composite image with cover audiobook WORST. PRESTIDENT. EVER. tin of French butter cookies, package of Peach Tea and a mug of tea

|| 12 March 2017

Flattering Lighting

Your choice of light bulbs can make a difference in how pretty you look in their glow.

Back in the days when choice of light bulbs was between 40, 60 or 100 watt clear incandescents, savvy women knew that a pink lampshade would make them look prettier in the rosy modification those shades made to light.

Then came skinny florescent bulbs with their eerie space-agey glare that made us look ill — or as if we had just landed from Mars. Choices were making sure you had the right length and prongs to fit your fixture. Wasn’t a lot you could do about their color cast until their technology improved.

Some of us just ignored halogen. Now we are the era of LED bulbs, their prices having moved into the affordable range. The choices for LED bulbs as for shape, price, power, and expected hours of service are profuse. I walk into the light bulb section of Lowe’s or Home Depot and feel overwhelmed.

With LEDs, gone are watts. Now we have to think lumens. We must consider “color temperature” ranging from golden “warm white” to “daylight,” a color temperature that — depending on its Kelvin number — can be white to bluish. There is also CRI, color rendering index, the ability of a light source to reveal colors of objects as a natural light source would. The best you will find in a light bulb would be CRI 90 or 92. A CRI of 80 might be more common.

A warning: there does not seem to be a standardization of color temperature names. What is the range of warm white on one brand, may not be on another. True for the other categories as well.

Flattering Home Lighting

For flattering lighting in your home you would want to pay most attention to the color temperature rating on your light bulb. A golden light will usually be the most flattering. Incandescent and halogen give off a golden glow. These would be about 2700 K (Kelvin). LED bulbs with 2700 K are often labeled Soft White or Warm White.

A whiter light at 3000 K may be labeled Clean White, Bright White or Cool White. Bulbs labeled Daylight are generally 5000 K to 6500 K. The higher the number, the more the white takes on a bluish cast. An extremely blue cast is generally unflattering.

If you have a bathroom or dressing area with those rows of bulbs in makeup lighting, you might want to pay special attention to the color temperature rating of the bulbs you use there. LED bulbs are now available in the globe shape, the same as the incandescents you probably originally used. But pay attention to lumens and color temperature. Some of the first LED globe bulbs I bought for my bathroom makeup lighting before I learned to read the labels did not provide proper light for the job.

Other Color Factors

Unless you have all white walls and ceilings and all your furnishings and decor items are white, your lighting color will be altered by the light reflecting from colors of those walls, ceilings, furnishings and decor. So light bulbs will not be the sole determining factor on how your skin, particularly that of your face, looks in your household light.

In any case, the savvy, chic woman always knows to find a seat with her back to any harsh, unflattering daylight coming from a window into the room. She also avoids putting her face too close to florescent lights with a greenish cast.

Pay attention outdoors too. If you are at a family reunion in the park and Uncle Jeff is lining everybody up on the grass (greenish cast) in bright sunlight (emphasizes blemishes and wrinkles) for a group photo — then, in that situation, I suggest that you run. And hide.

be chic, stay slim — Anne Barone

Image : Sample of info on LED light bulbs from a photo by Blueviper99 via Wikipedia.

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