As I may have mentioned once or twice, I’m really very pale of face. I’ve been struggling to find a base pale enough to wear everyday for years before I discovered the joy that is MAC Face and Body in White. Annoyingly the white shade only comes in the pro-sized bottles (120ml) and I only need to add a drop or two to any foundation to lighten it up enough, so it’s going to last for years (let’s not talk about best before dates, ok?), but it’s made finding the right colour so much easier as the palest shade in each range is rarely pale enough without a bit of help.
The five foundations here are my favourites, although I have tiny issues with all of them – obviously. It couldn’t just be simple, could it? Here’s the run-down of the pros and cons (it’s a lot longer than I intended – sorry!)
L – R: Nars Velvet Matte Skin Tint in Terre Neuve; Rimmel Lasting Finish 25 Hour Nude in Light Porcelain; L’Oreal Infallible 24-Hour Mattifying in 10 Porcelain; Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation in Fair 01; Nars Sheer Glow in Siberia.
My newest purchase is the Nars Velvet Skin Tint and I really rather like it. Despite it looking orange in the swatch, it somehow just about blends out to be pale enough for me to avoid looking like an Oompa Loompa. The ‘tint’ suggests that this is a matte tinted moisturiser but it actually has medium coverage which evens out my slightly blotchy complexion and settles down to a softly matte finish without being dry or dull. I wish that it came in a couple of paler shades and that it lasted for a couple of hours longer, but it’s a good’un.
(An update: after using the Nars for a couple of months, I’ve changed my mind. It started to oxidise on me, making me feel like a pumpkin, and the formula started to separate on my skin by lunchtime. Boo).
The Rimmel Lasting Finish 25 Hour Nude foundation is brilliant for the price and Light Porcelain is a pretty pale shade. It’s gives a lovely satin sheen, without being shiny, and is a medium coverage, although it can be layered and built-up. My main problem with it is how pink the pale shades are – can we have some neutral tones now, pleasethankyou? I can wear this lightly but it definitely makes me look slightly ill if I build it up too much. For those with cool tones, though, this might be a winner.
One of my favourites is actually one of those with the worst colour match. The L’Oreal Infallible 24-Hour Mattifying foundation was in my 2015 makeup favourites so won’t go on about it too much but it’s a matte-but-glowy base that lasts all days and is miraculous at hiding pores. The problem is the colour; Porcelain is the palest and is both too dark and too pink for me, so I mix Porcelain, Vanilla (the next colour up but much yellower), and my trusty white MAC base to make a shade that isn’t too far off my skin colour. I wish I didn’t have to but at £7.99 a tube, both colours are still half the price of the Nars or the Charlotte Tilbury. Just sayin’.
The penultimate swatch is the foundation I wore for my wedding. The Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation has had some bad reviews from people thinking that it’s too heavy and matte and I agreed when I first used it with a brush. then I tried it with a (damp, obviously) Beauty Blender and it felt like a different product. It sets to a matte finish but doesn’t make your skin look dead; rather, there’s a luminosity to it which is really lovely, and it lasts for bloody ages. It’s a lot like the L’Oreal Infallible but the colours are much better (for me, at least).
Finally, is the foundation that almost all bloggers seem to love and I have a love/hate relationship with. Nars Sheer Glow has one of the worst names – it’s neither sheer nor glowy, so hats off to whoever came up with that title. If I just slap it on it looks great for about an hour and then starts to break up, especially on my chin, which is less than ideal. It’s a lot better if I wear a decent primer underneath and set it with the magical Nars Light Reflecting Setting Powder, but frankly I’m too lazy to do this everyday. The reason I keep trying with it is the colour – Siberia is the perfect shade for me. It can look scarily yellow but when it’s blended in it’s goddamn perfect. If only the Velvet Skin Tint came in Siberia…
Are you super pale? What base do you go for?- Any product marked with an '*' is a PR sample. All reviews are 100% honest regardless of whether I bought the item myself or was sent it. Links may be affiliate, which means that I get a small commission if you use them -