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10 Essential Beauty Tips for Pale-Skinned Girls

My mother has always said that my red lips, dark hair and pale skin remind her of Snow White. I love being compared to a princess and all, but pale skin hasn’t been popular since Coco Chanel got accidentally sunburnt while vacationing on the French Riviera. Because of my perceived misfortune, my teenage years were full of unhealthy and unfortunate attempts to get that warm, glowing skin I so desired. However, the damaging effects of sun tanning (and my aversion to spray tanning in fear of looking like a carrot) has lead me to finally accept and embrace my porcelain skin. So for all those fair-skinned ladies, here’s a few products and tips to keep you away from looking ghostly and enhance your pale complexions instead!


1. Whether SPF is in your foundation or you choose to apply sunblock beforehand, make sure your skin is protected from the sun. Neutrogena’s Clear-Face Sunblock ($10.99) has a formula that will keep you break-out free and features a weightless, matte finish that’s perfect for using under makeup. (Trust me, your skin will thank you when you’re older.)

2. Finding the correct foundation shade for those of us with extremely pale skin can be difficult. While high-end makeup is considerably more expensive than drugstore brands, the ability to try the various shades in-store may be worth the extra money. However, if you’d rather opt for the cheaper price, choose a drugstore product that has a wide range of shades. 

  • Clinique Even Better Makeup SPF 15 in Linen ($27)
  • Revlon Colorstay in Ivory ($10.39)
  • Nars Sheer Glow Foundation in Siberia ($45)
  • L’Oréal True Match in Alabaster ($11.49)

3. If you feel the need to use a face powder, be sure to match your shade perfectly, or take extra precautions and use translucent powder. The incorrect powder color can easily cause pale-faced ladies to look extremely cakey.

4. Blush is a pale girl’s friend, but be careful about using too much otherwise you’ll move into clown territory. Go for a light blush that complements your skin tone, and apply it lightly. NARS Powder Blush ($30) has a huge array of shades that make it easy to find the perfect blush for every skin tone.

5. To slightly darken your complexion without looking orange, use a lighter, matte bronzer like Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil in Light/Medium ($30). Put it under your cheekbones and at your temple to define your bone structure.


6. When using eyeliner go for a grey or brown color instead to create a less harsh contrast. If you want to use black, use it carefully and don’t overdo it.

7. For those with pale skin, it can be quite difficult when choosing eyeshadows—dark or bright colors are too harsh, pinks and reds can make you look tired or sick, and lighter nude shades just blend right into the skin. The best bet for those with fair skin is to use natural colors like taupes, browns and peaches. So what palette is the best? Urban Decay’s Naked2 ($54)—it even has a charcoal shadow that you can use for a dramatic smoky eye when you’re headed out for girl’s night!

8. Be sure to use mascara on your lashes, especially for those of you fair-skinned ladies who have light hair as well. As long as your mascara isn’t super clumpy or thick, it will help your eyes pop rather than overpower your face. If the contrast does feel too harsh though, try a brown mascara like Maybelline Colossal Volume in Glam Brown ($6.19).


9. You may have heard that dark or bright lipstick colors stand out too much against pale skin, but celebs like Lily Collins and Dita Von Teese are proof that the opposite is true! Choose a bright fire engine red or a vampy plum for special occassions.

  • Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Bang ($22)
  • Maybelline Super Stay 14 Hour Lipstick in Wine and Forever ($8.99)

10. Creating the perfect nude lip is often hard—too light and you’re washed out, too dark and it’s no longer nude. The search for the perfect nude lipstick is difficult, but it might help to find a color that has hints of pink or peach in it. Alexa Chung told Into the Gloss that Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupte ($35) has great nude lipstick shades, such as their brand’s Nude Beige. Or, for a cheaper alternative, try Maybelline Color Sensational Lip Color in Blushing Beige ($7.49).

It’s time to throw out those spray tanners, put on some SPF and make our pale sisters proud. If Emma, Lily and Dita can embrace it, so can we! 

Header image: Amanda Seyfried / Instagram


Emily is a 21 year old from Alexandria, Virginia who studies marketing at Clemson University. She's an avid traveler and a huge concert junkie, with a knack for nail art. After studying in London she fell in love with the city, and hopes to move to New York and eventually London in the pursuit of a career in fashion. Follow her! Twitter: xxem_ily, Instagram: @em_smoot
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