You wait for (literally) years for an affordable foundation pale enough to come along and then three appear at once. Admittedly only one is truly pale enough for me to year without a teeny bit of white, but I’m pretty much translucent so for most people these will definitely not be too dark. The absurdly long waiting list for The Ordinary Colours products seems to have calmed down now so they’re easier to get hold of, although still not readily available without getting them online, and Wet’n’Wild isn’t available in here, which is highly irritating. Still, they’re all worth it if you can get your paws on them.
The first two are both from The Ordinary range, Colours. Such is the hype around their skincare—ultra-affordable but actually effective—that the demand for their first cosmetic products was always going to be high, but I don’t think that anyone expected it to be quite as huge as it was (over 50,000 people were on the waiting list initially). The range consists of two formulas of foundation, both available in an relatively impressive 21 shades ranging from the really rather pale 1.0 to the properly deep 3.0, with different undertones for each shade – there’s a full selection of swatches here and a shade guide here. I went with palest, 1.0N, which is very almost the perfect colour. It possibly leans slightly more warm than neutral but it’s not too yellow. The shade is also pretty much the same for both finishes, which is marvellous and makes life a bit easier if you want to try both.
Before I tried them I assumed that the Serum Foundation would be sheerer and dewier than the Coverage and I was 50% right. The Serum is slightly sheerer but, on me at least, it actually has a slightly more matte finish when it settles onto the skin. I’ve tried applying it with a damp sponge (this one, obviously), a flat-top brush (this one is my favourite), and my fingers. All three work but I think that the it looks best slapped on with fingers and then given a quick finish by bopping a sponge all over. The product is so fluid that it all soaks into a sponge if you try to blend it that way straight off and the brush, which I love for other bases, also seems to eat the foundation rather than buffing it into the skin.
I do like the the finish of the Serum foundation initially, and I love that it’s (almost) pale enough, but it doesn’t wear brilliantly on my skin. I’ve tried it over several primers—my beloved High Spreadability Primer, also from The Ordinary; Laura Geller Hydrating Spackle; MAC Strobe Cream; L’Oreal Infallible Matte Primer, to name a few—and none have stopped the foundation looking a bit patchy by lunchtime. I do have rather dehydrated skin, which I suspect contributes a bit to the problem, and I wish that I could make it work, but there are plenty of people who love it and, for £5.90, it’s definitely worth a try.
The Ordinary Coverage foundation is definitely my favourite of the two. It’s a little thicker than the Serum version, but in no way gloopy, and I like to apply it with a damp sponge for the most even coverage. It’s a super-quick base, doesn’t need much work, and, although it’s by no means full coverage, covers most of my pigmentation marks without looking cakey or mask-like. I also have the Coverage in 1.0NS, which is a the same shade but with a subtle silvery glimmer–don’t worry about looking like a disco ball, it isn’t glittery at all but looks as if you have an illuminating primer underneath which is just peeking through. It’s the one I reach for the most.
Last up we have the Wet’n’Wild PhotoFocus foundation in Porcelain, which annoyingly isn’t available in the UK, although those of you in Ireland, Canada, and the USA should have no problem finding it*. This one has had a lot of hype in the US, mainly because over there it’s a whopping $5.99 and performs like a foundation five times as expensive. It’s easy to blend with either a stippling brush or a damp sponge, and sets to a fairly matte-but-not-flat finish which sticks around all day without fading or caking. I do tend to put a hydrating primer under everything because I have dehydrated skin, but it isn’t a particularly drying formula. The coverage is medium and buildable, and looks surprisingly skin-like for something that’s quite matte. It’s my go-to for long days/when I look particularly knackered and I love it.
*We can get it from Amazon, but it’s from third party sellers so it’s a bit of a case of ‘try at your own risk’. Sorry!- 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 -