Foundations – Reviews, Swatches, Pale skin.

Who, like me, always has a problem of finding a decent foundation?  I’m sure I’m not the only one, but I’m glad to say have found my Holy Grail foundation which I will continue to use until it gets discontinued (which I hope never comes).  On my quest for the perfect foundation I picked up a few others and I will review them all today and swatch for you.


L-R – L’Oreal Paris Infallible Long Lasting Perfecting Foundation in Porcelain, MAC Studio Fix Fluid in NC15, Revlon Photo Ready in 002 Vanilla, Boots Botanics Quench Your Face Foundation in 10 Almond

My biggest problem when looking for the perfect foundation is the colour.  I am very pale and most make-up brands have completely ignored us Caspers and haven’t catered at all for us in the foundation department. 

What I look for in a foundation –

  • COLOUR – It has to match my skin perfectly, meaning it has to be pale, I don’t want to look like a tangerine.
  • COVERAGE – I want the foundation to even my skin tone out.  I don’t want to look patchy. (Not too worried about it being able to cover spots as that’s what concealer is for, right! and I always use concealer.)
  • FORMULA/finish – I do not want to look cakey.  A big no no.  Nor do I want to look oily.  I want my skin to look like skin – natural, silky and dewy in certain weathers.  The formula is a big deciding factor for me.
  • PRICE – I don’t mind paying £25 for a foundation, but only if it really is the most amazing, perfect foundation ever.  If it has faults then I’m not blowing my hard earned cash on it. 
  • SPF – I obviously would prefer a foundation with SPF.

I will review each foundation in each of these categories so that you know exactly what I think about each.







  • COLOUR – I’ve actually been really surprised with this foundation.  When I first bought it I discarded it thinking it was too dark and orange, but since coming back from holiday with a bit of colour I’ve been using this everyday!  The colour is almost perfect for my skin after holiday and can always be lightened up with my powder.  You can see in the pictures above that this gives me a really healthy colour and glow!
  • COVERAGE – Really good medium coverage, again, I’m impressed.  Evens my skin tone out and covers blemishes well, although leaves them looking a bit dry, so moisturize spots before hand.
  • FORMULA – I really like the formula of this foundation.  Nice and creamy and quite silky, applies really well to the skin, sinks in nicely, doesn’t dry my skin out.  Makes my skin look glowing yet natural.  Many people have moaned about a sparkle in natural light, but I haven’t noticed this at all.
  • PRICE – Retails for £12.99 in Boots.  When I first picked this up I thought it was quite expensive and didn’t realllly want to part with the cash, but I’m glad I did.  I’d say its worth the price and I guess its a lot more affordable than high end brands.
  • SPF – The highest SPF out of the bunch, SPF20!  Fabulous!



I’ll mention now that this foundation is my favourite.  I’m on my third tube of this and it just gives me everything that I want out of a foundation.



  • COLOUR – This matches my pale skin perfectly!  I was so surprised when I tested this out in store and I can’t express how happy I am with it.  Its pale but it doesn’t make me look ghostly or colour-less.  Perfect for winter and spring for me.  I can always add bronzer to add colour!
  • COVERAGE – If you have lots of pimples and are looking for a heavy coverage foundation, you won’t like this.  The coverage evens my skin tone out perfectly but isn’t thick enough to completely banish red spots, which is why I always use a concealer with it, just on the areas that need it.  Its has a nice light coverage which is perfect for smoothing out.  (No concealer used in the pictures above though – just foundation in those pics!)
  • FORMULA – I ADORE the formula of this foundation, it is so silky and thin and just perfect, I can’t really explain it.  It isn’t at all thick or runny, its feels like a very light cream silk that blends really well into the skin, whilst also leaving me feeling moisturized but never greasy or oily.  It almost dries as a powder which feels really nice.  I can’t find any faults with it.
  • PRICE – Such a bargain at around £12, I can always afford to grab this when I run out.  Great price, affordable for a great foundation.
  • SPF – Includes SPF15, what more could I ask for!

