As a pale-skinned gal I have long tip-toed the divide between trying to look bronzed and tanned vs. embracing the pale – ‘au naturel’.
If you are a naturally fair-skinned beauty you’ll know how hard it is to ever achieve a natural look, or the beautiful, radiant glow promised from the tanning bed, spray or lotion.
Growing up in the late 80’s and 90’s I was surrounded by a decades-old beauty myth that tanned equated to being beautiful and healthy. Tanned skin has enjoyed popularity ever since Coco Chanel accidentally made sunbathing chic in 1923.
As a teen I spent too much money on lotions and potions to try and make my pasty moniker more bronzed and olive-like. Not that there is anything wrong with being bronzed and olive-like, if that is what you were blessed with! I also far spent too much time with orange streaked hands thanks to an over-zealous affair with those nasty early variants of fake tanning lotions, all in my quest to look more ‘golden’.
However, with our increased knowledge about sun damage and the risks of too much sun exposure, it’s becoming more and more fashionable to embrace your natural skin tone!
As I’ve grown older I’ve found myself accepting my paleness more and more; rather than reaching for bronzers and darker foundations I’m now definitely into playing up the creamy visage I was born with, even in summer.
If you’re like me, who used to hide my fair skin beneath layers of fake tan, now is the time to embrace that luminescent porcelain skin you were born with.
Thanks to current celebrity sweethearts like Dita von Teese, Rooney Mara, Amanda Seyfried, Kate Blanchet and Emma Stone, and the popularity of period dramas (The Great Gatsby etc), pale skin tones are being embraced once again.
Today’s fair ladies embrace their alabaster skin and don’t seem to be in the least interested in turning themselves orange to be beautiful- they know how to make their red-carpet beauty looks work with their fair skin. The idea pale skin is ‘unattractive’ and ‘sickly’ is now changing.
How to bring it out to play? If you’re looking to make a statement, lashings of mascara, bare eyelids and a bold red lip ALWAYS looks stunning on pale skin.
Blue-based red lippy really pops against fair skin, and if you’re feeling extra bold you could try a deep, dark wine coloured lip.
Fair skin also looks divine with a light pink or peach blush on the cheeks and a soft-hued lid.
It can be extremely frustrating to find the right shade of makeup, as many brands traditionally haven’t made shades lighter than a MAC NC/W15. But with more and more people embracing their paleness and shunning the bronzed look, there has been a greater demand for brands that can provide light enough products to be a great match.
Luckily, there are now SO many amazing makeup brands and products that cater to really wide ranges of skin tones.
Girls Aloud’s Nicola Roberts brought out a gem of a foundation range called Dainty Doll, catering specifically for very pale British skin tones, which was a huge game changer.
Some other brands that I’ve found that carry some great ivory and alabaster shades are Illamasqua (try their Skin base Foundation); Suqqu (a Japanese brand that does great foundations as well as really pale concealers); Tom Ford’s traceless stick foundation (comes in alabaster and can double as a concealer); and Bobbi Brown’s Luminous Moisturising Foundation (which also features an Alabaster and a Porcelain shade).
A great tip I’ve discovered if you can’t find a foundation that’s light enough, you can easily tweak it to your liking by adding a white product. MAC Face And Body Foundation in White or Face Atelier’s Ultra Foundation in Zero Minus are literally pure white, so by mixing them with a too-dark foundation, you can customise your own perfect shade.
As far as concealers go, the holy grail for many is NARS’ Radiant Creamy Concealer! It’s particularly good for tricky skin tones and textures, and it comes in a wide range of shades, with Chantilly being a true ivory shade for the fairest complexions, and Vanilla for those with a slight hint of pink in their skin tone. As the name suggests, this concealer imparts a subtle luminous shimmer to the skin, making the skin look ‘lit from within’. It glides smoothly onto even the most dehydrated skin, which is great for paler girls whose skin can tend to look flat and dry when made up.
It’s definitely a case of trial and error, however with the vast array on offer now, you’re sure to be able to find your perfect match out there.
Of course, beauty comes in all different shades and colours, and I am not by any means stating that light skin is a beauty preference or something to aspire to if you are not born with it. I don’t really agree with skin whitening and people trying to permanently disguise their natural beauty through artificial means. Whatever you were born with, learn to embrace it and let it shine, rather than try to disguise it.
The point of this article is to show all you paler skinned people that you can embrace it and look gorgeous without trying to hide it!
If you’re a faux-tan wannabe and are yet to be convinced to put down the bronzer and start embracing your luminous skin, take a look at my gallery below for some inspiration.
Here are some of my favourite beauties who wear their pale skin so very beautifully, from english roses to porcelain dolls.
Dita von Teese
Who is your favourite pale-skinned muse?