The Perfect Lighting for Applying Your Makeup

You might think that the most important ingredients for a successful foray into the world of makeup include a clean face, expensive products, and the right tools (not to mention a skilled technique). And while all of these things are certainly necessary to complete your makeup look, applying your lotions, creams, and powders under the wrong lighting can produce a very different look than what you're going for (and what others see when you walk out the door). All your hard work could be easily ruined by improper lighting. So here are just a few things to consider when it comes to the lighting you use while applying your makeup.

First and foremost, you must have an adequate amount of light. It's not like you're going to apply your makeup in the dark, but if you're using only overhead lighting or a couple of low-wattage bulbs you might not have enough illumination to ensure that you're putting on the right amount of product, that you're getting sufficient coverage, or that all of your cosmetics are working together. With bright light that shines directly on your face you can make sure that you apply just the right amount of makeup (neither too little to properly highlight your features nor so much that you look as though you've spray painted it on). Plus, an abundance of light will help when it comes to blending your foundation, powder, blush, and shadows to create a polished look.

But aside from having lighting that is both adequate and directional (as in a light source that shines on your face from all sides, like vanity lights flanking your mirror), you should take a moment to consider the actual source of lighting as well as the color. Natural daylight is generally your best option for a couple of reasons. First off, it is the most revealing. Because it covers the full spectrum of visible light it will give you the most accurate representation of how your finished makeup appears. Colors will be true and you will easily see common mistakes like unblended lines. However, it is not as harsh as some equally bright indoor lights (like fluorescents) that can be rather unforgiving and emphasize flaws so that you end up overcorrecting in your application.

That said, there will be plenty of occasions where you don't have full, natural daylight with which to apply your makeup. In this case you should simply strive to avoid lighting that tends towards the bluish end of the spectrum since it is universally unflattering and it can cause you to compensate with colors that are too warm (and end up looking garish). So if drawing the Venetian blinds to let in some light just won't do the trick, think about installing LED lighting fixtures and bulbs in your bathroom, boudoir, or wherever you apply makeup. They will not only provide the bright illumination you need, but also the best opportunity to see true colors. Otherwise, go for soft, pink bulbs with a high wattage. Whereas most bulbs provide yellow light that can throw off your results, a pinkish glow tends to be universally flattering.

(Guest Post by Carol Montrose)

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