Mirror Image - Is Your Makeup Missing The Spot?
Updated: May 19
I've had my fair share of makeup disasters - from smudged mascara to much worse. If you have ever found crusty liner in the corner of your eyes, loaded up your eyeshadow brush a tad too enthusiastically or applied a foundation that manages to highlight every flaw on your face, join the club! It's time for a magnifying mirror.
In my 30s, I was the chief reporter of a weekly newspaper in Somerset. I was still fairly young then and slapped my war paint on in the mornings without a care in the world. I looked great - not.
The first time I ventured into the newsroom bathroom, I got an almighty shock. It was furnished with an unkind lightbulb that managed throw a spotlight on every pore, all my patches of dry skin and eyeliner that appeared to 'bleed' into the fine lines under my eyes. Not a pretty sight.
Even then, being confronted with the ugly truth, I told myself it was 'just a trick of the light'. Nobody would get that close to see all that flaky skin, the blackheads or slapdash eye makeup.
You tell yourself that, don't you? 'It's just that particular light' or 'I'm being too critical of myself'.
Problem is, a mirror rarely lies - unless your eyesight is on the turn. Which brings me to...
Because I'm an eyeshadow addict and because I've got more palettes than some branches of Boots, I'm not short of a mirror or 300!
Most eye or face palettes contain mirrors these days but, generally, they are just... plain old mirrors. Yes, you can hold them close to your face when performing what you think is a stroke of genius with a fluffy brush but they are never going to zoom in on the detail. And with makeup, especially on the eyes, detail is everything.
In fact, beauty brands should consider introducing magnified mirrors to pro palettes as standard. It would make life a whole lot easier.
My first magnifying mirror, I bought by accident. It came as a secondary piece of equipment with a light-up, tri-fold dressing table ensemble. I'd always fancied sitting in front of theatre dressing room-type lighting. Truth be told, the lights framing the looking glasses were for 'display purposes only'. They looked great as a lighting feature in the bedroom at night, but were pretty darned useless when it came to anything else.
Its saving grace? A stick-on magnifying mirror with a magnification of x 10. It changed my face!
'Who sees the human face correctly: the photographer, the mirror, or the painter?' – Pablo Picasso
What Mirror Magnification To Choose?
I am still using that little mirror. It has served me well. It has aided my approach to skincare, highlighting any concern that needs to be addressed, and given me new-found confidence when it comes to experimenting with pigments. I am sat here right now wearing the full 'heatwave' eyeshadow look - no mean feat to achieve with a bog standard mirror, if I'm being honest.
Because of that mirror, I have been able to develop a custom style and feel assured in my own skin. What's more, when I write a review for a product I know that I'm telling the full, unvarnished truth.
When it comes to magnification,10x is right for me. I've been using computers since they were first invented (shhh!); I've penned tens of thousands of newspaper stories on them and typed at least a dozen truly dreadful novels. My eyesight is shot. That's me in the image below - approaching 57!
If you are younger with no history of sight issues, a 2x or 3x magnification strength is probably all you need. For the more mature beauty conscious, strengths of 7x, 10x and even 20x are likely to be required.
How To Choose The Right Makeup Mirror
There's no getting away from it, especially when purse strings are currently squeezed like never before, budget is everything. The good news is that there are options available in all price ranges. Even the highest strength mirrors, in good sizes and on stands, can retails for as little as 20 quid.
In general, if you shop around, you'll find the following mirrors reasonably priced:
Tri 2x, 3x and 10x - £15
Set of 10x and 15x - £12
7x - £10
3x - £10
If you would like help to find a mirror you can afford, I offer a completely free product finding service. Get in touch for further information.
Truth be told, finding the right magnification for your needs can be a case of trial and error. I found my perfect match by accident but there is nothing to say I won't need a stronger magnification in the future. I found chemo knackered my eyesight even more.
A magnifying mirror, in my opinion, is an essential investment for your own sanity and self-esteem. What do you think?