Beauty Product Reviews

dupe scoop: hourglass ambient light powders

December 31, 2014

You know how you never really want something until you can’t have it? Well, that’s what happened with me and Hourglass’ Ambient Lighting Powders. Of course I only caught on to the Hourglass hype after leaving California for Singapore, where their products aren’t available.


If you too are a plane flight away from the nearest Hourglass stockist – or just don’t want to fork out the $$ – take heart! There are other products that’ll give you a similar look. Here are some skin-perfecting finishing powders that are pretty good dupes, and all cheaper than the original too.

(Prices in US Dollars)

1. Nars Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder
This doesn’t look like much in the pan or even rubbed onto a finger, but when brushed over the face it delivers a pore-blurring effect. I would describe it as being matte but not flat – it definitely adds radiance without an outright sheen.

2. MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural (various colours)
According to reviews, Hourglass powders are more “blurring” but this is still the closest cousin to them I’ve found. These are incredibly soft, and meant for use all over as a finishing powder. I find it gives my skin an overall lustre, rather than a glow, without visible shimmer particles.

3. MAC Shaping Powder Pro Palette in Lightsweep
Though it’s technically a highlighter, dust this all over your face gives a subtle peachy gleam that I find akin to standing under very flattering light. I like to use mine where I would normally put blush, which gives my face a warm glow. Really, the whole range is worth checking out if you have access to MAC Pro products.

4. Bourjois Java Rice Powder
From my in-store swatching, the shimmer particles seem more evident in here than in Hourglass powders. Still, it’s a soft, finely milled finishing powder and would work very well for either someone who didn’t mind a bit more of a sheen.

5. Wet’n’Wild Icon Collection Bronzer in Reserve Your Cabana
I personally haven’t tested this, but this drugstore dupe is apparently pretty good…even before you consider the fact that it’s literally less than 10% the price of Hourglass! You can read a review here.

6. Models Prefer Soft Touch Mineral Powder in Photo Ready
Haven’t tried this either, but I really wish I could get my hands on some here in Singapore! If you’re in Australia, read this and check it out for yourself.