Ever since I became a redhead about eight years ago, I’ve been attracted to sepia and warm browns on the eyes. They seem to play really well off the color of my hair, but there’s absolutely nothing stopping a brunette or blonde from looking amazing in them as well. Sepia shades tend to have red, orange or sometimes yellow undertones, and they are especially good if you want to achieve that 90’s-style matte grungy eye look. There’s lots of recreations on social media that you can find, but I particularly like this old Pixiwoo tutorial. See below.
Over time I’ve compiled a smallish collection with my go-to sepia eyeshadows, and that’s what I’m sharing with you today. There’s a nice array of tones, textures and prices represented here; from more neutral takes on sepia, to something more orange, to something more tan. Keep in mind that I have a pale skin tone with cool-to-neutral undertones, so you may have to shift shades depending on the depth of your skin color.
One tip: since sepia undertones can make you look a bit sickly, I would definitely recommend using foundation or concealer to cancel out any redness or discoloration on your face so your complexion appears well-balanced.
MORE NEUTRAL TAKES ON SEPIA
I did a full review on this palette last year, and it’s probably the most neutral of all the products mentioned in this post. If you just want to dip your toe in sepia eyeshadows I suggest going with this one. The matte textures are particularly lovely and soft-pressed; just make sure you prime and set your eyelids first for optimal blending. The two shades to pay attention to in particular are Safari, a mid-tone ochre (the middle shade), and Zand, a warm brown with a yellow undertone (the farthest right shade). The color pigmentation is amazing and the longevity is there as well. So if you love your luxury shadows, you might want to check this one out.
If you’re partial to cream textures instead, I will never stop recommending this shadow stick from Bobbi Brown. It’s one of my absolute go-to’s for everyday wear and for my travel bag as well. Taupe is a matte, mid-tone caramel shade that applies like absolute butter with full pigmentation. Again, this is great if you want something that’s somewhere between neutral and grungy sepia. If you have oily eyelids I would definitely recommending using a primer first to extend longevity here.
Read this: Want quick & easy makeup? Grab a stick!
MORE ORANGE TAKES ON SEPIA
I wrote up a whole post about this little gem over a year ago after I “rediscovered” it in my collection. If you really want a grungy eye look, this is the one for you! Uninterrupted is now available as small single shadow (mine is in the discontinued Pro Long-Wear packaging), and it’s a matte with a strong yellowy-orange undertone. It applies fairly well over a primer, but I’d recommend building it up slowly to get the smoothest application. This is one of my all-time favorite colors, and I couldn’t imagine not having it in my collection.
This is not an eyeshadow per se; it’s a primer meant for dark skin tones. But when applied on lighter skin, it can totally be used as a cream shadow. I’d say it’s definitely more orange but less yellow than MAC Uninterrupted. I find it’s easier to apply after I decant a bit onto the back of my hand, rather than directly from the applicator. But once you get it on the eye, you need to move quickly before it sets and dries down. The pigmentation is great, so if you’re in the market for an orange-sepia cream shadow try to get your hands on this one.
MORE AFFORDABLE TAKE ON SEPIA
I did a full review on this palette back in the early days of my blog if you want to check it out. The Wet n’ Wild Comfort Zone Palette is great for a variety of reasons. The pigmentation is amazing. It blends really well. It’s insanely affordable and accessible. But I particularly love its color scheme with both warm and cool shades. The top shade labeled “Transition” is a good option when it comes to warm mustardy browns. In the swatches below it looks more red, but once applied on the eye I’d argue it’s much more tan with strong orange undertones. Just make sure you really tap out your brush before application; these shadows are really, really soft-pressed so there’s a lot of fall-out.
Do you like to create a grungy eye look using sepia or warm brown shades? If so, what are your favorites to use? I’d love to know!