Summertime Makeup for the Pale Girl.

Summertime Makeup for the Pale GirlYes, I am Italian but that doesn’t mean I have that olive undertone to my skin. In the summer, I burn and eventually that burn turns to tan (eventually being the right word). A tan is still something to be coveted it seems and in high school and parts of college, I coveted it. I didn’t oil myself up and put up reflectors but I was willing to get a little red if that meant I would be tan in the end.

Something changed. Maybe as I got older and started reading all these articles about how women in their twenties are starting anti-aging stuff (!) that I started to value, protect, and respect my pale skin. I was never grossly irresponsible before (my worst burns were by accident) but I started to be actively responsible. Sure, I wouldn’t have that J.Lo glow now but when I’m older I would thank myself. That’s my current thinking at least.

Still, that tan and dewy look is so in. And I love to highlight and contour as well. So I’ve had to figure out the products that work on my more pale skin (because you can be pale and dewy). I’m so pale that I am often the 0 on the foundation scale so finding foundation and a bronzer and all those things has taken some time.

I am a makeup lover, not so much to change my appearance but because I love to be creative (but dude, let’s be clear…I don’t wear it every day and I don’t feel like putting it on everyday). Like most things, I love doing it when I want to do it. I have even done my friends’ makeup when they got married so though I have no formal training, I’ve taught myself a lot.

You’ll notice there is a mix of drugstore and splurges. I love a lot of drugstore makeup but this list leans towards more splurges. If you saw my whole makeup routine, you would see much more of a balance (I’ll do that another day). But finding those products that work for my skin color sometimes means spending a bit more.

One important thing I’ve found is that a lot of these products work great on people who are tan, with olive complexions, or darker. But if I were to try the things in their makeup bag, it doesn’t work as interchangeably.Summertime Makeup for the Pale Girl 1So, Summertime Makeup for the Pale Girl:


First, it must have SPF. My moisturizer has SPF as well but I am not going to lie, I like to double up because chances are I may have missed a spot with the moisturizer (I am infamous for getting sunburn in the weirdest places…this last time it was the back of one hand). In my teen and college years I was loyal to Bare Minerals and last summer I even tried their Naked Liquid foundation but I personally think there are better options out there.

A few years ago I was introduced to the brand Tarte and I loved it. I started using their Amazonian Clay in light. It was still a bit dark for me, particularly in winter but I could blend it and make it work.

Months after that for some reason, one day I was at a department store and let them do my makeup. The guy happened to try this BB creme on me and it matches my skin tone perfectly. Of course, the price tag is not what I wanted to spend. But when I saw it on my face? It didn’t look like I was wearing makeup and my skin looked flawless. It also didn’t feel like I was wearing makeup. I need very little for my face and it lasts forever. It’s Diorsnow UV Shield BB Creme (I wear 020 also SPF 50, what up?). I just started my second tube in three year.

If I get a little color, I still use the Tarte.


I have never finished a Bronzer because there has never been one where I am like wow. But I am on the tail’s end of Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Matte Bronzer. I use this as a bronzer and to contour. It doesn’t have a sparkle in it which is a no-no when contouring since you’re trying to create a shadow and shimmer is going to reflect light.

I’ve used this on every skin color I’ve ever done makeup on (I have some tutorials coming up with different faces) and I have never found someone it didn’t work on.


I just bought the NYX Wonderstick and am super impressed with the highlighter end. I bought medium which was a mistake. The contour side? Not as impressive for me. It blends right back into my foundation and my Tarte Bronzer does a much better job. I’ve also been using the highlighter under my eyes this summer as well.


This is going to reflect light and make you feel all dewy. I love Benefit’s High Beam or Watt’s Up but I like the ease and control I have in blending High Beam.


Benefit’s Posie Tint comes out bright pink in a liquid form like High Beam but blends like a dream on any skin tone. I like it for summer because again: dewiness.

One of my fave’s is no longer made by Clinique. It’s Patchwork Pink.

Other powder blushes I like: Nars Orgasm (I’ve had this for a long time…I should probably put it to rest) and Laura Mercier Pink Mosaic. These both have shimmer.


I always use the Fresh Sugar Untinted because it’s the best for sunburn lips, chapped lips, and includes an SPF, even if it’s under whatever I am wearing that day.

