5 Things to Try for Flawless Fair Skin This Summer

Rachel Krause


Before we say anything else, we’ll say once and for all that we’re proud to be pale. Whether it’s a conscious choice to remain so or not, there’s always something to be said for staying true to yourself and your natural beauty, even if it means being the fairest-skinned of them all. But we’ll also admit that when summer rolls in, we get the urge to glow, and it’s not self-tanner or bronzer we’re about to reach for. Instead, we’re living by these five key rules of summer makeup for pale skin to keep things radiant all season long.

Keep contrast to a minimum.
Pale skin glows like a blacklight when exposed to the sun, and high contrast looks—loads of black eye makeup, for example—will draw attention to just how fair your skin actually is. Skip the dark red lipstick and smokey eye this season, and work instead with soft, neutral colors that complement your complexion rather than create a stark contrast.

Opt for warm, bronze-y eye makeup.
Earth-toned metallics are gorgeous and wearable year-round on fair skin tones, but they really come in handy in the summer, when you want to enhance your eyes without looking too “done.” A wash of bronze over the lid really flatters light skin, but it doesn’t shout “eye makeup!,” which is exactly what we’re trying to avoid. Chantecaille Gel Liner Pencil in Bronze is our ticket to a stunning, natural metallic finish that can be used to create thin, defined lines or a smokier look.

Embrace blush.
We’re not suggesting you go overboard, but blush is, indeed, the key to livening up your look without going the way of bronzer—which, as most fair-skinned girls know, is kind of a form of sacrilege. A peachy, warm-toned blush will perfectly enhance your complexion and bring color and warmth to the face. You can focus on the apples of your cheeks or, if you’re more in the market for an all-over glow, use a large, fluffy brush to sweep the blush all over your face.

Go for a bright lip—or a neutral one.
We hate to specifically tell anyone not to do something, but it’s wise to eschew dark lipstick in the summer for fair skin, or at least save it for after dark. If you’re going for the Victorian goth vibe, then by all means, go ahead—but if easy, breezy, and summery is more your speed, you’re better off with a bold, vibrant lip or a neutral, rosy beige. Bright shades add a much-needed pop of color to fair skin, while classic “your lips but better” shades give your complexion a natural boost.

Highlighter is your best friend.
And we mean best. Summer is all about glowy skin and easygoing makeup, so for those of us whose skin is a little less pigmented than others, highlighter is a must. Swept across the cheekbones, down the bridge of the nose, in the center of the forehead, downward toward the chin—avoid anywhere you’re especially oily or where you’ve got breakouts or uneven texture, but let the rest shine bright like a diamond. We like powder formulas for summer, as they’re significantly less likely to melt off the face: our favorite is Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder Compact in Highlight 01. Applied with a large, soft brush, its illuminating powers really can’t be beat.

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