Lighting Research Center

Advancing the effective use of light for society and the environment

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How can I see myself better in the mirror?

Good lighting will allow you to see yourself more easily in the mirror when grooming or dressing. You will have good color, non-glaring light, evenly distributed across your face if you:

  • Place the fixtures on both sides of the mirror at about eye level to minimize shadows cast by your eyebrows, nose and chin. Alternatively, use a 4-foot (ft) fluorescent lighting fixture over the mirror so that some of the light reaches the sides of your face.
  • Hide the direct view of the bulb while standing at the mirror by selecting fixtures with opaque fronts or shielding boards.
  • Use bulbs with good color properties. Ask for CCT between 2700 and 3500 K and for CRI of 80 or above. These bulbs are sometimes designated as "827, 830 and 835."
  • Choose countertop surfaces with light colors to reflect light to the underside of your chin. Use light color finishes on walls and ceiling.

Avoid fixtures located directly over your head. These fixtures make hard shadows on your face so it is difficult to apply makeup or to shave. A long fixture, with a fluorescent tube behind a shielding board, located over your mirror will bounce light off light-colored walls, ceiling, and counter. The bounced light will light your face more evenly and thereby help you to see your face well without shadows.

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