Beauty for the delicate flower

By Mir
July 8, 2013

I don’t really wear makeup. This is because:
1) I work from home, and prefer hiding in my office to interacting with people,
2) I am exceedingly lazy.

On a day when I’m working from home (most weekdays) or just puttering around the house (most weekends), I wear jeans and t-shirts and my hair is unruly and wet all day and I wear my glasses and the only thing that goes on my face is maybe a little moisturizer. Fancy!

On a day when I have to do Official Work Things Among People, I wear pretty clothes and expensive shoes and I straighten my hair and make it SUPER SHINY and put in my contacts and put on makeup.

Basically, I’m Batman. But, you know, like the Batman of freelancers. No one would ever see flip-flop-wearing, crazy-haired, naked-face me at the supermarket and suspect that I clean up to look like a reasonable professional. I mean, I guess I could look that put together all the time, but, uh, see item 2 above.

Given this information, a Beauty Crisis sounds unlikely, and yet… I have them every couple of years. I’m having one RIGHT NOW.

It turns out—and this is surprising, and very difficult to take, particularly if you’re a cheapskate like me—makeup doesn’t last forever. SO UNFAIR. I mean, when you’re someone like me who wears makeup a handful of times each year, you NEVER run out, and wouldn’t it be nice if you could just use it for years and years and years? But NO. Mascara gets clumpy, lip glosses separate, various pencils and shadows and blushes get goopy and weird. Every time I bite the bullet and buy new makeup, I give myself a little pep talk. I remind myself that super-cheap makeup will only make me completely insane and will need to be replaced because I hate it, and more expensive makeup will still expire well before I’ve used it up and TOO BAD, SO SAD, that’s just how it goes.

It used to be that I could just wear some mascara and eyeliner and lip gloss and I’d be good to go. As I get older, though, weird things are happening to my face. BAD THINGS. Bags under my eyes! Wrinkles around my mouth! And the acne, LORD, you’d think I’d be used to dealing with it by now, but I don’t know, as my skin gets older, the acne seems to heal slower. I’m a hot mess, basically. And that brings us to Face Goop.

I don’t wear foundation (except when I must as stage makeup; I’m talking about in real life). Foundation, to me, feels like coating my face in peanut butter. I don’t like the way it feels, I don’t like the way it looks, it always seems to aggravate my delicate skin, and surely someone is going to say OH BUT MY FOUNDATION IS DIFFERENT and that may be true, but over the years I have purchased a variety of foundations from cheap to super-expensive, and never has there been one that didn’t make me want to either claw off my own face or offer it up to Madame Tussauds for display purposes. I cannot tolerate it. But MY SKIN is NOT EVEN, and as we all know, that is a cardinal sin in beauty.

A couple of years ago I went on a quest to find something to use as Face Goop. Something that would even out my tone, make my face look better, but be, you know, not foundation. After spending gobs of money on different products, I developed an uneasy but workable relationship with Olay Definity, and used that whenever I needed to make my face look Less Horrendous. It was light, it didn’t feel weird, it kind of smoothed everything out without looking like my face was painted on. It worked.

Fast forward two years: I still have most of the Definity left, because of course I do, but the consistency is getting… strange… because it’s old. NO PROBLEM, I could just buy some more! Except… I can’t. Because now the world is big into BB cream and CC cream and now Definity is Olay CC Cream – Total Effects Tone Correcting Moisturizer with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15, which—expanded name notwithstanding—may or may not be the same formulation as what I have now, but the color has changed. See, on top of everything else, my natural skin tone is somewhere between “porcelain” and “deceased.” With freckles. So color-matching with over-the-counter products is next to impossible, anyway. The OLD fair-to-light Definity was just the right color. The new stuff? fair-to-light is lighter, but light-to-medium is too dark.

Clearly Olay hates me.

I did what all intelligent, self-sufficient, take-charge women would do in that situation: I took to social media to whine that I CANNOT FIND FACE GOOP I LIKE, I HATE FOUNDATION, TELL ME WHAT TO BUY. The suggestions ranged from everything to drugstore-brand powders to some gel that costs, no lie, $50/ounce. (For $50 an ounce it needs to make me look 21 again and also like I’ve never had a pimple in my life. If that cannot be guaranteed, I can’t fork over the cash.)

Also, the general conclusion was that BB and CC creams are all marketing schtick and basically they’re both the same sort of thing. If you’ve ever wondered if a group of otherwise intelligent women can debate ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING, start a conversation with them about BB versus CC creams. The results will astound you (and possibly make you weep for humanity).

In conclusion, I’m going to a conference in a few weeks and I already dropped a bunch of money on all new makeup because my old stuff was gross, but I am dissatisfied with the face goop I purchased and need a replacement. My needs are simple: It should match my sickly pallor but also make me look radiant, it should even out my skin’s appearance without looking or feeling artificial, and it shouldn’t require a second mortgage on the house. IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK? (Don’t answer that.)


  1. Chuck

    I am obviously no source of advice here (other than the fact that based on personal history, I do wear a moisturizer with SPF 15 every day) but couldn’t you go to a nice department store and try some of the makeups you’re interested in right there so you know for sure they work before you leave? You could just buy a small size at the department store and stock up online later if you found a deal. Anyhow just a thought.

