Pale Foundations & Foundation Shade Lighteners

četrtek, september 21, 2017

This is in no way an unique post, in fact it's been done many times and I relied on the information in other people's posts myself in the past, so I'm only adding my contribution to the beauty world, sharing my experience with foundations I found that have a very light shade and that I was able to get one way or another here in central Europe. We don't have anywhere near the selection you can find in North America or Asia, we don't even have the selection that's sold in our neighbouring countries. In fact, if you're looking for a very pale foundation in Slovenia, right now, you can buy very little of them, unless you're buying online. Most of mine are drugstore and I buy them in various types of undertones, finishes and coverage levels, so I hope you find my contribution helpful. I have full reviews of all foundations linked in this post, so you can read about them in detail and see the before/afters.

At the end also I added a list of all other very pale foundations that I was able to find, but I haven't tried them either because I can't get them at all, or I haven't had the opportunity to try them or they are too expensive (I noticed during making this post, it's not cheap to be pale). If you have any other recommendation, please share in the comments, you'll be a great help to me and other readers. 

NARS Sheer Glow Siberia - lightest shade I own, but very yellow
MAYBELLINE Fit Me Luminous + Smooth 110 Porcelain - second lightest, but close to Siberia just more neutral
MAYBELLINE Fit Me Matte + Poreless 100 Warm Ivory - almost the same as Luminous + Smooth 110, no difference on the skin
MAYBELLINE Fit Me Matte + Poreless 110 Porcelain - despite the same name as at Luminous + Smooth, this one is about a half a shade or maybe a full shade darker, but it's a very small difference on the skin due to light coverage. It's more yellow-peachy that both other Fit Mes
BOURJOIS Healthy Mix Serum - I put this one in all my swatches for comparison. It's darkest here, with a yellow undertone.

REVLON Colorstay Foundation normal/dry skin 110 Ivory - lightest pink toned foundation I own and with the most proper pink tone.
MANHATTAN Easy Match Foundation 30 Soft Porcelain - a shade darker than Revlon.
BOURJOIS Healthy Mix 50 - similar to Fit me Matte + Poreless 110 and Easy Match, it's a bit darker once it sets and has a pink-peach undertone.
TONYMOLY Pokemon Cushion - most neutral, but still slightly pink, similar to fit me Matte + Poreless 110

MAYBELLINE Fit Me Matte + Poreless
100 Warm Ivory & 110 Porcelain
Coverage: light-medium
Finish: semi-matte
Undertone: yellow (both)
Price: 8.99 €
If you're looking for a proper selection of pale shades, so far this is one of the rare formulas I've found. In Europe we have several light shades in this line, the lightest is 100 (warm), followed by 102 (cool), 105 (cool) and 110 (warm). I've found just about everything I want in this foundation. The formula is light and pretty much invisible on the face when you blend it, the finish isn't that mask-like matte, instead it's more of a semi-matte and unlike a lot of foundations, it looks nice over pores as it somewhat fills them up a bit, therefore provides a very smooth base. I can't say this is a foundation that would perform well on very oily skin, since it's not matte, neither does it stay semi-matte, as even on me I notice some shine of the forehead on hotter days, but for my normal-combination skin it's great. It's a foundation for those who prefer light coverage, which is exactly what I like so much about it. I have two shades, both European version, since American version comes in a bottle without a pump. Shade 100 Warm Ivory is one of the palest shades I own, it has a yellow undertone that isn't that strong and it's my perfect match. I bought it in Austria because the lightest shade here is 110 Porcelain. The latter is also nicely light, just a shade darker than 100 and it has a slightly stronger yellow undertone. If you're NC10 you can wear both due to the light coverage.

BOURJOIS Healthy Mix Foundation
50 Rose Ivory
Coverage: light-medium
Finish: dewy
Undertone: pink
Price: 9.99 GBP
If you love the Serum version of this foundation, you'll like the newest version of Healthy Mix too. It's another very light formula with an invisible finish, except here you get a nice healthy, dewy finish, which again will suit those who don't have oily skin. Coverage is light to medium, so less than the original version and about the same as Serum. The latter is the only foundation I could use when my skin was dehydrated with dry patches, but since I haven't had those in a while,  I can't say if this one works the same, however, it is very similar, so I can assume it'll work too. Shade 50 Rose Ivory is a new shade they added in the last formula update and unlike 51 it's got a pink undertone. It's nicely pale, about a shade lighter than 51 and as I said it has a pink undertone, which actually isn't as true as at Colourstay Ivory or Rimmel 010 Light Porcelain, since it's more on the peachy side. It's not the lightest shade I own, but it's still very light (a cool version of Maybelline's Fit Me Matte EU version 110) and will suit fair cool skin tones.

