Light Quality and Color Rendering Index (CRI) Comparison of Various Light Sources for Makeup Artists

Recently, Michael Astalos, creator of The Makeup Light, hopped on IGTV to talk about Color Rendering Index (CRI) and light quality of various light sources. Makeup artists, hair artists, estheticians, and all lovers of light: Watch the video below and/or read the transcript to see what you missed!




Michael: [00:00:00] Hey, everybody, Michael, with The Makeup Light here it is Wednesday morning, the 27th I believe... the 27th already. Wow. Um, and we are doing another Makeup Light Live, and we're going to do a little deep dive into the technical world of CRI color rendering index as well as color temperature a bit because that's a constant question we get all the time is,

what's the best light can't I just go to the hardware store and buy some LED lights. Um, is it halogen, tungsten, led, fluorescent? What's the best way. And what's the best light for makeup. We get that all the time and then also follow it up immediately by. What makes your lights so different? Why is that?

Um, so we really wanted to do a, uh, just a dive into that a little bit, and we would love to hear your questions as we're doing this, please ask us questions. Um, so we'll just start and talk about, uh, TML a little bit first, which is we are always trying to improve our lighting. We're always. Adjusting the mix on our LEDs. "LED" stands for light emitting diodes, and think of it this way.

It's a bit of goo you put on something and then you put electricity through it and it glows. And that's the diode is that's a little chip. And so when it glows that emits the light. And so when it emits light, it's just, there. There's, there's no fanciness to it is just emitting light. And then based on what you do with that light, you can put a lens on it.

You could put a filter, a gel in front of it. You can diffuse it. All of those things have repercussions. Um, a great example is if you take a lot of people, talk about lumens. Well, lumens are a bit of a mystery. Cause if you can take a hundred gallon drum, And stick an led light in it. And if it's a thousand lumens, it's going to glow that whole a hundred gallons is going to go, Oh, okay.

That's what I say. But if you take that same a hundred lumens and you put it in a cup instead of a big, a hundred gallon drum, now it's just a little cup of water. You're going to say, wow, that is bright. It's the same number of lumens. It's just more concentrated. So there are a lot of different aspects to lighting other than just

oh, does it look pretty? There are a lot of things in light that you cannot see. You don't recognize what it's lacking right off the bat. You're not seeing, Oh, there's no red and I'll show you here in a few minutes. But the biggest challenge that manufacturers have come into with LEDs is the fact that it is very difficult to put red

into an led by nature. There is no red, I've seen readings of negative red in LEDs, which is kind of amazing when you think about it. It's like there is so little red in there it's in the negative. And the way that light works is you don't see a color unless it's in the light. So when you're outside on a beautiful sunny day and you're seeing that red Apple it's because the entire spectrum of light from the sun is hitting this red Apple.

Well that red Apple then bounces back the red that your eye sees and says, Oh, that's a red Apple. The less red in the light source, so if you take an led light that same red Apple with that, if it's a cheap led inexpensive, there's no red in it, they didn't do anything special to it. It's got little to negative red in it.

It's not going to look as vibrant red. Why is that important? What do you care? If a red Apple looks like a red Apple? Well, cosmetics, you've got blood in you, your skin tone. So all of that matters when they're mixing formulas for makeup, hopefully they're using true full spectrum lighting, um, daylight balanced and full spectrum,

they have all the colors in there because you're trying to take a base. Let's say that has red in it. And match it to your skin tone and everybody's skin tone is subtly different. A lot of that is. Breathing, how much red is in your skin tone in your blood? Are you, are you hot that day? Um, are you, are you more flushed?

Things like that, um, comes in a great, uh, importance. If you're doing a film, let's say, and you have prosthetics, you're working on a, there's a lot of challenges in that making that fake skin look like real skin and you need high quality, good lighting to be able to match all those makeup skin tone, prosthetic colors together and make it all work as one.

Um, so, uh, we've kind of gathered some things here to show you that I thought would be really kind of interesting. Like we've got a little tree here of lights. And on this, I've got a halogen. I have an incandescent bulb, a little globe. I have an led globe because a lot of people ask about going to a hardware store and getting those.

