Be Brown, Not Boring, with MAC Originals

Published in: Face of the Day (FOTD), MAC Makeup, Product Reviews

What can brown do for you?

If I had a nickel for every time I rocked the brown eye shadow back in the day I’d be a rich woman. Even though I’ve recently ventured into brighter colors like blues and greens, I’ll always have a place in my heart for my first eye shadow love — beautiful, basic brown.


Brown may be neutral, but it doesn’t have to be boring. Brown doesn’t mean you can get away with yawn-worthy makeup, young lady. The face of the day below, inspired by the Avarice face chart from MAC’s Originals collection, shows that brown can still be fun.


Get the look…


  • Brows – MAC Concrete eyeshadow
  • Browbone – MAC Bare Canvas Paint and MAC Daisychain eyeshadow
  • Lid – MAC Groundwork Paint Pot
  • Outer corners – MAC Clue eyeshadow
  • Crease – MAC Ochre Style eyeshadow and MAC A Little Folie eyeshadow
  • Upper lashline – MAC Coffee eye pencil
  • Lower lashline – MAC Clue eyeshadow
  • Lashes – MAC Plushlash in Black

When I wear different shades of brown at the same time, I choose browns in the same tonal family (cool browns with cool browns, warm browns with warm browns) that don’t have a lot of contrast between them. This makes them easier for me to blend.

The only semi-difficult part about this eye look was getting the darkest brown, A Little Folie, into the crease with a MAC 219 brush, a brush I have a love/hate relationship with. Used to apply a fine line of color in the crease or underneath the eye, the 219’s pencil tip-shaped brush head doesn’t always distribute color evenly. It could be faulty design, but more than likely it’s because I haven’t discovered the brush’s sweet spot yet. Using the 219 well takes a lot of practice.

Despite the range of products I used for this look, the whole thing took about 10 minutes because there wasn’t any complicated layering or lining of the waterline (which for me can take SO MUCH TIME).


  • Cheeks – Shu Uemura Glow on Blushes in M Brown 73 and P Gold 93D.

The original Avarice face chart called for Raizin blush (a gold reddish-brown matte) and Reflects Blackened Red Glitter, but I don’t own Raizin, and Reflects Blackened Red looks terrible on me, so I opted for two Shu Uemura Glow On blushes instead.


  • Lipstick – MAC Rozz Revival
  • Lipgloss – MAC Avarice Lipglass

I’m a total klutz, so it took me forever and a day to get this red lippy going. My biggest issue? I couldn’t get the Rozz Revival to apply evenly, and because I didn’t use a lip liner the Rozz was revival-ing all over the place. I resorted to applying two layers of it and one layer of Avarice Lipglass with a MAC 316 covered lip brush. Next time I’m going to use a lip-colored pencil, like MAC Pink Treat Cremestick Liner, to make it easier!


Don’t miss…

Clue eyeshadow. When I first swatched this I wasn’t moved, but after I got it on my eye I totes fell in love. A mid-tone dirty grey with silver pearl, this eyeshadow has a pretty finish, soft texture and is very easy to work with. For a simple, subtle grey eye, I use Groundwork Paint Pot over the entire lid and then swipe Clue from the lashline into the crease. I give my lashes a quick curl, add two coats of mascara and I’m done!

Rozz Revival lipstick.When I think of red lipstick I usually think of sophisticated and serious looks, but Rozz Revival is a fresh, young and fun twist on red. With a high shine, lustre finish, this watermelon reddish pink lippie would look great with a tan! I can’t wait for summer!


Coffee eye pencil. This pencil is a fantastic deep brown with no red or orange tones. Even though it isn’t a Technakohl, I love it because it’s soft and easy to blend.

Are ya rocking the browns today, or did you go crazy with color?

I’m in the middle of my first cup of coffee and the caffeine is starting to work its magic – wheeeee! I hope you’re Tuesday is off to a fantastic start!

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 55 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Amanda says:

    I’m doing peachy-pinks and navy today. I love, love, love your red lips-so gorgeous! that is a great combo.

  2. Christiana says:

    What a pretty FOTD. I love the look you did and it looks very pretty on you. :]

  3. Karen says:

    Thanks Amanda! I highly recommend Rozz Revival. It’s so flirty and fun and a very wearable red.

    Peachy pinks and navy sounds pretty! Maybe I’ll rock that tomorrow πŸ™‚

  4. Karen says:

    Hi Christiana!

    Thanks so much for your complements πŸ™‚ Are you a brown shadow kinda girl, too?

