If you feel daunted by the search for the best light bulbs for makeup, I feel your pain. Understanding the terminology — everything from lumens to wattage to color temperature — can feel overwhelming. To make matters more complicated, a lot of manufacturers use names like "soft white" and "daylight," when their light bulbs don't actually produce the warm, white light best for applying makeup.
So, what should you buy? First and foremost, buy an LED light bulb. Not only do they save more energy than a fluorescent light, but they emit a narrow band of wavelengths designed to produce a closer-to-natural light.
Next, I'd recommend combing the reviews (I've got you covered here). While manufacturers can label just about anything they want as a "soft white" light, reviewers will be able to tell you for sure if a bulb actually gives off a warm white light.
Don't forget: Where you place your lighting is equally important. In order to eliminate shadows and illuminate your face, you'll want to put light bulbs directly on your vanity. But, if you don't have a vanity (or the ability to put light bulbs in it), there are adhesive lights you can stick to the edge of your mirror and get the same effect. And, if neither of those suit, I've also picked out a light bulb you can twist into your ceiling lights or table lamp.
Now presenting, the best light bulbs for makeup application.
1. The Best Vanity Lights: Sunco Lighting Warm White Bulb For Vanities
For the least amount of shadows as you work on your makeup, an LED light bulb that fits into your vanity is your best bet. Not only is this 10-pack of LED bulbs more eco-friendly than a fluorescent or halogen light, but it uses up to 85 percent less energy than your average bulbs use. But, what makes this set so perfect for makeup application is that the bulbs produce a warm, white light that simulates natural outdoor light, indoors. And, with a 4.6-star Amazon rating and over 1,000 reviews, this set of light bulbs is tried and true. Best of all, they come with a five-year warranty.
What fans say: "These LED bulbs in the daylight brightness are perfect in our bathroom over the vanity. Putting on makeup looks natural now, the colors true. Very bright and look great."
2. The Best Overhead Lights: GE Reveal LED Light Bulb
If overhead lighting is more your speed, these GE LED reveal light bulbs are a favorite amongst both fans and professional makeup artists. While they're a bit on the pricey side (just two for $9), you won't regret investing in these bulbs. The "Reveal" light bulbs from GE have special filtering technology to eliminate yellow light that can cause your makeup to appear differently when you step away from the mirror. Not only are these great for when you're applying makeup, but they are designed to help define color contrast in your entire space, meaning your room will look more colorful and brighter, as well. They work so well that one reviewer writes, "Was I really even seeing before these?"
What fans say: "These bulbs are PERFECT for the bathroom while you put on makeup or in the kitchen while you cook. They’re very bright, so they’re not good for every room in the house. They recreate natural light."
3. The Best Adhesive Light Bulbs: Brightown LED Vanity Mirror Lights Kit
For a super affordable price, you can get the same look as an expensive and well-lit vanity with these adhesive LED lights. The back of each bulb has a strong adhesive that is easy to apply to your mirror (and to remove!) and can even be dimmed by touch when you want to adjust the brightness level. A cord strings each light together and allows you to power these with a nearby outlet. Once adhered to your mirror, you'll have a clear and bright look at the canvas you're working your artistic magic on. And, for just $20, these 10 natural, white lights are truly a steal.
What fans say: "My apartment has HORRIBLE lighting. Every time I would do my makeup, I would have some kind of line or a spot that I missed... until I bought these lights! Super easy to apply, perfect for doing makeup or plucking eyebrows... I ended up ordering a set for my roommate too!"
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