Determining your true eye color can be tricky. Many people assume their eyes are a certain color, only to find out upon closer inspection that their eyes are actually hazel. Hazel eyes are a mix of colors and can range from light golden or brownish-gold to a darker greenish-brown. The key is looking closely in good lighting to see all the different flecks, streaks, and shades that make up the iris. With some simple steps, you can figure out if your eyes are truly hazel.
Check in Natural Lighting
The first step in determining if you have hazel eyes is to look at them in natural sunlight. Find a spot near a window or outdoors where bright sunlight is streaming in. Have a friend or use a mirror to look closely at your eyes in the daylight. Hazel eyes contain a mix of brown, green, gold or amber colors. In natural light, you should be able to see definition and variations in color rather than a solid brown or green. The light brings out the different shades and streaks that make hazel eyes unique. If you see a starburst or sunburst pattern radiating out from the pupil, those are also indicators of hazel eyes.
Use a Magnifying Mirror
For an even closer look, use a magnifying mirror to inspect your eyes up close. The higher magnification will allow you to see the details in the iris more clearly. Lean in close to the mirror and move around to see your eyes from all angles. Hazel eyes typically contain green, brown and amber streaks and flecks. If you see variations of these colors blended together, it’s a sign you likely have hazel eyes. The magnified view makes it easier to distinguish between the different shades. If your eyes appear more solid brown or green, then they may not be hazel.
Compare Your Eye Color to Swatches
Another helpful tactic is to compare your eye color side-by-side with color swatches. Get a few paint strips or pieces of paper in various shades of green, brown, amber and gold. Hold the color swatches next to your eye in bright lighting. Hazel eyes are a blend, so if you can closely match the swatches to shades in your iris, it’s a strong indication you have hazel eyes. The color comparisons make it easier to identify the subtle tones and confirm you have a mix of pigments rather than a single solid color.
Examine Your Eyes in Different Lighting
Due to their blend of colors, hazel eyes can appear to shift in shade depending on the lighting conditions. Test this out by looking at your eyes indoors in natural light, artificial light and shade. Hazel eyes tend to lighten in hue when indoors compared to outdoor sunlight. Go in a dark room and shine a flashlight into your eye. The pupils will constrict to pinpoints and the iris should lighten noticeably. Then walk back out into sunshine and your hazel eyes should reveal darker flecks and streaks. These shifts indicate a multi-toned hazel eye rather than a fixed shade.
Analyze Your Eye Pattern and Shape
Your eye pattern and shape offers additional clues about whether your eyes are hazel. People with hazel eyes often have a defining light ring around the pupil, which is called a limbal ring. Look closely in the mirror to see if you have this distinguishing feature. Hazel eyes also frequently have a starburst or sunburst pattern radiating out from the pupil. Examine your iris closely for these shapes made up of lighter streaks. Finally, hazel eyes tend to be medium to large in size and almond shaped. If you have these eye patterns and shapes, it’s another sign that you likely have hazel eyes.
Ask Others How They’d Describe Your Eye Color
Since hazel eyes appear different to every observer depending on lighting conditions, ask other people how they would describe your eye color. Have friends, family members and coworkers look closely at your eyes and write down what colors they see. If you get an array of answers like shades of green, gold, brown, amber and gray, it confirms your eyes are hazel. People with solid brown or green eyes will get the same descriptions consistently. The variety of responses for hazel eyes reveals their dynamic, multi-colored nature.
Learn Your Genetics
Hazel eyes are genetically linked, so learning about your ancestry can provide clues. Hazel eyes stem from a combination of Rayleigh scattering and a low melanin concentration. Research shows Western and Northern Europeans have the highest incidences of hazel eyes. If you have Northern European heritage like British, Eastern European, German, French or Spanish, you have a greater chance of hazel eyes. Ask your parents and grandparents about their eye colors and ethnic backgrounds for helpful hints about your genetic likelihood of having hazel eyes.
Hazel eyes are beautiful, unique and often mistaken for ordinary brown or green eyes. But with the right techniques, you can determine conclusively if your eye color is hazel. Examining your eyes up close in natural lighting is the best way to see the mix of colors blended together. Comparing your eyes to color swatches also makes the different hues easier to distinguish. Hazel eyes also transform color in different lighting and frequently have defining patterns like limbal rings and sunburst shapes. If you notice these characteristics in your own eyes, combined with Northern European ancestry, you can confirm you have rare, stunning hazel eyes.
|Eye Color||Key Features|
|Green||Solid, deep green hues across the iris|
|Brown||Solid, rich brown pigment across the iris|
|Hazel||Mix of green, brown, gold and amber flecks and streaks|
|Hazel||Color shifts in different lighting conditions|
|Hazel||Limbal rings and sunburst patterns|
This table summarizes the key differences between green, brown and hazel eyes. Hazel eyes contain a blend of colors and exhibit specific characteristics like color shifts in lighting and limbal rings around the pupil. These are distinguishing features that set hazel eyes apart from other fixed eye colors.