Hourglass Cosmetics Staples

September 26, 2018

Hourglass Cosmetics is one of those brands that has slowly but very surely taken up a lot of real estate within my makeup collection over the years. And honestly, I’m not mad it because they have been absolutely killing it with each new launch or campaign. As a predominantly vegan brand that never tests on animals and has a goal set to be 100% vegan by 2020, Hourglass exists at the revolutionary intersection of science, beauty and luxury. The brand was founded in 2004 by Carisa Janes, founder and CEO, who set to develop a luxury cosmetics brand with a focus on active ingredients, modern design and exceptional functionality. Aside from their artful textures, modern color collections and sleek custom packaging, the brand is acclaimed for its breakthrough formulations, technological innovations and unwavering commitment to reinvention.

I have been actively following Hourglass since 2010, when I first discovered their Femme Rouge Velvet Creme Lipstick and the shade Fable became my jam. For the past eight years, it has been an absolute pleasure to watch Hourglass grow into the standard of luxury beauty it is today and I cannot wait to see what else they have in store in the future.

Of course, with so many product launches over the years I have collected and built a well-rounded selection of Hourglass staples I seriously can’t live without, including:

Complexion Staples

  • Ambient Lighting Bronzer (shade: Radiant Bronze Light) – is a soft luminous highlighter + bronzer in one and is one of the most stunning shades I own bronzer-wise. Radiant Bronze Light adds just the right amount of satiny glow with a very soft luminous shimmer for a beautiful sunkissed look. This bronzer gives the most gorgeous, natural radiance without being shimmery or glittery. The smooth texture blends effortlessly and does not accentuate any fine lines or texture on the skin. This product definitely leans towards the warm side but luckily Radiant Bronze Light does not pull orange on my medium skintone. While the formula is sheer and airy, the Ambient Lighting Bronzer range is quite pigmented and rich in color so a little goes a long way.
  • Ambient Lighting Powder (shade: Radiant Light) – is one of my favorite finishing powders for all over the face. This unique formula is infused with the innovative Photoluminescent Technology, and each finishing powder captures, diffuses, and softens the look of the skin. Texture is really soft and the powder contains the right amount of balance of pigment and softness to make the entire face glow without affecting foundation color or oxidizing. These powders virtually melt into the skin and illuminate the face beautifully while buffing away any flaws or inconsistencies. What I also love about the Ambient Lighting Powders is that they provide the perfect base to blend other powder products on, application becomes a lot more seamless and smooth. Swatch linked here.
  • Ambient Metallic Strobe Lighting Palette (no longer available) – is perfect for adding a beautiful glow to the complexion, including the eyes. The powders layer nicely with other powder and cream products as well as liquid formulations, melding like a dream with the skin without emphasizing pores or texture. Like most Hourglass complexion products, the metallic powders have a soft focus technology that helps to minimize the look of wrinkles, imperfections, and discoloration, while emulating the appearance of young, healthy skin. The pigment is very impressive and the metallic, almost wet-like sheen is every highlighter junkie’s dream – and albeit quite intense is yet still very wearable. In-depth review post linked here.
  • Ambient Strobe Lighting Blush (shades: Brilliant Nude, Euphoric Fusion, Iridescent Flash, and Incandescent Electra) – are entrancing hybrid blushes that combine the illuminating effects of their Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder with beautiful modern hues to instantly brighten cheeks with a radiant glow. These have the perfect in-between mix of color and glow. They are luminous in a subtle manner so they give the skin that beautiful soft sheen with enough color balance to bring life to the face. Texture is smooth and the colors apply evenly without emphasizing pores or skin texture. In-depth review post + swatches linked here.
  • Hourglass Veil Retouching Fluid (shades: Natural and Sand) – was the one step in my makeup routine I didn’t know was missing. This is a sheer, weightless, oil-free fluid that cancels out dullness, illuminates any darkness, and retouches fading makeup without caking or creasing. This is not a concealer more so that it’s a complexion enhancer. It does a really good job of refreshing the makeup and looks natural in the process while providing a soft luminosity. Like a filter for the face. It’s sheer and not very opaque but it evens out my skin and the subtle radiance is just enough to diffuse everything beautifully. In-depth review post + swatches linked here.
  • Veil Translucent Setting Powder – was love at first application and it effectively replaced my Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder instantly. The powder is weightless, non-drying, doesn’t emphasize or settle into lines, pores or cling to texture and patches, and doesn’t leave a white cast. I love that it has a demi-matte finish and leaves a beautiful, soft radiant glow. The Veil Translucent Setting Powder seamlessly melds and disappears into the skin once it is blended creating an actual blurring effect. The powder is extremely fine and has a velvety smooth texture that yields to soft, silky skin when on the face. It’s very lightweight and I can apply it underneath the eyes without the powder accentuating my lines. It’s just utter perfection! In-depth review post + swatches linked here.


