When used the right way, white eyeliner can be a game-changing beauty product, doing everything from concealing a blemish to brightening eyes. “It’s a timeless makeup artist hack and an essential part of any makeup bag,” adds director of artistry and education for Jane Iredale, Ami Mallon. “Think of it as your shining white knight that can make the eyes look bigger, brighter and give the illusion of being well-rested even if you haven’t gotten any sleep!”
When used incorrectly, however, white eyeliner can totally derail your look. We turned to makeup artists to learn more about the most common mistakes women make with this shade of eyeliner, along with what you should do instead.
Lining Your Waterline
Lining your waterline with a dark-colored liner can make your eyes look bigger and brighter when isolated to the outer edges, but doing so with white liner is a big beauty no-no. “Oftentimes, it looks artificial,” celebrity makeup artist Carolina Dali explains. “I prefer using an off-white shade with a hint of beige like Chanel Kohl Liner in Clair #69 ($31). You will have the same eye-opening effect with a more natural look.”
Lining Your Upper Lashline
White liner’s ability to brighten the eye may tempt you to line your entire lashline with a blanc shade, but Mallon says this is a big mistake, and one that can lead to making your eyes look “undefined.” Instead, use it sparingly in the inner corner of the eyes to add some light. “I love using white liner in the tear duct to brighten,” she says.
Applying Liner Under Your Lashes
Another place where white eyeliner doesn’t belong? Along your lower lid, right under the lashes. Instead, Dali suggests using a light brown or bronze shade and using a small angled brush to blend it in. “Less is more with lining under the lash line,” she says. “When done with a light bronzed shade, it will create the illusion of a fuller lower lash line while opening up and defining your eyes.”
Using Liner Under Your Brow
For brightening your brow bones, Dali says to skip the white eyeliner as well. “It can look cartoonish,” she says. “Instead, use a champagne or vanilla shadow under your brows.” The softer colors will make your brow bone pop without looking crazy.
So where can you use white eyeliner on your eyebrows? “When shaping and tweezing your brows, apply a generous amount of white liner to the hairs you want to remove,” Dali explains. “This will prevent you from over tweezing and will help you achieve the perfect brows. Once you’re done tweezing the unwanted hairs, wipe away the white liner.”
Layering It Over Regular Liner
While layering your favorite black or brown liner over white-lined eyes is a cool beauty trick, doing the opposite is a big beauty mistake. Instead, consider blending it with your go-to black or brown liner, a trick Mallon says “can be brightening and chic.” “It’s all about contrast,” she continues. “Think highlight and contour for the eyes: white will attract light and dark colors will recess. It’s all about balance.”
Not Using It on the Face
If you’re only using white liner on your eyes, you’re missing out. “I love tracing the top of the cupid’s bow and blending it out as a natural-looking highlight,” says Mallon, noting Jane Iredale White Eye Pencil ($17) is here personal favorite. “It’s always in my personal and professional kits for busy travel says when sleep is at a minimum.”
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