Behind blue eyes. No, wait, green eyes. WAIT, GRAY.

My eyes are gray.

…my eyes are gray?

I’ve been in A Mood lately. I’m frustrated that I’m still sick (I coughed so hard the other day that I bruised/pulled something in my chest, and then my coughs tasted coppery for a bit.  You know what would be awesome right now? HEALTH INSURANCE), and I’m stressed and kind of panicky and allowing myself to be overwhelmed by basically everything.  So naturally, my mind has turned to eyeshadow.

I love eyeshadow. Well, I mean, really I just love colors, because I am five years old and delighted by anything vivid. But eyeshadow is an especial weakness. Particularly the kind offered over at Aromaleigh. Their shop is flush with hundreds of shimmery, storybook shades with names like “Dulcinea”, “Lovelorn”, and “Greenbrier”, and I want to buy every single color and turn my eyelids into some kind of pastel Impressionist masterpiece.

In reality, I can’t wear any of it. I have the weirdest face in all of Weirdfordshire, with deep-set eyes and permanent dark under-eye circles, and eyeshadow of almost any color only seems to highlight these problems rather than distract from them. It’s still fun to look though, and imagine that yes, that one shade of purple is so incredible that putting a little of it in the crease of your eyelid will literally fix your entire face and also probably your life.

In my most recent attempt to make my love for eyeshadow a mutual affair instead of my usual unrequited pining, I started looking around online for tips on what colors one should use to flatter the particular shade of one’s eyes. Green eyes, I was told, should stay away from blues and greens, and focus instead on purples, browns, and coppers. These colors were guaranteed to make green eyes “pop”. I rummaged through my industrial-sized makeup case — a grown-up girl’s box of Crayolas — and pulled out every green-flattering shade I could find, trying various combinations on my lids, hunting desperately for the one that would give me eyes so fabulously green, everyone would assume my father was a leprechaun, or perhaps some kind of lime.

Nope. Nothing. What the hell was the problem? I guess it could be the fact that I, y’know, HAD BEEN DELUDING MYSELF ABOUT MY EYE COLOR FOR A MILLION YEARS.

It seriously all came flooding back like some repressed memory. When I was little, I wanted bright blue eyes hardcore, but no amount of intense mirror-staring could make that wish come true. My eyes were definitely not blue. But I couldn’t really figure out what color my eyes were. They obviously weren’t brown. They weren’t really hazel, once I figured out what the hell hazel was. I decided, therefore, that they had to be green, which was neat, because green eyes are rare and beautiful and man did this little girl ever want to be rare and beautiful. I decided I had green eyes. The second I remembered that, I realized that my eyes are actually…gray. Always have been gray. I just don’t think I knew that gray was an eye color when I was, like, six, so I defaulted my perception to the nearest available match.

Now I feel like an idiot for not having seen it sooner. I mean, it’s completely obvious. Wikipedia tells me that gray eyes “often tend to appear to change between the shades of blue, green and gray…because gray eyes are extremely light”, so at least that’s something of an excuse. I was grasping at vaguely green-tinged straws.

I’m sure a more interesting person would pull something lovely out of this revelation, saying poetic things about storm-gray seas or monochrome film. But it turns out that I am very dull. Just like my eyes! So it’s perfect, really.

Man. Gray. Man.


75 thoughts on “Behind blue eyes. No, wait, green eyes. WAIT, GRAY.

    • Are you dumb? Brown + green flecks or green + brown flecks = hazel. My father has TRUE – not some nimrod mud brown eye – hazel eyes and that is exactly what they are.

    • And if anyone has, please give reputable citations! Not chiding, seriously asking, because I’ve been *looking.* Apparently “hazel” can mean a whole bunch of things: any eye with more than one color in the same iris, commonly due to central heterochromia (typical North American usage); a uniform mid-to-light brown that looks greenish or golden in some contexts (typical usage everywhere but North America); reddish-brown like an actual hazelnut (classic definition); “brown with green specks or green with brown specks” (James’s TRUE definition)…my optometrist even says “green” and “hazel” are often used interchangeably in the eye world, since they refer to eyes with similar melanin levels (between blue and brown). Basically, the word “hazel” is as ambiguous as the color it (seems to) describe. Any info from other, reliable sources would be much appreciated.