    On the bottle of this foundation it states that it is a ‘Long Lasting Perfecting Foundation’ that ‘lasts 16 hours and fights the signs of make-up meltdown’.  I never bought it for this reason and only just noticed that it stated this not long ago, but I don’t agree with it.  This foundation is perfect, but I’ll admit it doesn’t last all day, which is why I always carry around a tiny concealer and powder for top ups.  I kind of wish that it didn’t state this on the packaging so that people wouldn’t be let down by that statement.  It lasts well, but not all day.


  • mac 



  • COLOUR – SO disappointed with this foundation. Its such a shame and it angers me that my NC15 concealer matches my skin perfectly – whereas this is the SAME number, but SUCH a different colour.  Such a letdown.  This makes me look like I’ve been tangoed good and proper.  Foundation line is clearly noticeable no matter how much I blend.
  • COVERAGE – Maximum coverage.  If you have lots of pimples and uneven skin tone this would be perfect for you.  It covers all blemishes really well and almost makes the skin look airbrushed.
  • FORMULA – Very thick and creamy and almost cakey once on the skin.  I guess you’d expect that from a high coverage foundation.  If this foundation was the correct colour for me, I’d wear it on special occasions where I wanted perfect, almost fake looking skin.
  • PRICE – £19.  I think this is very expensive for a foundation, but maybe I’m saying that cause I’m biased because of the colour.  This is definitely worth having if your going to get your moneys worth and use it everyday but it was a waste of money for me, personally.
  • SPF – SPF15. 


    I’ve included this extra to show how dark it is, in natural light.  You can clearly see a orange line but my hair/ear.  Covers blemishes well though.  For the palest foundation in MACs huge collection, I think this is totally unacceptable!


  •  boots

    bootsba2 bootsba

  • I picked this up in Boots Clearance a while ago ( I think it may have been discontinued or repackaged?) as I couldn’t believe that it was so pale and needed it, impulse buy, and I’ll admit that I haven’t used it much as although the colour is perfect.

  • COLOUR – Great colour, lovely and pale, suits me well.
  • COVERAGE – The coverage of this is quite light, I’d compare it to that of a tinted moisturizer.  It gives a natural coverage, but you can still see your skin underneath in – I think it just evens the skin out a bit.  I actually quite like this as a beach/holiday or uni/work foundation as its natural and light and affordable for everyday use.  You can see in the pictures above there are a few areas around the chin/cheeks/forehead where you can still see red blemishes.
  • FORMULA – The formula of this is weird! Not weird, just quite watery and runny, which I presume is down to the natural ingredients in it.  Its very runny and finishes quite dewy, which is very nice but I feel as if it sits on the skin quite a bit because of its formula.
  • PRICE – I have no idea what this retails for in store but I picked it for about £2, which is good but probably no good if its been discontinued! (I apologise if it has!)
  • SPF – SPF 12! This foundation has added ginger and jojoba to help moisturize.

    There you have it! My four foundations.  After doing this whole post I realised I have a GOSH Velvet Touch foundation as well which I completely forgot to include, so if anyone would like to see that then comment below and I’ll write it up in a separate post!

    What do you think?

    Are you disappointed with MACs colour range?

    What do you personally think looks the best?


  • Share:


    1. September 25, 2010 / 11:28 am

      Loved this post! I'm always on the quest for a good foundation (:
      I'm suprised to hear about Macs colour. I have NC15 and its ok on me and i have very fair skin, I also have NC20 and that works for me too :/

    2. September 25, 2010 / 11:32 am

      Love love this post!! Foundation comparison YAY! Photoready looks good on you… but I have to agree, the Infallible is flawless on you! That MAC is unbelievably disappointing! It does look orange on you! Gah! I had trouble with MAC too, the different makeup artists matched me to different shades, NW25, NC25, NC30 yeah whatever. HAhaha I ended up not getting any MAC foundation.
      I'm actually finding such a hard time colour matching as well, even until now, foundations seem to look close, but not quite a match yet =( and since I seem to change shade so quickly, in different season… it gets frustrating =( My search continues…

    3. September 25, 2010 / 11:45 am

      Really great review!! It must have taken you forever haha 🙂
      I am really tempted to try the infallible now, it looks lovely on you, definitely the best colour and finish!
      – beth x

    4. September 25, 2010 / 12:08 pm

      thank you so much for this post !

      i'm very very pale and all the foundations are always too yellow or orange for my skin.

      i've seen that bobbi brown has an "alabaster" foundation (i've not tried it yet but it looks very very pale, almost white) and illamasqua sells very pale foundations too.

      when i see the pics you posted, the l'oreal one looks the best on your skin.

      i have the mac nc15 and it looks too golden for me 🙁 i've been disappointed too with this product (gah…)

    5. September 25, 2010 / 12:09 pm

      That's a great post!!

