Buying the right pair of sunglasses isn’t always as easy as it sounds. After all, there are so many different styles to choose from. Whether you are looking to make a statement or get the best eye protection, there are numerous factors to consider when buying a pair. By familiarizing yourself with some of the sunglasses jargon, you should be able to make a much more informed purchasing decision. Throughout this article, you will learn about some of the key factors that should influence your buying decision. By the end, you should have a good idea of how to narrow down the seemingly endless array of options to pinpoint the right pair of sunglasses for yourself.
- UV Protection
UV protection should be at the forefront of your decision-making process. Even if the style is your primary concern, you are buying sunglasses to give your eyes requisite protection from the sun. Therefore, you want to ensure the sunglasses you are buying are capable of doing just that. The UV protection sunglasses are capable of offering will dictate their effectiveness. UV protection will be crucial to ensuring you can get adequate sun protection from the harmful UV rays you will be exposed to whether it’s sunny or not. UV rays are a problem because too much exposure can be just as harmful to our eyes as it can be for our skin. You need protection from both UVA and UVB rays as both can be harmful to your eye health. It has been shown that excessive exposure to these harmful rays can lead to the formation of cataracts, eye cancer, and even macular degeneration.
Information On UVA and UVB Rays
UVA rays are less intense rays. Because of this, you want to find sunglasses that can cut down on the penetration of UVB rays. UVB rays are much more intense and they are the primary cause of eye conditions that stem from overexposure. These are the rays that are increasingly prominent during the mid-day hours. You will find these rays much more prominent in higher intensity during the hours ranging from 10 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon. Because of this, you should always be wearing proper eyewear protection during these hours of the day whether it is cloudy or sunny.
Your sunglass lenses will dictate the effectiveness of your sunglasses. Because of this, you want to ensure you are buying sunglasses with the most effective lenses. If your primary concern is blocking harmful rays (as it should), you will want to invest in polarized lenses for your sunglasses. You will typically need to pay extra for sunglasses that offer polarized protection.
Polarized lenses are lenses that offer numerous benefits. These lenses work by blocking the light rays that would otherwise enter your eyes as they reflect off various surfaces. Just because you aren’t actively looking directly into the sun doesn’t mean your eyes are safe. This is why you want to wear sunglasses when you are near the beach or even during the winter when there is a lot of snow and ice. These reflections can cause a lot of issues because they will be emitting harmful rays into your eyes. These lenses are also considered must-haves for those who will be using them for driving. After all, they are extremely effective at blocking reflected light. This is a major issue that plagues drivers. Having to deal with glare can make driving harmful to your eye health and dangerous for the driver and everyone in the vehicle. The polarized lenses can reduce oncoming glare caused by the reflections from other vehicles, hubcaps, and more. Polarized lenses can help the wearer experience less eyestrain, better vision from reduced glare, and more.
- Frame Shape
The shape of the frame is another factor that you should be considering when you are looking to purchase new sunglasses. The shape of the glasses can dictate how good the glasses look on your face. After all, some face shapes look better with certain frame shapes. First, you want to figure out what shape your face is. Having a good understanding of your face shape will give you a better idea of the styles you should be keying in on. Ideally, you want to go to a brick and mortar store to try on several different shapes and styles. That way, you can get a first-hand look at the different styles and how they look. However, there are also mobile apps you can download which should allow you to virtually try on different sunglass shapes to give you a good idea of how they would look.
Frame Style Types
This is one of the most classic styles you will find in the marketplace. Aviator sunglasses will typically feature a durable yet flexible wireframe including a wire bridge around the nose. These frames work well for those who are looking for stylish yet classic frames that are both big and bold. The majority of the larger and more popular brands offer their take on this classic design. Therefore, you will have plenty of different brands to choose from.
- Frame Material
The material makeup of the frame is another big consideration that you should be making when buying new sunglasses. Ideally, you want to find a comfortable material and that fits within your respective budget range. Typically, the material will dictate how expensive the sunglasses end up being. Certain materials are inherently more expensive than others.
This is perhaps one of the most popular materials you will find being used in sunglasses. Acetate is such a popular material being used because, while it is plastic, it is much more durable and lighter than typical plastic. The majority of plastic frames being made and sold in the marketplace are made up of acrylic or polyurethane which are less flexible and less durable. Acetate is much stronger and they offer better protection from the elements and they don’t show signs of wear and tear as easily. They also happen to come in a lot of different colors and they don’t fade as much because the color is embedded into the material itself rather than painted on.
Metal is another popular material that is regularly used in the production of sunglasses. Metal is common because it offers numerous things that you would want out of sunglasses. For one, it is resistant to corrosion. Also, it happens to be highly adjustable without sacrificing durability. However, it is also much more expensive which is why you will find a lot of designer brands featuring metal sunglasses prominently in their lineups.
