Best Lighting for Makeup Application

in Apr 15, 2020

All beauty gurus, whether they are makeup artists or hairstylists, agree that good lighting is at the forefront of their operation. As such, a lot of their business budget is invested in quality lighting.


You should consider makeup application lighting as a key tool in your makeup skill set. Without proper lighting, your makeup will eventually be blotted out by shadows and the colours will lose their intensity. Having the right lighting can dramatically improve your makeup application skills.


As Mariah Carey once said, “Bad lighting is toxic”. She wasn’t wrong. Here, we go over some of the ins-and-outs to choosing the best lighting for makeup application.


The best way to put on makeup is to first follow the proper prep procedures. These preparation steps involve cleansing, moisturising and priming. Applying perfect face makeup can take a bit of practice but in time, things become easier.


First, you want to make sure your face is cleared of any impurities, dirt and residues To do this, simply wash your face with water and be sure to moisturize. Priming is optional, but it is highly recommended if you want your makeup to last for an extended period. Applying a primer to your face before makeup application can prevent runoff from sweating or heat.


After the initial cleansing and preparation, you can start layering your makeup step by step.


  1. Foundation
  2. Concealer
  3. Lashes
  4. Eyeshadow
  5. Mascara
  6. Eyebrows
  7. Cheeks
  8. Lips
  9. Touch Up


Quality lighting is crucial when applying makeup. Believe it or not, the best way to apply makeup is to make sure you see the makeup!


Good lighting means that you're able to apply the perfect face makeup without having to worry about those pesky shadows. You will be able to select the best lipstick and the ideal eyeshadow. Also, makeup tutorials often involve a complex combination of different shades and foundations, to the untrained eye poison ivy green can easily look like forest green.


Unfortunately, finding the right lighting for makeup application isn't as easy as it seems. Fiddling with too much light can cause heat and excessive sweating, while not using enough light can blot out the true beauty of your makeup. Mirror wise, you might score a 10 but step outside and you’ll be lucky to score a 6.


So, what is the best type of light? Firstly, we need to view light as a spectrum of colours and not just as “light”. Focusing on the even distribution between red, green, and blue, will dramatically improve your judgement on shades and foundations.

prism light rainbow

Visible light (also known as white light), when passed through a triangular prism, refracts into 6 main colours i.e red, blue, orange, green, violet and yellow. The separation of the white light into different colours is called dispersion.



Let’s be honest, nothing really beats natural light. It’s clear, soft and delicate – all the things you want in your makeup arsenal. Always be sure to look for the nearest window to take full advantage of natural lighting. Your makeup will end up looking vibrant and perfectly matched to your skin tone.

natural light window studio

Natural light through a window is commonly used in fashion and lifestyle photography as it is evenly diffused, just like a studio softbox light.


What happens if natural light is not available? The alternative is to use a white light produced via LED (light-emitting diode) like the Backstage Beauty Lights