I have been on a bit of a powder binge as of late. As my skin goes through the inevitable transition from NC 27-30 to NC23-25 (it takes eons for my summer tan to fade...good grief, it's almost summer again!), my quest for the perfect shade of base has yielded countless foundation and powder purchases.
I prefer to use a powder to refine the look of my foundation, rather than serve as a foundation on its own...in turn, I've been looking for lighter powders with undetectable finishes and the ability to simultaneously mattify and enhance radiance.
|Above: The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder comes in the classic Hourglass rose-tinged brown plastic compact. It has a generous mirror and|
I ordered the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder, sight unseen, from Sephora a couple weeks back. The Internet buzz about these powders had been palpable...especially because they didn't hit stores until last week. After a bit of research, I settled on Diffused Light, a "soft, warm pale yellow" and Dim Light, a neutral peach beige. As beautiful as they look, I wasn't interested in Ethereal, Luminous and Radiant Light powders because they appear to serve an illuminating purpose and between the highlighters I love from Tom Ford, Edward Bess, RMS, Kevyn Aucoin and Chanel, I couldn't justify another shimmery face product.
Here's the official word from Sephora:
Create your perfect light. Ambient Lighting Powder is a groundbreaking collection of finishing powders that capture, diffuse, and soften the way light reflects on your skin. Ambient’s illuminating particles are one of the first ever to exhibit both photoluminescence and color-correcting capabilities. The transparent micron-sized spheres with an entrapped diamond core—called photoluminescent technology—do not simply cloak imperfections like traditional powder, but rather, alter and refine the perceived appearance of the complexion by manipulating and filtering out harsh light. Delivering a multidimensional luminescence to every skintone, skin appears softer, younger, and lit-from-within. With six universal shades available, you can choose to create your desired lighting effect—not unlike having a personal lighting technician. Ambient is free of talc, gluten, fragrance, and nanoparticles.
This all may sound like a smidge of chicanery, but I can attest to the fact that the magical description is actually quite accurate!
|Above: Diffused Light is a pale yellow powder with no perceptible shimmer, though somehow it imparts a brightening glow!|
At first glance, Diffused Light doesn't seem like much. If not for the barely yellow sheen in the pan, one could initially mistake this for translucent powder. Even the swatches don't adequately reveal its transformative powers...they may only look like a very light powder, but on the face, Diffused Light's gossamer splendor is remarkable.
The powder itself is very finely milled...it is weightless and silky and instantly disappears upon application. I don't detect any fragrance (and couldn't identify the addition of scent in the ingredients below) and my sensitive skin hasn't experienced any negative reactions during my week of use.
Ingredients: Mica, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Boron Nitride, Hdi/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Octyldodecanol, Silica, Benzimidazole Diamond Amidoethyl Urea Carbamoyl Propyl Olymethylsilsesquioxane, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Phenoxyethanol, Dimethicone, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Sorbic Acid, Olyacrylamide, Benzoic Acid, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Potassium Sorbate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Laureth-7, Ethylhexylglycerin, Trimethylsiloxysilicate. May Contain : Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Ci 77163 (Bismuth Oxychloride),Ci 77491 (Iron Oxide),Ci 77492 (Iron Oxide), Ci 77499 (Iron Oxide),Ci 75470 (Carmine).
Above and below: Heavy (to reflect texture and tone) swatches of Diffused Light in indirect and direct natural lighting.
The best way to illustrate Diffused Light's wonder is to see it on the face...the following images show Diffused Light over three different foundations. In all cases, this powder brightens and illuminates without obvious shimmer...it reduces redness and discoloration and evens out the skin while remaining impossible to detect with the naked eye. It also manages to keep shine at bay and lasts the whole day without caking or settling!
|Above: Diffused Light over Napoleon Perdis China Doll Foundation in Look 2.|
|Above: Diffused Light over SK-II Creme Foundation in #420.|
|Above: Diffused Light Powder over Revlon Colorstay Whipped Creme Foundation in #200 Sand Beige.|
Onto Dim Light...this delicate matte beige peach powder is designed to brighten and even out the skin. Obviously, it is darker than Diffused Light, so I apply it with a slightly lighter hand and tend to use it over foundations that lean a bit lighter.
When I apply it, it feels like nothing is happening...however, the final effect is stunning. My skin is more even. My complexion looks healthier and more radiant without the use, once again, of shimmer!
The brightening effect is palpable, while somehow avoiding looking like I've over applied bronzer or blush. This powder is fantastic for anyone seeking to look more awake and even. I do think that it might be a tad too dark (as an over the entire face powder) for very fair skin tones (e.g., NC10-20), however, it could then easily be used as a pale blush or contour to bring life to the cheek bones.
|Above: Dim Light in natural light...it is a peach-toned beige that effortlessly brightens and evens the skin.|
|Above: Dim Light over Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Stick #5.|
|Above: A mixture of Diffused Light and Dim Light on the face.|