Lighting for Makeup Application

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A quick guide to finding the right light for makeup application.

Lighting for applying makeup is crucial to avoiding a cakey look. Artificial lights cast skin in a bad tint, often making you apply too much makeup or apply it in the wrong spots. This list will address these issues, and give tips on how to find the best places to apply makeup beautifully.

1. If at all possible apply makeup near a window and allow as much natural light to shine through as possible. Natural light looks good on skin and shows you where to apply makeup. It allows you to apply enough foundation to create a natural matte look without being too thick and fake. Remember, less is more.

2. Sit outside. Bring your makeup and mirror outdoors and sit in the fresh sunlight. Letting the sun fall naturally on your skin makes your face look radiant and healthy, not to mention allowing the sun to show you where you missed a spot with your powder. Also, sunlight can help teenagers and adults clear their acne by drying out the skin. Be careful not to get too much sunlight though because sunburn is not good for your complexion.

3. If no natural light is available, then avoid bright lights and halogen bulbs at all costs. Bright light washes out your face and makes you apply too much makeup, creating the cakey look that women try to avoid. Try only turning on a small light or setting your makeup mirror on its dimmest setting to avoid too much light. Also try not sitting too close to lights for a softer look. Look for light bulbs that are a 'soft white' or lower wattage.

These lights aren’t as glaringly bright as many light bulbs are, but they give off a light that is quite close to the soft light of sunlight. Not only are these bulbs good for applying makeup, but also they are good for your eyes. They highlight your home and create a softer setting then with traditional bulbs.

4. In terms of lighting available on the go, cars have relatively good lighting. The light filtering in the windows isn’t too bright, and it is natural light, which means that it too is a good place to apply makeup, as long as you are safe and apply makeup in a parking lot and not while driving. If it is cloudy outside then it is safe to rely on light cast when the clouds thin out, or just on lights in your car. Bright indirect light is better than bright direct light.

5. For touch-ups, try finding a window in your office or school, or take a quick break and walk outside. If you are too embarrassed to apply makeup outside in front of people, or there is no place to go outside, then going in a bathroom is a valid option, if not the best. When in the bathroom try to just under apply makeup so that you keep your makeup looking natural.

Try moving away from mirrors so that the light reflecting off the mirror does not add to the light already hitting your face. If you have a handheld mirror, try standing with your back towards a dimmer corner so the light reflecting off your mirror isn’t as bleaching as it would be. Remember, makeup is supposed to highlight.

For applying makeup, having the right lighting is key. It can make or break a look, allowing you to create light beautiful makeup or making you look like a three year old painted you with beige paint.

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