How to Decide Between Brown and Black Eye Makeup

Black eye makeup is an absolute staple in every makeup kit. From eyeliner to eyeshadow to, of course, mascara, you definitely can’t go wrong with choosing the blackest, most intensely pigmented option available.

No matter what beauty trends happen to be popular at any given moment, black eye makeup is truly timeless. And no matter what your skin tone or eye colour may be, rest assured that a swipe of black, whether it’s subtle or dramatic, will never steer you in the wrong direction.

These days, however, more and more people are opting for brown eye makeup, partly because it can be subtler, especially on those with fairer skin tones, but also because there’s something refreshing and modern about a classic eye makeup look created with shades of brown.

Below are some guidelines for choosing whether to use black or brown eye makeup.

Winged eyeliner

For a classic cat-eye look, reaching for a pigmented black liquid eyeliner with a felt tip is a no-brainer. Try L’Oréal Paris Infallible Super Slim Eyeliner in Noir for a foolproof and budgeproof application. But did you know that a slick winged-liner look can be achieved with brown eyeliner, too? L’Oréal Paris Infallible Super Slim Eyeliner in Brown features the same super-fine felt tip and quick-drying formula that stays put for 12 hours, but the results are softer and less severe. In fact, depending on the look you’re going for, brown eyeliner can often be more modern. Try experimenting with brown eyeliner the next time you want to do a chic winged-liner look.

Smoky eye makeup

A smoky eye is a staple nighttime makeup look that everyone should have in their repertoire, but it sometimes has the reputation of being difficult to achieve. That doesn’t have to be the case at all. The great thing about a smoky eye is that it can be as precise or as imprecise as you want. For a casual take on the look, simply blend out your eyeshadow more than usual, especially around the outer corners of your eyes.

Another way to tone down a smoky eye is by using brown instead of the usual go-to black. L’Oréal Paris La Petite Eyeshadow Palette in Maximalist. It features so many great brown and nude shades that you can mix and match them or wear one individually for a monochromatic smoky eye. This brown eye makeup look is incredibly versatile and works for everyday looks or for special occasions.


Tightlining is a widely loved technique in the makeup world. Often referred to as “invisible eyeliner,” the process involves lining your upper (and sometimes lower) lash line with a kohl or pencil eyeliner to create the appearance of a fuller, thicker lash line. It’s the ultimate optical illusion, and when you’re wearing a lot of eye products—like a smoky eye makeup look, for instance—it’s important to tightline to fill in the space between your lashes and your makeup.

When it comes to choosing an eyeliner colour for tightlining, a black shade, like L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Last Waterproof Pencil Eyeliner in Black, will offer you a darker, more severe look, generally intensifying your eyes and the makeup you have on, whereas brown will give you a look that is quite a bit softer and subtler. If you have lighter eyelashes, a brown shade, like L’Oréal Paris Infallible Gel Crayon 24H Waterproof in Browny Crush, might be especially appealing to you, as it will beautifully enhance your lash line without creating such a sharp contrast.


Last but most certainly not least is mascara. It’s generally the final step in any makeup routine, and reaching for the darkest mascara has become somewhat of a habit. With cult favourites like L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara, which comes in shades like Carbon Black and Blackest Black , there’s no denying that using the blackest mascara day after day to coat your lashes is tempting.

But for those with lighter lashes, or anyone who doesn’t want to draw as much attention to their lashes while still emphasizing them, brown mascara is an excellent option. L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Original Mascara in Burgundy is a perfect blend of the two. Whether you want just a light touch of mascara to complete your “no makeup” makeup look or you’re going for drama, this buildable mascara is a great choice.

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