  5. PeeChee says:

    I like the lipstick on ya! I was flossin’ the browns yesterday. Now I’ve got some color on (parrot and cranberry) which is pretty bold for me to wear at work. πŸ™‚ Since I was finally feeling better, I did get groundwork paint pot the other day…wasn’t sure how I was going to work it since I didn’t really try it on. I was still having a bit of phobia having the MAC artist so close to my face. It was my first paint pot purchase ever. ha ha. Any suggestions?

  6. Karen says:

    Sah-weet! I was just so-so about the Paint Pots a few months ago but now I’m feeling them. Groundwork is a really versatile base – I even like using it alone when I’m super duper lazy!

    I like applying the Paint Pots with the MAC 249, a synthetic paddle brush. To avoid product overload (which is really easy, cause I got lead hands) I’ll take the brush, swipe it across the pot, then swipe it against the inside of the lid to get rid of any excess stuff.

    I’m glad you are feeling better! Can you breath again?

  7. Lilan says:

    I went the lazy route today with just a little shimmer on my lids with Beige-ing shadestick and Coffee liner (my absolute go-to for lazy days) and a coral lippie with See Sheer for a pop of color so it looks like I’m trying – ha! But at least I’m feeling great on this Tuesday afternoon! πŸ™‚

  8. Karen says:

    Isn’t Coffee great? I’m new to these eye pencils and they are so smooth and easy to smudge.

    I’m glad you are feeling better. Any exciting plans for the evening?

  9. Lilan says:

    I’ve gone through 2 Coffee liners already and have two in my makeup bag right now in case I ever lose one – LOL.

    No big plans for tonight; I have to stay home and watch The Biggest Loser – soo addicted! Although I think I’ll try retail therapy again at Rite Aid. They have a bunch of new displays that I’ve been wanting to check out! πŸ˜€

  10. Karen says:

    LOLZ, I just went to Kia’s blog and saw her L’Oreal display cell phone pics so I’m going to Rite Aid after work, too!

    Tonight is Law & Order SVU night for me!

  11. AshB says:

    Hello! I’m surprised your 219 brush doesn’t apply color evenly. I just bought mine last week and it just might be my favorite brush! I find it deposits just the right amount of color smoothly, but smudging eyeliner precisely takes a few tries to get right. I agree with you about Clue– I had the same experience. Now I love it.

  12. Karen says:

    Hi AshB,

    I think I’m just all thumbs. I’ve heard of other women lovin’ on that brush but for the life of me I can’t get it right. I have both the long handled and the SE versions and neither of them really do it for me.

    I’m really excited about using Clue. What do you pair it with? I’m thinking for lazy days I’ll use it with my go-to neutrals, Shroom and Vex!

  13. Vanessa says:

    As usual, you look gorgeous! Karen you really can pull of any color, you have the prettiest beady brown eyes you can rock it!

    Btw, thank you for the nice comment, some people are a little off their rocker in this world LOL and need a little guidance from God. But nontheless, I know that comes with the territory (like how Britney Spears can’t avoid the paparazzi!), just gotta “Keep on Truckin’!”

  14. Vanessa says:

    Ok I meant *OFF any color, it’s hard to type with a bandaid I tell ya!

  15. Karen says:

    LOL, thank you, sweetie. You know, people never cease to amaze me. There are so wonderful people I’ve met in the online world, but there are so many loony people, too. I think the computer gives people a sense of bravery to say things that they wouldn’t do in real life, and that brings out the claws (sadly). I think you handled the sitch well, though. Keep ya chin up, and know that we love and appreciate what you do!

  16. Lilan says:

    I can’t wait to see what you come home with from Rite Aid! I guess we can’t swap Chanel liquid eye shadow stories but we can share L’Oreal finds! πŸ˜€

    I’ve never seen Law & Order.. I wonder if it’s as good as CSI..

    Hope your Tuesday isn’t as foggy as mine is!

  17. Melissa says:

    LOL at your beady brown eyes…I didn’t think beady was a compliment but maybe it doesn’t mean what I think it means:o)

    Hey Karen,

    You look fab as usual. I use my 219 to work in my crease color. Then, I go back in with a fluffy brush to blend. I usually use a paint pot as my base. But I found this technique doesn’t work as well for me with the Urban Decay Primer Potion. That was not cute!

    What do you consider a cool brown vs a warm brown?

  18. Melissa says:

    Wait…nevermind. The first part of my comment doesn’t make sense. I was reading to fast. Please disregard:)

  19. Mrs. Lynne says:

    This look is so professional on you. Like an all-about-business woman look. When you sign those advertisers, this is it girl!

