Do You Like It Pale Or Tan?

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A bronzed complexion has always been one of the most sought-after looks in Hollywood. But believe it or not, sales of pale foundations actually went up by 200% thanks to the Twilight effect.

I have had light skin all my life and while there are times when I wish my skin was darker (don’t we always want what we don’t have?), I have learned to embrace it. After all, I can always fake it with makeup and self-tanners *lol*

So are you a pale porcelain princess or a gorgeous golden goddess? Would you prefer one over the other? Spill!

My Favorite Pale Porcelain Princesses


Kristen Stewart, Anne Hathaway and Fan Bing Bing

Phyllis Li is the Founder and Editor-in-chief of Makeup For Life, one of the top 50 beauty blogs that focuses on celebrity makeup breakdowns, product reviews, makeup tutorials and all things beauty. Having lived and traveled in North America, Europe and Asia, she was exposed to different techniques and products at an early age and hopes to put a global perspective towards beauty. Phyllis won the Best Content Award by Total Beauty in 2008 and has been featured in various publications and websites including ELLE, Glamour.com, Yahoo Shine!, AOL Stylelist, Nylon Korea, VOGUE China, Ming Pao Daily (Canada) and Shanghai Weekly. In 2010, she was appointed one of the nine Real Women Ambassadors in the United States to take part in the Latisse® Wishes Challenge, working with Hollywood celebrity Kathy Ireland and raised over $400,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant wishes for approximately 54 children. In 2012, she teamed up with luxury skincare brand TATCHA and released a limited-edition 3-Piece Set of her favorite beauty products. Phyllis currently lives in Chicago, US. She is the beauty editor for Shanghai Daily's StyleHai Magazine and a member of the Glam Beauty Network.

24 COMMENTS

  1. As an Asian, naturally being a porcelain doll is a dream. However, it reveals flaws pretty obviously especially when you have zits or scars, compared with those who have darker skin.

  2. I think a lot of Asians (not all) tend to like the pale look because it’s something that we strive for. I’m fair as well and really okay with not being tan because it takes less work and sun!

  3. I have no choice but to stay pretty light; i burn easily so I’m forced to wear sunscreen every single day. I used to want to be tan like how most of my friends are, but like you, I’ve learned to embrace my skin.But as AtelierGal said, it’s pretty difficult to hide flaws with lighter skin =(

  4. Lol…The sale of light foundation went up because of twilight. For daily use or just Halloween?

    I don’t deliberaty try to tan or go lighter but I personally think pale skin makes the features stand out more…

  5. I am quite tan, and grass is indeed greener on the other side. I sometimes wish I was pale because it can be seen as a mysterious look. Makeup also show up better on pale skins, the colors are more vibrant. I love red lips on pale skin, it’s a true vampy feeling. Tan skin, like my self however, is less versatile, imo. It’s so hard to wear red lipstick!

  6. I have a medium tan complexion and I am pretty much naturally tanned year round. In the summer time I get pretty dark. I am Asian, but I never wanted the pale/ivory complexion, it is not really me. Anyway, I tend to like the opposite things as my mom, who strives for a pale ivory complexion. I was born in Canada and raised here so I am always outside playing when I was young, though I do wear sunscreen. I think I am pretty much more influenced by North American culture than Asian culture. I tan naturally and easily but I know my limits to too much sun.

  7. I’m an asian & I’ve always been dreaming about white porcelain skin, but I’ve got medium tan complexion & tan easily. I used to fake lighter skin by using pale foundation & powders, but it’s just not me :( I think pale complexion brings out your eyes & makes you look younger & fresher. Tanned skin sometimes look dirty.
    LOL i would die for Michelle Trachtenberg’s skin.

  8. I’m pretty light and I rather be pale than tan because I like to wear soft eyeshadow colours and I think it would look ashy on tan skin. However, tanner people can pull off dramatic makeup looks better, in my opinion because it doesn’t look as obvious on white skin.

