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The Best Lighting for Applying Make-up

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It’s the one thing that women do that men just don’t understand: the application of makeup and all that the process entails. It’s a delicate balance that requires time, skill, makeup (of course) and – perhaps most importantly – excellent lighting. But not just any old lighting, it needs to be the right shade, brightness and direction. But you don’t need an expert in lighting, mirrors or makeup to create the right environment for you to put your face on. Just a little nudge in the right direction and a day setting up your dressing room, and you’re all set.

Lights for applying make-up

Colour temperature is important – you don’t want a hue of white that’s too warm or too cool, as it’ll cause you to apply all the wrong shades. Yellow light will result in too much concealer in an effort to make you look less tired and ill. Reddish light will result in too little concealer because in the mirror, you looked awesome, right? Fluorescent lighting is another huge no-no. It washes out everything, including your face’s natural colours, and will see you being heavy handed on the bronzers and blush in a misguided effort to bring unnecessary colour to your face. LED downlights have their place, true, but in a room where you apply makeup is not one. You’ll use the shadows cast to guide your brush, and end up looking less than attractive.

Lights need to be at eye level, not above, as you don’t want to lean your head back trying to get the best light in the most important places. What you see in professional dressing rooms (think runway models’ room) is correct – a row of lights down the sides of your mirror to throw light evert which way, and not highlight any particular area (or, draw your eye away from any particular area). A strip of LED lights (think rope lights) along the edge of the mirror will not only look great but be the best makeup accessory you could invest in.

Natural light is best, of course. Sunlight has just the right shades necessary for perfect makeup application. In lieu of this, though, you can opt for a warm white bulb (about 3200 Kelvin) is the best hue for makeup application. Another hint is to try on makeup in stores using your own mirror, so you can walk to the sunlight. Examine how it looks in natural light before you pay good money for a bad shade.

In summary:

  • A row of LED lights alongside the mirror
  • Eye level lighting is best
  • Warm white or natural is also best

Try before you buy!


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