      • Having said that, ten minutes later I come across this article: It’s not exactly “authoritative” on the subject of eye color, but it’s better than antiquated quotes clipped from wikipedia combined with “what my mom says.” Also gives a nice explanation of blue vs grey eyes: apparently the greyness has to do with collagen levels (as I someone mentioned below). So my eyes, which are grey-green with orange central heterochromia and dark grey limbal rings, sometimes look green (because I have an overall medium level of melanin), sometimes grey (because I have some collagen too), and sometimes more tawny (because when my pupil dilates, the orange ring gets bigger and partially obscures the surrounding green). I love eyes.

  1. I also have grey eyes. And I tell everyone they’re blue. And sometimes they look brilliantly blue, especially when I’m wearing blue. So when I got my headshots, I wore blue. And then I got the prints… Grey. Seriously, look at my profile pic on FB. Totally grey.

    • I have gray eye as well and I wear blue Al the time so they look blue so I actually died my hair blue (with didn’t really work with my blonde hair) it lasted a day then turned gray just like my eyes…. I’m a 13 year old with gray eye and hair wtf

    • I always thought I had blue eyes. But not to long ago I found out I had grey. I forget were buy on a website it said, “at first grey eyes appear blue. They tend to have flecks of gold and brown in them and change color depending on your mood or what your wareing.” Anyway I was totally happy. I NEVER ment some one with grey eyes. But hey, I do! But non of my family has grey eyes… But, like I said I was really happy. ATHENA EYES!!! Athena has grey eyes. So does her children. BOOOOM. Peace ppl! Stay wise!

  2. i think you have that awesome combo of blue/green/gray. evan and zoe both have that too. so jealous! i just have dark brown eyes, but they do an AWESOME mean eyes so thats ok. i always wanted grey tho! lets go makeup shopping!

  3. I feel indentify with your comment. I also have gray eyes and I’ve just discovered!!! I’m 28… that’s crazy! all my life I think I have green eyes. My mum always says that I have weather eyes, because they change with the weather, sometimes blue, other green. when people asked me about my colour of eyes, it was annoying told their the story that they could change with the weather blue or green, or the clothes I wore, or including my mood, so, I decided it, I have green eyes, and problem result, until few weeks ago when I realize that I always have gray eyes! I’ve never known that colour exist! thanks internet I know my real colour is gray. funny. greetings

  4. I have gray eyes too! I am so glad I do because I can make them look green one day, blue the next day, aqua on a different day, or an enhanced gray depending on what eyeshadow color and shirt color I wear that day. I think us gray eyecolored girls have it better than just blue eyed, green eyed, or brown eyed girls… opinion! 🙂

    • Ur right. Grey eyed girls have a more optional choice of stuff! Like what eye shadow color! And we can even MAKE our eyes green gray blue or what ever color grey eyes can change. We can make them BLUE my our mood and what were wareing, ect.

  5. Grey eyes are esentially a blank slate waiting for inspiration. I have green eyes and my husband’s eyes are blue. All four of our children have grey eyes that change from blue to green and back to grey. Obviously I think they are beautiful because they are my kids, but honestly, their eyes are mesmerizing. They just invite you to stare into them in an effort to figure out what color they actually are.

    I think it’s a huge injustice that “grey” isn’t really an official eye color classification, there never is a box for grey eyes that you can fill in for your license, medical records or any other paperwork that asks for your eye color.

    Perhaps there should be a revolt by the “lucky greys” by not checking ANY boxes until grey is added to the choices. Anyhow, rest assured that you are indeed counted among the “rare few!”

    • when I was young, I too was unaware that grey was an eye color. I always just assumed that my eyes must be blue. Just a really unfortunate shade of blue. I have 6 female cousins that have the most stunning shades of blue eyes. Just like their parents. My parents, however both have brown eyes. That seemed to make sense… They each had a parent with blue eyes. So I figured that’s how I got my dull blue. While sometimes my eyes look green- I knew they weren’t that as compared to my sister’s crazy green eyes that pretty much always look green. I was stumped. Bummed out.
      It wasn’t until I got my license (PA) that I even realized that grey was an eye color!! That’s when it hit me- more than anything- my eyes are grey!!
      Around the same time, in high school, I had a friend who described them as being tsunami colored: a stormy sea. I always thought that was cute!!
      Enjoy your unique and beautiful eyes, fellow grey eyed peeps!! I have come to love my unsual and exotic eyes… Dark circles and all!!

