The Best Lighted Makeup Mirror — Product Reviews
Welcome! In the post below, we’ll discuss MAKEUP MIRRORS: the different types people use, the features to keep in mind when selecting one, and our favorites, along with the product we consider to be the best lighted makeup mirror overall.
It’s safe to say, we’re in love with mirrors, so this post was a lot of fun to write—but it’s also a noteworthy topic: mirrors play a big part in makeup artistry and makeup application, so hopefully there’s something in the post below that’ll help you find a model you like.
Types of Makeup Mirrors
Here's our first tip: it helps to figure out what kind of mirror you're looking for. Here are your main options:
- Table Top Mirrors. These usually have a base or a stand, will include one or more mirrors of varying magnifications, and will fit on a flat surface like a table or desk. There are two types of table top mirrors: 1) oval or circular mirrors that usually have a base or a stand, will include one or more mirrors of varying magnifications, and have internal lights and 2) rectangular or square mirrors that usually have a base or stand, many not magnify but may tilt forward and backwards, and have some kind of external lights. We review both types of table top mirrors below.
- Tri-Fold Mirrors. These have three reflecting surfaces that you can adjust so that you can see both sides of your face, in addition to the front of your face. Most regular mirrors only allow you to see your face from the front, but tri-fold mirrors allow you to see your face from many angles.
- Wall Mounted Mirrors. These are mirrors that you attach to the wall, and they're set up so that you can move the mirror closer to or further from your face. They're fantastic because they free up space on your makeup desk or table, BUT they have to be set up (we'll discuss that below).
Vanities. These are full desks that are used solely for makeup, that feature a large mirror lined with bright lights. The desk usually has space for many different types of makeups and skin care products.
- Travel Makeup Mirrors. Last but not least, travel makeup mirrors! These are small, compact mirrors that are made to be stowed in luggage and set up on the go. We're kind of in love with these.
If you already have a makeup desk, or have limited space, or aren't permanently situated in your living space (for example—you may be living in a dorm or an apartment with friends), then a table top mirror is probably the way to go. If you're fairly situated and you're able to do some light construction (or have someone who can help you), a mounted wall mirror is pretty fantastic. And if you're about to leave everything behind and travel the world (or if you're just going on a business trip or a vacation), you may be looking for a travel mirror.
Features and Considerations
Lighted makeup mirrors usually come with a couple of different features you may want to consider. Here are the features you're most likely to come across, along with some information about each feature that'll help you decide on the right mirror for you.
Magnification of Mirrors
If you look any type of makeup mirror, you'll often see that there's a feature that's listed as "1x/5x/10x" or something like that. They're usually talking about the magnification of the mirror. A 1x mirror is what you're used to seeing—a mirror that reflects your image at 1x. A 3x mirror will magnify your image three times, a 5x will magnify your image five times, and so on.
Magnification is useful for a couple of different reasons. If you're applying makeup that requires a steady hand and some precision (such as eyeliner), having a close-up of what you're doing can be very helpful. If you're apply foundation or concealer, a magnifying mirror can show you how the colors meld together. And if you're plucking your eyebrows, magnification can be really helpful, because eyebrows can be a delicate job.
There are some situations where you can have too much magnification, though. At a certain magnification, your face can look distorted and out-of-focus, and you'll need to get very, very close to the mirror in order to see yourself at all.
So, what's the right magnification for you? It actually depends on what kind of mirror you're looking at. Here's how it plays out:
- It helps to have 1x magnification as a baseline, so it's a good idea make sure your mirror features it. Most mirrors do have 1x magnification, but always check just to be sure.
- For a table top mirror or desktop mirror, 3x to 5x magnification is usually enough. Some people appreciate 7x and 8x, but many say 10x for a tabletop mirror is a little bit too much for a desktop mirror. As with all things, though, it's a matter of personal preference.
- Because you can bring wall-mounted mirrors and travel mirrors very, very close to your face, those mirrors tend to go to 10x magnification and beyond, and that's a great feature of those types of mirrors.
We'll talk more about magnification in each of the product reviews below.
