top of page


  • Writer's pictureNaya

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?

From what I have been told by a very friendly Hourglass sales assistant at Sephora, this Ambient Metallic Strobe Lighting Palette has a slightly newer/more saturated formula than the original. It is intensely concentrated, reflective and includes three very wearable shades (all of these are new and limited edition). Just like with all other Hourglass powders, texture is incredibly soft and buttery. I want to sound posh and say that I am very chuffed with the colour selection too: you get a beautiful pearl shade (Absolute Strobe Light), pale champagne (Pure Strobe Light) and more of a subdued rose gold (Lucent Strobe Light).

Now, when you look at the swatches you might think "ah, these look like something I already have/ they are not as blinding as I thought they would be". But believe me you, even with my rather impressive highlighter collection from a ton of different brands, I was quite amazed by these 'newer' strobe powders. Once they are on your face - they transform your complexion from one dimensional and dull to J.Lo, mermaids and sirens of the Carribean Sea combined in one.

Depending on your mood - you can go from subtle ethereal glow to "roll out that red carpet baby!" in a heartbeat. You can also use these both dry or wet (sweep damp brush across the powder for ultimate results). Shade Absolute Strobe Light (pearl with a hint of pink) is the lightest in the palette and is my absolute favourite. Although I have way more tan now (thanks to outdoors swimming sessions) on my light complexion it literally sends signals to the moon and back; Pure Strobe Light is my "humble" everyday highlight, it has more of that Moonstone by Becca vibe to it and will look incredible on someone with light, light-medium complexion. Lastly, you have the darkest shade in the palette called Lucent Strobe Light. On me (I am Shell in Hourglass) it is a touch dark to be a highlight; plus it is very close to my actual skin colour. If you are around my skin tone, you can easily mix it with the other two lighter shades to make it more wearable. If you are medium, medium-deep this colour alone will be a gorgeous highlight for you.

Although I did not pick up any of Hourglass original Strobe Lighting Powders, I am more than happy with my Metallic Strobe Lighting Palette and feel like it will take me ages to actually hit pan on it, especially since you get .10oz/ 3g of each shade. Again, palette costs 62 USD, which is 14 USD less than what you would pay for two full sized highlighters.

hourglass ambient lighting edit volume 3 ambient metallic strobe lighting palettes review


I think Hourglass did a great job with their limited edition palettes this year. I love these and will be definitely using both of them non-stop, so if you are a friend on Instagram - beware! Jokes aside, I am here to help you decide, so here are my thoughts. If you own any of the previous Ambient palettes, chances are - you don't need Volume 3 in your life; that is unless you are running out and need a replacement. If you own individual Hourglass bronzers, highlighters, blushes and powders - I don't think you need an extra palette either; unless you want something more travel-friendly of course. If you are like me and it is (potentially) your first Ambient palette, don't even sleep on it.

As for the Metallic Strobe Lighting Palette, if you are not using highlighters on a daily basis, I think you can easily survive without this palette. I know many people (my dear mother included), who use the same highlighter over and over again and are more than happy with just one (maximum two). If you are one of those people, then you can skip on it. However, if you are like moi and highlighters are your scone, butter and jam - you don't want to miss out on this little guy. It sits on the skin so beautifully, is versatile (wear it sheer or light it up) and never accentuates pores, lines, texture or anything like that. My only concern is - I am not sure how two lighter shades would look on someone with a deep complexion, so do test it while you are at the store. Personally speaking, I like this palette way more than the brand's individual highlights and it is now an official member of my "highlighter hall of fame" among Becca Cosmetics, MAC Extra Dimension and MUFE Pro Light Fusion.

  • Instagram - Black Circle
  • Pinterest - Black Circle
  • circle-128
  • RSS - Black Circle

you might also like

bottom of page