How to create the best lighting for makeup

25 September, 2019

Light can be your best friend or your greatest enemy when it comes to applying makeup. If the room is too dark or too bright, you can easily use the wrong colors — something that only becomes apparent when you step outside.

Since no one wants a face full of poorly blended foundation, make sure that your makeup light is right with these tips.

Set your makeup table in front of natural light

If you do your makeup in a room with a window that gets plenty of natural sunlight, set up your table and mirror in front of the window, not next to or opposite it. When you position your table in any other position rather than in front of it, you'll get shadows — and shadows lead to uneven blending.

If you can't set up your makeup mirror in an ideal position, cover the window with curtains or blinds when the light just isn't right. Though natural light is flattering, it's better to replace it with artificial light instead of competing with shadows.

Use the right type of light bulb for your makeup light

When your makeup space doesn't have the ideal natural lighting and there's no other place in your home to set up shop, artificial light is the best solution. But with so many options for light bulbs — incandescent, fluorescent, LED — finding the best setup can take some know-how.  

Incandescent bulbs are one of the most commonly used, but not only do they emit heat (and no one wants melted makeup and a sweaty face, especially if you use a series of bulbs around your makeup mirror), their color and temperature are fixed at certain settings. Incandescent bulbs emit a warm white light, which is ideal for makeup, but they're not terribly environmentally friendly and they can be costly in the long run.

Woman looking into a Philips Hue Adore bathroom mirror

Fluorescent lights are, arguably, the most unflattering light for makeup. You've seen them in dressing rooms, and they're the bane of any makeup artist's existence — they highlight flaws and hide your best features. Best used in industrial settings where cost and quantity is key, it's better to keep them out of your makeup space.

LED lights are the clear winner for the best makeup lighting. Energy efficient and often dimmable, LED lights are bright enough to give you a clear view of your face while providing even lighting. An even better choice are smart LED lights that can be adjusted from warm to cool white light (such as the Philips Hue White ambiance line) so that you can get the exact shade of light and brightness you need.

Positioning your LED makeup lights

Just as you would position your makeup table in front of a window, position your LED makeup lights directly in front of your face. This ensures even distribution and eliminates the chance of shadows. If you have an overhead ceiling light — as most spaces do — turn it off while doing your makeup and use only the lights you have set up at your makeup table.

Philips Hue Adore mirror placed above bathroom sink

Whether you use a lighted makeup mirror such as our Adore lighted vanity mirror, a single lamp, or multiple light fixtures fitted with LED smart bulbs, you can get the best lighting for makeup application and make sure you always look your best.

*When a bulb displays "Up to" a certain number of lumens in its specifications, it displays the maximum lumen output of the bulb. It shows how bright the bulb can get at 2700 K (White bulbs) or 4000 K (White ambiance or White and color ambiance bulbs). Learn more about brightness