A Guide To Buying Pale Foundations


Click the above picture to watch my latest video on tips for buying foundation when you have ultra fair skin!

Hopefully my points will help, and again I want to stress I am not deliberately trying to insult any counter assistant’s out there. However, I can only go on my past experiences and I feel as if I have been royally conned on many occasions, and I want others to avoid the same fate.

Having said that, as mentioned in my video some of the best companies I have had a good match to are: Bobbi Brown, Laura Mercier and Illamasqua. I feel these three companies best cater for pale skin, although of course there is always room for a greater spectrum of shades from these brands and others alike.

Over the years, my pale skin has been “colour matched” everything from Illamasqua skin base in 02 (the lightest shade as pictured above) to Estee Lauder in Desert Beige…

It just goes to show how different each beauty counter and company can massively mis-judge your skintone, especially when you are pale (and these people are supposed to be the experts!)

N.B: Although I have tried fake tan once in the past, never when going for a foundation fitting incase you were wondering. I have *only* been “matched” to my natural celtic skintone!  

I wanted to address a few points I feel are really helpful when shopping for foundation when you have pale (lighter than NC15) skin. Afterall, how much money do we actually waste on products we can’t wear because they are too dark, or the wrong undertone… or just plain orange looking?!

Here are some of my top tips. Remember, if you’d like to share some of your counter experiences (good or bad) then please leave me a comment below or on my accompanying video linked at the top of this post!

1. Lighting

Remember that shop lighting, particularly in department stores is artificial. This means it can massively distort the colour of both your skintone (I always look tanned in Boots!) and also the colour of the foundation you are swatching. Always swatch the product and then have a look outside in good natural light to see both it’s true colour, and the level of oxidisation that’s occured once the product has reacted with the air. 

2. Research

Whilst computer screens and photography can give a slightly different picture, always google swatches of foundations you are interested in trying. It may take the fun out of it a little, but believe me… a counter assistant is unlikely to inform you they don’t make shades light enough for your skin tone if they don’t. I’ve been told “wow this shade is perfect for you!” when I trust them, end up parting with my cash only to get it home and see it is way off, to know this isn’t the case. 

Better safe that sorry, and apologies if you are an honest counter assistant reading this, I know you are not all bad!

3. Always have contingency plans

Buying a white foundation is a must if you are pale, or perhaps only tan partially throughout the year. More on the art of mixing here

Remember, if a brand doesn’t make a shade pale enough for you, as long as you get the undertone right you can cancel out any orange or yellow tones with just a drop of a white foundation. This means you can get the coverage and finish you want, but also at the right shade too. 

4. Look out for phrases such as “this will warm your skintone up a bit”

Foundation should be your skintone and your skintone only. Nobody looks good in foundation that gives them tide marks or is clearly too dark, so don’t be fooled by such gibberish. How can you have a really warm toned face but a pale neck?! Exactly….

5. Don’t be afraid to walk away

If you are matched at a counter and really don’t feel comfortable, or want the second opinion of a friend, or even to look outside first and have a look in good daylight, then don’t be afraid! You are the customer at the end of the day, and you should feel 100% confident in your purchase. 

Author: paleskinmakeup

I am a beauty blogger with experience working on various different makeup and fragrance counters. I believe all skintones are beautiful and I love to inspire confidence within my readership.

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