Brown mascara is back as a softer, cooler alternative to full-on black

By Fiona Embleton

There's nothing more impactful than a pitch-black mascara, but brown mascara is gaining a legion of fans for being a more flattering every day staple

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Brown has always been seen as the boring alternative to black – justifiable bearing in mind no one ever talks about slipping on a “little brown dress” as a euphemism for looking their sexiest self. With that in mind, brown mascara has re-marketed itself. And now that it's the cool, understated alternative for days when you want to kick back with jeans and a T-shirt rather than the lash equivalent of a black push-up bra, it certainly deserves a try.

On TikTok the search term 'brown mascara' has amassed 3.1 billion views, with many crediting the popularity of 'clean girl makeup' with its return as it feeds neatly into the aesthetic.

Hailey Bieber, the ultimate poster girl for this take on 'no make-up make-up' recently posted a picture on Instagram with her signature glazed skin, fluffed-up brows and rosy cheeks, but this time sporting what looked like an all-chocolate eye. Her makeup artist, Lea Darcy, confirmed our suspicions stating, “Brown mascara just hits dif".

Another celebrity fan of brown mascara is Kylie Jenner. In a "Get Ready With Us: Kim & Kylie” Youtube video Kylie Jenner was seen applying a milk chocolate version to sister Kim Kardashian’s lashes, with Kardashian calling Jenner’s trick of brown mascara on the bottom lashes “genius”.

And it actually is. The colour itself just feels more intimate and stripped back than black iterations. One swipe on your top lashes yields a tinted lash effect, especially for blondes and redheads. But sweeping a brown formula onto the base of your bottom lashes creates a next-to-natural ‘invisible’ lift.

Most notably, Glossier has just launched a new espresso version of its cult Lash Stick Mascara in response to overwhelming demand for a brown mascara. It claims to offer “baby extensions” rather than the false-lash look – in other words, it enhances your natural lashes with subtle length, shine and separation. Likewise, the award-winning Sweed Lash Lift Mascara is now available in Dark Brown for a fuller lash line.

Another brown mascara that offers "your lashes but better" definition is the Chanel Le Volume De Chanel Mascara in Ecorces, which creates a full-bodied curl with zero clumping. Those with sensitive eyes should look no further than Tromborg's 100% natural Mascara in Brown while green and blue eyes pop against Charlotte Tilbury's berry brown Pillow Talk Push Up Lashes Mascara in Dream Pop.

Of course, if you can’t bear to be parted from your favourite black mascara, you can get the best of both worlds – va-va-voom volume on your top lashes and lower lashes that don’t look spidery – by following the advice of Margot Robbie’s makeup artist, Pati Dubroff. She famously keeps black mascara on the upper lashes, while covering the lower lashes with brown to really open up the eye.

10 of the best brown mascaras for every lash look

Lash Slick in Brown


Le Volume De Chanel in Écorces


Brown Mascara


Mascara Silfr

Idun Minerals

Pillow Talk Push Up Lashes Mascara in Cream Pop

Charlotte Tilbury

10 Sec High Impact Volume Mascara 31 Mauve Brown


Volume Million Lashes Balm Brown Mascara

L'Oréal Paris

Lash Lift Mascara in Dark Brown


Boombastic Crazy Mascara 005 Chocolate Brown


Hypnôse 002 Brown