Hey, hey Beautiful!
Makeup faux pas. Most of us will experience at least one during our lifetime, whether it is wearing the wrong shade of foundation, getting lipstick on our teeth or poorly blended blush. Do your makeup skills suck? Probably not. Sometimes these things happen because we are in a rush and sometimes it is because we can’t properly see what the heck we are doing. Avoid these and other mistakes with proper lighting.
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Bad Lighting Equals Bad Results
The two pictures above are a perfect example of what can happen if you don’t have proper lighting. Nicole Kidman is beautiful and it is really a shame that this happened. But she is not alone and it just proves that it can happen to any one of us whether we are famous or not. Now I think we can all agree that natural light is best, but it is not always an option. If it is very overcast outside or nighttime what can you do? The best thing you can do is have a really good mirror on hand with lights that mimic natural daylight.
While applying makeup in your bathroom may sound like a great idea, most bathroom lights are not a good choice because they often are poorly placed and give off a very yellow, blue or even green light that can distort the colors of your makeup, resulting in too much blush or the wrong shade of lipstick being applied, or poorly blended eye makeup. Don’t let this happen to you!
Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but I think you get my point. I just like to keep it fun around here. Nothing too serious. Haha.
Buying the Right Bulbs
When shopping for light bulbs for your home makeup studio you will want to check the color rating index or color rendering index (CRI) on the box. CRI’s range from 0-100, 100 being identical to natural daylight. You want one as close to 100 as you can find. Some bulbs are labeled “Vita-Lite” or something similar. These bulbs will provide the clearest most natural lighting you can achieve indoors.
If there is no indication of the CRI on the box or in the product description online then just make sure that it is a Daylight bulb that measures 5,000 on the Kelvin Scale. Anything under 5,000K will be too warm and anything above it will be too cool. The goal is to mimic natural daylight as much as possible.
The wattage you choose also depends on how many bulbs your lighting fixture or makeup mirror takes. For example, if you have a lighted vanity mirror that requires 10 bulbs then each bulb should be no more than 25W each. Otherwise, it will project a lot of heat and make things very uncomfortable for you while you are trying to get ready. Not exactly what we are going for, right? 🙂
Incandescent, Fluorescent or LED?
I don’t want to get too technical here, so let’s just quickly go over lighting quality and efficiency.
Incandescent Lighting – Commonly known as the screw-in “A”-type lamp bulb that uses a medium Edison (E-26) base, standard incandescent lights are the least efficient light source commonly found in homes.
An okay choice as long as you choose the correct CRI and hue (look for warm white or natural on the box) these bulbs are a perfectly fine option. One downside is that really tend to heat up.
Fluorescent Lighting – Also known as a compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) or energy-saving light, is a fluorescent lamp designed to replace an incandescent lamp; some types fit into light fixtures normally used for incandescent lamps. The base size is different so you will have to make sure it is the correct size before you buy.
These bulbs are inexpensive making them a decent choice and again it all comes down to choosing the correct strength and hue of light. However, they do contain toxic mercury and require special disposal once they burn out. They can also produce a bit of heat. Not as much as an incandescent bulb, but it is still something to keep in mind.
LED Lighting – LED’s produce light that renders a color very similar (but not identical) to natural daylight. They last much longer than most bulbs and do not heat up. They are however quite pricey.
- Incandescent bulbs may last around 1000 hours, on average which is not.
- Fluorescent (CFL) bulb producing the same amount of light (in Lumens) may last around 8,000 hours
- LED bulbs may last around 25,000 hours, which is even better. Because of their efficiency, LED’s are generally more expensive, but the energy saved on your electric bill pays off when compared to incandescent or fluorescent bulbs.
Also known as side lighting, try mounting lights 36 inches apart and 18 inches from the centerline of the sink. Look for adjustable sconces, pendants or mirrors with backlit sections of frosted glass. The most luminous part should be mounted at eye level or about 5’6” off the floor. Adding a center ceiling piece can complement the vanity lighting. Beware of lights fixed only above the mirror though, which illuminate your forehead and cause you to tilt your head back too far to apply makeup with precision. You want to be able to just look straight ahead while applying your makeup.
