Sunglass Lens Color Guide: How to Choose the Right One (2023)

May 19, 2023

If you’ve always worn black sunglasses, you may find it surprising when you see someone with pink mirror lenses. Do those actually do anything to block the sun, or is that person trying to look cool with a pop of color?

Actually, both things are true! Colored lenses date back to the 18th century. James Ayscough was an English eye doctor who tinted regular glasses either blue or green because he believed that helped with certain vision problems.

This idea paved the way for sunglasses, and now we know that certain lens colors work best for different scenarios (even those pink ones). To learn which lens colors work best for your needs, we’ve gathered all the intel in this extensive sunglass lens color guide.

The Importance of Different Sunglasses Lens Color

Sunglasses make or break an activity based on their lens color. For example, manyaviator frame stylesmade for pilots come in gray, gray-green, and brown sunglass lens colors. These colorsboost contrastand make a pilot’s vision more vivid, so they can adjust and make quick decisions, even when it’s hazy outside.

However, these colors don’t work best in every scenario. Snowboarders often use rose-colored lenses in their shades because they improve depth perception when looking into snow. But if you wear rose-colored lenses all the time, your eyescanquickly become fatigued.

So, you need to pick the lens tint that works best withtheactivity you want to wear your sunglasses for.

Wavelengths and How They Affect Your Eyes

Many of us were taught in school the acronym Roy G. Biv (which stands for red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet) to remember the colors of the rainbow. These same colors make up the visible light spectrum. Red light is the longest on the spectrum and affects our eyes the least. Ultraviolet (UV) light is the shortest and the worst for our eyes.

Two types of light hurt our eyes. UVA and UVB are the two types of ultraviolet light that damage your eyes and makethemage faster, leading to issues like cancer and deteriorated vision. The way to defend your eyes from these wavelengths is to purchase sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection.

The tint does not matter for UV rays; rather, the sunglasses must say that they offer 100% UVA/UVB protection. If you find a pair of sunglasses for ten bucks that don’t specify if they offer UVA/UVB protection, then assume that they don’t.

The other wavelength that affects your eyes is blue light. This type of light is slightly longer than ultraviolet but sits right next to it on the visible light spectrum. Blue light typically comes from technology like computers and phones but still damages eyes and can lead to macular degeneration.

Clear, yellow, red, and amber sunglasses can all block blue light. However, you still need to check with the manufacturer that they specifically filter out the blue light wavelength.

Lens Colors and Their Benefits

Each sunglass lens color offers something unique for either an outdoor adventure or time spent inside. Peruse our list of the most popular lens colors and their benefits to find the right ones for you!

Grey Lenses

Shades with grey lenses are the most popular among pilots because they help block sunlight without affecting the color of objects outside as severely. Whether you’re driving, flying, or hiking outside all day, grey lenses won’t get in the way.

Sunglass Lens Color Guide: How to Choose the Right One (2)

Brown Lenses

If you live somewhere like the Pacific Northwest, then you need a pair of sunglasses that work for both cloudy and sunny days.Brown lensesincrease contrast and help you see depth better but don’t block the sun quite as well as gray. Brown lenses work as a great all-around pair of sunglasses in multiple types of environments, no matter how sunny it is outside.

Green Lenses

Green lenseshelp block out blue light and bright sunlight without compromising color contrast. Green lenses are excellent for sports where you have to follow a ball extensively, like tennis, volleyball, or golf.

Yellow Lenses

Any snowboarders know that yellow lenses are the ones to purchase for the slopes. Yellow sunglasses lenses highlight visibility in low-light conditions, like those cloudy days when there may be some light snowfall. Yellow lenses protect your eyes during dusk as well, so that you can see clearly even when the sun has dropped behind the horizon.

Sunglass Lens Color Guide: How to Choose the Right One (5)

Rose Lenses

If you find yourself with constant tension headaches due to eye strain, try out somerose-colored sunglasses. Rose lenses relax your eyes and improve visual contrast, especially when you’re looking at snow.

