You are watching a crime drama and there comes the interrogation scene. One of the intriguing things about the scene is that the defendant has no idea that the detective and behavior analyst are watching him on the other side of the mirror. In a nightmare, you might find someone who is peeking through the glass creepily. No, this is not some magic, thanks to the two-way mirror that makes it possible.
A typical mirror has two parts, a piece of glass and a metal layer to cover the back; the metal is often Aluminum. When the light hits the glass and passes through the metal, it is reflected. The reflection from the metal allows you to see yourself in the glass.
However, the two-way mirror uses this metal layer with lesser metal quantity than normal mirrors. In the case of two-way mirrors, the reflective molecules cover half of the total area of the mirror surface. It means, half of the light will be reflected, and the other half would just pass through. Hence, you will be able to look into the brightly lit interrogation room.
If you don’t want to be a part of the nightmare, check if a mirror in the changing rooms at the store or public washrooms is a two-way mirror or not. It is very simple, all you have to do is to put your fingertip on the mirror. If you find a gap between the tip of your finger and its reflection, the mirror is typical and plain. However, you may not be very safe if there exists no gap between them.
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You have it backwards, if you see a gap it is a two way mirror, no gap regular mirror. You can verify this by putting your finger one your bathroom mirror and viola` no gap.