What Light Do Makeup Artists Use? | House Caravan (2023)

We’ve always been amazed at professionals’ flawless makeup, so we got interested in the kind of light that makeup artists use. Our research led us to two light sources that makeup artists prefer to have and use.

What light do makeup artists use? Makeup artists use natural light or daylight as much as possible. If this is not an option, makeup artists use light that comes from LEDs. LED light is the closest artificial light to natural light that doesn’t emit a lot of heat. Makeup artists can also adjust the brightness and color temperature of LED lighting to match skin tones and the looks they are going for.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at these two kinds of lighting that professional makeup artists prefer. We’ll also discuss the lighting tools that makeup artists use to create their flawless looks. We’ll also look into the other kinds of light makeup artists used before LED lighting for makeup came along. And finally, we’ll share with you a few lighting tips to help you get the best lighting for your makeup routine. Let’s begin!

What Light Do Makeup Artists Use? | House Caravan (1)

The Best Light for Makeup Artists

For makeup artists, the best light for doing your makeup is natural light or daylight. The light coming from the sun is the most honest–it’s clear, evenly diffused, and it shows the true colors of your makeup and outfit. The next best thing to natural light is a warm white light from LEDs, which closely resembles natural light and can be adjusted to become warmer or cooler.

Natural Light

The light that comes from the sun is the best lighting for makeup because it is clear, soft, and diffuse, lighting your face evenly. When you use natural light for makeup, your makeup colors are bound to match your skin tone perfectly.

(Video) Affordable Hd Makeup Tutorial/ Bridal Makeup Step By Step

This is why makeup artists recommend applying your makeup near a window or skylight. Through a window or a sheer curtain, natural light is like a softbox light you’ll commonly see in photography studios.

LED Light

Makeup artists don’t always have access to natural light, so their best alternative is to use the white light that comes from light-emitting diodes or LEDs. LEDs with a color rendering index or CRI of 90-100 are preferred.

The CRI is a scale that indicates how good a source of light is at rendering colors, like natural light. LEDs with the highest CRI are the most accurate when rendering colors, which is an absolute must when applying makeup.

Makeup artists also use LED lights with a brightness output of up to 5800 lumens because the brighter it is, the more they will see what they are doing.

What Makeup Artists Use for Lighting

If makeup artists have no natural light access, they use several LED devices to provide lighting. The most common lighting devices they use are LED ring lights, LED mirrors, and LED headlamps.

LED Ring Lights

Ring lights have become extremely popular not only for makeup application but also for taking photos of your makeup when you’re done. Ring lights spread light evenly, eliminating shadows and highlighting your features beautifully. The brightness and the color temperature of ring lights can also be adjusted to suit skin tones and makeup looks.


Ring lights have also become a must-have for beauty vloggers, influencers, photographers, tattoo artists, hairstylists, lash specialists and those who want to have good lighting for online meetings and classes. Ring lights come in various styles and sizes and can benefit anyone in need of good, even lighting that renders colors accurately.

LED Mirrors

LED mirrors are similar to ring lights in how they provide light and the kind of light they emit. Makeup artists use LED mirrors so that their clients can also see the transformation is done.

LED mirrors are also for personal use. Having a reflective surface allows you to see what you’re doing easily and lets you check your blending, contouring, and highlighting. LED-lighted mirrors are great for anyone who wants to see a clearer, more well-lit reflection of themselves in the mirror. We have also written this article that discusses if LED mirrors are good for makeup. Check out the article for an in-depth discussion about the topic.

LED Headlamps

Some makeup artists also use LED headlamps that give off warm white light. LED headlamps for makeup artists help if a dressing room or makeup area is too small or cramped for a bigger lighting setup. Imagine a busy backstage with a lot of foot traffic–someone could seriously get hurt when they trip over a lighting cable or accidentally bump into ring lights and lighted mirrors.

✅ Video – How Lighting and Makeup Work Together

In this YouTube video from consumer electronics company B&H, photographer Cory Rice and celebrity makeup artist Moani Lee show how lighting and makeup work together to create stunning images in both daylight and artificial lighting settings. Rice explains the different effects of lighting setups on portraits, and Lee shows what she does to achieve the effect she wants, considering the kind of photography lighting in use.


Other Kinds of Lighting Used for Makeup

Aside from LED light, makeup artists also get to work with other kinds of artificial light. They often had to work with the ambient light in a room, whether coming from a fluorescent bulb, an incandescent bulb, or a combination of different light sources.

