The Best Foundation for Pale Skin: a roundup plus colour swatches

The Best Foundation for Pale Skin

Following on from my post on being Pale and Proud, a lot of you asked for advice about foundation for pale skin. Trust me, I feel your pain on this: I think for most of us palefaces, finding foundation that doesn’t look orange (or, in my case, just make me look like I haven’t washed for a week) can turn into a lifetime’s search with nothing ever being just right.

The list that follows, then, is a highly biased list of my own favourite foundations for pale skin. Needless to say, these are just the products I’ve used myself, so the list is far from exhaustive, and I’m hoping some of you will help add to it by leaving your own suggestions in the comments. Before I start, I’m also just going to go ahead and state the obvious: that not all pale skin is pale is pale in exactly the same way, so what works for me may not work for you, and vice versa.

For reference, my skin is pale and freckled, with pinkish undertones. In MAC terms, I’d be an NW15, but I actually find that shade too dark for me, so here are a few of the foundations I use, or have used, instead, in no particular order:

Illamasqua Rich Liquid Foundation in RF105 and RF135 (£22)

Super-heavy coverage, which will disguise just about any flaw. RF105 is the pale faced girl’s secret weapon: it’s pure white, so it’s not something you’ll want to use on its own (unless you actually do work as a clown), but it’s ideal for mixing with other foundations to dial down the colour. This is what I use if I’m stuck for the right colour and I have to resort to a foundation that’s slightly too dark for me. RF135, meanwhile, is the next lightest colour Illamasqua do. I initially purchased RF120, which is very yellowish, and much too dark for me, but 135 is a much better match. This isn’t an easy foundation to work with, however: it’s very thick and very matt, and for that reason, definitely isn’t for everyone.  (My review)

(Note: I don’t have a bottle of the 135 handy, but when I do, I’ll try to remember to add a swatch…)

Lancome Renergie Lift Makeup in Lifting Porcelain (10) ($42)

This is the foundation I’m using right now – I’ll be writing a fuller review of it soon, but suffice to say that it was the pale colour that attracted me to it. It offers medium coverage with a bit of a dewy look to it, and also claims to lift the skin and erase wrinkles. Sadly, I see no signs of that happening, but the colour is as close to perfect as it gets for me. It also has SPF 20, which is always good news.

Maybelline Pure Makeup in Porcelain Ivory (£3.95)

This is one of my favourite budget buys of all time, and I’m thrilled to have finally discovered it being sold here in the UK, having previously been forced to stock up on it on trips to the States. Porcelain Ivory is a pink-toned pale shade, and the water-based formula also makes this very easy and comfortable to wear. (My review)

Revlon ColorStay Makeup in 110 Ivory (£11.99)

I’m not 100% sold on the colour of this. It looks perfect in the bottle, but can look a little dark on me in some lights. I persevere with it, however, because it’s a fantastic foundation if you’re looking for thick coverage, and the fact that you can also choose the right formula for your skin is also a bonus. I use the Combination/Oily skin version, which is great at stopping shine on the t-zone. This is another one I’ll be reviewing soon.

Bare Escentuals BareMinerals SPF 15 Foundation in Fair (£22)

I’m not a huge fan of powder-based foundations, but I do like BareMinerals, and found their foundation in ‘Fair’ to be a good match for my skin. I actually use this over liquid foundations sometimes on days when I need extra coverage. (My review)

This one didn’t photograph well at all, so here’s an extra one:

I should add here that these are all photographed on my arm, which is paler than my face, and in fairly low light levels (that’s Scotland in the summertime for you). I’ve made them as accurate as I can, but these are really just guidelines, and obviously there’s no substitute for visiting a counter and swatching them yourself if you can.

Anyway! Enough about me! I know there are plenty of pale skinned peeps out there, so tell me: which are your favourite pale foundations?