Sunday, 21 October 2012

The Perils Of Being Pale

Just googling "Pale Skin Make Up" shows just how misunderstood pale skin actually is. The top results give me everything from a super bronzed Katy Perry, to an Indian lady... and well you can see the rest for yourself. Bar a couple of the images, none of the results actually depict pale skin. Just why is it so difficult to find images of make up for pale skin on the worlds biggest search engine? 


As a Graphic Designer (who did her dissertation on Colour no less!) it really bothers me when make-up companies describe their products as "Porcelain" "Ivory" "Fair" etc, when they are miles away from actually being those shades. When I think of Ivory, it reminds me of my piano keys which are just off white/black. Porcelain reminds me of the blinding veneers celebs have on their teeth, and so on.

I have tested the following 5 foundations on my arm to explain my point further (from left to right)

1. Boots 17 Skin Perfecting Foundation - Soft Ivory

2. Collection 2000 Sheer Moist Foundation - 1 Sheer Porcelain
3. Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer - Porcelain
4. Gosh X-Ceptional Wear Foundation - 11 Porcelain
5. Avon Smooth Minerals Foundation - Ivory

 Compare this with actual Dulux colour chart comparisons with "Ivory" "Porcelain" and so on...

Buying make up, particularly foundation when you have pale skin can be a real nightmare. This is made 10 times worse by haphazard labeling when it comes to the shade. It's a massive ask, but if I could change anything about the beauty industry at this moment, it would be to make the labeling and naming of shades more accurate and appropriate to the actual colour of the product. Anything whatsoever with an orange or deep brown tone is NOT porcelain, OR ivory... so why does nearly every counter stock a shade claiming to be just that... when it definitely isn't!?

In the end, all this ends up doing is alienating people with pale skin even further. Very few companies stock shades pale enough for us in the first place, so to be misinformed by nearly every company is really frustrating. This is one of the reasons I also try and stay away from buying foundations online, unless I have tried them for myself in real life. The shade depictions are always very inacurate, to the point whereby I wonder if the person who created the shade chart for the website has actually looked at the colour of the product...

Fair enough, call me picky on this one, but I believe consumers deserve clarity... especially when it is very difficult to return foundation once it has been tested and found to be the wrong colour. I'm not singling Debehams/Estee Lauder out alone here, but just to give an example of what it's like shopping for pretty much any foundation online...

How is anyone supposed to really know which shade to pick from such a tiny diagram? Get it even slightly wrong with ultra fair skin and it looks way out and ends up not being wearable. There is some light at the end of the foundation brush though, in the form of the Bobbi Brown foundation match service which you can access online here if like me, you don't live near a Bobbi Brown counter or store.

You chat with a consultant who then diagnoses your shade, by asking you to compare yourself with similar skinned celebrities. Amazingly, when I was able to go to a real life Bobbi Brown counter, the shade matched with what the lady had told me. The shade both assistants said I was, is Porcelain (their lightest shade of course!)I'm hoping to really cover this subject in depth within future videos/blog posts, because I feel it's important to understand that when buying foundation, it's a minefield and sometimes you don't know which brand or assistant to trust. I've lost count at the amount of times an assistant has applied foundation on me, told me it looks "fabulous" and "perfect", and when I walk out the store and look properly it's deep orange or just completely off. Sometimes this is after spending alot of money on the the product (I was once sold Estee Lauder Doublewear in Desert Beige)... need I say more?!