      I think L'Oreal looks best on you. I also have a strange relationship with MAC products… some of them just turn my head in.
      I have tried 4-5 different MAC foundations, even mixed together different colours trying to create my own perfect colour. No luck what so ever… they are all TOO yellow.
      So far, the best foundations I have ever tried were from Estee Lauder and Bobbi Brown.

    6. September 25, 2010 / 1:13 pm

      Its great that you went into so much detail for this post! And including the before and after shots is v helpful! I cant believe that is the lightest shade that MAC do, i really would of imagined they would cater for everyone (i have never used one of their foundations so dont know). I am pale too so i know it can be hard getting a foundation to suit aswell. Curious to know what your HG foundation though? The loreal one looked really nice on you but i would definatly want something that lasted a long time x

    7. September 25, 2010 / 1:23 pm

      I have exactly the same problem as you – it's so hard to find a cool, pale foundation! People always tell me to go to MAC but I honestly think their base range is rather poor for the kind of company they are. Everything just swatches so orange.

      The L'Oreal one looks absolutely great on your skin! Bobbi Brown and Nars are pretty great brands for ultra pale bases, although I've just got the Burberry foundation in Trench 2 and it's PERFECT! If you're ever near Harrords then certainly check it out.

      Thanks for such an awesome, detailed post!


    8. September 25, 2010 / 1:27 pm

      First of all – Thank you everyone for your lovely comments, I've really enjoyed reading them and realizing im not the only girl with this problem!
      I spent about two weeks writing this post and taking all the pictures, so its glad to know that my hard work payed off and helped some of you!

      LaurenStephanie – Your lucky that the foundations suit you! I do love MAC and will keep trying cause I'm a sucker for their products. Maybe I'll try another type of their foundation?

      Blushfully by Cendana – I will admit that Photoready an infallible are my two favourites so its good to know that you agree!
      To be honest your probably better off without the MAC foundation. Maybe tell them next time you go in that they keep telling you different shades and you really don't know what to do!? I hope the search ends well!

      Beth – Thank you!! Infallible is definitley my favourite. It did take a while to get this post together but I'm really happy with it now its done!

      Lily Blue – I desperatly want to try the pale illamasqua foundation!! Have you tried it? Even if I get it to just mix with my darker foundations, right?
      The Bobbi brown one sounds really good too – thanks!!

      Beauty Addict – Its such a shame, I feel like writing to MAC to tell them to create some more shades but that would never happen. I thought that every one was happy with MAC foundations except for me, so at least I'm not the only one! I'm going to go to Bobbi Brown and Estee Lauder counter to have a look at their foundations, thank you!

      Gemma – My holy grail one is definitley the L'oreal infallible. It does last well, but just not as long as it states. Try it out though and let me know what you think!
      I was a bit weary at first of including 'before' shots cause I hate my skin but I'm glad I did cause it really shows the foundations off well!

    9. September 25, 2010 / 2:40 pm

      great post, I know what you mean about the mac foundations they are too yellowy! I thought I was the only one! the lorel infallable looks amazing on you! 🙂 xx

    10. September 25, 2010 / 2:49 pm

      brill post, please do the velvet touch one, i love infallible too so trust your tips!


    11. September 25, 2010 / 2:50 pm

      The L’Oreal sounds great, might have to try it. I've been matched too many different shades at MAC by different people and quite a few have left me looking orange, too. After my last visit to a MAC store, I was given NC15 and think this is the best match so far.

    12. September 25, 2010 / 3:20 pm

      I am the same… i am yet to find a foundation that goes on my skin. ivory is to dark and so is porsline so i just use matt powder from maybeline


    13. September 25, 2010 / 3:39 pm

      Each time I went to MAC I was matched a different shade from NC25 to NW20. All of those were too dark. I should be an NC/NW15 but for some reason they're always out of that in the stores I've been to. NC is way too yellow/orange and NW is too pink. Neither looked remotely like my own skin. One day I gave up trying to get a good match at MAC and bought Dior Nude in 010. It's pale, it's neutral – finally! Sure it's expensive but I don't have 4-5 foundations at home, I have one and it lasts me ages.