Fluorescent Light

Fluorescent lighting tends to be overly bright, making your skin look washed out. Because the cool white light makes you look pale and your skin looks dull and lifeless, you would tend to apply extra foundation, too much blush, or an excessive amount of bronzer to add some color to your skin. You can also check out this article thatdiscusses what a cosmetic mirror is. We have shared tips and information that you can refer to.


Incandescent lighting that is too warm or too yellow can make you look tired and highlight dark spots. This makes you tend to overdo it with the concealer, even if these spots are hardly seen in natural lighting.

Moreover, incandescent bulbs emit heat, which can make applying makeup an uncomfortable experience. You will often find yourself dabbing at your sweaty face, and soon you’ll find your makeup nearly ruined because of it.

Rosy or Pink Light

Rosy lighting gives you a natural-looking blush and a healthy pink glow, but that’s not really what you look like in broad daylight. The rosy lighting hides blemishes and under-eye circles, so you tend to under-apply concealer or do away with it entirely. The result is often another trip to the bathroom (preferably one with better lighting) to cover up the spots you missed, which could be a lot.

As you can see, these lighting types are less than ideal for makeup because they don’t show the true colors of your skin tone and the shades of your makeup. This is why professional makeup artists invest in their lighting systems.

(Video) Amazing Makeup Transformations

Professional makeup artists are also aware of the effects of different kinds of lighting on faces to apply makeup accordingly. For most of us, however, we wouldn’t know what our made-up faces look like until it’s too late–we’re already out the door, and not a few people are giving us funny looks.

This is the reason why it’s recommended to apply makeup near a source of natural light or use high-CRI LED light from a ring light or lighted mirror. Natural light and warm white LED lights are the most honest and show us what other people would see. You can also check out this article that talks about the best lighting used for applying makeup. Check out the article for more information.

Makeup Lighting Tips

If you want to have flawlessly applied makeup that brings out your best features, follow these lighting tips!

  • Use natural light whenever you can.
  • If there’s no daylight available, use a warm white LED light with a CRI of at least 90.
  • Make sure your face is evenly lit from all angles and that it’s lit from the front.
  • Choose diffused light that doesn’t create shadows on your face.
  • Avoid lighting that is too white, too pink, or too yellow, which doesn’t show your true skin tone and your makeup’s actual colors.
  • Get dimmable LEDs that would let you see how you’ll look in different lighting settings. This can help you with your day/office makeup and your evening look.

Related Questions

Is LED or Fluorescent Better for Makeup?

LED is the preferred lighting for makeup. Makeup artists find LEDs better than fluorescent lights in rendering skin tones and different shades of makeup accurately. Fluorescent lighting tends to make skin tones look washed out, which can make you over-apply your blush and/or bronzer. LED lighting is also closer to natural light, which is considered the gold standard for makeup lighting.

How Many Lumens Do You Need for Makeup Lighting?

It is recommended to have as many lumens as possible when doing makeup because you want to see what you are doing clearly. A range of 1100-5800 lumens is good. A high lumen output can be achieved through the use of multiple LEDs. However, it’s also important to avoid overly bright light, which can damage the eyes. You can also check out this article that we have written thatdiscusses frameless mirrors are in style. Check out the article to find out more about frameless mirrors.

What Lighting is the Most Flattering?

The most flattering lighting is a soft, diffused light with warm white color temperature and a color rendering index or CRI of at least 90. According to lighting professionals, people tend to look their best when illuminated by light bulbs that measure 2700-3000 Kelvins and have a CRI of 90-100. We have also written this article about the most flattering lighting. Check out the article for useful information that can help you find the best lighting for your home.



And that’s it for our article on the light that makeup artists use. We discussed natural light and LED light as the top preferences of makeup artists when it comes to lighting, and we also took a look at the LED lighting devices that makeup professionals have in their arsenal.

In this article, we also discussed the effects of other kinds of lighting on the face and how you might put makeup on under these lighting conditions. We gave a few tips to help you avoid makeup mistakes caused by poor lighting.

We hope this article helps you get the best lighting for your makeup routine.


What type of lighting is best for a makeup service? ›

The best lighting for makeup application sits between 4,800K to 6,000K, a level of white lighting that isn't too cool or too warm. Most light bulbs and other illuminating products such as mirror lights will show the colour temperature on the packaging to help you choose the right level.

