Are you experiencing the common frustration of doing your makeup in your bathroom mirror, looking great, but then looking so different once you step outside?

What light bulbs to use for makeup

The issue is most likely not how you did your makeup, but rather the lighting in which you did your application. It can make all the difference.

Fluorescent lights can make you overuse your makeup, whereas yellow or rosy lights may mean you miss spots and apply the makeup unevenly.

Your makeup studio (aka the place you do your makeup) needs to be properly lit for the best results.

All of this will leave you wondering what bulbs or lighting strips are best to use for makeup application?

After much research, we found the answers you’re looking for. In fact, getting the right lightning for your makeup routine isn’t difficult to achieve.

Keep reading to find out which lights to go for and which to run from.

Makeup Lights to Avoid

Here are some types of lights to avoid for the best results when you apply makeup or engage in other grooming activities:

Fluorescent Lights

This is for obvious reasons. Let’s be honest … no one looks great in fluorescent lights. Cool white fluorescents are overly bright and unforgiving.

This may cause you to add too much foundation, blush, and bronzer to compensate for your colorless face, which is actually caused by poor lighting.

Rosy Lights

This type of lighting makes your complexion look vibrant and healthy, which is great, right? Unfortunately not, because you lose the glow once you step out of the rosy light.

Because this lighting gives you a vibrant look, you typically under-apply concealer only to later find that you have missed dark spots and blatant blemishes.

Yellow Lights

This kind of lighting makes you look sick, tired and worn out.

This may cause you to go over the top with your concealer and powder to hide your dark spots and neutralize your face’s color.


We all remember that as children, we would hold flashlights under our chins to look scary. Sadly, down lighting works in the same way, just in reverse.

Downlighting shines down on your pigmentation and wrinkles, causes shadows under your eyes, and makes you instantly look older.

The Right Lighting for Makeup Application

The best lighting conditions for optimum makeup application includes warm, natural light.

Natural Light Is Best for Makeup and Grooming

Of course, natural sunlight is the best, but most of us can’t apply our makeup outside every day. It isn’t a practical idea.

It may be the best light, but it isn’t easy to access consistently without reproducing it artificially. That’s what the electrical experts have done for your benefit.

Warm White LED Bulbs Work Best

So, when fresh sunrays aren’t available, warm white bulbs like LEDs are the best light bulbs to use for makeup. And, they aren’t difficult to find.

These bulbs closely resemble the natural light color spectrum while evenly distributing the light across your face. All of the best mirrors use this type of lighting, either in bulbs or light strips.

But you also don’t want your light source to be either too warm or too cool. So, most agree that warm lighting that sits just before it would turn cool is a good level to mimic natural light best, and is ideal for applying makeup accurately.

Don’t Forget about Side Lighting or Cross Illumination

If you decide to install lights instead of buying a mirror, keep in mind that you need to create side lighting or cross illumination to ensure that the lighting is evenly diffused over your entire face.

A simple trick to set up your lights is to look at your mirror. The section with the most illumination must be at eye level.

Don’t Light Just the Top of a Mirror

Also, note that you shouldn’t set up lights, LED or other, solely at the top of the mirror.

This will light up your forehead, causing you to tilt your head up to see properly, and it makes it tough for you to apply your makeup with accuracy.

Purchasing the correct bulbs is vital to create the ideal environment to apply your makeup evenly.

Dimmers are Helpful

You can also install dimmers for your lights in your bathroom to further tailor and customize your lighting atmosphere. Make sure to follow instructions or have a professional do it for you.

A Mirror with Lights on the Frame Works Well

However, if you don’t want to change the lighting in your bathroom, you can also invest in a makeup mirror with LED lights around the entire frame.

This gives you even, consistent lighting that you can use at home or take anywhere.

Shopping for Makeup in Stores

You should always take advantage of any natural light when shopping for your makeup.

Store Lighting Is Not Flattering

The lighting in department stores is often very unflattering and doesn’t give you the most accurate interpretation of your face.

This is why the foundation that you tried on in the store that looked so great now doesn’t match your skin tone when you use it at home.

Shop in the Day, Bring a Mirror and Check at the Window

Luckily there is an easy solution. Shop for your makeup during the daytime and always bring a mirror along.

When you try out new makeup, walk to a window with your mirror and look at the makeup in natural light. This lets you see the makeup accurately before you buy it.

Replacing Bulbs in Your Makeup Mirror

If you need to replace the bulbs that came with your makeup mirror, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and try to match them as closely as possible to the original bulbs.

Follow the information in this article and the instructions with your mirror to get the best results for your makeup application.


Hands down, the best bulbs or light strip to use for makeup are warm white LED lights that bathe your skin in as close to natural light as possible.

Other than putting your makeup on outside each day, it’s the best you will find for getting the job done.

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