You know how I’m always on about how Hourglass doesn’t really cater to dark skin beyond a certain point, so the brand was permanently, sorta off my radar? Well, Hourglass came through. Clearly someone over at head office has been listening to not only the criticism of Hourglass itself, but to the uproar from brown girls and allies in the beauty community about the absolute lack of representation and colour choices available in everything from foundation to blush and beyond. I mean there’s always been grumbling, but in the last few months black girls were like “um…you can’t fug wit me? Cool, I can’t fug wit you either”. When I say they came through, they did so like the Roman army, they conquered, put down stakes and made the scene their own. 26 shades people. 26. Their new Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation comes in 26 shades of awesome that range from the very lightest to the very darkest, and undertones for all! Got peachy undertones (raises hand)? Got golden undertones (raises hand again cause weird), got red, olive or neutral undertones? Not to worry, they got you. And for once, brown girls aren’t saddled with just neutral or red undertones in their foundation, the undertone process is very democratic, and we finally have more than two shades to choose from. From a mainstream brand, this is kinda huge ya’ll.
I was so damn spoiled for choice that as per usual I got confused as hell, so lemme tell you about it. What had happened was…I contacted Hourglass and they made recommendations. I took one look at the shade they recommended and said bye. After messing about the site for a week I finally settled on the shade Amber, but for whatever reason I couldn’t check out on the Hourglass site. SpaceNK saved the day with an Indulge Incentive so I purchased there, because I was feeling kindly disposed to Hourglass I went ahead an picked up the Ambient lighting palette. One, because I still wanted to try Radiant Light, and two I was peripherally interested in Incandescent Light as well. I was also looking to get some Lilah B. Cosmetics and they sent along a sample card of all the blushes that I’d wanted to try so score.
I’m sure you guys have seen pictures of the foundation all over social media so I don’t have to describe it to you. But I really really want to cause it’s stinking pretty. The triangular tube (can that be a thing? Triangular and tubular?) is sleek and heavy. It has a twist up mechanism and is the standard Hourglass brown.
So listen, I got the foundation and what was the first thing that I did? I panicked when I saw the shade. I was like oh my god that’s too light! So it went back to SpaceNK. Since I was ordering some stuff from Barney’s I ordered the shade Warm Almond which is two shades darker than Amber, and also another Ambient Lighting blush in Radiant Magenta which we’ll get to later. Here’s the thing though? Amber was the perfect shade, I realised that because Warm Almond is perfect. Right now. In the summer. In the winter, it’s not going to be a good fit since I can get at least three shades darker in the summer time. So I’m likely going to reorder the Amber shade. Both of these have a warm/golden undertone, I didn’t swatch Amber or even touch it since I immediately knew that I was sending it back, but Warm Almond blended in seamlessly, another clue that I should have kept Amber since my arm is always darker than my face by at least a shade. Swatches below.
The first time I wore this I had some…problems. Not knowing that the finish was satiny was a huge part of it. I used the Radiant Light all over and wound up looking quite shiny for most of the day. The funny thing was, I wasn’t oily in the least. It didn’t break down or separate and I spent a good hour outside in ninety degree weather. The coverage goes to full in a flash, you’ve been warned if that’s not your thing, and the finish? It looks like skin, your skin, just better. The triangular shape of the stick allows it to be easily used for under eye concealing which it does remarkably well without creasing. The second time that I wore it I used my Joe Fresh translucent finishing powder to much better results. This foundation is thick and pigment packed, cake face is super easy. I feel like it has a bit of a learning curve too, and I was concerned with the cost to amount ration until I realised just how little you need to get complete coverage that will hide most of your imperfections. With colour correcting, you won’t even need concealer.
Speaking of colour correcting, I also picked up one of the new Ambient Light Correcting primers. Now, as far as I can tell, these don’t really colour correct all that much or you, at all? There’s Mood Light, a purple/pink infused primer much like the Mood Light powder. Dim Light a neutral beige which I stayed away from because even though it’s the darkest of the three, it’s also neutral, no thank you ma’am. Finally there’s Luminous Light a champagne pearl and the one that I got.
It comes in a pretty unassuming squeeze tube, knowing Hourglass I was expecting fancy, but nope. I’ve always loved Hourglass primers. I absolutely love love love the Veil primer. That stuff kidnaps your foundation and holds it hostage on your face till you decide to remove it. What I didn’t love? On a brown chick like me, things could get white real fast and I wouldn’t know it till it had dried down. I found this primer to be exactly like the Veil primer, except that the champagne colouring eliminated the white cast, and it does leave not a luminous finish, but more of a pearlescent one that doesn’t interfere with your foundation, but in turn imparts luminosity. There are no pictures of it blended out below because it literally disappears and the pearlescent attributes can’t be seen on camera.
About that blush I got…Radiant Magenta. Look, when you find an Ambient Lighting Blush that works for you, it’s like the skies open up and angels start singing right? But the thing is, unless you go into a store and pick one up, examine it before you walk out you really don’t know what you’ll get, because of that damn fancy marbling. You could like I did with Mood Exposure, luck out. Or you could strike out on two damn blushes like I’ve done. When will I learn? I was just so excited I didn’t really think about it…and here’s what I got for my troubles.
This blush is more Radiant Lighting powder than magenta colour. Which I wouldn’t mind so much…nope, no. I still would have minded even if I hadn’t gotten the palette. So I sent it back, which lemme tell you was an ordeal. I’ve never purchased Cosmetics from Barneys.com before, and…um…this will be the last time that I do so. I’ve purchased from Barney’s before, all sorts of things. I used to date a dude that had a Barneys addiction and he worked right across the street so we frequented the place a lot. I’ve never had any issue returning anything, be it cosmetics, clothing what have you to the store. But when I called to try and return this, Doris (who realllllly needs to be retrained in customer service…and friendliness), made me feel like I had stolen something and was trying to scam her into taking it back. So yeah, if I’m not in the city and can take it back, Barneys.com just became a huge no for me, I’ll stick to Nordstrom, SpaceNK and Bergdorf’s for my high end cosmetics.
And I think that I may finally have found the Ambient Lighting powders that work well for me. Radiant Light was definitely a good choice, but I also found that I liked Dim Light even better because it’s quite muted and chill, while Incandescent light makes a wonderful highlighter. Who knew.
The foundation is going to wind up HG most likely. It lasts a good ten hours and I only had to blot once, which was pretty hilarious since all I had to do was tap the spot with my hand and boom, gone. It hasn’t broken me out in the week that I’ve worn it, and although it is way more coverage that I normally wear, not only can I not feel it on my skin, but it looks natural and just like skin. The primer has already achieved HG status, just on the strength of it being exactly like the Veil primer without whiting me out. Lack of colour correcting properties be damned.