Brown vs Black Eyeliner

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In almost every woman’s purse, there is always an eyeliner. Eyeliners are a staple, but different people have different preferences when it comes to the eyeliner they prefer in terms of color. Brown and Black are the two most common colors. But how do you know which you should use?

In this article, we’re going to discuss brown vs black eyeliner.

Generally, eyeliners can:

  • Make your lashes appear lush 
  • Enhance or change your eye shape
  • Affect how eye spacing is perceived

Depending on your style, you may find yourself drawn to particular kinds of colors of eyeliners. Today we will discuss whether you should go for black or brown eyeliner, and how to make that decision.

We’ll start by taking a close look at brown eyeliner, then move onto black, and finally give some tips on how to decide which to wear.


Brown Eyeliner

Brown Eyeliner

If you want your eyes to have a soft dimension, go for brown eyeliner.

It will achieve this effect while also making your eyes look rich and intense.

Brown eyeliners also help your eyes appear brighter, especially if you also have brown eyes. As a general rule, if you want your eyes to appear bigger, go for an eyeliner that resembles your eyes’ natural color. 

Brown eyeliners are also perfect for people with fair skin because they usually have cool skin undertones.

The color brown is warm, but does not have a great contrast against the skin. They also give your eyes depth, which will show well if you muddle the top and bottom parts of your lash line.

As a general rule, if you want your eyes to appear bigger, go for an eyeliner that resembles your eyes’ natural color. 

Why do People prefer Brown Eyeliner Over Black Eyeliner?

Brown Eyeliner Gallery

Many people perceive the black eyeliners as being dramatic. That makes it great for some scenarios.

Perhaps you’re going out at night with that little black dress and sexy stilettos. In that case, black eyeliner can really rock.

Brown, on the other hand, holds up well to all those other times. It can work for both offices and even an evening out with friends.

Brown eyeliners are more natural and less perceptible. We recommend going with mixed and thin ones instead of an extensive brown line if you are going for subtlety.

Benefits of Brown Eyeliners

  1. It is Low-key – Compared to its black counterpart, it is subtle and will emphasize pinching with less emphasis on the eye. 
  2. Lengthens the eyelashes – Brown eyeliners tend to make the eyelashes look longer and in full view. It makes your eyes look bigger.
  3. It has many purposes – Rather than carrying around a bunch of products with you, carrying a brown eyeliner will help you out as it is multifunctional. For example, mixing a brown eyeliner with water can serve as an eyeshadow. It can also substitute an eyebrow gel if you have dark hair.
  4. Perfect for daring looks – If you are going for bold looks, brown eyeliners are ideal. They are soft and dark enough to give you that sultry flair.

Ways You Can Wear a Brown Eyeliner  

1. As a Smokey Eye

A smoky eye is usually not so complicated. It is simple, minimalistic, and takes very little time to complete.

First, you must line your upper and lower lids, then smudge them out to get a smoky effect. Brown eyeliners make this look subtle, enhance lashes and bring out the tones in your skin and eyes.

2. Deepening a Smokey Eye

With brown eyeliner, you can bring out more definition in your look and have a darker shadow in your crease.

To achieve this look, draw a line of brown eyeliner in your crease above the already existing smoky eye, then smudge to make it blend with the rest of your makeup.

3. Enhancing Your Lashes

For a natural look, brown eyeliners will help enhance your lashes. You only have to line the outer half of your lids, both the upper and lower ones, to get a more natural look.

Avoid applying to the waterline. Instead, apply to the lash line and try as much as possible to get close to your lash’s roots. 

You can use a cotton tip or a smudge brush to soften the look.

The process is relatively simple, leads to natural results, and makes your lashes look fluffier and more extensive. If you want to go further, finish the look with black mascara.

Black Eyeliner

Black Eyeliner

On the other hand, black eyeliners are more striking as the contrast is far distinct for most skin tones.

When applied the right way in the perfect environment, it looks terrific.

Some might say that it is an unforgiving color, but black has a fantastic ability to draw attention to sharp lines. You should, however, avoid using it when you have tired eyes, as it will highlight that tiredness.

Bolder colors are less preferred than warm neutrals. 

Are Black Eyeliners Going Out of Style?   

Black Eyeliner Gallery

Compared to brown eyeliners, black eyeliners are less popular these days. However, it is not entirely out of fashion.

The black color is still a go-to choice for many.

A while back, black eyeliners were considered oppressive, drab, and dreary. 

Many people thought it would eventually cease to exist as it started to fade in the early 2010s when poppy and bright colors began to appear. However, in 2021 at the New York Fashion Week, black eyeliner made a dramatic comeback. 

Black eyeliners can also result in adverse effects such as making you look tired or much older than you are. They can also draw attention to wrinkles when smudged.

If the smudging is under the eye, it will make you look tired.  

Basically, it’s easier to go wrong with black eyeliner.

Basically, it’s easier to go wrong with black eyeliner.

Brown vs Black Eyeliner: Finding the Right Eyeliner for Your Eye Color

Depending on your eye color, some eyeliners might look better and stand out for you. The following are the eye colors and the eyeliners that work best with them:

Depending on your eye color, some eyeliners might look better and stand out for you. 

  • Brown eyes are easy to pair up with almost any eyeliner. Go for brown-colored ones that have a delicate look of beauty. Warm amber ones also go well with brown eyes and give your face a golden look.
  • Blue eyes – Warm tones like copper will give you a bright look and make you shine.
  • Green eyes – Green eyes tend to reflect anything mode, including clothes, among other things. They go excellent with contrasting colors.
  • Gray eyes – These kinds of eyes are rare. Copper and blue shades will do just fine (we put together an eyeshadow guide for those with grey eyes)
  • Hazel – Hazel eyes will come out more with colors like olive and emerald. Brown eyeliners will also help highlight the eyes. Use warm-brown eyeliners like copper and bronze to produce a brown gloss to the brown tones of hazel eyes. 


When it comes to whether to go for brown or black eyeliner, the answer lies in your preference, your eye color, and your outing.

If you want a natural look, brown eyeliner is perfect for daytime looks. It is warmer and looks excellent in most eye colors. When gently smudged, they add dimension and depth to your eyes.

Black is also a great eyeliner, and it can be a great way to give contrast or create a bolder look. It’s great for evening events and intimacy. All that said, you’re more likely to go wrong with black eyeliner than brown.

It’s a great idea to have both black and brown in your arsenal!

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).