The Best Eyeshadows for Brown Eyes Add Instant Depth

Jewel tones are your friend.

Zendaya attends the "Dune" UK Special Screening wearing purple eyeshadow on her brown eyes
Zendaya attends the "Dune" UK Special Screening with purple eyeshadow to enhance her brown eyes.
(Image credit: Lia Toby/Getty Images)

Brown may statistically be the most common eye color, but it's far from boring. Brown-eyed individuals have unique tones and details, like subtle flecks of gold, honey, black, or copper, which can be amplified with eyeshadow. The best eyeshadows for brown eyes will not only make eyes sparkle, but they'll also create dimension and depth.

Darker eyes also have the luxury of pulling off just about every color. “Brown eyes are extremely versatile when it comes to color pairings," says celebrity makeup artist Zara Kaplan. But, certain hues—like jewel tones and brick colors—will have more impact than others. To help you decide, we’ve compiled a guide to the best eyeshadows for mahogany-hued eyes, from drugstore eyeshadows to luxury eyeshadow sticks.

Best Eyeshadows for Brown Eyes

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What Colors Are Best for Brown Eyes?

Regardless of your eye color, it's best to consider your skin tone and undertone when choosing an eyeshadow color. Mehta explains that a warm, cool, or neutral undertone can impact whether a color shade flatters you or washes you out. If you have a warm skin tone, opt for reds, oranges, and gold shades, and if your undertone is cooler, consider blue and purple hues.

Kaplan also adds that copper tones like orange and even a muted red make terra-cotta colored eyes stand out the most. “I always seem to gravitate towards gorgeous, rich bronze shades to enhance brown eyes,” she says. For an earthy look that's just a bit more lively, Kaplan says to go for olive green, calling it an "unbelievable" shade for dark eyes.

If you're a fan of bright colors, try deep shades of green, purple, or blue because the contrast of these jewel tones will add richness to any eyeshadow look, says Mehta.

What Eyeshadow Finish Should Brown Eyes Look For?

Eyeshadows come in a range of finishes. Powders are finely milled pigments loved by the pros for their long-lasting finish and buildable texture. Cream shadows are softer and finger-friendly, while glitter eyeshadows are great toppers or accents (Kaplan believes shades with a bit of shimmer are very flattering for auburn colored eyes). Ultimately, the best finish for you is based on your personal preference, so feel free to mix and match textures or commit to one.

It's also important to note that these finishes will affect brown eyes differently. Typically, deeper matte shades define the eye shape, while lighter shimmery shades highlight. Of course, you can mix and match finishes to create your desired eye makeup look.

Meet the Experts

Zara kaplan headshot, celebrity makeup artist
Zara Kaplan

Zara Kaplan is a British celebrity Makeup Artist currently living in Los Angeles. Having started her career in 2012, Kaplan has since gone on to work with globally renowned brands such as Chanel, La Mer, Louis Vuitton, Kosas Cosmetics, and many more.

Amrita Mehta
Amrita Mehta

Amrita Mehta is a professional makeup artist who has worked with celebrities, on editorial shoots, and backstage at runway shows. Over the course of her career, she has worked with big names like Pat McGrath and Patrick Ta, and has most recently collaborated with Maybelline. Originally from San Francisco, she is currently based in New York City.

Brooke Knappenberger
Associate Commerce Editor

Brooke Knappenberger is the Associate Commerce Editor at Marie Claire, where she specializes in crafting shopping stories—from sales content to buying guides that span every vertical on the site. She also oversees holiday coverage with an emphasis on gifting guides as well as Power Pick, our monthly column on the items that power the lives of MC’s editors. She has over three years of experience writing on fashion, beauty, and entertainment and her work has appeared on Looper, NickiSwift, The Sun US, and Vox Magazine of Columbia, Missouri. Brooke obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism with an emphasis on Magazine Editing and has a minor in Textile and Apparel Management.

With contributions from