    I have to say that clue is a super staple for me. I’ll have to get another one before this collection disappears. I love it for adding subtle dimension in the crease.

    Tuesday is good here. Can’t wait for Friday though, lol. Hope yours is skipping well also!

  20. Lea says:

    Hard to believe that whole look took you only 10 minutes! I’m so jealous. You’re right tho, practice makes purrrfect! Girl, I wanna be like you when I grow up, lol.

    Kidding aside now, browm is so basic yet so versatile. Outside my daily silver and black work combo, I play around with green/browm, blue/brown, pink/brown on weekends. I can never pull off that red lipstick but you rock it like it’s hot Karen!! Brilliant!

  21. Karen says:

    Hi Lilan,

    I took a good look at the Revlon compacts (they have some pretty ones out right now) but I held back (SHOCKER!). I gotta save my duckets for Fafi, sigh. What did you end up getting?

    It’s sunny round my way in Marin (but not for long). I lived in the Richmond a few years ago and I don’t miss the fog at all!

  22. Mariana says:

    Hi Karen,

    That’s such a pretty look on you! You do such an awesome job blending. I’m always practicing, but it never looks that good lol. BTW, did you try the Sculpt and Shape powders from Mac? I bought a couple of them, but I definitely need practice because it looks like I have a stripe down my face.

    Have a great day!

  23. Karen says:

    Hi Melissa,

    No worries re the comment. Funny though, I had a co-worker a long time ago who I couldn’t stand, so my friend and I had a code name for him and it was BEADY EYES, ha ha ha!

    Anyway, cool browns are grey-based browns, like MAC Symmetry shadow. They’re good for contouring. Warm browns are like gold-based,like Soft Brown.

  24. Karen says:

    Hi Mrs. Lynne,

    Funny, I was just looking at the pics above and thinking that the turtleneck makes me look more like a mime (and less like a business woman), so thanks girl!

    Tuesday was relatively painless. El hub and I have a hot dinner date tonight (because it’s been ages since we’ve gone out – been sick forever, it seems). I am half tempted to tell him to just take me to McDonalds, ’cause I’m got a cheeseburger jones.

    What do you pair clue with? I’m thinking Shroom and Vex. Maybe Club, too.

  25. Karen says:

    Hi Lea,

    I’m sure you could totally wear Rozz Revival! Are you red shy? Cause you can take it down a notch by just applying one layer πŸ™‚ It’s a very pretty and can’t miss shade!

    Just curious – what’s your work staple shades? For *years* mine was some combo of Soba/Shroom/Soft Brown Matte, LOL. And before that in college I went through so many pans of Clinique Fawn Satin.

  26. Karen says:

    Hi Mariana,

    Happy Tuesday, girl! Hmmm, blending. A lot of it depends on the brush. Have you tried the MAC 217? It’s pretty great.

    My wallet is rejoicing because I have absolutely no interest in Sculpt and Shape. I like it in theory, but I know in practice I’ll end up with some serious stripes!

  27. TUPRNUT says:

    Yes, you’re right girl, brown does not have to be boring! You are breaking me out of my safe little neutral shell that I used to cling to. I wore Mulch all over my lid for a more daring (hey, consider the source) look on Friday. Today I wore Neutral Pink all over the lid with Shroom as a highlighter and loved it.

    I’m going to have to check out the Coffee Eye Pencil – it looks great and I’m suddenly having issues with my beloved Tecnakohl… can’t get a straight line to save my life. So, I need something a bit more forgiving.

  28. Emilee says:

    Beautiful! Browns are definitely a lot more versatile than people think. I agree with you on the 219, too.

  29. I saw the colours yesterday and they do look great and they are VERY age appropriate for women over 35, but I don’t think they will suit darker skin beauties because they colours will not stand out (I’m talking about the eyeshadows).

    The same with some of the lipglosses…I found them to be real nice nude tones, but they won’t work for everyone because they may not really stand out again.


  30. Karen says:

    Hi Tuprnut,

    Mulch is sassy – that’s a hot Friday look, momma! Slowly but surely you’ll graduate into color; hey, maybe one day we’ll both be rocking orange eyeshadow, who knows?

    I was really surprised by how easy Coffee is to work with. The only other regular pencils I’ve tried from MAC are the Power Kohls and Eye Kohls and I wasn’t crazy about either of ’em. The Eye Pencils are very soft, highly pigmented, go on very smoothly and they smudge nicely. They’re nice to layer underneath other shadows, too!