Regular Light Bulbs vs. LED Lights
Lighting is a major consideration when it comes to choosing a makeup mirror. Because most bedrooms and bathrooms have a yellow-ish light—one that makes makeup application challenging—a makeup mirror usually has a lighting scheme that mimics natural sunlight. Some makeup mirrors even have multiple lighting schemes, and mimic indoor light, sunlight, evening light, and so on. Those are kind of rare, and most mirrors—even the high-end ones—produce one kind of light, which is usually a blue-ish white light.
So, makeup mirrors usually come with two different kinds of lights: regular lightbulbs (like the kind you probably have around the house), and LED lights, which are super-bright and designed to last longer than regular lightbulbs (and they're environmentally friendly, too, which is always a plus). For many people, LED lights are preferable, but if you find a mirror that you like and it has regular lights, that's fine, too.
Batteries vs. Plug-in Mirrors
This, too, is a matter of personal choice. Mirrors with batteries are easier to move around, but you need to replace (or recharge) the batteries every so often; plug-in mirrors clutter up a room a little bit because of the cord that goes to the electrical outlet, but you never need to worry about them running out of juice. Again, a totally personal choice, and one that doesn't really affect the quality of the mirror, but something to keep in mind as you look at different models.
Our Picks for the Best Tabletop Mirrors
OK! Our first type of mirror:
The BROADCARE Double-Sided 1x/5x LED Mirror
The BROADCARE Double-Sided 1x/5x LED Mirror can be a great starter mirror for someone just getting into makeup. It's petite, stylish, and it shouldn’t take up too much room on a tabletop. It's got three excellent features going for it: inexpensive mirrors don't usually have LED lights, and this one does; it rotates 360-degrees, providing a number of different viewing angles; and the 1x/5x split is actually just right for a mirror this size: both are good magnifications to apply primer, foundation, concealer, etc. but also get in close and do eyes and eyelashes.
The Conair Oval-Shaped LED Mirror
Conair is the classic model of lighted makeup mirrors. If, when you were a little kid, you hung around your mom while she was putting on her makeup, chances are pretty strong that she was sitting in front of a Conair makeup mirror! That's not to say that Conair is outdated—in fact, there's a reason why they've been around so long: they make fantastic products.
In our opinion, the Conair Oval-Shaped LED Mirror is a great option: it's juuuust bright enough so that you can see exactly what you're doing when you're applying foundation or concealer (and you can use the 7x magnification side to remove any unwanted eyebrows hairs). The light function has a high and low setting, and the LED lights are a BIG bonus, because they last a while (and if you've ever used a lighted makeup mirror with regular bulbs that blow out every three months, the LED lights are an awesome feature). The mirror has a sturdy base, and it's small enough to fit on most makeup tables.
This gets our vote for best lighted makeup mirror in the "classic" category—it's a fantastic model that's been around for a long time, and probably will be around for a long time.
Our Pick for Best Lighted Makeup Mirror -- The simplehuman Sensor Mirror
When asked, we're quick to share our opinion about the simplehuman Sensor Mirror: we think it's fantastic. The light is super-bright and clear, and it's designed to mimic natural sunlight (so it's great to use if your bedroom or bathroom has very yellow-ish light). The 5x magnification is juuuuust about right—many people say 7x or 8x is too much, and 3x isn't enough, so 5x is just about right. Plus, it's simply gorgeous: it's petite, smooth, streamlined, and subtle.
Perhaps the coolest, we-live-in-the-future aspect of the whole thing is that it lights up when you sit down in front of it, and it turns off when you step away. Aaaaaaaaaaaaand it's rechargeable, and that's always a plus.
The FLYMEI 20 LED Lighted Makeup Mirror
The FLYMEI 20 LED Lighted Makeup Mirror has a very nice shape—it kind of looks like a smartphone—and that sleek/simplicity aspect is a strength in this model. It's got bright LED lights that shine through the outside edge of the mirror, and that can make it a good option if you don't have a lot of natural light (or if you get up earlier than the rest of your roommates / partner / family!), and the 10x-magnification spot mirror is a nice little addition. The mirror itself is a regular 1x-magnification, but if you need to do spot work, 10x should provide a lot of close-up capability.
