Best Lighting for Makeup Application and Grooming

With these tips you can create even lighting for optimal grooming visibility

Published on
February 16, 2023 2:14:28 PM PST February 16, 2023 2:14:28 PM PSTth, February 16, 2023 2:14:28 PM PST

Strip Vanity Light in Matte Black, 4-Light

Bathroom lighting is an essential aspect of a functional space. When it comes to things like makeup application, hair care, hygiene, and beard maintenance, it's even more crucial. Good lighting not only helps you look your best, but it also helps you see more clearly so you can apply your makeup precisely or style your hair cleanly. In this article, we'll go over the best bathroom lighting for makeup application and general grooming, what to avoid, and the types of vanity light fixtures or wall sconces that work best.

Before we dive in, it’s important to know that natural light is always the best option for personal grooming. If possible, position your bathroom mirror near a window that gets plenty of natural light during the day. When it comes to makeup application, you want to be able to see your face in the most natural light possible so that you can make the right color and product choices.

If you don’t have access to balanced natural light in your bathroom, there are plenty of lighting options that will mimic such light and ensure what you see in the mirror is an accurate representation.

Well-Placed Wall Sconces Eliminate Shadows

Wall sconces are a classic and versatile lighting option for almost any bathroom. Their ability to eliminate facial shadows has them rising in popularity. Placing them on either side of a mirror provides even, flattering lighting.

Most sconces can be directed upwards or downwards to create your desired lighting effect. They are also available in a range of styles, from traditional to modern, making it easy to find the perfect sconces to match your bathroom decor.

Strip Vanity Light in Matte Black, 4-Light

Strip Lights Provide Bright, Even Lighting

Strip lights are an excellent choice for surrounding a bathroom mirror. They provide bright and even lighting that is perfect for makeup application, especially when multiple fixtures are used.

The lights are usually placed around the perimeter of the mirror, giving you the lighting you need to see your entire face and apply makeup evenly. Selecting your preferred color temperature bulb will allow you to customize the lighting to your preference.

Allante Vanity Light in Oil Rubbed Bronze, 4-Light

Cooler Toned Light Bulbs are Ideal for True Color

Light bulbs that are cooler than your average “Warm White” bulb are a must for makeup application. Warm White bulbs are between 2700K and 3000K and add a yellow tint to the room. 

Instead of Warm White, try “Bright White” at 4000K or “Daylight” at 5000K. The higher the Kelvins, the more cool-toned and less warm-toned a light bulb will be. Cool tones create a crisp, clean environment and are ideal for true color accuracy. Warm tones bring out the warmness in your skin and may look more flattering. However, cooler-toned light bulbs will give you a true and accurate representation of your skin tone and any makeup products you’re using. 

That said, if your bathroom has a lot of natural light already, or has a warm-toned wall color, it may be better to opt for a warmer light to match the décor of your bathroom. 

Dove Creek Vanity Light in Satin Nickel, 3-Light

Avoid Harsh Light

When it comes to creating even bathroom lighting, it’s important to avoid harsh light. Harsh light creates unwanted shadows on your face, making it difficult to see and apply makeup evenly. This type of light can also be harsh on your eyes, making it difficult to see your features clearly. 

Ceiling lights can often create harsh, shadowy lighting on your face. You’ll want to pair any ceiling light with a wall light of some kind, or use a wall light only. When selecting a wall light, take the type of shade into consideration. Vanity lights with clear glass shades can sometimes create a harsher light than a fixture that diffuses the light. If you have a bathroom light that is too harsh, consider replacing it with a softer and more diffused option.

Many vanity lights give you the option to mount in an up or down position. When mounting in a down position, avoid placing the light too low so it doesn’t go over the mirror’s glass and cause unwanted reflection or glare.

Choosing the right type of bathroom lighting is essential for successful makeup application. Wall sconces and strip lights are the best options for bathrooms, providing bright and even lighting that makes it easy to see your face and apply makeup evenly. Avoid overhead lighting, which can create unwanted shadows and make it difficult to see your skin's true color.

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