How to create the best lighting for make-up

25 September 2019

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

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

Set your make-up table in front of natural light

If you do your make-up 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 make-up 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 make-up light

When your make-up 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 set-up 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 make-up and a sweaty face, especially if you use a series of bulbs around your make-up mirror), their colour and temperature are fixed at certain settings. Incandescent bulbs emit a warm white light, which is ideal for make-up, 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 make-up. You've seen them in dressing rooms, and they're the bane of any make-up 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 make-up space.

LED lights are the clear winner for the best make-up 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 make-up lights

Just as you would position your make-up table in front of a window, position your LED make-up 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 make-up and use only the lights you have set up at your make-up table.

Philips Hue Adore mirror placed above a bathroom sink

Whether you use a lighted make-up 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 make-up application and make sure that 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 colour ambiance bulbs). Learn more about brightness