Illustrious actress Elizabeth Taylor has graced many a silver screen with her passionate performances and unparalleled beauty. And while she's remembered for iconic roles like "Cleopatra" and saucy relationships with Hollywood royalty, it's Elizabeth Taylor's striking eyes that have left one of the most lasting impressions on fans.
In fact, the late Hollywood actress’ eyes—whose appearance ranges from blue to violet--are the most Googled celebrity eyes in the world. Heck, there was even a perfume named after them in 2010, entitled Elizabeth Taylor Violet Eyes.
So, what’s the secret behind her chameleon-like peepers? We did a little digging, and here’s what we found: Her eye color was actually natural--for the most part.
Colored contacts weren’t commercially available until 1983, so Taylor’s look was predominately all-natural. The actress was born with a very specific and rare amount of the pigment melanin. The appearance of the iris, or the colored ring around a person’s eye, is determined by how much melanin it contains. For example, people with dark brown eyes have irises that contain much more melanin than those of green-eyed folk. But although Taylor’s eye color appeared quite unique, her pigmentation was roughly the same as that of a blue-eyed individual.
"There are various shades of blues and grays, with many in-between," Norman Saffra, chairman of the ophthalmology department at the Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., explained to LiveScience.com. "Violet may have been her typical pigmentation."
Are Elizabeth Taylor's eyes really violet?
The variation of Taylor’s eye color, on the other hand, has a few explanations. First, eye color can change based on the amount of light our eyes are absorbing--something that can be altered by the clothes we wear! For example, a white shirt will reflect light onto your irises, making your eyes appear slightly lighter. Fair-colored eyes do reflect more light, so they are more affected by this change. Taylor, with her stunningly light peepers, was a master of this art, often donning bright, colorful garments in deep red, emerald, and canary yellow to compliment her vibrant eyes!
Of course, makeup is also probably a culprit of Taylor’s oscillating eye color. The actress was spotted wearing blue or purple eye shadow to flatter her violet eyes, or donning a deep brown shadow and eye liner as a contrast to make them pop.
All lighting and strategic beauty strategies aside, we can’t help but think the actress had a little help from editors. It’s likely her eyes were retouched in photographs to further enhance her captivating visage.
Regardless, the legendary actress was definitely a natural beauty!