When it comes to doing your makeup, the lighting you do it in matters.  A lot.

Setting up to do makeup at events, such as at a photo shoot or a fashion show, one of they key factors in my location (when I have a say in things) is all about the light.

And as wonderful as travelling is and staying in beautiful (and let’s be honest, occasionally sketchy) hotels, it’s almost always a major headache when it comes time to do makeup. The lighting in the rooms is just so darn awful.

What you need is light that gives you the best visibility possible and doesn’t sugar coat the truth. You need to SEE what’s actually going on:

  • How the colour shades work on your skin tone and with one another
  • How much product you’ve actually applied
  • If it’s all blended properly
  • And where you’ve placed your highlites and contouring

And only good quality light will allow for this. Bad lighting sets you up for problems, plain and simple.

So let’s break things down nice and easy using normal person language we can all understand. Because I don’t know about you but when I try to study up on lighting it gets so complicated so quickly with its Lumens this and degrees Kelvin that, it makes my eyes cross.

The three main light descriptors that I believe are worth understanding when it comes to applying makeup are: 1) Warm light 2) Cool light and 3) Natural daylight.

And spoiler alert here, what you want is good quality natural daylight.

These following three images were all taken within just a couple minutes of one another, nothing has changed in my makeup at all, the only difference is the type of light.

Cool Light

Cool light is cold light, it casts a harsh, subtle bluey tone to everything. Picture an icy cold wintery day where everything looks stark. This is not flattering light, it makes you look washed out and drab when you’re not, I promise! Many LED bulbs leans towards cool, bright white light so watch out for these.


Warm Light

Warm light is cosy light, it’s yellow tinged, like candle light, soft and flattering. Great for the ego, terrible for doing your makeup in. This is sugar coating light, it’s not telling you the truth. Save this kind of light for your living room and romantic dinners for two, not for doing your makeup!



Natural Daylight

Bingo! This is what you’re looking for. Natural daylight is perfectly balanced light and is ideally suited for applying your makeup.

Of course daylight has its issues as well, harsh middle of the day light that can be so strong it washes everything out and warmer late afternoon/early evening light that gives you that lovely (but inaccurate) warm glow. The main point here is that you want to do your makeup near a well lit window and any light bulbs that are around you are designed to provide daylight style lighting (the bulb packaging will indicate what style they are).