  31. Karen says:

    Hi Miss Gisele,

    Hmm, I think that if you used a lighter primer, like Bare Canvas Paint or Bare Study on your lids as a primer you could get the colors to show. I do this all the time to get color that normally won’t show up on my skin to appear.

  32. Karen says:

    Hi Emilee,

    Yay, somebody who feels my 219 pain! Do you use another brush to do detailed crease work?

  33. Sandy says:

    Ooh Ooh i love the look! I love the colour of your lips. Schmexiful~ ^^

  34. Lilan says:

    Oh goodness, they were having a buy one get one free at Rite Aid (just my luck!) so I picked up two HIP eyeshadow duos and two pigments. Let the piggie experimenting begin!!!

    I saw the new Revlon stuff.. very pretty indeed! But the two for one deal over at L’oreal was too good for me to pass up πŸ˜€

  35. Mrs. Lynne says:

    I still can’t get over the last picture. That is really a great shot of you! Not even near a MIME’s profile!!

    Oh howdie. I don’t even know what time alone with Hubbo is. Rarely do we get the bed to ourselves with out the big boy all of sudden appearing in the middle of the night. Like you hear a little rustle, you open your eyes and BAM. He’s right up in your grill! Sometimes it’s funny when you think about it but definitely not a 3am.

    For Clue, I’ve just been going simple. Using a single lid color, then creasing it with Clue. Sometimes adding Signed, Sealed or Charred to the outer V for dimension if I feel like it. But it’s been rather quickly lately, so I just color the lid and crease it. What is your favorite eyeshadow right now?

  36. Lilan says:

    Hi Karen,

    Me again.. just wondering if you’d care to play a little game of tag, or just share the contents of your purse. Mine purse loot’s got a few too many lippies πŸ™‚

  37. anna22 says:

    you look great!!

  38. AshB says:

    Well, I bought Clue with Alum and Memorabilia from the Originals collection and I usually just wear it by itself or with either of those two or Poison Pen and it looks nice (especially with Alum). But I think it would go with anything that’s gray/purple/blue/cool brown. It has so many different tones within it that it goes with everything!

  39. Karen says:

    Hi Sandy,

    Thanks, girlfriend! I wanna see you rock the red sometime soon!

  40. Karen says:


    Girrrrl, I always get sucked in by the 2-for-1’s!

    Do you have a good brush for those Pigments?!!? I can’t wait to see what you come up with. πŸ™‚

  41. Karen says:

    Hi Mrs. Lynne,

    I am gonna try your Clue combos (say that fast ten times). I also think I’m going to work it into a soft smokey grey day eye, that is whenever get over my Chanel quad lust. I’ve been wearing the Winter Nights quad and the Garden Party quad – lots of greens, peaches and pinks! And I’ve also been loving pencil liners too (I go through phases between pencil and Fluidline).

    Do you ever feel like you have too many shadows and not enough time to wear them all? I might get to the point where I wear different eye looks during the day, like how stars change dresses during awards show.

  42. Karen says:

    Hi Lilan,

    Sure, I’ll play! I love games. πŸ™‚ What are the rules?

    Oops, I just ate one of the things in my purse (yes, I carry around edibles).

  43. Karen says:

    Thank you, Anna! How has your week been? Wear any browns lately?

  44. Karen says:

    Hi AshB,

    The Poison Pen combo is a good one. I have it sitting around here (somewhere) and I really haven’t reached for it in a while. :)Thanks for your pairing ideas! Now it’s time to play with shadows …

  45. angela says:

    i love this look karen, especially the lips!!! πŸ˜‰ you look great here! but i also love it when you put on colorful eyeshadows though! F U N!

  46. Lilan says:

    Hey Karen,

    I actually don’t have a good pigment brush – recommendations? I wrote down your other basic brush reco’s somewhere but now I can’t find them (grrr). Would you mind emailing me please?

    Also, for our little game of tag, I don’t think there are any real rules, we were just supposed to share what was in our bag. I had Smashbox red lippeies that I haven’t worn in a while which I think I’ll sport tomorrow! πŸ™‚

  47. Mrs. Lynne says:

    The Clue combos are suuuuper simple. To keep with the gray, I’ll add a bit of Charred to the outer V because it darkens it not enough to smoke it out which is fantastic for the day. Than if you go somewhere at night, just add a bit of Carbon or Black Tied and voila! Instant smokey πŸ™‚ And you got me with tongue twisters. I can barely speak English correctly and it’s the only language I know! Lol.

