This post is obviously not going to be helpful to everyone but I figured I'd make a post on this subject because it's something I've had a lot of trouble with myself because of my pale skin.
It seems that most makeup brands forget the palest and darkes skin tones when they make foundation and I think that's sad.
Using a foundation that's too dark will usually result in a face that looks orange or red and a lovely line where your foundation stops. Blending the foundation will help a bit but it's still not the best result. Using a foundation that's too light will often result in an "ashy" look if you have dark skin yourself. Even though I know that finding a perfect foundation for dark skin can be just as difficult as fining one for pale skin I'm gonna keep this post on pale skin. Only because that's the categoty I fit into myself and I'll be able to help much more with that ;)
High end vs. low end? High end brands often offer a greater selection of colors compared to low end brands, so high end is usually a good place to start. Unfortunately, high end doesn't necessarily mean that you're able to find the right color. I've tried getting color matched at Chanel and Dior without finding something that matched. I used a Lancome foundation for a while and even though it was a lot better than other foundations I've tried, it still wasn't exactly right. To this day, the only foundations that have matched my skin exactly have been MAC but not all of MACs foundations work since the colors run a little differently in each of their foundation types! ;)
MAC foundations? I've tried all of MACs foundations and while some work for me, others just don't. The MAC foundations with yellow undertones(NC) usually run a bit lighter than their foundations with red undertones(NW) so if you're NC you might not have as big a problem as someone like me who has very obvious red undertones ;) Keep in mind that I don't have the palest skin ever so if you're even paler than me you'll have to use the "how to make a foundation look lighter" tips or you'll have to find another brand.
Studio Fix fluid: This is way too dark. It looks OK when I've just applied it(and blended the hell out of it), but this foundation oxidizes quite a lot and because of that I end up looking super orange. Because this is a medium-full coverage foundation it is very obvious if the color is wrong. Studio Fix Fluid is known to run dark in both NW and NC so it probably doesn't work for pale skin even if you have yellow undertones.
Studio Tech: This was the first foundation I ever found that worked for me :) I use NW15 and it matches perfectly. The NC15 is really pale as well but the yellow undertones are too dominant for me to be able to use it.
Select SPF: I can use this foundation if I blend a lot but it never looks quite right. Kinda like the Lancome foundation I used to use ;) It might work if you have yellow undertones.
Select Moistureblend: There's no chance I can get this to work for me since it doesn't come in NW15 and the NC15 is too yellow for me. If you have yellow undertones it might work for you though :)
Studio Stick: This works well :) Both NW15 and NC15 are really light.
Mineralized Satinfinish: Since this doesn't come in NW15 and NC15 is too yellow I can't use it, but if you have yellow undertones it's much more likely to work for you.
Select Tint: Since this doesn't cover much at all, I can use it even though the color is a little off, but I'd rather use somthing else.
Hyperreal: I believe this used to come in NW100 and that would probably have worked but it's been discontinued and NW200 is just too dark and NC200 is too yellow for me. It might work if you have yellow undertones though, since the NC is a bit lighter than the NW.
Studio Sculpt: To my surprise, I can actually use this! The NW15 runs quite dark but the NC15 works really well! It doesn't have as obvious yellow undertones as the other NC MAC foundations so even though I have really pink undertones to my skin, Studio Sculpt in NC15 works for me! Studio Sculpt mixed with Strobe Cream or Strobe Liquid is a great alternative to MACs Hyperreal foundation as well :)
Studio Fix powder: NW15 works perfectly for me. It's my go-to "foundation" when I don't have time to work with both liquid/creme foundation and powder. The NC15 is really pale as well.
How to make a foundation look lighter/create the right color match? Finding the right color to begin with is obviously better than altering the color yourself but if you can't find a color that's pale enough here's something you can try:
Mix the foundation with moisturizer. This will make the foundation less covering so the fact that the color is off isn't as abvious. This only works if the foundation is just a little too dark and you won't get as good coverage.
Use a light powder on top of the foundation. I used to use a white Stargazer powder on top of my Lancome foundation to make it match better and it worked surprisingly well. You'll need a good covering powder for this to work though.
Blend well! As long as there isn't a visible line between your face and your neck, it's going to look a lot more natural.
Use an NW powder over an NC foundation. Since the NC foundations run a little lighter than the NW you could try using an NC foundation even though you have red undertones, as long as you use an NW powder on top to neutralize the yellow in the foundation.