Help with contouring extremely pale skin

I'm looking for a bronzer and a highlighter to try contouring my face, but the last time I tried a bronzer (Benefit's Hoola), it looked AWFUL. Maybe I used too heavy of a hand, but it just looked so fake and strange on my pale face. To get an idea of my how pale I am, I use shade 42 in Kat Von D's Lock-It Tattoo Foundation and Siberia in Nars Sheer Glow Foundation. I want to try contouring again because although I love the Kat Von D founation, it makes my face a little too flat and I want to look healthy instead of sickly, LOL.


Is there a specific type of bronzer I should look for? One with a certain undertone? Also can someone recommend a good highlighter? I'd prefer one in a powder formula, not a cream highlighter.

Re: Help with contouring extremely pale skin

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The physicians formula "happy" baked bronze hearts  (that's not the actual name but close) looks intimidating but when u swirl your brush over the hearts, it doesn't pick up in a dark way it's very natural.   

I will find you a link! 


Re: Help with contouring extremely pale skin

I am fair also and find most bronzers look, well, brown!  I love Lorac's Baked Bronze powder and apply it with a kabuki brush and a very light hand.  I follow the shape of the letter 3, starting at my upper hairline, down my temples, around the lower cheekbone, and back around to the lower jaw-line, ending at the chin.  Reverse the letter 3 on the opposite side.  For highlighter, I use NARS Albatross.  It is a white hightlighter powder with golden highlights, but very subtle.  I apply it with Sephora's Domed Brush so I can pinpoint where I want it.  I apply it at the tops of my cheekbones, across the forehead, and the tip of my nose.  If you want to emphasize the cupid's bow of your lips, you can apply a little in the center with a smaller brush.  You can also use it as a highligher under your brows and in the inner corners of your eyes.  Be sure you have the right tools to work with; it can make all the difference. Just keep playing around till you find the look you want.  That's the fun of make-up!

Re: Help with contouring extremely pale skin



I am even fairer than you and I absolutely love Smashbox's Bronze Lights in Sunkissed Matte.  I wear it everyday and apply it with a slanted tipped blush brush.  My favorite highlighter is Bobbi Brown's Shimmer Brick in Nectar.  It looks fantastic on! 

Re: Help with contouring extremely pale skin

I also wear NARS Siberia- high five for the rediculously pale! :smileyhappy: Benefit Hoola does tend to have a muddy look for me too, I can make it pass-able with a very light hand, but I just find its too brown for me. I think something with a touch of pink/reddish color works a little better on my skin tone. For matte bronzer, I like Bare Minerals Faux Tan (use a light hand for this one too). Or, if I want a little shimmer I like Benefit 10 or Stila's One Step Bronze (this is cream/liquid, but absolutely STUNNING in my opinion!).

Re: Help with contouring extremely pale skin

Have you tried Too Faced Chocolate Soleil? I've been using this bronzer for a couple months now and it adds just enough color to look healthy and sun-kissed.

Re: Help with contouring extremely pale skin

I'm also just about as pale as they come (I'm a 0.5 in UD Naked Skin Foundation...their lightest shade!) For bronzer, I've been happy with Benefit's 10 Highlighting/Contouring duo. It comes in a square box like Hoola and it has a shimmery highlight and a flat bronzer. The bronzer is very subtle and looks great on my fair skin.


Make sure you're using the right tools - a fluffy powder brush like a MAC 150 will give you a nice, healthy glow without putting too much product in any one place. 

Re: Help with contouring extremely pale skin

Totally forgot about that boxed powder, good call!

Re: Help with contouring extremely pale skin

I'm pretty light skinned too, I'm 44 in KVD lock it tattoo foundation and porcelaine I in lancome dual finish.


I love benefit dallas as bronzer, it works as countour or all over. Its not shimmery, glittery or orange, the perfect natural looking sun kissed tan. LOVE. Been through 2 boxes already. Right now I'm using benefit hoola, with a very light hand I can get the countour I want and it doesnt look too dark/muddy so long as I use very little and blend properly. Because I am so pale right now, adding that touch of color makes all the difference. And it brings out my cheekbones, and if you use blush and highlighter along with a good bronzer, they really pop out!

