I never imagined I would ever own a pair of “makeup readers” – specs on which one lens pivots to allow the wearer to apply makeup to that eye while still being able to see with the other. But as someone who cannot get to grips with contacts, I was desperate. I tried a pair and they were impossibly fiddly. Not being able to see my face is an occupational hindrance for me, but frustrating and inconvenient for anyone.

Being (mildly) visually impaired is also expensive. I rely heavily on my SimpleHuman illuminated magnifying mirrors for work, but having recently broken my third handbag version (and they’re £80-odd a pop), even I can see that the situation is unsustainable. So I’ve been looking at other options.

The problem with many magnifying mirrors is that they’re designed for focused jobs such as tweezing. I bought a Tweezerman Tweezermate illuminated mirror, with high hopes. But these are no good for makeup application because one cannot see the entire face or eye area undistorted. It is the same with the luxury makeup application boxes (such as Beautifect) that I’ve seen promoted on social media. These very pricy makeup cases are a nice enough idea, but anyone who struggles to see up close will know that it’s impossible to get a mirror that is integrated into the lid of a box near enough to the face to be useful.

There are myriad illuminated mirrors available online. Many of them are nasty and plasticky; others are great but cost a fortune, such as those by Simplehuman and Glamcor Riki. But after several months of trying, I can very gladly recommend the Fancii LED Lighted Travel Makeup Mirror, for which I paid a fair £18.99.

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This oversized clamshell compact has a 10X magnifying mirror on one side for makeup application, and a plain one surrounded by daylight-mimicking LED light on the other. It opens almost completely flat so can be held close to the face, and it’s powered by watch batteries (a USB version is £44). It’s almost perfect.

In addition, I urge anyone with compromised near vision to download the free Mirror app, which works as a light-up mirror, with multiple magnifying settings. I must, however, manage your expectations. Despite the online reviews, when it comes to makeup application, brow tweezing or any other precision task, this is no substitute for a real mirror. But it is nifty for making quick checks for smudges, wonky lines or lipstick teeth – and since we usually have our phones to hand, it’s surprisingly helpful.

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