  2. Emily

    If you find it, I wanna know because I have the same problems. :( Stupid foundation.

  3. Elizabeth

    WHY can they not make a face cream in the “pallid”? I can’t stand foundation either; only time I wear it is when I have to go to a family function in the South where my sisters are present, and I steal some of the baby sister’s (27, no dependents) Chanel. I wore a tinted moisturizer for years that was the right color made by Guinot. But then I think Guinot was acquired and instead of that lovely delicate French color, it became a darker color that just isn’t right. I mixed two colors of something (MD?) for a while, then gave up on that. So just moisturizer with a light dusting of Laura Mercier powder to reflect the light off my face and make the unevenness less obvious. I’m sure someone has a solution for you. I want to hear it when it comes.

  4. Elizabeth

    I have worked out an uneasy peace (for the time being) with Parrothead Floridays Face Sunscreen (that i use as a sunscreen/moisturizer), and Almay colormatch something or other mousse that I got at CVS. Feels super light. Slight dusting of powder over it, then life is good.

  5. Jen

    The heck is BB and CC cream? Seriously, have never heard of this.
    I’m in much the same boat, so I’ve just decided to never look in the mirror again.

    • Rachel

      I’m in the same situation as Jen. =)

      • Rebecca

        Completely clueless here too.

    • TC

      Thank you, Jen. Not a single clue. (Also, not a single cream in my house. Ever. I have age spots, and STILL won’t put crap on my face because even at almost 50 I get acne the second anything like that touches it. So it’s really a rhetorical question.)

  6. deva

    I like BB cream but finding a tint that works? harder. than. anything.

  7. Karen.

    If you get a Mary Kay rep worth her salt, she’ll bring the whole works to your house, lock, stock and barrel, and patiently try things on you for hours until you find what you want. And, OK, sometimes it’s just easier to go to her house. (I had to do that once.) In the many, many years between my first attending of an MK party and the most recent makeup requirement (er, not too many years ago, but maybe five?), they got a whole lot more delicate skin- and sensitive eye-friendly.

    Gotta get the right rep, though. One with a full sales collection and a passion for pretty.

    • Alice

      Seconding Mary Kay – I’ve really been liking their mineral powder foundation for the past few years (i.e. it took me that long to use up 1 tin, and I actually bought the same thing when it ran out). I hate the gloppy feeling of ‘normal’ foundation, and so have been able to get away with using a coverup stick for the reddest spots + powder on top.

      The MK stuff isn’t that bad, price-wise, and it’s also gluten-free. (I know you’re not super sensitive, but why put wheat germ onto your face when you have alternatives?) If the whole direct sales part feels weird but the powder thing is interesting, Bare Minerals also has some good stuff, and lets you try on different colors in their store.

      • Lucinda

        I will third Mary Kay. I have fairly sensitive and quite pale skin. I prefer mineral powder over cream but a tinted moisturizer might be your best bet since you already use moisturizer. I don’t think Mary Kay is the best stuff out there. But for the price, it isn’t bad and a good rep really does make a world of difference. Plus their money back guarantee is good.

    • Heathershell

      I will fourth Mary Kay I am in LOVE with their lip products. You can also try Clinique they make great products that are hypo-allerginic and are about the only foundationish thing that I can put on my face without feeling like my pores are choking to death. In the winter my skintone is deceased too, however in the summer I am caramel. I have to deal with the same issue of my products expiring due to my ability to tan so the Clinique stuff is priced pretty good & does not expire that fast.

  8. Julie

    I like Maybelline Fit Me foundation. I use the palest, pretty sure it’s 110. You can get it at Walmart and it’s cheap, $7 or 8 so if you hate it you haven’t made a huge investment. You an also keep the receipt and take it back, which is always a pleasure at our nearest Walmart…not. Good luck!

  9. abbie

    I am super, super pale. Like, so pale they don’t make liquid foundation or moisturizer in my skin tone. Not that I’ve found anyway. A couple of years ago I gave Bare Minerals a try (it is a powder), and I really like it. I use the palest one – I just restocked this weekend, and I think their starter kits are on sale right now. Good luck! If you find something you like please report back – good makeup is so hard to find!!

    • Kim

      Bare Minerals solves the spackle-on-my-face feeling for me, too. “It’s just powder! I can wear powder!”

      • Debra

        Me too, Bare Minerals. Pale complexion with lots of freckles. I don’t even know what color powder I wear, but an Olay moisturizer with sunscreen is the base, then after that soaks in….a very light dusting of Bare Minerals. Get the good brush….it makes a difference.

      • lisa

        I totally agree – this is all I use – and so far, it is still looking good after 5 years of sporadic wear – as in 5 – 8 times a year I use it..

    • Tenessa

      I like Bare Minerals, too. And I HATE putting things on my face. So for that once a year I need to wear makeup? I use that.

