How We Tested
I’m Jessica Kasparian, the lifestyle writer at Reviewed. I write about everything from beauty to health to sleep. Need a new hair dryer? I’ve got you. Ready to properly pamper yourself with a foot spa? Look no further. My job also entails trying hyped products like Lady Gaga’s makeup line or customizable skincare from Curology. That, and the fact that I’m a skincare and makeup enthusiast outside of my job, means that I need a quality lighted makeup mirror to properly see (read: examine) my face during or after the makeup and skincare application process.
Prior to my update of this test, Reviewed called on Jessica Teich, our now-former health and beauty editor, to test each lighted mirror. We shared the same goal: To find a mirror that is undeniably great in its brightness, clarity, size, and adjustability.
A lighted makeup mirror is essential to really see what you’re doing in any “getting ready” routine, whether you’re trimming your beard or applying a full face of makeup: An artist doesn’t paint in the dark, so why should you do your art in poor lighting? To find the best cosmetic mirrors on the market, we scoured best-seller lists across retailers, Reddit threads, and best-of lists at every price point. Then, we pitted the top-rated picks against each other to find the winner.
For this roundup, we chose free-standing makeup mirrors, as opposed to those that have a suction-cup that attaches to your bathroom mirror or shower wall. We tested them in the same way you might use one at home: We set them up in our bathrooms to use over a few days to apply and remove makeup, style our hair, and try precision tasks like tweezing our (respective) eyebrows or shaving peach fuzz. We also teamed up with Reviewed’s senior scientist to score and rate our experiences. For each mirror, I answered questions about:
Lighting: Is the lighting on the mirror effective, or is it too dim or too bright? Are the lights well-placed, or do they produce glare or shadows on your face when applying makeup? Are there multiple lighting settings, and how useful are they?
Features: Are there multiple magnification settings, and are they strong enough for precision tasks? Does the mirror come with any accessories, and if so, are they useful or just gimmicky?
Usability: Is the mirror adjustable in height and/or angle? Is the mirror portable, or is it a hassle to bring from room to room, store in a drawer, or toss in an overnight bag?
We then scored and weighted the results. Not all aspects are equally important: For example, lighting effectiveness was weighted more heavily than portability because, for the average person, traveling is an occasional occurrence and we sought to find the perfect everyday mirror. All things considered, it was clear that some mirrors we tested are far superior, and others are just not worth your money.
Why Do I Need a Lighted Makeup Mirror?
Applying your makeup in sub-par lighting is an easy way to overdo it with blush or bronzer, or to end up with harsh foundation lines. Take it from me—someone who once lived in a basement apartment and relied on a lighted makeup mirror to avoid looking too powdery—these things can be appearance-savers.
Another benefit of an LED lighted makeup mirror is avoiding eye strain from dim lighting, which can lead to headaches, fatigue, and reduced concentration. A good LED lighted mirror gives you the right amount of lighting to avoid eye fatigue while taking your time with grooming tasks.
Are Lighted Makeup Mirrors Energy-Efficient?
One concern you might have while using a lighted makeup mirror is how much energy it will use. LED lighted makeup mirrors are actually quite efficient, using almost five times less electricity and battery power than traditional light bulbs. They also produce only small amounts of heat so you never have to worry about burning yourself on one. Most LED lights are dimmable, as well as are resistant to shock, vibrations, and hot or cold temperature extremes.
A huge problem with other types of light bulbs (incandescents and CFLs) is that they emit light in too many different directions, producing a dimmer effect. LED lights are directional and when properly placed within these mirrors, they do not cast shadows on your face. When compared with fluorescent, incandescent, and halogen light bulbs, LED lighting lasts a whopping 10, 25, and 50 times longer, respectively, while using less energy.
Other Makeup Mirrors With Lights We Tested
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Checking our work.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.