MAYBELLINE Fit Me foundation normal/dry skin 
110 Porcelain
Coverage: light-medium
Finish: dewy
Undertone: yellow
Price: 9.95 €
I had a bumpy start with this foundation and it looked horrible on me, but it's the perfect shade for my skin tone, so I of course wear it regardless. Since I've switched to Korean skincare, I found that a lot of foundations I hated, started to look a lot more decent on me, this one included, but it's still not my favourite. It's similar to Manhattan foundation bellow this one and Rimmel foundations in general, meaning the formula is light, but also kind of greasy and it looks terrible over problematic pores, plus sometimes doesn't fully set on the skin and can look very shiny, especially with time. Matte + Poreless version is so much better for most skin types, so I'd say try this one only if your skin is dry. 110 Porcelain is a one of the lightest shades I own and it has a yellow undertone that isn't as strong as at Sheer Glow. It's a smidgen lighter than M+P 100 Warm Ivory, but the difference is not noticeable on the skin. 

MANHATTAN Easy Match Makeup 
30 Soft Porcelain
Coverage: light-medium
Finish: natural, slightly dewy
Undertone: pink/neutral
Price: 9.99 €
Before I found Maybelline Fit Me M+P and Bourjois Healthy Mix, I had to settle for light coverage foundations like this one which does not look terribly pretty on my skin, so I used it to mix with other foundations that I liked a lot more and their shades were too dark. My version is a couple of years old and in the mean time they changed the packaging (it's like Rimmel's now) and pulled this brand from Slovenia, but actually this formula is exactly the same as Rimmel's Match Perfection, which has a fair shade with a pink undertone called 010 Light Porcelain. It's another foundation with a light formula that has a light-medium coverage, but in time it slips into pores and makes the skin texture look so much worse than it is. It's the type of formula that would kind of work with most skin types, just not very oily. Most people's reviews I read are very positive, but I just really don't like this foundation on most days. Shade 30 Soft Porcelain has a pink undertone and it's closest to Bourjois' 50, except a half a shade lighter. Manhattan has other foundations, such as Wake Up Makeup and Endless Perfection, which I believe also have fair shades and I think they are also the same as Rimmel foundations.

NARS Sheer Glow 
Coverage: medium-full
Finish: satin
Undertone: yellow
Price: 38 €
We're getting to the higher coverage foundations and this one is in general the lightest shade I own (though Nars' Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly is the lightest product I own and it's about a shade lighter than this and more neutral). I frequently describe this as my princess foundation because it makes you look almost retouched. In terms of how it looks on the skin, due to the coverage, it's not exactly the most natural looking foundation and your skin texture needs to be in good condition for it to look its best, otherwise it wears off a bit funny. This blends like a dream on the skin and the coverage is high enough that I don't wear concealer often with this one, but the price is so high and the lack of pump is an insult. I find that Revlon's Colorstay for dry skin performs very similar on me. Shade Siberia is as I said one of the lightest shades I own, but also one with the strongest undertone and I was shocked to see how yellow it is the first time I tried it. Due to that I mix it with Revlon since the formulas are so similar and the latter is pink, so I get a neutral undertone. Unlike all the foundations above, this one has a nice staying power.

REVLON Colorstay Foundation Normal/Dry Skin 
110 Ivory
Coverage: medium-full
Finish: satin
Undertone: pink
Price: 15 €
As far as I'm concerned and based on my years long experience with the two performing on my skin, this is an almost the same foundation as Sheer Glow. The difference apart from the shade is that Sheer Glow feels like a high-end foundation when you're applying it, meaning it blends much easier than this one. But both have a medium-high coverage, the same satin finish and great staying power. Despite it being meant for dry skin, I don't find it's best when your skin is dry or patchy, instead it's more suited for normal combination to even oily skin. They have a special version for combination-oily skin which I used to own a long time ago in the same shade, but that one felt more mask-like to me and this version for dry skin has an almost matte finish on my skin anyway. Shade 110 Ivory is the lightest shade of foundations we can get in Slovenian drugstores (I hope I'm not wrong) and it is properly pale with a pink undertone. Out of my pink foundations, this is the lightest shade I own. Mine is the old bottle and the new one (finally!) comes with a pump.