    • Diahn Ott

      I hate foundation. I LOVE Bare Minerals. It lasts forever, it is light and evens out all my uneven spots, but doesn’t feel like I’m spackled at all…

    • Sara

      I fifth (?) the Bare Minerals powder. I hate having stuff on my face, and I’m basically the color of a marshmallow with freckles. The powder comes in light, and I wear it over my plain Olay face sunscreen. I think it helps my skin look more even, and I don’t want to rip my face off at 9am.

      I’m not sure what BB and CC are either, just in case you wanted to post on that and enlighten us.

    • Jamie

      Yep, I’m a Bare Minerals gal, too. I buy the light and the fairly light and mix the two together. I also dislike foundation but the powder works great and doesn’t feel heavy on my skin. Best of luck finding something that works!!

    • Susan

      Add my vote to the Bare Minerals column. It is so not goopy on the face, works great to smooth out the complexion and best of all, seems to help with my very unfair, wasn’t this supposed to clear up decades ago adult acne as well.

      • Valerie

        Ditto, ditto. Bare Minerals for the pale and middle aged with pimples and freckles. Breakouts far less frequent too. I recently travelled and found I had purchased a shade WAY too dark (probably the color of most normal ladies with any pigment at all) and had to buy an emergency bottle at the closest drug store. My skin’s angry reaction put me back on track with the mineral powders. Good luck!

  10. Julie

    And the 110 is ghostly pale like me, which isn’t easy to find;)

  11. Michele

    I also don’t even know what BB and CC creams are.

    • Mir

      Apparently BB means Beauty Balm and CC means Color Corrector, and both are combination moisturizer, primer, and light foundation (and sometimes SPF, too). It’s unclear why there are two names for what is essentially the same thing. And then someone mentioned they now make DD cream and my head exploded.

      • Brenda

        I don’t want my foundation to come in bra sizes, thankyouverymuch. I have also tried the Bare Minerals powder foundation and like it better than liquid, which I only wear for stage makeup because of the whole feels like I’m wearing a mask thing. I know some of the drugstore brands have started having some mineral foundations, too (CoverGirl, I think), so it might be worth a shot.

      • Rebecca

        PRIMER??? We need PRIMER now? Good Lord, it’s a face, not a bathroom wall!

        • Brigitte

          Yeah, primer before the spackle gets layered on. Yech! I use cheapo mineral powder, on the rare occasion when I must wear makeup. Just as long as I don’t get crazy and get powder on on my teeny facial fuzz and eyelashes.

          • Debra

            I thought the BB creams and whatnot came from our friends in theater. I was introduced to it by my daughter after her theater classes and it hadn’t yet been mainstreamed into the regular stores yet. She called BB- Blemish Balm.

  12. melissa

    I like this stuff –

    It has some…glow? maybe? After a long day, it can kind of make you look sweaty, but it’s light and photographs well in my opinion. It matches my just-this-side-of-corpse face pretty well. Also my very sensitive skin doesn’t break out like it does with most face sunscreen stuff.

    Also, I’m sure you know this, but if you shoP at Sephora, you can return anything (opened or not) you don’t like or doesn’t work for you – no questions asked. So, it’s basically risk free! Please report back on what you find/love/hate.

    It’s really hard finding the perfect thing. I hate it so.

  13. Carrie On

    Very pasty girl here (the lightest powder/foundation clinique makes is still a shade too dark for me) and I also hate the way foundation feels, too. When I need foundation, I use the City Block sunscreen from Clinique. It’s just barely tinted and doesn’t make me feel like clawing my face off. The one I have is, like, four years old and pretty much full, so the stuff lasts pretty well. It’s not cheap at $21, but you might want to give it a try. Wait til they are doing a free gift with purchase at the clinique counter and you’ll get some free goodies out of it at least.

  14. sassymonkey

    I don’t know the difference between BB and CC creams. I *do* use a BB cream on the occasions that I put goop on my face because I tried it and I like it better than foundation. I use some fancy-schmancy Dior stuff I got at Sephora because it felt good and didn’t have shimmer in it the way the other BB cream I tried there did. (I don’t really understand why BB creams have shimmer in them anyway. Last I checked I was not a Twilight Disco Ball Vampire… unless I am and NO ONE TOLD ME.) I haven’t tried the drugstore brand BB creams, though I’m sure they are fine. Except whatever would I would buy which would end up being horrible and then the next one would be horrible as well and then I’d just end up going to Sephora and begging for help anyway so I cut out the middle man. But BB creams don’t seem to come in as many shades as foundation.

  15. Genevieve

    I await the suggestions as well. I hate foundation and never use it, wear Neutrogena SPF moisturizer (untinted) daily, sometimes with Benefit blush over it, sometimes bother with eyeliner and/or mascara. For the rare full-out makeup several times a year, I would welcome an even-ing out Face Goop.

    Also, anything for eye bags would be great (I have Benefit’s Bo-ing concealer but am not in love with it).

  16. JennyA

    I’ve been using Laura Mercier’s SPF 20 oil-free tinted moisturizer for years. It’s pricey ($43 for 1.7 oz. seems to be the standard going rate) but I use it every morning even if I’m not wearing other makeup and one tube lasts me a few months (I use about a small, pea-sized dollop). It’s not goopy, goes on evenly, the tint is very sheer, and I live in fear that it will be discontinued. I’ve also used the version that’s not oil-free — in the winter that’s ok, but in the humidity of SC in the summer (especially this summer, gaaaaaaah), the oil-free is just the right amount of moisture without making me feel shiny. So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    • Frazier

      I use Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer also. But only on “full makeup” days. The Laura Mercier secret concealer is absolutely one of the best makeup products ever invented, and I use it every day!

