8 Rules for Wearing White Makeup (and Looking Like a Total Bombshell)

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Alabaster eye makeup and nail polish are like the plain T-shirt of beauty: unexpectedly chic—when worn the right way! Here, the rules for rocking them.

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Prep your palette.

Imagine wearing a clingy white dress—minus the proper undergarments. Not pretty. The same principle applies to polish. "White shows every line, lump, and bump," says New York City manicurist Jin Soon Choi. Buff your nails prior to painting—try Revlon Crazy Shine Nail Buffer ($4, at drugstores)—to get the smoothest finish.


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Draw the line(s).

For the simplest take on nail art, copy the black-and-white graphic look seen at Tibi's spring show. Let the white dry, then use a black nail-art pen—like Sally Hansen I Heart Nail Art Pen in Black ($6, at drugstores)—to draw a single horizontal or vertical line in the center of each nail.

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Pick the right white.

Pure, stark white is a bit dated—and can also look as if you slathered your tips in Wite-Out. "I like a soft, creamy white. Every skin tone can wear it, and it's modern and fresh," says Choi. Try Maybelline New York Color Show Nail Lacquer in Porcelain Party ($4, at drugstores).

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Quick Tip.

"Three thin coats helps prevent streaking, which is common with white polish," explains Choi. Also, "cap" the tips of your nails with the brush to ward off chips, and avoid painting too close to your cuticles, as white can draw attention to dryness or cracking.

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Quick Tip.

Perfect your complexion. "White makeup reflects light and draws attention to not only your eyes but also your skin," says New York City makeup artist Jennifer Fleming. Smear on a tinted moisturizer or lightweight foundation to even out your skin tone first.

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Erase redness.

Disguise a sleepless night or an allergy flare-up with white eyeliner. "It brightens and helps neutralize redness in your lower inner rims," says New York City makeup artist Neil Scibelli. Trace them with a liner like Dior Crayon Kohl Pencil in Blanc ($29, dior.com).

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Perk up your eyes.

"White shadow with a little sheen instantly makes the eyes look larger and more awake," says Fleming. Try CoverGirl Flamed Out Shadow Pot in Blazing White ($5, at drugstores). Dust the shadow onto the center of your lid, blending outward, then add a little extra near your tear duct. Finish with black mascara on your upper eyelashes only.

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Make a statement.

Kick things up a notch for nighttime: Dip a skinny eyeliner brush into a pearly, creamy white eye shadow like Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream Eye Shadow in Snow ($23, sephora.com) and sketch your entire lower lash line, dragging it a quarter-inch past your outer corner for a flattering, eye-lifting effect, says Scibelli.

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