Brown Mascara Is The Best, So Why Does No One Believe Me?

"Brown mascara is something you buy by mistake." "Is brown mascara still around?" "Why would anyone wear brown mascara?" "Is brown mascara better for blue eyes?"

These are just a few of the reactions I heard from Refinery29 staff when I publicly stated my longstanding preference for brown mascara. I love the stuff – have done for years – and no longer own a single black mascara. Shocking, I know. Eager to win the hearts and minds of the non-believers (read: prove I am right), I asked a selection of colleagues to give up black mascara for a few days and try my trusty brown instead.

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Did they come around to the wondrous benefits of brown mascara? Here's what they said...

YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils

I am a massive fan of the no-makeup look, so much so that I tend not to wear any mascara on a day-to-day basis, choosing to bring out my one and only black mascara for very special events. I was intrigued to see whether a brown mascara could change my mind and I have to admit that I am now converted. Because YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils has a buildable formula, it caters to both the girl who loves to wear makeup but pretend she isn’t (moi) and the girl who likes a more dramatic look. It lengthens the lashes and doesn’t flake – hurrah!

Effy Okogba
YSL Beauty Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils, $28.00 Buy
Lancôme Hypnôse Doll Eyes

It’s fair to say I use black mascara as a beauty crutch. Without it, I feel like this naked mole rat. I have bright blue eyes, so I use black mascara to make them pop further, and to define my very fair, weak lashes. I’ve always felt that if they’re not mega defined by lashings of the jet black stuff, I might as well not be wearing any at all. I really loved the texture, bristled brush and fanning effect of Lancôme’s Doll Eyes in Brown, but for me, I need more drama in order to accentuate my tiny, mole-like peepers.

Georgia Murray
Lancôme Hypnôse Doll Eyes Mascara, $27.00 Buy
Max Factor 2000 Calorie in Black Brown

I always thought brown mascara was for fair-haired people so I've never given it a try, until now. My lashes are naturally black, short and criss-crossed, so when choosing mascara I need a formula that will elongate without clumps and a brush that will detangle. The big chubby brush paired with the formula of Max Factor 2000 Calorie in Black Brown was great for elongating my lashes but it left me with a few clumps – making my already tangled lashes stick together. I needed two coats for the colour to enhance my ebony lashes but with two coats came more clumps. The same mascara in black might be a better fit.

Kara Kia
Max Factor 2000 Calorie Mascara in Black/Brown, $9.99 Buy
Green People Volumising Mascara in Brown Black

Confession: I always relegate brown mascara to the back of my beauty cupboard, opting instead for the most striking carbon black I can lay my hands on – what can I say, I like my lashes to be as dramatic and spidery as possible. But it seems I’ve been missing a trick all along. My lashes are naturally jet black, so this dark brown shade did take three coats to show up, however, thanks to the plastic comb-style brush, it gave me length like no other mascara I’ve tried, all without leaving behind any clumpy bits. As the colour was much softer than I usually go for, it made my dark brown eyes look a little brighter and my lashes more natural than intense – and actually, I much prefer that vibe.

Jacqueline Kilikita
Green People Volumising Mascara in Brown, $16.50 Buy
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Pixi Large Lash Mascara in Best Brown

I’m not normally a makeup wearer so when I do dabble, I like it to really look like I have it on. I’m talking big bold lashes, pink eyeshadow and a dark brow. I found this colour really lovely to wear for a subtle makeup look, however, that is it. I did attempt layering it up for a night out to see if it’s possible to do both and I’m not 100% sold. So for someone who enjoys a subtle daytime makeup wear, this is definitely suitable. The product itself is really great – I love the big brush and the packaging is a dream.

Meg O’Donnell
Pixi Large Lash Mascara, $14.00 Buy
3INA The Volume Mascara

This experiment was doomed the moment I uncapped the mascara and saw the size of the brush. It’s a biggie. As a dyed-in-the-wool Maybelline girl (it’s a classic for a reason), this felt like taking a lint roller to my poor little peepers. I struggled to coat the outer lashes, and hadn’t factored a clean-up operation into the 20 minutes I’d given myself to get ready that morning – at one point, I think there was more product on my eyelids than on my eyelashes. It’s hard to be objective after that inauspicious start but I’ve always thought black mascara provides a level of contrast and definition that you just don’t get with brown, and this hasn’t convinced me otherwise.

Katy Thompsett
3INA The Volume Mascara in Brown, $12.95 Buy
Kiko Smart Colour Mascara

As someone with greenish eyes it’s long been hammered into me that I should gravitate towards brown and purple eye makeup to make my eyes "pop", and while I’m a big fan of brown eyeshadow and eyeliner, I’d never been overly keen on brown mascara. I went through a phase of using a Maybelline one back in the day but forgot it even existed once I started taking makeup tips from beauty bloggers and YouTubers, for whom black is de rigueur. I shouldn’t have neglected it though – brown is softer and less dramatic and really does bring out the colour in my eyes, making it a great look for daytime.

Natalie Gil
Kiko Milano Smart Colour Mascara, $5.99 Buy
Clarins Mascara Supra Volume in Intense Brown

Okay so obviously I’m already a brown mascara convert. I swear by the stuff. My first brown mascara purchase happened by accident; in a rush, I picked it up by mistake and ended up loving it. This Clarins brown is one of my favourites – it’s a rich shade (I’m calling it Bambi brown) and it really extends the lashes (especially the outer ones). It lasts beautifully and doesn’t get spidery or dry. I love it because it is much less harsh than black, particularly for daytime.

Katy Harrington
Clarins Supra Volume Mascara, $22.00 Buy
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