If your inky kohl pencil is the beauty equivalent of an LBD, then consider a white eyeliner to be a crisp summer sundress. It makes a dramatic statement in and of itself, but doesn't completely dominate the overall look. "I feel like it's such an unused color for liner, but there are so many ways to work with it," says makeup artist Allan Avendaño, who created the above look for Maya Henry. "You can get adventurous and bold, or go minimalist and chic. It's kind of like a secret weapon and a nice alternative to a bold black cat eye."
Like a statement lip, a swipe of white liner has so much impact, you don't really have to do much else with the rest of your face—save for a groomed brow and a few coats of mascara. Read on for Avendaño's tips on how to pull it off below.
Rethink Classic Placement
You know that trick of swiping a white liner along your waterline to make your eyes look more open? Forget what you know—unless you're going for a look that is deliberately graphic, the effect can come off a little too harsh. Instead, Avendaño suggests using a softer tone, like beige or pale pink. "White can look a little unnatural in the waterline, and it's so stark that it can sometimes be distracting," he tells us. "Beige and pink look a little less severe, and do work to open up the eye." And forget smudging the liner underneath your brow bone. Just like with your waterline, it looks just as severe as a brow highlight, and can often be the culprit of the dreaded "floating arch" effect. A lighter color on the inner corners can impart an awake, doe-eyed appearance, though Avendaño recommends using a pale shimmery color or light beige as opposed to white.
Go big or go home, right? That's Avendaño's attitude when it comes to working with the hue. Opt for sharp, graphic shapes instead of smudging it out as you would with a smoky black. "I love doing a white cat-eye, which can look really chic if it's minimal," he says. "I also love doing a floating liner effect in the crease, like a '60s banana eye similar to what Cher and Twiggy would do with a black line, except in white." It can be tricky to get the shape exact, so patience is key here. Avendaño advises tilting your head upwards and looking down into the mirror to determine your crease. The slight dip where your eyeball ends and your brow bone begins is where you should place the liner. "Everyone's eyes are different, so see where your crease lands first, slowly start drawing a line in that area," he says. "I like to do it connected to a cat-eye. I'll sometimes draw the floating line from the end of the wing and into the crease." Just keep in mind you may have to retrace your line—winged, floating, or otherwise—to make the color more opaque depending on how thick your formula of choice is. A more intense line ensures you won't end up looking washed out.
VIDEO: How to Rock the Floating Liner Look
Finish With Mascara
Though contrasting the effect with your classic black mascara may seem severe, you actually need a few sweeps to ground the look. When it comes to finishing the effect, Avendaño advises treating white eyeliner the same as your traditional noir. "Wearing a black mascara, or any mascara with white liner for that matter, looks really cool, and can also help conceal any liner you get on your top lashes," he tells us. "I like to do liner really tightly along the base of the eyelid, and whatever color I use tends to get on the base of the lashes. White is no exception, and if you don't follow it with mascara, it can kind of look like you have powder on your eyelashes. You have to make sure they're on point, because mascara really does frame the liner." Make sure to apply the mascara after you've done the liner, and if you're feeling super-adventurous, Avendaño recommends playing with colored mascaras like blue or aubergine.