The best magnification for a makeup mirror is going to depend on what you’re using it for and what your vision is like, plus a few other factors.
Makeup mirror magnification can range from 2x-15x, even up to 20x. But stronger is not always better for makeup application.
Below, you’ll find information and tips to help you find the perfect magnification level for you.
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Your Eyesight Affects the Magnification Level
A magnification makeup mirror is good for getting a closeup view of your face, and you’re more likely to need it if you’re farsighted rather than nearsighted, or have other vision challenges.
Lower Magnification for Stronger Vision
If you don’t have vision problems, but still want the benefits of magnification, a 2x, 3x, or 5x level usually works well. You can see your face more clearly but it’s unlikely to distort your features.
Even people with good vision often prefer some level of magnification for fine tasks such as tweezing, adding eyeliner, or working with skin pores.
Higher Magnification for Weaker Vision
People with poor or very poor vision usually find the higher magnification levels of 7x and higher more helpful for their grooming tasks.
10x, 15x, and 20x Mirror Magnification
There are many people who need to use a high magnification in order to apply makeup and do fine grooming tasks such as tweezing and working with skin pores.
The higher levels of 10x, 15x, and 20x magnification are available in a range of makeup mirror designs, but work best in the smaller size mirrors.
Choose Carefully to Avoid Distortion
Those with a larger viewing area can create a lot of distortion if they are too big or the mirror is of low quality.
And keep in mind that at these higher levels, you won’t be able to see all of your face at the same time. It will highlight smaller sections to work on.
If you fall into this category, choose your mirror carefully to make sure you get the clearest magnified image that allows you to get the job done with the best results.
The Quality of the Mirror Affects Distortion
It’s an unfortunate fact that some magnifying mirrors cause distortion of the images they produce. Some manufacturers use this point to convince people to buy more expensive mirrors, but the truth is, it matters.
Higher quality magnification mirrors generally have less distortion, and this level of quality will usually cost more.
So if there’s an area of your grooming budget where you can afford to spend more, this may be a good place.
All that said, there are plenty of great affordable magnifying mirrors. There’s no need to go over the top. Focus on the quality, not the price. More cost doesn’t always equal more quality. So thoroughly research your options.
Different Magnifications for Makeup Mirrors
Makeup mirrors are concave mirrors that make images appear larger, and they have a wide range of magnifying levels, from as little as 2x, 3x, and 5x up to as much as 15x or 20x.
It’s important to remember that the higher the magnification, the smaller your field of view or bigger your features will look. So, the super high magnification levels are usually not good for makeup application.
Your features may be distorted at these levels, and you can’t see your whole face.
What Different Magnifications are Used For
The following information will give you a rough idea of what each level of magnification offers:
1x magnification is the same as standard view or no magnification. This is what most people use for less precise things like checking your hair or your clothes. The cheval mirror in a dressing room is 1x or standard.
2x magnification is used for general makeup tasks by people without major eyesight issues. It still allows you to see your whole image.
3x magnification is also good for people without vision problems, but who want to do a more precise job such as eyeliner application. It feels more like a standard mirror but the image is helpfully larger.
5x magnification is used by people with and without vision considerations mainly for very fine tasks such as tweezing. You’re usually looking at a smaller area such as the lips or eyebrow. 3x-5x is most commonly used.
7x magnification is often used by people with vision needs who are doing any makeup application or grooming tasks, and especially the finer jobs.
10x magnification will give you a high degree of magnification for things like shaving, dealing with pores, or finer makeup application if your vision needs the support. This level works best in a smaller or compact mirror.
15x – 20x magnification is usually needed by people with very poor eyesight and who need very high magnification for most grooming tasks.
Keep in mind the info above is not set in stone. Which magnification you need may still depend on other factors, but this gives you an idea of where you might fall.
How to Try Out Different Mirror Magnifications
In an ideal world, it would be great if you could try out different mirrors at home in your usual surroundings to see which magnification works best. Without this option, you can try the following tips:
- Visit a makeup department and ask to try out various mirrors with different magnifications.
- Talk with a professional makeup consultant about your needs.
- Discuss the issue with your eye specialist.
- Ask a friend or family member if you can try out their magnifying mirror.
Do as much research as possible before you settle on a mirror.
Single- or Dual-Sided Makeup Mirror?
Magnification makeup mirrors often come in double-sided models. Dual-sided mirrors have either both sides with magnification or one with and one without.
Most people choose a double-sided mirror so they can have the option of a standard view or magnification.
Other Factors to Consider for Mirror Magnification
Along with the level of your vision, the following factors will also influence the amount of magnification you choose:
Where Will the Mirror Be Used?
Are you going to hang the mirror on a wall or place it on your tabletop? This will change what magnification you need because it affects how close to the mirror you can be.
Or, will you be traveling or out and about using a compact mirror that you hold in one hand? These scenarios all make a difference to how strong the magnification needs to be.
Consider Your Lighting
If you are purchasing a mounted or tabletop mirror without built-in lighting, consider the lighting in the room. How dark is it on the most overcast days? Ideally, it’s better to get a mirror that has built-in LED lights.
If you have a handheld mirror, you can simply move to where there is natural light.
Select the Type of Mirror that Suits Your Needs
When selecting a magnification mirror, you can choose from a few different types. The correct one for you depends on how you apply makeup and your needs.
Tabletop is the most common type and is great for general use. They are easy to transport and are normally dual-sided with one side magnified, so you can select which side you prefer.
They can be quite fragile if poorly built, so they aren’t great for traveling.
A handheld or compact mirror is a perfect choice if you want to travel with a mirror. Some handheld models can stand up on a tabletop but can be folded away for safe transport.
They fit well in a purse or tote and often have a double-sided option, including one with magnification, allowing you to freshen up your makeup on the go.
A tri-fold mirror is usually a tabletop mirror, and they are likely to have magnification on one or more sides. They normally have lights built-in and offer you views of your face from all angles.
This type of mirror is ideal if you want to see your face from every angle to make adjustments and have the magnification option.
If you want a more permanent mirror that you can install in a well-lit room, then a wall-mounted model may be for you. This type of mirror normally has some magnification.
They also typically have arm attachments that allow you to move the mirror closer to or push it further away from you.
These mirrors can be mounted on your wall or may come with strong suction cups that attach to your bathroom mirror.
These mirrors come in any of the above mirror forms: tabletop, handheld, tri-mount, or wall-mounted.
If you have a poorly lit bedroom or bathroom where you apply your makeup, then a lighted mirror is the better choice.
Go for a model that has warm white LED lights that have a color as close to natural daylight as possible.
If you do choose a magnification mirror, opt for the lowest magnification that works for your needs and find a mirror type that fits how you want to use it.
The more research you do, the more likely you are to find the best fit for your needs, environment, and budget.