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What’s the best makeup for black hair and pale skin?

Answer: As someone who recently ended up with purpley-black hair after using a box of light brown dye (I’m looking at you, box dye), I can assure you that I’ve become an expert on what shades work best with this Snow White-esque combo. If you’re naturally fair with dark hair, consider yourself lucky! You’re less likely to appear washed out by your dark hair, because the tones in your hair reflect the undertone of your skin.

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Speaking of tones…

No matter how pale your skin is, it has a definite undertone. Sometimes an undertone can be more difficult to detect on pale skin, while other times it’s beaming back at you. For example: some pale gals have a subtle, yellow tint to their skin that makes their eyes pop against dark hair, while others have a pinkish tone that’s visible no matter what hair color they’re working with.

It’s important to know your skin tone in order to figure out what colors look best. The easiest (and most common) way to do this is to look at the veins in your arms—if they’re blue, you’re undertone is likely cool. If they’re green or yellowy, you’re undertone is likely warm. It’s possible to be somewhere in between, or neutral toned, which basically means that your veins aren’t more blueish or greenish one way or the other.

If you’re neutral toned, you can work most colors regardless of the depth of your skin tone. Neutral toned ladies likely have an ashy cast to their hair and brows, too.

If you’re cool-toned, it’s best to stick with colors that have blueish undertones—that does not mean solely blue-tinted cosmetics. It simply means any color that falls onto the cooler side of the color spectrum, i.e. ruby red as opposed to fiery red lipstick. Warm toned girls should stick to—wait for it—the warmer side of the color spectrum (fiery reds are all you!).

Regardless of what skin tone you have, it’s important to know what looks best universally, right? After all, you’re in a class of your own, you raven-haired, ivory-skinned beauts! But, just like redheads and blondes, there are definitely some sure-fire tips that work for all of you.

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Color go-to’s: pastels and vibrants.

These two color categories will breathe life into your complexion in the best way possible! Pairing such iconic hues with your milky skin will make the colors pop and will surely draw attention to your best features.

Pastel lip colors and blushes will brighten your fair skin just enough, giving you a softly-bitten look. Which, let’s face it, is all you really need when your porcelain complexion is doing the talking. These individual shadows by Urban Decay are a great place to start. They come in 87 colors, many of which are pastel (and vibrant, and amazingly pigmented). Some can even double as blush if you’re in a rush!

In addition, rich reds, bright corals, and intense lavenders will look phenom on your lips and will contrast beautifully against your skin. It’s best to stay away from deep colors, however, because they can severely wash out and dull your complexion…but, if you just can’t stay away, oxblood or deep-purple hued lips will look amazing on you in the winter months, as will deeper shades on the eyes.

Bronze, but don’t try to overcompensate.
Be proud of your complexion. There are only so many gals in the world born with true black hair and pale skin—many women dye their hair to emulate you! So, when bronzing, keep it subtle: just barely sweep the product across the cheekbones and forehead, and over the bridge of nose. A good tip to remember? Take the word sunkissed literally when bronzing. The same rule applies to contouring: keep the shade you use within 1 to 2 shades darker (or lighter, if you’re highlighting) than your skin tone. It’s very easy to look like you’ve over-applied when you’re pale, so don’t stray too far from your base tone. NARS has a great set of buildable bronzers ranging from light to dark, all of which can be used for both bronzing and contouring.

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Avoid sunburn at all costs. Red skin + black hair is a tough combo to pull off.
Whether you’re prone to burning or not, your fair skin is likely much more sensitive to the sun’s UV rays than other skin tones. An oil-free sunblock, like this one by Shiseido, will keep your skin beautiful and wrinkle free.

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Now, get to rocking your beautiful color combo!

  • Chloe

    Finally, an article for us raven-haired ladies! Great tips. I only personally like to wear a dark lip on special occasions or on a night out, for extra drama. As you said, it is best to stick with lighter shades of lip color for an everyday look. I’m going to have to check out that NARS bronzer.

  • Scared to cruise now

    Nice article!