    14. September 25, 2010 / 5:01 pm

      what a helpful post! thank you for putting so much effort into it 🙂
      I think the L'oréal one looks best on you!


    15. September 25, 2010 / 5:05 pm

      such a great post! im a fellow paleface and i hate the dreaded orange tinge. i love the way you wrote this will definitely have a look at the infallible xx

    16. September 25, 2010 / 10:49 pm

      I was really glad when i saw the title of this post before clicking on it in google reader. I have very pale skin and im a complete foundation novice. When I read the post I was really happy to see that your favourite is actually the foundation i use!! Its the only foundation ive ever used, although ive wanted to try others to make sure im getting the best look, but find it so hard, seeing as testing it on my hand doesnt help as its not the same colour as my face. Im so glad im using a good foundation for pale skin, i wont worry about shopping around anymore! thanks x

    17. September 27, 2010 / 12:00 am

      good post. i like the before and after pics! i am a mac nc 20/25 and the colour match is fine for me. i'm always on the hunt for a decent foundation though, my favourites have been diorskin sculpt and at the moment i'm using chanel pro lumiere which i like too!


    18. September 28, 2010 / 5:30 am

      Wow you must be an NC10 like me! NC15 is way dark.
      Thanks for these swatches, I always wondered about infallible.
      The only foundation light enough to match my skin is L'oreal true match N1,(soft ivory) I think it would match you too 🙂

    19. October 6, 2010 / 5:10 pm

      Amazing post, the before and after pics are SO helpful!!!
      I know what you mean about the MAC foundations and I think that SFF has a tendency to oxidise a bit, making an ok colour match go competely wrong in a matter of few hours…
      That said, I really love the coverage it gives! 🙁
      On you however, I prefer PhotoReady, it looks like you have THE perfect skin!


    20. December 2, 2010 / 1:37 pm

      I was orange up to 2008 when I finally got fed up and started to look for a pale enough foundation – and in Estonia could find NONE (MAC's fairest available is yellow/orange, evidence is here:
      my solution was to move on to mineral powders, plenty of those are for fair people too. And another good find is Lumene's Natural Code foundation in Vanilla – a neutral pale color. Only drawback – it's light to medium coverage only :S
      I have also read a lot of good stuff of the Illamasqua foundies but those seem a bit too pricy to me…

    21. October 3, 2011 / 6:47 pm

      yay another casper!!! infallible looks best but photofinish is a close second. i have something that might come as a bit of a shock to you …… infallible,the lightest of the bunch is too dark and orange for me!! Ive tried just about everything!! the ones that ive found that match are lilylolo mineral powder in porcelain (they do little sample pots too) and one i just bought from dainty doll shade 2, ive just started a blog and im going show some swatches and give reviews 🙂 and i have illamasqua too, the lightest skin shade is way too dark,the 2 shades lighter are white and white with a hint of pink (i used to mix this with the skin shade) this was in rich liquid foundation,i didnt like the formula it was REALLY thick like stage make up, i had to mix it with moisturiser!! they have a new skin base foundation out which looks promising, shade SB02! ive tried estee lauder (along with most other brands) too,they are too dark for me. ive spent so much money trying to find one to match!



    22. October 26, 2011 / 6:45 pm

      MAC numbers can really be frustrating. My Studio Fix concealer color is NW35 and yet my Studio Fix Powder foundation color is NW43!!! It's pretty insane.

    23. January 28, 2012 / 11:06 pm

      A friend just linked me your post because I am another Casper. The post is not that old so I can reasonably assume your favourite is still the same, and I'll look for it when in London.
      I have never seen it where I live now, I am using a Catrice one but it's a little darker than my skin and it makes a strange effect with the powder which is a lot whiter than it. It lasts a lot and looks good in pictures as it states on the package, but as far as I know the brand is not distributed in the UK.

