Make-Up For Brown Eyes: The Colours And Trends To Try
Make-Up For Brown Eyes: The Colours And Trends To Try

Make-Up For Brown Eyes: The Colours And Trends To Try

4 minutes read

What are the best make-up looks for brown eyes? Unfortunately, there isn’t a straightforward answer. Instead, there is more than one look, shade and texture that’s beautiful on brown eyes—some complement and others contrast.  

However, if you are interested in some colour theory, there are certain shades to reach for that can make the colour of your eyes stand out. In the art world, they’re called ‘complementary colours’. In short, when you pair colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel, they make for striking combinations. 

This is easy to work out if your eyes are green or blue. However, the colour brown doesn’t feature on a traditional colour wheel. That’s because it’s a composite colour created by mixing the primary colours. So what do you do? Here are some basic mantras:

Play with bright shades

Unlike blue or green, brown is naturally a neutral eye colour. So technically, it won’t clash with other hues. This means that every shade on the colour wheel is up for grabs.  

Experiment with brighter shades – from electric neons to soft pastels. Wear them as a sheer wash across the eyelids, as an inner corner accent or as a concentrated flick of liner.

make-up at Prabal Gurung ss22
Prabal Gurung Spring/Summer 2022; Instagram: @silbruinsma1

Plums are fail-safe options

Shades of purple look great on people with brown eyes. And if your eyes feature any little flecks of amber or hazel, it will emphasise them. Choose rich plum shades and deep violets for maximum impact. For instance, you could switch your regular mascara for a purple one. Or, instead of doing the standard dark black smokey eye, reach for deep plum tones.

Try: Here’s a five-minute smokey eye idea: line your eyes with the Waterproof Eye Pencil in 04 Fig (a stunning dark purple). Then, colour across the lids and use an eyeshadow brush to lightly diffuse the colour along the edges.

Next Read: How To Do The Perfect Smokey Eye

(Reach for jewel tones

Luxe jewel tones perfectly complement deep brown eyes. Amethyst, midnight blue, rich emerald shades – you can create intricate smokey eyes with them. Or use them just in the waterline to subtly frame the eyes. 

You can’t go wrong with navy

Although brown doesn’t technically show up on a traditional colour wheel, some see it as a darker, richer shade of orange. So on a gradient, you will find camel, tan, and chocolate shades sitting between red and orange.  

Its complementary colour is blue – specifically, dark midnight blues. So, they can really make brown eyes pop.

Try: Clarins Ombre 4-Colour Eyeshadow Palette, £38 in Midnight Gradation is our go-to for midnight smokey eyes. Sweep the dark blue across the lids for an intense effect, blending it into the crease. Use the black shade close to the lash line, and highlight the inner corners and the brow bone with the lighter tones in the palette. 

Pick another neutral

Brown is typically a warm-toned neutral. Contrast it with something cool-toned like a steel grey, silver or cool charcoal. These tones will look particularly striking against brown eyes.  

On the other hand, warm-toned neutrals like golds and coppers work in synergy with the warmth of your eyes so that they will create a more effortless look.  

Try: The Clarins Waterproof Eye Pencil, £21 in Smoked Wood is a cool grey that can be used along the lash line, in the waterline or smudged to create a lived-in smokey eye. 

Experiment with different finishes

When your eyes are a rich dark brown, framing them with sparkly, iridescent pigments adds an element of texture, creating a pretty contrast. Pick shimmers, glitters or frosty shades. 

Make-up at anna sui ss22
Anna Sui Spring/Summer 2022; Instagram: @thefashionspotofficial

Swipe on a coloured mascara

If you want to wear an interesting colour around your eyes, but can’t be bothered with eyeshadow, here’s a quicker and easier route: wear coloured mascara. Coating your lashes in rich blues and purples will frame the eyes with little effort or skill.

Try something else entirely

It’s also important to remember that make-up isn’t tattoo-like. You can experiment with any look or colour with little to no major consequences. If you like it, then leave it. And if you don’t, you can wipe it off and start again. 

Next Read: 9 Eyeshadow Palettes To Upgrade Your Look

“Classically, when it comes to make-up, people think there are so many rules that you’ve got to abide by,” says Jason Roberts, Clarins Commercial Training Manager. “But make-up is playful, so you should enjoy it. It’s such a nice way to express yourself.”   

There are a few things that can stop brown eyes from coming to life – and that’s if they are are sore or red. So, make sure you use a regimen dedicated for sensitive eyes and use make-up designed not to irritate or rub you up the wrong way.


Next Read: What Is Mascara Made Of? The Most Common Ingredients Explained 

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