Aluminum is another popular material routinely used in the design and production of sunglasses. Aluminum frames offer some benefits that you won’t find in a lot of other alternative materials. For one, aluminum is a much lighter weight material than other types of metal. Also, it happens to be corrosion-resistant. Because aluminum offers a very unique look, a lot of higher-end and designer brands feature aluminum sunglasses prominently in their lineups. While pure aluminum isn’t very durable, the majority of brands use commercial aluminum which has elements of silicon and iron which makes it much more durable.
Nylon is another material routinely used in the production of sunglasses. This material is especially beneficial for brands looking to create sports sunglasses or sunglasses purely designed for athletic-wear. Nylon stands out as a good performance material because it offers everything you would want for athletic wear including flexibility without being too flexible. Also, it is inherently temperature-resistant. Therefore, it won’t warp in hotter or colder than normal conditions. Nylon is an inherently cheaper material so these frames tend to be more affordable.
This is another frame you will find being sold. Plastic is an umbrella term and it could be made up of different subtypes of plastic. You will find these being made of everything from polyurethane, acrylic, and more.
This is perhaps one of the most desirable and expensive materials you will find frames being made from. Titanium is an ideal material for higher-end frames because it is both extremely lightweight and durable. Therefore, it comes with the high quality and durable construction that you would want and expect from frames with a higher cost. This material is also scratch-resistant which means it should be able to withstand wear and tear that would normally cause your sunglasses to look worn out. A lot of higher-end brands stick to making titanium frames for their more expensive offerings.
- Lens Material
The material makeup of the lenses is another major factor that you want to consider when you are in the process of buying sunglasses. The material of the lenses will dictate not only the appearance of the sunglasses but also the effectiveness of them.
Glass is a popular material you will find in sunglasses. The good thing about glass is the optical clarity you can get from them. The bad thing about glass lenses is the cost associated with them. Also, because glass is prone to breakage, there is a chance of them shattering which makes them a poor choice for any glasses geared towards athletic activities. Glass is also heavier, but scratch resistant.
This is a material a lot of sunglass manufacturers use for their lenses. The good thing about polycarbonate lenses is the fact they are generally lighter and thinner than standard plastic. They are incredibly durable as they are made up of a very similar material you will find a lot of vehicle windshields being made up of. Therefore, this material is ideal for those who will be using their sunglasses in an athletic setting. They aren’t as scratch-resistant as you may like, but they are extremely durable.
3. Standard Plastic
You will find a lot of the sunglasses in the market being sold with standard plastic lenses. Plastic is often used because it is not only impact-resistant but also lightweight. They are lighter than glass lenses and they are affordable and safe. The affordability keeps them being used for some of the less expensive sunglasses being sold in the marketplace.
- Lens Color
When buying a pair of sunglasses, you will also want to consider the lens color. While this shouldn't be a primary factor in your purchasing decision, the color can affect the performance of the lens in different lighting conditions. Therefore, you still want to figure out the ideal lens color for your respective use-case.
1. Darker Colors (Brown, Green, Grey)
Lenses that have darker colors are going to be optimal for those who are planning on using their sunglasses outdoors and in dramatic lighting conditions. Also, they tend to be the best for those who plan on wearing their sunglasses every day. This is because these colors are generally dark enough to cut down on eye glare you might otherwise experience.
2. Blue and Purple
These lens colors are great for those who are looking for sunglasses that have a specific look to them. Generally, you will find them in sunglasses purely designed to be fashionable. You don’t necessarily want to get these if you are after the best function.
3. Lighter Colors (Yellow, Amber, Gold, Rose, Vermilion)
These are the colors you will find that are exceptional for winter sports. This is because these lenses can be highly effective at helping to enhance contrast and improving visibility. Therefore, a lot of people who go skiing or snowboarding will look for yellow or amber sunglasses or lenses because they can make it a lot easier to see things in brighter conditions.
These are the lenses you will find that look like mirrors. Mirrored lenses have a reflective film placed on top of them. This reflective coating makes these lenses highly effective for those who find themselves driving on the road for long periods. After all, when you are driving and on the road, you are subjected to a lot of glare. The reflective coating makes mirrored lenses highly effective at reducing a lot of light that hits the surface of the lenses which makes it easier to drive.
Anatomy/Parts of Sunglasses
1. Top Bar
This is the bar that connects the top portion of the sunglasses. Not every sunglass has this part.
The bridge of the sunglasses is the area that connects the sunglasses to support the weight of the frame with the nose.
These are the pads you will find underneath the inside portion of the frame where the bridge is. These are not often easily noticeable, but they help to ensure the weight of your sunglasses is supported comfortably.
4. Frame Rim
The rim is the portion of the frame that holds the lenses. It is the main thing you look at when you are judging the aesthetics of your sunglasses.
The temple is the ‘arms’ of the sunglasses and they are what will extend beyond your ears to give your sunglasses support. You need to find a suitable length.
6. Temple Tip
This is the material that covers the ends of the temple that rest on your ears.
The hinge is the mechanism that helps the arms fold or extends out while being worn.
The joint is the part of the sunglasses that serve as the connection point between the temple and the frame rim.
The coating on your lenses can dictate their effectiveness.
