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So, in the theme of keeping it in the family, I’ve asked my Mom to write this review of the best magnifying makeup mirrors for older ladies… (I know, you’re not that old, Mom. Sorry)
In brief, we need magnification and good illumination. Generally, the older we get, the more of both we need.
Therefore I have chosen only the best rated lighted magnifying mirrors, one freestanding for your desk and one wall mounted, at different magnifications. I suggest starting at minimum 5x magnification, even if you think your eyesight is still perfect. The highest magnification mirrors readily available are 15x to 20x.
There’s nothing wrong with my eyesight, thank you very much!
This is my daughter’s all-time-favorite free-standing makeup mirror with lights. Bright natural daylight led lighting, 5X magnification in high quality glass, long-lasting rechargeable batteries, cordless, adjustable height and angle, exquisite design … there’s a long list of features.
She has a detailed review here – simplehuman lighted makeup mirror, and I second everything she’s written. But honestly, if your vision is still pretty good, read no further and just buy this one. You’ll agree it’s the best magnifying mirror you’ve ever used.
And guess what? Simplehuman also make a wall mounted model. This is not wired, which means it is much easier to install without the need for an electrician. The downside is the need to recharge it (via a USB cable), although this is not really a hassle as the charge lasts at least a month. Otherwise it is identical to and has all the great features of the countertop version.
Take care in the positioning. With the sensor you don’t want the LED lights turning on-and-off every time someone walks by. I would suggest the far corner of the room away from the doorway.
Zadro make a very nice alternative, in some respects even better than the simplehuman. It is wall-mounted, with options for either hardwiring or using a plug-in cord. I think I actually prefer the manual switch (dimmable brightness) rather than a sensor.
This mirror is big! (12″ diameter mirrored surface, 14″ external). So even with the 5x magnification you can see as much of your face as you need. And on the reverse side is a plain 1x magnification mirror perfect for fixing your hair or giving a head and shoulders overview.
At 8 lbs and with an 11″ extending arm it needs to be securely fixed to a stud behind the wall.
There’s nothing ungainly about it though. This is an elegant glamorous LED makeup mirror that will bring that luxury hotel feel to your home.
OK, I need higher power
We’re skipping over the 7-8x mirrors – in the real world you won’t see much difference from 5x. If you need more, then 10-12x is the way to go. (P.S. A 10x magnifying mirror is often found in small compact mirrors – check out my reviews). This is the best magnification mirror for tweezing, even if your vision is good.
This is my “Editor’s Choice” best magnifying lighted mirror. 12X magnification is perfect for middle-aged women, and should serve you for years even allowing for further deterioration in your vision. The mirror glass is high quality giving a flawless reflection. [Although sadly the face that’s being reflected is far from flawless. If this is the first time you’ve looked at yourself in high magnification then I’m afraid you’re in for a bit of a shock.]
The LED lighting is excellent – cool and bright like sunlight – exactly as required for makeup. Power is via a plug-in adapter (although I suspect your handyman could easily hardwire this). There’s a neat “smart touch” dimmer to alter the brightness levels which works by touching the base. This is pretty sensitive so avoid placing brushes etc next to it, otherwise you’ll inadvertently adjust the settings as you reach for them.
The base looks quite small, but it is heavy and well balanced, so the mirror is quite stable when being adjusted and won’t tip over.
The only real criticism I can offer is the smaller size (7″ diameter) meaning the plain side is not enough for a “distant view”. You’ll be better off turning to a larger wall-mounted plain mirror for your final check. This is not at all an issue when using the magnified surface though.
A 12X mirror does take some getting used to. Zadro also make a similar mirror with 10X magnification, which some people prefer.
If you prefer wall mounting in your bathroom, this is a reasonable option. The main magnification is 10X, but with an inset 15X spot mirror. Admittedly the inset is small with a narrow field of view, but it works fine for plucking eyebrows and reflecting other details.
The manufacturer’s images are misleading. This is a plug-in mirror with a short coiled cord requiring a nearby socket outlet.
Budget 10x Lighted by Fancii
And here’s a very affordable option that might just work for you. This is a lighted 10x magnifying mirror on a suction base. And before you skim past, I should point out that modern suction attachments really do attach. This mirror will stay up for as long as you want it to. You can stick it to a larger bathroom or vanity mirror and have the best of both worlds.
