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15 Ways to Rock Brown Eyeliner—Because No, It’s Not Always Subtle



For an extra glamorous touch, consider a two-tone brown eyeliner look. Here, Bua used brown eyeliner alongside metallic champagne liner.

so often when it comes to neutral eye makeup, people choose black eyeliner for its bold yet casual appeal. However, in the process, many people completely forget all the ways brown eyeliner can improve eye shape and overall makeup appeal. To remind you how versatile brown eyeliner can be, below are 15 ways to do your eye makeup in a more subtle way. As you can see, just because it doesn’t create as much contrast doesn’t mean it can’t have as much impact.

Spread Chocolate Wing

Remember: eyeliner doesn’t have to be sharp and tight. Here, famed makeup artist Raoul Alejandra proves it with this wonderfully diffused chocolate pointed eye makeup. Notice how the underside of the wing remains well separated even though it is stretched out. To recreate the look, make sure you have an angled brush with micellar water handy so you can easily remove the excess and sharpen the underside.

Reverse brown smoky eyeliner

Not ready to say goodbye to your beloved black eyeliner yet? Check out this upside down smoky number created by famous makeup artist Patrick Ta on model Adriana Lima. It’s defined yet subtle, not to mention a look that can be easily worn day and night.

The trick to improving the smoky effect at the base is to use the right brush to blend. Typically, a softer brush works best for this, as it gives a more transparent look.

Floating bronze eyeliner

We can’t help but stare at Hughes’ floating bronze eyeliner pictured above. Surprisingly, it’s not that hard to recreate. Simply extend the wing from the upper lazuline and then bring it back to the inner corner of the eye, holding it above the crease. Okay, it takes practice to perfect, but it’s definitely doable.


Indistinct brown macroing

If you’ve seen Batman (or even just peeked at the red carpet photos from the premiere), you’re well aware of Zoë Krovitz’s natural beauty. Part of the actress’s appeal is her typically subtle makeup on her (often paired with bold lips). Case in point: This brown micro wing that drew us in straight away.

YouTube video

Thin brown lining

Do you like the subtle warm brown look of Lucy Hale’s cover? It is easy to imitate with a thick brush. Dip the brush in the brown eyeshadow of your choice and swipe it over the upper and lower lazuline for a neutral yet defined effect.

Natural brown eyeliner

The great thing about brown eyeliner is that it can accentuate your eyes without looking like you’re wearing eyeliner. Here, famous makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic took a very subtle and clean approach to his model’s water lines. You can copy the look by using a brown pencil eyeliner, as liquid eyeliner is too likely to drip into the eye if you work this close.

Dramatic winged eyeliner

Want something a little more dramatic and are still opting for a softer, more subtle shade of eyeliner? This double winged light cocoa look is a great option. Here, Dedivanovic drew a pointed wing on the outer and inner corner of each eye, with the outer wing slightly curled upwards and the inner wing slightly bent inwards. The result is almost feline and we can’t stop fainting.


(PS: he created the look with his pencil eyeliner, which we linked in the look above. Thanks to the built-in brush, creating a soft but sharp pencil looks quite possible.)

Stain of lower lashes

To create classic Paris-inspired makeup, famed makeup artist Mary Phillips centered a smudged brown liner on the lower lazuline of influencer and actress Addison Rae, opting for a sleeker, top-down approach. For the base sweep, she actually used an eyeshadow: most notably the Depth shade from Pat McGrath’s Mothership I Eyeshadow Palette.

Brown lining almost not present

Zendaya looks like a natural sight (as usual) in this Bulgari ad. To create the look, celebrity makeup artist Sheik Daley skipped the black liner and added a soft brown spot to Zendaya’s outer lower lazuline. And we have to say we love the look.

Brown make-up liner without make-up

Thicker upper and lower lash lines and younger wingtips offer a 60s babydoll vibe that we can hide behind. (Again, Dedivanovic used eyeliner in The Perfect Brown and blended it lightly with a built-in brush to create the look.)

Fresh brown wing tip

How gorgeous is this chocolate wing tip, perfectly applied by famed makeup artist Nikki Wolff? It’s pretty flawless if you ask us.


Retro Chocolate Brown Wing

Everyone’s favorite American in Paris knows how to rock brown eyeliner. Here, actress Lily Collins shows off a tan femme fatale courtesy of famed Chanel makeup artist Kara Yoshimoto Bua.

Shades of chocolate

May we take a moment to appreciate this 1970s glam brown eyeliner from Wolff? We are crazy. If you really want to see the difference between brown and black eyeliner, scroll through the gallery to see the same look in different shades of eyeliner.

Thick brown eyeliner

Do you prefer a floating eyeliner look? This chunky shape, created by influencer Liza Koshy, gives us vintage vibes. Create the bold look of brown eyeliner with Crest Moan’s Think Twice Circle Pencil in Brown Nosier.

Two-tone wing

For an extra glamorous touch, consider a two-tone brown eyeliner look. Here, Bua used brown eyeliner alongside metallic champagne liner. The result is a high-contrast look that still looks very natural.

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