We ask two makeup artists to share the benefits of using white eyeliner and four of their favorite looks, with tips on how to recreate.
Never underestimate the power of white eyeliner, it's a simple step that quickly adds impact to your eyes. As demonstrated by Lady Gaga, one swipe of the product along your waterline instantly gives your eyes a larger appearance, not to mention some subtle '60s flair. "White eyeliner brightens your eyes and makes you look more awake," says celebrity makeup artist, Holly Gowers. "Two easy ways to use white eyeliner are to line your top lash line or your waterline."
It's really not that hard to pull off either, if you can handle applying black eyeliner, you'll have no problem achieving a white eyeliner look. To try out Lady Gaga's eye enhancing look, apply eyeshadow and black eyeliner on your top lids, leaving the bottom area untouched. Pick up a white eyeliner with a soft, creamy texture, like Urban Decay's 24/7 Eye Pencil in Yeyo ($20; sephora.com), and run it along your waterline. Then, finish by tracing underneath your lower lashes with a darker shade, as well as a coat of mascara if that's your thing. On some, crisp white may look a bit severe, so to tone down the intensity you can always reach for a light pink or beige liner to achieve a similar effect.
Aside from creating a doe-eyed appearance, white liner can also add some dimension to your tried-and-true cat eye. "I like to use white on top of very thin cat eyeliner in black or forest green. It really adds something different to the eye, like a little statement," says makeup artist Elle Leary. "You can also trace the bottom portion of the wing on your liner to really define the shape and open the eye." Plus, it acts as the easiest clean-up method ever to fix uneven wings—no makeup remover or Q-tips involved.
Below, we asked a couple of experts to show us how to do their favorite white eyeliner looks.
To line your top lash line, start at the outer corner of your eye and gently trace along your lashes to the inner corner, using M.A.C. Chromagraphic Pencil in Pure White. "I prefer a white eye liner pencil topped with white eyeshadow like M.A.C. Eyeshadow in Gesso, but a liquid eyeliner pen or eyeliner gel works great too," says Gowers. "The line should be thicker on the outside and gradually get smaller as it approaches the inner eye. Pointed cotton swabs dipped in micellar water are great to keep the line sharp."
If you're thinking of trying out a white waterline look, it's best to work with a waterproof eyeliner pencil to avoid running white teardrops. The waterline is a sensitive area so start by warming the pencil so it's not too sharp — this can be done by drawing a few lines on the back of your hand. Next, take a cotton swab and swipe it along your waterline to soak up any excess moisture.
To achieve a perfectly lined waterline, sit in front of a mirror, gently pull your lower lid down using your ring finger, tilt your head down slightly and trace along the exposed area, starting at the outer corner and gliding across. "If you'd like a more natural look for your waterline, pick a shade that is off-white and flatters your skin tone," says Gowers. "It will still have a brightening affect but will look less theatrical."
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The white cat eye is a more dramatic look and perfect if you're looking to jazz things up a little on a night out. For this look, celebrity makeup artist Jamie Dorman started by creating a subtle smokey eye with a matte taupe shade. "I applied the Divine color in Lime Crime's Greatest Hits Classics Shadow Palette," says the artist. "I placed the color densely on the lid and on the lower lashline using Rephr brush 02 and blended it into the crease using Rephr brush 14."
"Using Lime Crime's Venus Pigmented Eyeliner in Baby's Breath, make a cat eye shape starting with a thin line at the inner corner of the eye and increasing in thickness at the halfway point of the eyelid," says Dorman. "Keep the line sharp by putting a small amount of liquid makeup remover onto Rephr brush 29 to clean and perfect the line."
Who said eyeliner has to be straight or winged? If you're feeling creative, there's no harm in changing things up a little and trying a fun shape. For this look, Dorman used a contrast of white eyeliner with a deep tarnished bronze eyeshadow. "I applied Storm from Lime Crime's Prelude Exposed Eyeshadow Palette around the opening of the eye and blended it out softly to just above the crease using Rephr brush 01."
Using Lime Crime Venus Pigmented Eyeliner in Baby's Breath, the makeup artist completed the look by creating delicate triangles on the inner and outer corners of the crease. "Place a line along the area just above the crease, keeping the line and the triangles disconnected," she says. "This looks best with a simple, glossy lip, I like Wonderskin Wonder Blading Supreme Shine Lip Gloss."