Picking a Lip Color for Fair Skin Tone

Lipstick advice for a woman with fair skin like mine is a bit of a mixed bag. As in all other areas of life, nothing is 100 percent. Some shades traditionally recommended for fair skin work for me while others don’t. A lot of the variation occurs because fair skin can have yellow, pink, and neutral undertones and your natural lip color may be any variation of the color pink on top of your pale skin. However, certain basic maxims will still apply in most situations. In the instances that they don’t apply, moving your shade selection over by only a couple of ticks within the same basic color family will usually help you find the right color.

Glosses for Fair Skin

Glosses are more problematic than lipsticks for nearly every lip color and skin tone because the sheen of a gloss really accentuates the shape and size of your lips which draws greater attention to the canvas the gloss is applied upon. My fair skin finds its best partner in makeup is a neutral gloss–at least when I am merely seeking coverage versus pizzazz. For a bold lip gloss that adds real “pow” to my lips, I tend to venture to the lighter side of coral shades.

When I want more subtle coverage, pinks with a slightly darker leaning work well since my lips have a bit of a mauve tone naturally. Because gloss makes my lips stand out more, I use it without any additional lip products such as liner to keep it from emphasizing my slightly more plump bottom lip. Many glosses include applicator tips that allow for precise application, but for those that don’t, use a lip brush.

Lip Liners

Chose a nude liner with a white base versus a brown base when lining lips on very pale skin. This helps prevent a harsh line from showing up around the lips – an ultra-important point to consider given that lipstick fades throughout the day. If you can’t routinely touch up your lips at work or at an event, the nude liner will keep you looking sensibly lined until you can excuse yourself to a mirror.


Pale ladies can wear red lipstick – Gwen Stefani is living proof of this. You just have to know which shade of red belongs to your skin tone. For myself, red with an undertone of cherry or a slightly berry leaning works great. Fire engine red does not. Red with a matte finish works better than glossy as it makes the lips bold but not overly “in-your-face.” Always pair a red lipstick with lip liner to ensure the best finished look!

For day-to-day wear, pick a lipstick that is only a couple of shades darker than your regular lips. Pinks with a berry tint work well for me as my lips tend toward the berry side of mauve. However, many women with fair skin find that rosy pinks work best.

Use the basic guidelines for choosing lip products listed above and keep in mind the undertone of your skin to pick the lip glosses, sticks, and liners that will work best for your fair skin!

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