It took a while for Hourglass' Ambient Lighting Powders to arrive in the DC area, and given the range of opinion about them from angry disappointment to rave reviews, I thought I needed to check them out in person.
Only one of the shades worked for me, Radiant Light. Its golden peach tone warms my face and it gives it a golden luminosity unlike other products that I've tried. Upon close inspection you can see a fine golden flecks. Its not sparkly like Chanel's Mouche de Beaute, just warm, bright, and, well, radiant. It softens my face, as if in a candle-lit restaurant. I love it.
It's not as translucent as Hourglass claims. I accidentally applied too much the first time and almost completely covered my blush, so it requires a light hand. If you apply too much it looks cakey and emphasizes pores.
The swatch below is heavily applied with a sponge applicator. The tiny golden particles appear in the photo, but they are barely perceptible on my face. In fact, I never noticed them until I looked at my face with a magnified mirror.
I bought the small brush Hourglass sells separately to use with the powders though applying with other soft, fluffy brushes works just as well. I used an Essence foundation brush at first, which I bought at the drugstore, but the Hourglass brush is designed to fit the breadth of the compact, so makes for faster application. It's about two inches wide, and soft and fluffy, and comes with its own pouch. I suspect it will make a fine foundation brush as well.
The compact is plastic. It would have been nice if it came in its own pouch too.
For whom this is important, the Ambient powders are free of parabens, talc, fragrance, nano-particles, and gluten.
I'm going to get a lot of use out this powder, I think. Pinkish gold products suit my medium skin tone, and it's very wearable for day since it does not add shine. You could also use it as a very subtle highlighter. I bought my compact from Marina at Space NK in Bloomingdales Tyson's Corner, 703-556-4569. Marina is great with colors and she'll give you honest advice. Give her a call.