It can be intimidating to apply makeup on fair skin: Go too bold, and you can look like a kid playing at your mom’s vanity. Go too light, and you risk looking a little ghostly. Makeup artist Michiko Boorberg offers a simple guide to finding a happy medium.
Many women pick a base that’s too dark for their skin or that has the wrong undertone, says Boorberg. With either choice, they end up with makeup that looks like, well, makeup. “The best way to match your foundation is to know your undertones,” says Boorberg. Find out if you have cool (pink) or warm (yellow) undertones by checking the veins at your wrist. If your veins are blue, you have cool undertones. If they are yellow or olive, you have warm. Once you know your undertone, starting testing. Never compare makeup to your hands because they receive the most direct sunlight. “It’s good to try foundation on the jawline and see which foundation blends the best,” says Boorberg.
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“You don’t want to put too little color or use too dark [of a color] on the skin,” says Boorberg. “Stay away from anything too brown.” She recommends rosy pinks and peaches because they naturally blend into pale complexions. Make Up For Ever HD Blush in 210 ($26, sephora.com) is a soft coral that blends seamlessly, giving the skin that I-woke-up-like-this winter flush.
The darker the shade, the more obvious it is to the naked eye. Choose a bronzer that is only one shade darker than your skin tone. Regardless of the time of the year, the application should be invisible to the eye. Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder in golden light ($40, bobbibrowncosmetics.com) works well for many fair complexions.
“The best lipstick [shades] for pale skin are nudes, pinks, and light corals,” says Boorberg. When choosing a complementary nude (which can be a tall order), she recommends looking for ones with a slight apricot color. NARS Audacious Lipstick in Anita ($32, sephora.com) is a soft blend between nude and rose.
While a true beige will make skin appear even paler, so will a bold, dark shade like purple or dark red. “Either keep it light and fresh, like a light pink or coral, or bright, bold and fun, such as fuchsia or bright orange,” suggests Boorberg.
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“A common mistake is to go too dark with shadows on paler skin,” says Boorberg. “This can start to look too dark and goth.” Instead, she recommends skipping blacks and grays and focusing on lighter, softer hues, such as brown, gold or coral. For flattering shades, use CoverGirl Enhancer 3-Kit Shadows ($4.24, covergirl.com) in cafe au lait, golden sunset, or Major Distraction.
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