Blue Lenses

Blue lensesfare well for water sports because they make glare more comfortable to look at and relax your eyes. Many people wear theseforoutdoor sports andthey'regreat for everyday use in bright light conditions. If you want reading sunglasses, blue lenses keep your eyes relaxed in the sun so you can focus on the page in front of you.

How to Choose the Right Lens for You

To choose the right lens for you, consider what activity you will use them for, the typical lighting conditions, and your personal preference.

If you know you want them for driving, then brown lenses work well on cloudy and sunny days, helping you see better every time you get behind the wheel. But if you’re using them exclusively for beach volleyball on Saturdays, then green sunglasses would be best when you have to stare into the sun excessively to nail that spike.

The city of Phoenix, AZ is one of the sunniest cities in America, with the sun out 85% of the time. If you live in sunnier climates, you want a lens color for bright light conditions, so you should go with blue, green, brown, or grey.

However, if you live in Anchorage, Alaska, which has over 230 cloudy days per year, it’d be more beneficial to pick sunglasses best for low light conditions. Go with lens colors such as rose, yellow, or brown to optimize your vision.

To narrow it down further, think about which colors you like best. No one can decide this for you, so head to a glasses shop near you and try on a few pairs to find which lens color you find the most comfortable.

You should also consider other lens factors, like whether you want thelenses to be polarized, if you want to add a mirrored coating, or if the shades should block 100% UVA/UVB rays.

How to Maintain Your Lenses

To maintain your lenses,clean your sunglassesregularly with mild, non-lotion dish soap in warm water. Never place your sunglasses lens-side down on a surface, always set them down folded on top of the arms.Don'tforget to store your sunglasses in aprotective casewhen you're not wearing themso they don’t get scratched while storing them in your pocket or purse.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Most Versatile Sunglass Lens Color?

The most versatile sunglass lens color is gray, followed closely by brown. Gray lenses reduce glare in any lighting condition and maintain colors, making them the best choice for almost any activity. Brown lenses also work well because they enhance contrast in the sun but don’t make the colors quite as clear.

What Is the Best Polarized Color Lens?

The best polarized color lens is green because it doesn’t change the colors of objects when you’re looking through the lens. Green lenses offer excellent contrast and lighten shadows so that it’s easier to see. Brown polarized lenses are best for low-light conditions and blue polarized sunglasses work best if you solely want to enhance the colors.

What Color Lenses Are Best for Everyday Use?

Dark-colored lenses are the best for everyday use. These include brown, black, and grey, and they stop glare so that you don’t have to squint when looking into the sun or in bright conditions.


How do I know what color sunglasses to get? ›

Dark colors (brown/gray/green) are ideal for everyday use and most outdoor activities. Darker shades are intended primarily to cut through the glare and reduce eyestrain in moderate-to-bright conditions. Gray and green lenses won't distort colors, while brown lenses may cause minor distortion.

What color of sunglass lens will suit me? ›

Warm skin tones are characterized by tanned skin, brown or black eyes, and green rather than blue veins. With a warm skin tone, try red, brown, beige, orange, golden or yellow frames. These colours flatter your skin. Choose fiery colours or a juicy brown for your lenses.

What do different colors of sunglass lenses do for the I? ›

Benefits of various color lenses in sunglasses

Some sunglasses tints enhance colors you see, making them appear more vivid. Other tint colors help distort colors, reduce glare, block light and even improve visual acuity.

How do I know what color glasses suit my face? ›

Matching glasses frames colour to eye colour

For a subdued and understated look, choose frames in a colour that match with the neutral tones in your eyes, such as brown, beige, or black. If you want to channel a fun, statement-making look, choose a colour that's contrasting but complementary to your eye colour.

