They say the eyes are the windows to the soul – every emotion in every moment, detailed just behind our eyelashes. While scriptures, poems, and art have turned eyes into metaphors, claiming they are mirrors and windows, our fascination with them likely blossoms from their color. No two eyes are the same, with varying shades and colors creating a personalized fingerprint for the world to see. While talk of eyes “telling a story” has long been just that – a story – studies show people may share more than just eye color.
Once, every human had brown eyes, but thanks to a mutation along the way, it’s now not uncommon to see people with blue, green, or gray eyes. So which eye color do people find the most attractive, and what does it say about our personality? We surveyed 1,000 people about their perceptions of peepers and what eye color can reveal. Keep reading to see what we found.
BEAUTY IN COLOR
Despite songs about blue eyes and brown-eyed girls, neither color was found to be the most attractive. Instead, gray eyes topped the chart with an average rating of 7.4, followed by blue and green eyes each scoring an average of 7.3. However, when broken down by gender, men ranked gray, blue, and green eyes as the most attractive, while women said they were most attracted to green, hazel, and gray eyes.
Despite brown eyes ranking at the bottom of our perceived attraction scale, approximately 79% of the world’s population sports melanin-rich eyes. And around 10%, 5%, and 2% of people have blue, hazel, and green eyes, respectively. Seeing as gray eyes are the most attractive but happen to be one of the rarest eye colors in the world, it seems uniqueness and attractiveness are heavily linked.
COLOR OF LOVE
While there are differences in attraction to eye color, most people probably wouldn’t consider the feature a deal breaker in their relationship. However, eye color may play a larger role in relationships than previously thought. One scientific study found an unexpected link between the eye color of spouses and a person’s parents. It turns out, people tend to choose lovers who share the same eye color as the parent whose gender they are attracted to.
Of course, numerous factors other than physical attributes play a role in attraction and choosing a partner. However, over half of respondents said they had a partner whose eye color they’d prefer was different. While men were 1.4 times more likely than women to wish their partner had a different eye color, both genders favored the color blue. Surprisingly, green, brown, and hazel were more preferred on a partner than gray eyes – the color respondents considered the most attractive.
IF YOU COULD CHOOSE …
Aside from colored contacts or significantly risky surgeries, the eye color we are born with stays with us for life. However, not everyone is happy with what they have – 19% of Americans wished they had a different eye color. Perhaps because brown eyes are both the most common and perceived to be less attractive, 26.2% of brown-eyed people wished for a different color, while 17.1% of hazel-eyed respondents wished the same.
Despite gray eyes being rated as the most attractive, 47.6% of respondents would choose to have blue eyes if they had a choice in the matter. While 22.2% would have gone with green, only 7.6% wished for brown eyes. Nevertheless, not everyone with blue eyes is happy with it: 8.8% of blue-eyed respondents wished their eyes were a different color and were the most likely to favor green.
PERSONALITY AND PIGMENT
While science has found eye color to indicate how people handle pain and tolerate alcohol, little research has been done on personality differences based on the color of irises. Despite a lack of scientific support, most people probably have an opinion about eye color and personality traits. Respondents perceived people with gray eyes to be intelligent, quiet, and serious, while blue-eyed people were perceived to be expressive, affectionate, and confident. Brown eyes may have ranked as the least attractive, but they were 1.6 times more likely than blue eyes to be described as trustworthy.
HUES OF LIFE
Blue eyes are not only associated with being sexy and affectionate – they are also the most likely to enjoy trying new things and making new friends, engage in healthy recreation, and to seek adventure. While green and hazel eyes dominated the rest of the life aspects like setting goals, being optimistic about the future, and being passionate about their job, brown-eyed people were the most likely to do one thing: live life to the fullest. The connection between eye color and personality may seem clear, but research has found even stronger ties between eye color and health-related factors.
WINDOWS TO THE WORKPLACE
Considering there are so many factors that play a part in one’s career, how much they make, and how satisfied they are with their position, could eye color have an influence? Possibly. The difference between ease of maintaining eye contact was slim across eye colors, but green- and brown-eyed people had the easiest time. On the other hand, green- and blue-eyed respondents were significantly more likely to say they paid great attention to detail compared to those with brown or hazel eyes.
Despite the importance of eye contact in the workplace, blue-eyed respondents were the most likely to report receiving a raise and/or promotion in the past year, while 49.6% of brown-eyed respondents and 49.5% of those with hazel eyes said the same. Interestingly, though, hazel-eyed respondents reported the highest salary, bringing in an average of $38,240 each year.
Whether the windows to your soul are a piercing blue or an earthy brown, the eye color we’re born with may tell others more about us than we thought. From attractiveness to being intelligent, confident, unpredictable, and reliable – and even down to the salary we bring in each year – how we view ourselves and how others view us might be strongly connected to the color in our eyes.
Considering the high risk and permanence of eye color-changing surgery, colored contacts are a far safer, more affordable, and flexible option for those wanting to switch it up. Whether you’re a newbie looking for colored contacts or are in need of a refill from your favorite brand, 1-800 Contacts makes it easy and convenient to purchase the contacts prescribed by your doctor and delivers them straight to your door. To learn more about the simple, hassle-free process, visit us online today.
METHODOLOGY AND LIMITATIONS
For this analysis, we used Amazon Mechanical Turk to administer online surveys to 1,000 participants. Fifty-five percent of respondents identified as female, and 45% were male. Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 78 with an average age of 38 and a standard deviation of 12.3. Sixty-seven percent of respondents surveyed were in a relationship. To ensure the accuracy of our results, an attention-check was used to identify and disqualify respondents who weren’t fully reading the questions and answer choices. Some questions and answer choices were modified or relabeled for clarity and/or brevity; in these instances, all of the new labels serve to accurately portray our respondents’ original intent. In some cases, outliers were removed specifically where annual salary was questioned.
To determine the most attractive eye colors, we used A/B testing to randomly assign three eye colors to each respondent. We photoshopped a pair of androgynous brown eyes to measure the attractiveness of five eye colors: gray, blue, brown, green, and hazel. Respondents were asked to score each eye on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being not at all attractive and 10 being extremely attractive. Average scores were calculated and displayed.
The main limiting condition of this analysis is that the data solely rely on self-reported answers. Surveys that rely on self-reporting are typically associated with a handful of issues, which may include but are not limited to attribution, exaggeration, bias errors, or telescoping. An attempt was made to reduce the risk of bias throughout the survey.
FAIR USE STATEMENT
Eye color reveals so much more than our genetic makeup, but most people don’t know how it affects the way they are perceived. If you know someone who would be interested in the findings of our study, feel free to share this project with them. The graphics and content found here are available for noncommercial reuse. We just ask that you link back to this page so that the authors receive proper credit.