  17. js

    I wear Maybelline BB Cream. Maybe she’s born with it? Ha. Fat chance! I LOVE make up, so I’m here to offer my two cents. I also like bare minerals foundation. I’m sure you’re familiar. Too faced foundation from hard candy is the perfect match for my winter time pale face. And, let’s talk cheap: E.L.F. Target carries them and I have foundation from them that cost, like $3. They also have very cheap bronzer, which is fun for pale ladies. Their lip glosses and blushes are $1, which makes it fun and cost effective to experiment with different colors. My favorite expensive make up is MAC studio fixx. Also, my favorite primer is smash box photo finish. It helps with smooth coverage of the adult acne we have in common. Good Luck!

    • Carrie On

      Oh, I just got hooked on E.L.F. Love that stuff! I like that most of it is very subtle. And cheap is always awesome!!!!

  18. jodifur

    I said it on twitter, but your going to make me say it again. Flower, by Drew Barrymore. Only available at Walmart. I wrote a whole (unsponsored) blog post about I much I love the BB creme. And I loathe walmart.

    • steff

      I loathe walmart also it makes me evil, but i went to buy the BB cream, loved it!

  19. paige

    I wear Almay foundation…the “magic” kind that looks white and then matches itself to the wearer’s skin tone. It works for me in the winter, and doesn’t feel yucky plus it keeps my face from getting chapped when I walk across the arctic tundra/wind tunnel of campus to get to my classes and office. (Not suggesting you try the foundation, though…sounds like you’ve tried every one on the market!)

    In the summer, I add one or two drops of the foundation to my Cetaphil facial moisturizer (SPF 15). If’ I’m going out and want to be fancy. That seems to even out the skin tone without making feel like I have Goop on my face.

  20. MamaChristy

    Girlfriend – Mineral make-up. Forgiving on the color match, good coverage, SPF of 15 and it never goes bad. And it goes on SUPER easy with the included brush.

  21. Jean

    Get thee to Sephora and get samples!!! You can try lots of things, get samples and play at home before forking out the cash.

    Also, as an avid user of foundation (read: I have to go to work every day and no one wants to look at my rosacea), using a foundation brush (not sponge) for any type of foundation/bb cream/cc cream/space flight cream of the moment will make a huge different. you can use very little and blend all over your face.

    Good luck!

    • Kelly

      I second the foundation brush- it makes a huge difference! To me, the brush is more important than the foundation. Watch a few youtube tutorials if you haven’t used one before. I love Smashbox primer and their green color correcting foundation. I only wear make-up once a month at most, but I never feel like I have “stuff” on my face with those if I use my brush.

  22. Aimee

    Clearly this is a problem for the Ponds Institute. The brain trust there must surely have some sort of AABBCC free radical fighting Sandinista anti-oxidant porcelain/deceased miracle cream. They’re the PONDS INSTITUTE. It’s what they do.

    • Mir


    • Miriam

      From now on, I will mentally add “Sandinista!” to every over-the-top product name that exists. Added benefit: makes me channel The Clash.

  23. Amanda

    Should we be looking for your new line of make up in Dead Fish Belly shades coming soon?

  24. Gaylin

    I wear Ombrelle, 15 SPF sunscreen every day. Done.
    No makeup, no correcting – I look just fine, as I am.

  25. Heather

    I feel your pain!

  26. RuthWells

    LORD have mercy.

  27. Kati

    If you’ve got a Sephora nearly, go. They will give you a sample of absolutely a thing you want to try – shampoo, lipstick, primer, foundation, etc. I’ve saved myself a bazillion dollars this way.

    I use a tinted primer (for the redness) and a tinted foundation. They are light enough to just even out my skintone without looking like a mask, and they’re weightless.

    Also, if info your foundations is too light, and one is too dark, have you tried mixing them?

    • JMH

      I agree! Take a few recommendations and head to Sephora. They will give you free samples to try. THEN you can buy what works for you.

  28. Liza

    Until halfway through the comments, I thought that BB and CC creams were your nice way of not naming brand names that you hated. I wasn’t sure why you went with double letters or started with B instead of A, but I figured you were just more creative than I am.

    Also, as an acne-prone, glow-in-the-dark-pale, cheap, occasional makeup-wearer, I do look forward to the report back when you find The Answer.

  29. Zuska

    I had no idea what BB and CC creams were. I read the explanation. I have already forgotten what they are, so clearly I am inept at the whole beauty product thing.

    I have used Bare Minerals for years. I find it VERY easy to apply powder v. liquid, I love the coverage, and for your needs (i.e., long lasting products), powder might be a better option (unless someone tells me that powders also expire … but I hope not).

  30. miss blue

    Ulta makes a cheaper and better knockoff of Bare Minerals. Use a “zebra brush” (flat on the end) to stipple the powder on. Amazing camouflage of acne scars and exceptionally even coverage.

