If you’ve ever tried to put on your makeup in the bathroom mirror with bad bathroom lighting, you know that the struggle is real. Even the most accomplished make-up artists find it difficult to achieve a good result when the light is terrible.
Bathroom lighting is key to creating a beautiful and functional space for your daily ablutions. But in order to feel confident that you look your best with your face on, certain lighting requirements for meticulous close-up work have to be met. To achieve the optimum lighting conditions for applying make-up, you should take the following key criteria into consideration.
Let’s start with the obvious: if you’re applying make-up in the bathroom mirror, you need to be able to see exactly what you’re doing. An obvious first solution to improve levels of illumination in your bathroom is to simply install more lights.
For best effect, it is recommended that you choose a layered lighting design to give you a combination of ambient and task lighting. Pendant lights, statement bathroom chandeliers or recessed down lighters will give you a good level of general illumination.
If you need more information on how these particular lights work, read this helpful guide for our US readers and this helpful guide for our UK readers. In addition, think about fitting softer, diffused lighting around the face, perhaps by positioning wall mounted light sconces either side of the mirror above the vanity unit. Alternatively, fit a bathroom mirror with integrated LED lights.
The trick to creating optimum lighting for make-up is cross illumination. Down lighters on their own produce a harsh overhead light that shines down on wrinkles and pigmentation and casts shadows under the eyes and chin – definitely not a flattering look and terrible conditions for accurate makeup application.
Cross lighting is achieved by way of adding side lighting which will diffuse the light evenly across the face. That way, unnatural shadows, and harsh glare are prevented, leaving your face with a natural radiance similar to what you see in daylight, and which will make it much easier to put your face on. Ideally, the most illuminated section of the vanity mirror should be around eye level.
Clearly, fitting high wattage lightbulbs will improve the overall level of light in your bathroom, but that’s not necessarily what you’re after for the purposes of applying makeup. Choosing lower wattage light bulbs and positioning them strategically around the room is a clever way to create much more suitable lighting conditions.
Natural daylight will always produce the most accurate reflection of your skin. When that’s not available, a warm white LED light is your next best option since it most closely resembles the color spectrum of natural light.
When purchasing your fixtures bulbs, look for the Color Rendering Index number (CRI) on the bulbs packaging. The higher the CRI number – the light bulb will provide truer and more natural light. For the best results, a bulb with a CRI of 90 or higher will enable the perfect makeover.
Dimming light bulbs are ideal for makeup application. The dimmer capability will allow you to see what your makeup will look like in true settings, from your work environment in a brightly lit office or meeting room, to a dinner date in an intimate restaurant.
Of course, using the correct bulbs is only half of it: The light source should be positioned in front of you for best results; positioning the light from below or above will cast shadows impeding you from your best results. Consider wall sconces on either side of a bathroom mirror or vanity to create the most even light to avoid major mistakes putting your beauty on.
Bad lighting choices
Don’t be tempted to put traditional fluorescent strip lighting in your bathroom. The harsh and overly bright light emitted couldn’t be any less helpful when it comes to putting on foundation or blusher. In fact, you’ll be putting on far too much to get rid of the deathly pallor staring at you from the mirror, and it won’t be until you step outside that you realize the error of your ways.
In a similar way, bathroom lighting that’s too yellow will give your face a sallow, sickly complexion that may well tempt you to slap on more powder and concealer to neutralize the color of your face and hide dark spots. Unfortunately, once you see yourself in the daylight, you will immediately be reaching for the make-up remover.
Vanity lighting ideas
The right lighting fixtures will not only allow you to create the perfect conditions for applying make-up, but they’re also interior design features that should turn your bathroom into a luxury home oasis. Luckily, there’s a vast range of beautiful bathroom lighting products on the market, so you’re bound to be spoilt for choice, whatever your taste and budget.
Why not consider a mini chandelier pendant light to create a focal point in the room and provide ambient overhead light? Add recessed lighting or flush mounted fixtures to achieve optimum levels of illumination in the room. Vanity lighting comes in the shape of wall sconces or vertical light bars, or you could opt for a bathroom mirror light for optimal convenience. Dimmable vanity lighting gives you even more flexibility.
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