Best Lighted Makeup Mirror
If switching out your bathroom mirror or light fixtures is not an option then a lighted makeup mirror is the next best thing. There are many different options available from small and portable to large professional makeup mirrors. Below are some of the best options I have found.
Mounted and Freestanding Mirrors
These smaller mirrors are budget-friendly and versatile and are often double-sided (i.e. regular on one side with magnification on the other). Mount them on a sidewall in your bathroom or bedroom. Portable mirrors can be placed on your dresser, dressing table or bathroom counter.
Do you have limited space or just prefer a wall mounted mirror? This is a nice option!
- Wall mount mirror
- 8-inches by 10-inches
- Smooth 360-degree swivel design that provides 1x and 10x magnification options and a 15x magnification spot mirror.
- On/off rotary switch on the round base will activate the halo lighting around the perimeter of the mirror when you need it.
- The extension arm and smooth rotation adjust to all angles.
- Extends up to 14″
- Nickel finish
- Comes complete with mounting hardware and 25-watt replacement light bulb (Jerdon model JPT25W).
- a 1-year limited warranty that protects against any defects due to faulty material or workmanship.
Available for purchase through Amazon by clicking HERE.
This mirror has an elegant look and it is the perfect size for a bathroom counter, small vanity or dressing table.
- Fluorescent lighting is 30% brighter and provides more than 60% energy savings
- 1x / 10x Magnification
- 8.5-Inch round diameter, thin profile head with stylish brushed nickel finish
- 360 Rotating head
- 1 Light Setting
Available on Amazon. Click HERE to buy now.
This is like a cute mini version of a professional lighted makeup mirror.
- Dual-sided mirror: 5x/1x magnification. perfect for up-close tweezing and nail polish application
- Blend foundation, eye shadows, blush and more with mistake-proof lighting – see true makeup shades, skin tones and much more!
- Match clothing and accessories perfectly – even colors like black, brown and blue
- Gentle on the eyes – no harsh shadows help reduce glare.
- Includes two Ottlite 13-watt type e bulbs
- Dimensions: 5 x 11 x 13 inches ; 5.7 pounds
To buy on Amazon click HERE.
Travel Makeup Mirror
Jetting off to the theater, catching a movie or meeting a friend for drinks after work? These lighted travel makeup mirrors fit conveniently into your handbag for easy touch-ups while you are on the go.
- Compact size for your purse, cosmetic bag or travel bag.
- Daylight LED closely simulates natural sunlight providing you with true-to-life color-correct details
- Two-sided 1x/10x magnification is ideal for applying makeup, tweezing, or blemish control
- Large 5-inch distortion-free view | Slim, stylish, and lightweight mirror perfect for purses or travel
- long-lasting LED light bulbs, unlike traditional bulbs, won’t burn out or diminish, up to 30,000 hours
- Elegant compact mirror with a glossy black finish suitable for any occasion
- 5 x 5 x 0.7 inches ; 6.6 ounces
- 4 CR2 batteries required.
To purchase from Amazon CLICK HERE.
This cute travel mirror comes with the following features –
- Distortion-free glass for mistake-proof touch-ups
- Folds down to 1 inch thick for easy portability
- 8 LEDs illuminate your face
- The Mirror measures 9″x 7″ with a 6-inch diameter viewing area
- Operates with 3 AAA batteries (included)
Purchase from Amazon by clicking HERE.
- Fashion forward design
- compact size fits perfectly in your briefcase, cosmetics bag, handbag, travel bag, carry it anywhere.
- The folding action allows you to set mirror down and adjust it to the perfect angle leaving your hands free when applying makeup.
- LED Bulbs Never Need Replacing in This Handheld Mirror, Even After Years of Use Made of Eco-Friendly Plastic with a Luxe, Glossy Feel.
- Personal Lighted Makeup Mirror Magnifies to 10x on One Side, with Normal Magnification on the Other – Ideal fo
- Provides exceptional detail for flawless makeup application, tweezing, or other beauty maintenance.
