The 5 Best Light Bulbs For Makeup Application, According To Reviewers

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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 mirror. 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.

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% 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 nearly 4,000 reviews, this set of light bulbs is tried and true. Best of all, they come with a five-year warranty.

According to one reviewer: "Wear makeup? You need daylight bulbs in your life. I'm telling you, it is the best. You will be able to see your makeup in a whole new light, literally. I LOVE these lights. Put them in both my bathroom and guest bathroom.”

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?"

According to one reviewer: "These are great for bathroom lighting! Perfect for putting on makeup.”

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.

According to one reviewer: "These lights are perfect for what I needed for my makeup vanity. The color and brightness of the lights are perfect for applying makeup. The dimming feature is also very nice.”

The Best Strip Light: LPHUMEX LED Vanity Mirror Lights

While the adhesive bulbs above are easy-to-install and super customizable, if you have a smaller mirror a strip light like this one might be a better pick for you. Thanks to their thin design, these lights can sit on the very outside of your mirror, and can even be shaped to fit on a round or oval mirror, as well. This 10-foot strip of LED lights produce a white light that reviewers love for makeup application. In fact, that’s one big reason why over 17,000 Amazon reviewers have invested in these makeup lights.

According to one reviewer: “If you're looking for lights that are JUST the right color and brightness to do makeup - look no further!!! These were so easy to install and I love the sleek look they have to them.”

The Best Lighted Makeup Mirror: Conair Reflections Double-Sided Lighted Makeup Mirror

It’s pricey, but this cult-favorite lighted makeup mirror is worth the investment. While it uses incandescent as opposed to LED bulbs in its design, this double-sided mirror rotates 360 degrees, so you can alternate between 1X and 7X magnification. This mirror surface measures roughly 10 inches in height, so you’ll be able to clearly see the canvas you’re working on. And, the design is corded and plugs in, without you having to rely on batteries.

According to one reviewer: “This mirror is just what I needed for putting on my makeup. The light is even around the mirror and is just the right brightness for me.”

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