  31. Carla Hinkle

    You may have already gotten this recommendation from Twitter, because I heard about it originally from Jonniker, but I LOVE the L’Oreal BB cream. It is MAGIC. I used to be a moisturizer-only person before I got old and dried out…the L’Oreal BB cream really makes my skin look soooo smooth and nice. I use it every day!

    The only thing I don’t like is that it doesn’t come with sunscreen, so I have to put on the sunscreen, wait 5 minutes, then put on the BB cream. But the BB’s I’ve tried with sunscreen I find kind of thick and pasty, it seems like they lose their smooth beautifulness with the sunscreen added, so I’d rather layer …

  32. Megan

    I echo the poster above that mentions the Almay Smart Shade. Looks white with little dots in it, smooths out into unnoticable yet somehow better face coverage. I, too, have ghostly pale skin with freckles, now with the added 40ish bonus of dark circles and chin acne! I use the Light shade in winter and the Light/Medium in the summer when my freckles are more freckly.

    I have VERY sensitive skin and hate to feel make up on me, this is about the only one that works for me.

  33. Corey

    Target. Sonia Kashuk Radiant Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 15. $13.69, and apparently now comes with a free clutch bag?

  34. Mary K. in Rockport

    Well…..I don’t wear face stuff or mascara or nail polish, either. They make me feel like my face/eyelids/nails are suffocating. Over the years, I have worked out a system for my paleface. First, I use Clearasil tinted adult acne cream as spot “spackle.” Then I dust with Johnson’s Baby Powder – it’s great, cheap and always available. CoverGirl & Olay Simply Ageless Eye Concealer is the best stuff I’ve found in years for undereye coverup (it also covers those spots we call “beacons.” For eyes, I have always used CoverGirl Perfect Blend eye crayon which they have STOPPED MAKING!!!! It’s the only thing I’ve ever found to which my eyes are not allergic. For years, I have bought up handfuls of the things whenever I’ve found them, but I’m about to run out……….NOOOOOO! One last suggestion – since you use your makeup so slowly, keep it in the fridge and stir it up with a toothpick or something sterile to remix the oils. You have my utmost sympathy on this and other fronts!

  35. Tracey

    I use the Cover Girl Advanced Radiance Age-Defying Liquid Makeup. Which is a long name that would make you believe you have to put it on with a spatula, but I use a wet makeup sponge and it goes on REALLY light. I hate heavy foundation, too. It’s just enough to even stuff out but not make me look weird, like my face is TOO perfect. I get it in buff beige, but I have a little olive undertone, so you might need a couple shades lighter.
    That being said, someday I will try mineral makeup, because of all the raves!!

    Also, this BB and CC stuff is news to me. I am 38…so I’m guessing eventually this CG stuff won’t defy my age as much as I’d like, but I’m going to stay ignorant as long as possible, thank you very much.

  36. Michelle

    My crusty regimen is laughable, at best, but I do wash my face with some anti-acne stuff, use cvs-brand sensitive skin moisturizer when I remember but do not own any foundation. Instead, I put on a eensy bit of concleaor on the circles under my eyes and brush on and nothing wee smidge of bronzer. It doesn’t fool anyone into think my pasty skin is actually tan, but it manages to look and feel like nothing while making my face-skin one less-pallid color? Read it in a Cosmo-sequel magazine 1000 years ago as to what photographers do about hungover or acne’d models. Although, I’d be pleased if going thru my Facebook and photoshopping my profile pics was an option….

    • Michelle

      Oh my god why so many typos???!!!? Damned iPhone!

  37. Michelle

    Wherein “crusty” should read “beauty”. Oof

  38. dad

    What…your life isn’t complex enough and you need something else to anguish about?

    I don’t agree but the expressed opinion that your skin tone is somewhere between “porcelain” and “deceased” is a classic and will cause me to snort every time I think of it.
    Maybe you make me laugh so hard I never noticed.

    I loved comment #23. I believe Aimee has a bright future in public relations.

  39. ScottsdaleGirl

    my natural skin tone is somewhere between “porcelain” and “deceased.” <— I call this complexion "Clear" as in are you Caucasian? no I am clear.

    • Sara

      I have described myself as translucent, but that is only in the Winter. In the summer I’m translucent with freckles/pink spots. Lovely, huh?

  40. Jill W.

    I was a make-up artist/ salesgirl for a few years between college and lawschool, and even i am fluxxomed by the whole BB?CC cream thing. And as near as I can tell, it is all just foundation. I too am ghostly pale, but I have these delightful brown spots taht have popped up on my skin as well as rosecea (sp?). I usually only wear powder foundation because I do not like the feel of foundation on my skin (except for Prescriptives Virtual Skin, which no longer exisits, RIP), so I popped by my local Clinique counter recently all ready to be swayed by the BB/CC/LMNOP revolution. Blech. When the salesgirl tried a little on me, I felt like I had pancake batter on my face. So I am sticking with a good concealer and a powder foundation.