    24. February 21, 2012 / 8:20 pm

      i have tried numerous foundations too for pale skin, the only one i love is the infallible by l'oreal have you tried to 24hr infallible brush one? it seems a tad darker than the 16h and an bit thicker. but i use the brush one more for summer when my skins more oily/spotty and my rosey cheeks come out, i agree with you on the staying power but do you use a powder to set, rimmell do a nice matte one that seems to set it well, and keep it in place longer.

    25. April 3, 2012 / 8:30 pm

      This was extremely helpful! 🙂

    26. April 21, 2012 / 1:42 pm

      This is really great because you have before and after pics! That is very cool! I am lighter skinned than you, I think because I am too light for all the Mac colors. I think that the Loreal that is your favorite, is the one that looks best.

      In case there are any readers who have even lighter skin, here is my blog so you can see if there are some new ideas that you have not tried yet. It took me FOREVER to find a foundation, so I hope this helps someone!!

    27. May 15, 2012 / 8:51 pm

      really love your blog, its my favorite,your super stunning and i love your doo!
      have you ever tried Nicola Roberts make up range? hes extremely pale and its designed for people with the same problem as you, its a really good range and not a half bad price too,im half Spanish so i haven't tried this product, but most of my friends are pale, maybe even paler then you, and this works really well on there skin, if you ever get a chance to try it out im sure you would be pleased 🙂

    28. May 24, 2012 / 8:09 am

      revlon colorstay foundation.For more information about Beauty Products Visit at sleekhair Website.

    29. August 24, 2012 / 7:45 pm

      I have trouble in general in finding a foundation that suits me, I really want to go and get matched up properly!

      The L'Oreal one looks great, I can't buy that however after turning cruelty free, dang! I'm still on the hunt for a perfect foundation 🙂

      Great post Katie!

      Amy xx

    30. Kayley
      February 24, 2013 / 4:05 pm

      I bought the Loreal Infallible after reading this and was disappointed to find it's pretty much the same colour as the foundation I use already (Maxfactor Lasting Performance in 100 Fair) which is the palest foundation I've found so far that is decent (Dainty doll have nice pale shades but they're AWFUL they don't last more than an hour on me and don't blend properly) however still looks orange on me =( I also didn't like the texture of the Loreal one and found it kinda hard to blend.

    31. August 18, 2013 / 11:42 am

      NW15 mac is very dark orange. and yellow nc 15 very ugly to my face
      the mac nw10 white is pink undertone? thanks.
      revlon ivory is pink?
      I'm very white but soft pink
        but every 10 or one tone fondaciones me ugly are very yellow.
        the 42 is white soft pink? know? thank you very much
      I have 34 years but no expression lines 🙂
      I just want to cover hormonal grains (sometimes)
      not for every day.
      My oily skin is also very dehydrated (lack of water) because sebum is asking for more water
        bs as Argentina 🙂
      face vayvinka
      vayvinka ramzy
      soy muy blanca pero rosa suave
      pero todas las fondaciones tono 10 o 1 me quedan muy amarillas feas .
      la 42 es blanca rosa suave? sabes? muchas gracias
      tengo 34 años pero sin lineas de expresion 🙂
      solo quiero para cubrir granos hormonales ( en algunas ocasiones)
      no para todos los dias .
      mi piel grasa , tambien esta muy deshidratada ( falta de agua) porque el sebo pide mas agua

      bs as argentina 🙂

    32. August 22, 2013 / 6:53 am

      I've been wanting to try the infallible foundation in porcelain – I've seen multiple blogs mention it – but the palest shade they sell in Canada is soft ivory. It's so frustrating! I've seen Illamasqua recommended for their pale shades as well, but guess what? The lightest shades aren't available in Canada either. It's so unfair. :[

      • Anonymous
        September 6, 2013 / 1:50 am


        The lightest shades of Illamasqua are available at the Bay in Canada; you can order online too!


    33. October 8, 2013 / 2:38 am

      iam very pale white pink! colorstay ivory oil free is pink or yellow?? thanks valeria bs as argentina 🙂

      • Anonymous
        January 8, 2014 / 11:48 am

        Revlon Colorstay Ivory undertone is pink. The next colour up Buff is yellow undertone

    34. Anonymous
      August 8, 2014 / 7:24 pm

      Listen to ppl talking up Casper… No some are just pale. What does too white or too black even mean? We aren't all Hispanic or olive skintoned… Mac is a lover of things yellow. I'm pale and they make me out to be nc15 no way….

