Hot Take: Brown Mascara Is Actually the Best Shade (Yes, Really)

Courtesy Image/Khadija Horton

PSA: It’s time to stop sleeping on colored mascarabrown mascara, to be a little more specific. Look, I love coating my lashes in black pigment as much as the next person, but sometimes I want an eye look that isn’t completely over the top, YFM? So whenever I’m going for that “no-makeup makeup” vibe, I pair my skin tint with a brown mascara: It gives my lashes a more subtle and natural look that’s way less harsh than what’d you get from your go-to black mascara.

And if you naturally have light-colored lashes, brown mascara gives them depth and dimension without looking like you’re trying way too hard. Basically, brown mascara is the MVP that deserves more credit than it gets. And luckily, anyone can wear it—you just have to find the right one for you. Keep reading for the 10 best brown mascaras for a face beat that looks fresh but still finished.

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Best Drugstore Brown Mascara

Pixi Large Lash Mascara

Not only does the chubby wand on this drugstore brown mascara make it super easy to grip your lashes at the root, but it also evenly deposits its pigment. That means you’ll get full-looking and feathery lashes without any clumps.


Best Brown Mascara for Short, Sparse Lashes

CoverGirl Lash Blast Fusion

If you’re looking for some extra drama, this brown mascara will definitely level up your lashes. You can thank the short and dense rubber bristles on this do-it-all wand: it’ll catch all of your lashes—yes, even the pint-size, flat ones—to add major volume and length.


Best Conditioning Brown Mascara

Burt’s Bees Nourishing Mascara

Sometimes your lashes need a little extra love and care, you know? When those moments pop up, you can reach for this brown mascara. The formula is stacked with a blend of jojoba oil and glycerin that gently hydrate your lashes while also adding length.


Best Volumizing Brown Mascara

Chanel Le Volume de Chanel Mascara

The brush on this brown mascara is amazing. The mix of long and short bristles not only separate and coat every single lash, but they also lift your lashes and plump them up. The result? Full, voluminous, va-va-voom lashes. 


Best Buildable Brown Mascara

Lancôme Hypnose Custom Volume Mascara

Go ahead and layer on this brown mascara if you want a more intense lash look. You can wiggle it on without worrying about any annoying clumps. Plus, the brush has teeny-tiny bristles, so you can get to the root of your lash without worrying about smudging on your eyelid.


Best Lengthening Brown Mascara

Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Lengthening Mascara

Benefit Cosmetics


Want to look like you have lash extensions but don’t want to deal with all the hassle and upkeep? Coat your lashes with this brown mascara. The spiky, dome-shaped brush might look like a torture device, but it catches even the shortest of lashes to majorly lift, lengthen, and volumize.


Best All-Natural Brown Mascara

Pacifica Stellar Gaze Length & Strength Mascara

I promise this all-natural brown mascara works just as well as the conventional ones. Not only will it give you long, Bambi lashes, it’ll keep your lashes soft and hydrated too (you can thank the coconut oil and vitamin E in the formula for that). 


Best Tubing Brown Mascara

Blinc Mascara

If you want a mascara that won’t flake or smudge, while still giving you major volume, get yourself a tubing mascara. Instead of painting your lashes, this brown mascara wraps little tube-like polymers around each lash. Sounds weird, but it works, trust me.  


Best Waterproof Brown Mascara

Dior Diorshow Waterproof Mascara

Whether you have an extremely sweaty commute or you happen to be streaming the latest season of Queer Eye, you never know when your mascara might start to run. Because raccoon eyes are never a good look, you’re going to need a really good brown waterproof mascara. This one lengthens, lifts, and curls your lashes—no flaking or running included.


Best Non-Smudging Brown Mascara

Clinique Lash Power Mascara Long-Wearing Formula

One of my best friends swears by this brown mascara. It lasts her all day (and through post-work drinks) and she doesn’t have to worry about ending up with flakes or smudges under her eyes. She also has barely there lashes, so the densely packed bristles are really great for coating all her lashes and giving them length.

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