I have another little led globe here. I actually have a light therapy panel. This is a little guy I purchased and it's just a thin little led panel. Um, we're going to show you what that, and this is light therapy for those who don't know is there are a lot of places, a lot of countries, Northern countries.

Uh, where they don't get a lot of sun in the winter time. So people can become depressed a lot of vitamin D deficiency. So a lot of doctors actually prescribe light therapy, which is sit in front of it, light panel, and it actually helps you feel better. And it's because it's simulating the sunlight. So you don't have it outside.

It's dark, it's gray, it's snowing. Sunlight indoors. That's what, that's the theory behind that is bring sunlight indoors. And that's actually, one of our mottos at TML, bring sunlight indoors for you. Um, and then we also have, um, just inexpensive bought off Amazon LED photo fixture. Um, as you can see it, isn't like the bare LED ones.

Um, and we'll go into that in a little bit also. And then I have a TML Key Light to show you that this is what we have. So where to start. Um, let's start out. And then also in our ceiling up here, we have. Uh, LED fluorescent lamp replacements. So let's, we can just start there. Um, cause a lot of people are doing that now, which is fluorescents are being banned and outlawed in a lot of countries, a lot of places, which is actually smart.

They are. Dangerous dangerous, dangerous. Um, a lot of people who got really sick after 9/11, because of all the fumes, something like I heard something, a number of like 3 million fluorescent lamps vaporized when the twin towers came down and all the workers that worked there, all the firemen, the policemen, all the crews that clean up crews, all of that sickness that they're having,

is because of the dangerous chemicals that are in a fluorescent lamps. And that's why even compact fluorescent lamps. They say these are really dangerous, you know, just be really careful if you ever break one, you don't want to inhale those particles and fumes out of one. So it's good that they're actually getting rid of those and replacing those.

Um, so I'm going to turn on. So I have a very nice meter here and is actually designed to measure this is, uh, High-end, gives me my full spectrum, the CRI, and it gives me one through 15 on the CRI ratings. And then I can change that over. Sorry, my phone doesn't work sometimes on that and I can actually show you also color temperature, lumens, Lux, things like that, foot candles and things like that as well.

So I'm going to first measure CRI. So I'm going to measure up here at the ceiling. Just kind of pointed away from everything else. This is only 83. So I don't know if you can see that red in there is what it is a little less than 11, 10.8 red. So there's very little red in this overhead light, and that's really important actually for, for a lot of reasons that red again is the key factor for a lot of things.

Why. Um, if you're doing, let's say you're doing makeup on people of color that they will look ashy, because different skin tones. So if you don't have like African-American skin, if you don't have what's the opposite of red. So you're getting into that green cyan, they're going to look ashy skin and the hair is going to start to look ashy.

And you can see that. And if you do your makeup based on that, and then they go outside in daylight or on a film set or camera good quality flash, and it's full spectrum, you're going to go, Whoa, why is that color off? And that's one of the big reasons for that. Um, and again, jump in with questions. If you have questions, we would love to hear questions.

I love answering questions, talking to everybody. So these guys were put in by DWP. They came through everybody and just replaced for free, amazingly enough, all into led fluorescent replacement fixtures, which they're daylight. I mean the, the color temperature on those is good. The color temperature on this 49 91.

So we're right about 5,000 degrees, which ironically is where we put TML. We're in the 5,000 to 5,200, we go a little bit, a little bit higher. This is just a touch, uh, low. But it's a good quality LED fluorescent replacement, but again, it's only got 10.8 red CRI and in the blue, the  "R12", which is like a Navy, a deep blue, which is also important is only a 58.

That's a brings down the numbers. Yes. Question.

Chris: [00:10:09] What is the ideal level of red we should have in a light used for application?

