To reach back into my childhood and quote beloved Alabama folk singer Allen Levi, “Life is hard when you look like a cotton ball.”
This past summer, I considered trying a self-tanner for the first time. I came pretty close, then realized it wasn’t a road I wanted to go down. I know plenty of women who use self-tanner and look lovely, but it sounds like a headache to me. I would rather learn to love my natural coloring. First of all, it’s easier, but there are also benefits to being pale that aren’t often discussed. Here are 5 things to remember if you are pale and struggling to embrace your skin tone:
1.) I mentioned self-tanners, but let’s also mention natural tanning. If you are out in the sun for any length of time without sunscreen, even if you are one of the lucky ones who don’t burn, you are doing irreparable damage to your skin. Shielding yourself from the sun keeps you pale, but also keeps your skin looking young and healthy later in life.
2.) Pale porcelain skin has historically been synonymous with beauty, class, and elegance. This really hasn’t changed. If you want proof, consider how much adoring attention the following actresses get: Emma Stone, Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Emma Watson, Dakota Fanning, Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins, Emilia Clarke, Anna Kendrick, Amy Adams, Liv Tyler, Jessica Chastain, Zooey Deschanel, Karen Gillan, Elle Fanning, Saoirse Ronan, Lily James, Lea Seydoux, and I could go on. Their fair skin is seen as a facet of their beauty, not a detractor.
3.) If you are at all worried about the blemishes on your limbs that are even more visible on pale skin, there is a red carpet trick you could utilize. I would imagine it’s a lot less of a hassle than maintaining self-tanner. First step is applying Mac Studio Face & Body Foundation to the parts of your arms and legs that are bare. Apparently, Mac also makes a literally white-colored foundation, so if the lightest shade isn’t pale enough, you can mix white with it until it matches your particular shade of pale! Then, use something on top with sheen like this. Doesn’t that sound easier than paying for spray tans or worrying about blotchy self-tanner application?
4.) There is something powerful about embracing what is natural. Take one of the actresses in my list up there, Emma Stone. She has set herself a part from other actresses by being real and authentic. A lot of that has to do with how she presents herself. She isn’t trying to be Kim Kardashian or Snooki; her look is based on acceptance, not renovation. That kind of confidence builds a reputation for authenticity!
5.) You are modeling something that has impact on others. When people see you working to emphasize what is natural about your body instead of fighting against it, they notice. And for many people who feel pressure to change everything about themselves, seeing your self-acceptance is encouraging. I do believe that little girls watch the women in their lives and emulate their behavior. What does it say to them when they see women working so hard to change their skin color?
Stay fair, my fair friends! And, if your skin is naturally tan or dark, stay that way too! You were beautifully and wonderfully made!
(And, Allen Levi’s song mentioned above.)