Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pale Skin Recommendations: Foundations and Blushes, plus my FOTD

This has not been my week. On top of sudden legal issues and a mix-up with my application for graduation, I apparently have the Demon's Technological Touch: my phone, point-and-shoot camera, and computer's SD memory card slot have all suddenly stopped working. Hence, I've had to do some major get my photos off of my Canon Rebel's SD card.

And you see, I NEEDED these photos. I've been longing to make recommendations to my fellow pale folks for as long as I can remember, but never had a chance to sit down and really go through those recommendations. Now that I'm blogging while searching for a full-time job, I have more than enough time to break down some of my tips and recommendations for a perfect porcelain face.

TIP #1: Don't be afraid to try a variety of brands when searching for your perfect concealer and foundation.

This may sound silly, but I know plenty of people who won't try a product if it's cheap, doesn't come from a certain brand, or doesn't instantly appear to come in a shade that will suit their skintone. The truth of the matter is that just about every brand, regardless of its price point or place of origin, has duds and gems. I have tried foundations from at least 3 dozen different brands in my search for the perfect base products and have found some products that really work for me, like Missha Perfect Cover BB cream ($29) in #13 Bright Beige and Revlon New Complexion foundation ($7-9) in 010 Ivory Beige; had I stubbornly stuck to one or two brands, I never would've found them.

TIP #2: If you can't find products light enough for you, try translucent/sheer products that still have an impact.

This is especially true if your main concern is adding or reducing luminosity. A really good moisturize or luminizer, rubbed in to the face before adding foundation or mixed with the foundation itself, can add plenty of luminosity to even the most matte foundation. If you want to set your foundation, but can't find a powder light enough, consider a setting spray (Makeup Forever and Skindinavia make great ones) or a goes-on-clear powder like ELF Complexion Perfection ($3).

TIP #3: Use resources like MakeupAlley or Temptalia's Foundation Matrix to find better matches.

This is honestly how I figure out what shades will work best for me. I'm especially fond of trolling the discussion boards on MakeupAlley, where I've met a few people with skin just like my own and therefore tend to trust their product raves. Swatches and shots can only take you so far, especially when you're preparing to buy a super-expensive product like Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer ($42) in Sx02 or one of the hundreds of shades produced by many of the theatrical/television brands (Graftobian, La Femme, Ben Nye, etc).

TIP #4: Consider buying a white "mixer" foundation.

If you're even paler than I am (NC/NW 5), it's going to be incredibly difficult to find a foundation that comes in your exact skintone. When that happens, it's a good idea to purchase a white foundation that you can mix with too-dark-for-you products to lighten up. My favorite is MAC Face & Body ($33), but I recall that Illamasqua and Face Atelier also make a white mixer. Be forewarned: the texture and finish of your white mixer can and most likely will alter the texture and finish of your regular foundation.

TIP #5: Try bright, pigmented blushes without any hint of brown (ie, "clean colors").

A lot of people are scared of blush these days, especially if they're very pale-skinned or dark-skinned. There's the belief that blush will always make your skin look clownish or ashy. This honestly shouldn't be a problem if you get the right sort of shade and apply it correctly. The big thing to remember if you're very pale is that your skin is essentially white, or very close to it, so colors will generally show up very bright and true. However, that white-ness also means that you can look sickly without a good flush, and anything that is too brown can look dull or dirty. Hence, I recommend that people with very pale (or very dark) skin go for super-saturated brights. A lot of super-bright, clean cream blushes give a great pop of color to the skin, but can be sheered out just by warming them up with your fingers; good examples would be the Maybelline Dream Mousse Bouncy Blush ($6) in Candy Coral or the Urban Decay Glide-On Cheek Tint ($24) in Quickie. If you prefer powders, get a brush that picks up less product, but still blends, like a fan or stippling brush, and use something like Cargo Blush ($29) in Key Largo or Sleek Blush ($6.50) in Scandalous. The key here is moderation: always use a small amount of product and blend it well in to your skin.

TIP #6: If you absolutely cannot bring yourself to try bright blushes, start with sheer colors or creamy pastels that still lack the dreaded brown undertone.

While I will forever tout the glories of a brightly-colored, perfectly-applied blush on a pale person's cheeks, I understand that they can be a little scary, especially if you're new to blush. If you can't bring yourself to try something bright, consider a pastel cream blush, like NYX Cream Blush ($5) in Boho Chic--I recommend a pastel cream instead of a pastel powder because, in my experience, pastel powders can look very chalky. If you want a powder, go for a lighter shade that isn't super-saturated with pigment, but can be built up slowly; good examples would be the MAC Mineralized Blush ($23.50) in Dainty or the Lancome Blush Subtil ($30) in Tangerine Tint.

Because my SD card and point-and-shoot camera both broke in the past 48 hours, I've had a heck of a time taking FOTD pictures. The red lipstick photo is vaguely Marilyn Monroe inspired and is from yesterday, while the peachy look is from today.

  •  BASE: Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer in Sx02, Bobbi Brown Color Corrector in Porcelain Peach
  • EYES: La Femme brow pencil in Taupe, Jordana Best Lash Extreme Volumizing mascara, Too Faced Shadow Insurance, ELF Essential  liquid eyeliner in Coffee, Milani Liquif-Eye eyeliner pencil in Brown, Urban Decay Naked palette (shadows used: Virgin, Buck, Sin)
  • CHEEKS: La Femme Blush On Rouge in Coral, MAC Mineralized Skin Finish in Perfect Topping
  • LIPS: NYX Long lipliner pencils in Auburn and Plush Red, Elizabeth Arden Color Intrigue lipstick in Poppy Cream, Rock & Republic lipgloss in Cougar
  •  BASE: MAC Face & Body foundation in N1 and White, Bobbi Brown Color Corrector in Porcelain Peach
  • EYES: La Femme brow pencil in Taupe, Jordana Best Lash Extreme Volumizing mascara, Too Faced Shadow Insurance, Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow in Recess, ELF Essential liquid eyeliner in Ash
  • CHEEKS: Lancome Blush Subtil in Tangerine Tint, Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Powder in Candlelight
  • LIPS: NYX Slim lipliner pencil in Tangerine, an unknown peachy-beige MAC lipstick (most likely Fanfare) lightly blotted on, NYC Liquid Lipshine lipgloss in Brighton Beach Peach.

After 5 hours and a meal, that red lip was still going strong! Proof:


  1. What an incredibly helpful post! I am liking your blog more and more lately, although I do miss you on youtube. It's nice to read the regular posts.
    I know you don't like Illamasqua Katie as a blush but I love it (I'm probably nw/nc5).

    1. Well, we all know I like a lot of blush, especially on pale skin to add a "pop," LOL! My problem with Katie was that, to get a noticeable flush, I REALLY add to pack it on, and then on my already dry-ish cheeks, Illamasqua's super-powdery formula just looked dry and chalky. I know a lot of ladies who are my skintone or slightly lighter/darker who still love it, so more power to them--as I always say, use what works for you. :)