What LED lights are best for makeup? ›

A soft to bright white LED is the best artificial light source for makeup application. Its color rendering score can be around 80 to 90. This makes it close to natural light, which has a score of 100.

What type of light is best in the consultation area and during the application of makeup? ›

The best way to light up your face for makeup application is positioning the light right in front of the face (not above or below). A white light, like the Spectrum Aurora ring light with a CRI of >95, is best.

How many lumens do you need for makeup? ›

Professional MUAs recommend doing makeup with a light source of 1000 to 1400 lumens. This is the luminosity you would get from 75-100W incandescent bulbs, but without the warm, orange hue.

What lights do professional makeup artists use? ›

Color: Soft white light, just at the start of turning cool, is ideal for makeup. Since natural daylight is the best type of light, a bulb that matches this color is best choice.

Can you use LED light with makeup on? ›

It is Okay to reapply makeup immediately. There is no “downtime” after LED Light Therapy, but it is best not to undertake exercise until the following day.

Is warm white or cool white better for makeup? ›

The best condition for applying makeup is a warm or natural light source.

Which lighting is the best to apply makeup in and will show the Colours truest? ›

Natural light is the best because it is true to your original colour, and what you see in front of you in the mirror is exactly how it will look on camera,” she reiterates. Fluorescent lighting found in department stores won't do your skin any favours either, she believes.

Which ring light is best for makeup artist? ›

Top 9 Ring Lights for Makeup
  • Erligpowht 12.6" Ring Light - Flexible.
  • Sensyne 10'' Ring Light - Popular.
  • Yesker Ring Light 18 Inch - MUA Lighting.
  • GIM 10 Inch Led Ring Light - USB Powered.
  • WONEW 10” LED Ring Light - Adjustable.
  • Aptoyu 8" LED Selfie Ring Light - Affordable.
  • BE 10 inch Selfie Ring Light - Extendable.

Is 1500 lumen too bright? ›

If you use candles to light your space, you will save lots of money on electricity, but you won't be able to see much. For general space lighting, the U.S. Department of Energy suggests you shop for light that is in the range of 450 to 1,600 lumens per bulb.

Is 1000 lumens too bright? ›

A 1000 lumen flashlight is bright enough to let you see items at a far distance as most of these flashlights feature reflectors or lenses to focus the light into having a range of 150-200 meters depending on their design.

Is 5000 lumens too bright? ›

A 5000-lumen LED bulb is a very bright light source, and if you are using it in a relatively small room, it can be very harsh. In this case, it is recommended that you use a 1000-lumen LED bulb. Under normal circumstances, garages, utility rooms, and warehouses are more suitable for 5000-lumen bulbs.

What lighting does Kim Kardashian use? ›

Kim Kardashian loves the Ilios Beauty Ring! - Ilios Lighting.

What is the best light for artists? ›

The most ideal lighting situation for a painting studio is to have natural lighting with a north facing window as it keeps the most consistent light throughout the day. Natural daylight allows you to see colors the most accurately while regular indoor lights will change how colors look significantly.

Is LED or fluorescent better for makeup? ›

LED lights are ideal for makeup application because they are the closest alternative to natural sunlight. They have good CRIs and come in a variety of color temperatures. This means that LEDs will make skin appear radiant and guarantee that you achieve a seamless blend.

How do you get good lighting for makeup pictures? ›

Natural lighting is the best lighting.

Sunlight is balanced (not too warm or cool toned) and shows the color of makeup most accurately. If at all possible, taking photos using sunlight will make a huge difference in your picture.

Which light is good for eyes white or warm? ›

Warm light is best for the eyes. This includes filtered natural light and light produced by incandescent and LED light bulbs.

Do people look better in warm or cool lighting? ›

There are in fact two types of lighting, warm and (cool) white light, the friendly shop-assistant informed Elyse. Warm light is ideal for makeup, while cool, white light “tends to give you more of a not natural look”, which as Elise points out is not what you want if you're trying to apply make-up.

Which light is better warm white or natural white? ›

We recommend Warm White for:

The living room, dining room, bedroom or any other room where you want soft lighting. Warm white is more relaxing for the eyes and softens the skin tone and reduces imperfections. We all look better in warm white.

