Wednesday, November 11, 2009

C, N, NC, and NW

This post kind of piggy-backs off of the post in October entitled "How to Find Your Ideal Foundation."  Besides the fact that I love talking about foundations, I think there needs to be cleared up a little mystery about the way MAC categorizes their foundation colors.  Before doing my research on this subject, I had definitely heard of NC, as many Asian women seem to belong to this category.  But while browsing through the colors that Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation had to offer, I discovered there were others, such as C, N, and NW.  What was this all about?

Well, at the most basic level, MAC differentiates their foundations based upon whether or not your skin would be considered neutral or cool, hence the N's and C's.  Remember my talk about looking down at the veins inside your wrist to determine if your ideal foundation would be 'cool' or 'warm'?  It applies here: if your veins are blue your color is cool, and if your veins are green you color is warm/neutral (MAC's neutral is considered warm). 

The complete breakdown of MAC's foundation colors is as follows:
C + Single Digits - Again, C belongs to the cool category.  The single digit means you are looking at soft golden undertones with a bit of warmth/neutral to it.
C + Double Digits - Double digits means the colors get even cooler, and these foundations are typically for skin with the 'olive' undertone.
N - Again, N belongs to the neutral/warm category.  These foundations have neutral, pink undertones.
NC - These foundations are a mixture between cool and warm, but leaning more toward the cool side.  The foundation color is golden, with a little of the pink in the NW's.  NC stands for Neutral Cool.
NW - These foundations are more peachy and pink.  NW stands for Neutral Warm.

With my skin tone being more on the cool side, I decided to try both the NC and C categories.  I have to say the color of my C30 is definitely more cool than my NC30 upon application, can you tell just by looking at the two compacts below?  The C30 is on the left and the NC30 is on the right.

I think it is awesome that MAC has these categories for people's skin tones.  There are so many to choose from that it seems nobody is left out.  But because it is so awesome that there is a wide spectrum of colors, my complaint against MAC would have to be: why have all of these color options only for the Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation?

If you take a look at their website (, aside from the Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation, all of the other foundations MAC offers are categorized by either NC/NW or Light/Medium/Dark/Etc. (except for their Face and Body foundation, which contains only N's and C + Single Digits).  It would be nice if they could include all of the colors for all of their foundations.

Let me know what you think?  Hope this information helps you understand MAC's foundation color system better.

Geneys  :o)


DANA said...

Yeah, it is truly great that MAC has all these colour selection. At the same time, I'm still not sure what I am due to some confusions previously made with the MAC MAs over a period of time. So I'm yet to find my MAC shade! lol Thanks for posting this up.


Becks said...

that's great info, thanks! i found it very helpful!

tris1978ton said...

Wow. Looking at the veins is a good trick! Thanks for sharing!


Yeah, very helpful. Thanks a bunch

Anonymous said...

this is really helpful :) btw is the foundation in the picture studio fix?

Anonymous said...

I admit to know nothing about makeup but have recently purchased MAC cosmetics for the first time. I've been trying to figure out this C, NC, NW thing and am really confused by all of this that I'm reading. I do know a lot about color being an artist and everything I've been taught is that "cool" colors are the pinky undertones and that "warm" colors are golden. Why is this backwards with MAC??