l-r: Burberry Midnight Brown, L'Oréal Bronzed Taupe, NYX Iced Mocha, LORAC Pewter, L'Oréal Endless Chocolat
Bottom to top: Burberry Midnight Brown, L'Oréal Bronzed Taupe, NYX Iced Mocha, LORAC Pewter, L'Oréal Endless Chocolat
Burberry Midnight Brown (No.21) is a cool, dark, taupey brown that flashes mainly silver. Under certain light, it looks more bronze with an understated golden sheen. Overall, it can lean muddy, especially when built up in intensity — I find that's when it starts to look more ashy and grey. Underneath a warmer, reddish base (like Maybelline Color Tattoo in Pomegranate Punk), it can look much more traditionally bronze.
L'Oréal Infallible eyeshadow in Bronzed Taupe is lighter, frostier and more grey-leaning. It's similar texture-wise, highly pigmented and smooth. If anything, Midnight Brown is more powdery and prone to a bit of fallout.
NYX Iced Mocha is lighter still, not as silvery as Bronzed Taupe, a bit more beige. This one had major texture issues, being dry, crumbly and patchy.
LORAC Pewter (from the PRO Palette) is the closest, a tad warmer with a slight purple tinge, not as dark brown. You definitely don't need both.
L'Oréal Infallible eyeshadow in Endless Chocolat is clearly much deeper than the rest, more of a metallic bark brown, not very warm. It tends to look closer to black on the lids.
Midnight Brown is too dark as an all-over lid colour but it's a good option for a quick smokey eye. Its versatility lies with how it's able to be sheered out to a more warm, reddish bronze, but also intensified to a more cool, silvery taupe if built up in pigmentation. I can also see its potential to be subtly transformed with a cream eyeshadow as a base, depending on the colour. It's smooth, highly pigmented and a breeze to blend — I almost prefer applying it with my fingers over an eyeshadow brush, as I think it leads to a better result. The shimmer in this is very fine and isn't overly reflective or metallic.
Ultimately, much like how I felt about Pale Barley, despite being well-made and having chameleonic qualities, I still don't find the shade alone to be entirely remarkable. If anything, I think Midnight Brown is even less unique than Pale Barley. While there's more variation in my arm swatch comparing similar shades than with Pale Barley, I just don't see myself getting all that much wear out of Midnight Brown to justify having so many close alternatives that basically look the same once on the lid. I wouldn't normally opt for a darker colour to wear during the daytime (only using them in a relatively discreet fashion closer to the lash line for added depth and definition) and I rarely go for deeper, dramatic eye looks if going out.
Still, Midnight Brown is a classic Burberry shade. It feels very true to the brand's look and ethos. It's a little sludgy, smouldering and overcast, while still retaining a sense of sophistication and effortlessness. I probably would've liked it more if it didn't lean so cool on my lids, but it can be easily tweaked depending on the heaviness and technique of application, and in combination with different coloured cream bases (slightly altering its appearance to be more bronze, gold, purple, plummy).