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Colors to Wear to Make You Look Less Sunburned

author image Amy Davidson
Amy Davidson is a graduate from the University of Florida in Gainesville, with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She also writes for local papers around Gainesville doing articles on local events and news.
Colors to Wear to Make You Look Less Sunburned
A woman wearing a loose cap-sleeved blouse in the shade on a sunny day. Photo Credit: master1305/iStock/Getty Images

A day in the sun can be enjoyable, but the aftermath of sunburn can leave you red and uncomfortable. Waiting out sunburns can be grueling, but knowing how to downplay the look of your burn with the right coloring will make redness less obvious. Knowing the proper clothing can also keep you as comfortable as possible while you heal.

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Skin Tone

Your specific skin tone can convey the colors of clothing and makeup to avoid. If you are pale, very fair and freckly, chances are you burn with purple undertones, in which case warmer colors with reds and yellows should be avoided. If you have medium to dark skin with brown or olive tones, you'll see redder burns and should avoid opposing colors without a lot of red in them, such as greens and blues, as these will make redness standout.


Avoid bright blushes, eye shadows and lipsticks and stick to neutral, natural tones. Before you apply any makeup, use a gentle moisturizer with zinc oxide sunscreen, which you can find at most drug stores. Use powder foundation that matches your normal skin tone, applying it in gentle strokes. Top with a light dusting of loose bronzer powder, to combat redness with a more sun-kissed look, and set with translucent powder. Caking on liquid or cream foundation can lead to flakes that will unmask and emphasize a red burn.

Darker Is Better

Darker is better when dealing with sunburns, regardless of your skin tone. A bright shade will make redness pop more, so avoid wearing pastels, white or neon shades. This doesn’t mean that you have to eliminate color and wear black until the burn heals, but whatever color you choose should be in the darker realm of the family. For example dark magenta versus hot pink, or a golden brown versus a bright yellow.


The types of clothes for sunburns can also help you camouflage, while keeping it comfortable. Avoid tight attire, such as long sleeves that wrap around burned shoulders, fitted jeans that will squeeze burnt legs or snug shoes that blister burned feet. Flowing long sleeves or capped-sleeves conceal a burn while allowing cooling air-flow. A long sundress or maxi dress will help conceal legs. Or a light sweater, loose shorts and comfortable flip flops. Remember to keep it loose, flowing and with as much coverage as possible while those burns heal.

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