1. Polarized Coating
This is the coating you will want to get if you are looking to reduce the glare you experience. Because of this, they make for a good coating to look for if you want to get sunglasses that can decrease reflections while driving or even while doing athletic activities.
This coating is capable of changing light intensities automatically. They can change from dark to light depending on the light conditions.
3. Gradient Lenses
These are the lenses you will find that have different levels of tint. The top portion of the lens is darker and you will find the shades getting lighter towards the bottom half.
4. Flash Coating
This refers to the lens that has a reflective film on the outside. These are great for those looking for good lenses for those who are sensitive to light. They can be very effective at reducing glare.
Care For Your Sunglasses
When you purchase your sunglasses, you want to ensure you can keep them looking great for as long as possible. There are certain things you should be doing and avoiding when caring for your glasses.
- Always use a microfiber cloth
- Store your sunglasses in a protective case
- Wash with warm water
- Use paper towels or other rough materials to clean lenses
- Leave your sunglasses outside of a case
- Use soaps with lotion or additives
- Sizing Guide
- Taking Measurements
- Face Types
- Hair and Skin Color
When you are buying sunglasses, you want to ensure that you are buying the right size. There are key considerations that you should be making when purchasing them. You want to find glasses that fit your face.
For one, you want to understand your face size and the dimensions you require. The key thing to consider would be the lens width and bridge size.
The lens width is typically anywhere from 40 to 62mm. This is the measurement from the widest points of the glasses.
This is the width of the bridge that connects the lenses.
This is the size of the arms of the glasses. You need to ensure they are the right size or you would have arms extended too far behind your head.
How To Measurements
When you are measuring your face, you want to ensure that you are doing it properly. If you measure wrong, you will end up buying the wrong sized sunglasses due to having inaccurate measurements.
1. Start From The Temple
You want to ensure you are starting from one temple to the other. You want the ruler to be a couple of inches from your face and not touching it. You will find a lot of stores online listing their sunglasses based on both eye and bridge sizes. Therefore, you may see a size listed as “52mm.” Simply multiply this number by two and add the total bridge size and you will get the total width.
This is the most popular face type. Those that have oval faces are in luck. After all, an oval shape ends up matching well with a lot of different sunglass frame types. Therefore, you have the most choices when you have an oval shape.
Round is another face type. Those with round faces typically have a face that is as wide as it is long. They also typically have full cheeks and rounded chins. Therefore, those with round faces will typically look better with frames that have fixed edges. This can include square sunglass frames.
Square is another type and those with square faces typically have angular structures. You don’t want designs that feature too many straight lines. Instead, you want to opt for circular or other rounded designs to soften your face.
Rectangle faces are typically similar to square faces but they are generally more narrow. For those with rectangular faces, you want to look for oversized sunglasses that can help to shorten your face.
5. Heart Shaped
Those with heart-shaped faces tend to have stronger and sharper chins but a larger forehead. Because of this, you want to get frames that have larger bottoms to detract from the top portion of your face.
Hair and Skin Color
While shopping, you also need to consider both your hair and skin color just as you would with clothing. You want to ensure you are including your hair and skin color in your purchasing decision because it can dictate whether or not you wash your skin or find colors that compliment it.
1. Blonde or Light Hair
Those with blonde or lighter hair color will be able to choose from a much wider variety of frames. Typically, you want to find a color that is going to contrast well. Meaning, you should go for darker frames.
2. Brown Hair
If you have brown hair, you may want to opt for colors with a warm undertone. You can choose from anything from red or even warm green or blue.
3. Red Hair
If you have red hair, you will want to find something strong enough to stand out from your bold hair color. You could also opt for neutral colors if you want something more subdued. Typically, you want to avoid colors with yellow tones as it can wash out your skin and hair.
4. Black Hair
If you have black hair, you will want to try to pair it with metallics. That way, you can give yourself a good contrast. If not, you could opt for solid colors like black or white. Typically, you want to avoid colors that are more pastel or lighter in color because they will provide a washed-out appearance.
You not only need to factor in your hair color but your skin color as well.
1. Cool Tones
If you have a blue hue to your skin, you have cool undertones. Meaning, you should opt for colors that are bolder and solid. Some examples would be blue, bright pink, purple, silver, or even dark grey.
2. Warm Tones
If you have a warm skin tone, you will want to try to go for something more neutral or earthy. Some examples would include olive, brown, gold, ivory, or even orange.
You also want to consider how dark or light your skin is. Those with lighter skin color are going to want to opt for darker frames for greater contrast. Those with darker skin color are going to want to try to go for lighter colored frames to offer more contrast.
Sunglasses are something you will be wearing time and time again. No one wants to wear uncomfortable sunglasses. Therefore, you should use comfort as apart of your buying process. Ideally, you want to find sunglasses that will offer comfortable wear. The best way to tell if sunglasses will be comfortable is by looking at the material makeup of the sunglasses and the sizing. If you get both of these correct, you should find sunglasses that you will be happy with.
As you can see, there are plenty of buying criteria to consider when shopping for the perfect pair of sunglasses. Follow the tips above and you should be able to find the best sunglasses for your needs.