All about mirrored sunglasses

To shine or not to shine, that is the question!

Starting at the beginning: what is a mirror coating on sunglasses? What is it for?

A mirror coating is a thin metallic layer on either the outside of the lens or the inside of the lens. This article focuses on the mirror applied on the outside, but if you are interested in inside mirror coatings, take a look at the Light & Color theme of our last SS22 Fashion collection

There are different levels of mirror intensity: from gloss to intense through brilliant. Depending on the mirror, it can also reflect glare away from the surface of the lens so that the amount of light entering the eyes is reduced. This is the first advantage of wearing a pair of mirrored sunglasses: the potential addition of protection against light.

There is also a rich palette of existing colors such as blue, gold, purple, rose, green, and silver. Check our moodboards for all the details. The intensity and the variety of colors enable a whole range of possibilities. You can choose according to your favorites.

Reflection vs transmission color, the outside color vs the color seen through mirrored sunglasses

When talking about coatings it's important to remember that the color of the reflection is not the one you see through the lenses, i.e. the transmission color. Before selecting your color, try them on to find the best balance between style and vision comfort. Only you can decide between the reflected color and your transmission vision comfort. This picture shows you what we mean:

mirror coatings reflection vs transmission


Did you know that for consumers the two main criteria for choosing sunglasses are protection and aesthetics? (source: Gallileo Business Consulting) Mirror sunglasses are the answer to both!

mirror coatings protection and style

What is more, according to their intensity, mirror sunglasses can either allow the wearer's eyes be seen or help answer a potential need for discretion or to a lesser extent for anonymity. Maintaining eye contact is more comfortable when we're talking, while for celebrities, mirrors can help to conceal. When your eyes are covered, some of your facial responses and thus your emotions are also out of sight! This is something to remember when choosing your mirrored sunglasses!

Don't confuse mirror coatings with a polarized lenses!

It's easy to get confused, but these two types of lenses are not the same. First, let's look at the features of each lens type. Mirror, as we saw above, is a coating on the surface of the lens, while polarized technology consists of a built-in film. A polarized lens eliminates the glare coming from reflected light. All the details are given on the  E-SUN POLARFUN page.

Mirrored sunglasses need special care and protection

Fingerprints or water droplets will leave marks on the surface of any lens and spoil the appearance. This phenomenon is even greater with a mirror coating. So we highly recommend adding a protective oleophobic coating. This “see better” add-on combats the enemies of vision: water/moisture droplets, dust and smears. A boon for keeping the surface clean!  Read our complete article on this smart coating

This coating can be either one-side or two-side. The advantage of having it on both sides is that it also keeps the inside of the lens clean, which is handy when your sunglasses are also used on hair as a headband.

mirror coatings oleophobic

Here's our three-step method for cleaning:

- Rinse your sunglasses in warm water

- Clean your lenses with mild washing up liquid

- Dry with a clean, soft cloth.

When you're not wearing them, store your sunglasses in the case to protect them from dust and damage.

More useful information about mirrored sunglasses


Mirror coatings can be applied on sunglasses, whatever the shape: round, square, aviator, or cat-eye, or on shields*. Click here to see the different shields shapes, click here. ▶️

These colored treatments are also available on Rx sunglasses.

You can also combine them with other technologies such as photochromic E-SUN VARIA(™), polarized E-SUN POLARFUN or color contrast E-SUN KOLOR UP(™).

A final word of advice

When looking for mirrored sunglasses, check whether they are compliant with driving standards. Adding a mirror can make a lens darker and the base color and coating combination may not meet driving requirements. See our complete article  How to choose sunglasses?. It has a table showing all five categories of sunglasses. 

Now you know all about mirrored sunglasses, you're an expert! If you want further information, please contact us!


* All inquiries about coatings should be checked with a physical sample.



ESSILOR® SUN SOLUTION™ is the new division of ESSILOR specially focused on advanced sun lens technologies.
We serve all our customers of the sunwear industry, for sports, lifestyle or fashion.

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