Not many make-up trends can get us to step away from our beloved black eyeliner flicks, but for an instant way to brighten and define your eyes, it’s white eyeliner that’s set to take the make-up crown this summer.
Despite not being a colour you’d instinctively reach for when doing your eye make-up, white eyeliner has actually been a make-up artist’s secret weapon for years and it’s more wearable than you might think on all skin tones.
The fashion week runways and red carpets have also been awash with the shade of late and while you can wear it as a statement, à la the models at Chanel or Giambattista Valli, it’s just as effective when worn more subtly too.
“You can wear white eyeliner any way that you would your brown or black but it has a very different feeling,” says Mac‘s global senior artist Rachel O’Donnell. “I love it in the waterline to open and brighten or as a wing that looks highlighted and bright.”
“I have a fondness for white, a colour that’s both very pure and very intense,” agrees Peter Philips, speaking about the shade in 2018. “I can draw very fine white lines that act like highlights, brightening the eye. I also love using it to enhance other colours. First, I apply white, and then, for example, I add yellow just above it. That makes the yellow look more radiant and, next to white, black looks more intense.”
The main difficulty when applying white eyeliner is ensuring that the shade looks opaque enough. To achieve the necessary finish, “use a white eyeliner pencil, like Mac’s Eye Kohl in Fascinating, to draw the line you want, but apply a matte white eyeshadow over the top to set the pencil and even out the coverage,” says O’Donnell.
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Or, another make-up artist trick is to team your white eyeliner with a little black liner along your upper lash line for extra definition.
It’s the secret behind Sophie Turner’s striking look, created by the make-up artist Georgie Eisdell. The make-up artist used Stila’s Stay All Day Liner in Snow, then traced right along the actress’ upper lash line with a thin-nipped black liquid liner.
Lashings of mascara are also recommended to really accentuate the look. Choose a jet black formula for the biggest impact, such as Pat McGrath’s FetishEyes Mascara, or be inspired by Jodie Comer‘s white eyeliner look by Naoko Scintu.
Scintu teamed Dior’s DiorShow On Stage Liner in Matte White, with fake lashes from iShimmer, to make the actress’ eyes look as big as possible.
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As both Turner and Comer demonstrate, white eyeliner is particularly effective as filled-in flicks, but it’s really important that your lines are clear and sharp.
For anyone with slightly shaky hands, O’Donnell recommends applying your chosen liner with an angled synthetic brush, as those bristles will allow “the product to slip off the fibres, making it easier to build up for a smooth finish”. Bazaar recommends Mac’s brushes in 210, 209 or the angled 263.
And if you aren’t quite ready for a full white eyeliner, you can still get the eye brightening benefits by applying it along your waterline, or by placing a touch of white eyeshadow by your tear ducts.
By the end of the summer though, we predict you’ll be wearing it across your lids with ultimate bright-eyed confidence.
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This article originally appeared on Harper’s Bazaar UK.