What is the most attractive eye color? Many surveys have asked this question and the answer is… there’s more than one answer.
One thing these survey results have in common is that light-colored eyes — green, gray, blue, and hazel — are named as the most attractive eye colors in the world.
In one large survey of more than 66,000 people, green was chosen as the most attractive eye color. Green is also among the rarest eye colors. Only about 2% of people worldwide have green eyes.
The list of most attractive eye colors from that survey includes:
- Green: 20.3%
- Light blue: 16.9%
- Hazel: 16.0%
- Dark blue: 15.2%
- Gray: 10.9%
- Honey: 7.9%
- Amethyst: 6.9%
- Brown: 5.9%
What Determines Eye Color?
Your eye color is determined by genetics and melanin.
You may have been taught that eye color is mostly hereditary. Scientists used to believe that children inherited only one eye-color gene from their parents. So, if your parents had brown eyes, you would too.
Today, research shows that as many as 16 genes are involved. That’s why parents with blue eyes can have a child with dark brown eyes. In fact, no two people will share the same eye color, shape or appearance, even if they are in the same family.
Melanin is a brown-colored pigment responsible for eye, skin and hair color. Parents pass down genes that affect how much melanin their children will have, including the amount in the cells of their irises.
The iris is the thin, circular structure that surrounds the pupil and is responsible for eye color. The more melanin someone has in the cells of their iris, the darker their eyes will be.
There aren’t different colors of melanin. It’s all brown. The reason people’s eyes look most colors other than brown is due to the lack of melanin produced in the iris.
Interesting Facts About Eye Color
Brown is considered the original eye color because it’s the color early humans had hundreds of thousands of years ago in what is now Africa. Brown is the most common eye color today, with 70% to 79% of people around the world having some shade of brown eyes.
Blue eyes are the result of a genetic mutation. Researchers have found that about 6,000 to 10,000 years ago, someone was born in Europe with a genetic mutation that turned off that gene’s ability to produce brown eyes and instead resulted in blue eyes. This was the first human with blue eyes, and everyone alive today who has blue eyes is related to that first blue-eyed person.
More About the Most Attractive Eye Colors
Brown is the original and most common eye color, and they contain the highest amount of melanin. But what about those considered among the most attractive eye colors?
Green eyes have less melanin than brown eyes and more than blue eyes.
Green and hazel eyes can look similar and are sometimes mistaken for one another. The difference is that green eyes are usually one solid color, while hazel eyes are a mixture of green and light brown or gold. Hazel eyes also tend to have more melanin than green eyes.
Gray eyes are also rare. It’s estimated that 3% of the world’s population has this eye color.
Scientists believe that gray eyes develop in a similar way to blue eyes, but there is enough melanin in the front layer of the iris to make the eyes look gray rather than blue. The way the eyes scatter light can also make them look gray, blue-gray or silver-gray.
Blue eyes have the least amount of melanin, even less than green eyes. Approximately 27% of Americans have blue eyes. They’re much more rare in other places, as only about 9% of people around the world have blue eyes.
While a large survey found that green is considered the most attractive eye color, it doesn’t appear to be the eye color most people want. A different survey about eye color found that 47.6% of respondents would prefer to have blue eyes if they could choose.
If you have hazel eyes, which are a mix of green and brown, your eyes have as much melanin as someone with brown eyes. The difference is that the melanin in hazel eyes is near the outer edge of the iris. Hazel eyes often have green, brown and sometimes gold streaks near the pupil.
Approximately 18% of the American population and 5% of people globally have hazel eyes.
Can You Change Your Eye Color?
For the most part, your eye color doesn’t change over the course of your lifetime. If you want to see how you’d look with different-colored eyes, or if you want to intensify your eye color, colored contact lenses are the safest choice.
If you want to try colored contact lenses, your eye doctor needs to professionally fit them for your eyes. You also need a prescription for colored contacts even if you don’t need them to see better. This is because all contact lenses are medical devices and could harm your eyes if they’re not fitted, worn and maintained properly.