Asian woman with brown skin smiling

Whatever your skin color, it’s human nature to wonder what it would be like if it were different. However, wanting to have a fair complexion can also turn into an unhealthy obsession with whitening products and expensive treatments. The cost is highest when it begins to affect your self-esteem and you begin attaching your worth to how light your skin is. If you’re open to exploring ways to quit the need to go lighter, here are some ideas that might help.

Focus on Skin Health

Skin whitening products aren’t always good for the skin. Those whose sole intent is to whiten are particularly tricky. According to the National Institutes of Health, some ingredients that promise fair skin color or a white complexion are unregulated and potentially dangerous. These include hydroquinone, arbutin, and pure kojic acid.

Instead, focus on skin health and target brightening the skin instead of whitening it. Aim to achieve an even tone all over. Think of it as turning up the level of brightness in a photo versus changing the color of your skin altogether. Skin brightening ingredients like vitamin C and are safe to use and offer additional benefits.

POND'S Bright Triple Glow Serum has niacinamide, Gluta-Boost C, and hyaluronic acid, all of which can improve your skin’s overall health. It hydrates, fades dark spots, refines pores, and evens out your skin tone. You won’t be whiter, but you’ll have better, stronger skin, which is the better goal.

Work with Flattering Shades

In your quest to achieve a fair complexion, maybe you haven’t explored your natural skin color’s true potential. has a golden glow that works well with almost anything. Unlike pale skin, deep colors don’t wash it out. It can also hold its own against brighter hues like magenta, orange, and lime.

Makeup-wise, embracing your true shade is a good idea. Using a lighter foundation shade to whiten your skin is a big no-no. You want your face and neck to match in shade. Makeup and skincare brands are now offering a wider range of shades for morena skin tones — it’s just a matter of not being afraid of looking darker.

Deeper blush shades such as fuchsia, berry, orange, and raisin are flattering on morena skin. Meanwhile, in terms of lipstick, go for reds, corals, and deep pinks with warmer undertones.

Remember that All Skin Tones Are Beautiful

It’s easier said than done, but maybe this trick will help. Save photos of celebrities whose beauty you admire. Pay close attention to the range of skin tones in your gallery. Are Zoë Kravitz and Zendaya on your list? What about Pia Wurtzbach and Kathryn Bernardo (who is proud of her morena skin)?

If you can't yet, you could take a more neutral route and practice recognizing color without associating beauty or worth with it. It may be challenging, especially if you’ve struggled with your skin color your whole life, but the task is worth taking on.

It might help to know that you’re not alone. According to a Dove Report in 2018, “low body esteem [is] becoming a unifying challenge shared by women and girls around the world – regardless of age or geography.” This awareness is the first step. Big companies like Unilever are starting to eradicate the word “whitening” from their marketing to help shift goals and motivations in skincare and personal care products.

Whether you have dark skin, medium skin, or light skin, embrace it with Dove Deeply Nourishing Body Wash. It cleans like soap but moisturizes like lotion thanks to NutriumMoisture™ technology. It gives your skin everything it needs and it doesn’t discriminate based on color.

Evaluate Your Motivations

Why do people prefer fair skin? A study in the Journal of Developmental Psychology notes that lighter-skinned girls tend to have higher self-esteem than brown and dark-skinned girls growing up. As they develop their sense of self, set goals, and discover more about the world, their self-esteem also increases. It's usually a case of being conditioned from childhood that light skin is better, and having this idea reinforced through experiences throughout adulthood.

If your end goal has always been to have a fair complexion, examine if this has any underlying motives. Do you attach your self-worth to your physical appearance? What can you do to change that?

Breaking free from an obsession over a fair complexion involves unlearning years and years of conditioning. Shifting the focus to skin health and embracing your skin color can help.