9 Best Foundations for Fair Skin

image depicting a woman with a rainbow glare on her face

 Struggling to find the perfect foundation for your fair skin? We’ve got you covered!  Finding a foundation that matches your undertone and looks natural can seem impossible. The good news is that we have compiled a list of the 9 best foundations to give you lots of great options, and broken down exactly how to select the perfect shade! 

What is Fair Skin?

Fair skin is generally categorized as someone with a light skin tone with warm, cool, or neutral undertones. It is generally thought of as being some of the lightest natural complexions and found in those of East Asian or Caucasian descent; however, it can be found in those from other ethnic and diverse backgrounds.

How Do I Know if I Have Fair Skin?

Skin-colored paint swatches being painted on a models arm

The easiest way to tell if you have fair skin is to use the Fitzpatrick Pigmentary Phototype Scale(see below) which is used by skin care professionals and dermatologists alike. Those with fair skin are found in Type 1 & Type 2, burn easily in the sun, and often have light-colored eyes.

UV sensitivity scale

Skin Care Geeks do a fabulous job of breaking down all the details of those with a fair complexion, and even outline some great tips like the best color choices for clothing and eyeshadow to match that beautiful skin tone! Read the full article Here

Is All Fair Skin the Same?

two models depicting different types of fair skin

All fair skin is not the same. In order to find your perfect foundation match, you need to determine your natural undertone and skin type. Let’s dive in.

Fair skin is first generally categorized into 3 skin Over Tone groups. When you look in the mirror, this is what you see on the surface of your skin, and is generally placed into these 3 groups below.

  • Ivory — Pale skin with few to no freckles with blue or green eyes, with blonde or red hair. This group burns the easiest and likely peels directly after sun exposure. The caveat here is for those of Asian descent who will have darker hair color or those with red hair and lots of freckles.
  • Fair — Those with blue eyes but have blonde or brown hair. These beauties are also attuned to peeling but not so much as the first group.
  • Light — Those with light skin, but have dark hair and brown eyes are the envy of the fair-skinned everywhere as they can generally safely tan without sunburn (jealous!).

Now, let’s talk about skin undertones, as this is generally the crucial factor in getting an exact match in your foundation. This is the undertone of color beneath your skin’s surface and makes all the difference in determining the best foundation shade for you. 

Types of Skin Undertones

Picture of used face makeup products

Undertones are divided into three categories and knowing your natural undertone will not only help you find the best foundation but will also help in determining other things that compliment your skin tone like clothing, jewelry, and other cosmetics.

Sometimes you can have redness in you skin but it’s not your undertone but a symptom of irritation or a medical condition. If that is a concern, check out our list of best foundations for red skin!

Warm Undertone

You fall into this category if…

  • Your veins tend to look slightly greener
  • Gold jewelry is more flattering against your skin
  • You get a nice glow from the sun (but don’t forget the sunscreen!)

Your Celebrity Cheat Sheet for Warm Undertone

Celebrities with warm undertones include Kim Kardashian, Lucy Liu, and Beyonce. These leading ladies are often seen in gold baubles and likely have a beautiful glow.

Cool Undertone

You fall into this category if…

  • Your veins look more blue or purple
  • Silver jewelry is your go-to look
  • You likely burn easily in the sun and have to apply sunscreen often

Your Celebrity Cheat Sheet for Cool Undertone

Celebrities with cool undertones include Anne Hathaway, Rosario Dawson, and Will Smith. The Fresh Prince himself and these cult movie sirens are those with hints of pink or blue in their skin.

Neutral Undertone

You fall into this category if…

  • You can’t quite determine your vein color
  • You can pull off both silver and gold jewelry
  • You tan easily in the sun

Your Celebrity Cheat Sheet for Neutral Undertone

Your celebrity skin doppelgangers are Drew Barrymore, Sandra Bullock, and Kerri Washington. Actresses, authors, and directors alike- these ladies can pull off any color palette well!

