Great makeup can not be done without great lighting, but which one do the PRO’s use? There are so many, let me give you all the information I know about lighting as a Professional Makeup Artist for the last 20 years, that way you can decide what is best for you.
Has this happened to you?
Have you ever left the house thinking you’ve done a great job with your makeup, only to walk outside into the bright sun and discover your makeup looks patchy, unblended, and completely different than it did when you were applying it in your bathroom? Imagine if this happened to your client, the makeup looked great at the time you were applying it, but next thing you know she is leaving you a bad review because the makeup looked completely different once she walked outside into different lighting.
What type of lighting is great for makeup and why?
The first thing I tell all my makeup students is when you are applying makeup, on yourself or on others, you want to have bright white light directly in front of the client or yourself. This lighting is very harsh, it is directly on your face exposing every wrinkle, every flaw, every detail, and as a Professional Makeup Artist that is exactly what you want. You want to apply makeup in the “worst case scenario” type lighting, which is bright white light that exposes everything, so you or your client can walk into any setting and know that the makeup will still look great!
Yellow lighting, also known as mood lighting, romantic lighting or natural lighting makes everyone look good, because it blurs everything out, like a permanent filter, the problem is that we don’t have yellow lighting everywhere we go, so we can’t guarentee we will look great in every setting, including “worst case scenario” bright white flash lighting. So prepare for every setting every scenario and do your makeup under bright white light.
Which White Light Should I choose?
There are so many on the market, and it honestly depends on your budget. There is no main difference in the lighting itself between a traditional ring light and a multimedia light or panel light (the type that Glamcor are famous for), only that the multimedia light has arms that can move and be repositioned in different lighting angles. I personally prefer the ring light over the multimedia light, only because when I look through the ring light to inspect the work I have done on my client, I tend to see more detail through the ring, that’s my preference but as long as its a bright LED white light, that’s whats important. The other thing I should mention is that it should be a minimum of 5000 Lumen (not watts). People often think the watts is what counts for the brightness, but in reality it’s the Lumen you want to look out for. In terms of size, usually the full size ring lights are around 19 inches and usually have a minimum of 5000 lumen, anything smaller isn’t as bright. The multimedia lights so far only come in 1 size, full size.
There are so many brands and price points that I will tell you exactly what I tell my students, you don’t have to spend +$400 on lighting, but if you do, you are paying for the brand name and the appearance, as some brand names like Luvo and Glamcor are expensive but just so darn pretty! But if you are starting to build your entire makeup kit and you are on a budget, there is no reason why you can’t purchase a more affordable one and only spend $100. My go to affordable brand is on Ebay, it’s the Embellir brand, they are durable and have lasted me many years. My very first ring light was from Ebay and it lasted me 10 years (this was when ring lights first started becoming a trend, like 15 years ago).
Which lighting should you avoid?
Fluorescent lights: No one looks good in fluorescent lighting. It’s overly cool and overly bright, which can cause you to overcompensate for a lack of colour in the form of too much foundation or bronzer.
Yellow lights: As mentioned yellow lighting (romantic lighting) makes everything soft and blended. It basically puts a filter on everything, only we don’t walk around with a filter, and that’s where the problem lays with yellow lighting.
Downlighting: Ensure lighting is evenly projected onto the face, or it will create shadows and circles where there aren’t any, and really emphasise wrinkles.This can lead to over-doing it on certain makeup products.
There is so much to learn when it comes to working as a professional Makeup Artist, but what most courses are missing is relevance, staying up to date with the latest techniques, products and equipment. The Academy of Hair and Makeup is all about staying up to date with the latest, in fact, the Academy’s courses are personally designed by me, an Artist who has been working for the last 20 years and continues to take on clients to this day! If I have managed to stay relevant and successful in the industry for this long, it is because I make it my business to know what the latest and greatest techniques, products and equipment are, that’s what my client’s expect of me. Take a look into my 10-week Professional Makeup Artist course or book in a personal 1 on 1 class with me. These courses are perfect for anyone who is an absolute beginner and would like to learn makeup as a hobby or work as a Professional Makeup Artist. The sky’s the limit!
Director of the Academy of Hair & Makeup