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I had a makeup artist friend who worked with me at a spa for awhile. Her first day at the spa I explained to her that I always seated the client in front of the biggest window so that the natural lighting could help us achieve the perfect customized makeup application. We learned we had a shared infatuation with lighting. She explained that she had three favorite spots in her home which she would run between to ensure that her makeup looked just right. As a makeup artist I have worked in all sorts of lighting, some very good, and some so bad that I thought it would have been easier by candlelight. Bad makeup lighting can actually be very attractive lighting, or shall I say ‘forgiving’. Good lighting can be scary. If you have ever done a photo shoot or been interviewed you know that ‘deer-in-the-headlights’ brightness. However, it is necessary to get the results we need.

It is important to find a good travel mirror first. This can be a lifesaver if you happen to stay in a hotel room (or at the in-laws!) with bad lighting. The mirror should sit on a table or counter top and there should be able to tilt up so you do not have to crouch down while doing your makeup. As scary as it can seem, a magnifying mirror on the opposite side of a normal mirror can be handy if you wear glasses and are far sighted. How do you know when the lighting is bad?


1. The easiest test to see if your bathroom lighting is appropriate for doing your makeup is if you look at your makeup with a hand mirror in the bathroom lighting you are testing, and then go up to the window, face outside and see if you look the same. This should be done during daylight hours of course. The lighter should also have a cool, white tone.

2. If you look in your bathroom mirror and you see shadows on your face, this makes makeup application very tricky.  Any kind of ‘pot lighting’  or recessed lighting is not makeup application friendly. Lighting works best when it is installed on the mirrored wall in front of you and it is even better if it is on either side of you, like a dressing room mirror.

3. The color of light that is flooding the room makes a huge difference. You want to find ‘happy lighting’ or lighting that mimics outdoor lighting. Yes, this is the least ‘forgiving’ type of lighting but you want to be able to see everything when you are doing your makeup. It is what people are going to see when you step outside so it is beneficial to do your makeup in that same brightness of lighting.

4. The color of your bathroom walls ALSO makes all the difference. The darker the paint on the walls is, the more it will change the lighting, as the light bounces off the walls and onto you. The more cool and bright the walls are, the better. Of course you need to find a happy medium when it comes to interior design too.

The right lighting can save you a lot of time. It is also the best lighting to test our makeup colors in if you cannot test outdoors. Florescent lighting can make colors look very different than their natural tone and it can also leave one very exhausted as it is actually a pulsing light. The best lighting you can use is from the sun and it is free. If you are testing our samples and are still not sure which shade is right for you, snap a couple pictures and send them to us, in natural lighting of course. See our ICONSULTATION page for more information.

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 jo xo



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