  6. My husband has grey eyes and they are the most gorgeous eyes ever! cuz it’s not just a mild color change with grey eyes. They are sometimes piercing blue and other times a mossy green and sometimes an almost slate grey… I could just sit and stare at him and his wonderful eyes forever. but then I’d be a somewhat creepy wife and he might commit me… I desparately hope our kids (when we get around to it) have his eyes. Don’t disparage the grey!

  7. I have insisted all my life that my eyes are green, when they are gray. “Weird gray” isn’t an eye shade they will list on your driver’s license. Green sounds exotic, somehow. Could we be related?

  8. My whole life(30 in October), I always told myself my eyes were blue, mostly because my mother told me they were blue. Everyone who sees them just thinks they are ‘So beautiful”. Only thing is I have issues with eyeshadow too, nothing ever looks good on me, but black, white, and silver. Then I noticed something 30 minutes ago.

    My eyes aren’t blue.

    My eyes are gray with the lightest gray/silver lines(caverns?) absolutely everywhere. They have a darker ring around the outside and there is a weird faint tinge of either olive or honey here and there. My dad has really light blue eyes and my mom has green/hazel eyes, so I ended up with gray on gray, surrounded by gray…

    Actually mine look almost exactly like yours, only the rings around the outside of mine are thicker(same shade though) and there is less green in mine, and where the green is, is olive juice colored.

  9. I have gray eyes(: and I love it because none of my friends have gray eyes. They have blue, green, or brown. And my eyes can be light blue, blue, green or gray. And I love it(:

  10. my eyes are exactly!!!! that color! except mine have a dark blue ring around them and a bit of gold flecks in them (as the clinique lady put it) my WHOLE LIFE i thought they were hazel, then green and now im KNOW they are grey cause they do change colors with my clothes. they turn ice blue when i cry as well. HURRAY FOR THE GREY EYED GIRLS 😀

  11. O.M.G. Your eyes are mine. Our eyes are really REALLY hard to find. You should be grateful like I am. I stare in the mirror and try to see if my eyes are blue. No green. Gray, defiantly gray. No, DARK BLUE. Seriously eyes make up your fricken’ mind! We my friend are the odd balls of, well, eye balls. Which makes US stand out.

    PS this also opens us to a WHOLE rainbow of eye colors!

  12. Are we related somehow? I insisted all my life my eyes were green, because my sister and mother have them. I come from a heavily Irish and Italian bloodline. Got freckles, pale skin, and the lot. But, I have noticed, my eyes change color so much. I can’t claim they’re hazel because they’re so light. I have a bright copper ring around my pupil, then a green/gray out ring, and a dark blue ring on the outside. My boyfriend calls them, “cosmic eyes”. Most of the time they look green, but depending on the weather and outfit, they can be bright blue, green-gray, green-gold, gray-blue, and everything in between. I literally just found this out. I suppose whatever color your eyes are the most is your true eye color, but what happens when you naturally have all these rings of color in your eyes? It’s very confusing. I can’t classify my eyes, and gray I feel is too vague a term. We have kaleidoscope eyes. Anyway, thank you so much for the article. Made me feel better about myself.

  13. How about that — 44 years old and a lifetime of trying to decide whether my eyes are actually green or blue (the color seems to change daily), and I only just figure out they are gray after reading this article (and then comparing them to photos of gray eyes). 🙂 Guess that explains why all the tips on the best make up for green eyes and for blue eyes have never really worked for me… Wonder what else I don’t know about myself. 🙂

  14. Oh my god, I felt like I was reading my own writing here! I have “gray” eyes as well. They used to be blueish. Then they turned a gray, then greenish grey. I hate it, it’s sooo annoying.

