How to Apply your Makeup for Different Lighting

Lighting is one of the most important factors when choosing and applying makeup. The right lighting when applying makeup can mean the difference between looking gorgeous or overdone.

The most important factor one should consider when doing their makeup is “Where am I going?” Depending on where you’re going (ie. The lighting) is how heavy or light you should apply your makeup and accordingly choose colors. Read ahead to find out how to apply your makeup correctly depending on the lighting.


Wearing makeup to work means daytime. In the day your makeup should be minimal, daylight shows all. Office buildings are generally lit with harsh fluorescent lights that release a blue hue. This type of lighting tends to makeup colors look obvious. Wear sheer makeup and natural colors. Less is more!


So your invited over to a friend or family members house and don’t know how to wear your makeup. If it’s in the day for lunch, follow the same rules as you would for office makeup – sheer, natural colors and neutral hues.

For evening parties most homes are lit with incandescent bulbs, which tend to have a yellowish-red hue. This light softens colors and helps to hide flaws. Makeup can be worn a little brighter and bolder then worn in daylight or fluorescent lighting but it should still remain neutral and soft.


Sometimes the beach can become a fashion show – but seriously ladies?! Don’t over do your makeup, as it looks really cheap. Beaches means extremely bright light, so keep it simple with high sun protection, some powder, bronzer, mascara (waterproof) and a tinted lip balm. Trust me – overdoing your makeup at the beach only looks good in magazines.



Restaurants generally have dimly lighting, if your makeup is too natural or neutral it could makeup you look dead and washed out. For dim lighting choose bold contrasting colors. It doesn’t mean go over the top – just add some extra blush to your cheekbones and choose a slightly darker lip shade or eye shadow. This type of lighting is perfect to use your contouring techniques.


Weddings during the day – would follow similar makeup tips as you would wear to the office. When getting into evening/night weddings are all depends on the hall. In most cases halls are dimly lit with indirect lighting. So again this is your chance to wear your makeup slightly heavy and bold. If you don’t feel comfy wearing too much makeup – the key to look good In this type of lighting is have a good solid base – stronger blush, and either bold colors on your eyes or on the lip. Have fun with it as late night parties are a time for some extra drama.


Identifying Different Light Sources


The following factors may affect facial features, skin tones and textures:


  • Daylight is a pure white light. It is considered to be the most perfect light for applying makeup.



  • Fluorescent light has a blue-green tint. It is the harshest light and is known to drain and dull color on the face.
  • Incandescent light has a flat, warm yellow tint. It is more flattering then fluorescent but softens the intensity of bright , strong colors.
  • Halogen lighting has a soft, blue-white tint. It closely resembles daylight and it is good for expressing true color.
  • Electronic Strobe or HMI lighting produces daylight color temperature and accentuates the intensity of makeup color. It’s mostly used in professional situations.

Practice your makeup for different lighting, it’s a pretty simple rule and once mastered makes all the difference in the world. Practice makes perfect!




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Nilo Haq
Tagged as one of the five women to have shaped the beauty industry in the Middle East, Nilo is a pro makeup artist with stints at MAC Cosmetics, Toni&Guy, & Alexander Zouari Paris. Nilo Haq is the founder of iGlow Studios, Snobby Face lashes and creator of the first ever Online Makeup Course made for South Asian women. Nilo is now based in Toronto and is a sought-after bridal makeup artist who runs makeup workshops across three continents.

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