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Over 55% of the world has them, Van Morrison dedicated a song to them, and makeup artists love to work with them—proof that contrary to the ridiculous myths we grew up hearing, brown eyes are far from boring. They practically sparkle with flecks of gold, copper, and honey. With thoughtful eye shadow choices, your brown eyes will smolder every time.
To help them realize their sultriest potential, we’ve gathered super-flattering eye shadow palettes as recommended by Glamsquad's director of artistry and education, Kelli Bartlett. She offers up her favorite palettes with brown eyes in mind, explaining the textures, shades, and application tricks to best show off your peepers.
Keep scrolling for a handful of the best eye shadows for brown eyes.
Best Overall: Nars Ignited Eyeshadow Palette
This palette gives you major glamour, Bartlett gushes, adding, "It's shimmering rose, sparkly peach, deep matte eggplant with glitter. Your brown eyes are elevated to honey, chocolate, and golden tones thanks to these unique eye-catching textures," she says.
Take a look at other reviews in our roundup of the best eye shadow palettes available today.
Best for Light Brown Eyes: Urban Decay Naked Cherry Eyeshadow Palette
"For light-brown eyes, or eyes that have a bit of hazel, adding a red undertone will contrast and bring out those eye highlights," Bartlett says. "This palette has the perfect arrow of warm, beautiful shades for just that."
Take a look at reviews of the best eye shadow shades for hazel eyes.
Best for Dark Brown Eyes: RMS Luminizer x Quad Highlighter Palette
"While it's not a traditional eye shadow palette," Bartlett offers, "I love using these creamy highlighters on brown eyes because they give a light-reflective, glossy sheen that instantly brightens dark-brown eyes and gives a 'no makeup but I look amazing' look."
Best for Everyday: Tom Ford Eye Color Quad in Cocoa Mirage
"Rich cocoa and sandy brown allow brown eyes to be the stars of the show while giving a neutral polished appearance," Bartlett suggests. "This Tom Ford palette is really great for everyday—natural but chic."
Best Purples: Huda Beauty Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette in Amethyst
"Artists gravitate toward a range of purples for brown eyes because they're complementary colors," says Bartlett. "This means that, when applied, the shade next to your eye color creates a strong contrast, allowing your eyes to really pop," she adds.
Best Liquid: Stila Shimmer & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow
If you're a fan of liquid eye shadow, you can't go wrong with Stila's wide variety. First, there’s “Vivid Garnet,” a gorgeous pomegranate sure to make brown eyes pop. Then there’s “Vivid Labradorite,” a sensuous blend of charcoal and olive tones, and a definite favorite, “La Douce,” a gold-green shade that’s super unique.
The liquid shadows come in a rectangular tube, with the cap twisting off to reveal a doe-foot applicator. Application is easy, and they’re eye-catching on their own, but even better as part of a cut crease.
Best Single: Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Lounge
The magic of this eyeshadow is hard to catch on camera unless you pile it on (even then it still looks good). “Lounge,” an appropriately sultry name, is a duo-chrome dragon-scale green that shifts to red and brown, depending on which way you turn. The best way to describe the consistency is velvety, though, like other Urban Decay eyeshadow singles, it’s best applied with your finger or a wet shader brush. It’s a beautiful, unique shade that adds some mystery to brown eyes. Combine with a red shadow or other metallics for an even more majestic look.
Best Budget: ColourPop Jelly Much Shadow in Foxes
The Jelly Much Shadows line is a goldmine (excuse the pun) of gorgeous duo-chrome shadows. You open the pot to what looks like a gold oil slick, the result of a unique formula that hovers between a liquid and a cream. But when all is said and done, the shadow dries down to a powdery finish that doesn’t crease or crack off.
Best Matte: MAC Eye Shadow
MAC eye shadows are solid options, even if they’re not as showy as the latest palettes. Their eye shadows, housed in a classic black compact, have always been richly pigmented, easy to blend, and long-lasting. The singles include both shimmers and mattes, as well as a good amount of statement colors.
Want to take a look at some other options? Check out our guide to the best drugstore eye shadows.