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 referred to as the 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 the best for 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?

Kem Weber (American, born Germany, 1889-1963). Vanity with Mirror, 1934. Chrome-plated tubular steel, wood, glass

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 label. 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.

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, due to my upbringing 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. He was the wisest king on earth, arrayed in riches, power and beauty.  He had a thousand beautiful women, some of whom were princesses like the beautiful daughter of Egypt’s Pharaoh, the Queen of Sheeba and more. I bet they had daily beauty regimes to look glamorous. Yet he declared everything as vanity.

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 what the mirror tells us as the reflections of beauty is vanity? Does that mean we should not wear makeup or concentrate on our personal grooming to look our best? I don’t think so!

Does that mean those women who wear makeup and spend so much time each day in front of a vanity mirror to have the best appearance insecure, ugly, self-centered, lack confidence and self-esteem and egoistic? Is it acceptable for judgmental people who oppose makeup to say that everyone should be comfortable in their own skin? Definitely No!

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 the makeup mirror is called a ‘vanity’.  If you have any thoughts, please leave a comment below.  I’m interested to know your views.

What type of vanity mirror is best for you?

There are a wide variety of vanity mirrors today than in the past.  Some guidelines that you can use to choose the best vanity mirror are as follows:

  1. Location – where do you want to place your vanity mirror?  You can choose a bathroom or bedroom vanity mirror.  It can be also be a portable travel mirror.  The mirror placement should compliment the theme of your bedroom or bathroom decor.
  2. The lighting – do you want a vanity mirror with lights?  If so, do you prefer LED lights or light bulbs built around the mirror?  Do you want a vanity mirror that uses only natural light?  Do you want a vanity mirror with lights that has a USB port that you can plugin to the main power, battery operated or a combination of both?
  3. Placing – do you prefer the type of mirror to be free-standing with a vanity tabletop or wall-mounted?  If wall-mounted in the bathroom, consider the bathroom theme and make it complimentary to that.
  4. Style – makeup mirrors can be flat, double or tri-fold.  They can be oval, square, rectangle or round.
  5. Hollywood style – this style of vanity mirror is inspired by the glamorous stars of Hollywood.  This can be a good bedroom decor or the perfect gift for your teenage girl.
  6. Home decor –  vanity mirrors are beautiful items you can add to your home decor’s vanity theme.

 The importance of vanity mirrors

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.

Just as wearing makeup gives women confidence and boosts self-esteem, its the vanity mirror that gives you the confidence that you’ve applied your makeup properly and you’re looking your best.

Thank you for visiting my site.  If you have any views of why you think it’s called the vanity mirror, please leave your comments below.

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