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What should I look for in a lighted makeup mirror?

by Rachel Wayne June 10, 2021

What should I look for in a lighted makeup mirror?

You know the importance of good lighting and a clean, crisp mirror when doing your makeup. If you’re a passionate makeup artist, you may be looking for a lighted makeup mirror that offers the best of both worlds. But how do you choose the best mirror for your vanity? Read on to learn all about the art of lighted vanity mirrors and how to find the perfect choice for your glam room. 

Mirror Styles and Designs

Lighted makeup mirrors are nothing new, but there is now an incredible variety on the market. When choosing a mirror, think about your top needs. Are you looking to enhance your home vanity? To shoot videos for your beauty blog? To simulate natural sunlight in a dark home? Here are the types of mirrors to consider:

Mounted vs. Tabletop Mirrors

  -  Wall-mounted mirrors: You know your bathroom mirror isn’t ideal for makeup application: you often have to lean over the sink or deal with harsh overhead lighting. For a better experience, you can mount a floating makeup mirror over your counter or vanity. These mirrors extend, swivel, and adjust for the perfect angle. 

  -  Hollywood mirrors (a type of mounted mirror): Similar to what you’d see in stars’ dressing rooms, these makeup mirrors can be attached to the wall above your vanity. This means you can look straight ahead and receive full surrounding illumination, which is perfect for makeup application! However, be sure that your wall can support the weight.  

  -  Tabletop mirrors: If you can’t mount on your glam room’s wall or want to be able to take your mirror with you, opt for a tabletop, freestanding lighted makeup mirror. Some of these have the classic tri-fold design that offer multiple light settings and angles. While tabletop mirrors are small, they let you get a closer look as you do your makeup. 

Battery-Powered vs. Plug-In Mirrors

  -  Battery-powered: Usually tabletop as well, battery-powered mirrors are perfect for doing makeup on-the-go. These are great to have if you do your own makeup at performance gigs or are frequently traveling.

  -  Plug-in: While plug-in makeup mirrors do require an outlet, they can also power other devices. Many have USB ports or electrical sockets so you can charge your phone. Most Hollywood mirrors will be plug-in.

Magnifying vs Non-Magnifying Mirrors

  -  Magnifying mirrors: Need to do a detailed makeup design? A magnifying mirror allows you to literally zoom in and see precisely what you’re doing. This is especially helpful if you wear glasses; with a magnifying mirror, you can take them off and still see your face clearly. 

  -  Non-magnifying mirrors: For taking selfies and general design checks, a non-magnifying mirror is ideal. Some lighted makeup mirrors come with both options.

Mirrors with Pre-Programmed Lighting Options vs. Color Temperature Adjustments 

  -  Pre-programmed lighting options: The old-school lighted makeup mirrors had several settings that simulated various lighting types: often indoor vs. outdoor, home vs. office, day vs. evening, or a similar configuration. Modern mirrors still have these options, so you can simply hit a button and get the perfect lighting for your makeup design. 

  -  Fully customizable color temperature and brightness adjustments: If you have particular lighting needs or want to fine-tune your makeup lighting, you’ll need a vanity mirror that allows you to tweak both the color-temperature and brightness. This way, you can perfect your makeup design for virtually any environment.

As you see, there are lots of options. Figure out how often you’ll be traveling with your mirror, the level of customization you require, and the needs of your vanity setup to choose the best option. 

Lighting and Magnification that Best Reflects You

Let’s talk a bit more about lighting. The best makeup lighting simulates natural daylight: it’s not too bright, and it’s a perfect blend of blueish and orangish hues. However, you may not always want daylight illumination. Perhaps you’re heading out to a dimly lit nightclub and you want to be sure your makeup will look good there. If you need that variety, choose a lighted mirror that has warmer colour temperature settings or an “evening light” option.

Choosing your level of magnification can be a challenge. Makeup mirrors range from 2x, which provides just a bit of a boost so you don’t have to lean and squint to do your eyeliner, to 15X, which truly zooms in on your face. One setting may be too slight; the other may be overkill. 

