Makeup Tips For Brown Eyes: MUAs Reveal Their Secrets


makeup for brown eyes

Makeup is all about having fun and leaning into whatever vibe you’re going for that day or night. What matters most of all is that you’re enjoying swiping on eyeshadow, playing with liquid eyeliner, and experimenting with shiny new products. At the same time, there are a bunch of different techniques and even specific colors you can use that’ll maximize your fave features, whether that’s your pillow-y lips, a smattering of freckles, or gorgeous brown eyes.

Today we’re talking allll about how to make brown eyes pop. To do that, we enlisted the help of a handful of celebrity and editorial makeup artists – AKA people who are literally responsible for making stars and models look gorgeous. They were happy to give us the scoop on the best makeup tips and tricks they always whip out for brown-eyed babes, so listen up. (P.S. we’ve got blue eyes and hazel eyes covered, too).

Tip #1: Reach for Jewel-Toned Eyeshadows for Brown Eyes

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Jewel-toned blues and purples really make brown eyes pop, says makeup artist Gabriel De Santino. “If you have warm undertones, purple eyeshadows will complement your skin tone and make your eyes stand out,” he notes. “For those with cool undertones, I love a rich blue shadow. Metallic shades or hues with a hint of shimmer will also help enhance the brownness.”

Tomy Rivero, an editorial makeup artist whose work has graced too many glossy magazines to count, agrees. His favorite technique is to keep it simple by applying one wash of color over your entire lid.

“Using one all-over color blended high on the eyes will really bring attention to your brown eyes and the center of your face,” he says. “Purple and blue are opposite to brown in the color wheel, making these your absolute best undertones to wear around your eyes.”Desert-Dusk_4Rivero says he’s a big fan of the Huda Beauty Desert Dusk Eye Shadow Palette, $65, noting that “there couldn’t be a more perfect range of colors in one palette.”

Tip #2: Define Your Brown Eyes with Eyeliner and Mascara 

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For a defining makeup moment – literally – that’ll make your brown eyes stand out, you’ll want to reach for the right eyeliner.

“For brown eyes, I would recommend using a brown or purple pencil eyeliner for during the day,” says Rachel Herrera, a celebrity makeup artist who has worked with Kim and Khloe Kardashian, Kristin Chenoweth, and Jenn Brown. “Apply the pencil as close to the lash line as possible. I like to smudge out the line a little to give it a softer look.”

Her favorite go-to eye pencils for brown eyes are the Stila Smidge Stick Waterproof Eye Liners in Deep Burgundy and Spice, $22 each.

“Another important brown-eyed hunny must have is a bomb mascara. It defines the eyes, gives them a pop, and helps them stand out on your face. Coat your lashes top and bottom at least twice with a little drying time in between,” she says. “Brown-eyed babes often have thick, beautiful lashes, but doesn’t mean you still can’t improve on perfection.”

Before applying your choice mascara, she recommends heating an eyelash curler with your blow dryer for a few seconds and then crimping down as close to the lash line as possible. Repeat a couple times, then apply your mascara. Your brown eyes will look wide awake and as chocolate-y as ever.

Tip #3: Go for the Gold Highlight

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“Use bronzer and highlighter to create a golden bronze glow all over your face,” advises Rivero. “The golden tones bring out the yellow in your brown eyes and can make them look like they are gleaming without much eyeshadow work.”

After your makeup is finished, he says to use a fan brush to hit the high planes of your face. That’d be the top of the cheekbone, right over the bow of your lip, down the center of your nose, and just under your brow bone. Try the Huda Beauty 3D Highlighter Palette in Bronze Sands, $45.

If you’re feeling a bit playful, you could even opt for a rose-gold glow. Santino says this rosy hue instantly makes brown eyes sparkle. “The subtle shimmer catches the light and enhances the natural glimmer in your eyes, and it will also warm up your skin,” he says. The Huda Beauty Bronze Sands palette has a gorgeous rose-gold in it, but if you want to try a liquid version, we’re also obsessed with Glossier Niteshine in Platinum Rose, $20.

Tip #4: Throw on A Bold Lipstick

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“Vivid lipsticks play up the warmth of brown eyes,” says Santino. “Think hot pink, plums, and my current favorite, coral. Coral lips pair well with earth-tone shades, and this contrast will make your brown eyes pop. For maximum impact, try pairing a coral lip with a vivid blue eyeliner. Don’t be afraid to go overboard with color, in this case bolder really is better.”

Rivero agrees 100% on the bold coral. He notes that brown eyes are exceptionally good at carrying a bold lip and a perfectly-lined pout. You could even lean into an orangey-red if that’s more your jam.

NEST LIPSTICKS FOR BROWN EYESSource: Huda Beauty, Charlotte Tilbury, Colourpop Cosmetics, Maybelline

For coral, try Huda Beauty Demi Matte in Game Changer, $20, or Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution in Sexy Sienna, $34. For hot pink, we’re partial to Colourpop Cosmetics Blur Lux Lipstick in Fake Love, $7, and for that perfect red, swipe on Maybelline Color Sensational Made For All Lipstick in Red for Me, $5.99.

You can follow these brown eye makeup rules as closely or as loosely as you want. Just promise us one thing: that whatever makeup you wear, you’re feeling yourself from the vanity to the front door to wherever the world takes you.