Makeup Application – Lighting Know-how

Applying the perfect winged eyeliner is hard enough as it is. What makes it much harder is trying to do it in poor lighting. There are so many different ways lighting can affect makeup application that it can feel like a minefield when navigating solutions. 

This is why makeup artists and photographers pay great attention to the lighting in each scenario, as the wrong kind can make or break the outcome.

Here we have some handy tips to upgrade your makeup station and help get you salon-ready for that night out!

Makeup mirror

Lighting mistakes to avoid

When designing the lighting for your makeup station, there are several big no-no’s to take into account. Getting yourself ready is one of the most important tasks you can do in the home, so getting the lighting right is key. 

Red/rose-coloured light

Red or rose lighting can give your face a pseudo-healthy glow, which is great for taking a nice photo but can cause you to under-apply makeup to the areas that may need it the most. Once again, stepping into natural light will suddenly highlight this under-application.

Yellow Light 

Yellow or excessively warm lighting will make your skin appear tired and sallow, which can lead to the over-application of concealer and other makeup. Once you go outside or into a cooler, more naturally-lit area, this over-application will become very noticeable.

Fluorescent Light 

Fluorescent lighting is perhaps the least flattering light source on the face, causing your skin tone to appear falsely washed out. This overly-bright light makes you more likely to overapply foundation, blusher and bronzer when you don’t really need it.

Downward lighting 

Simply put, this will make you believe there are shadows in places where there are none. Downward lighting will accentuate and worsen any natural contours of the face. 

What kind of bulbs?

No doubt everybody wants one of those glossy, fabulous makeup stations that you can imagine the stars of the 60s getting ready. Those big, extravagant bulbs are a total vibe, right? 

Well, they might look the part, but they emit quite a bit of heat that is uncomfortable and, nowadays, unsustainable. Opt instead for LED lights for longer usage and keeping the temperature down.

Warm lighting

Best lighting for makeup

With those dreadful pitfalls out of the way, you might now be wondering what kind of lighting can you use!? 

White light

The next best thing for applying makeup after natural light is cool, white artificial light. LED bulbs are best for achieving this type of lighting, but these do come in a variety of strengths and warmth levels, so you will need to pay attention to this when you’re choosing your bulb.

Lighting warmth is measured in Kelvin (K) and varies from glowing candlelight (less than 2,000K) to pure, blue-sky daylight (10,000K). The best lighting for makeup application sits between 4,800K to 6,000K, a level of white lighting that isn’t too cool or too warm. Most light bulbs and other illuminating products, such as mirror lights will show the colour temperature on the packaging to help you choose the right level.

Positioning your light

Once you’ve found your ideal cool, white light source for your makeup, it’s time to make sure you’re positioning it correctly for the best results. Here are our top tips for creating the best lighting setup for makeup application:

Position lighting directly in front of your face

The most important aspect of good makeup lighting is placing it directly in front of your face. Positioning it above or below your face will create shadows, which can hide important areas and hinder your chances of applying makeup evenly and in the right amounts.

Keep lighting evenly spread

In an ideal world, makeup lighting needs to be cast evenly across your face. This is why makeup artists tend to use ring lights, as these create an even distribution of light across the entire face. Wall mirrors with built-in lights are another handy source of makeup lighting, as these tend to feature lights on both sides or all the way around the mirror for a similar effect.

Makeup application lighting

Making sure you are equipped in the makeup department isn’t all just about brushes and sponges. The lighting can have as much of an effect as the perfect tools for application. Now you’re up to date with the do’s and don’ts of makeup lighting; you can party long into the night secure in the knowledge you look the business. 

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