    Though it’s funny now, I just dyed my hair ginger-red and now they look a tad bit greener XD

  15. I have gray eyes as well, but it’s not always a good thing. I look at my parents, and they both have really light blue eyes. I look at my other relatives, and they have blue eyes as well. I look in the mirror, and I see gray eyes reflecting back at me, see the sorrow in them that I hope is hidden from other people. It’s from the past, and I think it’s from not laughing enough. Everyone I know with bright eyes laugh everyday, and that’s something I don’t do. Perhaps eyes show your spirit, what’s within. (I wouldn’t know. I just got done reading a book that’s really… not sure how to explain.)Some days, I wake up and find my eyes black. People won’t look at me when my eyes aren’t black, won’t even speak to me. But oh well. 🙂 Gray eyes aren’t too common, so perhaps is a good thing. By the way… I’m only a kid… 🙂

  16. I had to go visit the Accountant today.I was suposed to sign and mail things back,but I called her and asked if I could just drop them off,which she ageed to.I’m a guy.I wore a,kind of pale
    blue sweat shirt and jeans.This was about 1pm in the afternoon,as I nealed over her desk to sign documents,I looked her in the eyes,her eyes were deffinitly Hazel, green with brown,she just staired at my eyes and turned her head and smiled,she could not keep her eyes of my eyes,of coarse i smiled back,I also-I know now after 55 years,I have Gray eyes,I’ve been crying reading all these posts,sorry I’m emotional.They do change color,sometimes their,blue/green,sometimes they apear blue or pale blue/gray.I wondered why people staired at me through my life.I feel a connection with all you other “Gray-Eyes.”

  17. I’m just one more gray eyed lady that has been doing the green/blue eye color jig for over 50 years. Mine seem to really strike people as different because I have natural extremely dark chestnut colored hair, even at this age! I was adopted and have no idea what color eyes either birth parent had. My adopted parents both had cold, soul-piercing ice-blue eyes. Hubby and my daughter have lovely warm green/light brown eyes. Our only grandchild is a toddler now and his eyes are exactly like mine. 🙂 I love the comment from Andy about having “weather eyes”. I know mine change not only with clothing/eyeshadow but also with changing light as well as my moods. Please, don’t think of them as dull! Think of them as enigmatic.

  18. I love having grey eyes!!! You can make them look whatever color you want (except brown,lol). I married a brown eyed person and sooo sad that, of course ,our kids have brown eyes. Grey is definitely more fun!

  19. I’ve recently concluded mine must be grey, too. My whole life my family has insisted they were blue, while my friends said green. One friend said green from a distance but blue up close. Only one person has ever said gray; another insisted that they COULD NOT be gray. Someone once said “They’re green…and blue…and silver…” Another said hazel in the center, with a forest green edge around the iris and blue and green in between. They do have a gold ring around the pupil (in a starburst pattern) and the right eye has a bit of brown just above the pupil (sun spots?). They do seem bluer right out after I was my hair. Bottom line. I have always been confused about my eye colors but people usually say green but green didn’t seem right. Best description “blu-no graA–green”.

    I think it’s funny that everything says to wear purple eyeshadow with green eyes because wearing purple makes mine look bluer and wearing orange makes them look greener.

  20. My son has gray eyes and they are sometimes blue, other times green, or gray he does not go a day without a woman telling him he has gorgeous eyes. He is now 12 years old and he still is told he has gorgeous eyes. I wish I had gray eyes. You should all be celebrating the fact you have such a unique and beautiful eye color.

  21. I have eyes that are grey on the rim blue on the inside and near the pupil are green with flecks of brown in them………I have been trying to figure out how common this is. Right now my eyes are grey but earlier they were a beautiful blue color but when I ask people what my eye color is they always say green but they have to look up close to distinguish it……… from far away they look grey……..I am just truing to figure out if I am seeing the color wrong or if my eyes are actually green

  22. My eyes are the same gray as a gray crayola crayon with flecks of different shades of gray in them and yellow flecks in my right eye. they’re a darker gray than most gray eyes. But like a lot of the other people here, I can pick their color depending on what I wear.

  23. My art teacher once told in a school that artist could see 100 shades of black color, so i bet artist could see thousands of gray, blue, green colours and combinations. From my perspective the eye picture is not pure gray- it is blueish too ( i don’t see any greenishness there ). Pure gray is ashes, pure dark blue is ocen, blue is sky, green is grass. Where i live there is a lot people of skyish blue, but i probably didn’t met ash gray or grass green eye colour or dark ocean blue colour- usually there is something in between… or just a skyish blue.

