It’s not a universal truth or anything, but often, the best makeup hacks are the ones that seamlessly replicate (and improve upon) a natural feature — bonus points if it’s undetectable as makeup. And while I’m always a fan of lash extensions or a tint to help create a full, fluttery look, in truth, the best brown mascaras can absolutely recreate the effect while erring firmly on the side of “born with it.”
Despite the dark brown hairs that sprout from my head and eyebrows naturally, my lashes aren’t quite as dark as I would prefer. Like many people, they even have a tinge of gold on the ends (to check for yourself, stand in daylight, angle your head, and take a look at your mascara-less lash tips). While straight-up black mascara is striking and defining for evenings and bolder looks, if it’s a dialed-up version of a natural look that you’re after, then brown mascara is the closest thing to that elusive “effortless” vibe without tinting, extending, or otherwise semi-permanently modifying your lashes.
While lash extensions — particularly the ones made of natural materials and real hairs — really do add a lot of oomph, they can potentially be irritating, costly, and even damaging to your natural lash hairs. If you’re a fiddler like me (as in someone who subconsciously fiddles with loose bits and ends), you might look down at your lap after a stressful day to see $100 worth of mink hairs you absentmindedly twirled right out of place.
But there’s more than just some strategic color matching at play here — anyone who’s ever had their eyeshadow unceremoniously ruined by black flakes and fallout knows how tricky removing misplaced mascara can be. Brown isn’t necessarily easier to clean up but it doesn’t leave the blue-black stain its darker counterparts often can. Couple that with far less noticeable clumps (they camouflage easier if there’s less of a contrast between your hair and mascara color, I’ve found) and brown is looking pretty hard to beat. Finally, and this is a matter of personal taste, but I think the monochromatic blend of brown mascara, neutral eyeshadows, and a brown eyeliner all melt into the ultimate warm fall makeup look for every skin tone and hair color — it’s universally flattering.
If the only mascaras you’ve used have been of the noir variety, scroll through this list of some of the best brown mascaras out there right now. There’s a wand, formulation, and finish for every eye.
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