I Wore Different-Colored Contacts for a Week—Here's What Happened


Jenna Peffley

When Selena Gomez, Kylie Jenner, and other influencers began popping in colored contacts to different events late last year, my first thought was something along the lines of Please no—is this really a thing again? I, like many people, I’m sure, remember the last time switching up your eye color was in vogue a little too vividly—specifically, that you could spot those fake irises from 50 yards away. I had really thought that like so many unfortunate trends of the mid-aughts, this one was dead and buried. (Then again, skinny scarves are back, so maybe it’s time to accept the fact that these things never really go away.)

But in spite of this cynical gut reaction, I found myself perusing photos of Gomez at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in November, where she was sporting temporary blue eyes. And I realized the reason I was so enthralled was that these weren’t the colored contacts I remembered. They looked so… real. The effect was jarring and transformative, and I began to wonder what it would be like to toy with my own genetics.

We dye our hair and use makeup to alter and amplify our features, but changing our eye color somehow feels more taboo, more akin to changing one’s height or shoe size. Then again, maybe it’s the fact that the option hasn’t been commercially available to us for very long at all—it’s more of a futuristic fantasy, fodder for The Hunger Games. I was born with hazel-brown eyes, and have accepted that as my fate—even if my hair has been nearly every color of the rainbow at this point.

But it looks like that’s all about to change, thanks to a new crop of colored contacts that are more lifelike than ever. There’s Acuvue’s Define line, which is designed to enhance your own natural color by adding contrast and shine, and then there are true color contacts like those in Air Optix’s collection, which are so realistic a stranger would never be the wiser.

We know that there are psychological ties to hair color; just this facet of our appearance can alter the way people see us, as well as the way we see ourselves. Could the same be said for our eyes? I took it upon myself to find out. With the help of three different Air Optix colors, I decided to spend a week experiencing the world through eyes that aren’t exactly my own. Keep reading to find out what happened.

Which hue is your favorite? Would you ever try out color contacts? Sound off below.