Choosing the Right Eyeshadow for Brown Eyes

Updated 04/07/19
Takamitsu GALALA Kato for Getty Images

People with brown eyes are lucky in the sense that eyeshadow doesn't often look bad on them. That doesn't necessarily mean it looks good—and not being able to make that distinction is what separates doing makeup okay and nailing it. No matter who you are, there are things that look better than others. Choosing the right shadow can make your eyes pop, while choosing the wrong one can leave your makeup looking... flat.

Brown eyes aren't created equal. If you have brown eyes, and your best friend also has brown eyes, that doesn't mean you both should be using the same shadow, liner, or mascara. There are plenty more aspects to consider, like your eye shape, or whether your eyes are close together or wide-set. You also want to keep in mind your lifestyle, your personality, and the way you dress. Importantly, always keep your skin tone in the back of your mind. Deep hues on some skin tones just won't work. Any colors with red in them won't look good on someone with a ruddy skin tone. This is why experimentation is important.

Start out by looking at shades you're drawn to. You're not buying the eyeshadow to fit anyone's idea of what you should be wearing, you just want to pick shades that highlight and enhance your features. It isn't helpful to read names that have nothing to do with the actual shade, so it might be advisable to avoid looking at it from that perspective. Your personality should be your first consideration. If you like to have fun with makeup, and don't mind people noticing your eyeshadow, try to focus on shades that will contrast with your eyes. Blues, greens, and deep jewel tones look particularly beautiful against brown eyes. Deep purple eyeliner and mascara can make brown eyes seem tinted with green, as aubergine is a shade that looks great on almost anybody.  

If you are more natural, or want your makeup to blend in making it to seem like you aren't wearing any, stick to more subtle colors. Celebrity makeup artist Bobbi Brown advises that brown eyes look best with brown liners if you want to look as natural as possible. For daytime, it's usually best to wear lighter colors on your lids than darker ones because light colors brighten them, while dark colors make your eyes recede. Teal eyeliners will make your eyes stand out.

Keep in mind that curling your lashes and applying mascara will open up your eyes and make them appear about 20 percent larger. If you have pale skin and light lashes, think twice before skipping mascara, or your eyes will disappear into your face with the application of just a little makeup. Brown eyes can get away with any mascara color from light brown, to black, to blue. Black mascara will make any eyes stand out the most. To make eyes really stand out, consider fake lashes. Try applying them yourself before getting them done, to see if you like the look.

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