It's also got 180-degree rotational movement—great if you find yourself in a rush, and need to apply while standing up—and we're not sure why all mirrors don't have that! Lastly, it's got a little recessed area in the base can hold a couple of items, like a few lipsticks or eyeliners—a very nice little design feature.
Geek-House Lighted Vanity Mirror
The Geek-House Vanity Mirror (great name!) is the first of our "Hollywood"-style mirrors, that features exterior bulbs, like the kind you might see backstage at a Broadway play or in a dressing room. Those external lights provide a great deal of light, and they add a fun, glamourous feel that many people really like.
As for the details, the Geek-House has some nice features: it has a white light setting and a yellow light setting, both of which are adjustable. The dimmer functionality makes it like many-mirrors-in-one, and it allows you apply cosmetics depending on the kind of light you'll be in that day. It also has the 10x-magnification spot mirror so you can do some detail work, and it's a fairly decent size, too—it's 16 inches tall and 12 inches wide, you should be able to see your face, the hair on your head, and your neck. It's not the biggest mirror we review, but it's a pretty good size.
Lastly—and we'd be remiss if we didn't mention this—the manufacturer description says the lights on the Geek-House reportedly last 50,000 hours. Unless our math is wrong—and our math is frequently wrong—that means if you were to use the Geek-House mirror for an hour every single day, the lights should last you... 137 years? (50,000 / 365 = 136.98?) Even if that number is very incorrect, and those lights only last 25,000 hours, that's pretty impressive. If you're the kind of person who hates replacing lightbulbs on your makeup mirror, the Geek-House might be a nice option for you!
Chende Hollywood Lighted Makeup Vanity
The Chende Hollywood Lighted Makeup Vanity is, perhaps more than any of the other products we review here, more of a furniture piece. It's much bigger than many of the other mirrors we've reviewed, and at 18.5 inches high and about two feet across, it offers a full view of your face and whatever cosmetics you'll want to apply. It's got a strong base, so you can see it on a tabletop, but it's also got a hook if you want to hang it on a wall. That's a unique feature, and a lot of lighted makeup mirrors—particularly ones with external bulbs—don't have that functionality.
The actual mirror itself is simple and streamlined: it's got 12 dimmable LED lights that provide a soft, white lighting, and while that shouldn't be too overwhelming, you can remove certain bulbs from the frame if you want less intensity. The lights themselves don't get very hot, which is a nice little perk—on a lot of external-bulb mirrors, the lights get absurdly hot, and it can hurt to touch them! Not the case here.
There are no extras—no spot magnification mirror or anything like that—and that's part of the appeal, in our estimation: the Chende is designed to be simple and efficient and uncluttered. We like this one a lot—it can be a great option if you're looking for a larger mirror which great dimming capabilities—and this gets our vote as best lighted vanity mirror.
Best Wall-Mounted Mirror
As we mentioned above, there are a few different types of lighted makeup mirrors. There are the kind that lay flat on your makeup table or counter, and there are the ones you affix to the wall.
Wall-mounted mirrors don't take up any space on your vanity or makeup table (after all, they're mounted to the wall), and that means you may have more space to do your makeup.
Jerdon Wall Mount Makeup Mirror
There's only one challenging part about wall-mounted mirrors: they need to be installed. If that's not something you're interested in, you can either have a friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse install it for you, or return to our "Best Tabletop Mirrors" section!
Zadro Round LED-Lighted Wall Mirror
The Zadro LED Mirror is, in our humble opinion, marvelous. It has LED lights, which are designed to last longer than traditional bulbs. It uses batteries, so you won't need any wires or cords running across the floor. It's gorgeous—stately and sleek and smooth—and it has a nice big mirror surface at 7 inches in diameter. The ooooonly thing that's not quite perfect is that it magnifies at 10x, which, for a lot of women, is a little too much BUT, because it's a wall-mounted mirror, you can set it up to come very close to your face, so the 10x magnification may actually work well. Magnification is one of those "personal taste" features—some people like the 10x, others don't.
