Choosing a foundation can be really daunting, but it’s a key part to our makeup and can make or break a flawless face so it’s important to get it right. Many clients ask me about the labelling of MAC foundations as they don’t understand what NC and NW means and how to colour match themselves.
In colour theory, we’re taught that cool undertones are reds, pinks and blues and that warm undertones are yellow, peaches and golds. However, in MAC labelling, the undertones are the opposite.
NC: Neutral Cool – golden beige undertones.
NW: Neutral Warm – red, pink or blue undertones.
N: Neutral – beige undertones.
C: Cool – Yellow, golden or olive undertones
So a person with yellow, peach or golden undertones would be suited well to an NC foundation whereas a person with red, pink or blue undertones would be better suited to an NW foundation. A person with a beige undertone would be perfectly suited to an N foundation.
You might have heard that some ladies use an NC foundation but have been given an NW concealer, this is because the pink undertone of an NW concealer helps to cancel out dark green under eye circles. For blue tinged under eye circles, you could cancel them out with an NC concealer.
The number that follows each NC, NW, N or C is simply the colour of each foundation. Sharon, from Sharonthemakeupartist.com explains this perfectly:
“…there are some odd numbers peppered along the way in some of the foundations. For example there is an NC27 or an NW18 in Studio Fix Fluid . These colours don’t have quite as strong an undertone as those that end in 5 or 0. These odd numbers have more of a neutral undertone. So an NC27 is not as yellow as an NC25 but it is a little bit darker.
Conversely there are also plain C’s and plain N’s. These have a stronger yellow or pink undertone than their NC/NW counterparts. Very few of the foundations in the range now have these strong undertones, it’s mostly the old school formulas like Face and Body, or Studio Fix Powder.”
The shade I wear myself is NC15 – this is much more flattering to my skin tone and helps to cancel out any unwanted redness over my cheek area. This is my personal preference too and I find that the NC blends seamlessly into my skin. I find that with the majority of my clients, an NC foundation always looks better and evens the skin tone beautifully.
The most important thing is to make sure that your foundation matches with your chest and looks natural. If you are still struggling, don’t be afraid to ask a counter makeup artist for advice and a colour match. Makeup is all about having fun so there is no wrong or right way to wear your foundation, as long as you have a good match and avoid the dreaded ‘tideline’ around the neck, you’re good to go!
© This post is copyright of Rachael Divers 2015.