Michael: [00:10:13] Well, the highest is a hundred that's that's perfect. And I'm going to show you tungsten halogen here in a minute, but I mean, if anything, over 90, over 80, uh, you know, once you get up there, 80 plus probably on a red to have like 90 on a red, um, But the higher, the better you want to get out of those teens and twenties, uh, but a hundred is the max level on all of these.

So the higher, the red, the better. Um, so I went to a hardware store next door and I've purchased several things here. So I we're to deal with incandescent and halogen first and ironically, they are really warm color, but they have amazing. CRI. So let's start with, uh, halogen. It's just one of these little halogen guys like this, you see them, in things like kitchen lights.

You can feel the heat off this halogen lamp. I mean, right here, it's, it's pretty warm. This isn't like one of the, this is only a 20 watter. Um, but you can actually add a 20 watt. I can feel the heat on my hand. That's the downside to halogen is their heat that they produce. But if I measure this halogen.

Look at that 98.8 CRI. I mean, it's got on the red 95.6 red on that, and that's just an off the shelf halogen. I mean, that's, that's really amazing, but your color temperature. Is only 26 56. That is warmer color temperature than a normal tungsten light. And incandescent light is technically rated at 3,200.

This is 2,600. So it's, it's pretty warm and. But the CRI is, is just amazing. I mean, that's the thing about halogens. They have really good quality there, but it's your color temperature, and you want to do things mainly in daylight or what it's going to be shot in and filmed in. But 90% of the time everything's filmed in daylight, photographers, flash, outdoors, film sets.

And the other thing that people forget is even if you're doing film and they're lighting, let's say they lit the set in tungsten. But what's the camera balanced too. A lot of DPs will light it because they like the feeling of the, of the tungsten light. They like that constant of the tungsten, but then they, their all digital.

They just turn the camera and say, yeah, that's now white. Well then what colors should you do? Your makeup under? It should be under white because now that is what the camera is seeing. It's taking that, translating it into white. So do your makeup under clean daylight, white light. So that was a, that was a halogen.

That's this little guy here. That's the halogen. Now we're going to do this guy. This is one of the old school globe lights right here. And you can see, I don't know if you can see it really well from in there. I'll turn the bulb, see that little orange filament in there. I don't know if you can pick that up or not, but there's a little orange filament in there.

And that way you can tell this is not an led. This is actually a tungsten, a true tungsten light. And again, 99.8. That is almost a perfect CRI. But again, the problem is heat. Number one, the fragility of it, it doesn't last long. You bump it. It could just go out because it's that little filament that incandescent lamp filament in there breaks,

and then it's not any good, then you've broken it. Um, then you get the heat off of it. I mean, this is barely touchable and it's only like a 40 watt, I think, uh, incandescent bulb. Um, but it's a 99.8. So out of all the man-mades that the tungstens halogens have always been the highest, but there's so many drawbacks to them.

They use a lot of energy. That's the main reason why you don't see a hundred watt, incandescent lights anymore. They burn a lot of electricity. You just use it up. And one of the ways they use it besides creating light is they are creating heat. So that is another issue. So you have great quality light, but it costs you a lot to use it.

And heat wise it's really bad. And if you were to use halogens on location, then it's the color temperature issue as well. You want daylight, it's tungsten. So that's why people have started going away from the halogen and tungsten or globe incandescent lighting. Um, then so now everybody is doing LED lights, LED globe lights.

So this is, again, this is a one I just went to the store. This is an equivalent. This is a warm L E D light. So I'm going to measure just so I don't get any interference. From here, this is a 93.7 CRI rating. And again, your red in here is on, is 50 58.8 on the red. So they're doing okay at it. And a 93, I mean, anything above 90 is really good.

Uh, industry standard wise. They will say that anything above 82 or 85 is good, but. Typically, they're not taking into account. The are not the "R9" on the scale is red "R" doesn't stand for "red." They're all "R", it's R1 through R15, but number nine R9 is the red "R." That's the measurement of the red they're doing okay on it.

They're, you know, 58.8 and again, very warm. This one is, um, Let's see 27, again, it's super warm. 27 44 color temperature. So it's really a very warm light. And then we have, I'm going to turn this one off and now we have this one. This is really hard to look at. This is another, this is a daylight, uh, from the store LED, super bright.

