21 Aug 2014
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Welcome to the Vanity Mirror Horror Show

The ability to see her face closer than ever has Betsy Brint asking, 'Who invented the magnification vanity mirror and why?'

Welcome to the Vanity Mirror Horror Show

Warning: Subject in mirror may appear older than she thinks she looks.

This is the label I wish my new 10X magnification mirror came with before I brought it into my home.

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Who invented the magnification vanity mirror and why? This item should be sold only to your worst enemies, or used perhaps as a torture or interrogation device. Think of the international secrets we could uncover… forget the thumbscrews, waterboarding and sleep deprivation. I’ll bet if the CIA instituted a new “no-touch” psychological stress technique of torture that included the forced prolonged gaze into a 10X magnification mirror, that suspect would sing. 

He’d see deep-set wrinkles and pores so large they could be considered new sources of oil. “Talk now or we’ll turn on the surround light technology that emulates natural sunlight!” “No!” He’d scream, “The nuclear weapons are hidden….” Anything to make that image disappear. The world would be ours.

Not knowing the agony that lay ahead of me, I was lured into buying one of these lovely dimmable sunlight magnification vanity mirrors with the satin nickel finish for a number of reasons. The first and most basic reason for making the ill-fated purchase, was my romantic idea that a lovely makeup mirror on my dresser was a decorative accent that would look nice in my bedroom. Maybe a few strands of beads could artfully dangle off the side as a casual but thoughtful accent. 

But the highest-ranking reason on the list is this: as I get older, my eyesight gets worse. That’s no newsflash. Going out to dinner with a group of my friends these days is now a veritable show and tell of stylish reading glasses and illumination tools so we can all read our menus and then, one by one, order salmon. 

The real deal closer for making the magnification mirror purchase came the other day. I was walking past the spa where I usually get my eyebrows waxed, and I popped in to see if they had an opening. I walked up to the mirror at the spa and saw that my eyebrows actually looked pretty good, so I told them I didn’t really need an appointment. The woman, from five feet away, looked at me and said, “Honey, you most certainly do need a wax. I mean, really.” 

The next day I found myself wandering the aisles of Bed Bath and Beyond. They have two entire sections dedicated to lighted, magnification mirrors. Desktop models, mounted models, natural light, adjustable light, 1X, 5X, 8X, 10X, swiveling, rotating, built-in power outlets, etc.  I ended up buying the Zardo, “Most technologically advanced mirror on the market.” I’m not sure why it is the most technologically advanced, but it was certainly expensive.  Fortunately I had a coupon.

There is something kind of girly and fun about a vanity mirror. Unwrapping it I felt like a little kid about to play dress up at my mom’s make-up table. I wanted to put on too-big high heels, wear a boa and paint on lipstick in front of my new vanity mirror. I was kind of excited. Unfortunately, when I placed the two-sided mirror on the table, the 1X side was facing the back, and the 10X side was facing me. First a blur. Closer in, blur, blur, upside down face, blur, blur, big eyeball, elephant skin, giant hair follicles, and suddenly I was wondering, crevasses or wrinkes? Heart pounding, I realized I was looking at every inch of my face under a microscope. I pulled out my tweezers and began my attack. 

Hours later I emerged from my bedroom, scarred from battle and clearly beaten. I carefully loaded my Zadro 10X Dimmable Sunlight Vanity Mirror with the Satin Nickel Finish back into its box. I drove, receipt in hand, back to Bed Bath and Beyond and made and exchange. “This model,” I explained to Beverly, the woman who rung me up and really didn’t care as I told her my story, “should only be sold to high level government intelligence workers.” And I brought home my new Jerdon 5X Chrome LED Table Mirror.

I’m hoping I can handle 5X…

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