Pale and Proud

5 comments

Before I start my Pale Skin Make-Up channel properly, I thought I would discuss pale skin in terms of it’s history and perception throughout time. In terms of my own history, I am of Irish Decent, therefore have natural very pale skin. Throughout school and my life, I have never been satisfied with the range of pale make-up that is available for fairer tones which is one of the reasons I decided to start this project. As I have delved deeper into products for pale skin, I have also discovered a rather disconcerting undertone to my research.

It really saddened me recently, when I typed in hashtags related to fair/pale skin into twitter, to research potential followers who may be interested in my project. The language and overall tone of 95% of the tweets were to put it simply, vile and offensive. The tweets contained everything from suggesting pale skin was “creepy not sexy” (written by a make-up artist I might add!), to pale skin being “disgusting”. One user even wrote “Pale Skin” after a  “ThingsIhate” trending tag.

We are all entitled to our own opinions of course, but it really does make me question why pale skin has gained such apparent distaste, at least in the world of social media. Controversially, why is it seemingly acceptable to say such abhorrent things about pale skin tones, when it is most definitely not and could even lead to prosecution, if you were to comment similar things on darker skin tones?

The to and fro from pale skin loving and hating, has been going on throughout time, as howtogetpaleskin.com writes:

“Pale skin has been seen as desirable for centuries now. Historically it was perceived as a sign of prestige and evidence of a luxurious lifestyle.

 

Historically, pale skin became a trend as it was a symbol of status. Only workers or laborers spent long hours outdoors in the sun, therefore if you had the privilege of an indoor lifestyle you often had a paler complexion than your working counterparts.”

Basically what this excerpt is saying, is that in past era’s, it was actually seen as upper class to be pale, because it meant you did not work outside in a hard labourous occupation. My how times have changed!

I have experimented with fake tan about 3 times in my life. There was a time at university when being located in the North East of England, I began to feel self conscious when surrounded by so many fake tanned people (if you don’t know what I am on about, go watch Geordie Shore!). Not only did it leave me with streaky arms, but it really made me think. Why am I doing this to myself? To feel better about wearing my shorts? To fit in with everyone else?

You can judge the result for yourself here:

Here I am at an end of year event stood next to a friend of mine from college. Some of you may argue I look so much better with a bit of colour. Maybe I do…. but it’s just not me, I didn’t feel like me and I certainly didn’t look like me. I felt exactly what I was… someone trying to blend in with what everyone else was doing. This may sound a little over dramatic, but it felt almost like I was betraying my own skin tone and heritage for that matter.

The argument I am trying to raise is not that I believe fake tan is betraying your own skin tone, before you ask. I realise life is too short to make those sorts of generalisations about everyone. I also understand that a tan makes people feel confident, happier and like they have just been on holiday which is perhaps why it is so popular, aside from shows like TOWIE and Geordie shore.
My point, is simply this; I am pale, of Irish decent. I am happy with my natural skin tone and know there are also millions others like me. I don’t understand why I have to spend hours trawling the internet for specialist companies and brands that do foundations pale enough for me, because make-up companies (high street ones especially) feel there isn’t the need to stock my kind of shade in their stores.

There is some light at the end of the tunnel, in the form of Dainty Doll Cosmetics, which was set up by Girls Aloud member Nicola Roberts. In the following video, which is worth a watch, as she describes the range and why she decided to bring out a line specifically for the fairer skinned.

 

However as much as I applaud Nicola (and I really do) , I see Dainty Doll as a starting block rather than a solution to the whole problem. I do not think it is acceptable that just one person has come forward to bring out an exclusively pale range of foundations…. when there are endless cosmetics companies out there already, that should be investing more into catering for all spectrums of their consumers skin tones.

We have become a world whereby fake tan, hair, teeth, eyelashes, boobs etc, is seen as beautiful and desirable, over being totally natural and true to “how God made you”. As much as I also believe in “Each to their own”, and seriously don’t wish to judge the choices of others (yes really), I just wish the same could be given back to me, and to others who want to embrace their pale skin, not cover it.

It makes me sad that young teenagers, are becoming increasingly self conscious about being pale, especially when it comes to going back to school and college after the holidays, whereby most students have probably been on holiday and have caught a tan. I myself had all sorts of weird comments directed at me in school, such as “Errrrrr. *long stare* What race are you?!” Daft really, but I know for sure I got off lightly as the fake tan phenomenon was yet to explode when I was at school, as it was long before the days of TOWIE.

As well as making cosmetics companies wake up and smell the… non-tinted-without-a-hint-of-self-tan-moisturiser, and start stocking paler shades… I just want to make pale skin acceptable again. Yes, it’s an almighty big dream… but me writing this blog and filming my channel has to be a step in the right direction, right?!

I am going to conclude this blog with images of high profile people who I think represent pale skin just brilliantly in the following shots:

Dita Von Teese

 

Adele
         Daniel Radcliffe

 

 

Nicola Roberts (founder of Dainty Doll)

Keira Knightly

Anette Olzen
Tom Sturridge
Jacqueline Jossa

5 comments on “Pale and Proud”

  1. I can't believe those are the kinds of things that came up with your search! That is terrible. I have come to embrace my fair skin and at times, I admit, even with it was more pale! Quite a change from my younger days. I had thought the attitude towards fair skin was changing with the health risks of tanning becoming more prominent. *sigh*

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  2. It shocked me too, I wasn't expecting what I found at all. I know not everyone out there shares the same opinion about pale skin, which is why I started this blog. People shouldn't be ashamed of their natural skin tone! You are so right about the health risks too… I read somewhere that the fairest skin tones are the most prominent to damage from the sun, and tanning booths etc.

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  3. As a man these things concern me too. When it comes to personal preference my ideal woman would be as near to Snow White as possible. Dark hair and pale skin. Nothing is more beautiful. And it is a more natural beauty not forced and faked like the whole tan fad that seems to be sweeping the world at the minute. I've known female friends who struggle with their pale skin when it comes to make up.

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  4. I totally agree with what you said. I'm 24, always been super pale, and always listened comments from people like “why don't you get a tan?/oooh you're really white!!”; I always felt uncomfortable wearing short dresses and trousers in summer, with my wall-coloured legs. Add the fact that I'm Italian, which commonly is related to sun, sea, tan,etc. It's a nightmare.
    But now I just had enough of all these silly stuff. I am pale, it's my nature, and I'm not going to change it to be similar to everybody else around me. I really want to embrace my skin tone. Pale pride!
    Giulia

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  5. Pale skin is elegant and beautiful and there's no way I'll intentionally turn myself into an oompa-loompa. It seems all pale people have received derogatory comments at some point in their lives… so sad. But our star is rising again – lots of red carpet events present yet more and more pale beauties :).

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