Monday, 6 September 2010

Swatches: Pale Foundation

The photo below was taken last month at my mates wedding. What stood out to me (and probably everyone) was just how pale skinned I am. Yes, I am whiter than the wedding dress! Ok so my friend next to me was just back from a holiday in Greece so that didn't help, but even the lightest of skins are darker than me (yep, even my little nephews!). I'm just not keen on sitting in the sun (I burn rather than tan anyway) and I've never understood the idea of a sunbed-I figure I would feel like a sausage on the grill! Sizzle, sizzle! Besides you don't need me to tell you it's not good for you. So the only option for me tanning is the good old fake stuff in a bottle. I used to use it regularly, but to be honest these days I just can't be bothered with the upkeep. I also realised a few years ago that although I was 'tanned' in my world, compared to other people I was still pretty pasty, so it all seemed like a huge waste of time. That's before I start on the streaks, discoloured bed sheets and clothes and odd smell. Now I've fully embraced the pale and I think it's one of these things that if you're going to do it, you have to go all the way. Now I'm not just pale, I'm super, blue, glow in the dark white! There's no hiding from it, but I reckon it looks better than when I'm a few shades darker (but still pale) with fake tan. It may look shocking to other people and you constantly get 'do you not like the sun?, would you not like to sit out and get a wee tan?', but I'm completely used to it now.
The only problem is finding a foundation pale enough for my skin. I used to be the 2nd or third palest shade depending on how tanned I was, but now I always opt for the lightest one and as I said last week, more often than not it is still too dark. I also feel like I'm stuck in a little bit of a rut with my base. I'm currently alternating Dainty Doll (reviewed last week), Yves Saint Laurent Matt Touch and before that I used L'Oreal Infallible (liquid). I can't say any of them were or are absolutely perfect for me. Add to this the fact that I developed acne prone skin in my mid 20's, it really reduces the number of foundations I can use without further aggravating my skin or causing breakouts.

So I decided to swatch just some of the foundations I've tried over the past couple of years to illustrate the massive difference in colour and lightness/darkness and to hopefully aid in other pale-istas (?) that are curious about light foundation shades. Most of them I can't use anymore because they (may or do) contain ingredients that disagree with me, but I hope it's helpful for those of you that don't have problematic skin. The top row is a blob straight out of the bottle and underneath you can see how it blends.
Givenchy Subli'mine Sculpt Light spf20 in 658 Exact Candy-a darkish orange in the bottle which blends to a pale peach.
Dainty Doll (by Jelly Pong Pong) in Ivory-as you can see this is by far the palest of the lot, a pinky ivory in the pot, that blends to a very pale ivory.
Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse in 010 Ivory-a dull darkish orangey brown that blends similar to Givenchy but more brown.
Yves Saint Laurent Matt Touch Foundation Oil Free spf10 #1 Ivory-I actually also own this in shade 2 and you are surprised by the bright peach that comes out of the tube, it does blend though into a yellowish tint.
Dior Teint Diorlift spf10 in 100 Ivory-a dark cream shade which blends yellowish (more so than YSL).
Rimmel Recover in 100 Ivory-probably the darkest out of the tube, beige which blends to a light tan.
L'Oreal Infallible 015 Porcelain-this is paler than the powder version which I also own (in the same shade) a medium peach which blends to a very light peach. I found this was the worst for oxidizing btw, it turned much darker than when it was fresh out of the bottle because it could've been quite a good match otherwise.
Clinique Superfit Oil Free in 16 Bare (VF-N) (which I would assume stands for 'very fair-neutral'?)-this is a yellow beige and blends to a yellow tan.

As you can see the only one that isn't darker than my skintone is the Dainty Doll-looks like I could have to wear this for the rest of my life! Although the inner part of my arm is probably a little paler than my face. I do recall Lancome having a white foundation (around 12 years ago when I worked for them) and I always wondered who would ever be pale enough to need that. I had a bottle of it myself and used to use it to mix with darker foundations, but now I could see that I would have to wear it on it's own. I quite fancy trying out their newest foundation Teint Miracle, it looks lovely....if anyone has any recommendations then let me know, I know Bobbi Brown do really good pale colours (unfortunately I don't have a counter near me though so it's wasted money if I'm guessing from online swatches). Is it really too much to ask for a super pale, non-comedogenic, flawless finish foundation?


  1. illamasqua do a good range of colours and have a pure white for use on its own or for mixing with darker colours and ti comes in full coverage and light coverage, i personally think theyre fab :)

  2. I've never tried Illamasqua...I suppose because I don't have access to it here-I know it's available online though. I'll look into it, thanks Amy!

  3. its all based on theatre make up so the colours they provide are amazing, its a really fun range i use alot of their stuff and cant recommend it enough. Ive literally just discovered your blog while i was searching for some info on pearl lowe for peacocks and i have to say its fab and thanks for introducing me to taaz, im obsessed!

  4. Thanks so much for this!
    Would the Exact Candy shade of Givenchy be too dark for a MAC NC20?

  5. Catanya-sorry I forgot to reply sooner! I'm not entirely familiar with MAC fdnt shades having never bought it myself, but the Givenchy one is very good at blending-it's a warm peach that didn't look orangey on me-although I do wish it was slightly paler. For your skin though (you'll be slightly darker than me, is that right?), it could be ok.


    Here are some more pale makeup ideas!


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