Does Lighting Really Matter When Applying Your Makeup?

Spoiler: it does.
by Retty Contreras
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Imagine this: you do your makeup in a yellow-lit room, walk out to your fluorescent-lit office, look at yourself in the mirror, and you let out a little scream because, crap, your foundation is mas makapal pa than your ex-boyfriend.

Lesson learned? Among other things, lighting can also play a crucial part in your makeup routine. Why do you think celebs look so darn good in their makeup chair selfies?

Here are some lighting tips to help you nail your makeup every single time: 

1. Stay away from yellow light.

While they feel romantic and classy, yellow lighting can wash you out and make your skin look tired and sick. With this lighting, you’re more prone to overdoing your foundation and concealer.

2. Ditch fluorescent lights, too.

No one—and we mean no one—looks good under fluorescent lighting. It’s just not flattering at all. This type of lighting is too bright and can make you appear paler than you actually are. So unless you want to look like you had way too much fun with your bronzer, ditch fluorescent lighting when doing your makeup.

3. Overhead lighting is not your friend.

Doing your makeup with a light source directly above your head is never a good idea. This type of lighting will cast shadows on the face, particularly on the under eye area—it fools you into thinking that the area is darker than it actually is. Instead, you want the lighting to be directly hitting your face, just like how pro makeup artists' mirrors are lined with light bulbs. Like this:

4. Be wary of department store makeup.

Most department stores use yellow and fluorescent lighting. That’s why you almost always end up with new foundation that doesn’t actually match your skin, even if it looked like it did at the store. The best way to avoid this is to swatch the foundation on your chin, walk around for an hour and check the shade in natural light. Sure, it’s a bit of a hassle, but it will save you the bigger hassle of walking out with an expensive foundation that isn’t even your shade. (Here are more makeup shopping mistakes you’re probably making and how you can fix them.

 5. The best lighting is natural lighting!

Doing your makeup in natural lighting—like by your window or inside your car—is the best way to nail your makeup every time. Natural sunlight will give you the best reflection of your face. But on rainy days, your next best option is warm white LED light—it’s the closest thing you have that can mimic natural sunlight. 

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