Like many people, I sailed through my twenties and thirties with near-perfect eyesight and then suddenly found myself aged 45 reading the newspaper at arm’s length. I’m pretty sure it’s Nature’s way of sparing you from seeing your chin hairs. Obviously, I decided to approach this deterioration in my vision positively and in the only way I knew how – as an exciting new accessory buying opportunity. I got some nice glasses, went happily back to reading the paper at a normal distance, and all was well until I realised I had a new issue. I couldn’t see what I was doing in the dressing table mirror any more.
My first attempt to solve this challenge was with an illuminated magnifying mirror from Boots. The magnifying bit was great, but the illuminating bit less so, unless they were also in on the plot to stop me seeing my chin hairs. It may have been an act of kindness on their part, but the lighting was feeble to say the least. I decided I needed to ramp the brightness up a bit and placed a desk lamp behind the mirror, but instantly felt like I was being interrogated by the Stasi, in a light so artificial that I’d start off planning for a natural polished look and inadvertently end up going out with a full “I’m off to Marbs” face.
Having scoured the internet for ideas, I think I’ve found the answer. Simplehuman have a range of illuminated magnifying mirrors for both your dressing table and bathroom wall. I’ve had mine six months and I’m fully in love. I went for 5x magnification, which means you get to see everything really clearly, but (crucially) the mirror’s still big enough that you can still see your whole face, helping you ensure your make-up look is balanced. In my experience, doing each eye in isolation, then the lips, then standing back for the big reveal never ends well. The illumination is bright but non-dazzling, daylight quality and shows up everything perfectly without frightening you witless. The mirror also has a sensor on it so that the light turns on magically when you put your face in front of it (cue a happy half hour of “Now it’s on!” Now it’s off! from the whole family). And it’s rechargeable, so you don’t need to have a socket near your dressing table. It’s not cheap – I paid £149.99 from John Lewis – but if you’re a make-up fan who needs a little extra zoom and lighting, it might just be the perfect present.
simplehuman 20cm sensor mirror, £149.99