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making faces :: hourglass ups their ante

it's getting everyone's attention...
if you're a follower of the cosmetics industry, you've probably heard about hourglass' follow-up to last year's oh-so-successful "ambient lighting powders". those were finishing/ sculpting powders created to mimic the effects of different types of light against the skin. this year, each of those gets a blush to go with it. each of the six original powders has been combined with a complementary blush shade, the two of them marbled together in a compact to create a cheek shade fully infused with the characteristic glow of the ambient lighting powders.

as a huge fan of both hourglass and the ambient lighting powders, i was severely tempted to run off and grab all of them in a rabid makeup frenzy, but i've been told that if i bite anyone in line at sephora again that i'll never be allowed back. so i acted all responsible-like and bought one. because i had to try them...

the one i bought was, by choice, the shade that incorporates the only shade of the six ambient lighting powders that i don't already have. i own four in full size [mood light, dim light, luminous light and diffused light], plus i have the ambient lighting palette, a limited holiday offering that contained the limited edition shade "incandescent light" along with "dim light" and "radiant light". so the only one i'm missing is the lightest, "ethereal light", a very slightly pearled white highlighter. you would think that this would be a natural for me, but i decided to hold off on buying this one, since i had just bought bobbi brown's "porcelain pearl" highlighter, which is pretty similar.

that said, i didn't see any reason why i shouldn't get the "ethereal glow" blush, which contains threads of the white highlighter mixed with a strawberry ice cream-pink blush. after all, i don't actually have that many light pink blushes. for some reason i never get them, because i'm convinced i already have a lot and then i go looking for one and realise, no, i'm wrong again and i've probably lost the opportunity to get a shade that i'd use all the time. or at least a lot of the time. some of the time. it would be used.



"ethereal glow" is a very, very light pink blush. my particular one has a high ratio of blush to highlighter, but others [they're all different] are likely to be even less pigmented. i would say that on most people, this one will be a pink-toned highlighter rather than a true blush, but despite it's light colour, i was surprised that it did show up on my skin remarkably well. then again, this is the time of year when i'm just about at my palest, so it has more of a fighting chance.

ethereal glow

"ethereal light" is the most matte of the ambient lighting powders, so it doesn't entirely surprise me that there's not a lot of shimmer to "ethereal glow". it's more of a downplayed radiance, to be sure, but there is some shimmer to it. frankly, though, i could see the shimmer when i swatched it, but not so much on application. when worn, the blush gives the kind of effect you get from light reflecting from a burnished metal surface. there's a softness to it, a diffuse quality unlike sunnier blush and highlighter mixes. it is the perfect shade for someone looking to emulate the pale heroines of victorian gothic literature, faces upturned to the moon as they likely contracted consumption or got bitten by something deadly.

in terms of comparisons, i tried it next to my other light, cool pink blush, the limited edition lancome "glowy ballerine butterflies fever" blush from spring 2011. lancome's is deeper and cooler- it looks almost plum next to "ethereal glow". 

l to r :: ethereal glow, lancome butterflies fever [l.e.]
the texture of the blush is quite dusty, in that there's a fair amount of powder kicked up when you sweep a brush across the surface. however, when applied, it has a surprising stickiness to it. i don't know how else to describe it, but the powder seemed to just grab hold of my skin the instant it touched and took a little buffing to blend out properly. i've heard others saying that they found these blushes tended to emphasize dry patches. my skin is surprisingly well-hydrated at the moment, but i suspect that the "clinginess" of the powder would be trickier to deal with if my cheeks were dry.

the upside of the slight tackiness of the blushes is that, once set, the formula lasts extremely well. light shades don't normally last very long on my blush-eating skin, but this one hung on for several hours without any significant fading. that said, i swatched all the shades and i didn't find that said tackiness was as pronounced in most of the other colours. plus, of course, there's that whole thing about every unit being unique, which makes it a little difficult for me to assess how much of an issue it's going to be...

the real question is: do these blushes differ significantly from simply using the regular ambient lighting powders with a blush? actually, yes, they do. i've been using the ambient lighting powders over blushes for a year and they look gorgeous, but there is something special about these. the colours themselves seem to possess an internal light that is quite magical on the skin. think of the difference between seeing a sheer piece of fabric laid over another piece of fabric versus a single piece with threads of different colours woven together and it will probably give you the idea.

of course, the ambient lighting powders do look lovely over blushes and you certainly have more opportunity to come up with different combinations using separates. for instance, i love using "dim light" over cooler plum-pink blushes, to introduce just a trace of warmth, whereas the ambient lighting blush "dim infusion" is a mix of the original powder with a soft, warm, peach. on the other hand, the blushes will set you back $41cad, while a full-size ambient lighting powder is $52 [plus the cost of whatever blush you're using]. much like everything else to do with this product, it's a highly individual thing.

for my part, i do plan on picking up more shades, especially "diffused heat" a mix of yellowed-white "diffused light" with a bright poppy-red blush. the quiet luminosity and the lasting power make it worth the price of admission for me.

and here's a look at "ethereal glow" in action. it's kind of hard to focus on a very soft light pink blush, especially since there's a fair amount going on with my eyes, but i do think that you get a good sense of how the shade looks against my skin.

 
 

here's the full breakdown...

the base ::
gosh velvet anti-aging skin primer
nars e/s base
nars radiant creamy concealer "vanilla"
urban decay naked skin foundation "1.0"

the eyes ::
armani eyes to kill e/s "gold hercule" [dirty gold with green shift]
chanel e/s "les harmonies du soir" [light pink, antique gold, reddened plum, chocolate brown-taupe]*
mac e/s "creamy bisque" [creamy highlighter]*
illamasqua precision ink e/l "wisdom" [soft black with gold shimmer]
armani eyes to kill mascara

the cheeks ::
hourglass ambient lighting blush "ethereal glow" [cool light pink with white pearl]

the lips ::
mac l/s "blood red" [deep, cool rose pink]

if you don't hear from me for a while, you can assume that i went on a rabid makeup rampage for the rest of these lovelies and ended up biting someone. but they'll have to let me out eventually and then i'll be back with more things to show you.

Comments

Lani said…
You look so glowy and beautiful, Kate!
Kate MacDonald said…
Thanks Lani! The credit goes to the powder. The effect is subtle, in the sense that it doesn't deposit a lot of colour or (with this shade especially) shimmer, but it's certainly noticeable. Just gives you a wonderful radiance. This brand has been almost nothing but home runs for me.
Lani said…
I'd love to try it. The blushes are around $60 here which doesn't seem as high as the usual insane mark up we get.

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