Hourglass Ambient Metallic Strobe Lighting Palette

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T-B | Absolute Strobe Light, Pure Strobe Light, Lucent Strobe Light

T-B | Absolute Strobe Light, Pure Strobe Light, Lucent Strobe Light

Hourglass always manages to draw me in with their holiday releases - I'm so surprised I managed to resist ordering their Ambient Lighting palette in the marble packaging last year, and this year, I was so close to getting the new rose gold one. But when the new Ambient Metallic Strobe Lighting Palette was released, I knew that was the one for me. I have a few blushes, a bronzer, and one of the original powders, so I don't really need the whole edit. But a palette of three beautiful highlighters in a brand new formula? Color me intrigued.

The Hourglass Ambient Metallic Strobe Lighting Palette builds on their popular Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders and contains three unique shades in a new, more intense formula. The three new shades are Absolute Strobe Light, a rosy champagne, Pure Strobe Light, a white gold, and Lucent Strobe Light, a copper-y bronze shade.

The new Metallic Strobe formula gives a more brilliant finish than the original Strobe powders on the skin. The powders themselves feel like literal velvet - so smooth and soft. They kick up a little bit of powder when you swirl a brush in them, but it's nothing major. They smooth over the skin beautifully and give a dewy-looking sheen. They really do mimic the look of a cream. For this reason, they've been amazing for layering over cream products to ensure a longer-lasting highlight. They can be applied with a light hand for a sheer, more subtle finish, or they can be built up to an intense metallic sheen. Although intense, they do not appear glittery or powdery on the skin. I don't have too much texture on my cheeks, but I haven't noticed these emphasizing pores or texture.

My favorite way to wear all three shades is by mixing Absolute and Pure for a more neutral champagne sheen on my cheekbones and on the inner corners of my eyes, and then I've been using Lucent as an eyeshadow - all three shades are truly stunning. I really hope they release this formula in singles, as it's quickly become a favorite, along with the Ambient Lighting Blushes.  If you're a highlighter fiend like me, I'd definitely recommend picking this up before it's gone!

Have you tried any of this year's holiday releases from Hourglass?


The Best Bronzers for Pale Skin

This post was meant to go up last Thursday, but I didn't get around to writing it. But this works out nicely because I feel like it's a good followup to my review of the Glossier Invisible Shield from yesterday - they just did a post about bronze-y looks yesterday on Into the Gloss, too.

If you've met me/seen a picture of me, you'll probably know that I'm super pale and also quite pink-toned (those Irish genes though). If I don't put some kind of color on my face, I tend to look sick/dead, so I always make sure to use a blush or bronzer or both when I'm wearing makeup. I feel like it's been easier to find flattering shades of blush (especially when I've got my favorite Glossier Cloud Paints to play with), but bronzer is a different story - it's too dark, too orange, too yellow, too muddy. I've finally found a few that I love and that mimic the look of catching a little bit of a tan without even needing to go out into the sun.

The Warm Ones

I have to be careful with warm tones - if I go too far, it's really easy for me to go into Oompa-Loompa territory. A super blendable formula that's not too deep is perfect here, because you need the ability to add just a touch of warmth without going overboard. I've loved the Guerlain Terracotta 'Joli Teint' Bronzing Powder in 00 since I got it last fall. It's a nice shade that adds just a touch of color to the cheeks, and I love swirling the blush shade into it, too, to add a bit of a flush. A stunning and spendy option I couldn't resist was La Mer The Bronzing Powder - it's quite a bit warmer than I was expecting, but it doesn't cross the line into unwearable for me. This is one of the most stunningly blendable powders I've ever tried. I love that there's different sections to mix together - sometimes I avoid mixing in a lot of the second shade to tone down the warmth. If you've been wanting to treat yourself, this is a must for sure. Do be aware though that both of these options are quite fragranced, in case your skin is sensitive to that.

