Let's be honest, the biggest pet peeve when it comes to buying foundation when you have pale skin, is finding shades that are light enough.
Strictly speaking, there isn't an awful lot you can do to find *ultra* light shades (as in darker that white yet lighter than NC15 in Mac). The best way you can make the most out of your makeup, and get away with wearing brands of foundations that do not make shades light enough for you - is to invest in a white foundation and get into custom mixing to your shade.
I have found the above foundations which are white or off white that you may want to look into.
1. Barry M Foundation Creme in White - £3.99 (currently unavailable on the Barry M website but will I contact them to enquire when it's back!)
2. Mac Face and Body in white - £27
3. Stargazer foundation in White - £3.50
I have also previously reviewed this product which you can read about here.
4. Illamasqua Rich Liquid Foundation in 100 Pure White - £25 Illamasqua are fantastic for catering for paler shades and also have other liquid and compact foundations in the same shade.
Yes, mixing means putting in a little more effort and spending cash on a white foundation, however if like me you have a drawer full of foundations that are too dark, then really it will mean you will actually get to use them, and they will go from looking orange to looking great!
There is also a key problem to look out for that I feel many people neglect to notice, that mixing can drastically help with.
Tide Marks (duh duh duhhhhh!)
When your foundation colour does not match the colour on your neck either because your shade is too dark or.....
When your foundation appears to be a perfect match when applying (in good daylight this is, not store lighting) yet when you look in the mirror some time later you notice it is distinctly darker, creating a contrast between the face and neck that wasn't there when you blended and checked for it earlier.
The process is known as oxidisation - which is when oxygen reacts with the particles in your foundation which in short turns them darker. Some foundations do this much worse than others and can look considerably darker than when you first applied them.
The best way to check for oxidisation within your current foundation is to swatch on your hand, leave it 10 minutes and swatch again next to it to see if there is much of a colour difference. If you are finding there is a difference, then be sure to mix your foundation with a white foundation before application to the face so it's *slightly* too pale. So long as you don't overdo the white, your mixed shade will then oxidise to your natural colour and nothing darker.
This may be more of a trial and error thing for some of you, but once you get the hang of it, it will make a massive difference and greatly improve the look of your makeup. Remember: the wrong colour base looks great on no one!
I tend to mix on the back of my hand and at the minute I am using Bobbi Brown tinted moisturiser for my base, in "Alabaster Tint" with 1 pump of Dainty Doll in 001 as my mixer. However as Dainty Doll are no longer in business this is extremely difficult to find so I'd recommend buying one of the alternative ones pictured above.
To mix, I tend to place both shades side by side, and gently mix by hand. I wouldn't advise mixing with your foundation brush as in my experience, half of it ends up just caking up the brush and doesn't get mixed as well.
Alternatively, you can get a small plastic lid to insert your products into, and use a thin brush to mix the two together. Although for accuracy, mixing on the hand gives you a better idea of your natural skintone (even if it's slightly different to to the colour of your face/neck).
My final word on mixing is once you get used to it, it really isn't much of a hassle and only really adds a few seconds onto the time it takes to apply your makeup.
As always, daylight is your best friend trying to get the perfect shade, not artificial yellow light. Try and position your make up mirror so that it reflects lots of natural light, and is not facing away from it.
Unfortunately when shopping for foundation, counter assistants will tell you the shade of foundation is perfect even when it's not not (do I need to remind anyone of when I was sold Estee Lauder Double Wear in Desert Beige?!) Always have your wits about you and don't be afraid to say no if you are not 100% comfortable on the shade, or wish to go outside and look at it in natural light.
Oh... and don't forget to mix!