What Makes Hazel Eyes Unique? What Color Are They? 16+ Facts to Know

15.01.2024 | Leah | TTDeye Care

Hazel eyes are sometimes mistaken for green or brown eyes. They are not as rare as green eyes but are rarer than blue eyes. Only about 5 percent of the population worldwide has the hazel eye genetic mutation.

So what are hazel eyes? Hazel eyes typically blend brown and green hues, but they come in various varieties. Some lean towards a noticeable green tint, while others incorporate more brown, gray, or even hints of blue.

This rich diversity makes hazel eyes unique and captivating, with each person's eye color showcasing its own distinct charm. Let's dive into the amazing world of hazel eyes together!

Hazel eyes

How Rare Are Hazel Eyes?

Are hazel eyes rare? Yes, only 5% of the world's population has hazel eyes which is incredibly rare when you compare it to people with blue eyes who make up 8-10% of the population and those with brown eyes make up a staggering 79%.

However, hazel eyes are not the rarest eye color, however, grey eyes, green eyes, and heterochromia (two different colored eyes) are even more uncommon!

What Causes Hazel Eyes?

Is eye color genetic? Yes, eye color is an inherited trait determined by multiple genes. And hazel eye color is no exception.

Among the 16 different genes responsible for eye color in humans, OCA2 and HERC2 are the primary ones. OCA2 produces melanin, while HERC2 regulates it. Genetic variations in HERC2 can decrease melanin production, resulting in lighter eyes.

Now let's further discuss what makes hazel eyes.

1. Genetics

Your genes determine how much melanin your iris produces. The higher the amount of melanin in the iris and the denser the texture of the melanin, the darker the color of a person's eyes.

Unlike brown eyes, which have a single pigment called melanin, and blue eyes, which have very little melanin, hazel eyes have a mixture of melanin and a structural element known as collagen in the iris.

The interplay between these factors results in the unique shades of green, brown, and sometimes even blue or grey seen in hazel eyes.

Hazel eyes are a mix of brown and green

2. Inheritance

Hazel eyes are a dominant trait, requiring only one copy of the hazel eye gene to express this color.

If one parent has hazel eyes, there's a good chance their children will too. While it's less likely for children of two blue-eyed or brown-eyed parents to have hazel eyes, it's still possible. If both brown-eyed parents carry the hazel eye gene, their child will likely inherit hazel eyes.

3. Health Condition

Additionally, one's health condition can influence eye color. For example, Fuchs' heterochromic iridocyclitis can lead to changes in eye color. This autoimmune disorder can cause the iris to lighten or darken, potentially resulting in hazel eyes.

What Are Hazel Eye Color? See 4 Main Types of Hazel Eyes

What do hazel eyes look like? Hazel eyes typically exhibit a combination of colors, often including shades of green, brown, and hints of gold, blue or grey. The exact appearance of hazel eyes can vary widely among individuals, with some leaning more towards greenish hues while others may appear closer to brown with subtle variations.

Although there are no strict categories for hazel eyes, we've identified 4 main types of hazel eye color.

Various types of hazel eyes

1. Hazel Brown

Hazel brown eyes are sometimes mistaken for brown eyes due to their similar hue, but they possess a distinctive feature.

While hazel eyes may initially appear light brown from a distance due to their relatively high melanin content, a closer look reveals unique flecks or bands of other colors like green. In contrast, brown eyes maintain a consistent brown color across the entire iris.

In short, hazel eyes contain a variety of colors, including green and light brown, while brown eyes have a solid brown color.

2. Hazel Green

While hazel green eyes and green eyes both share a green appearance, the distinction lies in the iris's characteristics.

Pure green eyes typically exhibit a solid green color across the entire iris. Hazel green eyes, on the other hand, are more intricate. They showcase a blend of colors, such as green with brown or gold flecks, or even a gradient that transitions between green, brown, and gold tones.

3. Hazel Grey

There are also some people who have hazel eyes with grey flecks in the mix.

4. Hazel Blue

Hazel eyes showcase a mix of colors and sometimes, blue flecks can make an appearance in hazel eyes, too.

Celebrated People with Hazel Eyes

Many celebrities have hazel eyes including Lady Gaga, Angelina Jolie, Kristen Stewart, Rihanna, Channing Tatum, Jude Law, Kevin Jonas, David Beckham, Ryan Reynolds, Ben Affleck, and Zendaya.

More Facts about Hazel Eyes

Have you ever wondered whether people with hazel eyes differ from others in more ways than just their eye color? These interesting facts about people with hazel eyes relate to aspects of their personality, likes, and dislikes.

Although not proven, it is said that the eyes are like the window to each person and that people with different eye colors have different traits. These facts, which are just for fun, reveal what hazel eyes may say about a person.

1. The hazel eye color can often be difficult to describe as hazel eyes appear to change depending on what the person wears or what the lighting is like, but they are generally described as multi-colored, with shades of green or brown and with light brown or gold flecks.

Light hazel eyes

2. Around 18% of the US population have hazel eyes.

3. Hazel eyes are incredibly unique with no two pairs of hazel eyes looking exactly the same. Some individuals will look like they have greenish eyes whereas other eyes may have a brownish or even amber tint instead.

4. Nearly 75% of people with hazel eyes will have what looks to be a brown ring located around their pupils.

5. Hazel-colored eyes can change color temporarily depending on the mood and emotions of the individual at the time and make them appear brighter or darker.

6. Many hazel eyes have a burst-like pattern of various colors which makes them distinctly different from green eyes which are more of a single hue.

7. Hazel-colored eyes can turn a reddish color if the individual is suffering from allergies such as hay fever.

8. It has been suggested by some that hazel eyes are called so because the eye color is similar to the shell of a hazelnut.

9. Hazel eyes are most common in people of Brazilian, Spanish, Middle Eastern, or North African descent.

10. Many newborns of European ancestry start with blue eyes, but as they grow, melanocytes in the iris, skin, and hair follicles produce melanin, leading to a transition from blue to green, hazel, or brown eyes.

11. Hazel eyes are popular, as they are considered more interesting and attractive. Hence, hazel contact lenses are in demand, for example, TTDeye's Trinity Green or Iris Brown-Green II.

TTDeye hazel contact lenses

12. Hazel eyes appear commonly in Caucasian populations, especially where there is a mix of people with brown eyes, blue eyes, and green eyes.

13. In a poll about the most attractive eyes, hazel came out as one of the favorite eye colors, coming second only to green.

14. The interplay of light and the unique combination of pigments in hazel eyes can make them appear to shift between green and brown, and sometimes even blue or grey tones when exposed to different lighting conditions, including sunlight.

15. Many scientists refer to hazel eyes as “the eye color of a chameleon”.

16. Hazel eyes typically exhibit a mix of colors, including green and brown, while amber eyes are characterized by a solid yellowish-gold hue.

Amber eyes vs hazel eyes

How Do You Get Hazel Eyes? Try Hazel Contacts!

You don't have to be born with rare hazel eyes to enjoy them! Colored contacts can effortlessly change your natural eye color by concealing the iris, the colored part of your eye.

TTDeye provides a diverse range of colored contact lenses, catering to various needs – whether you're seeking prescription or non-prescription lenses, a natural look for everyday wear, or dramatic styles for Halloween or cosplay. Our options include daily disposables and yearly lenses, ensuring you can achieve the eye color you desire with ease.

Shop TTDeye Trinity Green or Iris Brown-Green II to get charming hazel eyes! For more options, check out TTDeye's collection of hazel contacts >