    Here are my few little secrets from my years behind the counter: Drugstore mascaras are usually better than their expensive department store counterparts. I especially like Maybelline Define-a-lash. I wulod tend to splurge more on treatment products and less on make-up, with the possible exception of foundation and concealer. My favorite concelear for spots is Lancome Effacerns. Yes, it is expensive, but one tube lasts for ages- at least 6 mos-1 year, and it is very effective, but non-obvious coverage, so well-worth it. My favoite concelear for eyesis Covergirl/Olay Simply Ageless concealer. I think it blends really well and does not look cakey. I use Lancome’s powder foundation, but applied with a brush, to keep it light.

    Hope that helps.

  41. suburbancorrespondent

    I am having a panic attack here. I have only just figured out how to use mascara at the ripe old age of 49, and that is the sum of my beauty routine. Reading all these comments makes it VERY clear to me why my driver’s license photo can be used to scare small children.

  42. Sarah

    I use Youngblood… It’s a little bit on the expensive side, but not as bad as some! Most of it is all powder, so it’s good for 24 months. They do have a liquid foundation, but I like the powder better. You can get it all online if you can’t find a store that carries it. I too am whiter than white with freckels, and I was able to find a color that works for me. Good luck!!

  43. SillyMe

    I like the idea of the mineral powder, but in practice it makes my mostly non-noticeable wrinkles stand way out. All of a sudden I look 12 years older (at 41, this is significant) Also, it makes my face look dirty. I like to use Mary Kay for all the cleansing, moisturizer w/spf type stuff, but for foundation, I like Maybelline’s “Instant Age rewind” It comes in a tube that twists makeup into a sponge. you can either spot use it or just use the sponge to apply. I put it on and then blend with my fingers. It’s really light and as a bonus it’s less expensive than the tons of other stuff I had been trying. Now I just need to find something to blot the oil that has appeared now that I’m old and my face is apparently going through a second puberty.

  44. Lizneust

    I have a similar problem – the light is too light and the dark is too dark. A friend told me to go to Sephora, buy a trial size of something just a little too dark and then mix the two products on my palm. 3 parts regular to 1 part dark is what works for me. Kind of a pain, but less expensive than the real deal. Also, I use L’Oreal’s BB cream in light. I don’t love how it feels, but I used to be a powder girl until it started showing every wrinkle and pore on my face.

  45. Crista

    Putting in my two cents for mineral makeup. I buy mine from The Body Shop when it is half off.

  46. katspeakz

    Étude house precious mineral bb cream.

    It’s a Korean product you can get on amazon. It has literally changed the texture of my skin and I swear by it. It also has an SPF of 30. The US bb creams I’ve tried were basically just foundation, but this is absolutely awesome. Granted, my skin isn’t sensitive at all, but it’s also only $20 so not a big investment. It also has a little pump so you get the right amount.

    I only semi like make up, but not only do I have the aforementioned uneven skin, any time I go out without make up people ask if I’m ill or say I look tired. Nope, just 36.

  47. Nic

    My ancestry is Irish, German, English- also known as those who crisp. I do wear foundation and have trouble finding shades light enough. Reckon Colorstay makes a nice pale shade but it is slightly heavy in the Houston heat. When asked I state that I am an Alasbasterian. No one disagrees.

    • Nic


  48. bryan

    Cover Girl Simply Powder or somesuch for when I get gussied up. I actually buy some foundation when a relative gets married, and it is traumatic every time. No matter what I bought the previous time it has been discontinued or something.

    I also wish that mascara came in smaller packages, because between weddings it starts to smell.

  49. Mandy

    Scrolling through the comments and didn’t see any mention of Alima Pure. I, too, am pale pale pale and I rarely wear much makeup, much to my students’ dismay. What’s good about Alima Pure: vegan, no chemicals, natural, relatively cheap, and great for a natural look. They used to have $1 sample sizes but don’t think they still do, which is a shame. Chickie might find it cool that their enormous line of eyeshadow (all powder) can be mixed with clear nail polish to make your own fab colors.

    Here’s a link, should anyone wish to peruse:

  50. addy

    Pasty with age spots and various unexplained blotches here …. Almay “magic” one works for me. It is not heavy and adjusts to my skin tone somehow. Magic ya know. Kinda cheap too.

  51. eileen

    I can’t wear heavy foundation but I love Cover Girl’s BB cream in fair to light. It used to be called a tinted moisturizer when I first started using it, which should tell you everything you need to know about BB’s and CC’s. I’d tell you the exact name but my 14 year-old has also fallen in love with it and keeps stealing mine.

  52. Lisa Kay

    Sorry. I’m no help. I just realized that the freckles that I get every summer are actually considered SUN DAMAGE, so I’m clearly NOT the one to give skin advice. Or make up advice. Or any advice, really.

  53. jamie

    So, I’m coming out of my lurking place to suggest mineral makeup. Body shop makes a powder that goes on so nicely… I also really like Bare Minerals (although it isn’t sold locally for me… so I usually go for the Body Shop stuffs.)

    I have terrible skin. And Rosacea on top of it. The powder stuffs is so light that I can’t tell that it’s on, and it totally evens out my rosacea red blotches.

