Finding the perfect shade of foundation can prove to be a tough job for those of us with paler-than-pale complexions.
If you’re blessed with a skin tone to rival Caspar the Friendly Ghost, you’ve probably dealt with your fair share of beauty mishaps over the years. The foundation that promised to 'just warm you up a little'? Been there. The base that swatched perfectly on the back of your hand but turned a radiant shade of tangerine an hour or so after application? Blame oxidation - the reaction between the oil in your skin and the pigment of your make-up. Gone too far in the opposite direction and ended up with a chalky finish reminiscent of a teenage vampire? Still trying to destroy all the photographic evidence...
But while mid-toned hues previously held the monopoly when it came to great foundations, both high street and higher end brands have since upped their game, providing a greater range of shades for paler and darker complexions. And with the likes of Cate Blanchett, Emma Stone and Rooney Mara opting out of the spray tans and flying the flag for pale girls on the red carpet, there's never been a better time to embrace your alabaster skin tone.
We've compiled the ultimate edit of foundations to suit pale skin tones in a variety of finishes and textures - so whether you're after a radiant finish that still gives good coverage, or a long-lasting matte texture that won't become chalky throughout the day, we've got you covered. Once you've met your match, try our edit of the best make-up brushes to ensure a flawless finish (bye bye streaky tide marks...)
Pale girls who are looking for a foundation that will cover blemishes and stick around all day should look to two of the biggest names in beauty: Bobbi Brown and Estée Lauder. The former is famed as one of the first brands to introduce products for a wider range of darker and lighter skin tones: Bobbi’s Long-Wear Even Finish Foundation, £32.50, is available in a clutch of shades for paler girls. Estée Lauder’s iconic Double Wear Foundation, £31, is rightly famed for its staying power, and comes in an impressive range of shades.
WATCH: On The Go Beauty Hacks
If you prefer your foundation to have a lighter, dewier finish, the beauty gods have answered your prayers. Burberry’s Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base, £34, only comes in a handful of shades; luckily, though, the palest of these will most likely melt into fair complexions, swapping tell-tale orange tide marks for a natural, lit-from-within glow. On the high street, look to No. 7 at Boots. The brand’s Airbrush Away Foundation, £16.50, promises light, buildable coverage, with optical blurring powders imparting a soft focus finish.
Pale foundations with SPF
If your skin is paler than the newly fallen snow, then the chances are that it will burn in even the most British of summer weather – meaning that SPF is your friend. Dior’s Diorskin Forever Fluid Foundation promises a flawless, ultra-light finish and SPF 35, while Bobbi Brown’s Intensive Skin Serum (SPF 40) glides onto skin and is a strong option for dry complexions. Both foundations offer a range of shades to suit paler skin tones.
For a big event, night out or just a selfie opportunity, though, be wary. SPF-heavy foundations can cause ‘flashback’ in photos taken using, ahem, a flash, blighting your Instagram posts with a powdery, almost ghostly pallor. Among our favourite lower SPF options are Nars’ All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation, £32, with lighter shades including Gobi and Deauville, and Revlon’s PhotoReady Airbrush Effect Foundation, £12.99, in Ivory and Vanilla.
For dry skin
Urban Decay's Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Make-up, £27, has a matte finish but won't leave dry skin feeling tight and dehydrated throughout the day: shade 0.5 will blend smoothly into pale complexions.
Shop our edit of the best foundations for pale skin in the gallery below...
Here are the solutions to all your foundation woes... After all, it's all about the base...
Looking for something to conceal imperfections and redness? Here are the best foundations that will give you a full coverage
7 of the best radiance-boosting foundations for mature skin
Need something a little more hydrating? Here are the best foundations for dry skin
Say goodbye to shine with 8 of the best foundations for oily skin
On a budget? Here are the best foundations under £10
And finally, here are some tips and tricks on how to apply foundation like a pro