Are Color Contacts Making a Comeback?

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NOTE: I received a free eye exam and contact lens fitting from LensCrafters and a 6-month supply of Alcon AIR OPTIX® COLORS* contact lenses in exchange for writing a review, all opinions are my own.

One of my most vivid memories of colored contacts came in high school. A girl in my class wore one blue contact and one regular contact (her natural eye color was brown). I told her she looked like a husky and she got offended. But at least she was creative. I never told the other girls in school that their blue, gray or green colored contacts always looked incredibly fake (Because they had to know, right?).

So imagine my surprise when I learned that celebrities like Nina Dobrev wore colored contacts to red carpet events. What? I thought I could spot those babies from a mile away. But they’ve been in my face for the past year, and to be honest, they look kind of convincing.

Now I have to admit that I’ve always loved my eye color. I’m told they’re similar to my great grandmother’s eyes–blue with a touch of yellow around the iris–but that doesn’t mean I’ve never wondered what I would look like with a different color. That’s why I jumped at the chance to try a few different shades from AIR OPTIX® COLORS. In just one afternoon, I saw my eyes go from Sterling Gray to Brilliant Blue and then to Gemstone Green (though I was a little disappointed that purple wasn’t an option to channel Elizabeth Taylor).

What’s unique about these contacts in particular is that they have 3-in-1 color technology that helps them blend better with your own eye color for a more natural look. That means the same pair of contacts can look completely different from person to person. Plus, they’re breathable and supposedly a lot more comfortable than other versions of color contacts. I wouldn’t know.

After the event, I made an appointment with an optometrist at a local Lenscrafters where I had an eye exam and got fitted for the contacts. I decided to go with the Gemstone Green since they looked the most natural, but different enough, with my natural eye color.

When I received my pair in the mail a few weeks later, I wore them out the very next day to a couple of events. While I can’t say that I was stopped on the street and complimented on my new eye color, I did have an extra spring in my step–like the feeling of a brand new haircut or color. And I think that any new person I meet assumes they’re my natural color too.

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My natural eye color on top and the green contacts on bottom.

Here’s the downside: I don’t feel like these contacts are as comfortable as my clear prescription contacts. Maybe I just need to adjust them? Or just get used to them more?

In my opinion, as long as you don’t go too drastic in the color change, this new breed of colored contacts are a really easy way to subtly change up your look. For someone with brown eyes, hazel or even green will look lovely, but blue might be a bit too drasticl. Actress Nina Dobrev has naturally brown eyes and it seems that her go-to colors are Gemstone Green and Sterling Gray.

And since trying them on in person isn’t always an option, AIR OPTIX® COLORS has a neat virtual try-on tool on their website that let’s you upload a picture of yourself and click on the different color options. It’s fun to play around!

*High oxygen transmissible lenses: Dk/t = 138 @ -3.00D.

Important information for AIR OPTIX® COLORS (lotrafilcon B) contact lenses: For daily wear only for near/far-sightedness. Contact lenses, even if worn for cosmetic reasons, are prescription medical devices that must only be worn under the prescription, direction and supervision of an eye care professional. Serious eye health problems may occur as a result of sharing contact lenses. Although rare, serious eye problems can develop while wearing contact lenses. Side effects like discomfort, mild burning or stinging may occur. To help avoid these problems, follow the wear and replacement schedule and the lens care instructions provided by your eye doctor. Ask your eye care professional for complete wear, care, and safety information.

Disclaimer: AIR OPTIX® COLORS contact lenses are available by prescription only.