Selecting quality lighting for your makeup mirror

  Posted by  

You have an important event at your office and you have made sure that everything is in the right order. After drying your hair you are all set for your makeup. Soon – everything looks picture perfect.

You get into your car and decide to have another quick look. After all, it's important to cross check and see if your makeup is in its right place.

However, much to your dismay, you notice that your foundation is uneven. Your eye shadow isn't the right colour, like you expected it to be. In this scenario, like many other women, you are a victim of poor makeup lights or bad sources of lighting around your mirror.


Let's take a look as to how you can tackle this sort of situation and always come on top!

8 steps to help improve your make up lighting

1. Whenever possible – use natural light:

For your makeup application, natural light is the cheapest and easiest way to get the best lighting.


To give your face an even, pure wash of illumination – try placing your vanity stand or mirror close to a window that will allow plenty of natural light. This way, you will at least know exactly what you’re trying to detract from or enhance.

“For makeup application, you need diffused, ambient light so that there are no shadows highlighted on the face,” says Katie Anderson, Principal at Katie Anderson Interior Design Consultants.


Get close to a window and look straight into the light. Your face needs to be well illuminated and do not let the light hit only one angle of your face. If necessary use a handheld mirror.

2. Lookout for lighting that has a high CRI – Colour Rendering Index:

When it comes to makeup, how you perceive different colours is extremely crucial. Under a certain light, a foundation colour may look like it matches your skin tone.

However, if the source of lighting has a low CRI – and once you step out into the daylight, you will later realize it does not match at all. 

When you are applying your makeup in the bathroom, you need to make sure your vanity lighting has a high CRI. This way you will be able to notice the true colour of your eye shadows, foundations and more.

It is fairly simple – you need to keep your source of light’s CRI above 80. With a perfect lighting CRI of 100, in order to light your vanity you may want to go with incandescent bulbs.


3. Do not rely on overhead lighting only: 

You must have noticed that when you are in a fitting room, the harsh overhead lighting will heighten every little flaw on your body. Similarly, your experience will be the same when you have a single overhead light when you do your makeup.

When you rely only on source of lighting, especially when it is an overhead light – you will cast shadows beneath your eyes and it will not help you during your makeup process at all.

A single flush mount fixture or pendant light will not give you the even illumination or soft lighting that is important for a good makeup.


4. When it comes to wattage – do not overdo it: 

You need to make sure you pick the right kind of lights for your makeup area. In addition, you need to bear in mind – a high lumen output and wattage does not imply that it is quality makeup lighting.

Anything that produces a soft light and isn't terribly bright is considered the best lighting for makeup. This kind of effect is best replicated by lamps diffused through glass or shades. You may notice them on pendant lights or scones.


5. Make it easy by having multiple light sources: 

It is not necessary for a good makeup process – to have yourself surrounded by light bulbs like movie stars have them in their dressing rooms. Your face can still receive the right amount of light from multiple light sources.

One way to achieve more even illumination is to use a bathroom vanity fixture, with more than one light. On the other hand, a better option would be to use light sources on both sides of your face.

All areas of your face will be well lit and highlighted, when you have two light fixtures placed on either side of your face at eye level.


6. While in bathroom – cross illumination is the key to good lighting:

You need to picture a pair of light fixtures – ideally mounted 18 inches apart and 36 inches from the centreline of the sink. According to architectural lighting designer, Randall Whitehead, it is referred as side lighting. Be on the lookout for pendants, mirrors or scones with backlit sections of frosted glass.

Mounted at eye level about 5’6” off the floor should be the most luminous part.

If two individuals are sharing a single mirror and there is a difference in their height – in this case, an ideal solution is a long vertical design. In addition, when you include a centre ceiling piece, it will complement the vanity lighting.

Whitehead further mentions that you should watch out for lights that are fixed only above the mirror. This will illuminate only your forehead and you will have to tilt your head too far up in order to apply makeup with precision.


7. Purchase the right bulbs:

For grooming tasks at hand, having warm light at 75 to 100 watts per side as part of your bathroom fixture will provide bright and even illumination.

“Even though I’m all about energy-efficient lighting in 98 percent of my light sources, the one place I’ve stuck with incandescent light is at the bathroom mirror—I love that warm golden colour,” says Whitehead.

A dimmer is a good addition too. You will have options like customizing the brightness according to your needs and changing factors such as sunlight and seasons. In addition, when you are not grooming you can create some fine ambient lighting.


8. The makeup you apply can be influenced by bulb hues:

An overly bright white can look unflattering and cool fluorescent white can look harsh. In order to make up for lack of colour on your face, both these factors can lead you to overdo on the blush or bronzer.

So, which light bulb is the best option for beauty?

According to interior designer Katie Anderson – it is warm white. It works at 3200 Kelvin and generally, this light bulb is the most beautiful on everyone.

You will face a sallow skin appearance when you have a yellow light in your bathroom. It will make you look tired and ill.  In this case, there is a tendency to apply too much powder in order to neutralize it, or there are chances you may reach for a tinted primer in the wrong colour.


Your complexion will look healthy and vibrant with rosy bulbs. However, you might slack a bit when it comes to the concealer – because your skin will appear vibrant in the mirror. But when you go out in natural daylight you'll realize that you have missed a spot.


The 4 major light offenders and why you should avoid them

When it comes to applying your makeup these four are the absolute worst lighting conditions:


1. Fluorescent Lighting: 

It is not you. Fluorescent lighting is not favorable to anybody.

The white fluorescent light is over bright and totally unforgiving. This kind of lighting will completely deceive you. It can cause you to overdo your makeup like affecting your foundation, bronzer, or blush while you attempt to compensate for the shortage of color on your face.


2. Downlighting: 

Downlighting tend to shine down on wrinkles and pigmentation. They cast shadows under your eyes and will instantly make you look older. In certain instances you will come across as weary or exhausted, even if you are not.


3. Yellow Light: 

Do you look tired and sick? The yellow light is the culprit!

In the effort to neutralize your face and hide dark spots, this source of lighting may cause you to go overboard on the powder and concealer.


4. Rosy Light: 

Rosy light can be extremely deceiving. They will make your complexion appear vibrant and healthy.

Considering the radiant appearance in this kind of lighting, women tend to go easy with the concealer. However, its only later you will realize that you've missed out on a dark spot or a blaring blemish.




Purchase your next make up in the best lighting

The lighting at the department store is not very helpful. It will not always provide you with the most accurate results.  There will be an instance, where you thought your foundation was perfect. However, this was at the store.

Now, when you apply it on at your home, it doesn't match your skin color perfectly as it did earlier at the store. It is the lighting.

So, what is a smart approach to this problem?

When you are planning to shop for makeup, go out during the day. This way, you can take advantage of the natural sunlight. Take a mirror along with you as well. Pull out your mirror and walk over to the closest window with natural light coming through. Now test your new foundation, bronzer, or any kind of makeup.


Before you make a purchase, this smart trick will allow you to check out your makeup in the right lighting. 

September 12, 2016