White eyeliner isn't anything new, but the do-it-all makeup product is currently having a moment. You can use it on your upper or lower waterline to make your eyes look bigger or create a winged effect with a liquid formula.
Byrdie Researched & Approved
Our favorite white eyeliner is Anastasia Beverley Hills Norvina Chroma Stix in the shade White, a twist-up pencil flaunting ultra-pigmented, smooth-gliding, smudge-resistant results. To add some sparkle to your look, consider Fenty Beauty Flypencil Longwear Pencil Eyeliner in Bad Bride for a glittery look.
"I love using white eyeliner in a line through the eye socket for a mod-inspired look," celebrity makeup artist Jamie Dorman tells Byrdie. And no matter what your technique is, she says, "It always helps to brighten the eye and make you look more awake."
We conducted hours of research on the best white eyeliners, evaluating each on formula, texture, and ease of application. We also took into consideration how long each eyeliner lasted and how it handled throughout the day. Then we combined these results along with our own research and makeup artist recommendations to come up with the best in show.
These are the best white eyeliners to make your eye makeup pop.
Best Overall: Anastasia Beverly Hills Norvina Chroma Stix
Most people agree Anastasia Beverly Hills is the queen of eyebrow products, but the brand also reigns supreme in the long-wear eyeliner category. This twist-up pencil is ultra-pigmented (even in the white shade), offering bright, bold, pro-level results for up to eight hours.
The waterproof formula glides on oh-so-smoothly and resists smudging, smearing, and fading throughout the day. Want something a little more subtle for your waterline or tear ducts? Go with the apricot nude shade.
Type: Twist-up pencil | Shade: White | Size: 0.1 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No
Best Budget: Essence Kajal Eye Pencil
May smudge on oily skin
On a budget? This super-affordable eye pencil won't let you down. The white shade goes on easily and is surprisingly pigmented—just bear in mind it's more prone to smudging on oilier skin types.
Type: Pencil | Shade: White | Size: 0.05 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Drugstore: Maybelline New York Tattoo Studio Waterproof Eyeliner in Polished White
Prone to smudging
From the drugstore category, we're all about Maybelline TattooStudio. As its name suggests, this waterproof eyeliner offers seemingly permanent results for up to 36 hours—no smudging, no fading, no smearing.
Type: Pencil | Shade: Polished White | Size: 0.05 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
Best Liquid: Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in White
Hard to remove
Prefer liquid liners? Stila is your best bet. This award-winning product is easier to use than most in its category, thanks to the ultra-fine, marker-like tip and smooth-gliding formula that dries quickly without smudging.
Type: Liquid | Shade: Snow | Size: 0.05 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Gel: Morphe 2 Always Online Gel Eyeliner
We also like Morphe 2. This twist-up gel eyeliner is creamy and blendable but also long-lasting. It's waterproof, too, so you won't have to worry about smears or transfers for up to eight hours.
Type: Twist-up pencil | Shade: Whimsy White | Size: 0.1 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Fast-Drying: Lime Crime Venus Pigmented Liquid Liner
"I recommend a long-lasting liquid formula that won't flake, like Lime Crime Venus," says Dorman. The Baby's Breath shade is a true white with an ultra-matte finish, and it dries exceptionally fast without transferring.
Type: Liquid | Shade: Baby's Breath | Size: 0.1 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Waterline: Tarte Fake Awake Eyeliner
Makes eyes look bigger
"You can put white eyeliner on the waterline to help make your eyes appear bigger," says makeup artist Delina Medhin. With this in mind, Tarte Fake Awake is a matte nude that simultaneously neutralizes redness and makes the whites of your eyes look brighter.
Type: Twist-up pencil | Shade: Universal Nude | Size: 0.01 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Delina recommends, “Apply your white eyeliner at the waterline and stop right where the whites of the eyes are for a more natural-looking application. If you bring it all the way to the corner of the eye, it tends to look more dramatic!”
Best Pearlescent: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Yeyo
The shimmery metallic Yeyo shade of this award-winning eyeliner offers a stunning pearlescent effect. We appreciate that that waterproof gel formula glides on super smooth and lasts all day (or night).
Type: Gel pencil | Shade: Yeyo | Size: 0.05 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Shimmery: Fenty Beauty Flypencil Longwear Pencil Eyeliner in Bad Bride
Goes on smooth
When you're feeling kinda fancy, reach for Fenty's Flypencil. The Bad Bride shade is a highly pigmented white with a hint of silver glitter. Not only that, but the twist-up design is easy to use, and the gel-like formula glides effortlessly without pulling or dragging on your lids.
Type: Twist-up pencil | Shade: Bad Bride | Size: 0.01 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Fine-Tipped: ColourPop BFF Ultra Fine Liquid Liner
Hard to remove
"White eyeliner can be used as a backdrop for jewels à la Euphoria-style eye makeup," says Dorman. If you like this look, ColourPop BFF is, well, your new best friend. It's got an ultra-fine felt tip for easy lines, dots, and wings, and you can expect intense pigmentation in a single swipe.
