Rocking magenta aviators this summer is already a good idea (they coordinate perfectly with your unicorn latte, after all)—but now there’s another reason to live that rose-colored glasses life. According to chromotherapists, who use light and color to aid well-being, it’s possible to boost your mood based on the hue of your shades. Seriously.
Here’s how it all works: Each of the seven hues in the rainbow (ROYGBIV— remember from second grade?) has its own energy, according to the principles of chromotherapy (or color therapy) . That energy relates to one of the seven main chakras in the body, representing everything from confidence and love to communication and spiritual connection.
“Color is simply light of varying wavelengths,” says chromotherapist Valerie Logan-Clarke, founder of Colour Therapy Healing in the UK. “It’s absorbed by the eyes and skin, and the energy affects us on all levels: physical, spiritual, and emotional.”
“The energy [of color] affects us on all levels—physical, spiritual, and emotional.”
The practice, which reputedly increases health and happiness through the use of specific hues, has been around for thousands of years, dating back to the ancient cultures of China, Egypt, and India. They may not have worn heart-shaped, tinted sunglasses, but the principles were basically the same.
If it all sounds a little woo-woo, know that science backs up some of these claims. One 2008 study found that certain shades of light can have positive effects on sleep disorders, depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As for the physical effects of color therapy, research from the National Center for Biotechnology Information suggests that it can stimulate certain biochemical and hormonal processes in the body, which may help balance your entire system.
So how does all of this translate to cute sunnies? RainbowOPTX is one company testing out the science of chromotherapy IRL with mood-boosting shades in 10 super-bright hues. “I was trying on a pair of diffraction glasses, which transform white light into a full rainbow spectrum,” says company founder Noel Churchill. “I instantly understood the power of chromotherapy in mood enhancement, and knew I wanted to find a way to share it with other people.”
Each pair works by letting light in instead of filtering it out like regular sunglasses. With mini-mantra names like “I Attract,” “I Transcend,” and “I Express,” the shades give a whole new meaning to the idea of “look good, feel good.” According to Churchill, cool tones, like blue and purple, tend to be relaxing, while warm ones, like orange and yellow, are more energizing. (Each style includes UVA/UVB protection, but the company’s website cautions against wearing them any time accurate color perception is required—so unless you’re trying to “transcend” traffic lights, it’s best to hold onto your regular Ray-Bans, too.)
And even if you’re not 100 percent sold on the whole chromotherapy thing, there’s something about wearing a fun new pair of sunglasses that’s pretty much guaranteed to boost your mood—rose-hued or not.
Shop the look
If you’re looking for more ways to make life sweet from now til Labor Day, we have a lot of ideas. Check out our #99DaysofSummer guide for inspo. And if you want to take your cool new shades somewhere special, these 11 epic wellness getaways could be just the (healthy) ticket.