  24. Ha I am also not sure of my eye color to tell you the truth my eyes could be grey or blue but since I have central heterochromia( it’s where the center around your pupil is a differ color) It’s so hard to tell…. Mainly because I see the green gold around my pupil and then there’s the outside color, even when I am an inch away from the mirror I can’t tell either so I would assume my eyes are a blue-grey….eye color is truly a confusing concept to understand.

  25. My Girlfriend Has Strange &
    Beautiful Eyes She Says They Are
    Blue But They Look Grey To Me ?
    & Yes They Do Seem To Change
    With Her Moods & Also
    What She Wears / Clothes & Eye Shadow Etc . I Even Sent Her This
    Page So She Will See
    That Grey Eyes Do Exist 😉

  26. They ought to call this color “blue hazel” – eyes with a gray base that can look blue or (olive, in my case) green at times. Then ppl like us would know how to describe our eyes.

  27. My eyes are grayish blue with a green color circling the pupil. Usually I would like to make my eyes look green rather than blue and wearing green helps that. Anyway, I read a comment about how the eyes are the window to the soul, or something along those lines. And if that’s right I think us gray eyed people are the most special kind of people! but maybe I’m a little biased… 😉

  28. Ok. Here’s the thing. You wanted blue eyes when you were little. Well, you HAVE blue eyes. Blue eyes are actually colorless, they change appearance depending on the light. Just like the sky, it’s blue when it’s sunny and gray when it’s overcast. Your eyes have a front and back later for melanin deposits with a layer of collagen separating them. Brown eyed genes have thick melanin deposited on the front layer that blocks the light. Blue eyed genes have no melanin on the front layer, light passes through easily, bounces off the back layer and reflects back a blue color. Sometimes the collagen in the middle is denser and it gets muddled in the process and looks gray. This can all be affected by various factors such as what you’re wearing, mood, etc. My eyes can look stormy gray but when I cry it seems to affect the collagen and my eyes look downright aquamarine. No longer dark and overcast but bright and clear like pools of water. I also have golden central heterochromia which basically means the center of my eye looks like a sunflower. When my eyes are slightly bluish gray it can interact with the golden center and make my eyes look greenish. I continue to say I have blue eyes, because genetically they are. Colorless and yet several colors. You can most often see the true color of the eye in the very outer ring, mine are a very dark steel blue. So there you have it. Your eyes are not boring. They are rare and interesting, with a mind of their own.

    • Suffer, you described my eyes exactly! I never know what to call them. Dark steel gray ring on the outside, golden central heterochromia right around the pupil, with medium blue-gray in between. When the yellow ring is wider my eyes look gray-green because blue + yellow = green. When the yellow ring is very small or not there at all, my eyes look gray-blue. The best eyeshadows I’ve found are soft, muted colors in pinky peach, copper and brownish taupes. Basically colors that contrast rather than match my eye color(s).

      • I just posted a (fairly lengthy, sorry) comment on what the hell my eye colour is, then I scroll back up and find an exact description of myself. *sigh*

        In any case, I have the same steel grey ring around my eye and kind of golden colour in the middle as Joy here. My eyes can’t seem to decide whether they’re hazel, greenish-grey, blueish-grey, blue-green-grey or just flat out grey. *sighs again*

        On a side note, I find the contrasts between your usernames amusing; “Suffer,” a dark, gritty concept, and “Joy,” all bright and cheerful.

  29. My eyes are grey in the center, but have light yellow mixed with grey throughout the iris, and end in a dark grey limbal ring. They never look blue; only grey, yellow, green, greenish-aqua. I always called them greenish, because I didn’t know grey was a category. Yellow should be a category too. My eyes have no brown in them. The yellow color is very light, like pale honey. Photos are always a problem. Sometimes one eye will look yellow, the other looks greenish-grey, or one eye can look half yellow and half grey. Unlike heterochromia the color is actually fairly consistent. The changes are only dependent on light.

  30. Ugh thank god i’m not the only one. I can’t wear eye shadow for the life of me. It really sucks, actually. Mascara is about the only thing i can pull off. MAYBE a little shimery shadow.

