Hourglass vs Guerlain Powders

Hourglass and Guerlain are the two most hyped brands I’ve seen when it comes to all over face powders that give a blur and sheen but aren’t shimmery enough to be considered highlighters. So, when I saw both brands release actual highlighters and noticed how similar they were, I had to buy them.

Hourglass Metallic Strobe Lighting Palette

This palette has a net weight of 9 grams for $64. It was originally released for the holidays in 2017, but they brought it back for a limited time in 2020. I purchased this in May, but as of August, it’s still available on multiple retailers’ websites.

The Hourglass powders have a sheer base to them, which is why they appear sheerer in swatches than the ones from Guerlain. However, the Hourglass powders are much more reflective, as can be seen when applied to my cheeks. So, they end up making a bigger impact with my usual application method. They are meant to be used wet for more intensity (with a spray or primer) or dry. When I apply them dry, they’re at my maximum shimmer comfort level (unless I use a light hand and blend them very well), so I don’t use them wet. The Guerlain ones can also be applied wet too, but the difference is minimal compared to the jump in intensity when the Hourglass powders are used wet.

Guerlain Pearl Dusting Palette

Also known as the Meteorites 3-in-1 Highlighting and Illuminating Pressed Powder Palette, this has a net weight of 8.5 grams for $65. So, it’s slightly more expensive for a bit less product. The compact is huge with a lot of wasted space, though the packaging feels luxurious. Both palettes have mirror-finish plastic packaging, but despite the Guerlain one having less makeup inside, it’s a bit heavier. I suspect the actual mirror inside the Guerlain compact is heavier than the one in the Hourglass and accounts for the difference in weight.

The visible sheen on the surface of Hourglass and Guerlain’s trio powders are unlike any other highlighters I own. This is probably due to the addition of pearl powder which both brands cite as the main contributor to the beauty of these highlighters. Even though a sheer base, in theory, seems like the Hourglass powders would look better on my skin, the micro pearl particles are whitish, which doesn’t look as complimentary to someone like me with a yellow undertone and dark skin. The base pigment in the Guerlain highlighters help match me better, with the exception of the pink one.

All Guerlain Meteorites have a lovely violet scent that I enjoy experiencing whenever I open the containers. I have a keen sense of smell, so perhaps I’m more sensitive to fragrances than most people, but the violet scent in this trio is way more intense than the regular meteorites. It’s on the cusp of headache-inducing. It takes a few hours before I can no longer smell it on my face, which is not something I ever experienced with the regular meteorite pearls. I bought this a month and a half ago, and even let it air out for a few hours, but the scent is still as present as the day I bought it. I can tolerate it enough to keep using it, but if you’re sensitive to smells I would caution against buying this.


The Hourglass powders don’t have as much color to them, are smoother to the touch, easier to blend, are buildable and highly reflective. The Guerlain powders are more pigmented, stick where they apply, and have an impactful sheen without being blinding.

I’ve always favored Guerlain Meteorites over the Hourglass Ambient Powders, but when it comes to their highlighters it’s not as simple to decide between them.

Neither of the pink shades from Guerlain and Hourglass are flattering on me. They’re too stark on my skintone and look more white on my skin than the actual white pan powders.

The other two Guerlain powders are probably the most flattering on me and more of my style, though I have to tolerate the smell to wear them. I still think the other two Hourglass powders are beautiful. Lucent Strobe makes the most wearable-impact of them all, as it’s intense but not as icy.

The best uses of the Guerlain Trio I’ve found is using Gold alone, Amber alone, or mixing the Gold and Amber shades together. It tones down the yellow base in Gold while amping up the intensity that Amber doesn’t have on its own.

The best use of the Hourglass Trio I’ve found is to use Pure Strobe as an inner corner of the eye highlight and Lucent Strobe as a spotlight/pinpoint highlighter. I basically use a regular highlighter along my cheeks and at the very highest point of my cheekbone add Lucent Strobe to make that spot stand out even more. All that these Metallic Strobe powders really need is to be mixed with something deeper, and then the outcome is much more to my liking. In the photo below, I used Nabla’s Amnesia highlighter, which is not an example of a deeper highlighter, but of one that’s on the more subtle side that was amped up by Lucent Strobe.

The shades in the Guerlain Pearl Palette better compliment my skin tone than the Hourglass Metallic Strobe Palette. Both brands advertise these products as “universal” highlighters, but I don’t believe this to be the case. They can be used on a wide range of skin tones, but none were catered to me, not even the Guerlain trio. I still really enjoy them anyway and don’t regret my purchases.


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