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.
(One quick note before we get started: this post isn't just for makeup artists; it's for anyone who wants to find the right mirror for them.)
(OK, one more quick note before we get started: we're not going to discuss vanities in this post---we review those elsewhere---this post is just about lighted makeup mirrors.)
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.
- 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, 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 is 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--it's a classic 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.
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
The Jerdon Wall Mount Makeup Mirror is a gorgeous model, and the manufacturer mentions that it's featured in luxury hotels throughout the world, so that's nice. It's got a slightly larger-than-average mirror surface (always a plus), the option for regular reflection or 5x magnification (which, again, is just about right), and an anti-fogging mirror face. Wonderful!
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? This is an excellent choice, and an EXCELLENT choice for the aspiring makeup artist!
ASSIS LED Lighted Makeup Mirror
The ASSIS Trifold LED is another one of our favorites, and it has a number of really wonderful features: the LED lights are designed to last a while; at 6.89 inches by 8.86 inches, the mirror surface is a good size; and---this is a really cool feature---it has a round removable mirror that has 10x magnification. Plus, it features 180 degrees of rotation—that can be a benefit if you have two people use the mirror at different times, and need to adjust for every use.
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 Next Generation 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.
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! 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!