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If your eyeliner wardrobe consists exclusively of black and brown hues, you may want to consider lightening things up. While admittedly a somewhat out-of-the-box option, white eyeliner has more benefits than you may realize.
First and foremost, it’s a tried-and-true makeup artist staple for times when you need to fake a wide-awake look, fast. Swiping white liner along your waterline—the part closest to your eye, right above your lashes—instantly makes eyes appear brighter and more open. It also has the added benefit of counteracting any redness from allergies, a lack of sleep, a hangover…you get the picture. Line your lower waterline, then dab a little more on the inner corner of each eye to capitalize on this ‘I just got 10 hours of sleep’ effect. Or, if you’re for more of a makeup statement, consider using a white liner to create a bold cat-eye; simply trace it along the top lash line, winging it upwards and outwards on the edge. You can even take it one step further and draw a white line on top of a black line (or vice versa) for a super edgy look.
Check out our picks of the best white eyeliners.
Best Overall: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil
It’s hard to decide what we like best about this perfect pencil. Is it the fact that it’s made with 50% moisturizing ingredients and glides on as smooth as silk? Or is it the fact that the color has the perfect amount of playtime—about 30 seconds for blending and smudging—before it sets in place and doesn’t go anywhere? Or is it the wide array of rainbow hues available, including this glistening white? Happily, there’s no need to choose among all of these awesome attributes.
Best Budget: C’est Moi Visionary Makeup Crayon in Dove
Ringing in at a price less than your morning latte, we suggest stocking up on this multi-tasking color stick in all 12 shades, but especially the creamy white. The chubby crayon is ideal for applying on the inner corners of your eyes, and because the formula is hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested, and fragrance-free, irritation is a non-issue.
Best Liquid: Dior On Stage Liquid Eyeliner in Matte White
Liquid liners can admittedly be slightly tricky to apply, which is why we appreciate the hybrid tip on this option. It looks like a skinny, felt-tip marker, but still has the suppleness and flexibility of a brush, allowing you to easily and smoothly create a bold cat-eye. Even better: The waterproof formula delivers an impressive 24 hours of wear, so there’s no need to stress about smudges or smears.
Best Gel: Milk Makeup Long Wear Gel Eyeliner in Holographic
The ingredients in this liner read more like something you’d find in a fancy face cream; we’re talking hydrating avocado oil and hyaluronic acid to ensure the liner glides on without tugging or pulling. The color stays put, and we love the multi-dimensional shimmer finish of this white hue, which looks especially pretty when used in the inner corners of your eyes. The pencil also comes with both a smudger and a sharpener, making the application a breeze.
Best Pencil: Kat Von D Cake Pencil Eyeliner in White Out
As a general rule, pencil eyeliners skew slightly dry and waxy and can tend to drag a bit—never fun when you’re dealing with the delicate skin around your eyes. Not the case with this creamy (and vegan) formula. It goes on smoothly and packs a punch of pigment, ideal when you want a white that really pops. Per the name, it was inspired by O.G. cake eyeliners, a makeup industry must-have for their color and performance, but which require water, a brush, and some serious application skills. This pencil delivers all the same benefits but is so much easier to use.
Best Drugstore: NYX Professional Makeup Retractable Eyeliner in White
With a creamy consistency and exceptional staying power—reviewers rave about how long it lasts—this is one of our drugstore favorites, and also happens to be one of the brand’s best-selling products. The pointed tip makes precise application easier than ever, and, because it’s a twist-up, you’ll never have to worry about sharpening it (or finding said sharpener). Plus, the color is super pigmented, a true and crisp snow white.
Best Long-Lasting: Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Snow
When you need a liner that’s going to last—like, really, really last—this formula can’t be beaten. Waterproof, smudge-proof, cry-proof, you name it, it stays in place until you want it to come off (at which point you will need to use a dedicated waterproof makeup remover, FYI). Happy reviewers can’t get enough of its staying power. And while the thin tip is great for drawing fine lines, you can also use it to create wider and bolder shapes.
Best Natural: benecos Natural Eyeliner in White
What you won’t find in this pencil: Parabens, synthetic colors, synthetic fragrance, mineral oil, or petrolatum. What you will find: Organic plant oils (jojoba, mango seed, meadowfoam seed, just to name a few) and pure minerals for creamy and rich color. It’s cruelty-free and vegan-friendly, too.
Best Shimmery White: Maybelline Lasting Drama Light Eyeliner Pencil in White Luster
If you’re still not totally sold on rocking white liner, try using a pearlescent shade. This is one perfect pick, with a glimmering hue that’s ideal for making peepers pop, a great antidote for bleary-eyed mornings.
Best Cream: MAC Chromaline in Pure White
When you really want your white liner to make a statement, reach for this gel-cream color; apply it with an angled liner brush to create bold and graphic shapes. As an added benefit, the formula is also waterproof, smudge-proof, and sweat- and humidity-resistant, so there’s no need to stress about makeup meltdown.
Best Dual-Purpose: Shiseido Shiseido Kajal Ink Artist Shadow, Liner, Brow in Kabuki White
With its graduated point, you can easily use this to line your waterline or create a thicker line on your lid. But why stop there? With a built-in sponge, you can also smudge it out to use all-over your lid as a shadow. It’s dermatologist- and ophthalmologist-tested—a great pick if you have easily irritated eyes—and comes with a built-in sharpener too, always a plus in our book.
Best for Waterline: NARS High-Pigment Longwear Eyeliner in Santa Monica Blvd
When you’re applying liner super close to your eye, you want a formula that a) won’t pull on the delicate skin and b) isn’t going to run or smudge…after all, it’s called the waterline for a reason. This newbie checks both of those boxes, gliding on comfortably without skipping and delivering color that sets almost instantly and stays in place for up to 12 hours.