The Hourglass Cosmetics Ultimate Base Guide : Primers, Foundations, Concealers & Powders

I wanted to do another brand focus to go a little more in-depth on the Hourglass Bases, primers & concealers. There are quite a few to choose from and as this is one of my favourite brands I have quite a good selection of the products in my kit and have been using Hourglass for around 6 years now. Here, I am going through my favourites and not-so-favourites from ALL the bases and skin preps that they do, including swatches of all the foundations that I have.

Hourglass is a very luxury (& pricey) cosmetics brand. Probably one of the most-so that I regularly invest in for my kit. I know it’s also a brand that isn’t everywhere and it can sometimes be difficult to get to a counter and/or try out the products so I just basically want to give you as much honest information possible.

I have done similar with NARS bases if you want to check that out here.


They do x 3 primers at the moment : The infamous Veil Mineral Primer, The newer Ambient Light Correcting Primer and the lesser-known no 28 Primer Serum. I *do* have all 3 for different needs of my clients, so here is the lowdown :

The Veil Mineral Primer has been on of my kit go-to’s and most used primers for many years. I think really performs like it promises and keeps product locked onto the skin throughout the day. It is a white translucent air-like fluid that goes colourless onto the skin and feels super smooth. Be careful on the amount you are applying, with the SPF 15 this can look visible on darker skin if you apply too much. I find it particularly works well on a normal-oilier skin as it smooths pores, has a velvet finish, reduces redness and repels any water/humidity. Vegan-friendly, oil-free, fragrance-free.

For Dry skins and mature skins, the No.28 Primer is the one I opt for as this is a lot more hydrating, nourishing and leaves the skin absolutely GLOWING. It has a combination of 28 different anti-ageing ingredients (hence the name bitches) including 14 essential oils,  10 lipid-rich plant oils & 4 vitamins. A super elixir that is very oily in texture so be warned :  not for those oily-combo babes out there. I will often use this onto cleansed skin as skincare and primer – often no need for anything else.

The newest of the hourglass primers and actually my least favourite of the three is the Ambient Light Correcting Primer. This comes in 3 colour correcting and brightening shades that smooth, blur and even out skin tone. They are oil-free and lightweight in texture although heavier than both the above. I was really looking forward to these, but it just seems for colour-correcting, they don’t do enough OR have enough colour-correcting/brightening pigments in them. I just find them a bit of a fuss and wish they gave more oomph to the skin.


Hourglass currently do 4 different foundations: I find the shades can really vary between them all so don’t think because you are ‘Beige’ in one, you will be the same in another formula. I’m also glad to see they have extended their paler shades lately as I really struggled to find really porcelain/pale shades from Hourglass up until about 2 years ago. I can’t remember which range it was (possibly The Veil) but I was their palest shade when usually I am around 4th/5th in! I have found Hourglass always to be good at accommodating for deeper skin tones although sometimes hard to find them in stock on counter.

The Hyaluronic Skin Tint (formally Illusion) is one of my favourite of their bases and it is whipped-mousse formula that contains hyaluronic acid, pearlescent pigments for a glowing finish & firming ingredients. This is for those who like makeup and skincare infused and like that feeling of a really hydrating base. It provides a medium coverage, although, I often use this very sparingly for no-makeup-days instead of a tinted moisturiser as it gives *that type* of finish but better.

SPF 15. Vegan. 12 shades.

The Veil Fluid Makeup is a lightweight (the lightest of all 4 foundation) serum-like texture. Although it is still oil-free  it gives a wonderful lit-from-within, dewy finish on the skin. Think NARS Sheer Glow on steroids. It is probably a little lighter than the skin tint in coverage but you can build this for a decent medium coverage. This contains a skin regeneration complex, and again is makeup infused with skincare. Probably my most-used foundation from hourglass in my kit as it is the most versatile, works for *most* skin types and I love this even on skin that needs full coverage by mixing it with concealer where needed.

SPF 15. Vegan. 11 shades.

Immaculate liquid-powder foundationThe ultimate foundation is you have oily and problematic skin and want a really good coverage! Literally possibly the best foundation I have in my kit for an oily skin. It has a long lasting velvet matte finish that absorbs oil and has really high pigment. I love this when I need a really beautiful, perfect skin-finish and need it to last throughout the day under lights, camera and *action* < cringe, sorry.

Vegan. 22 shades. Oil-free. Fragrance Free.

The Vanish Foundation stick: The latest addition to the Hourglass base family and I am really liking this a lot. Apologies for my lack of shade ranges : I only have quite deep shades for this at the moment although they do the biggest selection of shades, more so than any of their other foundations ; I will be adding to these very soon!

The Vanish stick is a concealer-foundation-hybrid but leaves a natural finish – IF applied right. I absolutely love it, and have worked out how to apply it to get different finishes and I know some people struggle finding it heavy – try using this with a damp buffing foundation brush and it really eases up the formula if you don’t want it full coverage. Also, very little is needed so apply and build this up slowly.It is a long wear formulas and the coverage can be anything from light-medium > full. If you are normal-dry, primer your skin with something very hydrating (no.28 is ideal), if you are normal-oily, I find this goes on well just solo over skincare.

Vegan. Fragrance Free. 26 shades.

My only gripe is the price point and the amount .Yes, Hourglass as a brand have very good formulations / ingredients and packaging therefore it IS more expensive,and I already get that (and have sucked it up many-a-times!) BUT this is £42 for 7.2g which isn’t a lot.

As a comparison : MUFE HD is 12.5g £29 / Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick is 9g  £31 / Tom Ford is 15g £66 so actually gram for gram :  the Hourglass Vanish is more expensive than the Tom Ford foundation stick.


Hourglass do one concealer and it’s a decent all-rounder that can be used on both the face and under the eyes. It is a twist-up stick that is quite heavy in coverage so I only use this minimally under the eye, but I don’t find it problematic and I think it has an amazing finish. I love the packaging as it’s very kit friendly and quick and easy to use. I do hope to see them launch a more specific and lighter under the eye/ brightening concealer at some point. Comes in 10 shades.


The most infamous Hourglass powders have to be the Ambient Lighting Powders which are a really clever skin finishing & brightening powder. They mimic natural light sources from morning light to candlelight and are a universal tone. A couple of the shades (Luminous & Radiant Light) are bordering on highlighter territory so you can play them as such but they aren’t your BECCA-like full on highlighters, more a of subtle, ethereal candle glow finish. Fun fact : The Ambient Bronzers use both the luminous & radiant light powders marbled in with darker bronzing shades.

My most used shades are Dim Light and Ethereal Light which are what I use as all over the face setting powders. They smooth the skin and pores and have a super-flattering finish. I also use these under the eyes to set & lift concealer. Something like the MAC 224 brush is good for using these powders under the eye and in smaller areas.

If you want more of a typical highlighter powder then the Strobe Lighting Powders are your more shimmery *proper* highlighting powders from Hourglass. They come in 4 shades. I have to be honest, these are not my favourite highlighters by any means. I find they are a little too glittery and not enough glow, and I don’t even know how that can happen?!  I also don’t love any of the shades they do.

So there we have it : My ultimate guide to all things Hourglass BASE. I hope it was useful and interesting.

If you want a next phase of this series into the Hourglass colour : blush / bronze / lips etc then do let me know below! Also if there are perhaps any other brands you would like to see me focus on then holla.