TONYMOLY Pikachu Mini Cover Cushion SPF 50+ PA+++
01 Skin Beige 
Coverage: light-medium
Finish: very dewy
Undertone: neutral, but slightly pink
Price: 10$ 
This was a limited edition cushion, but I've still seen it today at least on Jolse and I think Tonymoly has either the same or similar shades among their other cushion compact, possibly even their BB/CC creams (BCDation Moisture Cover Cushion and Mini Cover Cushion have the same shade name). Korean BB's and cushions have some very light shades, but not many come in a satin or matte finish, instead they tend to be very glowy which can look greasy. This one has a light coverage that just evens out the skin tone and it has this dewy finish that only people with dry skin will like. On a plus side this has a wonderful applicator - truly these sponges apply foundation so flawlessly - and this formula also has a high SPF. Shade 01 is not the lightest out of the ones featured here, but it's still very pale and it's one of the most neutral shades I own. I'd say it's about NC/W13.

Foundation shade lighteners/mixers

THE BODY SHOP Shade Adjusting Drops
Finish: doesn't interfere with the texture of foundation
Shade: off-white pink
Price: 14 €
If you frequently have a problem finding a pale enough shade in foundation ranges, I highly recommend you get these drops from The Body Shop. These works amazingly well, they are an off-white pinkish liquid that has plenty of pigmentation, so one drop lightens quite a lot, for almost two shades I'd say (you can see how they work with each of my darker foundation in the review). Even if you find you need to use a lot of drops, this doesn't interfere or ruin the original consistency of the foundation, they aren't greasy, they don't ruin the foundation's staying power or change the finish. The only bad side is the packaging is remarkably annoying and it's quite difficult to get the product out, so I hope they'll change it to a pump sometime in the future. They are worth those 14 € because then you'll be able to use up all of those miss purchases and also will be able to buy hyped up foundations that don't have light enough shades.

CATRICE Prime & Fine Make Up Transformer Drops 
Finish: greasy
Shade: pale with a yellow undertone, it's a match for Nars Chantilly
Price: 3.49 €
Another lightener and it's leaves a lot to be desired. It works, but it's nowhere near TBS drops in terms of effectiveness. For one it's not exactly light, it's almost like a foundation shade for pale skins by itself, so you can't lighten more than that. You need to use a lot for a decent effect, they are also greasy so they ruin the finish of foundation as well as staying power, but if you need to lighten for a half a shade or maybe a full shade and you don't have any other option, this is ok. Well, passable. I hear a lot of positive things about NYX's drops, but I haven't tried them yet.

Other light foundations I owned and tried

RIMMEL Lasting Finish Nude Foundation 
010 Light Porcelain
Coverage: medium
Finish: satin
Undertone: pink
Price: €10.39
I do not like Rimmel foundations as they always make my skin look so much worse than it is, but a lot of people like them. So if you're looking for a pale, pink toned foundation with a medium coverage, this one is worth trying out. I used it up for mixing with better foundations.

RIMMEL Match Perfection
010 Light Porcelain
Coverage: Light-medium
Finish: natural-dewy
Undertone: pink
Price: €10.39
Same goes here as for Lasting Finish, Rimmel foundation look so awful on my skin, but again, the shade is fair, cool toned, so worth checking out if you're looking for a light-medium coverage foundations.

MISSHA Signature Real Complete BB Cream 
Coverage: light-medium
Finish: dewy-satin
Undertone: neutral/grey
Price: about 17$ 
This is so far the lightest shade I ever found and the most neutral. It's somewhat neutral grey like a lot of Asian BB's, but it fit me really well. The finish was a bit too dewy for me and it didn't set properly for a long time, however, it's BB that looks nice on the skin and covers almost a medium despite the very light texture. It's heavily scented, that might be an issue for some - it's a floral baby powder scent. If you're looking for something very pale, I suggest you try this one. 