I mean, if you have these around your makeup room, You wouldn't, your client would kill you because this thing is so bright. It's crazy. Um, it's just really hard on the eyes. Um, this is a 92 overall. So it's actually okay. Um, a 70 on the red, uh, only, uh, 61 on the blue. Um, so it again, it's, it's okay. It's an okay

light. But the problem with it is it's so intense that, you're going to be squinting. Your client is going to be squinting. That's the problem with this type, they push out so much energy that it is really hurtful for your eyes. Um, this guy, this is a photo light that I bought off of just the, and you can see it's bare LED, and it's one of those things

you're going to look at it and you squint and you see all those dots in front of your eyes and that's because. Your eye, your retina in your eye, um, has been over stimulated. It's basically fried it and it's, it's got to, you have to blink and eventually those dots go away. It's because it's like, overexposing film.

It is just power. It's just fried it. And now it's got to calm down and now it's like, okay, now I can actually see again and transmit that light to your brain. Um, This is saying it's daylight. This is a 90 CRI, but it's 68 on the red.

You know, so it's okay. But it is so bright. It hurts your eyes. You wouldn't want to use this on a client, uh, because they're not going to do that. Yes. Question.

Chris: [00:18:10] Yeah. Is there long-term damage from bare bulb LEDs?

Michael: [00:18:14] I would, I am trying to study up on that and see, I mean, typically you don't look at it that long.

To have long-term damage because you're just, it's just so intense. You just look away. Um, I can imagine you would over if you like stuck that in there for a couple of hours with no break and I can imagine it would be pretty permanent. Um, but I'm trying to study that. I can't answer for sure if it's permanent, permanent, I mean, typically you blank and after a few minutes you can look away and you can see that that's why we use an edge lit technology.

Uh, so that it's, uh, a larger light source. So your, your pupil actually dilates larger, but then it constricts down when you have the larger light source. That's why we'd use an edge lit to create one large, rather than speculars that keep your pupil open. And let too much of that intense light in there.

Um, but this guy being a bare LED, you'd have to diffuse it when you diffuse light. You limit the range of that light. So instead of the light being more concentrated, you're basically spreading it out and spreading it out and spreading it out. So it doesn't travel

Chris: [00:19:23] could potentially change the color temperature and CRI  by diffusing that too.

Michael: [00:19:28] Yeah. Depending on the quality of your diffusion, what do you use? Are you using actual, uh, film, photo quality gels and diffusion? Or are you just like, Hey, I'm just going to throw this sheet over it. And then that could change the color temperature could change the CRI. You could limit things, add colors

you're not intending to add. Um, this is one of our Key Lights. Um, you get to show you one of our other, this is actually one of our giant, uh, TML XLs here. I'll just kind of hold that up there. Um, this guy, and this is what goes into our Meira. Um, 97.8. And the red is 93.5. So if you can see it on. So that is really full.

We've really been yes. Question

a couple of questions. Okay. Which one would you recommend for a permanent makeup procedure? Permanent makeup. Um, and which is good for photo shoots. Probably the same answer for both.

Yeah. You want to go with the most full spectrum light, uh, that you can get. Um, so you want something like for permanent makeup or things like that.

If you're dealing with people's eyes, we say. Don't use a bare LED because even with somebody's eyes closed, we've had her talk to a lot of people where like people want to squint because they can feel that intensity. So being an edge lit ours is softer on the eye, meaning it's not as harsh on the eye and you're going to get less squinting out of it.

Photography, same thing. You want to have the most full spectrum you can get. Um, Get a meter and read it like this is just an inexpensive one. I've seen a lot cheaper. There, there are a hundred dollar ring lights that I've measured that are 80 CRI, less than 80 CRI. They put the least expensive led chips in there

they can find. No red. So it's all about the quality of the light is going to help you with your quality of your imagery, less correcting, less adding. Your people aren't gonna look as ashy in that light. Um Hmm. Yes.