  • Arch Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel (shade: Warm Brunette) – is just pure love for me. I have really sparse brows and not many brow products work that well for me. This is the first brow product that has completely blown me away in terms of brush, formula, longevity, color, consistency, etc. Product applies evenly to the brows and adheres really well staying put all day. The whole concept is perfect for quick and easy everyday application that is impossible to overdo for a natural look with either soft or a little more dramatic definition depending on personal preference. In-depth review post + demo linked here.
  • Caution Extreme Lash Mascara – is quite amazing. I really love the brush as it separates all of my lashes and fans them out without having to go back and pick them apart individually. It gives lashes good volume, length, and intense color without clumping, flaking or smudging. However, just with any mascara, if you overdo it lashes will clump together. I did notice a couple of times that the curl fell out of my lashes while wearing this mascara. My lashes are naturally wimpy so it doesn’t take a lot for that to happen. A solution is to layer different formulas to make another work. The mascara does look really beyond amazing when on the eyes. It has lasted through both the extreme dry heat as well as monsoon season with pressing humidity here in Vegas without any issues. In-depth review post + swatches linked here.
  • Graphik Eyeshadow Palette (shade: Ravine) – is one of my daily go-to neutral eyeshadow palettes. Ravine offers a well-balanced mix of mattes and satin. Across the board each shade is incredibly soft and smooth with a velvety texture that allows for easy blending and layering. The colors are formulated with a high concentration of pure pigment powder which allows for their truest color payoff. All five shades are excellent in pigment, texture, and color deposit/payoff, including the mattes which are almost silk-like. In-depth review post + swatches linked here.
  • Scattered Light Glitter Eye Shadows (shades: Blaze, Foil, Reflect, and Smoke) – are absolutely STUNNING! They apply so effortlessly and give the most beautiful, sophisticated glow without looking childish or cheap. These have a super creamy feel, are easy to blend, and they layer quite beautifully with other colors including powder formulas. Since it is not an actual cream-based formula, there is no stickiness and creasing with the application. It’s eyeshadow powder finely milled and pressed into the plastic jar with a plastic stopper to repress the consistency after each use. In-depth review post + swatches linked here.


GIRL Lip Stylo (shades: Believer, Creator, Dreamer, and Explorer) – I’m still beyond obsessed with. They have a silky formula that glides across lips for a second-skin feel with a lustrous, soft finish. Coverage is medium to full and packs quite a bit of pigment that can either be played up or down depending on what type of coverage you’re looking for. In-depth review post + swatches linked here.

That rounds up my current essentials from Hourglass. I hope this has been a helpful overview in case you are looking into trying something from the brand. I’ve played with the line for over eight years now and I’m glad a lot of my favorites are still present, but I’m equally as excited for all the new additions that have become permanent over the years. I do think Hourglass is one of the best luxury (and cruelty-free) beauty brands on the market. Some of their items can be a bit pricey but you definitely receive quality and versatility in return. They are very consistent with their products and I’ve only encountered maybe three misses over an eight year period, which is phenomenal.

Do you have any Hourglass favorites? If not, what is your favorite brand or essentials?

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  • Aleeya Azimulla September 28, 2018 at 5:47 am

    I love the packaging of all Hourglass products. They have the most beautiful highlights that’s not blinding…just adorable! Great post by the way

  • Making It up September 27, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Hourglass is such a great brand! Thanks for sharing ❤️