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There’s no reason not to look your best when travelling. A quality travel makeup mirror is one of the first things I pack. Here’s my guide to the best travel makeup mirrors available in 2021.
Factors you should consider
To cut through the overwhelming number of products available, ask yourself a few simple questions:
- Do I need magnification?
- Do I need built-in lighting?
- Where will I place the balance between larger reflection size (good), and greater weight (bad)?
1. Style of travelling
One of the main factors which will influence your decision is the type of travelling you do, and the style of accomodation. The college student, professional model, and businesswoman will all have different needs in their travel mirror.
a) Camping and backpacking
The main consideration here is size. As ever, there is a compromise to work through. Obviously the smaller and lighter the better, but that may come at the expense of features like decent lighting, large image size, and quality construction.
If you do choose a lighted travel mirror (and I think you should), then battery life and recharging methods are important.
Finally, the mirror should be shatterproof.
b) Upmarket hotels and airBnB
One approach is to assume the hotel will have quality mirrors, well positioned and brightly illuminated (and therefore you only need pack a great compact mirror (read my reviews) for day use). In my experience, this is a dangerous assumption! Some of the swankiest hotels I’ve stayed in did indeed have gorgeous mood lighting … which was too dim to read by, let alone do a sophisticated makeup application.
2. Your vision
The worse your vision, the more important it is that your travel mirror has:
3. Your style of makeup
Perhaps this is an obvious point, but I’m going to say it anyway; the more complex your beauty regime, the better mirror you need. If you regularly spend 3 hours getting ready, blending foundation like a pro, then you essentially need a portable studio (and I’ve found one for you!). If you’re more a ponytail and swipe of lipstick kind of girl, then you can save yourself some space and money by buying a simpler mirror.
4. Other crucial considerations
Portability – look for the smallest and lightest mirror that will meet your needs (without compromising these). A large compact mirror at around 4 inch diameter is about the smallest that is functional. Regarding weight, you start to notice it in your bag once it exceeds about a pound.
This is a mirror for travelling right? – it should be designed for a rough life. There are 2 aspects to ruggedness: build quality and protection of the reflective surface. This can be achieved by either a folding case (clamshell), or a specifically designed bag or pouch.
High quality – a portable makeup mirror will be smaller than you’re used to, so aim for the best quality reflection.
Power source and recharge options – you don’t want to be carrying a large brick adapter, or dedicated recharge cables that don’t fit your other devices. Stick to a USB connector. Battery life is also important – it’s always a challenge keeping everything recharged when you’re hardcore travelling.
Cost is always a factor, but especially so in a travel mirror, which is more likely to get broken or stolen. I think there are 2 ways to approach this. Minimalists might go for a cheap option, accept the poor quality, and not care if it doesn’t survive the trip. Maximisers will go for an expensive mirror specially designed for travel.
Luxury Lighted Magnified Travel Mirror (TOP PICK)
This is home from home, no compromises, and quite possibly the best travel makeup mirror you’ve ever used.
Specific Travel Benefits
Crucially, it’s designed from the ground up for travel. The design and engineering are impressive.
The reflective surface is round at 5″ in diameter. It is 10x magnification, one-sided only – no plain mirror on the reverse. This magnification is ideal for detailed work on eyebrows, eyelids, tweezing, putting in contact lenses, and also if your vision needs a little boost. The reflection is absolutely large enough to be functional, but is probably a bit smaller than you are used to at home. After you’ve finished using it for precise makeup application, it would help to check your overall appearance and hair in a larger plain mirror (the hotel bathroom mirror would be fine for this).
The height adjustment has 2 positions, with a very clever hinge mechanism which is solid and stable (but which explains why the mirror cannot be double sided). It swivels to any angle you need, on a stable base.
At 1.2 lbs this is certainly not the lightest travel mirror available (but it’s also far from the heaviest). I actually think simplehuman have done an amazing job in keeping the weight so low. For comparison, it is less than half the weight of my all-time favourite lighted makeup mirror (simplehuman 8″ sensor mirror – my review).
The on/off sensor is well calibrated and reliable. The mirror stays lit even if you briefly move aside, so no annoying flicking on and off. The LED bulbs will live longer than you and never need changing. The light of course is full spectrum without color casts, equivalent to natural daylight.
Best for: A woman who wants to look her best and needs magnification. Not ideal for: Camping or light-weight travel.
Budget Lighted Magnifying Travel Mirror
If you’re looking for lights and a 10x mirror, but want to spend less, then this cosmetic mirror by Floxite is a great option. In fact, for travelling it beats the simplehuman in a few respects:
The glass quality and reflection sharpness are also as good. It folds flat to less than 1″, and the compact-style case gives good protection. (Don’t be fooled though; this is a fairly large mirror, definitely not a handheld compact.)
There are however a few compromises. First, the outer case flips over to double as a stand. It is therefore not possible to adjust the height (other than resting it on something else such as a book), and the range of angles is limited.
The lighting is “good enough” – some people may find it not quite bright enough. It is powered by 3 AAA batteries (supplied). I prefer rechargeable mirrors – it can be a pain looking for replacement batteries on holiday.
