Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush is one of those products that does far better on face than when you casually swatch it on your arm. The photos above show some powdey/chalkiness that you really don't want in your blush, as well as some visible gold shimmer particles. However, as part of the Ambient Lighting range, these blushes contain a pretty large amount of Hourglass Ambient Lighting powder marbled into the pigmented blush base, making a significant difference.
If you're familiar with the Ambient Lighting powders you know that unlike regular finishing powders they're not flat. On the contrary: the Ambient powders give dimension to the face, reflect the light in an incredibly flattering way, and add an intangible luminosity. The new blushes are supposed to give a similar effect concentrating on your cheeks and cheekbones.
Do they deliver? I think they do, or at least Diffused Heat does. This is a very pretty blush that offers a coral base and a champagne marbling. When swirled together the effect is soft and warm. It catches the light as you move and renders additional highlighters unnecessary without actually looking shiny (most of the shimmer from the pan melts into the skin). The resulting look is very attractive, as long as you make sure to apply with a small brush ( a small Yachiyo works well). The one thing about this Hourglass blush is that you do not want this effect to appear anywhere other than the top of your cheeks or the apples of the cheeks (depending on your face structure and your preferred blush placement). This is not a forgiving product, so it needs to be applied with some precision.
I find Diffused Heat to have more than enough pigment even in light application. It can be built and intensified, though, but I suggest staring slowly to see how much you actually need. Remember that by layering the blush you're also adding extra shimmer to the mix, which you may or may not want to do. As for color selection, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush comes in six shades. Christine from Temptalia found most of them to be very close in color, so no need to run out and buy one of each. I chose Diffused Heat because it seems the most flattering for me-- I need the extra warmth these days, but not too much magenta or pink. I do wish for a greater variety of colors in a wider range.
One last note regarding powder: When wearing this blush I don't feel a need for a finishing powder because there's just enough polish and luminosity built into the product. However, a setting powder applied sparingly and directly to areas you used concealer or need extra support is still as essential as ever.
Bottom Line: very pretty and almost justifies the hype.
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush ($35) is available from hourglasscosmetics.co and can be pre-ordered from Barneys. Sephora ran out after the VIB pre-sale, but they will restock soon, so please please please don't pay extra on eBay. This is a permanent product and there's no reason to panic and buy at double retail price.