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Correct lighting when applying makeup can mean the difference between looking beautiful or looking like a clown. It's always best to apply makeup in the same light in which you will be wearing it. Most homes have a variety of light sources; however, moving all your supplies to apply makeup in just the right light is not always convenient. There are other ways to apply makeup for a specific lighting source.

At the Office

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Office buildings are lit with harsh fluorescent lights that emit a blue hue. It tends to make colors look sharp. Wear sheer, natural colors and neutral hues.

At Home

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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 should be a little brighter and bolder than that worn under fluorescent light, but it should continue to remain neutral and soft.


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Apply makeup with bold contrasting colors for evening. Most restaurants are dimly lit--some with only candlelight--in the evening. Pale or neutral colors could make you look washed out.

Late Night

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Have fun with extremely bold colors and styles. Late night parties and club activity is a time for drama.

Extremely Bright Natural Light

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Wear very little makeup and keep it neutral when exposed to extremely bright light, such as the beach. A sunscreen with a high SPF, a little powder, blush, mascara and lipstick is all you need.

Stage, Television and Camera

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The harsh lighting on stage, television or in front of a camera can highlight flaws and even cause you to look worse than you normally do. Cyber College has a few tips for applying makeup to look your best in front of an audience. The site recommends that you start with a freshly cleaned face. Oils on the skin can be noticeable under the bright lights. Then, apply foundation with a wet makeup sponge to the face, neck and ears. Use a powder that matches well with your skin tone to further disguise oils. Apply eye shadow, liner and mascara. Curl the lashes or consider using false eyelashes. Be careful when using blush and lip color. According to Cyber College, some lip and cheek colors can take on a blue shade under the harsh lights. Try a red shade that coordinates well with your skin tone. Apply makeup under the same lighting conditions that you will have on stage or in the studio. If that's not possible, at least check your makeup under those lights and adjust accordingly.