Pale As F**K: Blush And Lipstick Edition

While finding a flattering blush or lipstick can be a challenge with any skin tone, it's especially hard for the pale.
Publish date:
June 3, 2013
makeup, lipstick, paleness, blush, dark lips, pale skin, M

I was delighted to see such a show of vampiric solidarity in the comments section of my previous article Pale As Fuck: Make Up For The Translucent.

While you were happy to have some suggestions on foundation, you also requested blush and lipstick for the melanin-challenged. Of course I would never leave you guys hanging so I'm back, paler than ever, and ready to share my secrets.

While finding a flattering blush or lipstick can be a challenge with any skin tone, it's especially hard for the pale. Many shades can be overpowering on a porcelain complexion and you run the risk of looking like a corpse or a clown. After trying and failing, and then failing some more, I've compiled a few great tips.

~ Use a stippling brush: This brush is usually used to apply bronzer, but it works great for applying blush in a very natural-looking way. It distributes the color with a much lighter touch so it won't overwhelm your face.

~ Spray your blush brush with toner: If you've really fallen love with a blush, but the color is just a bit too bright for you, simply spritz your blush brush with toner before dipping it in the blush. This dilutes the pigment and makes the color less opaque.

~ Apply lipstick with fingers: If a lipstick is a bit too intense, try applying it with your fingers instead of directly from the tube. It will be a lighter, softer look.

~ Know your undertones: Pale skin tones differ just as much as other skin tones. I get so mad when I see categories in magazines and one is just for "fair skin" as though we all have exactly the same coloring. That's bullshit. Even though it may be less obvious on the fair-skinned, we have cool, warm, or neutral undertones and sticking to shades with similar undertones will be more flattering.

~ Apply blush to the nose: A former hair dresser gave me this tip as a teen and it changed my life. While many people have a bit of a natural blush, some people with very pale skin may lack this at all. To keep blush looking natural add some across the nose as well as the cheeks, when we blush naturally the nose darkens a bit as well.

~ Use darker powder as "bronzer:" While anything typically sold as bronzer will most likely just make you look dirty, you can grab a powder two shades darker than your skin tone. Especially if it's got a bit of shimmer. Grab a big fluffy brush and apply some to the places the sun would naturally hit your face, such as the cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin. It will look on you the way bronzer looks on darker folks.

~ Fill in your brows: A stronger eyebrow will help balance more color on the rest of your face, such as blush and lipstick.

Not specific enough? Here are some of my favorite shades if you really want me to hold your hand about it.


For this article I will be talking about powder blush. It's a lot easier to use on lighter skin tones, as cream blush is more intense.


Nars in Sex Appeal

A light summery peach. A bit on the warmer side.

Tarte in Exposed

A more neutral color. Highly pigmented, but lovely if used with a light spritz of toner as noted above.

Covergirl in Natural Shimmer

This shade is a paler peach with a little bit of shine if you're into that sort of thing.

MAC in Cantaloupe

A highly pigmented apricot. Use with stippling brush.

Urban Decay in Score

A shimmery golden peach.


Covergirl in Natural Twinkle

A light mauve-y pink with a little bit of sparkle.

Chanel in Tweed Pink

A very natural rosy flush.

Wet N Wild in Heather Silk

A richer pink. Use with stippling brush.

Urban Decay in Quickie

A cotton candy pink.

Clinique in Fig

A more neutral pink.



Lush in Decisive

Cool toned red with pink and blue undertones. "Blow Job Lipstick" that stays on till you forcibly remove it.

Urban Decay in Punch Drunk

Highly saturated lipbalm/stain in red/orange.

Revlon in Cherries In The Snow

Matte lipstick cool toned magenta/red.

Tarte in Amused

Lipblam/stain in Barbie pink. Very moisturizing.


MAC in Cyber

Almost black purple toned red. Matte.

Aveda in Tanzanite

Deep berry red.

OCC in Black Dahlia

Dark Red with purple and brown undertones.

Makeup Forever in 49, Satin Blueberry

Deep satin purple.


Clinique in Bonfire

Pink gloss with gold glitter.

Covergirl in Princess

Cool toned light pink lipbalm.

MAC in Ravishing

Light coral peach lipstick.

Tarte in moody

Light natural red lipbalm/stain

These are just a few of my favorites, but they will not necessarily flatter everyone. Have fun and experiment until you find your perfect shade. Your pale skin gives you many options to chose from. We see through specters can pull off dramatic brights, vampy darks, and natural light colors.

*Photos by Mark Raker

Kristine Rose glows in the dark on twitter @prtoftheprob