two are the same".
Packaging: gorgeous, sleek, typical Hourglass packaging with a nice mirror. Now, these are a bit fragile, so I wouldn't carry this blush in my handbag per say. Actually, you don't even have to - and I will mention why later. You get 0.15oz/ 4.25g in each pan; each blush costs 38 USD.
Colours: One thing you should know about these little babies is that they are merely a mix of the brand's actual powders and various blush colours. Powder + Blush = Marble Effect. The ratio of powder to blush varies, so what my loveliest Hourglass SA did was - she carefully opened (without swatching obviously) a few different Diffused Heat blushes for me, so that I could pick one with a better marble effect (since I wanted a 50/50 ratio). She described this process as "picking jewelry" and couldn't be more right about it.
My only complaint though would be - although there are currently ten shades available (with a radiant or shimmery finish), most of them look alike. I picked Diffused Heat, because I felt it could be a nice everyday "no muss, no fuss" kind of shade for me. The brand describes it as "vibrant poppy", but honestly it is more of a pink with a light gold undertone (thanks to Diffused Light mixed into it).
As always, keeping my swatches real and ugly for you guys. This is what Diffused Heat looks like (both applied and blended).
Texture: I don't know if you can tell from the swatches, but this formula is definitely on more of a powdery side. It is also a touch more dry than both: the brand's actual powders or bronzers (something I did not expect).
Application: my favourite tool to apply these with - is actually an old-school, natural blush brush. I find that just like with the Hourglass bronzers, don't be fooled by how they swatch, because they might seem a bit mweh or lacklustre, but! They are more than meets the eye: you can easily go overboard if you keep on swirling your brush in the pan. So my advice would be - build it gradually. This formula does blend pretty well and leaves a nice sheen. It is certainly on a sheer side, so your skin will still peek through. Doesn't look blotchy, won't emphasize pores or any other imperfections. If anything, it almost blurs my skin (which is so bizarre and cool at the same time).
Wear: although I did not expect this, Ambient Lighting Blush lasts up to 6-7 hours on my skin, before it starts fading; doesn't matter whether I wear it on bare skin or on top of a foundation - it is very long-lasting. It doesn't look as luminous as Becca or MAC Mineralize blushes per say, which makes me think that it could be a great option for those of you, who kind of want to rock that radiant blush look, yet without the risk of looking overly glowy or shiny. As for me - it is surprisingly a touch too matte for my [personal] liking. You can click on this image here, to see what the blush looks like on my face.
Verdict: I am kind of on the fence about this blush. Packaging is beautiful, colour is beautiful and I love the marble effect. However, do I think it is better than my Becca Luminous Blushes or MAC Mineralize Blushes? No. If anything, I think MAC blushes are very similar to these ones by Hourglass (minus the packaging) and they are only 28 USD; plus they come in so many shades and honestly - they always give my (dry) skin that extra bit of a soft glow, which I adore. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush is more of a subdued version of MAC blush, which is great if you don't want a dull look (that many associate with matte or satin blushes) yet you don't ask for too much glow either - it will be perfect just as a wash of colour on your cheeks, nothing too "in your face". It also has a bit of that blurring effect, which I have mentioned earlier, so if it is something you look for in a blush - definitely check it out.
I think if you were choosing between Hourglass bronzer and blush - go with their Ambient Lighting Bronzer, all the way. Their powders too are bomb. I will keep on using my blush, don't get me wrong - I like it, but it is nothing that I would scream from the rooftop about. If you get the drill.