Trying to find eye makeup looks for brown eyes worthy of a Van Morrison song? We’ve got you covered.
Fun fact: more than half of the world’s population have brown eyes, so if you want yours to stand out, you’ll need to get creative. Among the celebrity inspiration we’ve rounded up below, you’ll find bright colours, bold graphic shapes and thinking-outside-the-box eyeliner – all of which perfectly complement brown eyes. There are also some more low-key looks dotted throughout – so don’t worry if easy makeup looks are more your bag than ones that require half an hour and the help of a YouTube tutorial to master. Remember too that the category of brown eyes can span light hazel through to deep, almost black peepers, so what suits one brown-eyed girl might not suit another. Take the time to play around and experiment with different looks to find the right one for you.
32 eye makeup looks for brown eyes to copy
1. Gilded green
Deep, forest-green eyeshadow shades like the ones Salma Hayek is wearing here will really intensify dark brown eyes. If you want to go for something brighter, try an emerald shade instead.
2. Full-on flicks
Whether you call it winged eyeliner, feline flicks or cat eye makeup, the concept behind this look is the same. By taking a thick slick of liquid eyeliner upwards and outwards from the edges of your eyes, you’ll create a dramatic, lifted effect, as showcased here by Michelle Yeoh.
3. Classic smoke
A smoky eye is a failsafe way to add some drama to your evening makeup look. Instead of the classic palette of grey and charcoal, follow Penelope Cruz’s lead with a blend of melted chocolate tones to really bring out your eyes.
4. Molten metallic
Brown eyes are far from boring, but sometimes the darker colour makes it harder to decipher the different tones. Metallic eyeshadow, like the rose-gold shade Halle Berry has opted for here, will catch the light, drawing attention to the flecks of colour within your brown.
5. High shine
Any makeup that reflects and bounces light will demand attention, so a high-shine shadow is a guaranteed way to put the focus on your eyes. We love this silvery lilac shade on Naomi Campbell.
6. Fun and futuristic
Silver eyeshadow probably hasn’t been on your radar since you were a teen, but Sandra Oh is making an excellent case here for its return. The lighter colour makes brown eyes look even deeper, and teaming with bold black eyeliner makes the overall look feel suitably modern.
7. Lengthened lashes
Even if you haven’t been blessed with the real deal, you can replicate lashes as long, dark and fluttery as Kerry Washington’s with the help of hybrid lash extensions in salon or a quick slick of your best lengthening mascara at home. It is a gorgeous and fuss-free way to frame brown eyes.
8. Statement liner
Tracee Ellis Ross has created a playful frame for her peepers with a graphic take on the siren eyes trend. To get the look for yourself, you’ll need a fresh tube of black liquid eyeliner (there’s no room for faded or dried-out formulas here) and a steady hand. Remember, practice makes perfect, and keep some cotton buds handy to fix any missteps.
9. Barely there
As shown by the visible smattering of freckles on her nose and groomed yet bushy brows, Emma Watson is all about natural beauty. So, instead of overwhelming her face with a colourful or distinctive eye makeup look for brown eyes, she’s kept it simple with a swipe of neutral shadow, tapered eyeliner to the outer corners and a couple of coats of mascara. Lovely.
10. Contrast colours
Priyanka Chopra has perfectly shaped wide eyes for pulling off a variety of different eye makeup looks for brown eyes, but this is our favourite so far. We love the two-tone finish of creamy gold shadow on her upper lids, contrasting with a line of icy blue on the bottom.
11. Sparkly smoke
We’ve had a brown-toned take on a smoky eye from Penelope Cruz, but now for the classic. Anne Hathaway has kept things relatively simple here with just three shades in the mix – the lightest one across her lid, a deeper one to add definition at the crease and an even darker black eyeliner to bring it all together – a total smoke show.
12. Cool copper
If you really want people to notice the colour of your eyes, choose an eyeshadow shade that’s relatively similar. Viola Davis’ molten copper shadow is in the same colour family as her deep brown eyes, amplifying their tones.
13. Shimmering silver
Another star making a case for silver shadow, but unlike Sandra Oh, Jessica Alba’s is more of a sparkling champagne than a true silver. Teamed with winged eyeliner and a red lip, it’s a classic makeup look that will never date.
14. Super sultry
The darker you go with your eyeshadow, the sexier and more sultry it will feel. Thandiwe Newton has mastered it here, using a blend of grey and black tones to create a smudged, lived-in eye that pairs beautifully with her flawless complexion and neutral lip.