9 Best Foundations for Fair Skin

woman applying foundation using her finger

Now, as a fair-skinned gal myself the quest to find the best foundation has definitely evolved throughout the years. As a teen, I would simply select the palest shade I could and hope for the best (fingers crossed!)  Luckily for you (and me!), the beauty market has evolved as well, and now includes dozens of fair-skinned shades.

 We’ve listed our top 9 below to take the guesswork out and help you find the perfect foundation.

#1: Clinique Even Better Makeup

Clinique Even Better Makeup

Clinique has been in the cosmetics industry for many years, and this foundation is a cult classic. Developed by dermatologists, it not only provides medium coverage but can visibly reduce dark spots in just 12 weeks. Um, yes please!

#2: The Ordinary Coverage Foundation

The Ordinary Coverage Foundation

With dozens of fair shades to choose from and a buildable formula, this one is a great choice for anyone with combination skin. It has a satin finish and is budget-friendly as well. Plus, it has SPF!

#3: NARS Sheer Glow Foundation

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation

This is a natural finish foundation with buildable color and has vitamin C and turmeric to give skin an extra boost of brightening power. Its sheer formula provides a slight glowing effect keeping you radiant all day!

#4: Too Faced Born This Way Foundation

Too Faced Born This Way Foundation

Too Faced is known for their products with staying power, and this foundation is no exception. It provides medium coverage, but with added coconut water to keep skin hydrated all day long.

#5: Kosas Tinted Face Oil

Kosas Tinted Face Oil

For those looking for a clean beauty brand and a low-maintenance look, your must-try is Kosas Tinted Face Oil. They have some amazing fair shades and their formula has 6 botanical oils to make your skin feel amazing. We have tons of information about skin tints vs foundations!

#6: Bare Mineral Complexion Rescue

Bare Mineral Complexion Rescue

This is technically a tinted moisturizer, but it’s a beauty must-have with hyaluronic acid and mineral SPF 30. It also comes in a wide selection of radiant and natural finish shades.

#7: Sephora Best Skin Ever Foundation

Sephora Best Skin Ever Foundation

With 50 shades to choose from, this liquid foundation provides medium coverage with up to 12 hours of long wear for around $20-that’s a deal!

#8: KVD Lock-It Full-Coverage Long-Wear Matte Foundation

KVD Lock-It Full-Coverage Long-Wear Matte Foundation

For those that love a full coverage look that never fades, opt for KVD Lock-It Full-Coverage Liquid Foundation. This formula literally never fades or wears off and has over 40 shades to choose from.

#9: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Oil Free Natural Skin Perfector

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Oil Free Natural Skin Perfector

Last but not least is Laura Mercier’s oil-free tinted moisturizer. If you’re worried this won’t provide the coverage you need, think again! With a natural finish, it provides buildable color to wear alone, under foundation, or to use with your favorite concealer. As always, the SPF 20 is a must!

3 Steps For Picking The Best Foundation for Your Fair Skin

woman applying skin product to her face using her hand

1. Consider your skin type as well as tone.

  • Those with dry skin should look for a hydrating formula with buildable to medium coverage to not accentuate dry areas.
  • Combination skin can likely pull off any formula (liquid, cream, powder) but be sure to use a setting powder on those T zone areas if you’re opting for a glowy formula.
  • Oily skin is best suited for a matte formula or powder foundations that will hide large pores and any extra shine.

2. Always Wear SPF!

If you are not already incorporating SPF into your daily beauty routine, you need to ensure your foundation is! Whether you’re opting for a tinted look or full-coverage, be sure to consider foundation formulas with SPF to prevent that beautiful skin from aging! 

3. Choose the Right Formula for You

With so many options out there, be sure to choose the right formula for your end goal. If you’re going for glowy and dewy opt for an oil-free tinted moisturizer.

 If buildable color is your goal, then be sure to grab a natural or satin finish foundation that can be applied in layers. 

In those full coverage options, you can find truly matte and all-day wear that’s sure to not wear off.

Final Verdict 

Finding the perfect fair skin foundation can be tough, but if you use the tips above and consider your specific skin needs, we’re sure one (or three!) of the above is sure to provide you with a beautiful foundation fit! Remember, foundation is not one size fits all and neither are you!