The Secret to Sultry Yet Subtle Eyes

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We’ve harped on about pale eye liner and all its merits—white brightens, nude lifts—and these light pencils are now as common as blacks and brights. But there’s a crucial shade that’s almost always forgotten in the list of must-own liners: Taupe!

You may scoff, but we’re telling you: Taupe eye liner is your secret weapon for daytime lids that smolder. When rimmed completely around the eyes, the mid tone gives enough definition to emphasize any eye shape, but the color is light enough so you don’t look like you’re channeling Cleopatra at the office. It’s the perfect daytime makeup compromise. Here are some of our favorite formulas.

Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colour in Khaki

The subtle olive tones in this multifaceted khaki-taupe look mesmerizing when smudged on hazel and brown eyes. And not only does the cream double as shadow, its staying power is phenomenal!

Shu Uemura Double-Ended Color Crayon in Misty Brown/Earthy Brown

This double-ended chunky crayon features a stunning combo of pale, warmed brown and its darker variation. Line your top lash line with the darker shade, then rim your waterline with the lighter tone for a more dimensional effect.

Physician’s Formula Enhancing Eye Liner Trio in Nude Eyes

While this trio of eye liners includes your standard black and brown fare, we’re obsessed with the lightest, nude-taupe. And let’s face it—the deeper pencils are convenient in case you decide to channel your inner Egyptian goddess at night.

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