December 6, 2022

Actress Zoe Kravitz in a brown eyeliner look.

So often, when it comes to neutral eye makeup looks, folks reach for black eyeliner thanks to its bold-yet-everyday appeal. However, in the process, many people fully forget about all the ways brown eyeliner can enhance your eye shape and overall done-up appeal. To help you remember just how versatile brown eyeliner can be, ahead you’ll find 15 ways to wear the more subtle eye makeup. As you’ll see, just because it doesn’t create as stark a contrast, doesn’t mean that it can’t make just as much of an impact.

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Diffused Chocolate Wing

Remember: Eyeliner doesn’t have to be crisp and stark. Here, celebrity makeup artist Raoúl Alejandre proves that point with this beautifully-diffused chocolate wing tip eye makeup look. Despite being diffused, note how the bottom edge of the wing remains well-defined. In order to mimic the look, be sure to keep a small angled brush on hand with micellar water so that you can easily wipe away any excess and sharpen that bottom edge.

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Reverse Brown Smoky Eyeliner

Not ready to part ways with your beloved black eyeliner? Check out this reversed smoky brown number that celebrity makeup artist Patrick Ta created on model Adriana Lima. It’s defined yet subtle, not to mention a look that could easily be worn day or night.

The trick to perfecting the bottom smoky effect is to use the right blending brush. Generally speaking, a fluffier brush is best for this, as it will create a more transparent end look.

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Bronze Floating Eyeliner

We can’t help but ogle over Hughes’s bronze floating eyeliner, pictured above. Surprisingly, it’s not that difficult to recreate. Simply extend your wing out from your top lash line, then bring it back toward the inner corner of your eye, keeping it above your crease. Okay, so it will take some practice to perfect, but it’s definitely doable.

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Blurred Brown Micro Wing

If you’ve seen The Batman (or even if you’ve just been fawning over the red carpet photos from the premiere), then you’re well aware of what a natural beaty Zoë Kravitz is. Part of the actress’s allure is her typically subtle makeup (often paired with a bold lip). Case in point: This micro brown wing that instantly drew us in.

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Subtle Brown Liner

Love Lucy Hale’s subtle warm brown lid look? It’s easy to recreate using a densely bristled brush. Simply dip your brush in the brown eyeshadow of your choice and swipe it across your upper and lower lash lines for an all-encompassing neutral-yet-defined appeal.

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Natural Brown Eyeliner

The beautiful thing about brown eyeliner is that it can accentuate your eyes without really looking like you have eyeliner on. Here, celebrity makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic opted for an ultra-fine, tight-line approach on his model’s waterlines. To copy the look, try using a brown pencil eyeliner, (he recommends his Master Pigment Pro Eyeliner Pencil, $22), as liquid eyeliner has too much of a chance of seeping into your eye when working that close to it.

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Dramatic Winged Eyeliner

Craving something a bit more dramatic while still opting for a softer, more subtle eyeliner shade? This light cocoa double-winged look is a great option. Here, Dedivanovic traced a sharp wing on the outer and inner corners of each eye, with the outer wing turning slightly up and the inner wing curving slightly in. The result is almost feline, and we can’t stop swooning.

(P.S.: He created the look using his own pencil eyeliner—which we linked in the look above. Thanks to its built-in brush, creating a soft-yet-sharp liner looks like this is totally possible).

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Bottom Lash Smudge

For a classic, Parisian-inspired makeup look, celebrity makeup artist Mary Phillips focused smudged brown liner on influencer and actress Addison Rae’s bottom lash line, while opting for a more tight-lined approach up top. For the bottom smudge, she actually used eyeshadow: Specifically, the shade Depth from Pat McGrath’s Mothership I Eyeshadow Palette.

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Nearly-Not-There Brown Liner

Zendaya looks like a natural vision (per usual) in this Bulgari ad. To create the look, celebrity makeup artist Sheika Daley skipped black liner in favor of a soft brown smudge on Zendaya’s outer bottom lash line. And we have to say—we love the look.

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No-Makeup Makeup Brown Liner

We can’t get enough of this retro-inspired brown eyeliner look. With thicker lines on the top and bottom lashes, paired with the teeniest wingtip, it has a babydoll ’60s vibe we can totally get behind. (Again, Dedivanovic used his eyeliner—in the shade The Perfect Brown—and slightly smudged it with the built-in brush to create the look).

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Crisp Brown Wing Tip

How stunning is this perfectly-applied chocolate-brown wing tip by celebrity makeup artist Nikki Wolff? It’s pretty flawless if you ask us.

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Chocolate Brown Retro Wing

Everyone’s favorite American in Paris knows how to rock a brown eyeliner makeup look. Here, actress Lily Collins is showcasing a feminine brown flick courtesy of Chanel celebrity makeup artist Kara Yoshimoto Bua.

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Chocolate Tones

Can we just take a moment to appreciate this brown eyeliner ’70s glam by Wolff? We’re head over heels. To really see the difference brown and black eyeliner make, be sure to scroll through the gallery to see the same look in various eyeliner shades.

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Chunky Brown Eyeliner

Prefer a floating eyeliner look? This thick shape created by influencer Liza Koshy is giving us vintage vibes. To recreate the bold brown eyeliner look, use C’est Moi’s Think Twice Eyeliner Pencil in Brown Noser.

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Two-Toned Wing

For a bit more glam, consider a two-toned brown eyeliner look. Here, Bua used brown eyeliner juxtaposed with a metallic champagne liner. The result is a high contrast look that still appears quite natural.