  31. I have the most amazing friend I’ve ever might that has gray eyes. They change to blue and green and its with the mood the is in

  32. I’ve always wondered what eye color I had. On my driver’s license it says Hazel, but its obvious I don’t have hazel eyes. In highschool a girl used to say my eye were seafoam green, like a crayon she’d had as a child. I actually had to research, and my eyes are grey green.
    It’s truly an ugly color. I almost wish I had plain gray.

  33. I had to laugh reading your blog. I was checking to make sure I REALLY have gray eyes (I am filling out my passport form) and just wanted to make sure by researching on the internet BECAUSE YOU KNOW THE INTERNET IS TRUE! lol. I didn’t realize my eyes were gray until quite recently, at the age of 51! When someone would ask, I would just say, “Well, it depends…”

  34. My eyes are blue green grey with yellow around the middle. That never fits on application forms. I default to blue green.

    If you get to Venice, it’s the color of the lagoon. Decidedly blue green grey.

  35. I have light light light teal eyes they look green in one angle blue in another and gray from the next. I dont have a favorite color so its all the more buitiful to me. What a gift.

  36. I also have gray eyes, but when I cry, they turn really bright green, just like really good emeralds. They get so bright, that it’s just a little strange! Love them.

  37. My eyes are…well….okay…. I THINK that one eye is grey-green and the other is grey-blue but one of my friends swears up and down that I have green eyes, other than everyone else I know. However, the other two people I asked are technically colorblind :p and I have grey hair. At 17. With tiny bits of blonde. *sigh*

  38. I find this fascinating- I have lived my life thinking I have blue eyes. Or to be more specific, blechghgg colored eyes. You know, like the ugly clouds right before a storm? Yeah. But now I recognize the changes in color when I change clothes or makeup and I’d say I surely have gray eyes as well. Oh and ladies- go with dark purple eyeliner or shadow. Your eyes will look beautiful.
    Now, reading some comments, I see many people saying they are Italian. I am too, half at least. But gray eyes are predominantly a Russian trait. How bizarre. When I was younger I thought my parent lied about my heritage as I look very Russian in coloring.
    How neat it is to notice how many of us realized we were wrong about eye color after so many years! I love my gray eyes 🙂

  39. Some of my friends tell me my eyes are blue. Others tell me they’re green. And a few think they’re gray. I’m honestly not even sure about my own eye color.

  40. While you seem to have figured out what the hell hazel is, I remain unable to figure out what the hell my eye colour is. I used to have blue eyes up until I was about six, then they started going a little bit green brown, which is weird because they aren’t supposed to change colour after a certain age. Now I strongly believe that they are a little-bit-of-everything tint overlaid by grey. The only thing I know for sure is that I have a darkish grey ring around the outside that is sometimes darker than my eye colour and sometimes lighter. Seriously. It’s weird. Loved your article, though!

    One thought I’ve come up with is that they actually change a little bit in shades, obviously not being brilliant blue then chocolate brown the next day. But some days my eyes are almost like my mom’s, a fairly pale blue-grey mix. I read somewhere that people with a certain percentage of green in their eyes can have changing eye colours, even just slight. Would you know if this is true or just another myth floating around on the internet?

  41. I have actually been trying to determine my eye color for a bit now. I am researching it now actually. I always thought my eyes were blue but now I’ve actually discovered that my eyes are gray. Slightly bluish gray.

  42. I also have grey eyes! Well, that’s what the base color is. They fluctuate from green, blue, and grey. I found that a dark aqua, almost green is very flattering (shirt-wise) and make my eyes look very very blue. Eye-shadow is tricky. Stay away from bright colors, greys, or black. Not good. Brown! Copper! Rust! Those are the colors I look best in. I also have a pretty pale complexion. Not porcelain by any means, but not tan. Shadow colors are pretty limited, but the combos are fantastic! Hope that helps with your eye-shadow problems!

  43. Hi i have grey eyes! They are not “dull”… no eye colour is dull. I mean eye shadow? Why are you trying to cover up your natural beauty? i hate make up for this reason no one has to wear eye shadow or foundation to cover their beautiful face they were given… i am 13. i have Know idea about when you said you were five… are you five? or used to be? i am guessing used to be… just remember next time you look into a mirror don’t just look in it. look deeper…

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