best lighting for makeup at home

The Best Lighting at Home for Makeup

Are you someone who gets ready in your bathroom and then gets into the car to head to where you’re going only to catch a glimpse of yourself and gasp?! You swear that didn’t look like this when you were getting ready! Yikes! Or perhaps this has never happened to you, but you’ve seen the dreaded makeup line on someone else! You know, the one where the makeup comes to a harsh halt at the jawline and their neck is a complete 20 shades lighter?

Yeaaah, I think we can all agree it’s not so cute. BUT, it IS easily avoidable! And I’m here to share with you a few ways to ensure you do not fall victim to nightmare that is getting ready in the wrong light.

What is the best lighting AT HOME for applying your makeup? 

Natural, indirect, day light. This means in a room facing a window, preferably north or south facing window, so as to avoid direct sunlight from an east or west facing window. You don’t want to have your back to the window, nor do you want to be sitting sideways. You want to position yourself directly facing the window. There is a reason car lighting is the best!

No over head or side lighting. Either of these will create terrible shadows that make you feel like you look worse than you actually do. Trust me — it’s best to work in a room that to anyone else might feel “dark” but to you, the person facing the window with plenty of light, is bright. I can’t tell you how many times I have been working at a private clients house and position her in perfect lighting facing a window and then ask to turn the lights off. Someone else (like her husband) will walk in and say oh wow it’s so dark in here! and turn on the lights. Of course, I don’t want to be rude, so I’ll leave them for a bit and then turn them off again. But I’m telling you – your makeup life will change when you turn off ALL overhead lighting.

No yellow lighting. Whether it’s your makeup light, your Hollywood mirror, your favorite lamp — I don’t care. Whatever you do, do not use yellow lighting! Yellow lighting is actually the biggest culprit in not having makeup that matches your skin tone or not seeing those terrible non-blended areas that you suddenly see when you hop in the car! Cool lighting is the BEST lighting to do your makeup in. I find a lot of people are unsure what I mean by yellow lighting until I explain it. Natural daylight lighting is lighting that mimics daylight. Cool light is neutral and bright. While yellow lighting is darker, cozier, and makes much better mood-setting light than makeup light. Below is a helpful photo I snagged from socketstore to help demonstrate. Changing out your lighting is as simple as buying new bulbs!

You can also purchase a beauty ring light like this one that you can add to whichever room you want to help you with your makeup application.



If you own a lot of makeup you may struggle with keeping all of your makeup and beauty essentials in order to begin with, and now thanks to this post you’re stressed about having the right lighting!

Don’t stress!

Redfin actually reached out to makeup experts from San Francisco, CA to Phoenix, AZ, including myself, to share our best advice on how to set up your vanity space! I will break down my best advice for you in this blog, but I highly recommend you take a look at their blog HERE to see what other amazing makeup professionals have to say, too!

I am going to do my best to visually demonstrate what I am talking about for you, but please know I have scoured the internet for hours, and NO PERFECT examples exist…sadly…so I will be doing my best with available resources. 

Makeup vanity design tip #1

Set your makeup vanity in front of a north or south facing window! I know, I just told you this, but I’m stressing the importance. In this photo below, the windows on the left side are likely west-facing. See how the direct light is coming in? We don’t want to get ready in that. It’s too harsh. But, if you notice the small window on the right, it’s bright, even, light and is likely a north-facing window! Perfect to position yourself in front of when doing your makeup.

best window lighting for makeup

Makeup vanity design tip #2

best lighting for makeup at home

IF a north or south facing window is not an option (it’s not available to you, or your room or bathroom just doesn’t have the right windows) that’s fine! The next best option is to use a perimeter mirror! Perimeter mirrors are great because they ensure you are being lit from all directions so as to not cause shadows. Again, remember to not use overhead lighting that I see on soooo many bathroom counters.


Makeup vanity design tip #3

Make it easy for your to find and store your makeup! Whether that’s organized in drawers or containers — making it easy to see what you have makes a big difference.

If we take this a step further, in the most perfect world, I would recommend designing your vanity space to have a folding perimeter mirror that opens into hidden storage and can be disguised as counter space when closed. Imagine a concept similar to THIS photo below, but with the addition of a perimeter mirror, and designed the way you want it!  Again, bonus points if you move this concept in front of a north or south facing window!

the best makeup storage home design


If redesigning your vanity isn’t an option and you still need help with the best spot to get ready, I 9/10 times will recommend that clients take a portable mirror, relocate to another room in their house (kitchens and dining rooms tend to have nice table/counter space AND good lighting), and do your makeup there!

Doing your makeup in the kitchen with the right lighting will have you feeling better than doing your makeup in the bathroom if it’s dark and yellow.

I promise.


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