Anything above 5x is very high magnification. If you’re using a tabletop mirror with 5x, you won’t be able to see your entire face. That’s not always a bad thing; if you’re doing detailed eye or lip designs, you’ll want to zoom in. Indeed, trifold mirrors often have 2x, 3x, and/or 5x panels so you can zoom in while doing detailed eye or lip designs.

Bottom line: Tabletop mirrors allow you to get closer, so you don’t need super-high magnification. 2x to 5x is suitable for most people. Also, many freestanding lighted makeup mirrors have both a magnifying and non-magnifying side, so you can still do a full face check.

Wall-mounted mirrors with magnification often have higher magnification so that you can still see clearly from more than a few inches away. However, Hollywood-style mirrors often don’t have magnification at all. These mirrors are ideal for doing full-face makeup because you can see everything at once.

To decide which level is best for you, ask yourself these questions.

  -  Do you wear glasses or contacts that you remove to do makeup? Whether you have a freestanding or mounted mirror, you can go a little higher with your magnification: 10x to 15x.

  -  Need just a little assistance seeing your lipliner, eyeliner, etc.? If so, you can have a lower magnification level of 2x or 3x.

  -  Want to get a clear, non-distorted view of your face and have normal eyesight? You may not need magnification at all.

The magnification level you choose also depends on where the mirror is mounted. A tabletop mirror that will be closer to your face doesn’t need magnification as high as one that’s mounted on the wall above your vanity.

Size and Mounting

For gigs or travel, a freestanding mirror is ideal. It can be set up anywhere, and with adjustable lighting, you can get good illumination no matter where you are.

For your at-home glam room, you can choose a more permanent mirror option. Either type of mounted makeup mirror (Hollywood-style or an adjustable wall-mounted mirror) gives you a dedicated space to do your makeup. 

Consider the size of the mirror as well; you don’t want to buy your mirror and still have to squint to apply your false eyelashes. Pick a size that lets you see your whole face (20-25 cm or 8-10 in), with the option to flip to a magnified side. 

Choosing a Proper Location for Your Mirror

If you’re mounting a mirror that comes with an extending or hinging arm, install it in a place where it can move around freely. Make sure that you can rotate or angle the mirror into the perfect position to do your makeup without straining your neck or eyes. 

For mirrors that are mounted flush against the wall such as the Hollywood-style mirrors, always check that your wall can take the load. Find the studs and screw your mirror directly into those. Most of these mirrors are plug-in, so be sure there’s an outlet within reach. It’s also a good idea to install your mirror away from doorways or other major fixtures.

Let’s go back to lighting. If you’re in the market for a lighted makeup mirror, you obviously want the best possible illumination for your glam room! So, avoid “light pollution” from other sources, such as harsh fluorescent lighting or city lights peeping in through your windows. It’s a good idea to set up your vanity in a secluded area where you can best control the lighting. Invest in some good sun-blocking curtains for nearby windows.

Wrapping Up

Ultimately, the right type of lighted makeup mirror for you depends on your unique needs and makeup application style. Do you want a full view of your face with brilliant illumination? Go with a Hollywood mirror. Need to zoom in on your features for detailed makeup application? Try a wall-mounted magnifying mirror. Want greater control over your lighting? Opt for a lighted makeup mirror with pre-configured light settings or colour temperatures.

No matter which type you choose, remember that you’re investing in your art and your self-care. Choose a mirror made of high-quality materials that inspires you to do your best makeup design, every time! 

For a freestanding tabletop option perfect for MUA gigs or a travel vanity setup, check out Lumina Pro’s adjustable Professional Ring Light, which comes with a dual-sided mirror with 5x magnification. 

For a wall-mounted option with amazing illumination and convenient plug-in amenities, invest in Lumina Pro’s Hollywood Mirror and mount it above your vanity. If you’d like a lighted makeup mirror with adjustable color temperature controls, look into our Crystal Vanity Mirror, which can be tabletop or wall-mounted. 



Rachel Wayne
Rachel Wayne

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