I’m late to the party on this one, but after admiring it from afar for many months, I finally picked up the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette recently. I was waiting for my Hourglass Abient Lighting Powder in Dim Light – which I love and use daily – to run out before purchasing, and when that happened to coincide with a 50% off Space NK deal on Gilt City, I couldn’t resist. The palette contains three Ambient Lighting Powders, in Dim Light, Radiant Light, and Incandescent Light, which is only available in the palette. The Ambient Lighting Powders are light reflecting finishing powders that are meant to create different subtle lighting effects on your skin. The key word is definitely subtle here.
(L-R: Dim Light, Incandescent Light, Radiant Light)
Dim Light is a peachy neutral colour that I apply all over to warm up my pale, pale face, that is also supposed to blur imperfections. I don’t use it as a setting powder – I apply it over Nars Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder – as it does not have good oil control. The powders are very finely milled, and therefore great for layering. I find it really does finish off your makeup in a nice way though, somehow making your makeup and skin look smoother, livelier, and just more finished once applying. Since buying Dim Light separately about a year and a half ago, I’ve been using it every day. Radiant Light is more golden and shimmery, so I use it as a bronzer below my cheekbones and on my temples, and it is meant to add a sun-kissed finish to your skin. It looks pretty shimmery in the pan, but like all the Ambient Lighting Powders, the effect is very soft once applied. Incandescent Light is a very understated, slightly shimmery brightening powder. I use it to lighten up areas of my face, including my cheekbones, forehead, center of my nose, and chin, where I wouldn’t use an actual highlighter out of fear of being too shiny. I do usually put another highlighter such as The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer over it on my cheekbones since it is so subtle.
(L-R: Dim Light, Incandescent Light, Radiant Light)
So is the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette life changing? No, not really (though I do love Dim Light a lot). But if you want a subtle, glowy, can’t-quite-put-your-finger-on-it complexion boost then it’s definitely worth checking out.
No matter where I’m going or how big or small the bag I’m carrying is, I always find room to cram in the following three beauty essentials.
Bag: Rebecca Minkoff, phone case: Rifle Piper Co., card holder: Kate Spade (review here)
I’ve recently been using Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer in Light again. While not the most covering, it’s very creamy and light, and can therefore also be used more like a foundation if necessary, without things getting too heavy. I like this concealer a lot, but I don’t think it really lives up to its “creaseless” name. The tube I have is a mini version from a set, which makes it great for lugging around!
My skin gets super shiny throughout the day, and MAC Blot Powder/Pressed is great at mattifying while adding a little more coverage, without making your face cakey. It includes a convenient round puff applicator for on-the-go application, so there’s no need for carrying around an extra brush (though towards the end of using up a compact the applicator gets pretty destroyed and isn’t as easy to use). The compact mirror is also very handy for other makeup touch ups!
Tinted Lip Balm
I’m constantly applying and re-applying lip balm throughout the day, so I usually have at least 2-3 tinted and untinted versions with me. If my bag is extra small though, I always go with tinted so I can easily add some moisture and colour to my lips. I also love that tinted lip balm can double up as a blush in emergencies! My current favourite tinted lip balm is Vaseline Lip Therapy in Rosy Lips.
Last weekend while in NYC for a bachelorette party, my friends and I stopped by the Bite Beauty Lip Lab in SoHo to design and make our own lipsticks. We booked an appointment ahead of time, which I definitely recommend doing if you’re planning on going as they get very busy and booked up. They were pretty annoyed that we only made the appointment for 5 people but actually had 6 people.
The store itself was a lot smaller than I was expecting, but they have space to see about 3 people at the same time. You start off by explaining to one of the “Lip Lab Artists” what kind of colour and brightness you’re looking for, and the finish (the choices are crème, matte, sheer, and deluxe). They then mix a few pigments on a plastic sheet, and let you try on the colour. You can then give them feedback and they will adjust the colours until they get exactly what you’re looking for. I wanted a really bright, fuschia pink and I love how my lipstick colour turned out. Then you pick a scent/flavour to add from the choices of cherry, mint, citrus, vanilla, mango, violet, and superfruit, which you can mix and match. I chose vanilla! The store employees were not super friendly, but they were helpful and listened closely to what everyone was looking for, and let us squeeze in the extra person.
The lipsticks take a little while to set in the molds (their website says 10 minutes), so we left for about half an hour to browse the Birchbox store that’s just down the street.
Here we are wearing the lipsticks we created! My lipstick is exactly the colour I was looking for, and the matte formula is very long lasting, though not very matte. It was definitely a fun experience and the perfect daytime bachelorette activity for a group of beauty lovers.
A few weeks ago, I won a Birchbox Customer Appreciation Day contest that included a gift card to spend in their online store! It was pretty exciting, and definitely helped make a very stressful week a LOT better. Cue dorky photo of me with my prizes:
One of the things I chose with my gift card was the the Smashbox Full Exposure Palette. I’ve heard mixed reviews about it, but I love glittery eye shadow and I wanted to expand my matte eye shadow collection (because of my glitter love), and since it’s half and half, I went for it.
The palette includes 6 micro glitter shades, 1 shimmer shade (top middle), and 7 mattes, and has a good mix of warm and cool toned neutral shadows. If you’re looking for subtle shimmer – this palette is definitely not for you. The only shade I probably won’t really use much is the bottom middle shade, which is basically the same colour as my skin. It also comes with a double ended brush which is actually a pretty good brush, unlike most free brushes that come with palettes. The packaging is quite bulky but sturdy enough for traveling (although I would definitely tape it closed – if it opened there would be glitter everywhere…forever).
I must admit I was unsure of this palette at first – especially the glitter shades. I found they didn’t have that much colour payoff and had quite a lot of fallout. All that changed however when I used them wet! When applied wet and pressed onto the lid instead of swiped, these shadows are very pigmented and glittery, and look amazing. I’ve been layering the glitters dry over the matte colours during the day for just a hint of sparkle, and then ramping up the glitter factor on nights out by applying wet. A good primer is definitely necessary for these shadows. The matte colours aren’t chalky, but the darker colours do take a little more effort to blend. I do wish there were maybe a couple more shimmery colours that aren’t full on glitter, but I really like the Smashbox Full Exposure Palette overall!