Do Mood-Altering Glasses Really Work?


In high school, I used to wear my sunglasses during class. Hiding in the back corner of the room, concealed behind my super-dark lensed Ray-Ban Wayfarers, I tried to disappear. I’ve recently taken up the habit again—this time, for a different reason. California-based Futuremood’s colorful glasses aren’t just for attention. Each style comes outfitted with a pair of halo chrome lenses made exclusively for the brand by 175-year-old German optical company Zeiss.

Studies show that donning these shades can help users change their mood, depending on which color you pick: Green fosters relaxation, yellow enhances focus, red increases energy, and blue will make you feel refreshed. “When light and color go through your eyes, it ends up at the visual cortex in your brain,” says Michael Schaecher, who co-founded the brand with Austin Soldner. “Once this hits the visual cortex, depending on what the light or color signals are, it can activate all kinds of different responses across your body and mind.”

Zeiss didn’t just select random colors to associate different “results” with—humans have been interested in shades and symbolism since Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Color Theory was published in 1810.

The company spent years fine-tuning the exact shades of their halo chrome lenses to get the maximum benefits. The results are Futuremood’s inaugural drop—which is the first-ever mood-enhancing pair of glasses.

It’s the perfect pick-me-up to test with the first sheltering-in-place anniversary on the horizon, so I spend a snowy, stressful workday in Brooklyn, giving three different vibes a try and taking notes. Oh, and pictures. Here’s what I thought—and more importantly—how I felt.

Remember what it was like the first time you drank coffee? Kind of out of control, but also totally excited to get some work done? That’s how I felt just three minutes into wearing these sunny yellow shades, which are supposed to help clear your mind and focus on the task at hand. It makes sense to me—yellow is such a stimulating color, and it’s one I’ve always been drawn to because I love how attention-grabbing it is. After about 30 minutes with the yellow glasses on, I experienced another familiar feeling—that post-coffee crash. In the future, I won’t be wearing these for more than a few minutes at a time.

It’s snowing—hard. And watching it through my window is making me so… sleepy. For me, there’s only one way to get over my afternoon drowsiness, so out into the snow, I go. Red is easily the most confusing color when it comes to signaling—it can be sexy, energizing, or scary. Zeiss’ shade of rouge focuses on the first two feelings, and as I walk circles around my Park Slope block and the combination of bright red everything—I mean, wow, the snow is refreshing when you see it all through red lenses—and the fresh air wakes me up.

I’ve started putting my phone in a different room while I sleep to stop myself from doomscrolling, so I usually like to read a book to help me wind down. Right now, It’s Hamnet, and I’m multitasking with one of my favorite maskne-fighting masks, Tracie Martyn’s Enzyme Exfoliant. The turquoise mask isn’t just right for a photo opp—it’s super active (there’s kaolin clay, AHAs, and kojic acid inside), so I can only leave it on for about 15 minutes—which is perfect because I can’t read very well with these green glasses on either. It makes sense to me that the green shades are the ones associated with relaxing. There are numerous studies about the calming benefits of the Japanese tradition of shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing. And while these are certainly my favorite aesthetically, I’m not sure that they’re doing anything. After all, I’m already lying down, signaling to my brain it’s time to go to sleep naturally.

Everything about Futuremood’s glasses is fun—they brought joy back into my day and got me excited to get dressed and hop on different Zoom meetings. In my day-to-day, I’m wont to pick up the energizing pair the most because who wouldn’t want a little boost now and then. But when it comes to accessorizing an outfit? I’m delighted I have three great options.

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