Chris: [00:21:44] How can you, how can you tell without a meter?

Michael: [00:21:49] It's really difficult to, it's really difficult to trust the manufacturer's rating because you don't know, are they measuring R1 through R15.

Or just R1 through R8, those are the pastel colors, and those are the easiest ones for them to replicate when you get to R9 and below is where you get to the more saturated the greens. The reds, R9 is a red, uh, the blue, the Navy blues. So you want to make sure they're using the full spectrum.

So it's a little on the difficult side to actually, without a meter tell it's difficult to see just by looking. You may go, Oh, that looks great. Yeah. That red Apple looks great. When in reality, it should look more red. It's a deeper red. Um, but your eye, you don't know because you don't have anything to compare it to.

So it is difficult without a meter. Um, I would ask people, you could always test, um, I mean, meters are not that expensive. You can buy a less expensive meter. This is actually a pretty expensive one. Um, but. It's it is difficult. It is, which is why I'm trying to kind of throw some education in and, and talk about what this is all about.

Um, and hopefully that answers it may or may not have been an answer for you without being an answer, uh, because it is difficult to tell, uh, you cannot look at a light and go, yeah, there's not much red in that. I mean, if you were to set two side-by-side, you'd go, wow, that looks a little cyan, a little green, a little something's off about that.

Then you can tell. Um, maybe I can, maybe I can show you as well. So this is a light it's called a happy light because this is a light created for light therapy. And it's, it's a pretty bright light. I mean, it's a, it's a pretty bright light. It's a nice LED. It's nice and even when I measure it, it's only an 85.7.

And the red is only 20.4 red in it. So only 20.4 red and the blue is only a 66. And, but you may look at that light and go, wow, that actually is a really good, nice white. I'm going to put that next to, I don't know, see it, it's going to be really hard to tell, uh, through, uh, through a phone, but if I put this next to one of our Key Lights, This it's a little dimmer.

You can tell this is dimmer. This was looking really bright. Now it's looking a little dim, but also you're seeing, I don't know if you can see that on camera. It's probably just going to blow out, but, um, it's a little on the cyan ashy, uh, greenish cyan side compared to this light. And that only when you put them side by side, do you go, there's something different about that light and.

After reading it, I can go, Oh, it's because this only has half the amount of red that, that does and red not counting color temperature. It's not the color temperature red that I'm talking about. It's the, how warm something is or cool. Something is. And actually that light was 51 48 in color, 51 48 K color temperature, which is

pretty darn good. And again, when you're talking like one of, one of our, this is one of our latest ones right here, you know, we, that's 5200, 51 96. So that's spot on for what we're trying to do where we're trying to go, 5,200. And then the CRI I believe was up there. Yep. 98. I got a little too much overhead. So it's 97.8, uh, on that reading, um, But the R9 again is 94.5.

We have a, we've got the red and, you know, that's, that's some of what the technical side of LED lighting there. There's people out there saying, Oh, it doesn't matter. It's only about color temperature. Oh, CRI doesn't mean anything. Yes, it does. And if you just Google it don't don't trust me, Google it. And you will see great photo examples of

what, why something matters. And if you, even, if you were to shoot something right under daylight, daylight-balanced camera, under tungsten lighting, it still matters because it's the amount of color information you're getting from your light source. That's what's important about this is, the more information you have, the better decisions you can make.

It's about you guys being confident that when you're you, your client, your customer walk out in the daylight onto the set, getting their photo taken in their video. They're going to look as good there as they did in front of you in front of your lighting. If it's The Makeup Light, um, but you want the best quality light you can get.

That's why we have broadened out into doing custom things for makeup trailers and salons and spas, because people know people are tired of taking their client, dragging them outside to go. Yeah. I'll look at your hair color in daylight. Well, why isn't that in your salon? Well, typically you can try to get there, like the overheads here, but you're still missing the red and that's important when you're doing hair color.

