Is This $200 Magnifying Mirror Worth It?

Who’s the fairest one of all?

If you really want to step up your beauty game, a magnifying mirror is crucial. Not only is it essential for tweezing, it ensures that your makeup is perfectly blended so you don’t leave the house looking like your technique involves a darkroom and a spatula. If your preferred M.O. is Maybe She’s Born With It, you’re definitely gonna need magnification and some good lighting.

I keep mine at close range during makeup application so I can make sure I’m not plucking out the wrong eyebrow hairs or leaving little mascara smudges on my browbone. For a fuller picture as I apply, I use the larger mirror attached to my vanity as I work, so I can tell if I’ve over-bronzed or if my eyebrows are behaving more like estranged cousins than sisters.

Since my vanity usually shoulders most of the reflecting responsibility, the quality of my ancillary magnifying mirror hasn’t been a major concern. About a year ago, I bought a Conair model of indeterminate price from Target. (The range of Conair selections makes my eyes hurt--can you tell them all apart?). It was nothing special; the knob fell off every so often (once, it was lost for like two weeks until someone found it outside of all places). But otherwise it served its function--OR SO I THOUGHT.

When my hi-def photos began to reveal details I’d missed in real life, I knew it was time. My mirror was letting me down--clearly, an intervention was necessary.

Quick storytime: during a fairly routine visit to Bed Bath & Beyond, I became obsessed with this simplehuman trashcan. I know...but it has two compartments and it opens automatically and is cute. My ever-pragmatic boyfriend held firm: we did not need a $249 trashcan. I managed to suppress the trashcan thing (that’s what wedding registries are for, right?), so I thought I was safe from simplehuman’s brand of beautiful, intelligently designed houseware porn.

And I was! Until they launched the Sensor Mirror at Sephora.

I was dying to find out how it compared to my semi-functional Conair model and, more importantly, whether it was worth the hefty $200 price tag.

I won’t beat around the bush: simplehuman’s mirror put my old model to shame. The reflected color was far more accurate, and the mirror’s superior brightness was incontestable.

A mirror that charges via USB cord is a revelation: fewer cords to worry about is always a good thing (though it does come with its own, if by some miracle you’ve managed to avoid USB cords altogether). Plus, the charge lasts for up to five weeks, meaning the sleek, uninhibited design can easily be carried from bathroom to vanity to coffee table (Hey, sometimes I want to catch up on my stories while I paint my face).

The 5X magnification is just enough to show me each errant brow hair, but not so close that I want to run away screaming. And simplehuman’s LED “tru-lux system” comes as close to actual sunlight as possible, which is apparently 2x as close as anything else on the market.

However, the height is adjustable, but if the unit isn’t angled precisely, the sensor will sometimes fail to, well, sense, and the light will turn off if you dip out of range reaching for another makeup brush. But simplehuman claims that the sensor intelligently adjusts itself to your behavior, and to its credit, I have found that the light is interrupted less and less the more I use it. Whether that’s due to my behavior modifying accordingly or the mirror’s is anyone’s guess, but if you lack the patience to teach a mirror how to light up, a piece of opaque tape over the sensor is an easy hack. And, of course, the upside of that sensor is an energy-efficient, low-maintenance piece of equipment that you never have to worry about turning off.

Is it worth $200?

Yes and no. It really depends on how you use your mirror. If you’re a magnifying mirror pro, the transition to this model will be a serious revelation. If you tend to do your makeup with a larger mirror, you should be aware that it doesn’t have two sides like most magnifying mirrors, so it’s harder to get a sense of your whole face. I definitely recommend it if you’re looking to ensure that your makeup is flawlessly blended. If you look acceptable in this mirror, you’ll look airbrushed in real life.

Tip: these are sold at Bed Bath & Beyond in addition to Sephora, so you can snag one of those ubiquitous 20% off coupons and quell those wallet worries a little.

Don’t forget the cardinal rule of magnifying mirrors: get in and get out. No dawdling; tweeze those stray hairs or smooth those foundation lines with tunnel vision! If you get caught up in examining every tiny centimeter of your face, you’re gonna have a bad time.

What's the most you've spent on a magnifying mirror? Thoughts on this one?