15. Graphic shapes
Keen to make a statement with your eye makeup looks for brown eyes? Natalie Portman’s graphic eyeshadow is certainly bold, but the soft brown shade stops it from feeling too ‘out there’. We love how it starts with a lighter metallic in the inner corner before progressing to a deeper one at the outer edges.
16. Purple rein
Eyeliner tends to be most people’s go-to, but Suki Waterhouse proves that going without it can actually be quite impactful. Because you don’t have the distraction of the liner, all the attention is on her two-toned purple shadow instead.
17. Deep red
We’re all for a bit of matchy-matchy, and Catherine Zeta-Jones has really committed to the theme with pinky-red tones across her dress, earrings, lipstick and eyeshadow. Her eye makeup gives her brown eyes the illusion of a slight reddish tinge, making them appear brighter.
18. Pop of colour
With slightly hooded eyes, there’s not a lot of Eva Mendes upper lids on show, so she’s kept it simple with just brow eyeliner on top. The fun happens instead on the bottom lid, with a shimmering ice blue liner that ups the intensity of her eye colour.
19. Punchy purple
Purple eyeshadow is certainly one for the brave, but Rose Bryne proves that it’s definitely worth stepping out of your comfort zone for. Just make sure you choose a bright, true purple shade rather than a darker one to avoid looking like you’re the victim of one too many late nights.
20. Carefully defined
If, like Sandra, you have relatively small eyes, it can feel like they get lost among your other features. Draw attention to them by framing them with a narrow liner on both the top lash line and the bottom one. Avoid the waterline though, as this will make them look narrower.
21. Rust hues
Rusty red eyeshadows have been on trend for a while now, and are especially flattering on brown eyes. We like how Naomie Harris has taken the colour right up to the brow bone, making her eyes the focal point of her look.
22. Dolly eyes
As far as eye makeup looks for brown eyes go, Lily Collins’ take is worthy of a place in a toy shop. The almost highlighter pink shade of her eyeshadow adds a Crayola-inspired touch that brings even more attention to her super long top and bottom lashes. If your natural ones are lacking, use a pair of the best false lashes to fake the look.
23. Galactic glamour
With shimmering highlighted skin and a very pale glossy lip, Jennifer Lopez looks like she could have come straight from Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Her eyeshadow draws the look together, combining silvery and purple shades that melt and merge into each other beautifully. As the entire look is very light, her brown eyes look even darker.
24. Feline flicks
We’ve already chatted about Michelle Yeoh's cat eye liner, but Beyonce’s feline flicks are slightly narrower at the corners and don’t venture out quite so wide – making them more daytime-appropriate. We like how the liner gets thicker as it moves towards the outer corner of her eyes, making her lashes look fuller.
25. Bronze smoke
We love a monochromatic makeup look that centres around one colour, and the peachy bronze shade of Frieda Pinto’s eyeshadow is almost an exact match to the blush on her cheeks.
26. Iridescent grey
If you have big, round brown eyes like Mila Kunis then you can pull off a high-pigment, high-impact eyeshadow look like this. The shimmering flecks in the grey add more interest than a simple block colour.
27. Angled lines
Instead of taking winged eyeliner upwards, make like Gemma Arterton and go straight out to the sides. The angular shape almost looks like a shadow behind her lashes, making them appear even thicker.
28. Beyond the crease
Proof that you don’t have to be confined by lines with eye makeup looks for brown eyes, the majority of Motsi Mabuse’s shadow is above the crease of her lid. This makes her whole eye area look wider and brighter, especially thanks to the contrast between the two shades.
29. Sultry browns
Queen of the Kohl (if you haven’t yet tried VB’s Satin Kajal Liner, you really should), Victoria Beckham knows exactly what makes a good smoky eye. Her smudgy blend of browns is spot-on.
30. Ice queen
The icy tones of Eva Longoria’s high-impact eyeshadow look really pop against her olive complexion and deep brown eyes. The lighter tone of the shadow stops her layered lashes and eyeliner from feeling too gothic.
31. Neutral tones
An eyeshadow look that you could copy for every day without too much effort, all you need to recreate Gemma Chan’s neutral eye is two cream eyeshadow pencils in coordinating shades. She’s gone for a rosier metallic on top, and a glossy gold on the bottom.
32. High-drama lashes
Strictly pro Oti Mabuse has used false lashes to add drama to an otherwise understated eye makeup look for brown eyes. By adding longer lashes at the outer corners, she’s created a winged effect that lifts the eye.