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A good pair of standard sunglasses will block UV light, but they can also dull down the colors of your surroundings, taking away from the natural beauty all around you. Enter the best color-enhancing sunglasses. These lenses give you a whole new perspective on what sunglasses can do, and literally help you see the world in a new light while still offering protection, and can be used while driving, exercising, and whenever you’re outside. They visibly tone down areas where colors overlap, making the right colors stand out. Put on a pair, and you’ll immediately see the difference.
How Do Color-Enhancing Lenses Work?
These special lenses boost the saturation and contrast of colors, and increase the range of colors we can see, making everything more balanced with an added pop your regular eyes can’t do – since color is simply a reflection of light frequencies and wavelengths interpreted by our brain when it hits the cones inside our eyes.
Color-Enhancing Sunglasses Buying Guide
Here are a few things to consider before you buy your next pair of shades, including what we looked at when choosing our list of the best color-enhancing sunglasses.
Colors: The right lighting can change how everything looks, and because each of our cones have a different amount of light sensitivity (along with everybody having a slightly differing amount of cones) color is interpreted a little differently for each person. Think of it like when you use a filter over your photos on social media. When you put on color-enhancing lenses, they’re designed to intensify some colors and filter others, so your vision of the color spectrum through your lenses is enhanced.
Lenses: Note that these are different from polarizing lenses. While polarizing lenses also alter and enhance contrast and lighting effects, they’re more designed to cut out horizontal light, or glare, while letting vertical light safely through. They’re excellent for improving things like a more focused and crisp vision, and depth perception, but they won’t always enhance colors the way that these can (though hybrid models that include the best of both are available).
Photochromic is the most common, and you’ve probably experienced them in transition lenses, which automatically shift depending on the brightness of the room or environment/UV rays. But electrochromic, like many of these new color-changing glasses, is powered by an electric current, setting it apart from traditional frames.
Style: Just like regular sunglasses, there are a ton of different fits and designs, and not one-size-fits-all. Consider what you already liked about your current glasses, and go from there. Some manufacturers even let you just swap out the lenses, so you may be able to keep your favorite shades but level up your lenses.
Connectivity: The right color-changing lenses alone will get the job done, but some newer models are starting to feature connectivity to your devices too. They can pair with Bluetooth and apps, which can expand their capabilities, like including a camera, audio controls, and sharing what you see on social media in real-time.
Charging Case: With special app-enabled, feature-driven sunglasses, they’ll usually require a charge from somewhere. And that’s where a charging case is going to be a lifesaver when you’re far from an outlet or a power source. Much like with an earbud case, sunglass cases can hold a charge on their own, so every time you store your glasses away, they’re fueling up.
The Best Color-Enhancing Sunglasses
From Spy Optics to Oakleys, here are the best shades to try this season.
1. Spy Optic CYRUS Happy Boost Sunglasses
Spy Optic’s Happy Boost shades provide a blast of vividly bright colors from the get-go. There’s a noticeable increase of sharpness in the palette all around you – up to 30 percent more than your eye alone, all while factoring in lighting, time of day, and the environment you’re in. The brand’s lens was developed by testing over 10 million combinations via AI, to let beneficial blue light through, with anti-reflection coating on the lens’ backside to cut down on eyestrain. The frontside holds off obstructions like water, dirt, and oils, and the frames come in different styles to fit your needs (and your face). We personally tested and loved the Cyrus, which lets you easily see through shadows and ever-changing light conditions. Bonus: They look pretty badass too.
2. Oakley Frogskins Sunglasses
If you want a pair of rugged, stylish sunnies to last you through workouts and commutes alike, go for these Oakley Frogskins. With a bridge that sits up higher on your nose and a comfortable yet secure fit, you can choose among eight different colors of frames, from crystal clear to matte tortoise. You have the option to add a prescription to your lenses, too, so you won’t have to swap out your shades just to see like you can with your usual frames. With the brand’s Prizm Sapphire lenses, you’ll notice an increase in contrasting colors, all while keeping your eyes protected from UV light.
3. GloFX Yellow Color Therapy Glasses Chakra Relax Glasses
These colorful glasses utilize “chromatherapy”, commonly known as color therapy, with each color bringing a different feel, mood, and benefits. Rather than having just one type of lens that filters and enhances all colors, GloFX lets you select which ones would be best for you, and which type of light you’d want to block out. The frames are made from PVC that matches the lens color of whichever ones you choose, with stainless steel hinges to hold it all together. Some users even say they help with chronic migraines and dyslexia.
4. Spy Optic Cyrus Square Sunglasses
These imported frames from Spy Optic are non-polarized, and feature a super-thick and durable body that’s resistant to drops and damage. The lenses eliminate reflective light, block glare, and the company’s philosophy is that long-wave blue light can actually help boost your mood, unlike short-wave blue light which can be damaging (and these protect against that too). They’re comfortable and reduce eye strain as well, all while looking good.
5. Ray-Ban Wayfarer
These Ray-Bans are by far the most high-tech of the bunch, and offer a host of modern features along with having the company’s signature classically cool style. The lenses contain a 5MP camera that allows you to take photos hands-free, automatically adjusting for light and depth, while the sides discreetly hide an audio touch control for your device. You can also download the app to share your photos and videos, and the case charges it all up when the battery gets low.