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Make-Up Lighting: Why it’s important, and how to get the best looks with lights

Make-Up Lighting: Why it’s important, and how to get the best looks with lights

Why make-up lighting matters

If you’ve ever sat by a big window to do your make-up or wondered why those weak yellow bulbs in your bathroom make you look bleh, you know the difference make-up lighting makes.

Any beauty pro will swear by good lighting. In fact, beauty lighting is a big deal in the industry. Good make-up lighting is the difference between dramatic head-turning looks (or at least an even blend) and a blotchy make-up fail.

You’ll learn all the best make-up techniques from TrainSmart’s expert trainers in a Diploma of Screen and Media course. But for now, we’ll give you a crash course in lighting with tips you can take anywhere.

A quick guide to make-up lighting

Almost all make-up artists agree natural, even daylight is best. So if you’re lucky enough to have a window or sunny patch in your room, set up shop there for the best results (just make sure you don’t leave expensive products in the sun!).

Don’t have a natural glow? Here’s how you can get the same vibe in your bathroom.

Type of bulb

First things first – use LED bulbs. Fluoro washes you out, yellow makes you sallow (so you’ll overdo the make-up), and red or rose tints might look nice but you can’t really see what you’re doing.

LED gives an even white light, closest to natural daylight.

Strength

Lightbulb strength is expressed 1 of 2 ways:

  1. Wattage
  2. Lumens

Basically, you want as many lumens as possible in a standard LED bulb. Professional make-up lighting really dials up the lumens, but for at-home beauty lighting you want LED bulbs with around 70-80 watts and 800-1100 lumens.

Colour temperature

Did you know every kind of light has a temperature? Here’s where things get a little technical. Lighting works on the Kelvin scale, with ‘warm’ (yellow-orange) lights like candlelight or sunset around 2000K, and ‘cool’ white lighting (with a blue tinge) like an LCD screen up around 7000K.

Daylight hovers around 5500K to 6500K (so cool-ish white). Try to find bulbs in that range when shopping for make-up lighting.

How many lights is right?

It’s not really how many lights that’s important, but where they are:

  • Overhead lighting throws harsh shadows
  • Too low and you’ll lose definition
  • Direct, even lighting is best

The best make-up lighting is balanced on all sides and softened, either with a translucent coating on the bulb or a professional studio lighting kit.

Want to learn even more make-up industry secrets, or launch your beauty career? Enrol in a nationally recognised make-up course with TrainSmart Australia and lighting will be just one of the many tools in your professional make-up kit.

Ready to learn more?

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