Review: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Unlocked Palette

Hi everyone! Today I’m sharing my review of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Unlocked palette. I usually try to use products for about a month before writing a review on them, but since this palette is limited edition, plus with the final weekend of the Sephora sale coming up, I wanted to get my review up sooner rather than later!

The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Unlocked Palette is the brand’s 2018 version of the Ambient Lighting Edit palettes. Hourglass has previously released four versions of the Ambient Lighting Edit palette during the holidays for the last few years, and everyone always goes crazy for them. I’ve passed on every one of them, even though I wanted them all. However, something in me snapped this year, and I finally decided to take the plunge on the new Ambient Lighting Unlocked palette. I already own the original three-pan Ambient Lighting Palette which I love, but have never tried any of the brand’s bronzers, blushes, or highlighters, so this was a really good way to try them.



The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Unlocked palette is limited edition for Holiday 2018, and retails at $95 CAD. It contains six powders that weigh 0.04 oz each: two finishing powders, one bronzer, two blushes, and one highlighter. The nice thing about this palette is that all of the shades are new and exclusive to this palette, whereas previous versions of the Edit palettes usually included at least one permanent shade. For people who already own a lot of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting products, this could be a huge plus! This palette is made in Italy, and can be purchased from many places, including Sephora (currently sold out online), Beautylish, and the Hourglass website.

Hourglass has always been a cruelty-free brand, but have now pledged to also become fully vegan by 2020, and this is their first vegan product! 5% of the profits from this palette will go toward the Non-Human Rights Project, a not-for-profit organization that works to protect the fundamental rights of animals. I recently learned that the palette is called “Unlocked” to signify the unlocking of animals from their cages. How meaningful!

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Unlocked Palette


The Ambient Lighting powders are supposed to give your skin a filtered look and help to blur imperfections. According to the brand, all six powders in this set are formulated with “pure Photoluminescent Technology to capture, diffuse, and soften surrounding light for skin that appears softer, younger, and lit from within.”



The Ambient Lighting powders in the Unlocked palette come in a beautiful reflective plastic rosey gold palette with a full-sized mirror inside. While the packaging is lovely, it attracts fingerprints like nothing else. The H on the cover has a little bunny on it to commemorate it as being the brand’s first fully vegan product. The lid snaps shut with a clasp, which is theoretically quite sturdy, but the original Ambient Lighting palette also comes with the same type of clasp, and mine had come broken when I purchased it a few years ago. The clasp on my Unlocked palette seems to work just fine, though.

The one thing I’m not in love with is how small the pans are, which I know is something that people have spoken about in the previous versions. The blushes and highlighter are perfectly fine because my blush and highlighter brushes are smaller than the pans and seem to fit into them perfectly, but my bronzer and face powder brushes are slightly too big to fit these pans. It’s not a dealbreaker for me, but it’s something to be aware of.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Unlocked Palette Shades.jpg


As I mentioned at the beginning, the palette contains 2 all-over finishing powders, one bronzer, two blushes, and one highlighter. This palette seems to feature slightly darker tones than the previous Ambient Lighting palettes, and I think a lot of these shades would work for people who have medium skin tones. To be honest, these shades aren’t entirely unique and I think would be easily dupeable, but they are very pretty, and it’s handy to have all of these products in one palette for easy travel

Soft Light – soft peach
Filtered Light – cool medium tone
Golden Bronze Light – neutral golden bronze
Nude Glow – shimmering light amber
Mood Flush – soft plum
Champagne Strobe – true champagne

What I love about these powders is that the effect is so subtle, but they come together to give you such a perfected look. At first, they look like they might not be doing much and not worth the costly price tag, but when your skin catches the light, I find that it makes your face look so airbrushed and perfect. The powders don’t settle into fine lines, nor do they emphasize pores. I have dry skin, and the all-over powders never make my skin look dry or cakey when I apply them over my foundation. I also worry that these powders will leave glitters all over my face, but they don’t. I always aim for more glowy skin as opposed to a completely matte look, and this palette gives me the exact look I want. These powders are quite subtle though – none of them give you an in-your-face effect, so if you are used to strong makeup looks, this palette might not be what you’re looking for.

