What is a Vanity Mirror

Mirrors come in incredible variety, shapes and forms with distinct features according to their applications. The most common of those applications are mirrors for personal grooming, of which the vanity mirror is the most common and well-known. So what is a vanity mirror?

Vanity mirror is an essential everyday-use personal grooming mirror that is used to check your appearance, do your hair, apply makeup and basically assist you to look your best. Vanity mirror is often called a makeup mirror.

There are many types – shapes, sizes, forms and functionality – of vanity mirrors. Vanity mirrors can be wall-mounted, free-standing, or a portable travel vanity mirror that you can carry with you wherever you go. Vanity mirror with the lights is most preferred by women to apply makeup.

Vanity mirrors are not only functional but can be a beautiful home decor, complementing your vanity home decor theme. You can buy a vanity home decor set or even be creative and do it yourself (DIY).

Why is it called a vanity mirror?

Have you ever wondered why the mirror used for applying makeup to make us look glamorous is called a “vanity” mirror?

I searched the internet for history of vanity mirror and to understand the thinking behind its vanity name. Historically, vanity mirror is associated with vanity table, a table often fitted with drawers and a mirror in front of which one sits while dressing and grooming oneself, and goes back to the eighteenth century.

Vanity table set with mirror

What is usually called a vanity table today was called a dressing table in the 19th century. In the 18th century, it was known as a toilet table. By the 1750s, a mirror that could be tipped for a better view was attached to the top of the table. So that is how we have the vanity table and vanity mirror.

I could not find any information on why the mirror is called “vanity”.

My thinking around why it’s labeled ‘vanity’ is influenced by the Bible, because I was raised as a Christian. The first thought that came to mind when I thought about the word vanity is King Solomon’s lament “Vanity of vanities. All is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 12:8) and “beauty is vain” (Proverbs 31:30).  The word vanity is actually used 38 times in Ecclesiastes when King Solomon talked about the futility of everything ‘under the sun”, including life itself.

The Online Dictionary defines vanity as “excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance or achievements”. Prior to the 14th century, the term vanity did not have narcissistic undertones, and simply meant futility or emptiness.

Does that mean women who wear makeup and spend time each day in front of a vanity mirror to have the best appearance are insecure, ugly, self-centered, lack confidence and self-esteem and egoistic? Is it acceptable for people who oppose makeup to say that everyone should be comfortable in their own skin? I don’t think so!

You are beautiful whether you choose to wear makeup or not, and the vanity mirror is an essential item for your beauty regime. True beauty comes from deep within a person’s soul. It’s our attitudes that give meaning to true beauty.

I don’t know why it’s called a vanity mirror. If you do, please leave a comment below.

The importance of vanity mirror

Although the vanity mirror is not a basic survival need such as oxygen or water, it is a very important item that is used everyday – in the morning, evening and in between. Imaging trying to apply makeup without a mirror and not seeing whether you’ve done your hair properly or not. You won’t step out of your home with confidence.


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