What Colors Go Well With a Pale Skin Tone?

Fair-skinned beauty Cintia Dicker walks the Derek Lam runway show.

Photo: Matthew Peyton/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Listen up, fair-skinned beauties: You've got a complexion to make a fairy princess jealous, but you've got to work the right colors to make the most of it. While the wrong shades can leave you looking like you just stepped off the set of a vampire B-movie, the right shades will play up your porcelain skin in all its creamy dreamy glory.

Warm vs. Cool

All porcelain skin is not created equal: Some has a cool tone, some warm; and what's flattering on the one isn't necessarily so great on the other. So hit up the nearest mirror and take a good long look at yourself. Check out the undertones in your skin: Does your complexion have a golden cast, or is it freckled? You're blessed with a natural warm glow. If your skin has a more pinkish undertone, congratulations -- you're a cool-skinned cutie. If you can't decide whether you're warm- or cool-toned, take a peep at the veins in your wrist. Bluish veins are typical of cool undertones. Veins with a greenish tinge usually mean a warm skin tone.


No matter how stylish that little blouse or how well that new dress fits you, if they're not the right color for you -- forget it. If you've got warm fair skin, play up that earthy-golden thing you've got going with nature-inspired shades of brown and green. For a smart neutral look, trade the stark whites and blacks for creamy ivories, soft grays and warm navy. If you're working with cool light skin, you've just gotta go with that classic rosy-fair look. Play up the pink in your skin with berry and Bordeaux. Or get a fresh glow with bright blues and purples. So take a peek into your wardrobe and make sure it's stocked with right colors. If not, well, here's that major shopping spree excuse you've been waiting for. You're welcome.


When it comes to hair hue, fair-skinned ladies should avoid extremes. Super-blonde shades provide too little contrast against your light skin, leaving you washed out. You should also steer clear of really dark dyes, unless you actually want to look like Morticia Addams. The one exception to the no-extremes rule is red. Alabaster-skinned girls were born to rock red tresses. Warm fair skin looks angelic paired with copper or auburn tones. If you've got cool pale skin, go ahead and dye your hair true scarlet if you want.


The makeup colors you choose can make -- or break -- your look. With fair skin, it's especially important to pick the right foundation shade -- go one shade wrong and it's going to show up, big time. Whether your undertones are cool or warm, apricot and coral lips and cheeks will look radiant on your skin. Warm fair skin also glows when adorned with peachy-nudes, while cool fair skin is brightened by pale pinks. One thing to keep in mind: Women with very pale skin sometimes have a bluish-red lip color. If that sounds like you, stay away from sheer or nude lipsticks, which can look too ashy. Opt for richer, opaque lip color instead.

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"Beauty Rules"; Bobbi Brown; 2010 "Ready to Wear"; Mary Lou Andre; 2004 "Elle": Summer Hair Color Tips and Trends; Emily Herbert; June 2010

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