The battery is USB rechargeable. The lighting meets my high standards for makeup, and is smart touch dimmable. The reflective surface is just over 5″ square, without another half inch on each edge for the LED strip. It would double very nicely as a travel mirror. Fancii often run promotions and coupons so I suggest checking it out directly on their site.
I admit it; I need the highest magnification mirror
15X Magnifying Lighted Makeup Mirror (Runner Up – high power)
Until recently, if you were looking for the strongest magnifying mirror with lights, I would have said they were all toys and gimmicks. That has changed – there are 2 slightly different options I can now recommend.
The first is from Floxite, a high quality manufacturer.
This has a 6.5 inch reflective surface with a built in “inspection” light. This style of light source is not ideal in a makeup mirror (ring lighting is better), but it does compensate by being really bright. It has “day” and “night” settings which adjust the light color from cool to warmer white. The LED bulb should never need replacing, and is powered by either a plug-in adaptor or batteries.
The mirror detaches and the base folds, so it might serve as a travel mirror. However, it is fairly fragile. Instead, I would suggest purpose-made travel mirrors (reviews).
This is the only decent free standing 15x lighted mirror available. I think you’ll like it.
My second choice is this mirror by Fabuday which has been recently upgraded, and offers great value.
It combines lights with a powerful 15X magnification. It is an impressive 7 inches diameter reflective surface. Do remember though that at this magnification you will need to work very close (about 4 inches), and so will still only see a part of your face. It is great for older women or anyone with poor eyesight, and works well as a tweezing mirror.
The light bulbs are surprisingly powerful for such a small device, but you’ll probably appreciate some additional ambient lighting. They are dimmable, and run on both AAA batteries or USB cable. As battery life is mediocre I would keep it plugged in at home. However the option for batteries along with its light weight (1lb) means it can double as a travel mirror.
It now comes with a modern lockable suction cup, which are a huge advance compared to the old rubber cups.
If these don’t appeal, then your options are:
15X Magnifying Makeup Mirrors Without Lights (Editor’s Choice – high power)
I would consider giving up the lighting in exchange for a larger mirror with a crisp reflection. This one by Floxite is the best magnification available, and my pick for those who need really high power.
The reflective surface is 7 inches across, made of high quality glass. The trick to getting a crystal clear image is to start really close to the mirror, and then slowly move back. If the image is distorted or upside-down, then you’re too far away.
Even without glasses you will be able to see every stray hair, every pore, and accurately outline your eyelids and lips rather than random strokes across your cheeks. It should be used in a bright room however, as there is no inbuilt lighting, and you will be so close that you may cast shadows.
This is a well-made, stable mirror at a very reasonable price.
20X Compact-style Mirrors
Time for the big guns! I can recommend two 20X magnification mirrors. Bear in mind that there are trade-offs when using such high power magnification:
The Beauty Planet 20x magnified mirror is an impressive 5 inches across externally, with over 4 inches of reflective surface, the biggest I have been able to find. The glass is high quality, the frame less so (what do you expect at this price?). The handle folds back to act as a basic stand. This is the way I would recommend using it, otherwise it’s pretty tricky trying to hold it stable in your hand. It is small enough to fit in your purse. And it comes with a travelling pouch, cleaning cloth, and eyebrow tweezers).
The Zadro cosmetic mirror is slightly smaller (just under 3 1/2 inches reflective surface) with suction cups on the back. I feel its best use is to stick it to a larger plain mirror, and use both at the same time.
Magnifying makeup glasses – worth a look?
Here’s a different solution. Rather than changing your mirror, change your vision! These ingenious cosmetic reading glasses contain a single lens, which you can flip from the right to the left side of the frame. So one eye has corrected vision, and the other eye is accessible for makeup application.
These are available in a range of strengths from 1.5 to 4 (Diopters). It’s important to order the same strength as your prescription, not automatically go for the strongest. You can then use them with a lower powered makeup mirror such as 5x.
Although they’re slightly fiddly to use, they might be just the thing if you find high power mirrors too difficult.
Makeup mirrors for mature ladies: how your needs change over the years
As we age, our bodies change in many ways, slowly but sometimes drastically. Our senses are not as sharp as they used to be, our bodies sometimes reluctant to do as they’re told. These changes can pose problems in many areas of life, including our beauty routine.
