With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, I’m celebrating Irish gals! Living in NYC, there are a ton of ladies here with strong Irish heritage, which usually means pale skin. I really enjoy working with this skin tone. Porcelain, fair, and lovely! And I’m so glad that the days are gone where a gal with this skin tone would tan her skin to oblivion….we’re luckily (mostly) educated about the dangers of skin cancer. And the more fair you are naturally, the worse you’ll burn. So then the trend turned to fake tanners and bronzers. Thank goodness that fair-skinned ladies today are embracing their natural skin tone, and using highlighters and icy/shimmery colors to really make the most of what nature gave them.
Some things to keep in mind if you fall into this category:
1. Colors really show up on fair skin. Meaning, when you put a make-up product on, the color will read as a combination of the product’s pigment plus the natural pigment that already exists in your skin. If you don’t have a lot of natural color, then the cosmetic color will read true. So, bright colors will really pop beautifully on you.
2. Avoid lipsticks that are too pale, to prevent a total white-washout. If you’re doing a nude lipstick, make sure it has a hint of pink in it, and pair it with a more dramatic eye.
3. Avoid self-tanners (in general, I find them to be pointless, really) – but particularly on pale skin they can go super-orangey, super-fast.
4. Stay out of the sun! SPF 30 or higher, even in winter. The sun is no joke, and this skin type will suffer the most awful sunburns. Unfortunately, for weddings, sunscreen often doesn’t photograph very well, so I advise brides to avoid it, and just stay in the shade, or use a lovely parasol.
5. One of my favorite make-up looks for redheads with porcelain skin and freckles has always been a soft blue eyeshadow. Think turquoise, or ocean blues. It’s funny, blue eyeshadow can look so dated, and really should be avoided in most cases, but with this particular hair and skin combination, it can be absolutely gorgeous. Don’t be afraid of bright colors on the eyes; the contrast can be stunning. Yellow should probably be avoided though (it can make you look a bit sickly!).
6. Highlighters are your friend! Benefit’s High Beam is a make-up artist favorite. Sweep a little bit over the cheekbones to really bring them out.
7. Don’t be afraid of color. Strong pinks and purples, when used properly (meaning, in moderation!) can be simply stunning. Red lipstick is always a great choice for fair skin.
8. Finding the right foundation shade can sometimes be a challenge. Often, many brands’ palest shade is not pale enough. In the dead of winter, I’ve even had this problem for myself (and I’m Sicilian!). Companies really need to expand their color range in a lot of cases. The brands that tend to have the palest colors tend to be the Japanese ones, because in Japanese fashion, being as fair as possible is often considered the most beautiful skin tone. Geishas paint their faces white white, and there’s a long-term trend of skin whitening. So, fair ladies throughout the world can benefit from the fact that Shiseido and Shu Uemura make super-fair colors of foundation. If you love your current foundation but it’s still too dark, you can always lighten it up by mixing in a lighter shade from another brand.
9. A lot of super-fair gals have a reddish/pink undertone. Sometimes it’s rosacea issues, sometimes it’s just a strong pink undertone. Either way, if it’s a significant issue and needs correcting, there are tons of green-based products to neutralize redness. There are green-tinged moisturizers, concealers, correctors, powders, etc. Find what works for you! It can really work wonders in creating that perfect ivory canvas.