What are some of your faves for the summer?



Visit the Peony Sponsor:

Subscribe to the Monthly Newsletter!

* indicates required

27 thoughts on “Summertime Makeup for the Pale Girl.

  1. Lindsay

    Oh you know I love this post! It’s funny- I’m posting about bronzer for fair-skinned ladies this week! Great minds. 😉 I agree that the wonderstick has a great highlighter! I bought the light shade so the contour side works for me. And NARS Orgasm is the best!

    1. Nina Post author

      haha that is funny! But the thing is the dark isn’t actually dark enough. It just blends right in. I was doing it in front of bex and using my beauty blender and she was like where did the the brown part go? I can try it again. But I am just in love with the Tarte Matte Bronzer for contouring 🙂

  2. Cassie

    I haven’t heard of most of these. I do love using a primer as well, just because my skin gets super oily and if my foundation starts to fade, I’m so pale that any redness or blemishes are super obvious!

    1. Nina Post author

      Originally I had primers on here but I felt like the post was overwhelming. My favorite is Tarte’s because it’s light and smells great. I also love Laura Mercier’s (I actually only wore this to HP land bc I didn’t want a ton of make up but wanted SPF and a little smoothing of my complexion) but if your skin is at all oily, Mercier isn’t a great option. I think that’s the hard part about being pale. Any redness is like red wine on white carpet. I have some tricks I’ll have to share.

  3. Melissa Camacho

    This is so great! I’m super makeup challenged & I mostly just use primer, moisturizer & foundation. My cheeks are so red naturally that I never use blush. Lol.

    1. Nina Post author

      A good BB cream or foundation would help to even out your skin tone if you have red cheeks. You’re naturally rosy. Back in the day, ladies would pinch their cheeks for that look! I love make up so I am going to push myself to do some tutorials in the fall.

  4. Emily

    I’m often a 0 too, Nina! Alright so question for you- how do you wear all of this in the summer heat and not feel like you’re melting?! I’m so thankful big sunglasses are in because I rarely wear makeup this time of year (and the shades hide that fact haha), the foundation tends to melt off the minute I step outside!

    1. Nina Post author

      The reason I like these products is because they do hold up in the heat. Like in the winter, I may use a setting powder after BB cream or foundation (always bb cream in the summer) but in the summer I use bronzer as a double duty so I cut out one product there. The other products are really light on the skin. The one I would skip is an illuminator. SO if I am going to wear make up…long story short…which I don’t every day…I am going to put on a really light primer like Tarte’s or Laura Mercier (avoid if you have oily skin) bb cream, then bronzer all over to “set it” and use the same bronzer to contour slighty, the high beam is light and I use so little of it as a highlighter. And I don’t feel like it melts off. I DO feel like it melts off if I add the highlighter…just too many creamy layers. I really need to do a tutorial but I just don’t know if I have the confidence! What are you putting on now that you feel like is melting off?

      1. Emily

        I vote for a tutorial, Nina 😉 It’s always the BB cream that feels like it melts off. I’ve tried various ones and they all seem to do the same thing- about 5 minutes outside in the heat and all I want to do is wash it off my face.

        1. Nina Post author

          I’d try putting on as little as possible…sometimes you don’t even need it everywhere, just where you skin is uneven. And then do you set it with anything? If not bronzer, Makeup Forever HD powder (it’s just this white powder) I brush very lightly over. I mean, I can give you a list and sephora will give you samples of it all…LOL

  5. Katie Elizabeth

    So many of my favorites here – I use the Tarte bronzer and Benefit’s High Beam every single day! I’ve used Bare Minerals and LOVED it for so long but now you’ve got me wanting to try the Dior BB creme… of course the most expensive one 🙂

    1. Nina Post author

      I know…If it hadn’t of matched my skin PERFECTLY and been so amazing, no way. But it did last forever too…

  6. Cat

    We have such similar tastes in makeup! Maybe that’s because I’m a pale lady as well. I’m a huge fan of Benefit’s Poise Tint, which I love because it’s easy to build up or leave more natural (it’s also a great base for lipstick). All of the Fresh Sugar lipsticks are awesome, too. They feel just like chapstick and really moisturize, but have such a nice, subtle color 🙂


Comments are closed.