- Closed size: approx 4.5″ x 4.5 x 1.5 inches
- Full open size: approx 4.6″ x 4.5 x 11.4 inches
- Mirror size:3 1/2 inches
- Perfect Gift for Family/Friends, Bridesmaids, Grads, Skin Care Addicts or Makeup Gurus
Click HERE to buy on Amazon.
Professional Makeup Mirrors with Lights
These aren’t just for your vanity/dressing table – they can be placed on any solid surface where you are applying your beauty products. Professional quality mirrors usually come with a dimmer switch, a stand, and some are able to be wall mounted or adjusted to the right angle so you can always get the best view. Since these mirrors are quite pricey they usually come with a decent warranty.
This mirror is the perfect size for smaller spaces. If you live in an apartment or have limited space then this will be a great fit for you.
- Front on/off rotary dimmer switch, US standard plug
- FREE 12 Dimmable LED bulbs
- Elegantly tabletop design
- Metal hook for easy hanging if you decided you want it mounted on the wall.
- Package: 1x White Hollywood makeup lighted mirror, 12x 110V dimmable LED bulbs
- Mirror size: 24″x16.5″
- Frame size: 25.6” x 19.7” x 2.4”
Click HERE to purchase through Amazon.
This is a nice large mirror that really has a classic look. It reminds me of something you would find in a Hollywood or Broadway dressing room or perhaps behind the scenes at fashion week?
- Beautiful Glossy Aluminum Frame with High-Quality Anti-corrosion Wooden Base
- Free dimmable LED light bulbs, provide plenty of brightness so you can apply makeup easily even in a dark room. They are cool to the touch and won’t burn your skin.
- Can be table mounted using the wooden base or hung on the wall.
- Front on/off rotary dimmer switch is easy to adjust for just the right amount of brightness.
- There is a convenient Power Outlet on the side of the mirror that can be used to charge your cell phone or to plug in a hair drier, curling iron, and more.
- Allows for easier makeup application, hair styling, etc.
- Size: 31.5” x 25.6” x 2.4”.
Click HERE to order from Amazon.
This mirror is a little bit smaller than the one above but it still has that nice classic look. However, it does not come with the additional powder outlet.
- TOP QUALITY MIRROR: Ultra-high quality polished mirror and durable frame made in the USA
- CONVENIENT FEATURES: Side dimmer to customize the brightness with just a touch of your finger
- BEAUTIFUL DESIGN: Decorative frame with laser etched logo
- PERFECT LIGHTING: 6 bulb set of Vanity Light Bulbs included
- DIMENSIONS: Optic mirror (25” W x 18” H) and Overall frame (34” W x 13.5” D x 23” H)
- Please contact the seller directly for warranty information for this product. You may also be able to find warranty information on the manufacturer’s website.
To buy through Amazon click HERE.
This is a lovely retro inspired mirror. It has a pleasing round shape that you don’t see very often these days. It would look fabulous on an antique vanity!
- Optic-quality glass and clear stainless steel frame.
- 12 LED light bulbs plus 2 extra bulbs included.
- Lights are dimmable.
- On/off rotary dimmer switch, US standard plug.
- The mirror size is 27.56″ x 25.6″ x 2.4”.
- It is perfect for professional salons and makeup trailers as well as the home makeup studios.
- The frameless mirror cannot be hung on the wall so it comes with a beautifully designed stand.
Click HERE to order on Amazon.
- Bluetooth controlled dual audio speakers
- Included dual USB outlets and dual power outlets
- 6 led light bulbs
- Makeup mirror dimension: 26-inches wide by 20-inches wide without the base and 25-inches with base
- Wall mount capable or on a standing base, comes with leg extensions as well
Available through Amazon by clicking HERE.
As you can see there are many different options for you to choose from. Don’t be a victim of bad lighting. Do yourself a favor and invest in a good mirror with correct lighting.
Lora is a native Californian currently living in the Southeast. She is an artist, designer, blogger and nature lover. Her hobbies include herbalism, cooking, baking, creating DIY aromatherapy recipes, sipping wine and listening to music. She also loves to go hiking and camping.