  9. I’m pretty pale especially for a latina. But I love my color :) I stay out of the sun because when I was younger I didn’t and now I do have hyperpigmentation. And I get red really easily. I do own bronzers but use them sparingly. Now I just strive for an even complexion.

  10. I’m naturally tan cuz I’m Pakistani..well my mom is Paki too but she’s extremely fair & has green eyes like everyone in the family, so I don’t know where I got it from!

    but I prefer..either! It doesn’t matter to me! I agree with Crisania’s comment, as long as complexion is even toned :)

  11. I’ve always wanted to be Dita Von Teese for a day. Her pale look is immaculate. I’m black with skin like milk chocolate, so I’m neither. But boy, wouldn’t it be cool to trade places for a day?

  12. I’m pretty dark, i would absolutely love to be pale, i think pale people are soo lucky, even if you want to look darker it’s much easier to make yourself look darker than paler.

  13. i like my skin color now being a medium tan…it would be convenient to have light skin though because there is a wider selection of colors to wear. and yes, it’s easier to fake tan than fake being light skinned… :)

  14. I am white and naturally pale. I could tan if I went out into the sun, but I avoid it like the plague (afraid of skin cancer and wrinkles). Many times I wish I were more tan because I look healthier with more color, but on other people I love all skin tones.

  15. I’m half white half asian and I have naturally porcelain skin. I grew up loving and hating it at the same time because I had my mom’s side of the family and my asian friends telling me how pretty my skin was and the media and girls at school trying to get really tanned and dark. I used to want to be tanned because everyone else wanted to be but now I avoid it like the plague, no skin cancer or premature aging for me! :P And anyways my paleness is my boyfriend’s favourite thing about my appearance. I do like tans on some other girls though.

  16. Wow seems like we have a bit of supporters on both sides =)

    To be honest, there are both pros and cons to being pale/tan. I will elaborate more with another entry. In the mean time, keep the comments coming!

  17. I tan very easily (not burn) and have a dark skin with strong yellow-golden undertones !
    I love dark skin specially when I see the georgeous face of Beyonce or Rihanna :)
    but i’m not going to lie sometimes I would like to have a pale complexion lol. The problem with medium/dark skin it’s that I always have a dull skin so I use blushes (brown, orange and red).

    In France, lot of women tend to have a tan look. We don’t have a lot of brightening products.

  18. My skin is light and I used to hate it. I thought I looked sick!

    But know, I don’t really know why, I like to be pale during most part of the year ( fall, spring and especially during winter) and I like to be darker in summer.

    Maybe I think that pale skin brings more mystery to a person… it makes someone loor fragile and cute, with pink blush… And it fits better with winter looks and colors!

    But during summer, when I wear shorts, I hate having white legs!! with the sunlight and all the bright colors outside, it just looks dull!

  19. My favorite porcelain princesses are kristen bell, kate bosworth and cate blanchett… they have absolutely amazing skin

  20. I’m new to your site and am in LOVE with it!

    As a pale girl, I don’t mind being pale. I used to tan a little bit,mostly from being outside working on my parent’s tree farm or out by the lakeside, but I got a severe sun burn in the Bahamas when I was 17 that was almost sun poisoning. I wear an SPF 30 all year and more in the summer. But I do sometimes wish I had a little more darker tones, besides the ever present freckles. It would probably tone down the redness a lot! Haha

  21. i have very pale skin most of the year, except for the summer since i tan SUPER easily and i’m outside most of the time. i guess that’s good since i can be both tan and pale, but i have to buy foundation and concealer in almost every color between porcelain to deep olive! but i would rather be pale than tan. i think pale is more mysterious and rare, since most people are tanning and want to be darker now. ugh, i hope the whole pale thing doesn’t get as popular as self-tanners and stuff like that, cause i like how my skin tone is one of my unique traits that most people can’t achieve. i’m quite dark now but i can’t wait to look pale as a sheet of paper again! lol..i love putting on doll-like makeup (mascara, eyeliner, blush, lip gloss) that look with dark-brown-almost-black hair is perfect and how i will look as soon as it starts to get cold :D

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