The Neutral Ones

Because of my cool tones, neutral bronzers are the easiest for me to wear. They still add warmth in comparison to my skin, but it never verges on orange. I'm always drawn to cream products, so the Milk Makeup Matte Bronzer in Baked is one of my favorite bronzers. It melts into the skin and blends out super easily with fingers or a brush, so it's perfect on the go. A new addition is the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer in Nude Bronze Light - this is their new shade meant for fair/light skintones. It adds such a lovely luminous look to the skin, so it's the one I always reach for in a rush. It really eliminates the need for extra blush and bronzer, and it just makes the skin look "done" in one swipe. A foolproof option is the Make Up For Ever Pro Bronze Fusion - they're quite sheer, so it's virtually impossible to go overboard. They have so many shade options, too, so it should be easy to find a good match. I have the shade 15I, which is the lightest luminous one, and they have matte choices as well (they have an M in the shade name).

The Red Ones

Hear me out - you'd probably think you'd want to steer clear of red tones, but if you're pale like me, you might tend to go a little red rather than tan. So a bronzer with more of a red tone is really the most natural-looking option. I've been singing the praises of the Urban Decay Beached Bronzer in Sunkissed since I got it last summer - not only is the compact beautiful, but the product inside is as well. This is the one that turned me on to red-toned bronzers. It gives my skin the most beautiful, just-got-back-from-the-beach flush. My favorite of them all, I think, is the Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder. Again, there's many shades in the line, but I have Elvis Duran. This is also specifically formulated with red tones to emulate the most natural tan. Again, it's actually super flattering on my skin and leaves me looking sunkissed rather than sunburned. The formula is beautiful, pigmented, and blendable as well.

What are your favorite bronzers? What kinds of shades are you normally drawn to?


Falling for Bright Blush

Maybe it's because the weather is warming up, or maybe I've just been inspired by the Glossier Cloud Paint promotional images, but I've been all about brighter blush shades lately - who even am I? I've been such a diehard "no blush" blush girl for such a long time. My cheeks tend to get a little rosy on their own throughout the day, so I was always afraid of accentuating that. However, I realized how flattering and awakening it is when the color is placed behind the apples of my cheeks (on my face, anyway), and I feel like a whole world has been opened up for me.

The products that sparked this, of course, were the Glossier Cloud Paints.* Leave it to Glossier to get me to try something out of my comfort zone. I was thinking I would only use Dusk, the nude shade, but I've actually been getting the most use out of Haze, the berry color, and Puff, the cool pink shade. These are just beautiful, and they way they blend into the skin makes it look like a natural flush. Once I realized that a brighter, cool-toned blush actually suited my complexion and helped me look more awake, I started digging back through my collection and dusting off some old loves, as well as picking up a few new favorites.

I still gravitate towards cream products most days, as they're quicker and easier for me to apply. I've fallen back in love with the Estee Lauder Genuine Glow Blushing Creme* in Sweet Cheeks - it's a lovely, balmy formula that blends out super easily and leaves the most beautiful flush. It really perks up my skin and makes it look well-rested and glowy. Another stick formula I'm always reaching for are the Bite Beauty Multisticks - Mascarpone is my go-to when I'm wanting a more vibrant pink. It's a warm salmon shade that's super flattering and brightening. This formula also works on the lips and eyes if you're wanting to make a monochrome look out of it, too. I've also started using the Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Blushed Rose. This is a little more neutral than the other blushes here, but since it's deeper than I normally wear, I figured it still counted. This formula is beautiful and easy to apply - I really need to try more from Bobbi Brown.

When I do want a powder blush, I've got two gorgeous shades I've been alternating between. The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Diffused Heat is an old favorite - I gave it to my sister a while ago, and then when she decided she didn't want it anymore, I took it back. I couldn't be happier to have it back, because this one really makes me look the healthiest out of all the options here. It's the prettiest pinky-coral shade with a touch of glow, and it seems to be the exact shade my skin turns when I blush. A newer one I got recently is the Givenchy Le Prisme Blush in Vintage Pink - I assumed it would be a more brown-y pink color, but it's quite bright on the skin. Swirling the four sections together creates such a lovely shade, and the formula of this is unreal - I'm not sure if I've ever felt a softer powder product.

Do you like brighter blushes, or are you more into neutrals and bronzers? What's your favorite blush?