Doing my makeup these days can be challenging! If you’re still looking in the same mirror that you had twenty years ago you might not have realised how little it is helping, how gradually your reflection has blurred and dimmed. It certainly does not help when you add to the mix tremors, poor coordination and loss of strength. Eyeliner and mascara is a real test.
Considering the differences between my makeup regimen decades ago and now, I certainly do not have the same habits. These habits may need to change even further the older I get. I have learned that life is a constant battle between who I used to be and who I will become.
Instead of battling, though, I (and you!) can go with the flow. Adapt to these crazy changes and move on with the time we have left. If we continue to stick with how things used to be, there is no room for positive change.
We can accomplish this with our use of cosmetics and specifically tools that help streamline makeup application and improve our results. A suitable vanity makeup mirror is now essential.
How are things different now?
In what way will your makeup habits change due to age? Your vision and other factors affect your needs.
One of the first things to change as we get older is our eyesight. This decline in acuity causes issues with seeing specific details in the mirror that you used to be able to see. Since we are not getting any younger, it is best to roll with it and adapt our habits and tools.
Symmetry, wrinkles and marketing
Besides the noticeable changes, there are some that you may not see right away. Did you know that our faces lose symmetry with age? This change is one that we should embrace, not hide with even more makeup.
We now have wrinkles, and our complexions could be different than it was when we were younger. Dark circles under the eyes and sagging skin also pose an annoyance factor. Instead of doing everything possible to hide these changes, working with them is much more sensible and looks better in the long run.
The last thing we want to do is overdo our makeup, and it is surprisingly easy to do. Because of your previous makeup experience, you might not realize that the foundation color you have used for your whole life is no longer your perfect shade.
The fact that most products are made and marketed with teens and young adults in mind only adds to the already confusing world of getting older.
It is critical to use the right mirror when doing your makeup. If we cannot see our changing faces’ finer details, we can easily overlook problem areas. Additionally, as time progresses even further, the mirror that worked perfectly for us years ago might not be nearly as useful as it was.
A magnifying makeup mirror is a necessity, no matter how little or how much makeup we apply. We know that regular mirrors do not cut it, and with our degrading eyesight, they become even less useful. This lack of utility causes us to have to look at other solutions.
The ideal magnification for a mirror depends on your age and vision needs. You may want to continue upgrading the strength of the mirror as your eyesight declines. The mirror you use at 40 will not be the same as the one you use at 60.
As for the strength of magnification, it is best to test it out on your own. However, there are some blanket suggestions that we can use as a baseline, based on the fact that women from age 40 to 60 start to need more light and closer focus.
- A mirror with 3-5x magnification works around 40 years of age.
- 10x magnification is the next step.
- With 15x magnification, those 60 and up have a much easier time getting things done.
- 20+ mirrors are hard to find, but may be helpful in extreme old-age or eye diseases such as cataracts.
I’ve spent hours looking for a 30x magnifying mirror. I don’t think they exist (and would probably be unusable in any case).
When looking for the right magnifying makeup mirror, it is vital to consider magnification and ease of use. Another critical factor is the amount of lighting the mirror provides. Without decent lighting, you may not see everything you need to see, especially if you have pesky facial hairs that blends in with your complexion. The best magnifying mirror for plucking eyebrows has at least 5x magnification, and also a bright light
Another factor to keep in mind is the mirror’s versatility. The more magnification you use, the more need to adjust it to different angles. Some mirrors have a stand while others attach to the wall. One type is probably more useful for you than the other. It all depends on needs and preference, though, and that differs from person to person.
Everything changes when we get older, even if we do not want them to. These changes require us to change in some instances, at least a little. We may need to change our way of doing things, but that can be hard to do when we have spent decades on the same regimen.
However, it is essential to adapt to these changes. Neglecting to do so may not only make life more difficult, but it could also affect how you look. What good is a makeup routine if it only makes you look worse?
Everyone has a different rate in which they age. Because of this, mature women need to keep up with what is happening to them as individuals. This way, you can adapt your tools and habits to the new (and ever-changing) you.
My top recommendation is Zadro Ultra Bright LED Lighted Dual-Sided 12X/1X Smart Touch Dimmer Makeup Mirror