What color light makes skin look best? ›

Our eyes 'see' by detecting the light which is reflected off of objects. Like the red apple in the figure below, our skin is rich with blood, which reflects red light = so our skin looks the best when illuminated with warm red-rich light.

Which light makes you look pretty? ›

People tend to look the best when illuminated by light bulbs that measure around 2700 kelvins. Most bulbs, whether incandescent, LED, compact fluorescent or halogen, are labeled “soft white/warm white” (2,700-3,000 kelvins), “bright white/cool white” (3,500-4,100 kelvins) or “daylight” (5,000-6,500 kelvins).

What LED light color makes you look attractive? ›

It is also flattering to the skin, so if you're looking to create a “sexy” LED lighting environment, red is a good choice.

Which is better LED light or ring light? ›

Ring lights are better suited for portraitures and beauty shots. LED panel lights are better suited for broad lighting requirements (full body etc.) Ring lights are better suited for shooting macro photography, flower photography and other close-up photography requirements.

What is a professional ring light? ›

A professional ring light allows you to shoot straight through for perfectly even illumination — no shadows or lens flares!

Do professionals use ring lights? ›

Ring lights are popular in portrait photography. In addition to overall studio lighting, a professional photographer or videographer may use a ring light to ensure their subject's face is evenly lit with a pleasing, soft light.

How Far Will 1500 lumens shine? ›

1500 lumen

This flashlight can illuminate for up to 200 meters.

Is 2000 lumens too bright? ›

A 2000-lumen projector is ideal for rooms that have controlled and even lighting. An example of this is a meeting room with no natural light coming in but has good ambient light spread out equally over the room. Having a 2000-lumen bulb will allow you to show big images even if the room is not as bright, too.

Is 1600 lumens very bright? ›

The brightness, or lumen levels, of the lights in your home may vary widely, so here's a rule of thumb: To replace a 100 watt (W) incandescent bulb, look for a bulb that gives you about 1600 lumens. If you want something dimmer, go for fewer lumens; if you prefer brighter light, look for more lumens.

Is 8000 lumens too bright? ›

A level between 4,000 and 8,000 lumens is ideal. This is a wide spread so you can choose the amount that is right for your bathroom size.

How many lumens is considered bright? ›

80 lumens is considered bright enough for most walkways — including commercial properties. For garden lights used as accent lighting, 50 lumens is generally sufficient to add safety, dimension, color and interest in your yard.

How much area will 1000 lumens light up? ›

For every 100 square feet, 1000 lumens is sufficient for low-light level areas such as living rooms and lounge areas, while task-oriented spaces may require up to 3000 lumens or more.

How Far Will 5000 lumens shine? ›

A Quick Summary. For the average space of 250 square feet, you'll need roughly 5,000 lumens as your primary light source (20 lumens x 250 square feet).

Does higher lumen mean brighter? ›

Lighting Education

The amount of light emitted from a light bulb. More lumens equals brighter light, fewer lumens equals dimmer light. For years, wattage was typically the measure used to evaluate the brightness produced by a light bulb.

Is 20000 lumens brighter than 10000 lumens? ›

Either way, it is in part because of this difference in "Usable Lumens," that a traditional light rated at 20,000 Lumens would be observed to be less bright that a 10,000 Lumen LED light under the same conditions.

What type of light is best for a salon? ›

A warm temperature bulb (2,700 to 3,500 Kelvin temperature) is the most flattering on the complexion and compliments most salon interiors.

What kind of light does an art studio use? ›

In Your Art Studio. Natural light, often referred to as full-spectrum light, is generally considered the best illumination to work under.

What is the best light for art studio? ›

The most ideal lighting situation for a painting studio is to have natural lighting with a north facing window as it keeps the most consistent light throughout the day. Natural daylight allows you to see colors the most accurately while regular indoor lights will change how colors look significantly.

How many lumens do I need to light up my shop? ›

A general rule of thumb is to use 130 to 150 lumens per square foot of work space. For example, a 40-watt fluorescent bulb puts out about 2,200 lumens.

Which light is the most suitable light during makeup application in dark out? ›

Both makeup artists are in agreement that daylight is the best option for applying makeup in.

How does Annie Leibovitz use lighting? ›

Get a Feel for Lighting

Leibovitz says she most often uses a strobe light as her main light. Along with a single umbrella. Because she likes the simplicity. The flash emphasizes the direction of the light and illuminates her subject's face.


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