    You know girl. I have so many eyeshadows that I’ve made homes for in the past 3 months that I KNOW I have more than I can use. And especially because I DO NOT wear makeup everyday, that doesn’t help much either. But I feel obligated to my makeup (at least they eyeshadows). Sad, huh? Like if I was to swap or return them, I’d feel like I just gave my childhood stuffed animal away.

    Btw, are you looking forward to Fafi?

  48. Karen says:

    Thanks Angela!

    I will try and channel my inner colorful eye shadow spirt – been feeling the neutrals lately, I can’t lie. πŸ˜‰

  49. Karen says:

    Hi Lilan,

    Okay, what’s in my purse … let me preface this by saying that I AM NOT A HOBO. I just happened to get a slouchy big purse a few months ago, figuring it would look chic. Unfortunately it has only given me the opportunity to stuff it like a turkey on Thanksgiving.

    Right now it contains…

    – one Blackberry
    – one wallet
    – one Goody stretchy headband for working out (grey)
    – two black ponytail holder thingys
    – three bobby pins
    – … and a partridge in a pair tree (just kidding!)
    – one ticket stub for the movie “Atonement”
    – one box of Orbit Maui Melon Mint gum. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to eat it since having the minty poo experience with Poof! drops a few weeks ago.
    – two packages of DHC Vitamin Powders (thanks Jessie!)
    – two black Pentel RSVP fine tipped pens. These pens are the SH*T!
    – house and car keys
    – a pair of dangly black freshwater pearl earrings
    – a sheet of stickers from Apple computer
    – mace
    – two pieces of coral from the beach right in front of the where El Hub and I got married in Hawaii
    – a W-9
    – a post it with the phone number for Skates on the Bay in Berkeley
    – one lemon zest Luna Bar
    – one dark chocolate Ghirardelli chocolate square
    – a tube of Elizabeth Arden 8 hour hand cream
    – a box of Elizabeth Arden Flawless finih Maximum Coverage Concealer (unopened)
    – one pearl necklace
    – MAC Lychee Luxe Lipglass
    – Vincent Longo Illumina Concealer Stick #3
    – CHANEL Rouge Allure in Exquise
    – CHANEL Glossimer in Galactic
    – CHANEL Gloss Creme Lumiere in Petite Four
    – MAC Pink Treat Cremestick Liner
    – MAC Blot in Medium dark
    – last week’s pay stub
    – Christmas card from my Grandma
    – one bag of Cherry Honey Ricola drops
    – Mac Lipglass in Nico Now
    – one binder clip
    – one 2008 Monet Day Caledar
    – one “To Do” list with 34 frickin’ tasks on it!

    Yep. That’s about it. Oh, and yesterday there was one Fuji apple in it, but I ate it.

    This was strangely cathartic. DOES ANYONE ELSE FEEL LIKE SHARING? Trust me – it’s almost better than going to confession.

  50. Karen says:

    OMG, Mrs. Lynne! Fafi is SOOOOO HOT! I can’t wait!

    I have noticed that the eyeshadow to blush ration is like, 12:1. I can’t stop though! It’s physically impossible.

  51. Lilan says:

    LOL Karen! You’ve quite a few things stashed in your bag, my dear!

    I love how you have a piece of your wedding with you. And a w-9?!?! I’ve also been eying Lychee Luxe – every time I visit the counter I swipe a little bit on my lips. I should just buy that damn thing already πŸ˜‰

    I hope you pare down that task list. I can’t imagine 34 to-do items would be too fun to complete.

    Thanks for sharing, Karen! I see you are a lover of lippies, as I am! πŸ˜€

  52. anna22 says:

    Hi!! Yeah i try to rock brown eyeshadow! i just bought Club by MAC , it’s not brown per se but it shows brown on me! I’ll let you know !Kisses

  53. Karen says:

    Hey Lilan,

    Yeah, I’m a little OCD. I have to write everything down otherwise I don’t remember. I’m very detail oriented so everything gets written down, too, hence the double digit numbers.

    Oh god, my lipstick habit is OUT OF CONTROL. I might need an intervention soon.

  54. Karen says:

    Hi Anna22,

    I LOVE CLUB! It’s one of my favorite eyeshadows EVER!

    Here is my fave smokey eye with club: Shroom on the brownbone, Soba in the crease, and Club from the upper lash line and barely into the crease. It’s pretty, easy and good for work.

    Have you tried wetting your brush and applying Club wet? It’s amazing.

  55. Anna22 says:

    Thanks for the tip, i ‘ll get to it as soon as possible!:-)

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