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If you’ve read some of my other articles on FlawlessReflexion, you’ll understand why I believe everyone should have 4 (yes that’s FOUR) makeup mirrors in the home.
But we’re not all at that point in our lives. Perhaps limited by space or funds, right now, we’re only looking for one mirror. In my twenties, I shared a single mirror with my housemates. It was second-hand, large and mottled, propped up against the wall under the window. So I get it – hundreds of dollars on multiple mirrors might seem like an extravagance at the moment.
There is a solution.
A freestanding lighted magnifying mirror is all you need right now.
It should have a pin-sharp 5x magnifying mirror, yet be big enough to see your entire face at once. The light should be just the right brightness, and just the right natural daylight color. It should be of great design and workmanship – we’re planning for you to keep it for years. In addition the price should be reasonable for such a quality product.
It should be a simplehuman sensor mirror 😁
My Review – Simplehuman Lighted Sensor Makeup Mirror
This mirror will last for years (I’ve had mine for eight, and I don’t see why it won’t keep going for a long time yet). It’s a little alarming to work out how long you’ll be looking into it (Hint: hundreds of hours). So the most important factor to check off is the reflection quality. No concerns there; no ghosting or distortion.
The internal diameter is 8 inches, enough to see all your face at once (but not head and shoulders).
Color rendering index of 95, and 800 lux. What that means is a light of the perfect color for applying makeup (like sunlight), bright enough to see all the details but not so harsh that you squint when looking into it. I tend to leave it on near-maximum brightness, but you can dial it down if you prefer.
It does feel a little cold and clinical, but remember this is for makeup application, not romantic mood lighting. A warmer light could hide subtle blending and color irregularities. #flawless.
The illumination comes from a diffused circular LED, giving an even and shadow-free image. As opposed to traditional bulbs, LEDs should last for years. (There is a 5-year warranty which I didn’t need to use).
Before I bought the mirror I did wonder whether the automatic sensor might be a gimmick. It’s actually surprisingly useful. There’s a lot of thought gone into its design. It detects when you move near, and lights automatically without a switch. It also turns itself off as you walk away, so no more worrying if you’ve left it on as you leave the house.
Most impressively, the sensor adjusts its sensitivity once it has turned on. This means you can briefly move out to the side to reach for something, and the light doesn’t keep flicking on and off as you change your position. Neat!
5x Magnifying Mirror
Teenagers can perhaps manage with a plain mirror for their makeup routine. Anyone older will enjoy low-power magnification, even if you think your eyesight is perfect. Simplehuman have gone for 5x magnification, which I think is the best compromise. Powerful enough for older eyes, but still allows the whole face to be visible.
Man, this thing is tough. I dropped mine onto concrete tiles and expected to hear the sound of breaking glass. Fortunately I got away with a dent on the metal at the back (which you can’t see from the front), and it carried on working as well as ever.
The photos on this page are of the brushed steel option. I chose this one for its modern appearance, but it turns out to be very resistant to smears and scratches. (Have you got the impression I’m a bit of a klutz 😁 ?)
I charge it once a month, and there’s no sign of the battery failing over the years. It takes 33 minutes from red warning light to full charge. I believe the battery can be changed if necessary.
The mirror can be positioned in three dimensions however you wish, being fully rotating, tilting from front facing to almost fully upwards, and height adjustable by an extra 3 inches.
The hinge mechanism is stiff and solid; the mirror stays at the angle you’ve set it. The base looks quite small but is heavy and stable.
I struggle to find anything bad to say about this mirror, and judging by the online reviews many people agree with me.
One suggestion I would make is to set your vanity up away from walkways – it is super annoying having the light turn on automatically everytime someone passes by, or worse when going to the bathroom in the night.
The few bad reviews are mostly about failure of the sensor or recharging. These would be covered under the generous warranty, and simplehuman customer support has a good reputation. It is also possible to do a “reset” of the mirror software yourself (product support page). I suspect this would have fixed most of the issues but the reviewers seem not to have tried it.
How to reset/recalibrate the sensor mirror
1. Remove the charger from your mirror.
2. Press and hold the power button on the bottom of the unit for 10 seconds, then release.
3. Wipe the sensor using rubbing alcohol and a microfiber cloth.
4. Make sure nothing is placed in front of the mirror with a minimum 5 feet of clearance.
5. Press and hold the power button again for 10 seconds, then release.
6. Allow the mirror to sit for 1 minute while it finishes the reset.
Also from simplehuman, the Sensor Mirror Trio is reversible with 5x on one side, the other being plain (1x) with a 10x inset. If you need higher magnification this is your best option. It would also be a great choice if you truly have only one mirror, giving you a 1x mirror just about big enough to see head and shoulders, fix your hair etc, as well as all the magnification you could ever need.
Don’t confuse this one with the “Pro Sensor” which I would NOT recommend. This is a single-sided 5x mirror, with a removable 10x inset. Unfortunately the small 10x sits right in the center of the larger 5x, preventing use of both mirrors at the same time. You therefore need to keep taking the small one on and off, which is a pain and also causes smears and fingerprints. Great idea in theory, but not so good in real life.
The Conair Reflections Double-Sided Lighted Vanity Makeup Mirror (Amzn) is the best of the budget options, but I don’t really recommend it.
My main objection is the lighting – not bright enough and too warm in color. The incandescent bulbs seem to put out more heat than light. It is double-sided with a plain mirror on the reverse which is handy, although it’s small at less than 7×5 inches.
“Better than nothing” is as enthusiastic as I can get about this budget option from Conair.