What is the most popular lens color in sunglasses? ›

Gray or smoke-colored lenses are the most popular choices. That's not surprising, since they provide a clear image on both sunny and cloudy days, and provide great overall protection against glare. Additionally, gray lenses allow true color recognition so you'll see colors in their truest form.

Is grey or brown better for sunglasses? ›

If you want a good all-around pair of sunglasses or can only take one pair on a trip, then brown lenses are a good choice. They are not as good as gray lenses when it comes to blocking sunlight, but they do an excellent job while increasing contrast, clarity, and depth perception by filtering out blue light.

What color polarized lens is best? ›

This often comes down to personal preference, but the best lens color options for driving are usually gray or amber. Gray is generally better for bright, hazy, sunny conditions. Amber is often better for cloudy, overcast days and rain.

What color lens is best for cloudy days? ›

The Best Lens Color for Overcast Days

That color is anything in neighborhood of the yellow family – very light brown to amber to yellow to orange to orange-red. The reason is because overcast days create a lot of “blue light,” light from the bluish stage of the light spectrum.

Which lens color looks best? ›

Opaque coloured tints are the best choice if you have dark eyes. For a natural-looking change, try a lighter honey brown or hazel coloured lens. But if you really want to stand out from the crowd, opt for contact lenses in vivid colours, such as blue, green or violet.

How dark should sunglass lenses be? ›

Darkness: Go with 75 per cent, considered a medium darkness, says optician Telenko. Most days aren't brilliant, and you won't need to whip them off the second you are indoors. For sensitive eyes, try the darker glasses that keep out 85 per cent of light. A darker tint shouldn't cost more.

What color sunglasses look best on light skin? ›

For Light Skin Tone

Sunglasses in neutral or dark hues like brown and gold will look awesome on someone with a warm and light skin tone. You may also like to stick with darker hues but don't always choose black. Dark blue or rich pink colors appeal to warm undertones.

Does the color of sunglass lens matter? ›

Yes, color does matter when it comes to tinted sunglasses. In addition to elevating your style, lens color plays a big role in your overall eye health and performance in certain activities. That means that finding the perfect colored lens depends on you and your needs.

Are darker sunglasses better? ›

When examining different types of lenses and sunglass styles, neither lens color nor price plays a factor in safety from the sun's harmful UV rays. It isn't the shade or darkness of the lens that indicates the level of eye protection; it's the coatings.

What are grey lenses good for? ›

Gray lenses are one of the most common for a standard pair of sunwear. This color reduces the glare of light when reflecting off of surfaces like water or pavement. In addition to cutting glare, gray lenses easily shield bright light, making them an excellent option for sunny or cloudy days.

What color glasses go with everything? ›

The best rule of thumb is matching your glasses to your outfit to avoid clashing colors; fortunately, the most common frame colors for glasses are black, white, grey, and silver, which go with just about everything, so you may not need to think too deeply about matching your glasses to most outfits.

Should glasses cover your eyebrows? ›

As a rule, at least the top half of your eyebrows should be visible. Your glasses shouldn't cover them completely, nor should they show them so much that your eyebrows look like they're floating on top of your frame.

Do clear glasses look good with grey hair? ›

You can even go with transparent frames, though you're missing out on a great chance to add some color to your look. Silver or rimless glasses can be problematic as they emphasize the grey tone, so be careful if you're considering those styles.

Is brown or black better for sunglasses? ›

Brown sunglasses look best on women with medium or dark hair. They also bring out some nice tones in women with red or auburn hair. Black shades, on the other hand, are perfect for fair-haired, fair-complexioned ladies.

What sunglasses are number 1? ›

Summary Of The Best Sunglasses Brands in India
S. No.Brand namePrice
1Polo Ralph Lauren₹12,009
6 more rows

How to choose Ray-Ban lens color? ›

Ray-Ban offers a variety of lens colors, including brown, grey, green, and blue. Brown lenses are great for everyday use and offer good contrast. Grey lenses are perfect for outdoor use and provide excellent glare reduction. Green lenses are ideal for sports and other activities where you need enhanced contrast.

