Images: how the same make up look differs when applied in natural and artificial light

An online beauty retailer has revealed how the appearance of the same make-up routine differs when applied in natural light, such as near a window, and artificial light. After photographing three women for the research project, the resulting images show a noticeable difference between makeup applications done in natural and artificial light.

 Makeup natural and artificial light

The team behind released a selection of images taken after the women taking part had done their makeup indoors in artificial light and outdoors in natural light, with the aim of highlighting just how different makeup can look depending on where the application takes place.

When the women applied their makeup in artificial/unnatural light, they were all happy with the appearance of their makeup indoors, but when they stepped outside, all three women felt that the makeup they had put on looked too heavy and a shade or two darker than their natural tone.

The makeup application that took place outdoors in natural light gave results that all three women were happier overall with.

The images showing the results of the makeup applications in different lighting can be found here via DropBox:

The collection of photos was taken following a short survey of 2,417 British women, all of whom stated they were aged 18 and over and regularly wore makeup. Initially all respondents were asked ‘Where do you typically apply your makeup?’ to which the most common responses were ‘in front of a mirror, not next to a window’ (52 per cent) and ‘in front of a mirror, next to a window’ (30 per cent). All respondents were then asked ‘What sort of lighting do you have when doing your makeup’ to which the most common responses were ‘I tend to turn the light on in the room’ (49 per cent) and ‘there’s usually enough natural light coming into the room’ (41 per cent).

All respondents were then asked ‘Have you ever found that your makeup looks different when you leave the room in which you applied it (e.g. go outdoors)?’ Almost three quarters of respondents, 74 per cent, said ‘yes’. When asked to state what looked different, provided with a list of possible responses and told to select all that applied, the top five answers were as follows:

  1. My bronzer/blusher/highlighter is usually on too thick – 21 per cent
  2. My foundation is too thick and ‘cakey’ – 17 per cent
  3. I have foundation lines around my jawline – 14 per cent
  4. My chosen eyeshadow is a different shade than I had hoped for – 13 per cent
  5. I haven’t blended my makeup as well as I thought I had – 9 per cent

When asked where they felt their makeup looked the most different, or even the worst, after the products had been applied indoors, the top responses were ‘in bathrooms with bright lighting’ (63 per cent) and ‘outdoors in natural light’ (31 per cent). When asked where they felt their makeup looked best after noticing it wasn’t quite how they’d intended it to look (i.e. too heavy/thick/not blended), the top answer was ‘in a club, bar or restaurant’ (42 per cent).

Stacey Fletcher, Make Up Artist for, commented:
‘For really early risers or most women in the winter months, applying makeup in artificial light is pretty unavoidable. If it’s a bright spring morning outside though and you’re indoors with the curtains drawn and the bedroom light on when applying your makeup, you may not end up looking quite how you intended.

‘If natural light is an option, use it to its full advantage. Always apply makeup in the brightest room in your home and if you are always up before the sun then there are plenty of makeup mirrors available with special lighting built in to mimic daylight. Otherwise, it’s best to just use common sense; don’t apply foundation in thick layers, avoid heavy blusher and use the right brushes to blend your look to create a flawless appearance.’


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