Finding The Perfect Brown Shade For Every Skin Tone

Natasha Burton


Brown makeup is making a major comeback, if the models’ looks at Michael Kors’ and Ralph Lauren’s recent runway shows are any indication of this reoccurring trend. To try this flattering hue out for yourself, here are some totally wearable tips from beauty expert Lori Lieb, creative director of Bodyography, which explain what shades of brown work best for each skin tone.

Fair Skin  

Brown is beautiful on fair skin: It is less harsh than black and still offers definition when being used around the eyes. Instead of going for a warm brown, lean more toward a gray-toned brown for shadow and contouring. For cheeks and lips, opt for apricot- or peach-toned brown shades that give a natural flush to the cheeks. If you have blue eyes (which is more common with fair skin) try using brown mascara, especially on the lower lashes—it gives definition while still maintaining a soft and subtle look. At the recent 2015 Ralph Lauren AW runway show, the models’ top lashes were coated in brown mascara and their bottom lashes were left untouched, giving their eyes an instant lift and flirty shape.

Medium Skin

Golden browns are universally flattering but look gorgeous on medium skin tones. The yellow undertones really bring out the warmth in the skin. Channel J.Lo when choosing browns for medium skin tones; meaning, the more bronze and golden the better. Red browns and apricot browns on medium skin are also fabulous—they look quite warm and fiery, like sunset colors.

Olive Skin  

Olive-toned women are lucky as they have that unique “bronzed” look naturally. For olive skin, stay away from pink browns and anything too peachy because the colors will look too fake. Saddle browns and neutral browns work best. For lips, stick to nude browns for a gorgeous naturally-occurring monochromatic look.

Dark Skin

Rich raisin-toned browns look beautiful on dark skin—the warm undertone is both flattering and illuminating. It is often difficult to find brown shades that are accentuated on dark skin, so you may need to blend some reds and berries to create more of a purple-brown tone for blush. Also, if you don’t find anything you like on the shelves, you can always make a custom cream blush shade by mixing lipsticks together to get the right color.