Have you ever wondered where the term vanity lighting comes from? One definition of the term vanity is a cabinet built around a bathroom sink, usually with a countertop, and sometimes drawers. It follows, then, that vanity lighting could be merely any lighting that illuminates the space above the bathroom sink. For me, however, vanity lighting has a much more functional meaning.
Let me explain. The mirror above your vanity or bathroom sink is the first place you see yourself each day. What you see looking back at you helps to define what type of day it is going to be. Nothing is better than a refreshed, smiling and young image looking back at you. This is where vanity lighting becomes essential and the selection of just the right light becomes critical.
Through many years of experience, and countless poorly lit bathrooms, I’ve become somewhat of a vanity lighting professional. I now understand what makes choosing the correct vanity lighting so important.
First, avoid using the wrong bulb; nothing worse than a 5000K florescent bulb giving your skin a green tint. Second, I have a strong preference for two fixtures to be flanking a mirror, rather than the single fixture mounted above the mirror. Shaving is many times easier when you have two lights: there aren’t all those shadows under your nose or double chin. There have been many occasions when I’ve walked out in to the world with obvious missed spots of facial hair. You may have noticed most serial killers also have this same problem. Not a great look when you’re trying to make a good first impression. But there is an even better reason for installing two flanking lights.
The real advantage is the effect it has on thinning hair. Lighting from both sides creates shadows on you head that make your hair look full and thick; you don’t get that blinding glare reflecting off your extended forehead. You can look up to 25 years younger. What more could you ask for? Of course you still need to learn how to deal with the rest of the day, but as long as you can resist looking at yourself in a window or mirror, you have the potential of getting through the day thinking your hairline really isn’t so bad.
The safe bet is to always go with two fixtures on both sides of the vanity mirror. Of course there are those who still have a full head of hair who would argue with my logic, but I never liked their kind to begin with.
Now you know where the term vanity lighting comes from — vanity: inflated pride in oneself or one’s appearance.