Funny face

I have something of an absurd complexion.

I am pale to the nth because I cannot seem to spend enough time in the sun to soak up any colour. I would happily go for long walks if my body permitted it. As it doesn’t, the most recent reference I have to my actual colouring dates back about a decade. Cue trial and error.

I know now, for instance, that when my aunt sends me “red” lipsticks, inevitably she is remembering that I was a fair blonde as a small child, and is combining that with my mother’s cool-to-ivory skin, so she will send me a blue-toned red. It will look fuchsia on me. Fuchsia is not flattering; I aim for deeper violet-reds when I want that effect.

And I know that, since I can get away with using bronzer as blush, I probably have my father’s golden-to-olive tendencies. This is reinforced by the fact that I can get a brown-toned red to look like a true red on my lips.

I have to fly in the face of conventional wisdom (no pun intended) because no, this is not a very natural pallor. When I was a teenager, I did, in fact, tan unless I spent hours in the sun sans sunscreen. I don’t look a bit refreshed when I pretend I’m a cooler pale than I am. I look exhausted. But today, pulling out all my yellow-pale tricks, I got a compliment. Better than that: I felt right somehow, like I’d nailed the last piece into place. (After hair. I kept assuming I should go red to blonde, and when that failed, dyed it black to cover. Now I’ve returned to natural, which is actually a golden brown, and I love it.)

If you’re not sure what you are, you can see what works best for you by blending various shades of lipstick using a brush. If you pay more than $2 per tube for your experiment, you are paying too much; head straight for the discount section. Get a nude, a true red, a brown-red, and a blue-red. Hit up Google for ideas. Then blend away, looking for your perfect lip recipe. I find working from a nude base helps temper anything really bold, and if I do have to remove what I’ve put on, the color next to my skin is already close to natural. It’s primer for my lips, basically. My friendly Sephora rep told me that it’s rare to get great results straight from the tube, because those shades are all mass-produced. You have to know what works for you, and if that’s a combination, you’re probably not alone.

And once you have that worked out, you might be ready to tackle blush. 🙂


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