From left to right: Soft Light (barely visible on my skin tone), Filtered Light, Gold Bronze Light, Nude Glow, Mood Flush, and Champagne Strobe
Although the two finishing powders, Soft Light and Filtered Light, are distinctly different shades, they’re so soft and subtle that they both seem to work on my light-medium skintone. These have a satin finish, with no real apparent shimmers and give your skin a soft, natural looking finish. I love that they added Filtered Light, which will help brighten up skin tones without looking chalky.

The bronzer, Golden Bronze Light, also has a satin finish and gives your skin the perfect healthy looking glow. I was worried that it would look glittery or at the very least too shimmery, but was pleasantly surprised by how natural it looks.

In terms of the blushes, Nude Glow is a peachy-nude blush that looks like it has a lot of glitters in the pan and when swatched, but on the face, the glitters don’t translate. It just looks like a glowy blush with a shimmery finish, and it kind of reminds me of a peachier version of NARS Orgasm.

Mood Flush is a mauve blush with a satin finish and no apparent shimmers. I found that the blush shades in the previous Ambient Lighting Edit palettes to be quite light, and I feel like the addition of this shade in this palette makes it a really good choice for people with darker skin tones. I love this shade for the fall!

Champagne Strobe is the one highlighter in this palette, and it leaves almost a wet sheen to the skin. Although it can be built up, it’s not the strongest, most reflective highlighter I own, but not everyone always goes for a strong highlight anyways. I couldn’t exactly call this highlighter natural, but it’s not the type of highlighter you can see from space, either. I love that it’s perfectly neutral – not a warm champagne, but not cool-toned either.

The standout shades in this palette to me are the bronzer (Golden Bronze Light) and the Mood Flush blush. I tend to prefer matte bronzers and blushes, but the satin finish of these products give my skin the most beautiful lit-from-within glow, and I am a fan.



-Beautiful and sturdy packaging
-More suitable for a wider range of skin tones compared to previous palette
-Natural finish with buildable coverage
-Great for travel


-Pans are a little small
-Probably would not work for deep skin tones
-Shades are not particularly unique

Hourglass products are luxurious and certainly an investment, but in my opinion, the Ambient Lighting Edit Unlocked palette is well worth the price tag. Since these LE palettes are always aimed at people with light to medium skin tones, I have to admit that I do wish they would come out with a permanent palette for people with deep skin tones!

15 thoughts on “Review: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Unlocked Palette

  1. The shades do look gorgeous but I think i could pass on this – I just never end up using everything in a 6-pan palette! I think we are both pretty similar in that we don’t like having glitter or shimmer on our face lol but lately, I have found that I actually don’t mind wearing blush that has the sheen/lit-from-within look to it! In fact, I’m kinda looking for more products like that cos like you too, not into matte looks even though the difference is is that I have combination-oily skin.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glowy blushes are so pretty and easy to use – it’s like a blush with a built in highlighter! They used to be my go-to until I got into highlighters, and now I don’t wear them as much because glowy blush + highlighter is just too much lol.

      I totally get what you mean about a 6-pan face palette being overkill though – most people end up using 3-4 of the shades instead of the whole thing, which is a bit of a waste.


  2. I considered this one too but I couldn’t justify the price tag (instead I bought an eyeshadow palette I regret hahaha). The shades look so pretty but very subtle.

    I’ve only tried one of their products – their powder in Dim Light but it looks orange on my skin. I love the texture of their shadows though – they’re so soft and smooth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally get it – it HURTS buying an Hourglass palette because it leaves a big dent in your wallet.

      Ahhh, so sad that Dim Light is too light for you! I think maybe Ethereal Light might be a better fit for your skintone? Online it says it’s an opalescent sheer, cool white powder.


  3. I’m glad you decided to get this palette! As you know, I love it a lot! Still totally obsessed with the bronzer and the Mood Flush blush is especially pretty! I already have made a significant dent in the bronzer!

    Liked by 1 person

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