    35. January 19, 2015 / 2:12 pm

      L’OREAL Infallible looks best on you! 😉
      ~Pauline @ MAC Philippines

    36. February 1, 2015 / 2:50 am

      Hi I really loved this post.

      Check out my blog too 🙂

      I takl about makeup and olther things

    37. May 17, 2015 / 3:35 pm

      I may have to try the infalliable foundation.
      Have you perhaps tried GOSH Xceptional wear foundation, they have a really pale shade, that gives a medium coverage 🙂
      Sarah from Beautistique 🙂

    38. May 30, 2015 / 11:02 am

      Useful post. Finding the right foundation is a problem for me too. I still haven't found the perfect one. I'll try L'oréal, looks great on you!

    39. June 12, 2015 / 6:20 pm

      Very good review! I had also the same problem as you, but for the moment I am using HD Invisible Foundation from Make Up For Ever (I've written a review about it on my blog if you are intressted). I find it light, with a super nice texture and perfect coverage! When it's finished, I'll try the Mac Foundation, I think it covered really nice your face, but in a natural way, not cakey at all.

    40. August 28, 2015 / 11:34 am

      I like the L'Oreal most of all

    41. October 6, 2015 / 11:16 pm

      I love this post and I am really glad you helped me out. As a member of the pale skin club it has been very hard finding a good foundation that fits my skin tone perfectly. I am going to buy the L'Oreal foundation very soon. I really want to ask you a question. I have small they are not like pimples they are more like very little bumbs on my skin (especially my forehead) do you think this foundation will cover them? And also what concealer do you use. I really need a new one but I don't have a clue about which one to get. Already thanks babe xx

    42. October 6, 2015 / 11:16 pm

      I love this post and I am really glad you helped me out. As a member of the pale skin club it has been very hard finding a good foundation that fits my skin tone perfectly. I am going to buy the L'Oreal foundation very soon. I really want to ask you a question. I have small they are not like pimples they are more like very little bumbs on my skin (especially my forehead) do you think this foundation will cover them? And also what concealer do you use. I really need a new one but I don't have a clue about which one to get. Already thanks babe xx

      • Anonymous
        November 15, 2015 / 5:25 pm

        If you buy a concealer from the same brand, you can use in your pimples! It is better than use a super coverage foundation and looks "cake" 😉

    43. Anonymous
      January 7, 2016 / 4:12 pm

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    44. Anonymous
      January 22, 2016 / 2:43 am

      This is a very helpful post. I'm pale myself and I usually wear either Revlon Colorstay Combo/Oily Skin in Buff (Sandy Beige when Buff is not available, but it takes a lot of blending because Sandy Beige is way more yellowish, while Buff is white) or Vichy Dermablend LIQUID foundation in 15 Opal (simply the best liquid foundation for skin with acne, it covers everything). I don't like the texture of MAC's SFF, Revlon's cheaper and much smoother to work with. I have tried Lancôme's foundations but they're too peachy-toned. I might try Dior in the near future.

    45. February 18, 2016 / 10:00 pm

      Really helpful, I find it so hard to find a good foundation that makes sense of my skin. I actually like Boots number 7 Intelligent Colour Foundation. Lovely texture too. But I might try the Dior now. Cheers Betty x

    46. April 11, 2016 / 11:22 am

      Great post! For me, Loreal one works great. Never used any other that you mentioned.
      <a href="> My Beauty Blog </a>

    47. April 19, 2016 / 8:18 am

      I have the same problem, my skin is very pale and most foundations are too orange for me! this review has helped me so much and Im going to try out some of the ones you mentioned to see if they work the same for me.

    48. July 28, 2016 / 7:02 am

      There is lot of articles on the web about this. But I like yours more, although i found one that’s more descriptive. best place to buy vitamins and supplements

    49. September 1, 2016 / 2:25 pm

      A bit late here, but have you tried Mac NW10? That one should be a bit lighter than the NC. I believe it may be newer though? 🙂

    50. September 1, 2016 / 2:26 pm

      A bit late here, but have you tried Mac NW10? That one should be a bit lighter than the NC. I believe it may be newer though? 🙂

    51. July 5, 2017 / 8:30 am

      I like the tonal base Loreal!

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