Pale skin, as red carpet luminaries Cate Blanchett and Nicole Kidman regularly demonstrate, can be beautiful, striking and sophisticated.
It can also be a complete pain, as anyone who has ever woken up to a rash of red blotches or glanced at much-anticipated party photos to find they resemble the walking dead, will know.
So, how to make the most of this much underrated feature without resorting to the fake tan and bronzer? (There is, incidentally, nothing wrong with bronzer; it works brilliantly in the summer months, but can be a chore to apply all year round.)
The crucial thing is the base. Blemishes will always show up more on pale skin, and for this reason the time, effort and money you have should go into creating as near to flawless a complexion as possible.
For those with clear skin, a tinted moisturiser or powder with a bit of coverage will be sufficient for daytime. The less makeup the better; too much will make skin look dull and caked.
If foundation is required go for buildable, semi-sheer formulations and apply only to areas that need it, blending outwards with a foundation brush or fingers. Brands that cater for whiter-than-white skins include MAC, Bobbi Brown and Bourjois. Whatever you chose, be sure to test the shade on your jaw in daylight before you buy; if it disappears into the skin it is the right colour.
In general, velvety matte to semi-matte textures look best on pale skins. Leave the shiny, glowing thing to the naturally tanned and bronzed; clammy white skin will only look like a symptom of illness.
Colour can be a minefield for fair complexions, but with a little restraint it is possible to play around and have fun without looking like you’ve been attacked with a paint gun.
Blush has the most transformative effect; cream blush is great for dry to normal skins, whereas powder looks pretty and polished on everyone. Don’t get too bogged down with the ‘rules’; pink-toned skin can take a warm, peach blush just as yellow-toned skin can wear a rosy pink. Just be sure to pick one that blends well and build it up in careful, delicate layers to avoid streaking.
As for lip and eye colour, sheer, shimmery textures work for daytime, as does semi-sheer lipstick. Bold, matt lip colour can look amazing against porcelain skin as long as the eyes are left clean and skin is even. Be sure to add a hint of cheek colour to avoid looking washed out.
Colour aside, the most important thing is to look after your skin. Use sun protection all year round, exfoliate regularly and cleanse thoroughly every night before bed. Your future self will thank you for it.
Save… Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm £5.99 burtsbees.co.uk Tastes delicious and gives a gentle, even colour to the lips. Maybelline Dream Touch Blush £6.49 boots.com A doddle to use – this blends brilliantly and imparts a subtle glow, either on its own or under powder blush. No 7 Quick Cover Blemish Stick £8 boots.com An emollient concealer with semi-sheer, buildable coverage. Layer with powder over stubborn blemishes.
Splurge… Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey £16 clinique.co.uk A magic product that will suit anybody, especially those who fear lipstick. MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Light £18.50 maccosmetics.co.uk Gives a lovely, velvety finish and evens out skin tone without chalkiness. Shiseido Colour Control Stick in Green £34 feelunique.com Super spendy, but lasts for ages and covers redness brilliantly.
And if you really must bronze… Korres Monoi Oil Bronzing Powder in Sunglow Light £14 bathandunwind.com An incredibly natural looking bronzer. Use around the edges of the face and on cheekbones for a healthy glow.