Q. I have been window-shopping for new sunglasses. I notice that the lenses come in several different shades. Does lens color have any effect other than aesthetic?
A. For the most part, the shades selected for sunglasses are more than just pretty colors. The exceptions would be fashion shades such as aqua or lavender, which are designed to coordinate with the season's trendiest colors.
Generally, however, lens color is selected with an eye to the way that particular color enhances vision. Here's a run-down of key colors and their strengths:
Brown and amber-brown tints reduce glare and improve contrast by filtering out blue light. They are ideal for high-glare sports such as skiing, boating and fishing and are well suited for driving and fast-reaction sports such as tennis.
Gray is a neutral shade and a good general-purpose color. It reduces glare while causing the least amount of color distortion. Also, gray does not enhance contrast -- an important feature for sports such as golf, cycling and running.
Green is also a good general-purpose lens color. It reduces eyestrain in bright conditions but provides contrast when light is low. Green is the most popular color for sunglasses.
Yellow lenses provide excellent depth perception and contrast in low-light conditions, which make them ideal for skiing, shooting and fast-reaction sports.
Vermilion and rose are good in low-light conditions. They also are used to contrast objects against green or blue backgrounds, which makes them good for sports such as shooting. However, they distort some colors.
Q. I recently tried a quick-drying, gel-formula sunscreen. It certainly dried fast and did a good job of preventing sunburn. But there was an unexpected side effect: The gel made my nail polish go soft and sticky. It was almost as if I had applied nail-polish remover. What causes this?
A. You've just discovered one more way to ruin a good manicure.
The tackiness is caused by alcohol and sunscreen -- active ingredients -- contained in most gel-based sunscreens. While these ingredients promote fast drying, they also eat into nail polish, causing it to "melt." In addition, other ingredients can cause some polishes to flake or peel with prolonged contact.
So, when using a gel sunscreen, be sure to keep it away from your nails. Either smooth it on with the palm of your hand instead of your fingers or wear gloves during application. And with any sunscreen, rinse your hands thoroughly after application to remove any residue.
Q. I have a large derriere. I'm never sure whether it looks better to wear my shirts tucked into my pants or left out. Tucked-in looks neater but doesn't hide my rear. Left-out covers my rear but looks sloppy. Do I simply have to choose the lesser of two evils?
A. You have a third option, one that combines the positive aspects of the other two. Look for long, fitted shirts in dark colors and wear them out over your pants. Because the shirts are fitted, they won't look sloppy. And because they're long, they will camouflage your derriere.
Dark colors, as you probably already know, are more slimming than light ones.
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