I have usually been told that I have fair skin, no wonder why… I’m a ghost! However, all the foundations for fair skin are always too yellow or too pink for me. I have to mix two foundations to get a more or less acceptable result.
Unlike my British fair-skinned friends, I can tan. I have brown hair and brown eyes and I come from a totally Mediterranean family (trust me I did some research and my ancestors are all Italian and married Italian for at least the last 5 generations).
So what’s going on here? Can I still have olive skin and be pale? I’ve always thought of olive skin as something much darker than my skin.
Well, apparently it’s actually very possible to have really pale, light olive skin.
If you tick most boxes in this list, you’re another pale olive skin fellow (welcome to the club!)
- You can’t decide if your veins on the inside of your wrist are blue or green.
- You tan in the sun rather than burning. If you’re light olive, your skin likely has more melanin content than other fair-skinned women. You should still protect your skin with sunscreen though (I recommend an SPF 15 or higher).
- You struggle to find a matching foundation, they are often too yellow or too pink.
- In winter you get dark bags under your eyes and your greenish-paleness looks almost unhealthy.
- You look good or neutral with both gold and silver jewelry.
- You look sallow/washed out when wearing pastels.
We need to differentiate between Skin Undertone (cool-neutral-warm) and Intensity of Pigment (pale-medium-dark). So yes, Olive is actually a neutral undertone that nobody ever talks about, but definitely exists in all different shades, including pale!
The Struggles and Some Ideas
It’s hard enough finding makeup that complements olive skin. But pale and olive? Even harder! Many companies simply don’t consider olive skin when formulating products for light complexions.
In terms of foundations, although not many light foundations cater to olive skin, a few still do.
The MakeUp Forever Ultra HD Foundation line, shade Marble (117) is a good choice for light olive complexions, otherwise try MUFE HD 123 for medium olive skin. Other foundation brands caring for light olive skin are Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk and NYX Stay Matte Not Flat in Medium Beige (for pale olive).
When it comes to blushes your best bet is rose, mauve, coral and peach-colored blushes. These shades look very natural on light olive complexions. The blush I’ve been using for years is Chanel Joues Contraste 82 Reflex (light coral). I’ve also heard that NARS Dolce Vita, Portofino, Orgasm and Torrid are good options.
For eyeshadows I go with earthy warm and naked tones, like Urban Decay Naked 1 and Naked 3 palettes or Dior Backstage palette warm neutrals (it works really well for brown eyes).
Just like eyeshadow, pale and pastel lips don’t exactly do pale olive skin justice. And while bright lipstick can overpower the skin, many purple and brown hues will wash the complexion out. Dark lipstick flatters the lighter tones of pale olive skin best. So, swap that fire-engine red for a dark rusty or wine red lip color. For example, Maybelline Color Sensational Creamy Matte Lip Color in Divine Wine. For a neutral everyday lip you may want to try L’Oreal The Fairest Nude, MAC Brave or MAC Satin Lipstick in Twig.
Any other pale olive fellows out there who would like to share some tips?