THE ORDINARY Coverage foundation
Coverage: medium-high
Finish: satin-dewy
Undertone: yellow
Price: 6.90 €
Actually a lighter shade exists called 1.0N, but I haven't had a chance to try it. Regardless even 1.1N is quite pale, but it's very far from being neutral. This one packs quite a lot of coverage, so I hated it in a normal layer because it looked so obvious on the skin, but blended out well in a sheer coat, it was decent. It's got a satin but also somewhat shiny finish, so it's so fat the only high coverage pale foundation I found that doesn't have an almost matte finish and I'd say it's more for dry-normal skin.

DIOR Diorskin Nude BB Creme
Coverage: light
Finish: matte-satin
Undertone: pink
Price: 37€
The shade of this one is almost the same as at Rimmel foundations, so their 010 Light Porcelain shade, which means it's fair with a strong pink undertone. It's somewhat like Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum, but with a satin finish meaning you get the same natural and invisible finish on the skin. The coverage is the lightest out of all the products here, but it still covers enough for my taste. Issues at this one are: 1. price, 2. the older it gets the more it oxidises on the skin and 3. high alcohol content.

Other light shades I heard about:

 1. ANASTASIA BEVERLY HILLS Stick Foundation - Alabaster ($25)
2. A'PIEU Cushion Air Fit - 13 ($7.00)
3. COVER FX Natural Finish Foundation - N0 ($40)
4. DEBORAH Milano 5 in 1 BB Cream - 00 (10 €. It might not be sold anymore)
5. ETUDE HOUSE Precious Mineral Any Cushion - 02 Light Beige (from $13)
6. ESPOIR Face Slip Nude Cushion  - Porcelain ($38)
7. GIORGIO ARMANI Power Fabric - Shade 1 ($64.00)
8. HARD CANDY Candy Glamoflauge Foundation - Porcelain ($7)
9. HERA UV Mist Cushion - C21 ($45)
10. IDUN Minerals Norrsken Liquid Foundation - Jorunn ($28)
11. ILLUMINARE Moisturizing Mineral Liquid Foundation - Alabaster ($29)
12. INNISFREE Ampoule Intense Cushion - 13 Light Beige ($24)
13. INNISFREE Long Wear Cushion - 11 ivory ($23)
14. KAT VON D Lock it Foundation - L41 Neutral & 42 Light ($35)
15. LANEIGE BB Cushion Whitening - 13 True Beige ($30)
16. L'OREAL True Match Foundation - W1 (12€)
17. MAC Studio Fix Fluid NC10 & NC10 ($29)
18. MAKEUP FOREVER Ultra HD Foundation - Y205 Alabaster ($43)
19. MARC JACOBS Re(marc)able Full Cover Foundation Concentrate - 10 Ivory Light ($55)
20. MILANI Conceal + Perfect 2-in1 Foundation and Concealer - 00A ($10)
21. NYX Total Control Drop Foundation - Pale ($14)
22. TARTE Stick Foundation - Fair/Neutral (€40)
23. TARTE Empowered Hybrid Gel - Porcelain (€40)
24. TARTE Rainforest of the Sea - Porcelain (€40)
25. THE ORDINARY Serum Foundation - 1.0N (€6.7)
26. TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL Dinoplatz Cinema City CC Cream (from 18$)
27. TOO FACED Born This Way - Snow ($39)
28. URBAN DECAY Naked Skin Foundation - 0.5 ($40)
29. WET N WILD Photo Focus - Porcelain ($5)

Additional recommendations from the readers:
ESSENCE Camouflage 2in1 Makeup & Concealer - 10 Ivory Beige
FENTY BEAUTY BY RIHANNA Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation - 100
LUMENE foundations
MAX FACTOR CC Cream - 40 Fair

Other lightening products I heard about

1. ALVERDE Color & Care Mix your Make-up (€2.95)
2. FACE ATELIER Ultra Foundation in Zero Minus ($36)
3. ILLAMASQUA Rich Liquid Foundation RF100 (€36.95)
4. LA GIRL HD Pro Coverage Foundation - White ($10)
5. MAC Face and Body Foundation - White ($29)
6. MANIC PANIC Dreamtone ($11.5)
7. NYX Pro Foundation Mixer White ($10)
8. STARGAZER Liquid Foundation, White (£3.50)

Other posts you might find useful:
How to Determine your Skin's Undertone ||  Mixing foundations - how to get a neutral undertone

I hope you found this helpful and have a great day!

