Working on set, no matter if it’s on a tv show or feature film, in the studio or location, the chances are you’ll work at night time at some point. Or simply in the dark. And it’s not long before you realize that you should always carry a portable flashlight with you in your kit. All the time.
And aside from being able to light your way so you can see, sometimes, they can be your only light source when you’re doing last looks or touches on set.
A portable light source of your own truly is invaluable!
So here’s some food for thought as I round up my pick of portable, hands-free lights and lamps to help really make light work (yep, I meant that!) of your makeup work when it’s in the dark.
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ANC Wear Mini Clip-On Selfie Light
- 3 color temperature settings
- 7 level dimmable settings
- clip-on and adjustable angled clip
This is my pick of the selfie-light style hands-free lights for makeup work. The reason being that it feels the most sturdy out of these types. And as you know, sometimes, we throw our kits around, or they have to travel and this one seems to be quite strong.
It also features easy-to-use dimming capabilities and allows you to easily toggle through the warm, cool, and daylight light settings.
Ardux LED Headlamp Baseball Cap
- feature 5 LED lights across the brim
- watch battery operated
- push button on/off for light
This is my wild card entry for hands-free lighting on the go. While I haven’t used this headlamp, I think it’s quite an interesting take on the head-wearing options for lamps. And might be feasible if you’re doing a job on location and roughing it.
With these types of lights, it’s hard to tell sometimes if the actual lights themselves are quite blinding if you look directly at them, but nevertheless, I think this is an interesting option for the right gig.
Find the Ardux LED Headlamp here.
Lifesport 2U Running Headlight
- Lasts 3-6hrs continuous
- 3 Light strength settings
I am partial to this style of light that you can clip on. I still weep over my most beloved clip-on set light that I last used on Benedict Cumberbatch some time ago, which has parted ways with me now. I’d had it for years. All held together with Opsite-tape and sheer determination. Fingers crossed that they are one day available again on Amazon.
I find them easy to use and maneuver when it’s simply clipped onto my shirt or necklace. This also keeps it out of the way if I have a makeup bag over my shoulder.
The Lifesport 2U Running Headlight looks small and inconspicuous as well.
Find the Lifesport 2U Running Headlight here.
Vekkia Neck Reading Light
- 3 colors
- 3 brightness settings
- long-lasting – 5 – 60hrs
The Vekkia Neck Reading Light is my pick for this style of hands-free and portable lights as it seems to get the most positive reviews on Amazon. It also comes across as the most sturdy, and strong to pose and change the position of the bendable light ends.
This gives you plenty of options of the direction that you point the lights, so as not to aim them directly at your performers’ eyes.
Find the Vekkia Neck Reading Light here.
LED Rechargeable Headlamp
- lightweight (90g)
- 5 light mode settings
- motion sensor
- wide 230-degree range
- built-in rechargeable battery
The LED Rechargeable Headlamp has definitely caught my eye. And I still find this more appealing than the heavy-duty headband style lamps I have seen on many a makeup artist on night shoots and the like. For me personally, I never feel comfortable looking like I’m going digging in a coal mine, and this lamp is a little less miner-looking than some of its more industrial counterparts.
Find the LED Rechargeable Headlamp here.
LED Flashlight Gloves
- water resistant
Okay, so these beauties couldn’t be left off. Again, I haven’t sampled these but I just felt compelled to include them more out of intrigue than anything else. They look awesome, right?
Please comment below if you have these or have used them! I’d love to hear how they actually work. Or if they are only effective when you have your hands in the pose shown in the photo.
Find the LED Flashlight Gloves here.
JMH Head Magnifier
- magnifier and 2 LED light source
- hands free
- 2 adjustable light settings
Now these, I do own and have used. They come in particularly handy for hair work like ventilating and hair-punching when you need all the help you can get in the lighting/magnifying combo world you can get.
Hongut Ear-Wearing Reading Light
- 2 brightness levels
- 2-3 hrs charge time lasts 7hrs
- left or right side wear
I’d have to say this might be my next purchase when I either lose (see above Benedict namedrop) or misplace my set light. I like the inconspicuous look of this ear-piece light and it also speaks to me because of the light source moving with your head position. I suspect it would be incredibly useful doing touches in a dark set or location.
Will keep you updated once I own the Hongut and have put it to use.
Handsfree Neck Lamp
- flexible arm
- rotating light
- 3 color temperature settings
- dimmable from 10% to 100%
- silicon anti-slip casing
Another light source that I really like the look of.
The Handsfree Neck Lamp looks very straightforward and easy to use. Being able to pose the light source area is enticing as well.
Find the Handsfree Neck Lamp here.
Newmowa Selfie Light
- 2 options for clip-on
- 3 light temperature modes
- 10 brightness modes
While this was not intended to be a post on selfie lights, I wanted to include this one from Newmowa as it offers possibly the brightest of these portable makeup lights I have ever used. Like, blinding!
This doesn’t mean everyone in your vicinity has to wear sunglasses, though. There are many dimming options and plenty of color combinations and options altogether. And while I am a big fan of this lamp, it stays at home for zoom calls for me, as the shape and size lends itself more to being at home than being on the road.
Find the Newmowa Selfie Light here.
Selfie Ring Light
- 3 level adjustable light settings
Another popular contender in the self-light realm. I have owned and used these, but for me personally, I prefer the lights that have a handle area, and not just act as clip-on lamps.
This is purely personal taste, and aside form that this is a very good portable light for us working makeup artists.
Find the Selfie Ring Light here.
Doimeri Selfie Light
- easy to use
- 3 light temperature settings
- 360 degrees rotation
Did I mention that it’s tiny? Yes, the Doimeri Selfie Light looks even smaller in person than it appears in the image. You could literally keep it in your pocket.
I have a handful (literally!) of these little guys, and honestly, I love them. The only drawback is they feel somewhat fragile, but if you keep them in a case between uses, then I’m sure they’ll serve you well.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my collection of selfie lights as much as I enjoyed putting it together. And let’s all be far more prepared for the next one when it comes to those dark moments!
What’s your favorite portable light? Let me know in the comments below!
Featured Image by Harry Truong