Skin comes in many beautiful different shades, and rarely are two people the same. I can’t tell you what your skin is like, but I can tell you about mine.
I am white. I don’t just mean Caucasian, which I am, but I mean basically white. I have
very little to no skin tone at all, particularly on my torso and stomach as this literally has never seen the sun. I also have a huge burn scar on my stomach (long story) and this is entirely white.
I have a lot moles and freckles, but my overall skin tone is eerily milk white. Like The Cure, or chronically ill people. I’ve had a few jobs where when I’m new people have asked if I’m sick. No, it’s just my face, Sir.
As you know, buying make up when you’re this pale is a hideous business. If you are at either end of the spectrum, I understand, it’s very hard to find make up. Either very pale or very dark, you’re basically knackered. Here are the few products I have found that actually work.
As a side note, I have very oily skin too. Many of the products I use are made for people with oily skin. If your skin is dry, this may not work for you.
To be honest, this is the worst thing about purchasing make up when you’re pale. I am not only white but I am white with a pink undertone, and most light foundations have a yellow undertone. These are what I use and what works for me.
Illamasqua Skin Base in 02
Just for your information, they do make 01 in Skin Base, and this is white. As in clown white. No skin tone at all. This was given to me by a friend, and it is unfortunately quite expensive. However, a tiny amount goes a very long way. This is a full coverage foundation, very white with a pink undertone and perfect for me. This foundation I don’t feel would be suitable for those with dry skin- it’s very matte and can tug on the skin a little if you have dry patches. It blends well but dries very fast- be warned of this and work quickly with the product. It doesn’t oxide to a slightly darker colour. I absolutely love it. Usually retails for around £30 to £35.
Mehron Pro Celebré in Eurasia Ivory
This is an odd one as it has a totally neutral undertone. It is neither pink nor yellow, just pale as milk. This is actually stage make up, and you can buy a palette of every single shade they do if you are a professional makeup artist. They are so many shades available in this foundation- if you struggle I would really recommend checking out this brand as they offer a huge variety.
As it is stage make up, this is crazy full coverage. I use two fingertips to do my entire face.
It comes in a small round pot and has a consistency like a cream liner rather than a foundation. It blends well with a damp sponge or your fingers but is way too thick for a brush. This is long wearing but very heavy- by careful as it can look very cakey if you get a bit application happy. Usually retails from around £25 to £35.
Rimmel Stay Matte in Ivory 100
For a High Street brand, well done Rimmel! This is truly extremely pale with a very pink undertone. Blends beautifully- obviously not as full coverage as the two above as it’s not supposed to be. Definitely not for those with dry skin, it is matte and stays matte. This one does oxide a tiny bit darker than the product- but that is to be expected. If you have a yellow undertone, this will not work for you sadly. I tend to wear this for slightly less heavy duty days- it blends beautifully with a brush and helps to control my oily skin. Retails for around £5.99.
L’Oréal True Match in Rose Ivory
So beautiful. I got this for the first time in Duty Free at the airport on the way home from holiday and it is truly magnificent. It is a liquid foundation so would be suitable for any skin type- dry or oily or combination. It blends beautifully with the brush but can tend to transfer a little- it takes some time to set. Obviously not full coverage but definitely evens out skin tone and will hide discoloration and small blemishes. Very pink undertone, gives you that beautiful “English rose” look. Retails for between £8 and £10.
If you have a foundation you love but it’s just not light enough for you, MAC, Illamasqua, Stargazer and Barry M all make white foundation. You can mix this in to make your own shade. You can also buy a pack of little pots to put this in, if you find you’ve mixed your perfect shade.
I don’t actually use concealer so I am a bit stuck on this one- however, I do have some for the odd days where my skin has a minor breakdown. I do use colour correcting under my eyes and around some scarring I have on my chin- I actually made these myself using some skin base and some eyeshadow- cheap and weird I know but these seem to work well for me.
The two I use, when I need them are Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in Fair 1 and Collection Cover Up Stick in Fair 1. Both retail for around £4 to £5 and are really lovely. The lasting perfection is like a lip gloss- little tube with a doe foot applicator, the cover up stick is as it sounds, literally a stick. If I am running out of the house and not wearing makeup I use this as its incredibly full coverage for something so cheap. Stays on very well and again, good for us greasy girls.
Curiously, Collections foundation is much more orange than their concealer. Weird.
This is an absolute nightmare for pale people. Most contour colours are either bronzer, or have a red undertone to the brown. When this sets on our pale skin, it makes us look orange. The two I use because they are awesome is Nyx Powder Blush in Taupe or Illamasqua Heroine. Both are a gorgeous brown with absolutely no red undertone. Nyx is around £5 and Illamasqua around £17. The Illamasqua is darker, so if you like a strong contour this is for you. They stay very well and again, if you’re hyper oily like me this helps that it’s a powder.
If you like a matte highlight, I would recommend any of the white foundations mentioned before. If you prefer a powder but matte, you can use Stargazer White Powder, which comes loose or pressed, and retails for around £5. MAC also do a “Shivering White” powder foundation which is very nice, and retails for around £22. Look for Studio Fix Pastels on Google to find.
I prefer looking like a fairy threw up on my face, and I do love a sparkly highlight. This is hard for the ghosties, because most highlight colours are the same shade as us. I personally use Make Up Revolution Highlighter in “Golden Lights” which retails for around £3. This stuff is so pigmented it’s completely mental, and gives your face that Instagram glow. Please remember to just use a little bit or you will look like you ate something radioactive before leaving the house.
It’s not actually too bad to find powder when you’re very pale. For loose powder, I use baby powder. It works brilliantly, because it’s white.
If you’re slightly less trashy than me, the best one I have ever used is Nyx Blotting Powder in Clair. My goodness this is pale, and really doesn’t leave you with that odd blotchy look that makes your pores look like craters. Sells for about £7. Soap and Glory One Heck of a Blot in Translucent (around £9) and Seventeen Miracle Matte in Porcelain (around £3.99) are both also lovely, but not quite as pale as the Nyx.
I don’t mean to imply in any way that darker skin or tanning your skin is a bad thing by the way- I just mean that this is my skin tone and what works for me. I also find that blue undertones red lipsticks work well, if you like a red lip which I do. Barry M in 121, Maybelline Super Stay in 510 Red Passion and of course the fabulous MAC Ruby Woo are all beautiful blue toned reds. If you prefer a pink, I personally think Wet ‘n’ Wild 965 Cherry Picking is a gorgeous colour.
If you do have pale skin, please do remember to take care of it. I wear Factor 50 or higher sun screen on my face every day, my personal preference being Neutrogena Dry Touch Lotion in Factor 50+.
For advice from people who really know what they're doing, you can watch Mykie on Glam and Gore on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/user/GlamAndGoreMakeup) or John Maclean, also on YouTube, both of whom have a brilliant video aimed at the Robert Smith's of the world.