Are polarized or non polarized sunglasses better? ›

With polarized sunglasses, you won't be subjected to glare and its more irritating (or even dangerous) effects. Your vision will likely have more clarity and contrast than if you were wearing non-polarized lenses. Non-polarized sunglasses lack the glare-filtering coating that polarized sunglasses have.

Is gray or brown better for transition lenses? ›

If you are looking for better contrast to increase visual acuity for things like golfing and fishing, then transition brown is the color for you. If you are looking for the absolute darkest transition lens possible, you should veer towards transition gray.

Are mirrored lenses better? ›

Mirrored lenses also provide UV protection, making them ideal for high-intensity outdoor activities like motorcycling and cycling where sunglasses serve as protective gear. Mirrored lenses also reduce harsh glare from water which make them a great choice for fishing and boating too.

What color sunglasses are best for rain? ›

If it's cloudy or rainy, gray polarized lenses can help enhance contrast and reduce glare from wet roads. If it's bright and sunny, gray lenses help keep your eyes comfortable from the glare. They also display accurate colors outside, so you'll have true color perception while wearing gray shades.

Is it worth paying extra for polarized lenses? ›

If you spend a lot of time on the road, on the golf course, on the water or in the mountains, polarized lenses are a good investment. They reduce harmful (and annoying) glare on reflective surfaces like pavement and water, making objects appear clearer—like a golf ball, highway lines or a trail deep in the woods.

What color lens is best for night vision? ›

Driving can cause a strain on your eyes especially at night because of the lights of oncoming traffic. So what is considered the best lens color for night driving…well, there are 2 options; either a clear lens with an AR (anti-reflective) coating or a yellow lens with an AR coating.

Which lens color looks natural? ›

To keep your eyes looking natural, go for brown or hazel colored lens.

What eye color needs glasses the most? ›

As of now, the commonly accepted theory is that eye colour has no real effect on vision quality. It's significant to note that while people with lighter eyes may have increased light sensitivity, those with dark eyes should still make it a point to wear sunglasses whenever they set foot outside.

What lens best matches the human eye? ›

Understanding Human Field of View

We often hear that a 50mm lens on a full frame camera is the closest to the human field of view. We call the 50mm a standard lens because the focal length is equal to the diagonal size of its sensor. Our eyes' focal length is approximately 22mm.

How do you know if your sunglasses are dark enough? ›

Check how dark they look

One way is to hold them up in front of your face, looking at them from an angle and then testing how dark they look. If you can see everything behind them clearly, then they're not UV protected. Another way is to ask someone wearing glasses whether or not they're blocking all of their UV rays.

What are the best sunglasses that aren't too dark? ›

Double gradient lenses are a great choice if you want sunglasses that aren't too dark but shield your eyes from bright overhead sunlight and light reflecting off sand, water and other reflective surfaces at your feet. Photochromic lenses adjust their level of darkness based on the amount of UV light they're exposed to.

Are Category 4 sunglasses too dark? ›

Category 4 sunglasses are ideal for snowboarding or skiing activities, as they let in less than 8% of UV light. However, this category is not recommended for use while driving as the lens is too dark to see clearly. Only sunglasses with a filter category of 0-3 are considered safe for driving.

What color sunglasses for medium skin tone? ›

If you have medium skin with cool undertones, you'll have pink and blue undertones on your forearm. Tropical colors like blues and greens work well, but you can also get away with dark reds and browns. If you have darker skin with warm yellow undertones, consider metal frames, darker browns, cognacs, and ambers.

Which sunglass lens color is darkest? ›

What are category 4 sunglasses? These are the darkest sun lenses. Because they absorb so much visible light, they're illegal to wear for driving. Generally, these lenses are only suitable for extreme exposure scenarios such as high-altitude mountaineering.

