Hands up if any of these sound like you:
* You always go straight for the palest foundation on the shelf – and it’s normally STILL too dark.
* Your eyelashes are so pale, you look like you don’t have any.
* You have so many freckles they can almost pass as a “sun tan”. Speaking of which…
* You don’t tan. Ever.
* There are approximately two shades of lipstick and one colour of blusher that actually suit you. They’re all discontinued.
* When it comes to eyeshadow, your choices are brown, light brown, or … that’s it, really.
If you answered “yes” to any or all of these, then congratulations: you’re either:
b) Someone who looks a bit like me in terms of colouring: so, pale skin, red hair, non-existent eyelashes – you get the picture.
If so, these tips are for you…
MAKEUP TIPS FOR REDHEADS (Or anyone else who needs them…)
01. DYE YOUR EYELASHES
Many redheads have eyelashes so pale they’re practically translucent, creating an odd, lash-less look. Mascara is all well and good, but you might not want to wear it all the time, and even when you do, you can still find yourself left with blonde roots. To prevent this, I’ve been dyeing my own eyelashes for years (If you’ve never tried it, you’ll find my tutorial here), and swear by it: I still wear mascara every day, but the fact that I don’t have to try to cover up blonde/translucent lashes every time I use it makes it easier to apply, and appear more polished when it’s on. Oh, and if I don’t want to wear mascara, at least I look like I actually HAVE eyelashes!
02. USE BROWN EYELINER RATHER THAN BLACK
Brown eyeliner still emphasises the eye, but looks more natural, and less harsh against pale skin/red hair, than a jet black liner will.
03. … BUT DON’T BE AFRAID TO WEAR BLACK MASCARA FOR ADDED DRAMA
I know a lot of redheads who think they can only wear brown mascara (or even clear, which is as close to useless as a beauty product can be). Actually, once it’s on your lashes, there’s not a huge amount of difference in colour between brown and black mascaras: I personally use black, because I like to exaggerate my lashes as much as possible, and I don’t think it looks odd, so don’t be afraid to give it a go – you don’t HAVE to always stick to brown!
04. INVEST IN A TOP QUALITY FACIAL SUNSCREEN, EVEN IF IT SEEMS EXPENSIVE
Pale skinned people can’t afford to go without sunscreen, especially during the summer, or if you’re going to be spending a lot of time outdoors. For years, I settled for whatever drugstore brand offered a high enough SPF – and inevitably ended up with a face like an oil slick, which was even whiter than before, thanks to the thick, gloopy formula. A few years ago, I was sent a tube of Lancome Genifique Soleil to review, and it was a complete game changer, because it applied like a regular moisturiser (and didn’t leave that tell-tale white residue behind!), but had a high enough SPF for my pale skin. It’s since been discontinued, and I’m on the hunt for a replacement: when I find one I love, I won’t hesitate to buy it, even if the price tag makes my eyes water – it makes such a difference to my skin and makeup that it’s totally worth it!
05. BUY A WHITE FOUNDATION TO DIAL DOWN DARKER SHADES
If you’re pale, you know the search for foundation is never-ending – and even when you find one you think works, all it takes is a few days of sunshine, and your skin has changed colour just enough to make it unsuitable again. There’s no substitute for the perfect colour match, of course, but if you’ve yet to find it, a few drops of pure white foundation (MAC and Illamasqua both sell it) will allow you to dial down the shade of any regular foundation, to make it pale enough. You might not use it every day, but it’s a handy thing to have in your makeup bag for whenever you need ut,
06. USE BROW PENCILS DESIGNED FOR BLONDES, RATHER THAN BRUNETTES
Brow pencils generally come in brown or blonde – rarely red. This is a shame, because redheads have brows that need filling in too, and we don’t want to look like we drew them on with a sharpie. I always buy brow products aimed at people with blonde hair – it’s much closer to the colour of my natural brows, and can be topped up with brown eyeliner/eye shadow if necessary.
07. DON’T TRY TO COVER YOUR FRECKLES
Red hair and freckles go hand-in-hand, and one mistake a lot of redheads make is to attempt to cover their freckles with foundation and/or powder, resulting in a very un-natural, caked-in-makeup look. Freckles are natural, though, and constantly attempting to fight your natural appearance will only make you even LESS happy with the way you look, so don’t worry about freckles showing through your foundation – they’re supposed to.
08. IGNORE ALL THESE TIPS (EXCEPT THE ONE ABOUT SUNSCREEN)
When you have red hair, you constantly find yourself being given “rules” about what you should and shouldn’t wear. Don’t wear pink, always wear coral, blue undertones look best – and so on and so forth. Actually, though, it’s not that complicated – sure, it can be harder to find colours that works with your hair and skin tone, but it’s not impossible, and sometimes it can help to just ignore all of the so-called “rules”, and try some colours you’ve been told to avoid – the great thing about makeup is that it washes right off again if you don’t like it, so don’t be afraid to experiment a little: you might just like it.
It’s also worth remembering that all redheads are different, just as all blondes and brunettes are, so there’s really no “one colour suits all” solution. I’m constantly hearing people say that “redheads look great in X” or “redheads shouldn’t wear Y”, and I just think, “What, ALL of them?” Not all redheads look the same, so what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another: don’t be put off trying something because you’ve been told you “can’t” wear it, and don’t feel you have to wear something else because it supposedly looks good with your colouring – it might not!
If you have red hair, I’d love to hear any tips you have to share!