• Naya

Hourglass Holiday Palettes '17

hourglass ambient lighting edit palette metallic strobe lighting palette review

Some of you guys might have seen a little 'teaser' on my Insta-Stories yesterday and the dramatic zoom/sound effect aside - I am pretty excited to share this review with you all. We're finally going to talk about Hourglass limited edition 2017 holiday palettes, including: Ambient Lighting Edit Volume 3 Palette and Ambient Metallic Strobe Lighting Palette. So, buckle up and let's roll!


As you might remember from my previous posts (where I was reviewing the brand's blushes, bronzers or powders) - I really love Hourglass. Their "Ambient" range in particular is my absolute go-to and somewhat hefty price tags aside, I believe the quality is totally worth it. Now, I never really bought any of their previous holiday palettes (yet it is all I see on my Instagram feed 365 days a year) but I get why everyone is so in love - these Ambient palettes are truly heavenly and you won't really grasp that until you get one for yourself.

hourglass ambient metallic strobe lighting palette review

This year, I was lucky enough to visit my sanctuary - Sephora on Powell Street in San Francisco and, as you probably guessed, a little haul happened. I bought both 2017 holiday palettes and here is what I think about them.

Ambient Lighting Edit Volume 3

Hourglass release a new 5-6 pan travel palette every year and these bad boys sell like hot cakes. You do get a nice variety of the brand's powders, which can be used for a plethora of things (set, illuminate, bronze, blush etc.). When I look back at the two previous Ambient Lighting Palettes though, I somehow feel that the shade selection looked a bit too"wishy-washy" for my liking. I also was not sure whether those colours would show up on someone with a medium-deep skin tone, if you know what I mean.

hourglass ambient lighting edit volume 3 palette review

Volume 3 palette, on the other hand, is the best one yet (in my humble opinion). For starters it has a perfect ratio of everything you might ever need to "complete your face": under-eye powder, highlighter, finishing powder, bronzer and two blushes (one slightly more cool-toned, one warm-toned). Shade selection is brilliant and all colours complement each other so well. Secondly - it comes in this gorgeous rose gold case and has a very decent mirror (big enough to fit your entire face, hence it will be great for travels or everyday busy life).

hourglass ambient lighting edit volume 3 palette review

Now, let's address elephant in the room: pan size is very small. If you compare these to any of the brand's original compacts, it would be something like: .04oz/ 1.3g vs. 35oz/ 10g. Or something like: 13 USD per pan vs. 46 USD per compact.

I personally own quite a few of Hourglass individual compacts and even with everyday use, I have a feeling that I won't hit pan anytime soon. Not even in November 2018. Which makes me think that if you don't want to spend over 200 USD on at least four of these (powder, highlighter, bronzer, blush) then getting a single palette would make waaaay more sense.

Keeping them swatches ugly and real. Please click on each image to zoom in and read more about colours swatched.

Disclaimer: if you have never used Hourglass powders before, then it is worth mentioning that they never blow you away with hand-swatches only (colours might look too similar or sheer). These come alive once they are on your beautiful face, so my biggest tip is - go ahead, bring your own little brush and play with these while you are still at the store.

There are three new colours in this palette: Surreal Halo, Pure Effect, Hypnotic Strobe Light. I am happy to finally see a deeper berry-toned blush; I talk more about Hourglass blush pros and cons here. As for the other powders: Diffused Light is perfect for your under-eye. Even if you are a beauty of a particular age and the last thing you want is to accentuate your fine lines - this powder is so finely milled and light-reflective, it will actually make your skin appear brighter (thanks to the soft yellow tint), well-rested and even a little bit "retouched". Dim Light is perfect as a finishing powder and Hypnotic Strobe Light will add just a right amount of sophisticated glow (nothing too glittery, metallic or harsh). Pure Effect is a gorgeous everyday bright coral-pink blush in my opinion; Hourglass blushes and bronzers are very pigmented, so be careful and don't rely on hand-swatches alone. Both blushes in this palette have a very soft golden/champagne luminosity to them, which will make your complexion look youthful and radiant.

My go-to look: concealer, a little bit of each powder from this palette, lip gloss, mascara and I am out. Great palette for a monochromatic or that sexy/natural/glowy"model off duty" look. You might know from my previous Hourglass reviews, that these powders (blushes and bronzers in particular) have a great lasting power and even when they fade, they do so gradually and in a very flattering way (no blotches or patches here).

Ambient Metallic Strobe Lighting Palette

Hourglass Strobe Lighting Powders are a new territory for me, but if you are a friend to this blog (hugs!), then you know that I am pretty much... a magpie. I love my highlighters and am very vocal about it.

hourglass ambient metallic strobe lighting palette review

Back when the brand launched these "strobe" powders for the first time, I was pretty much crushing on Becca and with that love tunnel vision in mind - I honestly didn't feel the need to try anything else. But now that I am occasionally cheating on my beloved Becca (still #1 highlighter brand in my mind), I figured why not give this little guy a chance? See if we can make it work?