Foundation Week 7/7: Favorite Non-Foundation - Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light
I've raved about and trusted Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light (USD 46, PHP 2900 / 10g, Sephora) long enough that it's high time for a review.
The foundation routine is so unforgiving, especially for dry-skinned people like me. You can have the perfect moisturizing, dewy face base yet once you set it, it tends to go back to that dull, lifeless skin you wake up with everyday. I could put highlighter all over my face, but that just tends to look oily especially as the day wears on. For bringing life to my set face, I love Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder. I've long resisted the Guerlain Meteorites for no reason and yet somehow gave in to Hourglass, and I don't regret it!
Loose Foundation Powder vs. Setting Powder vs. Finishing Powder
I think there's still a lot of confusion about the various loose powders, simply because there are people who insist on calling all of them "loose powder." That's really unhelpful. It's like asking for 'that liquid' when the waiter takes your drink order... which is fine if you get water even if you wanted juice... but what if you get wine? (ans: PARTY TIEM, jk)
Translucent powder just describes a color, and there are two common kinds confused for each other:
Setting Powder a.k.a. oil pact / oil control powder is finer than foundation. Its main ingredient should be talc. Talc absorbs excess oil and prevents your foundation from migrating all over your face. Talc has no flashback, and if you're setting or baking, you need a talc-based setting powder to go with it. Famous examples: RCMA No Color Powder (95% talc) Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder (first ingredient: talc) and Ben Nye Luxury Powders (first ingredient: talc)
Finishing Powder a.k.a. HD powder is used on top of setting powder. It's not recommended for everyday wear because, in person, the difference between set foundation and finished foundation is hardly visible anyway. It's just a great way to fill in fine lines and pores if they are still apparent after using setting powder. They're called HD powders because the way they smoothen the skin and reflect light look great on camera. The only catch is, it contains a lot of silica which, when packed too tightly tends to reflect too much light in patches. Famous example: MUFE Ultra HD Loose Microfinishing Powder (first 2 ingredients: mica, silica.)
Generally, if you cannot use a lot of powder without causing a lot of flashback in flash photography, it's finishing powder. If silica or mica is in the top 3 ingredients, it will flash back and you can only use a tiny swish of it.
The problem as I see it is that brands themselves fail to properly advertise their items. They label them translucent powder, luxury powder or 'ambient lighting powder' and so the public ends up misusing them and blaming the brand for shitty product. Labmuffin has a great breakdown on flashback and silica, and you can see from the items she tried that brands are really stubborn about differentiating between setting powder and finishing powder.
Where were we?
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder is a finishing powder. The brand describes it as such. The first ingredient is light-reflecting mica. It comes in pressed format and is generally not meant to dry drown foundation, but rather, to go on top of already set or fixed foundation.
Why Do I Love it?
I never really saw the need for finishing powder. As a person with dry, crusty skin, I tend to steer clear of powder. They tend to emphasize the texture, making me look drier than the Crypt Keeper.
When I started using Hourglass ALP, it was the first time for me to notice a blurred out effect on myself. Rather than raising every shingle off this cruddy skin, it actually kind of softened and airbrushed them out, like a real-life Samsung Beauty Face filter. It looked like I carried the light of Galadriel within me (c Carina Santos). A heavy-handed swatch doesn't really do it justice
But I'm really sold on this!
I do use this for all-over setting when I know I won't be photographed (coffee with friends, shopping, church :), makeup practice) Especially when I first got it and didn't really understand how it was different from plain face powder. I've never had flashback issues when doing so, but I suspect the pressed format keeps it from being overused - same problem MUFE tried to address with the ~2016/17 closed mesh repackage.
BBT Score: 5 / 5 - Personal Holy grail, for in-person and on-photo radiance
Many finishing powders are meant for 4k (more than 1020p) UHD viewing. I haven't been able to test Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in such crisp settings, but I love how photogenic it is in my normal photos. Many finishing powders tend to look dull in real life, and Hourglass has a bit more shimmer.
In my personal use, I love how it glows me up more subtly than highlighter. I like how it blurs out my texture, and I wear it so often but still am far from pan. It's a great everyday finishing powder especially since I like how it looks as compared to photo finishing powders. That said, I wouldn't go so far as to put it in the league of my pro HGs. That title goes to MUFE Ultra HD, which is heavily tried and tested by me up to 4k viewing.