(Trial Run)

I Don’t Need Primer *Or* Concealer With This New Hourglass Foundation

Introducing my go-to formula.

Amanda Ross
Amanda Ross beauty writer selfie

In our series Trial Run, TZR editors and writers put the buzziest new beauty products to the test and share their honest reviews. This week, one beauty writer is testing the new Hourglass Ambient Soft Glow Foundation.

Totally regardless of how realistic they are, I want a lot of things in life. I want to be exactly three and a half inches taller, I want my cat to live forever, I want corn syrup to have spinach’s nutritional content, and I want to wear a full face of makeup that feels like I’m wearing nothing at all. These all might sound like pie-in-the-sky fantasies, but some of them are closer than you’d think. While I’m still waiting on that whole “feline immortality” thing, I can at least have everything I want makeup-wise. The new Hourglass Ambient Soft Glow Foundation is opaque enough to cover everything I want it to (and there’s a lot — more in a sec) but is somehow lightweight enough to never feel oppressive or cakey. In fact, thanks to how blurring and flexible the coverage really is, I can totally skip spot concealing and primer — and anything that saves product and time is already a winner in my book.

Typically, my hard-and-fast summer rule is no foundation allowed, but this new Hourglass offering just bumped my tinted moisturizers and “no-makeup makeup” staples to the second drawer. Below, my thoughts on the new release after putting it to the test over a few weeks.

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Fast Facts

  • Price: $58
  • Best for: Those after medium to full coverage, especially dryer skin types.
  • Your rating: 5/5
  • Clean/Cruelty-Free? Yes
  • What we like: The realistic-looking finish is like its own blur filter and forms an ideal canvas for further makeup.
  • What we don’t like: Truly nothing.

My Skin

My skin is generally on the dry side with lots of fading hyperpigmentation and even more birth control-induced melasma. It looks like a cloud across my forehead and upper lip year round and, in the summer, snakes around my right eye and down the temples. I’ve largely made peace with it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want it covered up — but because it’s so dark, that usually requires a layer of primer, concealer, foundation, then more concealer and powder. That aside, my only concerns are staying power in this wild heat — right now, my weather app says it’s 105 degrees, which means the sweatproof factor and product separations are major focuses.

Author before Hourglass Ambient Soft Glow FoundationAmanda Ross

Hourglass Ambient Soft Glow Foundation

As Hourglass’ latest launch from its best-selling Ambient Lighting collecting, the new foundation is formulated to diffuse and scatter light to soften the look of spots, lines, and texture while emitting a barely-there but undeniably luminous, candle-lit glow itself. White tea extract, a top-billed ingredient in the foundation, is both naturally conditioning and antioxidant-rich to help build out that highly blendable, second-skin finish while protecting against environmental stress and blue light-induced free radicals. The real draw, though, is the brand’s proprietary blurring spheres and light-diffusing pigments that cast a hazy, perfection-simulating glow.

The foundation launched with a special new campaign, called We Glow, that pairs duos of different generations and walks of life to bond over shared experiences and what it means to glow from the inside out. “I love that We Glow highlights my passion for dance and shows how that passion, and my inner light, makes me beautiful,” mentee Destiny Wimpye tells TZR. “That individuality that shines through should be celebrated,” she says, pointing to Hourglass’ focus on showcasing the foundation on different skin types, ages, and tones. “It’s so important to represent all types of beauty.”

First Impression Of Hourglass Ambient Soft Glow Foundation

What first struck me about the new Hourglass foundation is what a great match my selected shade was for my skin. I have a tricky undertone and wear heavy zinc-based SPF from the neck up only so finding a color that matches my body can be a challenge — shade 6 from the line was an ideal fit. It might seem minor, but I was also deeply, immediately appreciative of the glass bottle’s sturdiness and the butter-smooth pump efficiency.

How I Used Hourglass Ambient Soft Glow Foundation

Ambient Soft Glow also launched with a special, corresponding brush that I got to test as well, so it made sense to apply the foundation with that the first time. I decided to forgo primer or even priming moisturizer (the Charlotte Tilbury one has my heart) to fully appreciate the foundation’s wear. After using a regular moisturizer, I warmed up a bit of the product on the back of my hand, dotted it around my face, and started working it in with the brush. This is high coverage by design, so I felt compelled to do something of a full face every time I wore it. The thing is though, a full face with this foundation doesn’t feel nearly so heavy as others. In subsequent trials, I’d experiment with applying the foundation with my fingers, a BeautyBlender, and a different, larger foundation brush but nothing compared to the Hourglass-issued one.

My Results

The first time I wore this foundation, I took about 62 selfies from a sheer abundance of confidence. If we’re being real, I think I’ve felt some self-imposed social pressure to be the sort of girl who only “needs” light coverage minimalist makeup but I do feel the best when my skin tone is totally even — and this definitely delivers. When using the Hourglass brush, my first instinct was to stipple but it works way better if you push it in and slightly up, using that contoured edge to blend corners and push the product around. To my surprise, I didn’t actually have to use a pore-filling primer or my usual post-foundation spot conceal routine. The foundation obviously can’t make it look like my melasma never existed, but it did cover the bulk of it and all without patching up or clumping the instant I felt a prickle of sweat.

Author after Hourglass Ambient Soft Glow FoundationAmanda Ross

The best part about the foundation, promoted as 16-hour wear, is that all of its incredible benefits actually stick around. I didn’t actually test this over a full 16 hours (I’d be dumped, evicted, and fired within a day if I stayed awake that long) but it handled a wild 12-hour IKEA-moving marathon like a champion.

Is Hourglass Ambient Soft Glow Foundation Worth It?

Unless you already have notably fantastic skin on your own, I can’t recommend this enough. After trialing it several times, I think this actually might be my favorite foundation of the year so far. It makes me feel so confident thanks to the coverage, but also because I know it’s not going anywhere. It looks good in sharp photos, it looks good in real life, it even looks good in my kitchen, which shares the exact lighting plan as the bathroom in the Saw series. Go ahead and place an order for this now before TikTok gets ahold of it — we’ll surely all be on the waitlist for months.

BDG product reviews and recommendations are written and conducted by writers and editors with expertise in their fields. Testers often have specific experience with the situation or product at hand, and/or their review or recommendation is provided in consultation with experts. You can learn more about our standards here.