With proficiency comes confidence – so much so that people like to say that they could perform a given task with their eyes closed. Not so with shaving! To err would be painful – or at least, unsightly. Keep reading – our shaving mirror buying guide will teach you everything you need to know about bathroom mirrors, and have you shaving like a pro in no time!
How Are Shaving Mirrors Made?
A modern shaving mirror is made by applying a reflective coating – such as chrome, silver or aluminium – to one side of a piece of smooth, polished glass. The coating is boiled in a chamber, and condensed onto the glass, creating a thin, perfectly even layer, which is protected by a backing. The glass utilized in mirror production must be free of any imperfection which could distort the reflected image.
Types of Shaving Mirrors
With so many types of mirrors to choose from, it’s worth going through this section carefully and… reflecting… on what you’ve learned. Forgive the pun. There are shapes, sizes, features and price-points to suit everyone, so read on!
Flat Wall-Mounted Mirrors
By far the commonest type of mirror, you’ll find these flat, reflectively-backed pieces of glass mounted on walls, typically above a countertop, sink or bathroom vanity. Flat mirrors are unobtrusive, and appealing in their simplicity. Their uncomplicated appearance and low-profile design allow them to blend in with the décor of almost any bathroom. Their shape, and the solidity of the wall to which such mirrors are affixed, make them very easy to clean.
For best results, avoid mounting a flat mirror over a countertop or vanity which sticks out from the wall by more than a couple of feet – otherwise you’ll have trouble leaning in far enough to see how well you’re shaving!
The plainest flat mirrors feature unframed edges, and are easy to care for. The Reflex 900 x 600 mm mirror is a good choice – it’s well made and easy to mount vertically or horizontally, thanks to the four pre-drilled holes and included hardware.
For something more striking, consider the Better Bathrooms 500 x 700 mm Bevelled Edge Bathroom Mirror, whose slim, silver, bevelled edges create visual interest without distracting from the task at hand.
A magnifying mirror reflects back a magnified image, making it perfect for the farsighted – or perfectionistic – shaver. A larger reflection makes it easy to ensure that every that hair is removed, to allow for problematic areas to be worked around, and to deal with stubborn growth patterns which require that you shave in several directions.
Most magnifying mirrors are small and circular in shape – though some square and rectangular options do exist. The small size of a magnifying mirror means you’ll have to get quite close to the reflective surface to shave. Many such mirrors feature a swivelling arm that allows for optimal positioning – such as the excellent Songmics 7x Magnification Mirror, which is kept in place by sturdy mounting hardware.
Feel like splurging? Consider the simplehuman Wall Mount Sensor Mirror. Is it expensive? Yes, but it’s also one of the best magnified shaving mirrors we could find – It’s exceptionally well-made, and features a number of innovative features, including auto-sensing illumination and high CRI (color rendering index) LEDs which provide a true-to-life reflection of your face, and 5x clear magnification.
Recommended Extendable Mirror
At first glance, many extendable mirrors look very much like magnifying mirrors – and in some cases, they’re one and the same. However, some extending mirrors feature plain, non-magnifying glass, which is suitable for those who don’t want or require an enlarged image. An extendable mirror typically utilizes a multi-hinged accordion-style arm, whose triangular sections compress or elongate when pushed or pulled on, providing greater reach and more positioning options than a single-hinge swivelling arm.
The Empire Sterling Extendable Luxury Round Chrome Shaving Mirror () is a good, affordable option. Its arm extends from 21 to 50 centimetres, while the round mirror can be tilted independently.
Unlike their flat, magnifying and extendable counterparts, a freestanding mirror sits atop a counter or other surface. Available in a range of shapes and sizes, freestanding mirrors are well suited to small bathrooms, or those whose walls are too far to accommodate a flat mirror.
The Blue Canyon Free Standing Pedestal Mirror is vertically oriented, making it perfect for shaving. The ultra-slim bezel protects the glass edges from accidental bumps without detracting from the elegant appearance of the mirror, and the large base includes a non-slip mat, on which your shaving tools can be placed.
If you prefer the something with a round edge, consider the Sabichi Miami Freestanding Mirror. It’s extremely thin and compact, features a lustrous chrome finish, and though plain in appearance, the lack of ridges and other embellishments means it’s very easy to clean.
Most men prefer to shave with hot water, whether over the sink or in the shower. That’s fine and well – except for one problem: steam. Steam can fog up a mirror badly enough that your smooth wet shave becomes impossible, and wiping the mirror off with a cloth seldom does the trick. Enter the fogless shaving mirror!
The ToiletTree Shower Mirror features a water chamber which, when filled with hot water, prevents condensation on the mirror’s surface. Included is a squeegee for keeping the mirror clean, and removable silicone adhesive, allowing the mirror to be securely mounted in the shower.
A smaller, better, more portable option to consider is the iSatch Fog Free Shaving Mirror. It works on the same principle as the aforementioned ToiletTree product, but is suitable for traveling – or small shower stalls. Though filling a chamber-based fogless mirror requires an extra minute of time, the small inconvenience is worth not having to frequently reapply a hydrophobic spray to the mirror’s surface.
What good is a mirror without light? Though a bathroom’s overhead lights, or wall-mounted vanity bulbs, provide illumination, it may be insufficient for shaving. Too dim, too bright, the wrong tint, or unevenly dispersed, ordinary lighting can leave a lot to be desired. An illuminated mirror is the perfect solution – and thanks to modern LED technology, these mirrors are compact, energy-efficient and better performing than ever before.
The Hangsun Illuminated Mirror is a bestseller. Not only is it affordable – it’s portable, requiring only four AA batteries to power its high output LEDs. As such, it can be set up anywhere – even in a hotel room!
If you’re looking for something a little bit special with an lit mirror then a good wall-mounted option is iBathUK’s 700 x 500 mm Illuminated Bathroom Mirror. It’s large enough to provide a full view of your face, possible to align vertically or horizontally, and features a bright, sensor-activated, full-frame band of LEDs that provide plenty of light while you shave – and looks super stylish!
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…
…who’s the cleanest-shaven of all? You are, of course – or at least, you will be, once you’ve purchased the perfect mirror to meet your needs. The options are myriad, so take a bit of time to consider what suits you best, and discover how enjoyable shaving can be when you can actually see what you’re doing!