What Is The Best Bathroom Lighting for Applying Makeup?

Chances are that you don’t have a purpose built, perfectly lit makeup studio in your home. Like most, you’re more likely to be applying makeup in your bathroom – but this can produce some temperamental results if you don’t have the right bathroom lighting installed to suit makeup application.

No matter how great your makeup skills, if you’re faced with the wrong lighting you can’t predict how your makeup will translate when you move into daylight, so it’s important that you create a setup that’s purpose lit for makeup application.

We’ve got a few ideas about the best bathroom lighting for applying your makeup, but first, let’s get to grips with the kinds of lighting you should be avoiding when applying makeup…

The Worst Bathroom Lighting For Applying Makeup

It’s best to know the worst offenders when it comes to lighting that’s bad for applying makeup so you can avoid fitting them in your bathroom in the first place, but also if you do find that these types of lighting are already in your bathroom, you can identify ways to improve the lighting situation to suit makeup application.

Fluorescent Lighting

No-one looks good in fluorescent lighting, applying makeup or otherwise. Fluorescent lighting gives off a cool, white light that’s extremely bright and unflattering. If you’re applying makeup in these conditions, you’re likely to overcompensate for the lack of colour that shows in your face with too much blush or bronzer which will look really heavy when you head out into the daylight.

Yellow Based Lighting

If your lighting has a yellow tint, it can highlight any changes in the colouration of your skin such as bluey tones under the eye. You’re more likely to overcompensate for this by applying too much powder or foundation in an attempt to even out your complexion, when actually in the daylight you wouldn’t ordinarily see these darker areas.

Rose Based Lighting

Ever heard of the phrase ‘through rose-tinted glasses’? The same applies to rose-tinted lighting. While rosy lighting can absolutely make your skin look glowing and healthy – it can give you an unrealistic idea of how your skin will look in the cold light of day. It tends to make red areas and spots look like less of a problem, meaning you might skimp on foundation or concealer and be left literally red-faced.


The position of your lighting is just as important as the tint. Downlighting is one of the most unflattering and impractical forms of lighting in which to apply makeup as it casts huge shadows over your face. Even if you manage to get an angle without too much shadow, any lines on your face or changes in skin pigmentation will be magnified making it difficult to apply makeup without overcompensating for these highlighted flaws in your complexion.

The Best Bathroom Lighting For Applying Makeup

Now that we know which bathroom lights to avoid when applying makeup, let’s take a look at which bathroom lighting is recommended for optimum makeup application. If these options aren’t already available, now’s your opportunity to identify ways to make sure that they’re integrated into your bathroom lighting setup!

Natural Light

The best way to ensure that your makeup is going to look okay in natural light…is to apply it in natural light. If you can position a vanity mirror in an area that gives you direct natural light to your face, this is going to be your best solution every time.

However, we know that not every bathroom is designed to give you natural light in just the right place to apply your makeup, plus if you’re getting up early in the morning or you’re applying makeup on a dark day, you may not have any natural light available at all. So what’s the next best lighting solution?

Warm White Light – LED Lighting

LED lighting emits a warm, white light that very closely imitates natural light. By surrounding your vanity mirror with LED lighting, you should be able to achieve a balanced makeup coverage that suits natural daylight once you leave the house. The good news is that most modern lighting is now designed as LED lighting, meaning there’s a huge variety of LED lighting options available for you to choose from when designing your bathroom lighting.

Where To Place Bathroom Lighting For Applying Makeup

We’ve already established that downlighting is best avoided, so where is the best place to install bathroom lighting for makeup application? Ideally, you need to be able to light your face evenly. We recommend placing a wall light fitting either side of your mirror at around eye-level. This should ensure that your face is cross-illuminated and shouldn’t create any shadows from above or below.

The Best Light Bulbs For Applying Makeup

Some light fittings may be LED compatible but don’t already have an LED bulb fitted. If this is the case, take a look at our selection of light bulbs in order to find an LED light bulb that can be fitted to your existing lighting.

Browse our full bathroom lighting collection at Dusk Lighting to discover plenty of ideas about how to light your bathroom for all kinds of purposes.

Comments are closed here.