Makeup mirrors, vanity mirrors, cosmetic mirrors… whatever you want to call them, there’s no doubt that they’re a useful bit of kit. But even those among us who aren’t die-hard makeup addicts shouldn’t be put off by the name — a magnifying mirror is a great little multi-tasker for all parts of the morning routine. Putting in contact lenses, tweezing troublesome brows, and shaving those hard-to-reach bits can all become that little bit easier, especially if you’re short-sighted (eyeliner-loving glasses wearers will know exactly what we mean). So, what should you be looking out for?
When shopping for bathrooms and bedrooms, use of space is often at the forefront of our minds, so why not go for a piece that does double duty, like a magnifying mirror with light built in? Windowless bathrooms are especially good candidates for an illuminated makeup mirror, as LEDs which simulate natural sunlight offer a truer picture of make-up shades once applied to your skin than traditional or fluorescent bulbs do — no red (or orange) faces here! Think, also, of the darker winter months, when a little brightness boost in your morning routine can go a long way.
If space is at a premium in your house, and you don’t want your magnifying mirror to be taking up prime real estate on the side of the sink, bathroom counter or dressing table, consider an easily portable mirror or one with removable parts. You can even make use of your vertical space with an extending arm mirror that attaches to the wall, for that really luxurious hotel bathroom feel.
1. Simplehuman Sensor Mirror 5x
A superbly simple mirror
Best for: Simulating natural light | Illumination: LED | Magnification: 5x | Power: USB internal battery | RRP: £159.99
The spot-on “tru-lux” system of the Simplehuman Sensor Mirror mimics natural sunlight, making it easier to judge the exact colour of your makeup when working in less-than-optimal conditions. But its cleverest feature, no doubt, is that its sensor triggers the long-lasting LED lights when your face approaches, so you don’t have to fumble for switches in the dark or wake up the whole house with a full-on bathroom light.
2. Tweezerman LED 15x Mini Mirror
Leave it to tweezer; get precision brows with this mini magnifier
Best for: Precision tasks | Illumination: LED | Magnification: 15x | Power: 3x AG10 | RRP: £24.99
Tweezerman have long made a name for themselves on the principle of precision, and long, we say, may it continue. This handy mini mirror can go wherever you go, with useful suction cups, easy to attach to any smooth, clean surface, offering hands-free magnification. Take it with you on your next long weekend, for breezy on-the-go application and more of that “I woke up like this” factor (we won’t tell if you don’t).
3. Unique Dproptel 36 LED Makeup Mirror
Two mirrors, two settings, and a whopping 36 lights
Best for: Value | Illumination: 36 LEDs | Magnification: 1x / 10x (spot) | Power: 4x AA / USB | RRP: £14.99
This simple-looking and compact mirror is surprisingly loaded with features — the 10x magnifying spot mirror is removable and doubles up as a pocket beauty mirror for slipping into your handbag, while the 36 LED lights have two brightness settings for dim or dazzling days, and can be powered either by battery or using the included USB cable. Its diminutive base also provides a little extra storage, meaning no space is wasted.
4. Robert Welch Burford Extendable
Saves on space, goes long on style
Best for: Swing arm | Illumination: N/A | Magnification: 1x / 3x | Power: N/A | RRP: £149.99
This swinging stainless steel mirror not only looks sleek, it saves on valuable space in small rooms. Easily mounted to the wall, it tucks in neatly when not in use, and extends when it’s needed. no need to make room on the worktop or side of the sink. Confident in its durable construction, the manufacturers have also included a 25-year guarantee.
5. Umbra Vana Organizer
Modern design for modern concerns
Best for: Storage | Illumination: N/A | Magnification: 1x / 10x | Power: N/A | RRP: £34.99
Far from taking up valuable space in crowded bathrooms like some of its large-based competitors, the Umbra Vana Organizer actually creates it. Its pleasing modern design is easy on the eye and functional, too, doubling up as a makeup organiser or corral for contact lenses. Its rotating looking glass can also be removed and used as a hand-held mirror, ideal for those of us with shared bathrooms who have a tendency for being elbowed out of the way during the morning routine.
6. Jerrybox Trifold
Best for: Tri-fold | Illumination: LED (dimmable) | Magnification: 1x / 5x (spot) | Power: 4x AA / USB | RRP: £39.99
It’s surprisingly simple to find your best side with this tri fold make-up mirror from Jerrybox. It boasts a central mirror and two side mirrors, invaluable for identifying early-morning make-up fails from all angles, which down for easy transportation. Its LED is dimmable, too, giving off low light or bright light depending on your needs, ideal for early risers who don’t want to disturb loved ones. Its base also doubles up as a storage tray, for keeping important bits and bobs close to hand.
7. Floxite 7504-12l 12x
Fold it up and take it with you
Best for: Travel | Illumination: LED | Magnification: 1x / 12x | Power: 4x AA | RRP: £81.99
This Floxite offering might not be the most beautiful on our list, but it more than makes up for it elsewhere. Flipping easily from a true-view 1x regular mirror to a powerful 12x magnifier, both made from distortion-free DFP glass, it’s great for precise work, like finally perfecting that cat-eye flick. And, it folds neatly into its base for easy storage in shared bathroom cupboards.
Once you've picked your favourite make-up mirror, put it to good use with our selection of the Best Mascaras for 2017