Second up for my “Brands that don’t suck” feature is Hourglass.
Known for their high-end and almost excessively luxurious products, Hourglass is not a brand for those of you on a strict budget. Their products are always high quality, but that quality comes with a price tag to match. In saying that, however, I find the products I use from them (apart from primers which I go through like nobody’s business) last quite a while. It’s also worth noting that Hourglass is a cruelty free brand, not owned by any parent company which is not, so they’re a good pick for those of you looking for brands that meet that criteria.
Hourglass is probably best suited to those of us who like more natural looks. Their products are all about bringing out natural beauty (barring their foundations which err on the full coverage side of the spectrum).
Many of Hourglass’s products are considered Cult favourites so let’s see if they’re really worth the hype.
Blush – I’m not specifically stating WHICH blush here because I’m a fan of every Hourglass blush I’ve tried. I have their limited-edition blush palette from a few years back, and despite having been through the wars (you may have noticed in the picture that it’s missing the marbling – that’s because I dropped and shattered them on two different occasions and had to reform them – oops) they’re probably the blushes I use most often. These blushes are not super pigmented but that’s precisely why I love them. They’re easily blendable and give a beautiful, natural wash of colour that is suited to lots of skin tones and application ability levels. You can build up the colour fairly easily too if that bolder look is more your style but honestly if that’s the case there are other brands (soon to be featured!) which will give you a stronger look. For the everyday, however, Hourglass blushes are definitely my go-to. Incidentally, if you wear glasses these are a great option too, as too strong of a blush colour can clash with your frames.
Veil Mineral Primer – The primer that started it all for me. This primer is raved about as being excellent for oily skin and with good reason. Come the summer months I find this thing a godsend. In saying that, in drier seasons I tend to bypass it. Not because the weather changes its efficacy – it rocks regardless – but because it’s just too damn expensive to use year-round. If you can afford it, give it a shot. Failing that, try their small travel size and decide for yourself, but I’m definitely a fan. Bear in mind that if your foundation isn’t water-based, this probably isn’t the go for you.
Ambient Light Correcting Primer in Mood Light – I’m so mad that I like this. This stuff is freaking expensive and I want to hate it. Unfortunately, however, I really like it. I got a sample in a recent Mecca Beauty Loop box and I foresee purchasing it in my immediate future (damn it). My skin is combination at the moment because it likes messing with me and this seems to work really well with it. My makeup is lasting longer and I look a bit brighter and more awake. I also really like the consistency; it’s a bit thicker than the mineral primer but not so much so that it feels sticky or heavy. Curse you Hourglass.
Ambient Lighting Powders (Ambient Lighting Palette) – these powders are so hyped it almost hurts my brain. As a result of that, there’s a lot of random information around about what they’re for and how to use them.
To start with, let’s just get this clear: these are not specifically intended to be setting powder or highlighters. Many people use them as such and that’s awesome, but if they’re not working for you it might be because using them this way doesn’t work for your particular skin type. For example, as an oily skinned individual, they’re way too sparkly and not oil absorbing for me to use them as setting powders. In saying that, because I’m oily, some do work as highlights because the subtleness is perfect for adding highlight without making me look greasy as so many highlighters do.
These powders are actually “finishing” powders. Essentially, they’re intended to be used AFTER all the rest of your makeup is done and set. These are meant to add a subtle lighting effect over your makeup. The effectiveness of this depends on your skin type and the individual powder you choose. I find the ones contained in the palette are okay for my skin, but nothing exciting. The Incandescent Light works nicely as a subtle highlight and the Radiant Light adds a nice warmth on top of a bronzer. The Dim Light adds a very subtle finish over some parts of the face (it’s meant to be used all-over to blur) but has a tendency to cling to the tiny hairs on my face, so doesn’t always work out well without making me look like someone threw a sparkle bomb at me. I’ve also tried Mood Light in store as well as Diffused Light (both of which I probably like more than those in the palette).
Don’t get me wrong – these powders ARE gorgeous and I DO love the effect. HOWEVER, it’s super subtle. If you’re new to makeup, you’re unlikely to notice the difference and it’s damn easy to use these wrongly (it’s surprisingly difficult to get clear and accurate instructions on how a lot of the specific colours are meant to be used).
I love them and I would buy them again and again but they’re neutrals because they won’t work for everyone. I’d strongly recommend you try them in-store before you commit yourself to avoid disappointment.
Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil – Once upon a time, this was my holy grail brow product which I had to repurchase because I used it down to the last sliver. But times have changed. Brows are in and the market abounds with brow products. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this one – it’s a very nice product. However, for the price point, there are others that are cheaper and equally good.
Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation – In fairness to Hourglass, when I first tried this their shade range was dismal. I’m not THAT pale but I couldn’t find a colour light enough. These days, they have a colour to suit me (about time guys!) but this foundation still gets a thumbs down from me. It is SO full coverage and I find it absurdly cakey. As with all foundations though, it’s worth trying for yourself. I can’t stand it but my best friend loves it. You almost certainly won’t need to powder with it as it has a powder finish so that might be a bonus for some. In my mind? Blech. Pass.
Opaque Liquid Lipstick – Can we say “drying”? Add to that “flakey” and you have an epic failure in my mind. With so many liquid lipsticks out on the market, you have to be good. These do not cut it for me.
On the whole, Hourglass is a brand I trust to produce products I like. Their misses are far outweighed by their successes because their successes are just SO good. They promote a naturally beautiful look that I can get behind 100%. That they stick to their cruelty free values is a huge tick in their favour as well. No, they’re not cheap, so not for those of us new to the beauty market, but for the veterans I say get on board the hype train.