Type: Liquid | Shade: Graceland | Size: 0.2 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Long-Wear: NYX Professional Makeup Retractable Eyeliner in White
Hard to remove
This retractable eyeliner promises to last for hours and hours without smudging or transferring, holding up in hot, humid environments. Basically, it lasts as long as you want it to, and may even resist when you finally try to take it off.
Type: Twist-up pencil | Shade: White | Size: 0.01 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Nude: Charlotte Tilbury Rock N Kohl Liquid Eye Pencil in Eye Cheat
Makes eyes look bigger
For nude eyeliner that creates a bare-skin but better look, Medhin says to "use something that matches the natural color of your waterline or just slightly brighter." We like Charlotte Tilbury's Eye Cheat shade to create the illusion of wider, brighter eyes and stays put for up to 14 hours.
Type: Kohl pencil | Shade: Eye Cheat | Size: 0.05 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Brightening: Makeup By Mario Master Mattes Brightening Eye Pencil
Makes eyes look bigger
We're also big fans of this nude eye pencil from Makeup By Mario. It's a go-to for making your eyes look brighter and more awake without adding much noticeable color. You can apply it to the waterline, your tear ducts, the inner rims of your eyes, or under your brow bone for a lifted, highlighted effect.
Type: Pencil | Shade: Nude | Size: 0.05 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Shadow Stick: About-Face Shadowstick
Sells out quickly
This liner-shadow hybrid from Halsey's makeup brand About-Face is the versatile eye product you didn't know you needed. It offers impressive pigment in a single stroke, blends effortlessly, and lasts for 10 or more hours.
Type: Shadow stick | Shade: Oxide | Size: 0.05 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Our top pick is Anastasia Beverley Hills Norvina Chroma Stix in the shade White, a twist-up pencil flaunting ultra-pigmented, smooth-gliding, smudge-resistant results. If you're looking to spice things up with a glitter shade, we recommend Fenty Beauty Flypencil Longwear Pencil Eyeliner in Bad Bride.
How We Researched
To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market in this category, evaluating their key features—like ingredients, shade range, or design—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. We then used this research to assign a star rating from one to five (five being the best; one being the worst) to certain products on the list.
Meet the Expert
What to Look for in White Eyeliner
Makeup artist Delina Medhin recommends using an eyeliner that matches the natural color of your waterline or just slightly brighter. For fair skin tones, this might mean staying true to snow-white liners, while darker skin tones may prefer a nude or neutral shade. Nudes can also look great on fair skin for a more natural look. However, no matter your skin tone, the whiter the eyeliner, the bigger the pop. So choose wisely.
Are you looking for something that can withstand water and tears? Or are you more comfortable with a creamier formula that will last just long enough to get through the day? Whatever you prefer, most products clearly detail the level of water resistance and staying power, so you can make the best decision for your needs.
All eyeliners are not created equal. Be on the lookout for clean products made without harmful chemicals, and give priority to cruelty-free products. If you have sensitive skin or eyes, be sure that your eyeliner is also ophthalmologist-tested to be safe for contacts and dermatologist-tested to be non-irritating.
Gel eyeliners, liquids, and cream formulas all serve different purposes. Liquids can be great for precise lines but can often be too tricky for the waterline, while cream and kohl formulas blend softly for a natural look. Gel eyeliners tend to work better for smudging and creating smoky eyes. It takes a bit of experimentation to understand the difference between the types, but for newbies, we recommend gel for easy application.
What does white eyeliner do?
When applied to your waterline, white eyeliner can create a more wide-awake appearance and make your eyes look bigger. If you're using the liner to impart this effect, make sure you're working with a soft formula to prevent any pulling, tugging, or scratching at the sensitive area. White eyeliner can also be used along your upper lashes to create a graphic effect that makes your lashes pop or as a base for your eyeshadow to give brights and neons a truer color payoff.
How should I use white eyeliner?
To create a more wide-eyed appearance, run your white eyeliner along your lower lash line, then apply mascara onto areas of your bottom lashes that may have gotten covered in the liner. You can also run the white eyeliner along your upper lash line to give your cat-eye a graphic spin or as an eyeshadow base. Simply fill in your lid with the white liner, press the shadow over the top, then blend out the edges with an eyeshadow brush.
When does eyeliner expire?
Depending on the formula, eyeliners can have a life span that varies from three months to a year-plus and anywhere in between. Look for anti-microbial properties in liquid liners to prevent bacteria from growing in the formula, and sharpen your pencils regularly to ensure a fresh layer of product is making contact with your eyes. If your eyeliner develops a weird film or changes in consistency, that's a sign to replace it with a new one.
Why Trust Byrdie
Theresa Holland is a commerce beauty writer and freelance content creator. She considered dozens of white eyeliners for this roundup, evaluating each on formula, texture, and ease of application. She also consulted our testing insights and makeup artist recommendations to compile this list. Theresa has been contributing to Byrdie regularly since 2020, where she covers makeup, skincare, haircare, and lifestyle products.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find enough white eyeliners from Black-owned and/or Black-founded businesses to meet this percentage. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will evaluate the product ASAP.