Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Unlocked Palette | Holiday 2018 | Review + Swatches

Hello everyone! Welcome to my second Holiday 2018 review. Who hasn’t already gotten sucked into holiday releases? I want to know. Now that we are into November though, I can more easily accept the beginning of holiday season.

The Ambient Lighting Edit Unlocked is one of Hourglass’s newest palettes that is limited edition. I was really sad last year because I missed out on their holiday palette, so I jumped on this one immediately, and I am so glad I did! However, I was definitely irked when I saw that they were releasing a SECOND holiday palette after the fact. But I have a sneaking suspicion that this one is better anyways. So let’s get into this review.

Packaging and First Impressions

This palette comes in an ultra-reflective gold unit carton that matches the palette inside. The palette itself is plastic and has a clasp closure, but is definitely weighted so it both feels and looks luxurious.

One special touch is that the Hourglass logo on the front of the packaging includes a bunny, signifying their commitment to producing cruelty free products and their involvement with the Non-Human Rights Project. Hourglass is currently reformulating all of their products to become an exclusively vegan brand, and this is the first Ambient Lighting Edit palette that has a vegan formula. For every purchase of this palette, Hourglass is donating 5% of the proceeds to the Non-Human Rights Project, which is the only civil rights organization in the United States working to secure legally recognized fundamental rights for nonhuman animals. Additionally, 1% of all profits from any purchase on hourglass.com is also donated to NHRP, which is great too!

Inside the palette you have six face shades: one finishing powder, one contour/finishing powder, one bronzer, two blushes and one highlighter. All of the powders included in this palette are new and exclusive, because they are the new vegan formulation. All other Ambient Lighting Edit Palettes include pre-existing shades from their Ambient Lighting line. For those of you who are sensitive to scent, the powders in this palette are unscented.

outer packaging




“Introducing the next generation of the coveted Ambient® Lighting Edit. The Unlocked edition features 6 new exclusive shades of powder, bronzer, blush and metallic strobe powder.

This 100% vegan palette features the Hourglass symbol representing our commitment to being a cruelty free brand. A portion of profits from this palette will go to support the Nonhuman Rights Project – the only civil rights organization in the United States working to secure legally recognized fundamental rights for nonhuman animals.

  • 5% of profits from the sale of this palette will support the Nonhuman Rights Project. 
  • Achieve an instant photo filter finish with two new shades of Ambient® Lighting Powders in versatile complexion shades to finish the skin. 
  • All six powders are formulated with pure Photoluminscent Technology to capture, diffuse and soften surrounding light for skin that appears softer, younger and lit from within.
  • Travel friendly palette is designed to be used with the double-ended Ambient® Lighting Edit Brush

Formulated without:

  • Parabens
  • Fragrance
  • Talc
  • Nanoparticles
  • Gluten
  • Vegan-friendly
  • Not tested on animals, we are proud to be a cruelty free brand”

Price and Quantity

This palette is priced at $95 CAD ($80 USD) and has 0.24 oz of product. I can tell you right off the bat that that is a small amount of product…

For price comparisons, I chose high end face palettes that included a blush, bronzer and highlighter. It’s actually very annoying to compare face palettes, because they are all composed of such different things, but this is going to give you a general idea of how this face palette compares. For example, some palettes include 2 blushes, 2 bronzers and 2 highlighters, whereas others only have one of each, etc.

Here are the comparisons listed from best value to worst value:

Rank Product Cost
($ CAD)
Quantity (oz) Number of Shades Cost-Quantity Ratio for 1 oz of product
1 Too Faced Natural Face Palette $54 0.84 6 $64/oz
2 Smashbox Cali Contour Palette $49 0.69 6 $71/oz
3 Urban Decay Naked Flushed Palette $38 0.49 3 $78/oz
4 Tarte Hamptons Weekender Contour Palette $25 0.24 3 $104/oz
5 Becca Be a Light Face Palette $55 0.52 4 $106/oz
6 MUFE Artist Face Color $56 0.51 3 $110/oz
7 NARS Orgasm Infatuation Palette $56 0.36 3 $156/oz
8 Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Unlocked $95 0.24 6 $396/oz
8 Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Volume 4 $95 0.24 6 $396/oz

Well, was anyone surprised? Hourglass is a luxury brand and therefore has the luxury prices and values to match. That just means that to be worth it, you need to love the product to make it valuable! This ain’t no budget buy, that’s for sure.

Pigmentation and Performance

Honestly, I have been pretty obsessed with this palette since it arrived in the mail. I think what I love the most about it is the bronzer, but all of the shades are beautiful. I am just always obsessed with bronzer. That’s my thing, what can I say.



So let’s talk about the different shades.

