Hourglass Cosmetics

Hourglass At-A-Glance

Strengths: All products are fragrance-free; unique Veil Mineral Primer SPF 15 has an innovative texture complete with a non-irritating mineral-base; packaging is well-constructed and stylish.

Weaknesses: Expensive; tinted moisturizer lackssufficient broad-spectrum protection; nearly all complexion products lack shades that match a wide variety of skin tones; both mascaras are underwhelming; bronzer duo shade is all wrong; confusing self-tanning-and primer-in-one product.

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.

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