Honestly, it doesn’t make my heart sing. This is function ahead of beauty.
If you can live with these compromises, this is a solid choice for your travelling vanity mirror.
Large Lighted Travel Mirror (non-magnified)
If you don’t need magnification, but still want a quality reflection with in-built lighting, take a look at the Vanity Planet Pose. This is a large (11″x7″ approx reflection) plain 1x magnification travel mirror.
One of its best features is the lighting quality. 36 LEDs around the edge give even circle lighting. The brightness levels are dimmable by holding the nifty touch sensors.
It is relatively portable – about the size and weight of an iPad Pro – easy to slip into a holdall. The slim clamshell lid gives good protection for the mirrored surface.
Power is from a USB-rechargeable battery. And here we come to my first criticism – battery life. It’s pretty disappointing. It will run for about 2 hours on a full charge, but doesn’t hold the charge well when turned off. I think you will need to recharge it most times you come to use it. This won’t be a problem if you’re staying in hotels and can keep it plugged in. But for more basic travelling in hostels, where there’s always a fight for power outlets, it might become tedious.
The second disadvantage to consider is the poor adjustability. The cover/stand is really only stable in one position. The large reflection size compensates for this to a degree.
Compact-style Lighted Magnifying Mirror (RUNNER-UP)
This is a serious rival for the simplehuman. In fact, if portability is your main concern, this lighted travel makeup mirror is the winner.
It’s in the style of a compact mirror, but not one your Grannie would recognise. For a start, it has a modern LED ring light (giving off a cool natural sunlight color). The bulbs are long-lasting, expected to last many thousands of hours, so they won’t diminish or need changing.
The larger mirror (5″) is 10x magnification. The other side of the clamshell holds a smaller (4″) flat 1x mirror, surrounded by the LEDs. Fancii had to make a design choice here about which side to place the light. I think they made the right decision in having the magnified mirror larger, rather than illuminated but smaller. However, whichever mirror you’re looking into it is easy to position the light so it aims at your face.
My only slight disappointment with this travel mirror is that it is not rechargeable. The 4 batteries are small and long-lasting. They are included, but you may want to buy some extra before travelling (see CR2032 3V batteries on Amazon).
At only 6.5oz and less than an inch thick this mirror should be considered by all travellers.
If you want something very similar but even lighter and rechargeable, take a look at the Mila also by Fancii.
This will go a month between charges, and weighs less than 4.5oz!
The only tradeoff is slightly smaller mirrors.
Large Plain Travel Mirror
This is a great option if you need only a simple plain mirror, but one specifically designed for travel, particularly motorhomes. It would be especially suitable for young women with good eyesight, who don’t need magnification and illumination.
It has a 6.5″ x 4.5″ reflective surface with high quality glass. Total dimensions are 8×6, a very slim 0.5″ in thickness, and weighs 10 ounces. It’s big enough to see your entire face.
It has a flip-over soft PU leather cover which is dirt and water resistant. It protects the mirrored surface from scratches and can withstand a reasonable direct blow. It would be vulnerable to bending forces however, so I would take care to pack it flat or in the laptop compartment of a bag.
The cover folds over to double as a stand. This works very well, and is smoothly adjustable over a 55 degree range. It is shipped in an elegant box and would make a great gift, perhaps for a daughter leaving for college?
Small 10x/1x 2-Sided Mirror
Slightly bigger than a traditional compact, this is a portable option for lightweight travel, while still being big enough to be useful. The image itself is 3.5″ across (4″ diameter and under 1″ thick with the case), and weighs less than 3 ounces.
One side has a 10x magnifying makeup mirror, the other is a plain flat mirror. Made by an American company to high standards, there is no distortion from the glass.
The case opens flat to 180 degrees, with a stiff hinge allowing positioning at any angle. It is sturdy and will survive being bounced around in a purse. The clasp holds it tightly closed, although does require a bit of a knack and pressure to open.
Slimmest Lightest Travel Mirror
Here’s one for the minimalists and ultra-light travellers. Available in 2 sizes – 3.3″ and 4.7″ – the smaller is literally the size of a credit card; less than an ounce in weight, a tenth of an inch thick.
It has a single 1x mirror (made of real glass surprisingly), in an aluminium case. You can use it handheld, or flipping the lid to its locked position and resting on a surface.
Best For Influencers?
I thought hard about whether to include this Riki Skinny. It is promoted heavily by influencers and you’ve probably seen it on TikTok and Insta. Its USP is the ability to pair via bluetooth to your iphone and record well-lit video and selfies. It has really bright lights with different brightness settings.
It’s a good vanity mirror. But is it a good makeup travel mirror? I don’t think so. With all the attachments it weighs 4lbs! Battery life is poor. Build quality seems variable. And you’ll need to pay extra for a (bulky) carrying case.
But if you’re a wannabe influencer none of these downsides matter. This is your mirror!
How Many Days To Go?
Enjoy Your Trip !
✈️ 🗼 🏖