Soft Light is supposed to be similar to their very popular finishing powders, such as Dim Light. These powders are often raved about because people who have particularly dry skin love to use them to set their face makeup, or their under eyes. I don’t actually prefer their powders for either of these things, because I have oily/combo/dry skin, so I like to use a more mattifying powder. However, my under eyes are very dry, but I still don’t like this powder to set them, because it almost makes them reflective and draws more attention to them than if they were just matte. Because of this I will sometimes just sweep this powder all over my face after setting my makeup with a mattifying powder to add that “extra glow”. I definitely don’t notice a huge difference when I do this, but this powder is there, so I might as well use it. I, personally, could do without this shade.

Filtered light is supposed to act similarly to Soft Light if you have a deeper skin tone, or as a soft contour if you are more fair. I prefer to use this shade in conjunction with the bronzer shade, as I am not fair enough to use this on it’s own currently.

Golden Bronze light is a beautifully pigmented bronzer. This is easily my favourite shade in the palette. It is such a radiant bronzer that just makes your skin look healthy. When doing my bronzer, I like to sweep over the whole top row of powders (Soft Light, Filtered Light and Golden Bronze Glow) to give myself a lighter overall bronze, and then I mix Filtered Light and Golden Bronze Glow together to deepen the hollows of my cheek bones. The result is a really well-blended and smooth contour and bronze effect!


Nude Glow is a peachy pink blush that upon inspection, looks like it has a bunch of glitter in it. I can tell you that with application zero glitter shows up. This is just a very radiant peachy blush that works really well for any look. The only thing is that I do think it could be more pigmented, but it builds well. I prefer a softer blush look anyways, and as my summer tan fades, it will show up better anyways.

Mood Flush is a beautiful mauve that is beautiful with more pink or berry-toned looks. This blush definitely has a lot more pigment, and is surprise, a matte blush! I didn’t think Hourglass offered anything matte at all. I am loving this blush though.

Champagne Strobe Light is a lighter champagne highlighter that definitely comes across on the more natural side. I do think that is is really beautiful for daily wear. If you do want to pump it up, I suggest building it up, finishing the rest of your makeup and using a setting spray, and then after that has dried, applying a bit more. You can definitely make it blinding with a little work. But from my understanding, Hourglass Strobe Lighting Powders are not meant to be blinding anyways. Ultimately, I do enjoy the natural looks that this shade gives.

Unfortunately, because it has been raining here so much I haven’t been able to take any dedicated photos to show you what these products look like on the skin. They just don’t look true to colour when photographed inside. However, like I said, I haven’t worn basically anything else since getting this palette, so in any selfie of me in the last month, I have been wearing this palette. So here is a selection of photos of me over the last month wearing various shades from the palette.

Be aware that the shades might not show up as deep as they are in real life, and that I am usually lighter-handed when it comes to blush.

Wearing Soft Light, Filtered Light and Golden Bronze Light
Wearing Soft Light, Filtered Light, Golden Bronze Light and Mood Flush
Wearing Soft Light, Filtered Light, Golden Bronze Light and Nude Glow
edit_Real Red
Wearing Soft Light, Filtered Light, Golden Bronze Light and Nude Glow
Wearing Soft Light, Filtered Light, Golden Bronze Light and Mood Flush

Final Thoughts

Even though this palette is so incredibly expensive, why not spoil yourself for the holiday season? If you can afford this, I truly think that you will love it, at least based on my personal experience. Like I said, since this palette arrived in the mail, I used it every single day. I can’t stop, and I won’t stop!

I think a lot of people would ask me if I felt this palette was worth the price tag. And I do feel it was worth it, mainly because I am obsessed with the majority of the shades. I could do without the finishing powders, but I am still finding ways to use them. And really, the finishing powders are some of the most raved about products that Hourglass carries, so that might just be me! Test it out for yourself, give it a swatch next time you are in store.

Have you tried Hourglass before? What is your favourite Hourglass product?

sign off 3

11 thoughts on “Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Unlocked Palette | Holiday 2018 | Review + Swatches

  1. I actually haven’t gotten sucked into the holiday releases this year. Nothing has caught my eye yet.

    I only have a couple things from Hourglass, the strobe highlighter in Incandescent (nice subtle highlight) & the Dim Light powder (used to set my undereye with it, but it’s too dark now). I used to have the stick foundation, which was sent to me via Influenster, but the shade they sent was too dark so I got rid of it. I kept the brush though, which is really nice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good for you! I must say most things haven’t interested in me, and it has been that way since before the summer. Recent releases just haven’t been grabbing me overall for whatever reason. Which is just fine because I can save my money lol.


  2. I just bought this in the first week of sale so I haven’t tested it thoroughly yet, but this palette is so beautiful! The bronzer is my favourite too, followed closely by the Mood Flush blush. I love how perfected it makes your skin look!

    Liked by 1 person

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