Fair Play: Finding (and Customizing) Foundation for Pale Skin

Looking for non-toxic foundation/concealer for (very) fair skin? Look no longer: read this ABC post with my best mineral makeup ideas + customising and purchasing tips.

One of the recurring questions about natural beauty is that about mineral makeup. What people ask me pretty much boils down to: “It’s mostly available online, and it’s pricey, so how do I pick the right colour?” And so I decided to talk about it 🙂

Originally I planned to name this post “50 shades of pale” but I dismissed it.
There simply are no 50 shades of pale out there for us cream cheese faces!

(I also planned to post it yesterday, but what is time anyway?)


Women with fair skin use to ask each other “what are you wearing?” – not in terms of fashion, but in terms of makeup.
Because with the makeups offered it’s oh too easy to look like a pale orange matchstick or like a goth doll…
The real art is to pick the perfect tone!

Let me show you my suggestions with largely available and pretty safe (e.g., talc-free, silica-free, bismuth oxychloride free, fillers-free, fragrance-free, silicone-free… and non-nano) mineral makeup brands. Tips on purchasing – and customising – wrap up this post!

Hope you’ll find it helpful.


If you’re anything between “porcelain”, “alabaster”, “ivory” and “sad clown” – makeup-wise -, you’ll know that finding the right shade of foundation is a pain in the anatomy.

My pale sister!
As we struggle to find a match that’s not too dark, not too pink, not too yellow, not too orange, not too grey… we discover that most brands seem to think “pink is cool and yellow is warm, hey, that’s so simple!” – completely oblivious that either tone can get both “temperatures”.

You probably already know your own tone/undertone – is it very cool, blue-ish very pale pink? Are the undertones yellow or peachy? Or maybe olive?

the-undertone-coolpink the-undertone-olive the-undertone-warmpink the-undertone-yellow
My perfect foundation is a fair (but not the palest) olive – but still I’m looking wishfully at this Pantone SkinTone Guide. (<- To Whom It May Concern: Christmas gift alert!)


My favourite mineral makeup brands are:
Alima Pure (USA),
Lily Lolo (UK),
Inika (Australia),
Everyday Minerals (USA), and the newest fave:
Hiro (Berlin-based brand, makeup made in the USA).
// Here are all mineral makeup related posts so far that cover ingredient checks and a few words of warning (or: why I mix my mineral foundations with face oil):
Talc Is Cheap
You’ve Got Makeup… In Your Lungs
Everyday Minerals Range Review


Alima Pure offers the widest colour and finish range, and if you’re living in the US/Canada, you’re a very lucky girl: Alima offers sample sized foundations for 1.50$ per colour, which is a great way to try and find your exact colour – or to get as close as you can.
Here’s the link to the Satin Matte Foundation samples in their online shop.
NB1: European online shops don’t offer this service (yet?), only the brand’s own online shop.
NB2: forget their online undertone finder! They totally need to fix it. 

everydayminerals-cool-kit everydayminerals-olive-kit everydayminerals-warm-kit

Everyday Minerals is quite competitive, too: a good range of colours and different finishes offer plenty of options between matte and dewy. Normal size Foundation comes at about 14.50€ per 4.80g jar. You can purchase Everyday Minerals 7-piece custom kits of sample sized foundations (for $0.01!) or standard sized 5-piece custom kits, and they will ship internationally (for the record, it will take a while). Go to their site, select “Custom Kits” on the left and choose your options!
NB: Sometimes the retailers carry sample size sets too. Keep an eye at your fave green beauty shop.
UPDATE: A review of my purchase (one 7-piece, one 5-piece kit) is up!


If you’re shopping from UK and Europe, check out Lily Lolo. The Ready Set Glow Kit in Light (£13.49) consists of three light shades of their Mineral Foundation LSF 15 and one finishing powder along with a mini kabuki brush – great for beginners too. At about 9€ per 10g jar the normal size foundation is a real steal!

