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The Best Makeup Tips to Make Your Brown Eyes Pop

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Photo by We Are/Getty Images

There are so many beautiful shades of brown eyes. From honeyed amber to deep chocolate to sparkling russet, no two sets of brown eyes are exactly alike. And if you are a brown-eyed beauty, there are so many ways to highlight and enhance your eye color with the right eye makeup

While brown eyes can really rock any eyeshadow shade, there are a few that rise above the rest when it comes to complementing and intensifying your eye color—whether you’re going for a glam look or no-makeup makeup. Understanding which shades will make your brown eyes pop just takes a little practice and, of course, the right products.

We chatted with makeup artists Lauren Berlingeri and Ashley Gomila to get expert tips on how to make your brown eyes truly stand out, regardless of your makeup experience level. 

About the Experts:
Lauren Berlingeri is a makeup artist based in New Jersey. Her work has been featured in New York Fashion Week, New York Bridal Fashion Week, commercial shoots, and television shows including Say Yes to the Dress.
Ashley Gomila is a Los Angeles-based celebrity hair and makeup artist.

The Best Eyeshadow Colors to Make Brown Eyes Pop

When it comes to finding shades that go with blue eyes or green eyes, makeup artists often use the color wheel to find an ideal match. The color wheel is organized with similar colors grouped together and contrasting hues situated directly across from each other. "If you're trying to pop an eye color, go across the color wheel and use color in the opposite direction," says Berlingeri. 

For example, the color red sits opposite of green on the color wheel, so wearing shades in the pink and red family can help make that eye color appear more vivid. 

Because brown is a neutral color, it doesn't show up on most color wheels—which means that almost any color will work with brown eyes. That being said, there are a few winning shades that makeup artists and beauty buffs return to time and time again. When it comes to brown eyes, green, gold, purple, and gray eyeshadow colors are almost always a home run.

Your Best Green Eyeshadow Tips 

Green eyeshadow ranges from deep emerald to light sage and everything in between. The shade you choose to use really depends on your individual eye color and the makeup look you're going for. Here’s an easy eye makeup tutorial to try: 

• If you have dark brown eyes, try a jewel tone like ESTATE COSMETICS Eye Shade in Schmoney to deepen and emphasize the warmth of your eye color.

• Swipe it across your lid for a smoky eye look, or use a small eyeliner brush to pat powder across your upper and lower lash line for a subtle, soft liner look.

• “I love doing a green shimmer cat eyeliner with an eyeshadow,” says Gomila. “You can just mist a setting spray on a small angle brush and dip into the eyeshadow of your choice to create this look.” 

• If you have hazel eyes or light brown eyes, try a minty green eyeshadow or a soft metallic shade to play up the gold and lighter tones in your eyes. 

• If you're going bold with green eyeshadow, Berlingeri suggests pairing the shade with a neutral lip and a neutral blush. "This way your eye shadow will be the focus and your makeup won’t clash," she says.

Your Best Gold Eyeshadow Tips 

Shades of gold are a favorite for both makeup artists when it comes to brown eyes. Berlingeri says, "Warm eyeshadow like copper, bronze, and gold can bring out dimension in brown eyes and be very complementing." And the shade isn’t as intimidating as it may seem. “Gold toned eyeshadows are my go to when searching for a color to accentuate brown eyes,” adds Gomila. “I lean towards that tone because it makes a darker eye color more alluring and mesmerizing.”

Just follow these simple steps: 

1. While gold may seem like a statement color, soft shimmery shades like the SPACE CASE COSMETICS Eyeshadow in Gold Base can be a perfect choice for everyday wear. The color will illuminate your brown eyes and add just the right amount of shimmer.

2. Gold is also a great choice for creating a glowy, smoky eye. “I use soft but dark browns in the outer corner then blend the gold shadow over with a concentration towards the middle and center of the eye,” says Gomila. Swipe a lighter gold (like the SPACE CASE shadow) along your brow bone as a highlight. 

3. To make your gold smokey eye look slightly grungy (which is super trendy right now), smudge kohl liner along your lower lash line and add a swipe of mascara.

Your Best Purple Eyeshadow Tips 

Purple eyeshadow is another surprisingly versatile choice. From deep eggplant to light lavender to bold amethyst, no matter your skin tone, there's a purple eyeshadow look for you. 

• If you're after a highly pigmented eye look, try a shade like CIATÉ LONDON Marbled Metals Eyeshadow in Wicked. This super shimmery shade makes a great centerpiece for your makeup look. 

• When working with extra shimmery shades like this, Berlingeri says, "Use matte shadows in the crease first and pop shimmer on the lid.”

• “If you are using a purple shimmer like this one, you can also highlight the inner corner of your eye with a lighter shadow to create a pop,” she continues. So pretty! 

Your Best Gray Eyeshadow Tips 

Gray eyeshadow is universally flattering, and looks especially stunning on brown eyes. It’s unexpected and feels especially modern this season. With so many ways to use it, it's definitely a color that you'll reach for time and time again.

• If you have warm brown eyes, choose a cool-toned gray to create a beautiful contrast.

• Dark silver is another gorgeous shade that you can wear as an eyeliner

• Deeper brownish grays are a color staple for creating a neutral smokey eye. 

• If you like a shimmery cool-toned silver, we love KALEIDO COSMETICS Diamond Foils Eyeshadow in Sizzle. Apply it as a highlight color on the inner corner of your eyes or on your brow bone, or swipe all over and pair with dark eyeliner for a fun, futuristic monochrome look.

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About the author
Elizabeth Denton
Elizabeth is a freelance beauty writer. Previously, she was a beauty & fashion editor at Time Out New York, Seventeen, & Allure. She has more than a decade of experience in the beauty and fashion world, writing for Nylon, StyleCaster, Cosmopolitan & more.
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Article Last Updated September 8, 2022 12:00 AM