What is the best lighting for applying makeup?

We’ve all been there. You complete your finished makeup look and it looks amazing. Then you step outside of your bathroom and realize everything looks off. Whether you caked too much on or you missed some spots, your makeup is just not doing it for you like it once was a few minutes ago. You may be bummed thinking your makeup skills aren’t up to par, but this most likely isn’t the case! You might not realize that it is probably the lighting!

Natural light is by far the best light to do your makeup in. When your face is drowned out in unnatural lighting, it is difficult to apply and blend your makeup to best compliment and match your complexion. Thankfully, there are some quick fixes to this issue! Let’s dive into the best lighting and the alternatives for applying your makeup flawlessly.

The Worst Lighting for Applying Makeup

If your lighting is bad, it’s going to throw off your whole makeup look. Here are the worst lighting for applying makeup that you should definitely avoid in the future.

Fluorescent Light

Fluorescent lighting is pretty much everyone’s worst enemy. Have you ever looked at yourself in fluorescent lighting and thought you looked your best? Probably not. And that isn’t anything to do with you! No one’s skin tone and complexion are complemented by fluorescent lighting.

So it is safe to say that you probably shouldn’t be doing your makeup in fluorescent lighting either. Since fluorescent lighting is so bright and cool-toned, it can cause you to apply too much makeup. It’ll cause you to cake on your foundation, apply an overwhelming amount of blush, and overdo it with the bronzer. This will probably happen because you’ll try to compensate for the lack of color in your face that fluorescent light will cause.

So, by all means, stay away from fluorescent lighting. You’ll thank us later.

Yellow Light

You’ll commonly find yellow lighting in your bathrooms, and it gets worse when there are no windows or natural light sources nearby. Yellow lighting emphasizes any dark spots or imperfections on your skin. This makes it easy to go overboard on your foundation and powder.

Another thing with yellow light is that it slightly tints your skin tone. This can make you go overboard on your concealer because you are trying to make your skin tone look less yellow and more neutral.

After stepping out of the yellow light, your makeup is going to look uneven, cakey, and unblended which no one wants.

Pink Light

Pink light often makes us look better and it helps to hide any imperfections. While this sounds like a blessing, it’s actually horrible for applying makeup. Often times, it makes us not put concealer in areas we need it, or we miss spots altogether.

When doing your makeup in pink lighting, you’ll notice that in natural lighting, your makeup looks patchy and uneven.

The Best Lighting for Applying Makeup

Avoid applying your makeup in fluorescent, yellow, or pink lighting. Your makeup will come out uneven and unnatural. Instead, apply your makeup in either natural light or artificial light that mimics natural light. Let’s go straight into the reasons why natural lighting is the best for applying your makeup.

Natural Light

Without a doubt, natural lighting is the preferred method of applying makeup. When doing your makeup in natural lighting, you can see exactly where to conceal certain spots, and you avoid overdoing it in other areas. This is because natural lighting gives you a better view of your natural face. In other words, your complexion isn’t altered by any tinted or different colored lighting.

When we say natural lighting, we don’t mean to go outside to do your makeup. We mean to sit by a natural light source like an open window to do your makeup.

If you don’t have a window in your bathroom, try to find somewhere else in your living space where natural lighting is an option.

Artificial light

If you’re doing your makeup when the sun is down or you just can’t be by a natural light source, we’ve got you covered. Artificial light with warm white lights is the next best option. You can purchase artificial lights like this off of sites like Amazon for a relatively affordable price. Then, you can install them in your bathroom and be able to do your makeup with appropriate lighting whenever you wish!


In terms of brightness, your artificial lighting should be quite bright. If they aren’t bright enough, you won’t be able to see your problem areas on your skin well enough. This can cause you to miss certain areas of your face and can cause your makeup to look patchy.

As we said before, we recommend using warm white lights. You’ll often see this with LED lights. These lights often come installed with a vanity set, but you can find them sold separately as well.

Lighting Tips

When looking into different types of lighting, things can get admittedly quite confusing. Here are some tips for choosing the best lighting for doing your makeup.

One of the best things is to set up your makeup where that lighting is always available. Nothing is more annoying than having to move all of your makeup around wherever you go. Find a place where you either have a natural light source or artificial light (like an LED) to make space for just your makeup.

Another tip we have pertains to purchasing artificial lighting. When purchasing artificial lighting, keep in mind where you are going to put it. Are you going to attach it to a mirror or a different fixture? Do you want it to stand on its own? All of these things are important to decide which product is best for your situation.

Lastly, do whatever works for you. Don’t worry about not having a perfect set up. As long as you are attempting to have the best lighting possible, your makeup will look just fine. If you don’t have the best lighting, go outside to see how it looks and go touch it up if it isn’t up to your standards.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, this is the best lighting to apply your makeup in. To sum things up, remember to always avoid these three lighting options: fluorescent, yellow, and pink. By doing your makeup in these types of lighting, it will probably come out looking cakey, uneven, or just too much.

Instead, try to do your makeup in natural lighting. Natural lighting reflects a more accurate reflection of your face, so your makeup will look more natural. If a natural light source isn’t accessible for you, the next best option is artificial lighting that is bright, but warm. These include options like LED lights.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many lumens do you need for lighting meant for applying makeup?

If you don’t know what lumens are, it is basically how much light is emitted from the bulb. For makeup application, the minimum number of lumens recommended is 1100 lumens.

Where should you position the lighting when doing your makeup?

So you have a good lighting source for doing your makeup, but you don’t know where to position yourself. This is a common question, and we’ve got answers! While you may be inclined to stand to the side of the light, it can actually throw off the color of your skin. We recommend you stand or sit directly in front of the lighting to get the most accurate depiction of your complexion.

Why are LED lights the best artificial lighting?

If you are going to go with artificial lighting, LED lights are the best. They are the most similar to natural lighting, so they give you the most accurate reflection of your unique skin tone. As far as color temperatures go, go for LED lights that are bright with a warm temperature.