Makeup Musts: Key Factors for Finding the Right Lighting

On September 7, 2015 by Himanshu

The wrong lighting can ruin your efforts to apply makeup properly. Here’s how to fix your bathroom or dressing area with the right lighting, color scheme, and tints.

Use Cross-Illumination

Cross Illumination

A little trick that professionals use is cross-illumination. This is sometimes also called “side lighting” because that’s basically what it is. It’s lighting that is situated on either side of a mirror. The most luminous part of the lighting is situated at about eye level.

This just happens to be about 5’6” for most females. Avoid lights that are fixed above the mirror and that illuminate your forehead. This will make you tilt your head way too far up, thus making consistent makeup application impossible.

Get Bright Lights

Bright Lights

Bright lights are a must. Get something in the 75 to 100 watt range. Yeah, that’s a bright light, and no it’s not “green”. Look, there are plenty of places and times to save money. Doing it in the bathroom while you’re trying to get your fabulous on, isn’t one of those times.

A warm light in the 3200 kelvin range is the best and will generally look the best on just about everyone.

Avoid cool or “blue” lighting – lighting with a blue hue or tint. These are sometimes called “true” or “daylight” lighting. The problem is that they don’t really replicate the lux of real sunlight, meaning that you end up with very, very harsh lighting. It creates shadows that will make it neigh-impossible to put on your makeup with any kind of accuracy or consistency.

Was it a shadow or a wrinkle? You’ll never know until you get out into the sun. By then, it’s too late.

Use a Vanity Mirror


A vanity mirror is a basic necessity in any bathroom. Get one. Ideally, that mirror will also light up like New York City. This will give you the light you need for things like eyeliner, Very important.

A small vanity mirror is also a great thing to have when you go makeup shopping. You see, they keep these weird halogen lights on in the department store and it’s difficult to tell whether the shade you’re holding actually looks good on your skin. You sort of have to guess, but guessing gets expensive.

Your vanity mirror will give you a more accurate picture of what that lipstick or blush really looks like.

You might get a few funny looks, but it’s a lot better than getting a lot of funny looks later.

Avoid Recessed Lighting

Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting in bathrooms has become a thing. It looks so much better than it functions. Seriously! Recessed lighting always creates harsh shadows because of how the light has to be angled and the fact that it’s recessed.

Think of recessed lighting or highly-focused task lighting like you would hold a flashlight up under your face. It makes you look creepy. Well, now try putting makeup on with that. No dice, right?

Stick with diffused lighting and you’ll have the best possible experience. Promise!

Thomas Buck is a home improvement contractor. He likes to write about home renovation and repair. His posts appear mostly on DIY and home improvement blog sites.

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