DUPE? Ambient Lighting Powder Palette Vs. ELF Illuminating Palette

First off, thanks everyone for the kind words yesterday. I made it through the day, which seemed to take forever. And then watching This Is Us didn't help. That show makes me cry practically every week. Such is life, right? Speaking of life, I've become hooked on the Missing Richard Simmons podcast. It's so interesting--not what I thought I'd ever listen to, but I found myself captivated.

What else captivates me? Poring through my makeup collection to find dupes for you! Now y'all if you've been on this blog longer than a few days, my obsession love for highlighters will make an appearance. I might be drawn to sparkly things. Moving on...one palette I LOVE is the Ambient Lighting Palette. It's just so light and natural...and around $62. I got mine as a present for Christmas one year, but yes, I practically choked typing those words out too. While looking through my stash, I found my ELF Illuminating Palette. It's only $6 and I really love it.

Could there be a dupe? After some testing, here's what I think:

Sephora and online
3 Universal powders suitable for every skin tone, while each can be worn day and night. I like this as a highlight or powder
Free from:
• Parabens
• Fragrance
• Talc
• Nanoparticles
• Gluten
• Not tested on animals

Target, online
4 shades to mix and match
Contains talc

I thought that 3 of the shades in each looked very similar. Can you see it yet? Here they are swatched:

ELF is top and Dim Light is on the bottom, swatch-wise. I found for each shade the ELF was much more pigmented, with a bit of fall out.

Next is ELF on the top, with Hourglass Ambient Lighting in Incandescent Light, which for some reason I am awful at spelling. The ELF again is way more pigmented and a little more pink in the swatch.

Finally we have Radiant Light on top and ELF on the bottom. Minus the pigmentation of the ELF, these are pretty similar.

Yes these are dirty because REAL LIFE! I use both of them regularly. While I wasn't able to compare ingredients, I did find the texture to be quite similar. I tried to take photos of me wearing the powders blended out, but it just didn't show in the way I wanted it to. While I prefer the look and feel of the Hourglass, the ELF Illuminating Palette is so good, that I think it's a must-have.

Do you think these are dupes?
Do you own either?


  1. I have been coveting the Hourglass palette forever and have never been able to justify the cost. It's good to know that there is a dupe out there. I think the whole Richard Simmons thing is fascinating. I will definitely have to give a listen to that podcast.
    xo, Whitney and Blaire
    Peaches In A Pod

  2. Thanks for comparing these two. I don't do much with highlighters but will get the Elf if I decide to try!


  3. I love that you shared the swatches. I've never tried either of these products, but often feel like drugstore shadows/powders are more on the powdery/chalky side, but it sounds like these ones aren't too bad.

  4. I always love these dupe posts, Elle! I've been looking for a new lightening palette so the timing on this is perfect. Interesting that the ELF is more pigmented though. I can see why you use both, the ELF is such a good deal especially if you are just starting out with highlighting. Thanks for sharing this, Elle!

    xo, Rachel
    A Blonde's Moment

  5. This looks like a great dupe! I don't have the Hourglass palette but I have a Makeup Revolution palette that's meant to be a dupe too!

    Danielle's Beauty Blog

  6. I mean for $6 it's hard to say no to the elf one!! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  7. The Ambient Light looks more shimmery in the palette so I am surprised how similar they look once swatched! The ELF is a great lower-priced option!

  8. You find the perfect Dupes!! Elf it is and happy Wednesday beautiful!

  9. I've not tried either of these, but would probably go for the ELF one first. congrats on being featured on PopSugar. How fab! xx

    ♥ Carly Susanne ~ A Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

  10. I actually have the Elf palette & really like it. It gives me just enough highlight that isnt too over the top

  11. I have Dim Light and the elf Illuminating Powder and on me the texture and finish is completely different. Dim Light is very soft, illuminating powder while elf is powdery and very shimmery. I can't use elf Illuminating Palette as finishing powder, it does make a beautiful subtle highlighter on me.

  12. I am sorry that I missed your post yesterday. Definitely sending hugs your way, and I'm glad that you were able to find some peace and comfort yesterday.

    Thanks for comparing these two...I think I will definitely pick up the Elf palette the next time I need eye shadow. It is just so pretty (and reasonably priced)!

  13. It's interesting how these could be considered so similar in their cases, yet they do look different on your arms!!

  14. I've been wanting to pick up the e.l.f. palette, and I think you've sold me. Thanks for the great review/comparison!

  15. I would DEF call these dupes and go for the elf. Thanks for sharing!

  16. elf products really are so great price wise and most of the time they're dupes for the high end products! I might have to pick up the elf one because I've been eyeing the Hourglass palette for a while!

  17. This is Us... I have no words for how amazing that show is! I've been eyeing that Hourglass palette for what seems like forever, but I couldn't pull the trigger due to the price. I'll have to look into the ELF palette <3
    Green Fashionista

  18. I totally cry about every episode of this is us. Especially the Memphis one. I was bawling!!!!! I haven't seen this weeks yet because Chris was out of town and I was waiting for him. I will totally pick up this ELF palette with your seal of approval at that price! I didn't want to invest in the more expensive ones on this.

  19. I love my ambient lighting palette and think they are amazing powders. I haven't tried the elf one, but it's been on my wishlist for a while! Thanks for comparing these Elle!

  20. I have the e.l.f palette and I love it!


  21. Oh wow! The Hourglass is an HG for me, but good to know about the elf!

  22. Not a bad dupe. I have the elf palette and like it a lot. It can be a little powdery, but it does make for a nice subtle highlight.

  23. Wow for the huge price difference I cannot believe how similar they are! I definitely want to pick up the Elf now!

    <3 Shannon 
    Upbeat Soles

  24. I don't own either of these, but it DOES sound like ELF is the way to go if you want a similar effect but for way less.



  25. Dang, $62? I'll take the ELF, please! Lol. Thanks for this review!

  26. I still haven't watched This Is Us, but I need to get on it! I'm so glad you reviewed Elf - I've been seeing it at Target but wasn't sure of the quality.

  27. The Hourglass Ambient seems to be very good, I don't mind paying for something very good - BUT if there's a dupe that is even more pigmented, and for a much better price, then I would go for the ELF palette! I think the colors are really similar, but ELF being more pigmented, I prefer that then :)

  28. I knew those elf powders reminded me of a higher end product, I just couldn't think of what it was. I've never tried either product, but I hear great things about Hourglass products.

  29. Wow you find the best dupes!! They look so similar!

  30. Wow! These do look quite similar in the swatches. I don't own either, but the elf comes at a much better price point. I like what elf has been doing lately!

  31. I actually find it really helpful to watch stuff that makes me cry because sometimes I just need to get a lot of tears out for my mom. My dad and I watch Dancing with the Stars together (usually way after it's live, on DVR, so we can watch it together), and while we don't cry for every episode, we cry with a lot of them!


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