Sunglasses That Do the Job and Look Cool, Too

Sunglasses That Do the Job and Look Cool, Too

It wasn't the Union Jack on her garter or her slashed-and-bustled goth Oscar gown that got London's Daily Mail all snarky about Helena Bonham Carter's red carpet look. Nope, the tabloid reserved its sniping for her sunglasses, calling them "bizarre" and wondering, "Were the camera flashes too bright?"

Who cares? When it comes to protecting your eyes (and the wrinkle-prone skin around them), we think the amazing Bonham Carter -- and plenty of other shade-sporting celebs -- are onto something. Steal their star-studded sunglasses trends, and save yourself from cataracts and crinkles.

The trend: Never take 'em off. Celebs wear theirs at all hours, 365 days a year. Salma Hayek, Minka Kelly, and Jessica Simpson don't leave home without their Ray-Ban, Stella McCartney, and Gucci sunglasses. Smart.

Why you should follow it: Sun rays can damage your peepers in any season, and in morning and late afternoon, too, not just midday. In fact, when the sun's lower on the horizon in the morning or when it's going down, your eyes can be exposed to twice the damaging UVB rays, which are considered more dangerous to eyes than UVA rays, according to Japanese researchers. So slip on your sunglasses whenever you're out before dark.

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The trend: Wrap 'em around. The Black Eyed Peas' Apl.de.ap rocked the Super Bowl halftime show in goggle-like Mykita & Romain Kremer shades with wide side arms that had their own little lenses. And Will.i.am sported Porsche's retro, chrome-trimmed windshield-like shades. Wraparounds aren't just for the over-75 set anymore!

Why you should follow it: Peripheral protection. Wraparounds guard your eyes from the sun's damaging rays from all angles. The trend: B-i-g lenses. If you don't go for wraparounds, at least go big -- make like Britney Spears in her Emporio Armani aviators, or Justin Bieber in the Oliver Peoples KVA sunglasses that covered half his face at the Grammys.

Why you should follow it: UV rays can cook proteins in your eyes and cloud your normally crystal-clear lenses. In a study of professional fishermen, those who spent the most days on the water under the sun's relentless glare tripled their risk for vision-dimming cataracts. But wearing UV-blocking sunglasses reduced the threat significantly.

Related: Getting an eye exam? Ask your doc these questions.

The trend: Spend a bundle. Halle Berry's Guess by Marciano shades cost about $150. Jessica Simpson's Gucci sunglasses retail for $435. Ouch.

Why you should NOT follow it: Shades don't have to be expensive to look cool or to shield your eyes (and skin) from damaging UV rays. In studies, el-cheapo sunglasses have been shown to be just as good as those costing 10 times as much. Just make sure the shades that tempt you offer 99% to 100% UVA and UVB protection or promise "UV absorption up to 400 nm." Then, go for it.

Medically reviewed in October 2019.

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