8 Brown Mascaras For A Softer Lash Look

Showing some love for the oft-neglected brown mascara.
Publish date:
November 18, 2014
clinique, Revlon, inglot, sephora, Make Up For Ever, L'oreal, brown mascara

You know what makeup product really gets the shaft? Brown mascara. Which is funny, because you'd think it'd be a go-to choice for so many people--particular those who reside in the "pale as heck" camp avec moi.

Don't get me wrong, I love a dark-as-night black mascara, but there's just something more natural and soft about a brown mascara that creates a truly feminine and balanced look. (Fun fact: Bette Davis actually preferred brown mascara, claiming they were her beauty secret.)

Because I'm nice (and because it's my job), I'm sharing eight different brown mascaras and their varying effects.

Let's start with a before shot to get a feel for my complexion and lashes. As you can see, my lashes get blonder toward the ends and are a fair brown everywhere else.

In each of the following pictures, I'm wearing one mascara on the left eye and one on the right eye. To keep this controlled, I'm wearing two coats of each mascara.

L'Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga / Laura Mercier Faux Lash

L'Oreal Voluminous Miss MangaGood For: drama, volume, lengthThis "black brown" mascara is one of the darkest of the bunch, but it still leans more brown than black. The wand is very light and features a flexible head, which is something I haven't seen before (or at least never noticed). The brush is a nice "in between" size that makes for easy application, and as for the effect, I felt it did deliver on its promise to volumize. In fact, its ability to lengthen and volumize without clumping makes this one of my favorites.

Laura Mercier Faux LashGood For: no makeup makeup, subtle warmth, glossy lashesThis one's probably the reddest in today's roundup, which I think brings a subtle warmth to the eyes and overall face. I find that the brush is a little too big, so you need to be especially careful when applying so as not to get product all over your skin. Because it uses a blend of waxes and no fibers, it creates a soft, lightly glossy, natural-finished look.

Jane Iredale PureLash / Revlon Bold Lacquer

Jane Iredale PureLash Good For: feathery lashes, no makeup makeup, light coverage

Compared to the others on this list, I consider Iredale's mascara the lightest both in coverage and color. It has a really silky-smooth formula that gently amplifies your eyes. The small and sturdy wand is easy to handle, and it leaves your lashes super soft. This is truly one of those mascaras that would have people guessing as to whether you're even wearing mascara at all.

Revlon Bold LacquerGood For: length, drama

This "blackened brown" shade of Revlon's Bold Lacquer is just one notch under a true black. It's ideal for those who want something a little softer in color, but don't want a true brown. It's a really thick consistency that works well to noticeably thicken and lengthen your lashes. Use a gentle hand to avoid clumping.

Sephora Full Action Extreme Effect / Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash

Sephora Full Action Extreme EffectGood For: natural, volume, length

This is one of my favorites in this collection because it has the ability to lengthen and volumize while keeping clumps at bay. I think I could do another two to three coats to build up more volume and still not worry about ol' tarantula eyes. The wand is a really nice size and the color also complements my pink/creamy skin tone well.

Make Up For Ever Smoky LashGood For: one coat application, drama, thickness

This mascara has a thinner wand with a bushy brush. I found that one coat was more than plenty, but I added a second coat to be consistent. There's a tendency for this product to clump, especially on the second coat, and I found the smell slightly off putting. I am a huge fan of MUFE--in fact, it's one of my favorite cosmetic brands--but I think there are better choices out there.

INGLOT Colour Play / Clinique Lash Power Feathering

INGLOT Colour PlayGood For: curling, length, natural

Believe it or not, this is my first--and long overdue--foray into INGLOT Cosmetics. (Friends have been recommending the brand forever, but I just hadn't gotten around to buying anything from them, yet.) Anyway, this mascara has an intriguing wand with fewer bristles than any of the others here. That said, I was impressed with the application. It's a light formula that's easy to build up. It also naturally curled my lashes.

Clinique Lash Power FeatheringGood For: natural, no makeup makeup, feathery lashes

Unlike INGLOT, I've been using Clinique for years. Their mascaras almost always leave your lashes light and feathery, and this "feathering mascara" follows suit. The bristles are long and soft and the formula is creamy and smooth; it makes your lashes feel weightless and natural. This is perfect for those who want a subtle, natural enhancement.

  • What's your go-to mascara?
  • Any favorite brown colors/formulas?
  • I'm curious to know if/why you regular readers shy away from brown. Tell me!