White Eyeliner Is the Sleepy Girl's Hack For Looking More Awake

Makeup artist Ashley Rebecca compiles her favorite ways to wear the trend.

Updated 11/26/19

If you're like us, you reach for your eyeliner every single day. But if you tend to ink on the same black or brown liquid formula, consider this your formal invitation to foray into different hues—including our favorite at the moment: White. You've heard the age-old tip that dark colors tend to shrink spaces, while whites expand them. The same rule of thumb is true for your makeup, which is way we're reaching for white eyeliner now more than ever to make eyes look bigger, brighter, and more awake (and to modernize classic eyeliner looks). Ahead, we break down exactly how to use white eyeliner, plus our favorite formulas to recreate each look.

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All Over Your Lids

You can easily create a cream shadow look (with incredible staying power) by using a white liquid eyeliner, gel pencil, or eyeliner crayon. To recreate Margot Robbie's look, simply cover your lid with a generous amount of your white eyeliner formula of choice—we like this Sephora Collection Eye Pencil in Pure White, ($11). Alternatively, you can create a thick, wingless line across your top lash line to create the illusion that you've covered your entire lid when your eyes are open, revealing a surprising eyeliner look when you close your eyes.

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Winged Waterline

A bold swipe of white eyeliner under the lash line? Genius move. As so many people think to only wear eyeliner on the top of the eye, this creates room for play, allowing creativity to reign while doing your makeup. The bolder the line the better, as the key for this look is for the white to really stand out (you may even opt to skip mascara). Apply the eyeliner under the lashes going back and forth to ensure the white really stands out. This white liquid liner from NYX Cosmetics ($7), should do the trick.

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Above the Crease

Some of our favorite eyeliner looks involve application away from your lash lines (top or bottom). You can play with different shapes and lines on your eyes if what you're craving is a more dimensional feel. The curvature of the white line placed above the crease of the eyebrow here shows that thinking out of the box can still look tasteful. Carefully draw the line above the eyebrow crease in one motion, ensuring the liner remains thin in shape. Colourpop True Liquid Liner in Graceland ($8), is great for a thin line shape.

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Awaken Your Waterline

You've heard the age-old advice, dark colors shrink spaces, while bright colors expand them. The same rule of thumb is true for your makeup. Shading in your waterline with white eyeliner instantly makes the eyes look wider, brighter, and more awake by seemingly extending the whites of your eyes and covering up any redness on your waterline. Think of this white eyeliner trick as your best friend after a long night out or grueling week at work. Apply a white liner like Surrat's Inner Light Baton ($45), in the waterline to brighten the look of the eye.

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Black and White Double Lines

Maintaining a traditional wing shape is a great way to ease into white eyeliner as you play around with different application techniques. We love the way this traditional look gets a modern update with the addition of a thin, white line right on top of the original black eyeliner to create playful contrast. To recreate, try this precision pen from Rimmel London ($5).

This application technique isn't reserved for black and white hues. Dual-liner can help balance out a bright cobalt or neon shade, while the addition of color instantly elevates your classic black cat-eye.

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Classic Cat-Eye

If you're used to creating a structured winged liner with liquid eyeliner, try doing the same shape with white, instead. This liner look catches the light perfectly, and really opens up the shape of the eye. Whether you prefer a thin or thick line, experimenting with the shape until it feels right is the only way to tell what you feel your best in. Urban Decay's 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Yeyo ($22), will help create the shape you want.

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Oversized Cat-Eye

While we've spoken about the traditional winged eyeliner look, expanding on the shape of the wing is a great idea when wanting to create drama. Making the wing as thick as you want with white eyeliner is ideal if you want to make a statement. You can start by making a normal-sized wing and then continue to draw out the lines and expand until you've got the shape you want. Using an angled eyeliner brush like this one from Morphe ($3) will greatly help in creating your shape.

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Just the Corners

A tiny wing on the outer corners of each eye is a great way to wear white eyeliner when you need it to be subtle. A flick on each corner adds just enough without being too much, and if you want definition, you can line the rest of the eye with black or your color of choice. Dip an angled brush in a cream pot eyeliner, such as this white one from MAC ($22) and practice making the wing shape.

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Inner Eyes

One of the most useful ways to wear white eyeliner is in the corner of your eyes, transforming your eyeliner into an effective brightening tool. The great thing about the white liner is you can use it with and eyeshadow combination you choose, it's as versatile as can be and looks great with anything. Apply liner in the inner corners of each eye after shadow has been applied, and finish with a few coats of your favorite mascara. Try applying this Wet n Wild liner ($1) on the inner corners for added brightness.

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Connect the Dots

Playing with space on the lash-line is key when wanting to experiment with different eyeliner looks. This broken line look has the tiniest of gaps in between, allowing attention to be paid in all the right places. All you need to do for this is to draw short lines around the top and bottom lashes with a white eyeliner like this one here from Milk Makeup ($22) for maximum effect.

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