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  1. Great post, very thorough. You got me convinced about that Maybelline Fit me Matte & Poreless foundation as I've already heard good things about it. Maybe I'll try it next :)

    x Charlotta

    1. I love that foundation and it even wears off so nicely. The only time it didn't look quite as good was when my skin was drier than usual, but on most days it's perfect. I actually got complimented by a complete stranger about how amazing my skin looks when I wore it :)

  2. Very nice post, thanks! I am Finnish but living in Austria and sometimes it is a bit hard for me to find a light enough shade for me. Luckily I have also found the Maybelline Fit Me Matte+Poreless foundation, the shade 110 is perfect :) Very often I also buy make up when visiting Finland, there is a Finnish make up line called Lumene which is awesome - but not available in Austria.

    1. Thank you, I'm glad you liked it :) I would expect Scandinavian countries are better stocked with pale foundation shades, too bad we don't have them here. For some reason companies think pale skin tones don't exist in this part of the world.

  3. Have you tried the Essence Camouflage 2in1 Makeup&Concealer? The lightest shade is quite pale and neutral. I find the texture pretty nice with good medium coverage and easily mixable with others.

    Max Factor CC Cream in 40 Fair is a very light pink.

    1. I think I've tried it in the shop once, but I wasn't sure if it's really that light, since shop lights can be so deceiving. Thank you for the information :). Do you how it compares to any of the foundation shades mentioned in this post?

      I don't think I've ever seen Max Factor's CC here, but based on the swatches I've seen online, it looks very promising :) I'll add it to the post.

  4. Odlična objava kot vedno! <3

    Revlon je vsekakor ena najboljših higher coverage drugstore podlag. Meni še vedno med top izbirami. In zdaj ko preizkušam te mat šminke, me čudi, da nisem preizkusila več Revlon izdelkov. Izgledajo kot znamka, ki ve kaj dela.

    Catrice drop so me popolnoma razočarale. Najraje bi jih vrgla v koš. Enostavno premastne zame.

    A NYX total control podlago v odtenku pale bi naj uporabljali kot mixing medium? Sem brala mešane ocene glede te podlage. Jaz sem imela v mislih za nakup NYX Professional Makeup Pro Foundation Mixers v odtenki White. Slišim, da je precej prekriven in ne vpliva na teksturo podlag, kar je bolj po mojem okusu :).

    1. Hvala <3

      Revlon je že od vedno kvalitetna znamka in lahko celo še vedno kupiš odtenke šmink, ki so bili best sellerji pred mnogimi leti (fire & ice npr.) :). Do zdaj me edino blusherji in senčila niso navdušili, sem pa imela že večino njihovih izdelkov. Cena največji faktor zakaj njihove znamke ne kupujem več pogosto.

      Catrice kapljice nujno rabijo prenovo. Ampak ne, Catrice se odloči raje dodat še dva odtenka pri najnovejšem update. Go figure.

      Z NYX drops sem mislila mislila ta foundation mixer :D Malo sem hecno napisala, ampak ker so že oba moja izdelka kapljice, sem označila tudi od NYX za kapljice. Ampak je pa čisto možno, da bi celo delovalo, ker ta total control puder izgleda zelo svetel sodeč po swatchih.

  5. The Wet n Wild Photo Focus foundation is so good! I highly recommend it for everyone! xx

    Carolina's Makeup Life

    1. I read mixed reviews on Makeup Alley, so I took it off my wishlist, but now I'm tempted again :) Especially because of the pale shade.

  6. Great review.I also have fair skin and some of the foundations that match my skin are:
    WetnWild Photofocus Soft Ivory(I haven't tried shade Porcelain yet but Soft Ivory is also light and has a neutral to slightly yellow undertone.I used to hate it but now I know that it's a decent foundation when my skin is normal-oily but looks bad when I'm dry)
    Mac Face&Body C1(it's one of the most skinlike and natural foundations I have ever tried)
    Makeup Revolution Conceal&Hydrate(it has plenty of very pale shades in different undertones)
    Huda Beauty Faux Filter(it's expensive and very thick and high coverage and pigmented and can look very heavy but it has some great pale shades,I use a little bit of it and mix up with my other foundations to brighten them up and add some works so good for mixing)
    I don't know if these are available in your country but I totally understand how difficult it is to find the right foundation for someone with pale skin in a country that has limited variety of foundations