Is Black Mascara Really Better Than Brown Mascara?

Two celebrity makeup artists explain the difference between the two shades.

Black Mascara vs Brown Mascara

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Mascara is a desert island beauty product for many — and for good reason. Whether you're in a rush or simply a makeup minimalist, a few coats of a volumizing or lengthening mascara enhances your eyes and can instantly help you appear alert and awake – even on a morning after a late night.

While black mascara is the standard choice for most, brown mascara shouldn't be underestimated. While a chocolate brown mascara may be a little more subdue than black, it can still enhance your lashes. But do you really need both shades in your makeup collection? And when should you choose a black mascara over a brown one and vice versa?

To answer all of your questions about choosing the right shade, we've tapped two makeup artists to share the real differences between black and brown mascara.

What are the benefits of wearing black mascara?

If you want your lashes to bring the drama, a black formula is your best bet. "Black mascara helps to achieve sexier and bolder lashes," says Daniel Chinchilla, a celebrity makeup artist and founder of Chinchilla Brows. "It helps to instantly wake the eyes up."

Alexa Persico, a celebrity makeup artist and founder of Alexa Persico Cosmetics, adds that black mascara is a universal option for achieving bold lashes. "Regardless of your skin tone or hair color, black is the mascara color of choice for everyone looking to make a statement," she shares.

Within the black mascara category, you'll also be able to find a formula that suits your specific lash needs, whether you create the illusion of long lashes with a lengthening mascara or fake thicker, fuller lashes with a volumizing mascara.

What are the benefits of wearing brown mascara?

Brown mascara offers a softer look than black does, so it's a good option for anyone who's looking for a subtler way to enhance their lashes. Consider it the tinted moisturizer of mascaras.

As brown offers a more natural look, it's a good option for those who find black to look too harsh against their skin tone or eye color. "Brown mascara is great for lighter skin tones and blondes," Chinchilla confirms. "It is for a more natural look – especially for someone with blue or lighter eyes."

Persico says a brown mascara also warms up and illuminates the eyes. "It will naturally lighten the color around your eyes and give a more natural look," she adds.

As with black mascara, there are number of brown mascaras on the market to choose from, including volumizing and lengthening ones.

Black vs brown mascara: which one should you wear?

The bottom line? One mascara shade isn't better than the other. Deciding between a black and brown mascara comes down to your desired look, along with your skin tone and hair color.

"At the most basic level, if you’re trying to choose between black and brown mascara for daily wear, you want to choose what looks most natural alongside your skin and hair," Persico says. "If you’re fair-skinned and have blonde or red hair with naturally light lashes, brown mascara is the most natural way of emphasizing your lashes. Anyone with darker hair, regardless of skin tone, should stick to black mascara so the lashes don’t fade into the rest of the face."

And if you aren't planning on wearing any other makeup, Chinchilla says a coat of black mascara will make lashes appear thicker and bolder— so they'll stand out.

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