14 White Eyeliners That Give Your Eyes a Little Something Extra

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

We'll let you in on a little makeup secret, one you may want to try after a particularly long night. Instead of reaching for your typical black or brown liner the next morning, swipe your waterline with white—yes, white—eyeliner instead to fake a wide-awake look.

“You can put white eyeliner on the waterline to help make your eyes appear bigger,” says makeup artist Delina Medhin. She also recommends using a nude liner for deeper skin tones or a more everyday look on fairer skin tones, “It’s all about the color payoff," she says. "Use something that matches the natural color of your waterline or just slightly brighter.”

Keep scrolling for our picks of the best white eyeliners.

Best Overall: Marc Jacobs Beauty Fineliner Ultra-Skinny Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner

Marc Jacobs Beauty Fineliner Ultra-Skinny Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner
What We Like
  • Works well in the waterline

  • Glides on easily

  • Ultra-fine tip

What We Don't Like
  • Can be difficult to apply

This self-sharpening gel eyeliner has everything that you’d want in a liner that you’re predominantly using on your waterline or for tightlining above the lash. The ultra-skinny tip is “unbreakable” and glides effortlessly for perfect application. The gel formula is also waterproof for long-lasting color, and it even comes in beige, if you’re looking to create a softer look.

Type: Gel | Shades: 1 | Free of: Oil, parabens, alcohol | Size: 0.004 oz. | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Drugstore: Maybelline New York Tattoo Studio Waterproof Eyeliner in Polished White

Maybelline New York Tattoo Studio Waterproof Eyeliner in Polished White
What We Like
  • Works well in the waterline

  • Inexpensive

  • Long-wearing

What We Don't Like
  • Can smudge

The waterline hero! Bring on the long nights and waterworks because this sharpen-able gel eyeliner isn’t going anywhere. One smooth stroke delivers waterproof, pigment-rich color that lasts for 36 hours. No smudging, no fading, and at under 10 bucks, this eyeliner is a no-brainer.

Type: Pencil | Shades: 5 | Free of: Oil, parabens, alcohol | Size: 0.04 oz. | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Highlighting: Lustro Precision Colour Pencil

Lustro Precision Colour Pencil.jpeg
What We Like
  • Makes eyes pop

  • Creamy and smooth

What We Don't Like
  • A little expensive

This champagne, satin-pearl pencil creates a soft highlight that looks great on all skin tones. It’s designed for application wherever highlight is desired—inner corners of eyes, lash line, Cupid's bow, or elsewhere. Medhin cites this beautiful pencil as one of her favorites: “It's a bit more nude, so it works better on my skin tone. Because my eyes aren't a pure white color, this is a lot more forgiving,” she says.

Type: Pencil | Shades: 1 | Free of: Oil, parabens, alcohol | Size: 0.04 oz. | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Traditional Pencil: Dior Diorshow Khol Pencil Waterproof With Sharpener

Dior Diorshow Khol Pencil Waterproof With Sharpener .jpg
What We Like
  • Works well in the waterline

  • Glides on

  • Easy to blend and smudge

  • Includes sharpener

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Highly pigmented? Check. Precise application? Absolutely. Waterproof? All day long. The creamy formula glides along the waterline while other liners may tug and pull—which is key for the delicate eye area. It also has a smudger at the end for easy blending and comes in Beige Kohl, for those looking for a more nude tone.

Type: Pencil | Shades: 2 | Free of: Oil, parabens, alcohol | Size: 0.04 oz. | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Liquid: Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in White

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in White
What We Like
  • Long-wearing

  • Ultra-fine tip

  • Won't transfer

What We Don't Like
  • Can be difficult to remove

Liquid eyeliners are particularly tricky along the waterline, but this precise waterproof formula makes it possible. Reviewers say that it can last through tears, wet weather, accidental smudging—you name it. It stays put, and though the thin applicator gets praise for creating sleek lines, it can also be used for bolder, more dramatic looks.

Type: Liquid | Shades: 8 | Free of: Oil | Size: 0.02 oz. | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Nude: Charlotte Tilbury Rock N Kohl Liquid Eye Pencil in Eye Cheat

4.5
Charlotte Tilbury Rock N Kohl Liquid Eye Pencil in Eye Cheat
What We Like
  • Works well in the waterline

  • Easy to smudge and blend

  • Long-wearing

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

This universally flattering nude hue looks great on practically everyone and creates the illusion of wider, fuller eyes. It’s water-resistant for up to 14 hours and contains crushed pearl powder to stimulate collagen production.

Type: Kohl pencil | Shades: 3 | Free of: Oil, parabens, alcohol | Size: 0.04 oz. | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Waterline: Tarte Fake Awake Eyeliner

Tarte Fake Awake Eyeliner
What We Like
  • Goes on smoothly

  • Won't irritate sensitive eyes

  • Makes eyes pop

What We Don't Like
  • Not the best value

Sure, a full night’s sleep would be great, but when that’s not possible, there’s Fake Awake to the rescue. It was made specifically with the waterline in mind. The brightening highlighter shade is enriched with aloe and antioxidants for a tug-free glide, while the self-sharpening pencil provides a precise application. Bonus, this vegan formula is ophthalmologist-tested to be safe for those who wear contact lenses.

