Brown eyes are unique in that they do not have an opposite hue on the color wheel. Nor do they have a complementary color per se, though they often contain accents of colors beside brown. Because brown is a combination of other colors, you can use accents throughout the spectrum in your makeup. That said, there are certain tips and tricks for doing makeup for brown-eyed people that will bring out the best in their eyes and faces.
Determine your eye shade. Dark brown eyes that are nearly black are the darkest of the spectrum. Dark eyes tend to look good with darker colors contrasted with highlights that pick up other specks of color in your eyes. Medium brown eyes look good in many colors, as well as without eyeshadow but a smudgy line of eyeliner. Light brown eyes pose a few challenges. If you have golden flecks in the brown, accent your makeup with pale yellow. Overly dramatic makeup can drown out light brown eyes. Very light brown eyes, like hazel eyes, look best with makeup that is slightly darker than your skin tone. Line them with a colored eyeliner as opposed to overpowering black.
Work with dimension. If you practice combining light and dark colors, or muted and bright colors, you will notice that the dark hues minimize or contour while light colors highlight and make features appear larger. If you have chocolate brown eyes, you could create contrast by using black mascara and pink eyeshadow. To draw attention away from the eyes, use a bright or deep shade of lip color.
Experiment with different shades of eyeliners. Many people use basic black, not realizing that colored eyeliner can soften or brighten a look, complementing brown eyes well. Try plum eyeliner and mauve eyeshadow for dark brown eyes. Many people prefer using pencil eyeliners, because it can be smudged, blended and gradated. Others like the visual pop that a liquid eyeliner lends the face. You can also apply both types, creating more depth and a longer-lasting look.
Vary your look. Everyday makeup for the workplace might consist of brown mascara and brown eyeliner, while going out on the town might warrant eggplant eyeshadow with pink highlights. Only the darkest nightclubs can make black eyeliner, black mascara and all dark eyeshadow look all right, unless you are going for the goth look. If you like the neutrality of black, try charcoal or dark brown hues. In general, brown eyes look best with the darkest hue applied on the eyelid and lash line and lighter hues nearer to the eyebrow.
Consider metallics. Although golds, coppers and shimmery pinks might be bold for everyday use, they add great drama to brown eye color. Golds in particular can bring out the warmth in brown eyes. Shimmery bronzes or greens can shift a hazel eye color to a different shade. Luna makes a silvery charcoal eye pencil that produces a glamorous look. Shimmery cream tones look beautiful along the brow bone.
- Avoid using too many pink or mauve tones which can make eyes look puffy.