What colors look good on really light skin? ›

The best outfits for pale skin often rely on colors like emerald green, navy and bold shades of blue. If you like to incorporate watches or other pieces of jewelry into your outfit, choose cool metals like platinum or silver rather than gold or copper.

What color sunglass lens is best for light sensitivity? ›

Tinted Sunglasses. If your eyes are sensitive to light, choosing a darker lens color will help you on a bright, sunny day. Sunglasses with dark tints are one of the best types of sunglasses you can get for sensitive eyes. They deter excess light from entering the lens and offer a good amount of eye protection.

What kind of sunglasses make things brighter? ›

Tens are very popular around the world because of their unique custom lens tint. They make everything brighter than any other sunglasses while still protecting you eyes.

Why do people wear dark sunglasses? ›

While most people reach for their dark lenses because of the bright glare of the sun, other people wear their shades for more reasons than simply sun protection. Sometimes, these reasons cross the threshold into the home, workplace, shopping mall, sports arena and the doctor's office.

What category sunglasses is best? ›

You should always choose sunglasses with a lens category of at least 2 or above as these provide a good level of UV protection and sun glare reduction.

Is it OK to wear sunglasses all the time? ›

Most people don't realize that wearing sunglasses all the time can cause eye strain. It makes your eyes constantly squint, making it hard for them to focus correctly. Additionally, wearing sunglasses all the time can lead to infections such as conjunctivitis or pink eye.

What color sunglasses are best for driving? ›

While gray, brown, and amber lenses are good for daytime driving, and clear lenses are best for nighttime driving, there are some lens colors that you should avoid wearing while driving at any time. Shades of blue, green, and pink all impact how much light reaches your eyes.

Are green or gray sunglass lenses better? ›

Sunglasses with green lenses provide better contrast than gray lenses and transmit color accuracy better than brown lenses and are ideal for both sunny and low-light environments. Perfect for water or field sports, cycling or skiing, green lenses protect and comfort your eyes on foggy, cloudy, or bright, sunny days.

What are green sunglass lenses good for? ›


It does not distort colour perception and offers good contrast vision. With that in mind, green lenses are great for reducing visual fatigue. This tint is recommended for golf, tennis, and other outdoor activities.

Are darker or lighter sunglasses better? ›

When examining different types of lenses and sunglass styles, neither lens color nor price plays a factor in safety from the sun's harmful UV rays. It isn't the shade or darkness of the lens that indicates the level of eye protection; it's the coatings.

What color tint is best for light sensitivity? ›

Blue tinted lenses for light sensitivity and seizures

It is believed that blue colored lenses are especially effective in preventing this abnormal brain response. Blue-tinted lenses have are also considered to be useful for people who suffer from light-triggered headaches and migraines.

What is the best color for polarized lenses? ›

What's the Best Polarized Lens Color for Driving? This often comes down to personal preference, but the best lens color options for driving are usually gray or amber. Gray is generally better for bright, hazy, sunny conditions. Amber is often better for cloudy, overcast days and rain.

How dark should my sunglasses be? ›

Darkness: Go with 75 per cent, considered a medium darkness, says optician Telenko. Most days aren't brilliant, and you won't need to whip them off the second you are indoors. For sensitive eyes, try the darker glasses that keep out 85 per cent of light. A darker tint shouldn't cost more.

What sunglasses are universally flattering? ›


With this style, one thing remains the same: aviators are one of the most universally flattering shade styles ever. They look great on men, women, most face shapes, and all ages.

What color sunglasses are best for light sensitive eyes? ›

Gray – Gray lenses block most light, making them perfect for people with light sensitivity.

Which tinting to choose? ›

A car window tint percentage of 50% is effective in keeping out UV rays and heat. It blocks half of the light, thus reducing glare and eye strain. If you're looking for a stylish and smooth look for your mobile car, the best window tint percentage is 35%. It gives off a darker appearance without sacrificing visibility.


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