Inika, the most expensive of my faves (approx. €29.50, 8g jar), doesn’t offer sample sizes though and the fairest shades from 8 available Mineral Foundation SPF 20 don’t really qualify as very pale. The only shade that really delivers on the “rather pale” front is Grace. The colour is fairly neutral, with strong coverage, and a very smooth texture. You could ask an online shop that carries Inika near to you if they can provide a sample. It doesn’t hurt to ask! 😉


Hiro is new on the market.
Founded by a Berlin-based company that specialises in distribution of exclusive organic brands, the mineral makeup brand offers 15 shades of Mineral Foundation (approx. €33 per 9g jar), seven of which quality as fair. While Hiro doesn’t offer sample sizes for sale, you can request samples with your purchase.
read my interview with the Hiro founders on LOCALSPOTTER or check out my swatches of their Mineral Eye Shadows (with quite a heap of other fancy tricks like making your ownnail polish) here.

So now you ordered your sample sizes or asked for samples.
If you’re lucky, you’ve found one or two shades that fit. But what if not?


I’ve been checking out mineral makeups for a while now, some purchases were fab, some were yellow brick road coloured flops – but with different pigments at hand mineral makeup is probably the easiest foundation product to adapt to your liking.

Best part about using mineral makeup: Once you’ve got Your Colour, the product doubles as concealer, too!”

And with no added chemicals, water, oils etc. you can’t wreck the product.
(You can still mess up the colour, but we’re talking product safety, of sorts.)

An example for customizing? Yes, please. “Butterscotch” was advertised as medium olive with yellow undertones. Looks plain yellow on me, so I wear it in artificial light only (cooler tones make you look grey-ish in artificial light or in limelight) OR tone it down with “Blondie”. And “Blondie” was advertised as neutral – but looks too pink when worn alone > so I add an olive-beige mineral eye shadow. Fixed!


Well, simply by blending two (or more) colours. My secret ingredient is an Alima Pure… Eyeshadow!
The Satin Matte Eye Shadow in Blonde to be exact.
It doesn’t work as eyeshadow (unless I aim at looking really, really sick) but it’s THE pigment to add “olive-ness” to a mineral foundation that’s either too yellow or too pink.
If it’s too bland (looking greyish, happens a lot with “neutral” colours), I add Blonde along with a bit of Everyday Minerals Sunlight Color Corrector I’ve reviewed here.
And if it’s too white (happens also) I add some mineral bronzer.

1. Pick your favourite brands by looking up the reviews in the online shops, blogger reviews, and – obviously – checking the ingredients. Look if the brand offers sample kits or ask the online shop for samples (some will charge, some will add samples to your purchase).
2. Don’t buy a colour right away off a counter in a mall/department store.
Not even if the consultant tells you it looks good. You need to wear it in daylight in order to decide. (Spoken from a completely BANANA experience that has almost turned me off mineral makeup. True story, bro!)
3. Try them! The colour must match the best along your jawline (and not your wrist).
Because our faces aren’t just one colour all over, you might have another undertone around the nose or on your cheeks – but it’s the jawline that has to look good – unless you like to cover your neck and cleavage in foundation. Hint: I don’t.
4. If the colour doesn’t match, try to mix several from your samples.
You might end up with just your perfect shade. Write down the ratio! A good source of pigments to fix the colour are mineral eye shadows (matte only).
5. Congratulate yourself to your new perfect foundation and concealer 2-in-1!


Geeking out about all things truly green, healthy and ethical over at BEAUTYCALYPSE.com (Avatar illustration by A. Goncharenko)

14 Responses

  1. I don’t know what I am, except always in trouble with the skin specialist doctor, for not wearing sun protection. I eat lots of tomatoes though; lots and lots and they are really good for your skin. I am very curious about these foundations and concealers though.

      1. Yes, I did read your posts on sunscreens which confirmed my suspicions about them. Interesting that mineral make up has an SPF factor. I am off to eat more carrots and tomatoes. They are cheap and easy.

  2. Heather in Arles

    I know that this will definitely be of help to many fine ladies out in cyberworld. Alas, I am no longer one of them!! For after years of travelling in crazy places, no matter how hard I tried to protect my skin, I am no longer of the pale variety. Oooh, how I miss it!!! Sigh. But I have awesome memories to compensate. 😉
    PS. When I was kabuki pale, I used to buy my foundation in a store for theatre stuff!

      1. Heather in Arles

        Ooh, thanks for the tip! I will look into it. 🙂
        And I forgot to tell you that I bought a new sunscreen thanks to you–Bio Beauty by Nuxe. It is a little wacky, a little pasty but if it is healthier (and I know that it is), tant mieux!

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