This little trick has *totally* transformed my look

I thought I knew everything there was to know about highlighting (or ‘strobing’ as it’s been recently rebranded *yawn*) but that was until I got chatting to Heidi at the Hourglass counter in Liberty last week. Heidi and I had been emailing recently and I’d promised to come in at some point to check out the new ambient powders.

If you want to discover the ‘trick’ quickly then scroll now to the end. If not, allow me to introduce you to Hourglass.

If you’ve never heard of Hourglass I’d describe them as the ‘red carpet ready’ makeup brand (think flawless dewy ‘Hollywood’ skin, sculpted cheekbones and lacquered lips). Founded in 2004 by cosmetics innovator Carissa Janes Hourglass was borne out of a desire to create a modern, luxury and high performing cosmetics brand. The brand’s packaging is sleek and rose gold coloured (our obsession with rose gold clearly showing no sign of waning!) and the makeup within it boasts innovative formulations designed to challenge the makeup status quo. In a nutshell it’s darn good stuff.


A superior trio

Two Christmases ago I was lucky enough to be gifted the spenny but utterly gorgeous Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette (see above. This was after much begging and puppy dog eyes I might add….spending over £50.00 on any makeup item for myself requires extensive consideration, hence the Christmas ‘Wish List’!)

Two years on and I’ve basically worn down all three of the powders, but my favourite by far was the middle one – the highlighting powder. You can imagine my glee when Holly emailed to say that Hourglass were launching a range of individual highlighting powders. And boy are they good…






Mood lighting

The Ambient Lighting powders come in four shades which the brand says are universally flattering, but I’d recommend you try them on your skin before you buy (especially seeing as they’re £34 each). The shade I was most drawn to personally was ‘Iridescent’ (above).

And now for The Trick *drumroll* 
I’ve always known highlighters come in both cream and powder formulations but for some reason I’d never thought to apply a powder highlighter wet(?!) *claxon*.

“Whaaaat???!! Heidi, this is a revelation!”

What happens

Applying a powder highlighter with a wet brush does two things to your skin:

  • it gives it an ethereal high-shine glow, more so than simply using a cream or powder (dry)
  • it can help buff the product even more effectively into your base (or nude skin)


BUT! It’s all in the balance

Since trying this technique using a number of different powder highlighters I’ve discovered the method has several pros and cons:

  • The brush needs to be damp not wet (i.e. running it under a free flowing tap is too much. A could of drops and then wring with your hand)
  • A more densely packed, round brush works better than one which splays (the Hourglass brush that is recommended to accompany this product has a flat dome shape. A stippling brush like this one would also work well).
  • The more finely milled the powder the better (if you’re sixteen you can wear whichever powder takes your fancy! Thin, thick, doesn’t matter…but the moment you start seeing those fine lines around the eyes it’s best to opt for a finely milled powder. Case in point, I tried applying my trusty Kevin Aucoin ‘Candle Light’* with a damp brush but the powder was too thick to be used wet and really accentuated my fine ‘late thirties’ lines. Boo).
  • Be warned: if you have dry skin, adding water to it might make it feel even tighter! (To combat this moisturise well before you apply your base and consider applying a cream highlighter or a light touch of a natural, non-tinted lip balm underneath your wet powder highlighter).


* It’s been several years (at least four) since I bought the Candle Light powder so the formula may have changed. Net-a-porter describe it as ‘lightweight’ which is something I definitely would not use to describe my one!

In natural light


Natural light again and for some bizarre reason slightly cross-eyed lol


With flash
Where to find Hourglass

If you’re interested in experiencing Hourglass for yourself head to Liberty, Space NK or Harrods (Urban Retreat). For those of you who might be reading this overseas (*waves*) click here and search for your nearest stockist.

I’ll leave you with a pretty awesome quote I found from Hourglass’ CEO:

“When I’m developing a product, it needs to be one of two things: It either needs to be the total reinvention of a category, or it needs to be a product from the future. If it’s been done, I’m not interested.” BOOM! –   Carissa Janes, founder and CEO, Hourglass Cosmetics



Do you have a go-to highlighting product? I’d love to know.

Images: Hourglass’ website and my own

This post is not sponsored. I’m merely writing about it because I think it’s good stuff 🙂

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