Hourglass has built a reputation based on the popularity of this liquid foundation with reliable sunscreen. Although it's a very good foundation, it isn't as spectacular as you would expect given the price. Dispensed from a pump, this silky formula provides medium to full coverage. This foundation's pigmentation is so concentrated that if you're seeking sheer application, you really have to blend and blend again to get a more translucent, lightweight appearance. It's worth noting that the texture is far thicker than the "fluid" in the product's name suggests, so a little goes a long way.
The formula's major drawback is its now-deficient sunscreen. Whereas the original version had an in-part titanium dioxide sunscreen, the most current version omits the titanium dioxide in favor of sunscreen ingredients octisalate and oxybenzone, neither of which provides sufficient UVA protection (plus both can be sensitizing when applied near the eyes). See More Info to learn which active ingredients to look for in any SPF-rated product.
- Lush, creamy texture that blends easily and evenly on skin.
- Dries to a powdery finish with a subtle glow.
- Medium coverage can be built up to full and still look surprisingly natural.
- Considering the amount of coverage, it feels surprisingly light.
- All shades are impressively neutral.
- No longer provides broad-spectrum sun protection that includes sufficient UVA screening.
- Formula tends to separate in the bottle.
- No shades for darker skin tones.
- Very expensive.
This foundation does not include the ingredients needed to shield your skin from the sun's entire range of damaging UVA rays, which is essential for anti-aging benefits. The sun's UVB rays are what cause sunburn, and the SPF number reflects that protection, but there is no rating for the sun's silent, though more penetrating (and in many ways more damaging), UVA rays. Any SPF-rated product should contain one or more of the following UVA-protecting ingredients listed as "active" to ensure you are getting UVA protection: avobenzone, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, Mexoryl SX (ecamsule), or Tinosorb (Sources: Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences, December 2011, pages 81–90; Cosmetic Dermatology, Second Edition, Baumann, Leslie MD, McGraw Hill, 2009, pages 246–252; American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, Supplement, 2009, pages 19–24; The Encyclopedia of Ultraviolet Filters, Shaath, Nadim A., Allured Publishing, 2007; and Photodermatology, Photoimmunology, and Photomedicine, October 2003, pages 242–253).
Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 7.5%, Octisalate 4.0%, Oxybenzone 3.0%. Inactive Ingredients: Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Cetyl PEG/PPG 10/1 Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Ethylhexylglycerin, Glycerin, Glyceryl Behenate, Glyceryl Dibehenate, Hdi/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Hexyl Laurate, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, Isododecane, Isoeicosane, Macrocystic Pyrifera Extract, Magnesium Sulfate, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Phenoxyethanol, Phenyl Trimethicone, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Potassium Sorbate, Propylene Carbonate, PVP, Quaternium-90 Bentonite, Silica, Sodium Benzoate, Tocopherylacetate, Tribehenin, Triethoxylcaprylylsilane, Water. May Contain (+/-): Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide.
According to founder Carisa Janes, Hourglass Cosmetics are "homegrown luxury cosmetics." Sounds like an intriguing marketing angle—but what does that mean for the consumer? The "luxury" element becomes overly apparent in the price tag, and the "homegrown" aspect seems to be related to the brand's humble beginnings as a small storefront in 2004. Other than those points, there is really nothing inherently special about this relatively small line of makeup, which is now available at most Sephora stores nationwide.
The most hyped product in the Hourglass line is their Veil Fluid Makeup SPF 15. This liquid foundation gets a lot of chatter online as being a "must-have" product, but that doesn't mean it's the only one or even the best option out there. In reality, although this foundation has a beautiful, lightweight texture that provides good coverage with reliable sun protection, it has a serious problem in that it noticeably separates in the bottle, which really puts into question the stability of the sunscreen. For $60 an ounce, this really should be perfect!
What you should know about any cosmetic product is that expensive doesn't necessarily mean better; there are good and bad products in all price ranges. Unfortunately, many consumers find it hard not to expect a line like Hourglass, with its luxury price tag, to be far better than "bargain" brands. But, even when an expensive product is great, you can almost always find a more affordable alternative that is just as good (if not better!) than the expensive one. The bottom line: In making the decision to purchase any cosmetic, you shouldn't rely solely on how much it costs, and Hourglass is no exception.
Case in point: Hourglass's exquisite, expensive makeup brush collection. Yes, these are soft, beautifully made and completely luxurious brushes, but so are plenty of other Taklon (synthetic hair) brushes that are available for far less money. Or even consider Hourglass's silly Oxygen Mineral Powder, a pressed powder that overhypes its mineral content (it's a stretch to call this product "mineral" at all) and makes unsubstantiated claims that it can deliver oxygen to the skin. But, worst of all, this $46 product seriously underperforms when compared to many $10 powders at the drugstore (Neutrogena, L'Oreal, Sonia Kashuk, and Rimmel come to mind).
Hourglass's underlying philosophy (and brand-name symbolism) is meant to speak to the benefit of using well-formulated products that ward off the ever-marching effects of time. Unfortunately, this lofty goal is nearly unattainable for any makeup company. For Hourglass, it extends only to their foundations with sunscreen, not exactly earthshaking given the number of companies who can provide this benefit, and it certainly doesn't take super-expensive products. In fact at Hourglass's prices, it's unlikely you'll apply these as liberally as needed for adequate sun protection. Just another example of how expensive doesn't mean better!
For more information about Hourglass Cosmetics, visit www.hourglasscosmetics.com or call 310-392-7799.