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5 White Eyeliner Looks to Rock This Winter


If there’s an unsung hero of the makeup world, it’s unquestionably white eyeliner. The unconventional eyeliner color became an iconic element of mod makeup in the 1960s, but largely fell off the map shortly after that in favor of the now-standard black-lined eyelid. But white eyeliner has some special superpowers. Unlike black liner, which can make eyes look more defined but smaller, white does wonders to brighten up the eyes and make them appear larger. It’s a makeup artist-approved technique that’s been used for decades. 

When used strategically around the inner corners of the eye and along the lash line and waterline, white eyeliner can totally transform a makeup look. It’s also an amazing tool to keep in your beauty arsenal for quickly executing a bold, out-of-the-box eye makeup. Just remember to use a primer on your lids so that all your hard work lasts all day. Here, we’ll show you a few of our favorite white eyeliner looks and how to recreate each one using some of our favorite beauty products.


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Look 1: Shape-Shifting Liner

This look offers a unique opportunity to play with both shapes and negative space. Without any eyeshadow, layered black and white lines create contrast tonally while the dotted accents above the cat-eye create contrast geometrically.

To recreate this look, start by applying a white liquid liner like TOO FACED COSMETICS Sketch Marker Eyeliner. Liquid eyeliner is often ideal for a winged line as it allows for more precision and goes on supersaturated. Once the white liner has dried, apply a black liner of your choice along the lash line. A pencil liner could provide a bit of subtle textural contrast here. After that, use the same black liner (a black liquid liner would also work well) to create small dots just above the upper edge of the white liner. For a more dramatic effect, you could also apply face gems.


Look 2: Contrasting Cat-Eye

In this look, we’re also playing with contrast, but in a different way. This is a great style to try if you’re a bit nervous about going all out with white eyeliner. Applying a thin white line along the waterline helps open up this bold cat-eye with just a touch a contrast. 

For this eye makeup look, start by applying BOBBI BROWN Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner with a fine-tipped eyeliner brush. This gel liner is particularly great for this type of look because it lasts for up to 12 hours and is both waterproof and humidity-resistant. After you’ve labored over a perfect winged tip, you won’t have to worry about any dreaded smudges happening throughout the day. 

Use the black gel liner to first create a winged line along the upper lash line. Then, using a white eye pencil like ESSENCE COSMETICS Kajal Pencil in White, create a thin line along your inner waterline, making sure to go all the way from the inner corner of the eye and to the length of the winged tip on the outer corner. Using the black liner again, create a black line along the lower lash line for a final bit of added drama and contrast. If this feels a bit too dramatic for the eye look you're going for, simply omit this last step so that you're left with a dramatic black wing on top and a brightening white line below.


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Look 3: Angelic White Wings

Here is an opportunity to really let this makeup trend shine! If you’ve noticed that a dramatic cat-eye using black eyeliner tends to look too heavy on your eye shape, you can simply flip the look on its head by executing it in white. The alternative color will make more of a statement while also doing wonders to brighten and open the eye. 

Copy this look by using OFRA COSMETICS Fixline Eyeliner Gel in the shade “White Rabbit.” With a look this bold, we want to make sure we’ll get a crisp, heavily pigmented wing. Gel liner is great for that. Dip a liner brush into the pot and first create an outline. Once you have a shape you like, fill it in using more of the liner. Leave the bottom lash line bare to help your white cat-eye masterpiece really shine. Top this off with lengthening mascara to provide length and lift while still letting your liner shine through.


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Look 4: Winter White Out

Is that you, Twiggy? This all-over white eye makeup look is both stunning and still completely wearable. If you don’t have the steady hands needed to create a perfectly winged line, this option allows (and even encourages!) a bit of messiness. 

To replicate this look, lightly dush a white eyeshadow like OFRA COSMETICS Eyeshadow in Millennium White all over your upper lids. Top that with a white pencil eyeliner like JONETBLU Eyeliner Pencil in White. If it doesn’t look perfect that’s fine–in fact, that’s better! After creating a line along your upper and lower lash lines, gently smudge the liner to really help emphasize the white liner’s eye-opening capabilities. We recommend skipping mascara entirely here to really let this glowy, smudgy look shine.


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Look 5: Simple and Stunning

So much drama in so little time. This look is proof that sometimes you can step outside the box with just a single swipe. To copy the vibe of this graphic eye makeup style, apply a white liquid liner along the crease of your lid or just above it. That’s it! 

Top this simple, chic style off with a lengthening mascara to help the eyes pop without overpowering the delicate white line. For even more drama, consider a shimmery liquid liner like the ABSOLUTE NEW YORK Starry Eyed Shimmer Liquid Eyeliner or add a few small dots of liner just above where you’d place your highlighter.


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About the author
Cortney Clift
Cortney is a New York-based freelance writer who has written about beauty and wellness for more than six years. She was previously the senior writer and special projects editor at Brit + Co where she covered a wide range of news and lifestyle topics.
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Article Last Updated December 30, 2019 12:00 AM