Friday, 10 November 2017

The best foundations for light olive skintones

The Best Foundations for Light Olive Skintones

Karima McKimmie is my YouTube icon. There are many wide ranging reasons for this - she is beautiful, she does her own thing, she talks sense, she's hilarious... I could go on. However, the main thing that drew me to her channel in the first place is that she has the same issue as I do - she has light-light/medium, olive undertones to her skin. That means we are basically the same person  have the same foundation affliction: virtually no-one makes suitable shades.

In summer, this isn't a problem at all - I tan very quickly (yes, even with significant SPF) and can be a MAC NC40 in no time. Mid-toned yellow-olive? No problem. EX1 has me covered, and a combination of NARS Sheer Glow in Stromboli and Barcelona are spot on (though this is admittedly having to mix shades again). 

In winter/all year in the U.K., however, I am a chilly NC20-25 with a strong olive lean. This has resulted in many years of spending the winter looking bonkers. Generally, looking peach/orange/ghostly/dead for 6+ months of the year, and struggling to find foundation, or powder for that matter, that was actually flattering. How did I find foundations that work for me, I hear you cry? A poop-ton of research, my lovely friends. A poop-ton.
The best foundation for light olive skintones - swatches
L-R Armani LS 6, Makeup Store Coconut, Laura Mercier shade 2N2 Cashew, NARS Sheer Glow in Punjab, The Ordinary 2.0YG, Illamasqua Skinbase 8.5
So I'm saving you some hours trawling, and hopefully some funds, with this post. Here are my absolute olive faves. Some are darker or more olive leaning than others, but hopefully this goes a little way in helping in the neverending sea of foundations out there. Even those which are a hair too dark or light don't look absurd on me, because the undertone isn't wildly off.

1) Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk in shade 6. This is, admittedly, far too dark for my midwinter complexion, but the formula is so absolutely divine and it plays so well with other foundations that it is a fantastic mixer for lighter/too peach foundations that you may already own.

2) Makeup Store Sculpt Excellence Foundation in Coconut. This is probably the most perfect light olive match I've found. It is gorgeous - and practically green. Just what I need. Yes, the applicator was invented by someone who has never used makeup before, but I'm willing to overlook that for the full coverage formula, undertone and long lasting-ness. That green tho.

3) Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Foundation 2N1 Cashew. Hear me out here. This is for the palest of days, but it won't leave you looking pink/yellow. It's tricky in the swatch above as it's next to the greenest foundation known to man, but this is so slap-bang neutral that it'll cover any redness from the winter cold without leaving you looking peach. This one took me by surprise as to how lovely it is - full post to follow soon.

4) NARS Sheer Glow in Punjab -  this looks peachy here, but I find this colour is relatively sympathetic as the weather gets colder If you have just an olivey hint, this is worth a swatch. The formula is lovely. Combined with a dot of the Armani shade 6, the finish is glowy, not greasy, and the right colour family to boot.

5) The Ordinary Coverage Foundation in 2.0 YG - this is a fantastic shade, formula, and price. Literally nothing not to love if you're light olive. Full post to follow on this bad boy shortly, too.

6) Illamasqua Skinbase in 8.5. Last but absolutely not least. I freakin' LOVE this foundation over winter. Very perfecting, glowy satin finish, and plays beautifully with others. It is slightly less olive-toned than, say, Armani's offering, but that's perfect if you are lighter toned. It's a beautiful shade, and beautiful formula.

Others I know of but can't vouch for are Koh Gen Do Aqua in 213, Bourjois Healthy Mix in 52 (I don't like this formula, but the colour is good) and Urban Decay All Nighter in shade 4.0.

I hope this was helpful!

Some links above are affiliate links. All products bought with my own money.



  1. Thank you for the fantastic swatches! The ordinary 2.0YG is perfect for me as a light-medium warm olive, so it seems as if Sculpt excellence can also work for me as well! :D

  2. Greenish hedgehog20 April 2018 at 11:47

    Thank you so much for this post! I have only recently realized that I am a quite strong olive but pretty pale. Like, I can see fairly clear green color around my mouth and on my neck - and now I realize why I always end up looking orange or ashy!

    I went to check out yhe Makeup Store foundation today, but was left puzzled. I tried a dab on the inside of my wrist - and the swatch turned extremely orange! Nothing like in your swatch. Could the tester be somehow spoiled or how is that possible?


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