Five Foundations For Pale Skin

I have very pale skin. So pale that buying a good foundation can actually be impossible with some brands or ranges as they just don't do my shade. Many a shade '01' or 'Fair' just looks orange on me and conjures up images of Oompa Loompas. I often joke that I'm so pale I'm blue but this is actually quite accurate. I have a cool undertone to my skin meaning that it can make it even harder to find a good foundation match as they tend to cater more for warmer, more yellow undertones and we're back to me looking like a character from Willy Wonka.

Knowing well how hard the hunt for a great pale foundation can be, I've put together this list of five that are currently in my stash. Hopefully this will at least give you a good starting point if you're struggling to find a foundation pale enough and highlight some brands to focus on. Please be aware that I have quite an oily t-zone so generally look for longevity in a foundation. This means that the finish is often quite matte and the coverage can be a little fuller (though I sheer them out a lot).

Five Foundations For Pale Skin

I'm going to start with the slightly odd one out of the group in that it isn't a liquid. Laura Geller Balance-n-Brighten is a baked foundation which has been a staple in my makeup bag for years. It is made by baking a swirl of different cream pigments on a terracotta tile for 24 hours. It comes in 9 different shades which doesn't sound like a lot but they describe it as "colour correcting" so a wider range of skin tones are covered by each shade. My shade is of course the palest one which is Porcelain. I use this on its own on a no-makeup makeup day as it just has a slightly mattifying, blurring effect on the skin. It evens out your skin tone and hides imperfections without really looking like you're wearing any foundation. I would describe the coverage as light/medium but buildable and I don't find that it settles into fine lines like traditional powders might. Another way that I like to use it is over my other foundations to set and mattify any oilier areas. It does a great job of improving the longevity of my makeup without looking too cakey.

Next up is my other current daily foundation Rimmel Lasting Finish 25 Hour Nude Foundation. I was in two minds whether to include this one as it has now been discontinued. However, Rimmel is such a great high street brand for us pale skinned folk that it deserved a mention anyway. The shade that I use is Light Porcelain which is generally the lightest shade they do in all of their foundations. As you can see from the swatch below this is the pinkest of the five so a great option for anyone with cool undertones like me who struggles to find a foundation that isn't too yellow. I can't say I've ever tested the claim of up to 25 hours wear time but it still looks pretty good after a day at work. Rimmel foundations are all priced at under £10 so definitely worth checking out if you're after something a bit more affordable.

Speaking of affordable you'd be hard pushed to beat The Ordinary Coverage Foundation on that front. It also comes in an impressive 21 shades which are named according to tone and undertone. The palest shades are 1.0P very fair with pink undertones and 1.0N very fair with neutral undertones. There is also a third shade 1.0NS which contains a subtle silver highlight and is the one I have. I'll come clean here and admit that I picked up this shade by accident in the Covent Garden store thinking it was 1.0N and panicked when I got home and realised. Thankfully I don't wind up looking like the Tin Man and the highlight is so subtle that I struggle to see it at all. The pigment is high in this foundation so the coverage is a good medium/full. I tend to just use a little bit and buff it out a lot. The first time I used this foundation I was blown away by how blurred and perfected my skin looked. However, over time it has become consigned to the better skin days as I find that it really accentuates any dry, flaky areas. When it works I love it and everyone's skin is different so I would urge you to at least give it a try.

Another good high street/drugstore option is Revlon ColorStay. This is available in either combination/oily or normal/dry depending on your skin type. The combination/oily option that I have has a wider selection of shades at 22. I have 110 Ivory which is the lightest shade. The main negative that I have found with this foundation is that the lightest shade just isn't quite pale enough for me. You can hopefully see from the pictures that it is the darkest of the five. I mostly used it for weddings last summer when I just about got away with it as my skin tone was a touch warmer at that time of year. It is another medium/full coverage but it blends in beautifully and wears really well over a long day. If they made a shade which was just a tiny bit paler and cooler then it would tip it over into an everyday option for me.

Finally, we come to Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Even Finish Foundation. This is the priciest of the five but in my opinion it's worth it. If you have all but given up on finding a foundation pale enough for you then I recommend you check out Bobbi Brown and the palest shade they do which is Alabaster. I discovered this foundation when I was researching makeup for my wedding. I needed something that would be pale enough for me in the winter, would last for hours, wouldn't flash-back in photos, and would give me flawless looking skin. This foundation delivered on all fronts. It is medium/full coverage and you do need to work quickly to blend it out before it sets to a velvety matte finish. I have only two small negatives with this foundation. I do find that after a few hours it starts to settle into my smile lines and also, I'm not a huge fan of its lavender scent. These are only minor points though and I highly reccomend this foundation, especially for a special occasion.

Foundation SwatchesFoundation Swatches Direct Sunlight

Apologies for how bright the light is for these swatches but it was a particularly sunny day. The one on the right is in direct sunlight. They are in the same order as the top photo starting with The Ordinary Coverage Foundation at the bottom and finishing with Laura Geller Balance-n-Brighten (which was hard to show in a swatch) at the top.

If, like me, you have super pale skin and are constantly on the hunt for a good foundation then I hope this has been useful. Even if you have a different skin type to me or like a different level of coverage or a different finish then these brands are still worth checking out as all of them offer alternative formulas to those shown here. Happy hunting!

At the time of writing:

The Ordinary Coverage Foundation 30ml is £5.90 HERE
Revlon ColorStay Foundation Combination/Oily 30ml is £12.99 HERE 
Rimmel Lasting Finish 25 Hour Nude Foundation 30ml - no longer available
Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Even Finish Foundation 30ml is £34 HERE
Laura Geller Balance-n-Brighten 9g is £26 HERE

*All items were purchased by me and all links are non-affiliate


  1. I'm the same, I really struggle with finding foundations pale enough for me - there's a NARS foundation that I love but the lightest shade is just too dark for me, which is a real shame. Cover FX do some great pale shades and I'm now pale enough for Mac NC15 to be a perfect match (it used to be too pale) xx

    1. It's so frustrating when a foundation with a great formula doesn't do your shade! Thanks, it's great to have recommendations from someone else who encounters this problem :) X


Post a Comment