Makeup For Pale Skin

makeup for pale skin

If you’re anything like me, November is officially the “pale season”. Your summer tan has faded and now you’re realizing that all of your old foundation shades are far too dark. In addition to having to pick up a lighter foundation shade, you’ll also want to adjust the rest of your makeup to compliment your new, porcelain complexion. Here are a few tips for finding the right makeup for pale skin and learning to embrace the pale.


products for pale skin

Do all you can to get clear skin

In the summer, blemishes and discolorations are temporarily masked with your summer glow, which means once it goes away any little imperfection is more noticeable. If you are prone to redness (especially with the cold temperatures and wind of fall/winter), use a primer to tone this down (like the Clinique Superprimer Face Primer). Use a daily scrub to clean pores and keep your skin exfoliated (try Yes to Tomatoes Daily Deep Pore Scrub). For the acne-prone, try the Kate Somerville EradiKate Acne Treatment. I haven’t had to use this myself (thankfully), but have heard rave reviews from others.

foundation for pale skin

Choose the right shade of face makeup

Finding a foundation that is light enough for pale skin is hard (just like I imagine African American women have a hard time finding dark enough shades to match their skin- especially at drugstores). Thankfully, there are a few brands that carry an array of light shades that aren’t too pinky. For higher-end brands, I suggest Make Up Forever HD Invisible Cover Foundation in “Pink Porcelain” or NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in Sibera. For drugstore buys, I’ve used both Revlon ColorStay Makeup in “Ivory” and L’Oreal Paris True Match Foundation in “Porcelain W1”  – they are great alternatives at a lower price.


lipsticks for pale skin

Avoid harsh shades of eye, cheek and lip colors

Most women with pale skin look better naturally in cooler colors, so I would suggest sticking with those. For eyeshadows, these include neutrals like silver, beiges, grays and nudes and colors like navy, blue, pinks and pastels. The Maybelline Eye Studio Quads have great color options for paler skin tones. For lips, avoid any color that is too dark. This doesn’t mean you can’t pull of brights (you can!), just nothing too harsh or dark. For brighter colors, try Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in “Cherries in the Snow” or Yves Saint Laurent Volupte Sheer Candy Glossy Balm in “Succulent Pomegranate”, and for neutrals try rose and mauve shades, like Kat Von D Painted Love Lipstick in “Lolita”.For mascara and eyeliner, sometimes black can be too harsh, so try a brown or black brown, like the CoverGirl LashBlast Volume Mascara in “Brown”. Lastly, stick to apricot and pink blush shades, like Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Charisma.

Embrace your pale

Having light skin isn’t the end of the world. While I complain all the time about it, I’d much rather be considered pale than go fake-tanning and get skin cancer. If you need a little inspiration, just look at the image at the top of this post. Amanda Seyfried, Emma Stone, and many others are perpetually pale and still look amazing.

Are you a fellow pale female? Let me know- what is your favorite makeup for pale skin? 


  1. I always switch my makeup out for something lighter once the cold weather hits. I especially love that NARS foundation.

  2. LOVE THIS! I have very fair skin and I’ve been looking for lipstick recommendations. I think I’ll pick up the Revlon Cherries on my next trip to Target. Thank you!! – Claire

  3. Tarte amazonian clay is my favorite blush! I just ordered some from Sephora during the VIB sale 😀 And yes, I am totally going to be super pale through May/June of next year. It always makes me sad 🙁

  4. I really love these tips! I am a fellow pale skinned girl, but I do still like to experiment with lots of different eye and lip shades 🙂

  5. Pale is more of a year-round descriptor for me than a seasonal thing…I fall firmly in Casper territory. Totally agree that clear skin is the most important element. Everything stands out on a pale face!

  6. I’m in denial that I have pale skin. I think I should be more olive but people keep telling me I’m pale. This post was made for me 🙂

  7. Boo for the tans being gone!! Just not fair!!! But I use Bare Minerals and they offer so many shades that you can’t go wrong with colors. The coverage is amazing. Thanks for sharing your picks!!

  8. I have heard A LOT of people talking about that Tarte blush lately, and being a pale girl too, I think I must heed the recommendations and give it a try!

  9. Nice to see this tip. Like others here mention, I’m pale all year long. Pleased to see that I’d already discovered much of what you mention on my own over the years (love the L’Oreal foundation), but I’d totally forgotten about Cherries in the Snow lipstick, which used to be my winter favorite. Guess I’ll pick up a tube again.

  10. My favorite is the tarte Amazonian clay blush in glisten and any tinted lip balm, they give just enough color without washing me out

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