    Hope that helps, and I will now go back to lurking. ;)

  54. Sassy Apple

    Oy! I was hoping you were going to reveal a magical product…then I hoped salvation would be in the replies. I’m now completely overwhelmed and have decided to wear a veil during the summer months and a Halloween mask the rest of the year.

    PS…is there anyone else out there who does Face Time with family and friends??? It’s completely horrifying. I keep wishing for a ‘perfect me’ mask like Judy Jetson used when she would answer the space-age video phone.

    If it’s not already obvious, I have nothing helpful to contribute.

  55. Jessica (the celt)

    Darn! I was hoping you could tell me what to use. I’m super fair as well (but have some yellow undertones), but I also have acne issues, which seem to stay red for a long time. Add to that, that I can’t use foundation, because I have combination skin: powder means that the dry spots look drier and the oily spots look blotchy, and liquid/cream means…well…the same thing.

    Heck, I can’t even find a moisturizer that doesn’t make me look ghost-white (but with red spots!) and scarily shiny. No kidding: I have tried at least 25 – 30 kinds of moisturizer (my husband is telling me we have to start selling organs to buy more, because I use them for a month and hate them).

    I need help, too!

  56. Julie

    Another vote for bare minerals- lasts forever! I have a bunch of friends with sensitive/acne skin and they swear by Clinique. Check out Ulta (there’s one being built near me; I’m super excited!) and they will help you find something that works for you.

  57. elz

    Please to try Jodi’s Flower cream b/c I need to crowd-source that sutff before I buy anything at the Wa*-marts. I like Smashbox BB cream, but my color is more colorful than yours-I use it every day and it has lasted well so far. I’ve been using one of the samples I got as my travel cream and it has lasted 4 trips so far!

  58. Nancy R

    I use Garnier’s BB cream…but I’m thinking there’s someone out there that has a whipped/mousse foundation…Cover Girl?

    • Mir

      I’ve used that whipped foundation for stage performances. It’s not awful but it’s still too heavy for me for real life.

  59. Margaret

    I use Sephora’ s Makeup Forever Mat Velvet with a moisturizer and primer underneath. It goes on. Stays on and makes my skin look natural. I use to use the Olay Definity but as you said, they changed it and it’s not for the better. Actually, I generally like all the Sephora and Makeup Forever line. A little pricey but worth it.

  60. Ruta M

    Olay Definity still seems to be on sale in the UK sites including Amazon. I don’t how much postage would be but it can’t be that much.
    I’ve never bothered with any foundation as I’m mostly an outdoor person. In the winter I slap on any old hand cream to protect from the cold and on the few sunny summer days I hit the factor 50 as my face is a reasonable colour anyway. But I wouldn’t step out of the bedroom without a line of soft eyeliner under the lower bit of my eye. My sparse lashes are so fair its not worth dyeing them and I rub any mascara all over my face so that’s a waste of time and my eyebrows are so fair that I disguise them with a long fringe. So I guess none of us are ever satisfied. Good luck in your hunt for the right foundation.

  61. Shanti

    I suggest checking out some of the all-natural makeup varieties at your local granola natural foods co-op or some such supermarket. Great for highly sensitive skins. Also – minerals. ^_^

  62. Amy

    I have a similar complexion (snicker at your description) and a similar hatred of foundation. I use Laura Mercier loose mineral powder foundation + Secret Concealer for under the eyes. The powder is good for sensitive skin and evens out the skin tone lightly. It is expensive but I use it everyday and I usually only have to buy it about 2x a year. Good luck with your search!

  63. Lindsey

    Oh god, I’m so pale I try to find foundations and skin goop in the color “ghost” and no one makes it. That said, I’m fond of Dr. Jart’s Water Fuse BB cream ( I don’t mind foundation, but I wear this when I don’t feel like putting on a full face of make up. I find that it evens things out better than a tinted moisturizer does; plus, it has SPF but it doesn’t have that awful sunscreeny smell. I like Stila’s 10-in-1 BB cream as well.

    Also, I have no idea what the difference is btwn BB and CC cream – I’m thinking “marketing ploy” but I tried Dr. Jart’s new cc cream and hated it – so who knows. :) One suggestion is to ask the folks at Sephora for samples you can take home – they did this for me w/ the CC cream, so I didn’t have to shell out $50 only to find I hated it and had to return it.

    • JennyA

      I know it’s “Dr. Jart’s,” but all I can see is “Dr. Jorts.” And now I need to go reapply my mascara. Dr. Jorts!

      • Lindsey

        I can never figure out the + they throw in there sometimes. Dr. Jart’s+++? Bahh… I do like the stuff, though. :)

  64. Monica

    I’m a work at home, lazy non makeup wearing person as well.

    Foundation is a huge issue for me too, I have rosacea so I always have to deal with colour correction to avoid looking like a pale tomato. Since colours and brands change more often than I buy I started shopping at Sephora. I go in, a lovely assistant helps me find what I need and more often than not I’m happy with the outcome. The real benefit is that they carry so many brands that there is something in almost every price range. They’ll try and upsell you to the expensive stuff but I have faith in your ability to stay strong :)

    Bonus to this – I throw out more mascara than I use, way more. I use the Sephora bonus points to buy their sample mascara’s so I throw away less.