Type: Pencil | Shades: 1 | Free of: Oil, parabens, alcohol | Size: 0.007 oz. | 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 Waterproof: Too Faced Killer Line 36 Hour Waterproof Gel Eyeliner

Too Faced Killer Liner 36 Hour Waterproof Gel Eyeliner
What We Like
  • Works well in the waterline

  • Sharp point

  • Won't transfer or smudge

What We Don't Like
  • Not the best value

For those who like to be in control, this waterproof gel eyeliner glides on smooth with super-precise lines, so you can avoid mishaps and surprises. The transfer-resistant formula is perfect for the waterline and delivers that wide-awake look.

Type: Pencil | Shades: 7 | Free of: Oil, parabens, alcohol | Size: 0.04 oz. | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Gel: Milk Makeup Long Wear Gel Eyeliner in Matte Sand

Milk Makeup Long Wear Gel Eyeliner in Matte Sand

Highly pigmented and waterproof, you can count on this eyeliner to glide on easily and last all day long. It’s formulated with hyaluronic acid and avocado oil to smooth the look of your skin and can be used for so much more than just your waterline. It comes with a shaper and a smoother to create a smoky effect.

Best Shimmery: J. Cat Beauty The Big Eye Pencil in Marshmallow

J. Cat Beauty The Big Eye Pencil in Marshmallow
What We Like
  • Makes eyes pop

  • Blends easily

  • Inexpensive

What We Don't Like
  • Can fade over time

This jumbo eyeliner serves two purposes. Sweep it along the lash line or waterline to define eyes or use it all over your lid to create eye-enhancing shadow looks that can be blended out with your fingertips. The rich white color also has a slight shimmer to it to add long-lasting flare to your look.

Type: Pencil | Shades: 7 | Free of: Parabens, alcohol | Size: 0.2 oz. | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Metallic: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Yeyo

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Yeyo
What We Like
  • Hydrating formula

  • Comes in multiple finishes

  • Works well in the waterline

What We Don't Like
  • Not ideal for oily lids

There’s so much to love about this versatile eye pencil. The cruelty-free, waterproof formula comes in matte, satin, metallic, and glitter finishes, plus it includes vitamin E, jojoba oil, and cottonseed oil for ultra-creamy color that lasts all day long. The metallic white is great for taking your look up a notch. Use it on your waterline or blend and smudge it before it dries to long-lasting color that won’t budge.

Type: Pencil | Shades: 34 | Free of: Oil, parabens | Size: 0.04 oz. | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Glitter: Fenty Beauty Flypencil Longwear Pencil Eyeliner in Bad Bride

Fenty Beauty Flypencil Longwear Pencil Eyeliner in Bad Bride
What We Like
  • Long-wearing

  • Multidimensional shades

  • Comes in multiple finishes

What We Don't Like
  • A little dry

If you don’t mind turning a head or two, this unique glitter pencil is for you. The bright white shade has a silver glitter finish, and the formula is super creamy, so you can have enough playtime before it dries and settles into place. The lightweight, smudge-resistant pencil is self-sharpening and easily twists up, so you can spend less time sharpening and more time creating looks. Not into glitter? The ”Chromewrecker” light gray matte shade is a good alternative.

Type: Pencil | Shades: 20 | Free of: Oil, parabens, alcohol | Size: 0.01 oz. | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Long-Lasting: NARS High-Pigment Longwear Eyeliner in Rue Bonaparte

Nars High-Pigment Longwear Eyeliner in Rue Bonaparte
What We Like
  • Holds up in humidity

  • Works well in the waterline

  • Comes in multiple finishes

What We Don't Like
  • Design could be improved

This pencil is the real deal. The neutral Rue Bonaparte shade is perfect to brighten along the waterline, but it’s also richly hued enough to create dramatic winged looks. The long-wearing, gel-like formula stays put exactly where you want it for up to 12 hours, while resisting sweat, water, humidity, and transferring.

Type: Pencil | Shades: 15 | Free of: Oil, parabens, alcohol | Size: 0.04 oz. | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Multipurpose: Make Up For Ever Artist Color Pencil in All Around White

Makeup Forever Artist Color Pencil in All Around White
What We Like
  • Glides on

  • Pigmented

  • Good value

What We Don't Like
  • Can transfer

Eyes, lips, and brows can all benefit from this multipurpose artist pencil. It’s available in 39  richly pigmented matte shades that glide on smoothly and blend seamlessly. Use it on your waterline for that wide-eyed look we all crave, or get creative with eye contours. It also comes in Boundless Bisque for a more neutral look.

Type: Pencil | Shades: 39 | Free of: Oil, parabens, alcohol | Size: 0.04 oz. | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Final Verdict

At the top of our list is Marc Jacobs Beauty Fineliner Ultra-Skinny Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner. The slender applicator is perfect for enhancing the waterline for a bright-eyed look. Tarte Fake Awake Eyeliner is the ultimate nude shade for a more natural waterline, and if you’re looking to spice things up with a glitter shade, we recommend Fenty Beauty Flypencil Longwear Pencil Eyeliner in Bad Bride.

What to Look for When Purchasing White Eyeliner

Color Payoff

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.

Staying Power

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.

Ingredients

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. 

Consistency

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.

FAQ
  • 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?

Byrdie contributor Kindra Moné has been creating fashion and beauty content since 2013. Whether contributing to some of the top women’s lifestyle magazines or working in-house with global brands, Kindra has collaborated with some of the most knowledgeable beauty professionals in the industry. When she isn’t writing or trying out Instagram recipes, she’s giving wellness tips and sharing fashion news on The StylingSOUL Podcast.

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 contact@byrdie.com and we will evaluate the product ASAP.

Related Stories