Color Guide: What Do Hazel Eyes Look Like? (2024)

by Wendy Watts June 8, 2022 1581 6 min read

Color Guide: What Do Hazel Eyes Look Like? (1)

The old saying goes that eyes are the windows to the soul — and the color of the eyes can reflect the kind of soul a person has. For example, brown eyes are associated with warmth and safety, while blue eyes exude sweetness and a mysterious, sexy edge.

However, there is one color that stands out above the rest in terms of uniqueness — hazel. This rare eye color is often rated as the most striking eye color someone can have. But what do hazel eyes look like? In case you were wondering if you’re in possession of a pair of hazel blinkers, here is a brief breakdown of this amazing color and how it looks.

Hazel Eyes Introduction

Color Guide: What Do Hazel Eyes Look Like? (2)

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Human eye color is complicated. The pigment in your iris is directly related to the amount of melanin you have in your body. Melanin is a type of complex polymer your body produces to absorb harmful UV radiation and protect you from sun damage.

The more melanin you have in your body, the darker your hair, skin, and eye color are going to be. So, for example, people with brown eyes usually have a darker skin tone.

Consequently, they can tan much more easily, even if they have a fairly tanned complexion. Because it’s advantageous to have a higher melanin content, brown eyes are some of the most common in the world.

Blue eyes, on the other hand, are a result of a lower concentration of melanin, which allows your eyes to scatter light better. As a result, you get the appearance of blue eyes, even though your iris doesn’t actually have any blue pigment in it.

Overall, having blue eyes generally means you’ll burn more easily in sunlight. However, it’s not uncommon for blue-eyed individuals to tolerate the sun well.

But what about hazel eyes? As it turns out, they’re even more complicated than either brown or blue eyes. Like blue eyes, hazel irises contain low concentrations of melanin. Yet, people with green or hazel eyes have inconsistent amounts of melanin scattered throughout the iris. This, in turn, makes the eyes look like a blend of several colors.

What Do Hazel Eyes Look Like?

Color Guide: What Do Hazel Eyes Look Like? (3)

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As established, hazel eyes happen because of an inconsistent amount of melanin in the iris. Therefore, hazel eyes appear as a blend of multiple colors, from blue to green and brown.

High amounts of melanin most often appear on the outer edges of the iris. Consequently, the center often appears much lighter. However, the inverse can also be true, with the center having a darker brown hue while the edges are a blend of blue and green.

The phenomenon happens as a result of something called Rayleigh scattering. This occurrence refers to the scattering of air molecules that have a radius that is 1/10 of the wavelength of radiation.

What this means is that a person with hazel eyes can have eyes that look green, dark blue, or even a deep yellow, depending on the amount of light they’re exposed to.

How Do You Know If You Have Hazel Eyes?

Color Guide: What Do Hazel Eyes Look Like? (4)

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As established, hazel eyes are a chimera of several different eye colors. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for people to mistake hazel eyes for brown or green, depending on the time of day. However, there are several ways to tell if you have hazel eyes.

• Your eyes are a blend of several colors: The first indicator of hazel eyes is their shifting color pattern. All hazel eyes have a combination of green, brown, and even yellow pigmentation. So, if you notice a mixture of any of these colors in your iris, then you have hazel eyes.

• Your iris changes colors throughout the day: This is common for irises that have low concentrations of melanin, such as blue, green, or hazel.

• Your eye color changed when you entered puberty: For the vast majority of people, eye color is set at birth. However, pregnancy, trauma, or puberty can cause a gradual shift in pigmentation. Thus, if you’ve noticed your eyes look slightly different lately, you’ve likely come into your natural hazel color.

• One of your parents has hazel eyes: One of the most common ways people determine their eye color is by looking at the eye colors their parents have. However, using your parents as a reference point is notoriously unreliable. Eye-color inheritance is a complex genetic process that hinges on a myriad of different environmental factors.

Therefore, it’s not a guarantee that you can predict what eye color you’ll have based on your parents’ eye colors. However, you do have a bigger chance of ending up with hazel eyes if one or both of your parents have them.

How Rare Are Hazel Eyes?

Color Guide: What Do Hazel Eyes Look Like? (5)

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If you’re someone who has a pair of hazel eyes, consider yourself lucky. Though not quite as rare as green eyes, they’re still one of the least common eye colors. Researchers estimate that around 5% of the world’s population has hazel eyes.

In contrast, brown eyes are the most common, clocking in at about 55% to 80% of the world’s population. Meanwhile, around 8% to 10% of people have blue eyes, and they always have some European ancestry in their lineage.

Color Guide: What Do Hazel Eyes Look Like? (2024)


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