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A mascara's ability to lengthen and bulk up your lashes is well known — but did you know that you can use your mascara to play up and complement your eye color, too. "I always love black for brown eyes, yet there are so many [color] possibilities to enhance the [eye] tone," makeup artist Mia Jones tells Elite Daily. Classic black aside, the best mascaras for brown eyes can vary from soft brown to plum, Burgundy, and blue shades that make your eyes pop.
Mia Jones is a New York City-based makeup artist best known for her editorial and red carpet looks (celebrity clients have included Amal Clooney, Gigi Hadid, Amy Schumer, Riley Keough, and Cindy Crawford). In addition to being a makeup expert, she’s also passionate about skin care, having attended aesthetician school in her late teens.
What To Look For When Shopping For A Mascara For Brown Eyes
"A blackened-brown mascara can give a smoky hue to the iris," Jones explains of the neutral color. "And anything purple will make [the eyes] pop, as that's a complementary color to brown eyes," she adds of shades ranging from Burgundy to deep purple.
As with your go-to black mascara, when you're using a brightly colored formula, your wand does most of the lash-enhancing work. Oversized and hourglass-shaped wands let you maximize volume and density, curved wands encourage a lift and curl, and thin wands with plastic bristles give you lots of clump-free length.
The next time you want to experiment with a new mascara color, try one of the best mascaras for brown eyes — including the color Jones swears by for her own brown eyes.
1. The Pro's Pick
Jones' personal go-to mascara is the Shiseido ControlledChaos MascaraInk in ‘Sapphire Spark.’ But for a more affordable alternative that’s not sold out everywhere, this Pupa Milano Vamp Mascara in ‘Electric Blue’ is a comparable blue color that also has a volume-boosting hourglass wand. The Italian beauty brand also makes their mascara in brown, purple, green, and navy shades, but it's the brighter blue color that Jones swears by for brown eyes. "I have true brown eyes that lighten in the sun," Jones says of her own eye color. "I wear a glowy, golden makeup with just coats of blue mascara — it really enhances the brown tones."
Relevant review: “I love this mascara. It is so blue and looks great, does not irritate my very dry, sensitive eyes and is so easy to remove.”
2. Best Brown-Black Mascara For Brown Eyes
Finding a brown or black-brown mascara is admittedly not very difficult (chances are your favorite mascara already comes in the softer shade). But for a best-selling formula with more than 60,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, try Maybelline's Lash Sensational Washable Mascara in ‘Brownish Black.’ The espresso-colored blush is infused with rosehip oil to help condition your lashes, and the fanned-out brush takes the best components from every wand type to create bold lashes. The fuller, angled shape helps volumize and lift your lashes, while the plastic bristles lengthen and eliminate clumps (even if you like to layer on your mascara).
Relevant review: “I have practically invisible light, short eyelashes. Bought the brown/black and so far so good. It really adds a lot of length and volume, but doesn't get cakey or thick. I have a lash comb at the ready in case of clumps but haven't needed it with this. Lasts all day even when I'm running around at work, with no smudges. Comes off easily though. Happy with it so far and planning to re-order when it runs out.”
3. Best Purple Mascara For Brown Eyes
A deep-purple mascara gives your lashes a subtle tint that you can play up with a matching purple liner to really bring out your brown eyes, or you can pare the look back with a swipe of classic black liner. Eyeko’s Lash Alert Mascara in ‘Purple’ has a formula that includes lash-conditioning ingredients like castor oil, biotin, green tea leaf extract, and licorice root extract to care for your lashes as it imparts its pretty color (it also contains caffeine to quite literally perk up your lashes). The brush uses a curved wand to give your lashes a curl, and if you follow the brand’s instructions by gently wiggling the brush from side to side as you comb it through your lashes, the densely packed bristles will give you tons of volume, too.
Relevant review: “This is the best mascara I have ever used. It doesn't clump, and it makes my lashes look amazing. Worth every penny.”
4. Best Burgundy Mascara For Brown Eyes
Not only has Burgundy makeup gained popularity in recent years, but it's also a great color for brown eyes, according to Jones. L'Orèal’s classic Voluminous Original Mascara is beloved by makeup artists and makeup aficionados worldwide, and it comes in this gorgeous, versatile ‘Deep Burgundy’ shade. For a fun way to rock this color, Jones suggests adding a little shimmer. "If I were doing a Burgundy mascara, I'd opt for something gold, copper, or even a clear gloss to really let the mascara pop," Jones says. If you love the formula but not the color, it also comes in navy, green, purple, and black-brown shades.
Relevant review: “I've been using this mascara since my friend introduced me it almost 7 years ago. I've always loved it, and still do. This time I tried the Burgundy shade which is AMAAAAAZING. It is a subtle burgundy, not at all garish or gaudy. I am a natural blonde and fair skinned. The color looks really close to a brown on me, which is much less harsh than a black or brown-black. It looked great with wine, purple and brown shades of eyeshadow. The mascara itself does not disappoint. It thickens, adds length, and is not clumpy. I had no trouble removing it with a popular brand of makeup wipe.”
5. Best Lash Growth Mascara For Brown Eyes
This mascara is the biggest splurge on this list, but By Terry's Terrybly Lash Growth Mascara is infused with a lash-lengthening serum, making it worth the extra dollars. Available in purple and brown colors that complement brown eyes, the ophthalmologist-tested formula includes biotin, collagen, hyaluronic acid, and the brand's own Revolutionary Lumicoat Care Technology to strengthen your lashes and help prevent future lash loss. The densely packed bristles bulk up your lashes immediately, and the tapered tip of the brush makes it easier to coat the lower lashes (and those hard-to-reach lashes at the inner corners of your upper lash line).
Relevant review: “[...] I'm so happy with the results!! I've been using it for about two months. I can tell my upper lashes are a little longer and fuller, but my lower lashes are what have sold me on this product. They were very sparse and most were super short. Now they are longer and definitely fuller. You won't get the dramatic results you would from using something like Latisse, but I think the results are absolutely worth the price of this mascara!”
Mia Jones, New York City-based celebrity and editorial makeup artist