Do Mirrors Make You Look Bigger? The Real Truth

Whether you are a man or woman all of us like to check the mirror occasionally to see how we look. After all, we are only human. There are times when we doubt what the mirror tells us so it begs the question, Do mirrors make you look bigger?

A mirror will not make you look bigger or smaller provided the surface of the mirror is perfectly flat and straight. A mirror only reflects exactly what is in front of it provided that the mirror is not curved or bent.

There are a few things we need to consider to understand why some mirrors might actually make you look bigger. This is important to understand as it is said that women can look into a mirror over 70 times a day according to this survey!

Do Mirrors Make You Look Different?

You may often be fooled into thinking you look different depending on the mirror you are looking into. The truth is a mirror only reflects what it sees and how you look is more dependent on a few others factors.

A mirror can change the way you look because of the following:

  1. The angle a mirror is on
  2. The flatness and shape of the mirror
  3. The tint in the mirror
  4. Lighting conditions can change how we look
  5. Nothing is Symmetrical

1. Is Your Mirror On An Angle

Try this one at home. If you use 2 mirrors and sit them at different angles and stand in front of them, you will get 2 different reflections. The angle at which a mirror sits can slightly change how you look. This is an important thing to consider next time you are trying something on at the shopping mall.

Be careful in malls. Sometimes there may be 2-way mirrors. See my article that explains if 2-way mirrors are bad?

led lighted makeup mirrors

2. Is The Mirror Flat And Straight?

This is the one thing that is overlooked with old mirrors. Over time, a mirror can become distorted and even slump causing the surface of the mirror to be concave or convex in shape.

The mirror will only need to be out of flat a small amount to change what it reflects dramatically. For example, a convex shape will spread the reflection and make you look wider. On the other hand, a concave shape will make you look slimmer.

Glass sliding doors usually have this issue.

You can check your mirror by placing a straight object such as a spirit level on its surface to ensure it is perfectly flat.

Difference Between Concave And Convex Mirrors

These 2 types of mirrors are used extensively depending on what the desired reflection should look like. A Convex Mirror is rounded outwards in the middle. It will make the reflection look larger than it is.

A concave mirror is shaped inwards like a bowl. This makes items it reflects appear smaller or thinner.

These 2 factors are important to consider next time you stand in front of a mirror. It has been said that clothes stores may use a concave mirror in their change rooms to make you feel more trimmed than usual. This has not been approved nor denied by these stores. Just be cautious.

Be aware that concave and convex glass and mirrors are used all around us. Things like our reading glasses, car mirrors, and telescopes all have different and varying types of these and do affect how the object appears.

3. The Mirror May Be Tinted

Some mirrors are made with a natural darker tint in them. Varying shades of tint affect how much light is reflected by a mirror. It is these shades of tint that can cause you and I to look different in certain mirrors.

If you are buying a mirror be sure to get one like this that has no tint to its surface.

4. Lighting Is A Big Factor In How We Look

Lighting is a major player when it comes to how things and people look in a mirror. We all know how much time is spent by movie stars on getting the perfect lighting. It plays a big role in our looks.

A dim light may make you look better as it gives a warm subtle appearance and hides any variations in your face and body.

On the other hand, bright light will show up every detail and bump or lump in our appearance. A light from above will make you look bigger as your body is drawn into the shadows making it appear larger than normal.

5. You Are Not Symmetrical

A funny as this may sound no person on the planet has a symmetrical face. I know you think this sounds odd but what happens is we all are used to looking a certain way. If we see our face through a different form such as a mirror or a camera, we may think we look different.

The truth is our faces are not symmetrical and do look different. This may lead you to think the mirror is what makes you look different.

Do mirrors make you look shorter? I wrote that article that explains the truth.

An Old Mirror Can Play Tricks On You

As a mirror hangs on the wall over the years, it becomes out of shape due to its own weight. This is very common in thin mirrors that are only 2-3mm in thickness. An old mirror can develop a concave or convex surface or even one that is twisted.

Any slight variation in a mirror’s surface will cause its reflection to be “manufactured” and not true. This should be kept in mind next time you approach your favorite mirror from the 1950s! It might be time to swap out the actual mirror.

Conclusion – Do Mirrors Make You Look Bigger?

As you see, it’s not the actual mirror causing these problems. A bunch of other factors such as mirror shape, lighting, and tint can all affect how you look in a mirror.

Be sure to check out more at

Photo of author
Derrick Thompson
I have spent many years as a glazier working with glass and mirrors and this medium never ceases to amaze me. I decided to start this website to help share what I have learned and hopefully educate people about these wonderful building materials.