So, you've got fair skin. Others fawn over your fair complexion resembling that of a porcelain doll — but little do they know how frustrating finding the right makeup for your skin tone can be. Even the lightest of colors seems to be too dark in comparison and blending your heart out just leaves you with an unnatural finish. But the secret for finding the perfect light foundation is all in the detail and knowing what to look for — so we've rounded up the best methods and products that will give you a complexion that rivals Snow White.
WORK WITH YOUR UNDERTONES
If you think your understanding of your skin tone doesn’t need to extend past the fair skin category, you would be mistaken. Choosing the right makeup is dependent on your undertones as well. When looking for foundation, you may get overwhelmed by your options as most brands will have two to three colors that look almost identical. For example, Lancôme Teint Visionnaire comes in Ivoire C, Ivoire W and Ivoire N — cool, warm and neutral. What does this mean? Well, on the surface, your skin tone is visibly light, but beneath the surface lies a subtle hue of one of the following:
Cool: Pink, red, or blue undertones
Warm: Yellow, peach or golden undertones
Neutral: A balance between both cool and warm
Not sure what your undertones are? Here’s how to find out:
The White vs. Cream Test: Grab two articles of clothing (or even a towel) — one white and the other off-white. While wearing NO makeup, decide which color complements your skin tone best? If it’s the pure-white shade, your undertones are warm. If the cream color suits you more (because the white washes you out), then you have cool undertones. If both flatter you just the same, you’re neutral.
The Vein Test: Look at the veins on your wrists. If they’re green, then you have warm undertones. If your veins are blue, then you have cool undertones. Do you have both colors or do they appear to be blue-green? Then you have neutral undertones.
Still not sure? Here’s one more for good measure!
The Jewelry Test: If gold jewelry enhances your complexion, then you’re likely on the warmer side, if silver jewelry looks best on your skin tone, then you have cool undertones.
FOUNDATION FOR FAIR SKIN
Working with your undertone will help you determine which foundation is perfect for your fair complexion. Have you figured out whether you’re cool, warm or neutral? Perfect. (If you’re still unsure, ask an expert at a beauty department counter.) Try one of these fair-friendly foundations and pinpoint your exact shade based on your undertone findings...
CHOOSING THE RIGHT BLUSH
Finding the right blush can be difficult since many shades can look too stark and obvious against your fair skin. A little flush is meant to look natural (especially not clown-like!). So, ideal hues include soft pink, peach or coral — more specifically, warm skin tones look best in peach and coral while cool tones look best in rosy pinks and light mauves.
BEST BRONZER FOR YOU
You might feel like bronzer is not even in the realm of possibility — that’s definitely not the case. Not only can you rock bronzer, but you can rock it in multiple ways – including in contouring your fair skin. Add a little warmth to your cheeks by finding a sheer shade that has a hint of peach or soft shimmery pink. As a rule of thumb, less is more — you can always add on as needed.
Related: The Basics of Bronzer
EYE SHADOW SHADES
You’ve heard it before: Eye shadow shades that are too dark will come off bruise-like and hues that are too rosy will make you look sick. And neutral? Forget about it — they’ll blend right in with your skin tone! If you have warm undertones, it’s best to stick with bronze and earthy colors, while cool undertones look perfect in jewel-tones and gray or metallic shades. Looking for the shadow palette that will do it all, no matter your undertones? The Urban Decay Naked2 Eyeshadow Palette has your back.
FLATTERING LIPSTICK COLORS
Contrary to popular belief, light-skinned ladies can wear shades that range from barely there to bright and bold. When shopping for the perfect nude, look for shades that have a slight pink or peach note, so that you don’t look washed out. We love the YSL Rouge Volupté is Nude Beige for this step.
Shades with peachy-coral hues are perfect for cool undertones, while fair skin with warm undertones look stunning in orange lipstick. And if you're still searching for a ravenous red, opt for a bluish red like NYX Matte Lipstick in Perfect Red if you bare cool undertones or an orangey red like NYX Simply Red Lip Cream in Seduction if your undertones fall on the warmer side of the spectrum.
Let us know some of your favorite fair-friendly shades in the comments below.