Best Tri-Fold Mirrors
It's always a little surprising that you don't see more of these around.
If you look online or at your favorite home goods store, you'll find that there are always fewer choices when it comes to tri-fold lighted makeup mirrors. Why is that? Do people not realize how fantastic tri-fold makeup mirrors are? Because—and we're speaking from the heart here—we love them.
Sigh. Anyway, there are two tri-fold lighted makeup mirrors we recommend, and they are:
Jerdon Tri-Fold Two-Sided Lighted Makeup Mirror with 5x Magnification
The Jerdon Tri-Fold Two-Sided Lighted Makeup Mirror is a very versatile mirror, and it comes with a lot of neat perks. For a tabletop model, it seems like the 5x magnification is just right. The flank mirrors will allow you to focus on areas of your face that you might overlook in a normal round or oval mirror. And it's small enough to fit snugly on most tabletop makeup stations.
The best feature of the model, though, is the "choose a lighting scheme" option. Most mirrors have one light setting that mimics natural daylight (to varying degrees of success). This has four different lighting schemes, and you can experiment and see how different lighting schemes affect your makeup. This is a GREAT option for future makeup artists. Being able to practice on your own face and see how different lighting schemes affect color and tone—that's fantastic, and it'll provide a lighting environment where you can practice your skills.
It's not perfect, of course—but what is? We think this is an excellent choice, and an EXCELLENT choice for the aspiring makeup artist!
Mirrorvana X-Large LED Lighted Trifold Makeup Mirror
The Mirrorvana X-Large LED Lighted Trifold Makeup Mirror is an interesting model, because it's so versatile: you can adjust it 180-degrees vertically, which is a pretty common on a lot of mirrors, but it can also turn 360-degrees horizontally, which is a little more rare. That's a nice feature, especially if you want to check under your chin, which is one of those hard-to-spot areas that you can miss when using a non-adjustable mirror.
The mirror itself has a unique layout, too: it's got regular magnification in the main mirror (which has 22 lights running up the left and right side of the mirror), along with a three spot-mirrors on the side: a 3x-magnification mirror, a 5x-magnification mirror, and a 10x-magnification mirror. That's a nice feature, because you don't have to flip through magnifications, like you do on some mirrors. It's dimmable, too, and that's always a plus.
This one can be a good match if you have a hard time seeing all the areas on your face, and you want to adjust the mirror to see every spot you cover with cosmetic. That flexibility can be a great thing in a mirror, especially if you're working with a lot of foundation, and want to make sure it blends into your skin correctly at your neck.
Best Mirror for Traveling
When you're at home, you've got a groove, you have your routine down, and you know where everything is. When you're traveling, all of that gets blown up. You don't have your regular makeup, you don't have your regular environment, and you're out of your groove.
That's why travel mirrors are the unsung heroes of the makeup game. If you've got a great travel lighted makeup mirror, it can help you keep your routine when you're on the road.
So here are our picks for the best lighted travel makeup mirror.
Zadro Dual LED Lighted Travel Mirror
How cute is the Zadro Dual LED Travel Mirror? It folds up into a little pod so you can slip it into your purse or carry-on bag. It's sleek and petite and streamlined.
10x magnification would be a little bit much for an ordinary makeup mirror, but because this is a portable model, you can literally bring it within inches of your face, so the 10x magnification feature is actually pretty wonderful. It's battery-operated, so make sure you've got replacement batteries if you use it to travel! It's such a pain when you're traveling and your gears flakes out.
The light is not super-strong, but it gets the job done. An excellent option, in our humble opinion.
Floxite LED Lighted Travel and Home 10x Magnifying Mirror
The Floxite Lighted Travel Mirror is our second-favorite travel mirror: it has 8 LED bulbs surrounding the face of the mirror, 10x magnification for close-up work, and it comes with batteries, which is a nice little perk.
Plus, it looks a little like a shell, and that's lovely.
That seems to cover it! Those are our picks for best lighted makeup mirror. Hopefully one of them is a great match for you. Mirrors are a wonderful part of makeup artistry, and this post was a lot of fun to write—if you have any questions, please feel free to leave them below!