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On low self-esteem days, maybe it's not you – it's the mirror
mirror defense_how to tell your mirror is lying to you_Mirror Mirror on the wall

Makeup maven Carmindy is known for her Mirror Mantras approach to self-esteem. She wants you to break your habit of negative self-talk by forcing yourself to acknowledge the best features in your reflection instead. But sometimes it's really not you, it's the mirror. An Evil Mirror and its sinister sidekick Bad Lighting, who collude to make you think you look drab and unattractive. And the attack is insidious – unless you know how to tell when your reflection is lying to you. Our Liza (LEEZA) Herz always knows when evil mirrors get up to their tricks. Here she shares her esteem-saving mirror defense. Take note. Your confidence will thank you.

mirror defense: it's not you, it's the mirror

mirror defense_how to tell your mirror is lying to you_reflection-961

If you’re so pale and beaten down by this endless winter that every glance in a mirror is just a reminder that you need some Turks & Caicos time, or (more realistically) the right bronzer, we’re here to help. Nothing is more deflating than going to a restaurant washroom semi-drunk on wine and then seeing yourself in the mirror and thinking, “Oh my God! What happened? I look like a passport photo barely come to life. That greyish skin, those dead, hopeless eyes. Do I really look that bad?”

No. No, you don’t. You just need a good mirror defense. That means learning how to tell when your reflection is lying to you.

mirror defense: how to tell your reflection is lying to you

As Janine has pointed out before, too many public restrooms are designed by men (unlike this one) who don’t notice or care about the lighting or the quality of the mirror. So when you look at your reflection and a grey-green version of yourself stares back, calm down. It’s not you.

Mirror defense_how to tell your mirror is lying to you_the hand test

How can we say that? Actual proof: Place your hand horizontally against the mirror and notice the staggeringly different colour. Your hand looks like your hand. Meanwhile, the one in the mirror is most likely greyer, greener, even yellower or corpse-like.

See? That's how to tell your reflection is lying to you.

And if you think this is just cheap mirrors, winter-induced craziness or cruel luck, it's actually just science. Via the website From Quarks to Quasars: "Mirrors reflect light within the 510 nanometer range the best, which we perceive as green light. This means that every typical mirror that you come across reflects green light more than any other color in the visible spectrum, technically making every typical mirror just the faintest bit green."

mirror defense: victory is yours

mirror defense_how to tell your mirror is lying to you_Louise Dahl Wolfe_model in dior dress

So when you haul out your cosmetics bag to do a quick touch-up, or you say the hell with it and go back to your table (for a restorative glass of wine or a self-obliterating, rich dessert) just remember that the live version of you is much prettier, alive-looking and just plain better than the confidence-killing ghostly version staring back at you.

In fact, you might want to flip that offending mirror the bird on the way out of the restroom. Then send up a quiet prayer beseeching the universe to ensure more female architects and female designers create public restrooms.

Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Multi-Colour powder 01 and 02_Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Powder

And start carrying Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Powder in your bag. Of course having something Chanel with you at all times should just be standard operating procedure.

UPDATE: If your mirrors at home are reflecting a jaundiced world view like Natasha's (see comments below), changing your lightbulbs might help. If you're using standard incandescents, switch to GE Reveal light bulbs, which filter out the yellow. You'll get a cleaner, daylight effect, your decor colours will read true, and your skin will look better and brighter. Really, GE Reveal light bulbs, which come in energy-efficient versions, are a good idea for saving your self-esteem, especially in light-deficient months. GE Reveal 26W CFL Spiral ($10/2pk at = 100w incandescent.

First image (crop) "Model looking in the mirror of fashion designer Molineux, Paris" ©1934 Alfred Eisenstaedt. Second image via Fourth photo by Louise Dahl Wolfe. Last photo courtesy of Chanel.