My skin has become even drier and noticeably thinner in those two years, which means that a) there's just plain more to cover in terms of unevenness and general veininess if I want a uniform canvas; b) owing to this greater translucency, blood shows through more strongly, pulling my undertones more towards the cool pink side of neutral; and c) formulas I used to be able to tolerate / swing in summer / make work with careful mixing and priming (e.g. Nars Sheer Glow, Addiction Dewy Glow, Paul&Joe Light Cream S, MUFE Mat Velvet) I just flat-out cannot wear anymore. Since beginning to layer a physical over my chemical sunscreen daily, my face has also become paler -- where it used to range from half a shade to a full shade darker than the rest of me (usually swathed in various draperies :P), now I'm pretty much uniform in colour; so two of the palest shades from my original swatch lineup (Illamasqua Skin Base 02 and Graftobian Lady Fair) are two of the medium ones in today's batch.
Needs aside, my tastes haven't really changed much -- I like as dewy a finish as possible, since my saharan skin will scale even an oil slick back to a satin*; and as emollient a texture as possible, because I prefer working with high-slip creamy things (and they play well with the cream finishes of my skincare); higher pigmentation is better because using a minuscule amount of of a high-coverage product adds less texture than a moderate amount of a sheer one. Alcohol-free is a must, fragrance-free is a huge plus.
I pretty much always apply foundation only where needed after one of my primers, usually sporadically in the triangle from nose to chin, blending out to cover my inner cheeks; I almost never take product onto my forehead or the sides of my face beyond/below my cheekbones. Also, please bear in mind that I apply all of these over my many layers of skincare, including sunscreens, and then a moisturising primer, so if you have dry skin, don't expect these to be comfortable worn neat.
*I like 'dewy' or 'satin' finishes not because they're 'natural' looking but because the formulas with those finishes are more comfortable on my skin. Although I believe concealer must work invisibly, foundations are more like colour products to me and I'll amp up the glow factor, powder things down to matte or layer things up for an extremely polished base depending on what vibe I'm after for a particular look.
Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation 00 Alabaster -- a rare neutral-pink shade among BB's yellow lineup, in an easy-to-work with liquid with medium coverage that sets to a comfortable satin on me. Alabaster in Skin runs much lighter than Alabaster in most of her other foundations.
Illamasqua Skinbase 02, a gel-cream whose chalky matte finish I loathe, actually, but a reasonably accessible pale option and I'm swatching the last dregs anyway.
Laura Mercier Silk Crème Soft Ivory [see here], an old favourite which is sadly now too dark and yellow for me to wear for most of the year.
Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Moisture Foundation 001 -- a new favourite discovered this year, a similarly thick silicone-y cream with a satin finish to Laura Mercier Silk Crème, but more emollient and with slightly less hardcore coverage. Fabulously perfecting of skin texture, however.
Mehron HD Pro Full Coverage Cream LT-1 (round pot) -- a lovely high-slip, thinnish cream with impressive coverage, but sadly unforgiving of dry skin.
Graftobian HD Glamour Cream Ultra-Lites palette -- slightly thicker than Mehron, with even greater coverage, and even less forgiving on dry skin in real life (hello fines lines and flakes!) Photographs absolutely flawlessly, however. This palette includes one yellow, two neutral, and two pink shades. I wear the two neutral ones: Lady Fair and Porcelain and dabble with the others as correctors.
Vapour Organic Atmosphere Luminous Foundation 90 [reviewed] -- the most emollient formula in the whole batch, but slightly unrefined in finish -- it's plain old coverage without any skin-texture flattery.
Shu Uemura Nobara stick in 584 and 784, magic on pores and skin texture, concealer-level coverage, now discontinued >:C
SWATCHESIn order of depth this time. These shades cover me throughout the year from depth of British winter pale to running-around-in-the-tropical-summer-for-months 'tanned' -- I know they seem to cover an insanely wide range but bear in mind these are very heavy swatches, and most days I'll sheer out a tiny dot the size of a grain of (arborio, if we're being specific :P) rice with a damp beautyblender sponge for my entire face. With my dry skin, I never experience oxidisation, and my inner arm is pasty enough that the darker shades look unnaturally orange, but except for the MAC F&B all these shades are paler than a MAC NC15.
Shu Uemura Nobara stick 784, neutral yellow, full coverage
Laura Mercier Silk Creme Soft Ivory neutral peach, full coverage
Shu Uemura Nobara stick 584 neutral pink, full coverage
Vapour Atmosphere Luminous 90, neutral peach, med-full coverage
Bobbi Brown Skin 00 Alabaster, neutral pink, medium coverage
Graftobian HD Glamour Cream Lady Fair, neutral, v full coverage
Illamasqua Skin Base 02, neutral pink, medium+ coverage
Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Moisture 001, neutral-slightly pink, medium+ coverage
Mehron HD Pro LT-1, neutral, full coverage
Graftobian HD Glamour Cream Porcelain, neutral, v full coverage
...are still necessary because often the formulas that work for my skin at its driest (e.g. Vapour) come in shades too dark for my winter pallor, while those pale enough (Graftobian, Mehron) need much textural improvement through highlighter -- I can't quite make up my mind as to which is the lesser evil so play things by ear. You'll also have noticed that most of these foundations swatch as neutral-hyphen-something, and on my pale neutral-neutral skin, that something tends to translate as visibly jaundiced or flushed face vs. neck/chest/rest of me. I like a cool purple mixer to correct yellow tones without adding warm pink ones, and a neutral blue to take too-pink/orange-peach formulas down a notch. No artist, I'm not sure why green mixers are always an epic fail on me, but they either make shades muddy or just look...visibly green.warmer looks on me. The liquid bronzer As If It Were Summer Still is bottled sunshine, rather than a suntan, light and yellow enough (rather than brown) to work even on ultra pale skin.
COLOUR-CORRECTORS: Kryolan Ultra Fluid Foundation Blue (a thin sky-blue liquid), Suki CC Cream 02 Whitening (a very pale lilac cream that lightens as well as correcting yellow), and Barry M Foundation Crème in White -- a thick yet blendable white cream that works well with the foundation formulas I favour -- it's so pigmented only a tiny dot is needed to lighten without messing with the formula/finish of foundations, unlike Mac F&B White which I used to pour in by the bottleful.
PS a clarification: the foundations featured in this post aren't recommendations, unless you happen to be my exact skintwin both in tone and type. Formula-wise I can rattle off about two dozen superior ones to these off the top of my head, with more elegant finishes and greater ease of application; sadly, I'm just too bloody pale for them -- 'lifting' more than one shade with a mixer creates a hot mess.