The 12 Best Eyeshadows for Brown Eyes in 2023

Alexa, play "Brown Eyed Girl."

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

Brown may be the most common eye color of the bunch, but don’t you dare call brown eyes boring. What many fail to realize is that there are so many shades of brown eyes: amber, chestnut, chocolate, honey, I could go on. And when the sunlight hits those golden-flecked peepers, boy, do they sparkle. While brown eyes are a sight to behold on their own, there’s nothing like some amazing eyeshadow to make them pop from a mile away. 

Luckily, brown-eyed babes can pretty much run the gamut of eyeshadow shades. According to celebrity makeup artist Zara Kaplan, “Brown eyes are actually extremely versatile when it comes to color pairings.” Of course, some shades are undeniably more flattering than others, but the shade range is extensive in comparison to other eye colors. 

To help all of the brown-eyed beauties out there, we’ve put together this guide to the best eyeshadows that make brown eyes pop. Below, you’ll find exactly which shades to reach for courtesy of Kaplan, as well as a few of her pro-approved picks. From drugstore eyeshadows to creamy eyeshadow sticks from luxury brands, these palettes, liquids, sticks, and powders don’t skip out on color or staying power.

What to Look For in Eyeshadow for Brown Eyes

  • Color

There's a wide range of options when it comes to eyeshadow shades for brown eyes, but neutral colors and warm tones make brown eyes stand out the most, according to Kaplan. “I always seem to gravitate towards gorgeous copper tones and rich bronze shades to really enhance brown eyes,” she says.”Something about a slightly orangey bronze tone on a brown eye just really makes them pop.”  

That being said, don’t be afraid to reach for more colorful options. Brown eyes are extremely versatile, so you can easily amp up your look with a fun shade. Kaplan specifically recommends leaning into greens, adding, “Olive green looks unbelievable on brown eyes,” as well as blues, purples, and pinks. These shades actually have some scientific backing to them, too. If you think back to grade school art class, colors opposite of each other on the color wheel contrast the most and therefore stand out. Brown is technically a much darker shade of orange, which sits opposite blue and purple. 

  • Finish

The right eyeshadow texture boils down to personal preference, but different finishes can have different effects on brown eyes. Typically, deeper matte shades are used to define the eye shape, while lighter shimmery shades are used to highlight it. Of course, you can mix and match finishes to create your desired eye makeup look, but keep in mind that Kaplan says shades with a little shimmer makes brown eyes especially pop.

Best Eyeshadows for Brown Eyes

Meet the Expert

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.

Zara’s work has caught the eye of celebrity clients such as Alessia Cara, Stephanie Sheperd, Iskra Lawrence, Peyton List, Taylour Paige, Tylynn Nguyen, Raveena Aurora, and Ally Brooke to name a few, and her work has been recognized in leading publications such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, ID Magazine, Dazed Magazine, InStyle Magazine and Vanity Fair Italia.

Known for her ‘less is more’ approach when it comes to complexion makeup, she truly believes in enhancing ones beauty rather than masking it and is known for creating beautiful, breathable makeup looks, taking any opportunity to add fun pops of color or accents to any makeup look she creates.

Brooke Knappenberger
Editorial Fellow

Brooke Knappenberger is the Editorial Fellow at Marie Claire, where she writes across the board from fashion and beauty to books and celebrities. As a pop culture junkie, Brooke obsessively consumes and writes about the latest movie releases, streaming TV shows, and celebrity scandals. 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.