Lighting Matters: The Best Bathroom Lighting for Flawless Makeup Application

By Jacqueline Samaroo 

We all know natural daylight is ideal when applying makeup. The problem is, it’s not always available as you stand in front of your bathroom mirror ready to don your perfect look. The solution is actually quite easy to achieve. You just have to keep placement, color, and source in mind while making your bathroom lighting choices. 
Read on – we’ll enlighten you! 
The traditional single lightbulb in the ceiling or one placed directly above the mirror simply won’t cut it. Both create downlighting which casts shadows on your face, making it impossible to apply foundation, blush, etc. without having to constantly tilt your face to catch the light. Awkward! 
What you need is the cross-lighting effect you get from having two light sources, one on either side of the mirror. Each one diffuses the light of the other to eliminate shadows. 
Of course, instead of two single lights, you could fancy things up. Think of a row of lights on either side of the mirror, perhaps with lights across the top and bottom, as well. There are many mirror options sold today with embedded lights positioned to give ideal cross-lighting for makeup application. 
A quick trip back to high school science class will remind you that objects “change” color depending on the color of the light you view them in. That’s NOT what you need as you put your look together!  
Natural light gives objects their true colors. It is warm and white, so bathroom lighting as close to this as possible is what you’re after. Achieve this with bulbs that have the right color rendering index (CRI) and color temperature. These are usually specified on the bulbs’ packaging. 
For makeup application, look for a CRI of at least 90. That way you know the light more closely resembles natural sunlight and so colors will look their truest. Next, choose lights with a color temperature range of between 2700 and 3000 kelvin to best replicate the warm glow of sunlight. 
LEDs are the hands-down winner here. They mimic natural light very well with the added advantages of being much more energy-efficient and longer-lasting than other lighting options. 
Some vanities and wall fixtures are equipped with dimmer controls making it easy for you to simulate the low lighting of a restaurant, for example, as you apply makeup for an evening out. Be sure to check that the LEDs you purchase are dimmable and that they will work with the dimmer you have. 
Flawless makeup application requires the right tools, such as your liners, foundation, bronzers, and brushes. But you’ll also need the right lighting, as we’ve shown you here, to transform your bathroom into the perfect makeup studio. 
Photo by Paulius Dragunas on Unsplash