Tips to look good in fluorescent lighting

Updated July 20, 2017

Very few people look good under fluorescent lighting. This harsh, unflattering light casts a greenish-blue hue that changes the way colours look, gives your skin a washed-out sickly appearance and makes small imperfections more noticeable. Taking these steps can help your best even under fluorescent lights.


Incandescent bulbs give off a yellowish light that tends to soften colours and hide imperfections. Get dressed and do your make-up or shave using natural light or daylight bulbs so that you can see colours and imperfections accurately. Check your appearance using fluorescent lighting. Some vanity mirrors have a fluorescent light option, or you can install a mirror in an area where you have an overhead fluorescent light.


When you wear unflattering colours, your skin appears sallow and tired, compounding the negative effects of the fluorescent lights. Clothing colours that compeiment your complexion make your skin appear radiant and enhance the colour of your eyes and hair. If the underlying colour of your skin is yellow, peach or red, you should wear warm colours. If the underlying colour of your skin is pink, violet or blue, you should wear cool colours.

Foundation Makeup

Wear a foundation make-up that has warm golden undertones to counteract the cool tones of the fluorescent lights. Avoid foundation with pink tones because it will make your face look muddy. Choose a foundation that is close to your skin colour and blend it well to avoid obvious edges. You can also forgo the foundation altogether and just use concealer to hide any blemishes. Make sure you choose a concealer that matches your skin colour and blend it very well.

Cheeks and Lips

Colours like pink and red are enhanced by fluorescent lights and can appear too bright. Stick with warm, natural shades, like peach or rose, for your blush colour and apply it sparingly. Use sheer lipstick or gloss in medium tones on your lips for a natural look. Earth tone colours, like taupe or beige, look muddy under fluorescent lighting.

Eye Makeup

Apply your eye make-up carefully because too much colour or sharply defined lines can look harsh under fluorescent lights. Choose light eye make-up colours, such as rose, gold and peach, to avoid looking garish. Avoid blues and greys because these colours tend to look washed out and dull. Use black eyeliner and mascara sparingly because it can look too harsh. You can use brown eyeliner or combination of brown and black mascara for a more natural look.

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About the Author

Pamela Keene has written professionally since 2007 with articles published on, eHow, and other websites. She writes about a variety of topics including home projects, gardening, health, finance, travel and parenting. Keene holds a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry.