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Black eyeliner may forever be the queen of cat-eyes and winged eyeliner looks, but brown eyeliners are definitely a versatile addition to your collection. Being able to suit cool and warm skin tones, brown eyeliners are a great way to explore a greater variety of makeup styles. They can even multi-task as eyeshadow or brow liners! 

Why should I use brown eyeliner instead of black eyeliner?

While black eyeliner is great for a bold and sharp look, it can be a little too intense for more natural makeup styles. Black eyeliner may also make your eyes appear smaller if applied too tightly. 

In contrast, brown eyeliners come in a variety of shades that can complement different eyes and skin tones beautifully. The brown hues can blend more naturally into your lashline for the illusion of greater depth and contoured eyelids without looking too fake. With its softer tone, brown eyeliners will make your eyes seem naturally bigger and more defined. 

Browse our favourite shades of brown eyeliners below.

Best waterproof eyeliner for waterline
Marc Jacobs Beauty
1. Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner
Best light, soft brown eyeliner

From amongst its greatly varied hues, this gel eyeliner features several shades of soft browns for various skin tones including Ro(Cocoa) and Sunset. The formula is moisturising with ingredients such as vitamin E and rosehip seed oil to help nourish and benefit the delicate eye area. It glides smoothly across the skin and achieves a long-wearing, intense payoff that is budge-proof once it sets.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil - Demolition
Urban Decay
2. Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil - Demolition
Best dark brown eyeliner pencil

This super creamy pencil applies perfectly on the skin and sets into a long-lasting finish all day long. The shade Demolition is a deep, cool-toned brown that works excellently as a replacement for black eyeliner to add definition and dimension to the eyes.

Best drugstore eyeliner

With an oil-free formula that is meant to be sweat, oil and water-resistant, this drugstore gel eyeliner is creamy and easy to work with when layering or creating dramatic looks. The Brown shade is a rich and warm brown that complements most Asian skin tone beautifully.

Best Korean eyeliner
4. Laneige Finger Graphic Liner – Brown
Best Korean eyeliner

This liner’s unique, ergonomic design is just one of the many reasons why it is one of the best Korean eyeliners in the market. Laneige Finger Graphic Liner’s size and grip handle is made to fit a women’s hands snugly, allowing for more precision and control to help get the perfect line. 

The foam tip is thin and flexible whereas its formula is long-lasting, making the liner a winner in many book.s Moreover, its Brown shade is a fairly neutral matte colour to suit most palettes.

Best eyeliner pencil/smudge-proof eyeliner
Make Up For Ever
5. Make Up For Ever Aqua XL Eye Pencil
Best pencil eyeliner

This series of pencil eyeliners have brown shades that come in a variety of finishes including matte, satin and metallic, giving you numerous options to complement different looks. We’d recommend Matte Brown, Satiny Taupe and Diamond Brown as your daily go-to. They are all soft, creamy and pigmented yet smudge and transfer-proof when set.

Best liquid eyeliner
Kat Von D Beauty
6. Kat Von D Beauty Tattoo Liner – Mad Max Brown
Best liquid eyeliner

This award-winning eyeliner needs no introduction. Famous for its highly pigmented satin black shade, Kat Von D’s warm and rich brown shade ‘Mad Max Brown’ is also well-deserving of the holy grail status. Its thin brush tip allows for extremely thin and sharp lines. You’ll also love the formula for its matte and waterproof finish

Best gel eyeliner
MAC Cosmetics
7. MAC Cosmetics Pro Longwear Fluidline - Dipdown
Best gel eyeliner

Using this dark, neutral brown would be a great option for those looking to replace their black liners with a more natural look. The soft and silky formula works well for precise application and dries down quickly into a transfer and smudge-proof finish. It has a high colour payoff and can be used on the waterline as well.

Best kohl eyeliner

Apart from the thin pencil tip that does not require sharpening, another benefit of this kohl liner from MAC is the all-day staying power even when used on the waterline. ‘Brownborder’ and ‘Photogravure’ are both warmer brown tones that are fairly matte to suit an everyday look.

Best felt tip eyeliner

One of Korea’s bestselling pen liners, this felt-tip liner gives you maximum control to create fine and sharp lines with each swipe. The ‘Kill Brown’ shade has deep and rich pigments that is waterproof and long-wearing, and does not smear even for those with hooded eyelids.

Best waterproof eyeliner

Get an intense and quick-drying formula that will last all day when you add this eyeliner to your vanity table. The superfine marker tip delivers a waterproof formula with great precision, giving you a mess-free application that will last all day long.

Best for waterline
Pat Mcgrath Labs
11. Pat Mcgrath Labs Permagel Ultra Glide Eye Pencil
Best for waterline

Famous for its budge-free formula, you won’t have to worry about messing up your waterline with this smooth and creamy eye pencil. 

It comes in several shades of brown including ‘Shade’, ‘Blitz Brown’ and ‘BLK Coffee’. But, we recommend the colour ‘Shade’ as it’s a deep matte brown that will fill in your waterline without making your eyes appear too small.

Best for dark skin

Deep, dark brown eyeliners blend gorgeously into deeper skin tones and give a wonderfully natural finish. For such a colour, you can get it in Bobbi Brown’s waterproof, humidity and sweat-resistant gel eyeline to achieve beautifully defined eyes even with seemingly no makeup. The eyeliner’s ‘Espresso Ink’ and ‘Caviar Ink’ are both neutral deep browns that will amplify the eyes seamlessly.

Disclaimer: The pricing shown is just a good indication of how much these products are worth. The prices could change based on the e-commerce promotions that are going on. If some of the products are not available, do email us at [email protected] Thanks!


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