Daily Dupe | Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette vs elf Illuminating Palette

IS IT A DUPE? This was the question I instantly asked myself when I saw elf came out with a highlighting palette. Everyone loves the Hourglass powders, but there is a reliable company making an affordable dupe, I have to try it! The elf Illuminating Palette is only $6, while the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette is a whopping $62. Keep reading if you would like to find out if you should save or splurge!

Claims of the elf Palette
This beautiful illuminating palette holds 4 gorgeous complementary shades to mix and match for a custom blended radiance that captures, diffuses, and softens the way light reflects on the skin. The soft-focus powders are great for highlighting around the eyes and on cheekbones to enhance the skin with a luminous effect. Perfect for all skin tones. 
Claims of the Hourglass palette
Ambient Lighting Powder is a groundbreaking collection of finishing powders that capture, diffuse, and soften the way light reflects on skin. Unlike traditional powders, which merely cloak imperfections, Ambient Lighting Powder utilizes photoluminescent technology to filter out harsh light and refine the appearance of the complexion. The powders deliver a multidimensional luminescence to every skintone, making it appear softer and lit from within. The finishing powders enhance skin in any type of light, including flash photography. With three universal shades available in the Ambient palette, you can create any desired effect. 
Both of these are palettes that contain different powders for giving a soft glow, finishing and illuminating the skin. They also both claim to work for all skin tones- bonus! I find both of these powders to be very soft. When you dip your brush in the Hourglass palette it is not powdery. However, with the elf palette when you dip your brush in there can be some powder flakes.

When you look at the swatches below you'll see there are many similar shades in the elf and Hourglass palette. The elf palette does, however, have an extra powder that is a golden-white shade. The shade match in both of these palettes may not be exact, but they are pretty close!

Overall these are both gorgeous powders you can use to lighten up the skin. I mainly use these as a cheekbone highlight. They are both not glittery or intense, like a Becca highlight, but give subtle-glowing-from-within-glow. 

I think you should skip the Hourglass palette and try the elf! It's significantly cheaper and the overall look and finish is very similar to the Hourglass powders. So good job elf! 
dupe Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette vs elf Illuminating Palette

dupe Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette vs elf Illuminating Palette
Top: Hourglass Dim Light
Bottom: elf bottom left

dupe Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette vs elf Illuminating Palette
Top: Hourglass Incandescent Light
Bottom: elf Top left

dupe Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette vs elf Illuminating Palette
Top: Hourglass Radiant Light
Bottom: elf bottom right

dupe Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette vs elf Illuminating Palette
elf top left

Do you think it's a dupe? Which one do you prefer?

This post may contain affiliate links. Products marked with an asterisk (*) were sent to me for free to consider for a review. All views and opinions are my own. If you would like more information, click here.


  1. So glad you did this post, there isn't a huge difference so I can save my pennies.

    Kathryn /Cherries in the Snow

  2. Wow, what a price difference! Thanks for this! I'll have to run out and grab one. Even if I decide it doesn't hold up later on, it's only 6 bucks!

  3. That's really impressive! I was never really tempted to get the Hourglass one, but the elf one seems gorgeous! Great comparison!

  4. They are literally identical, such a good dupe!
    Charlotte // www.charlottespicks.com

  5. They look very similar. I'm always been a fan of elf because they have great dupes for more expensive products


  6. Wow it's crazy how identical they are! I would love to give the Elf version a go soon :)

    Velvet Blush

  7. Personally I prefer the hourglass palette but props to elf for creating a dupe!


  8. I haven't been able to find the ELF palette. I personally am not a fan of too much highlight so I can't see myself paying over $60 for the Hourglass. I'll keep looking for the Elf :)

    Nereyda│ This Girl Is Obsessed

  9. Oh my gosh, I have to try out the ELF powders!! I love a good drugstore dupe/alternative :)
    Nida | Caked To The Nines

  10. i have the HG one. for some reason, the talc in the elf one doesn't agree with my skin, but i love that it's such an affordable alternative.

  11. They don't look so similar in the pans but they look so close on the swatches! I have the Hourglass palette but I don't often reach for it, it's so good though x

    Tamz | http://www.throughneweyesx.com