    A second bonus used to be that they carried Philosophy bubble bath which I loved but Philosophy has, along with everyone else, moved to a combo shower gel/bubble bath which is not nearly as awesome.

  65. 12tequilas

    Go here:

    That’s Paula Begoun, as in Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me. She has her own line of skin care and makeup (the skin care is especially great and not pricey), has all sorts of tips and info about ingredients, and tests and rates everyone else’s makeup and skin care so that you know which claims about products are actually true.

  66. 12tequilas

    Oh! And you can chat online with someone about what you specifically should use. If you do this, I promise they will send you lots of samples!!

  67. Jennifer

    Delurking…I feel like I need to turn in my “lady card” since I don’t know squat about all this makeup talk. I do know that almost every weekend our local Walgreens has a “ask the beauty specialist” time. I live about 100 miles away from any department store, Target, Bath Body, foo foo store…..and matching my skin to my monitor doesn’t work well. Walgreens wouldn’t be a very expensive option and maybe they’d let you test drive some stuff. If I need to, I’ll check it out for reals…but usually that stuff – ARGGGG….need chocolate!

  68. Traci in TX, formerly of GA

    Bare Minerals Original Foundation and Bare Minerals original Mineral Veil. The first is your color foundation, the second is a ‘finishing powder’. Invest in their good applicator brush and you are set! SPF 15 is in the foundation. Well worth the price and will last a long time. Do use it for a week or so to ‘get the feel of it’ for application. Once you get used to using it you wont wear anything else!

  69. Leanner

    I realize that many people have mentioned Bare Minerals. I love it, though I rarely go to the trouble of putting it on. Several things to note about Bare Minerals, first you can try on any thing in the store, and they usually have plenty of people to assist you if you need help. They also have a money back guarantee, even if you’ve used the make up. Finally the least expensive way to get started is typically to buy one of their introductory kits. Good Luck!

  70. MM

    PS: it’s not cheap BUT I still have and use a tube I bought last April and it hasn’t gotten wonky on me. I just use a dab.

  71. Shanna

    I use Philosophy’s Supernatural. Available on Amazon. It comes out of the tube orange, freaked me out the first time. But when you smear it on your face it blends in not orange and evens things out great. It has a slight castor oil scent, delicious right? but once you get it on your face you don’t notice it. I have the fish belly white skin in the winter and turn slightly yellow with freckles in the summer and it works for both seasons for me. Good luck.

  72. Heather

    I also hate face goop! So I changed to Bare Minerals. No goop, it’s a powder, so it never goes bad. You can do a three step thing, or just one. I usually just use the foundation. You can use a primer and a finishing powder, which I did when I first bought the starter kit, but didn’t find I really needed all three steps. It smooths and makes your skin look natural. You can get it online or they have stores, plus Ulta sells it.

  73. Jenne

    My vote is for Bare Minerals. There is also a company called Cowgirl Dirt, that has gotten rave reviews, has samples for $.99, and has awesome customer services.

    CD’s samples are a nice size, and has not caused any problems with my occasionally-sensitive skin.

  74. Laura

    I need a drink and nap now, and I don’t even wear makeup.

  75. Stacey

    I will add my 2 cents since I didn’t see this mentioned:

    Everyday Minerals

    I mix two colors to get my half greek/half irish skin tone just right. They have lots of free samples for foundation newbies. The products are very cost effective, vegan and great quality. I also love their light bronzer, blushes and eye shadow. As with most mineral makeups, they are natural sun screens, though I prep with the Trader Joe’s fake Olay moisturizer/sunscreen. I use olive oil at night as moisturizer, and I swear by apple cider vinegar, diluted, on my warm wash cloth in the morning.

  76. Carmen

    I have issues with skin as well, and I love the SmashBox CC cream. It is super light, non clogging, evens out my skin tone and makes me look, well, at least not dead.

    If you are near a Sephora, I 32nd the suggestion to go and play. Toss your self on the mercy of some 20 year old turquiose wearing lipstick man who knows more about makeup than you or I ever will.

    (True story – I went, asked for help, and was referred tot he man with turquoise lips and he knew *exactly* what to use)

  77. sarah

    I hate foundation, too but need it now that my skin isn’t even. My favorite and VERY REASONABLE foundation is MAC Face and Body. It has to be purchased at the actual MAC store or online- not just the Macy’s counter. Buy the large size not the small. It’s a great deal for 4 oz. and it is perfect foundation for foundation haters. I promise. Great squeeze bottle with a teeny hole and so easy to slop on with your fingers. Sheer but buildable- love this stuff.

    You can go to any MAC counter to be color matched but don’t buy anything other than the Face and Body.

    I know you are cheap and you will balk at the price ($33) but it’s inexpensive if you get the 4 oz. Drugstore foundations -the Flower one, too- are only 1 oz and don’t hold a candle to the perfect Face and Body.

  78. Crys

    Okay I tried to read all the comments but then my eyes glazed over. So if someone else suggested this… oops.

    There is actually a really, stupid-simple solution to the foundation that is too light/too dark but similar to the one you used to purchase. Buy both not-quite-right shades. Mix them. It will last twice as long. Swear to god you won’t regret it.

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