There's something magical about the soft, iridescent veil we get from an Instagram filter. No matter how tired or dull our complexions appear in the daylight, this temporary digital fix provides a bit of respite, even if it doesn't translate in the real world. The goal, of course, is to re-create the same ethereal glow we get from an app on our physical selves—not too shimmery, not at all stark, just that kissed-by-an-angel luster. Thankfully, we have several favorite highlighters that ignite a major glow-up, though there's a new kid on the block that just may be a filter in powder form. We're pleased to introduce to you to Hourglass Ambient Lighting Unlocked.
Hourglass's Ambient Lighting palettes are always fan favorites, the sleek compacts almost as pretty as the glimmering pans that reside inside. Though this time around, something is different, aside from the six brand-new shades of highlight, blush, bronzer, and finishing powder. It's the brand's first 100% vegan palette, just a small bite of the big-picture plan Hourglass has to become the first 100% vegan, cruelty-free luxury beauty brand by 2020. If that all doesn't sound good enough, 5% of all profits from the palette will go to the Nonhuman Rights Project, an organization that works to secure legally recognized fundamental rights for animals. Pretty cool, right?
"My favorite thing about this palette is how you can mix and match any of the powders together to create a custom blend," says Hourglass global makeup artist, Chanel Temple. "It's a makeup artist's dream, but is so easy to use even if you're just getting into the beauty game because it's practically mistake-proof. I love mixing the blushes with Champagne Strobe Light to create an extremely glowy blush. The bronzer and rosy blush have also become two of my favorite shades to use as eye shadow."
I was lucky enough to receive the palette before its launch to take it for a test drive. What struck me right away was the mix of shades and how it could effectively be used for almost all areas of my routine, from complexion to eye shadow.
The result was that same photo-editing veil I always hope to achieve with my makeup: very soft, yet when the light catches it just right, the prettiest sheen is reflected back. I applied Mood Flush, a deep rose (which only looks intimidating in the pan), and it translated into a soft, natural blush on the apples of the cheeks. For my highlight, I mixed several of the shades (Soft Light, Filtered Light, and Champagne Strobe Light) and dusted them on with a fan brush on the high points of my cheeks, the bridge of my nose, and the center of my forehead. For the lids, I mixed Golden Bronze Light and Nude Glow and swiped them on with my finger (the pigment is super soft and blendable) and bolstered the pigment a bit with some shades I had at home because I like a bit of a darker contrast on my upper eye socket. The end result was impressively flattering. The front-facing camera is always intimidating for me, but this time around, it was as if I'd already slapped a filter on. Consider this palette a new staple in my makeup bag.
Shop more of our favorite glow-inducing products below.