I recently realized that I needed to update my makeup lighting system. In an ideal world, I would always apply makeup in natural lighting. However, in the real world where the sun goes down at four o’clock in New England, this is simply not realistic. I went on the hunt for a new lighting system and came up with an easy $10 solution!
My old lighting method for makeup application was to sit in front of a floor lamp placed directly in front of me. However, this always cast shadows on one side of my face, making it impossible to evenly light my face. I also tried to light my face from both sides with clamp spotlights but experienced the same issues with shadows.
The quick and expensive route would be to buy a lit vanity or lit makeup mirror. However, living in a one bedroom apartment on a budget led me to rule out both of these options. Then one day I remembered I had a few white round hanging paper lamp shades from Ikea that were sitting unused under one of my dressers. These were left over from my wedding and I initially repurposed them for video lighting before moving onto a studio lighting kit.
I dug out the paper shade and hung it over my desk from an unused curtain hook. The great thing is this setup takes up zero desk space and can be adjusted up and down, which means I can use the shade as a desk lamp or for makeup lighting. When I use it to apply makeup, I position it directly behind my mirror so it casts a natural soft light that mimics sunlight. I’ve had zero issues with shadows and my makeup always turns out nice, soft and well blended.
If you’re like me and have limited space and budget, a simple hanging paper lantern from Ikea might do the trick!