When it comes to colors, black and brown are by far the most popular eyeliners but every now and again white eyeliner is thrown into the limelight when models are seen with it once again on the catwalk or the stars reveal their red carpet makeup secrets.
The truth is, though it is often spouted as a “new trend this season”, white eyeliner has never really gone away and there are a few reasons for that.
For one, dark colors like black and brown outline and define the eyes but by their very nature dark colors cause parts of your eye to darken and recede. White acts as a highlighter, brightening the eyes and helping them to stand out. It can even make you look more awake and reduce the red eye effect after a night out.
White eyeliner also opens up the shape of the eye wherever you use it, whereas stark black can make your eyes look smaller. (See how it enhances the eyes when used along the lower rims in the pic above)
One caution, a white line can look a bit strange if you don’t know how to apply white eyeliner properly. And it’s not a case that one white eyeliner style suits everyone so you will need to experiment to get your own brightening effect.
Here are some white eyeliner techniques to try.
For small eyes use a thin line along the waterline (inner lower rims). You are going for a subtle effect here not a white line that’s obvious to everyone and in any case if you put on too much you will find that you have white goo gathering in the corner of your eye after a while – not an attractive look.
For close set eyes, use white liner around the inner corner of the eye to open out the area. For wide set eyes which you want to bring in, you can add a little around the outer corners of your eyes. In both cases smudge and blend the line otherwise this will look odd.
If you want to open up your whole eye, use a carefully blended white line on the upper lid and follow with mascara. If you don’t like this look, try it layered with a thin line of your usual black or brown mascara close to the lash line, with the blended white peaking out above it. This will both define and brighten your eyes and this is my favorite way to use white eyeliner.
Outlining the whole eye with white is a difficult technique to get right. It can give you a ghostly (or even ghastly) look if you are not careful and is a very bold made up look that is not for everyone. Try it anyway! Makeup is all about having fun and experimenting and there are certain celebrities who have worn this look to great effect.
For many the “opera look” works best (so called because it makes your eyes pop on stage). This involves using your normal black or brown eyeliner on the upper lid and white eyeliner along the lower lash line.
You may find that stark white eyeliner does not work well for your coloring (or with the rest of your eye makeup). Use the same application tips but with pearly off white, silver, flesh toned, champagne or gold eyeliner to suit your coloring and the other eye makeup you have chosen to wear.
If you don’t have distinct eyelids, and want to change this, paint over the eyelid area with white eyeliner pencil, and then work on the area with eye shadow as usual. This will make your eye lid area seem more defined.
If you have bought a white eyeliner and you find it’s not the color for you, then don’t waste it. White eyeliner makes a great base or primer for other colors. Paint your white line and then go over it with colored shadow for a great colored eyeliner look. The shadow will last longer with the liner as a base. You can also use a white pencil liner as a highlighter under the brow bone or along your top lip or even on other areas of your face. Wherever you use your white pencil be sure to blend properly with a brush or you can look very strange indeed.
When applying white eyeliner pencil roll the edge of the pencil not the tip over the waterline to transfer the color. Probably best to remove the end if you have just sharpened your pencil so you don’t poke yourself in the eye.
If your pencil is too thick to get a fine enough line, apply with an eyeliner brush. If you apply too much then take off the excess with a cotton swab and also remove any white from your lashes before you put on your mascara.
The Best White Eyeliner
The best white eyeliner really depends on the format you like to use. Every type including pencil, cream, gel or liquid can be used on the upper lashes but if you want to draw along your waterline you will need a white eyeliner pencil as other types of eyeliner can sting.
Best White Eyeliner Pencils
White pencils are generally best for blending, whereas white liquid eyeliner (reminds me of correction fluid) is usually difficult to smudge and will create a well-defined line which will be too stark for most eyes.
My philosophy when trying something new like white eyeliner especially where the reviews don’t agree about the best product to use is to start cheap and work my way up to the expensive products if the cheap ones don’t quite work for me. I’ve found some real bargain gems like that in my time.
But never mind, if you are new to white, then you can start with a cheap product such as a Rimmel white eyeliner pencil, which many people like.
Play around with it and see if white is right for you and the kind of effects you can create.
Opinions on makeup review forums differ on whether the Rimmel pencil or the NYX white eyeliner pencil is the best low cost product. In the reviews on each of these, you see some buyers love them and some buyers say that they aren’t great. You could try them both (as they are so inexpensive) and see which one you like best. Remember if you don’t like the color or the pencil on your eyes, you can still use the product in other ways so all is not lost. (see Tip 8 above).
When assessing eyeliner pencils, you need a product which goes on smoothly without having to press too hard on your eye and one which stays in place, so that is what you are aiming for when you try these out.
Once you know that white eyeliner pencil works on your eyes, you could invest in a better product. At that point try the Stila Kajal pencil as it’s super creamy so you don’t have to press too hard on your waterline.
Alternatively, take a look at the Paula Dorf eyeliner pencil called Baby Eyes, which has been specifically created as a product to brighten your eyes along the waterline. Its an off white color and looks very natural on most people.
Best White Gel Eyeliners
Though I would recommend white pencils before other kinds of eyeliner, white eyeliner creams and gels are still good for experimenting as you can get both well defined lines (if you want to try that) or you can smudge them before they dry for a more subtle effect.
If you want to have a go, a good white eyeliner gel to try is the Starry Long Lasting Waterproof Eyeliner Gel in Snow White which comes with its own brush. It is more resistant to water rather than waterproof according to buyers however. You can get it at a discount with free shipping here. If you end up liking the format but not the color on you, you can get Starry eyeliner gel in 12 different colors.
How to use White Eyeliner
For general tips on applying eyeliner of all different kinds see Perfect Eyeliner : How To Apply Eyeliner The Right Way
For specific tips on applying white eyeliner, here’s a Video by Christi Shreiber from Colour Basis. If you don’t have time to watch this (it’s only 3 minutes so not too bad), some of the key points are
- Use a white pencil (in this case a white kohl pencil) to line the inside of your lower rims. This will open out the eyes and help brighten tired looking eyes.
- So that you can see more of your lower rims to apply the eyeliner, press gently with the back of your finger just below your eyes. This makes your eye roll out a little so you can get easier access to the water line without pulling on the skin around your eye.
- Don’t freak out as soon as you draw the line. It will look stark and you will not see anything else when you look at yourself in the mirror. Blink a few times. After a few minutes some of the color will be transferred to the upper lids and will soften the effect.
- If you have one eye smaller than the other, draw along the lower rim of the smaller eye only. This will seem to increase the size of the smaller eye and have a balancing effect.
- Another thing to do with your white eyeliner pencil is to draw a line just under each eyebrow following the line of the brow and then softening the line so that it gives you a brow lift. You can also try a little above the brow to see if that works for you too.