Re: Help with contouring extremely pale skin

Too Faced's Pink Leopard and Snow Bunny should be able to work for you. It's the ones my fair friends gravitate toward because rather than a flat bronze/brown color, there's multiple shades to break up the color and soften it down some.


Pink Leopard works well because it balances the brown with a champagne and hints of pink (even nice to sweep over a blush) while Snow Bunny has shades of brown, champagne, pink, and vanilla, you can also use a fan brush to pick up specific color blocks too rather than use them all together to bronze, contour, and highlight. Plus you can use bronzers like this for shadows by picking up individual colors with small shadow brushes.






Stila's All Over Shimmer Kitten Duo might also work:



It's like a much softer version of the Lorac one Diana mentioned. Since both do contain shimmer, use a fan brush as to lot overload your face with shimmer, or follow up with a dusting of a setting powder.


If you want a matte bronzer, Too Faced's Milk Chocolate one works and is suited for fair skin:



As for highlighters, if you're wanting one that is separate and not mixed in like the ones above with bronzing shades, check out Lorac's Oil Free Luminizing Powder in Luminous:



Or if you want something softer with a cooler, pink tone, try Smashbox's Soft Lights in Shimmer:


(It's actually much more fair and pink than the photo, Google images of it and the other shades if need be).


Tarte makes both a champagne and pink toned highlighter too that is a touch more subtle and not as pigmented as the Lorac and Smashbox ones.

Re: Help with contouring extremely pale skin

The Milk Chocolate one looks like it would work best for what I want! I'm going into the store tomorrow for the VIB event and I'm going to look crazy swatching like 10 different bronzers, haha! Thanks so much for the suggestions!

Re: Help with contouring extremely pale skin

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No prob, it smells DELISH too, just like chocolate....but no calories :smileytongue:

Re: Help with contouring extremely pale skin

I love love love the too faced pink leopard and snow bunny!  They are perfect for fair/light skin.  i use the too faced bronze-buki brush and it just gives me the perfect amount of color! Not too shimmery not to garish. Just very pretty!

Re: Help with contouring extremely pale skin

That brush is amazing, it also works well to blend liquid foundations too for a soft focus look!

Re: Help with contouring extremely pale skin

oh, I didn't even think of that!  I have MAC mineralize foundation and it always goes on too heavy, I'm gonna try that out righ now!

Re: Help with contouring extremely pale skin

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Put the foundation on a palette or on the back of your hand rather than directly on the brush, sweep some onto the bristles a little at a time to build up!

Re: Help with contouring extremely pale skin

@lylysa - I have one word for my complexion right now "flawless"!  What a difference tools and techniques make!  Thank you!

Re: Help with contouring extremely pale skin

You're welcome! I'm glad it worked out for you!


Another useful trick with the TF retractable brushes (or any retractable brush, especially synthetic ones), they make great transporters for loose powders to touch up!


Rather than carry a giant jar of loose powder and risk it making a mess in your bag, swirl up a fair amount in the morning, cap it, then carry it with you in your bag! Whip it out, retract it down and use it to dust some powder on when you need it. Since the bristles are synthetic, any oil picked up won't absorb into the hairs and breed bacteria so it's slightly more hygenic then regular/natural brushes, but of course it still needs to be cleaned at the end of the day with brush cleaner and washed regularlly.

Re: Help with contouring extremely pale skin

I used to do that with the Bare Minerals foundation and their retractable flawless face brush. I dont use their products as much because the powders seemed to settle into fine lines and make me look drier/older  I have since switched over to liquid foundation/BB/CC/tinted moisturizers.   I was told though that you should use a powder to set your liquid foundation. Do you know of any that are not drying?  I have tried all of the Mineral Veils from BM and dislike them all!

Re: Help with contouring extremely pale skin

Try Urban Decay's silica based HD powder Razor Sharp (you an unscrew the cap/puff part) as it contains encapsulated water molecules.


For a non HD powder with a translucent finish, Stila's Hydrating Finishing powder relies on shea butter to condition skin.


For something with color and can even double as a sheer powder foundation, Smashbox's HALO powder also contains encapsulated water molecules. It's one of my favorite powders! The compact contains about 3-4 times the amount of powder in a pressed compact.

Re: Help with contouring extremely pale skin

Ooohhh I am gonna check those out on Thursday! ill let you know how I make out.

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