As well as makeup is, the reds. So you want to make sure you try to get the highest full spectrum lighting, the highest CRI rating one through 15 that you can get. It is important. Um, so again, this is, Oh, a question.


Chris: [00:27:37] And so TML is closest to the sun?

Michael: [00:27:40] Is that's that's right. I mean, we try, try to use that slogan, bring me, bring sunlight indoors, bring the outside indoors, you know, bring it in because,

you don't have any, how many people do you see fixing their makeup on the way to work? Because they did, their makeup is bad lighting at home, whether it was tungsten lighting, and now they're in daylight or whether it was poor color, rendering lighting, didn't have the high CRI. And now they're like, Oh my gosh, they said the blush didn't blend.

Or I didn't put enough blush because of the color temperature or I didn't. Wow. The red, my lipstick doesn't look quite right. I got to change that. It's because they didn't match. Where they put the makeup on to where they're going to be seen. That's the biggest thing is that's why you see that people correcting their makeup when they go outside.

And, uh, that's it. Yeah. That's just huge. You want to make it easier, only do your makeup once you don't have to keep repeating, fixing, correcting. And that's why we've become very popular on make on, uh, film sets, TV sets, video shoots, photo shoots is you don't have to fix it on set. You don't have to do the makeup in the trailer, go out and go, Oh, I didn't see that edge.

Oh, I didn't see that. I got to change that color a little. Oh, it's not red enough. Oh, that it's too much red. So do your makeup under the lighting in which it's going to be seen or photographed. Get the best color rendering you can get, the most full spectrum you can have. It is important. And this is, this is Michael I'm Michael with The Makeup Light.

And again, we're just going through talking about color, rendering, index, color temperature. Can you just go to the hardware store and buy something? Uh, and I hope that we have answered some of your questions here. I know it was a bit technical and I'm sure a lot of people got bored, but I, I want to be, you know, we just try to be upfront.

We try to educate, we want you guys again, we want you guys to be comfortable in what you have in the equipment you have so that you can trust it. You can trust it if it's full spectrum, you can then gain your confidence back because you feel good and confident what you have. You have confidence in the makeup, either on yourself or the makeup you're creating, whether it's for a client, to go to a meeting, be red carpet, be on film, be on camera, be in a movie.

We want you guys to have that confidence that, Hey, I did it right. I could actually see to work. And it is important to be able to see when you work. So any other questions, I'd love to answer some more questions, but also we're always available, uh, email, uh, Instagram, Facebook, uh, you can call us. We're actually real people here at the shop.

We're a small company. Um, and one day we'll give a, give a tour and show you how small. Ah yes. Question those are. We have a question, whether you keep this up on I G T V. Yes. And we'd like to rewatch. Yes, of course. Um, we do all of these lives. Uh, if I save them correctly, all of these end up on IGT TV. Um, and then we also have a YouTube channel, things like that to, uh, to further that education, uh, because we know that that is important.

Um, it's a technical thing. Nobody's schools on that everybody's school's on color theory on mixing makeup or how color theory in makeup works, but lighting is its own beast. It is its own technical thing. Um, one of the things I, I truths that I found that was very interesting to me was in makeup paints, uh, solid things,

if you mix all the colors together. The same amount. You mix every color together. You get black. In lighting. If you mix all the colors together, you get white light. That's why you have to have all of the colors. You saw the old experiment. You take a prism, shoot, shoot the sunlight through it, and you get the rainbow.

It breaks it apart. And you're like, wow, look, all those colors are there. So think of light in that perspective. Are all those fingers. I mean, what would a rainbow be without the red? You can't have Skittles without the red. So you gotta look at the light and go, yeah. Are all the colors there because it is important for your brain that, that amazing brain of ours that translates light into color into be able to look at other colors, match everything and do your craft because you want to do the best job that you can do.

So I hope that answers some questions for everybody. I hope, uh, that it's helped someone somewhere learn about lighting. Again, we're always here for you. Just shoot us a line and we'll get back to you. Um, we're here for you. So again, Michael with The Makeup Light and, uh, have a great rest of your Wednesday and we will see you next week.