Friday, June 10, 2011

How to Find the Best Foundation for YOU! Part II

NC Versus NW (what does it mean?)

Now that you have your list of what you're looking for in a foundation, it's time to head off to your local MAC counter or PRO store.  Forget your budget for now, we're not going with the purpose of buying anything...yet.

I'm sending you to the MAC counter to find out what "color" you are.  Over the years MAC has become the standard in defining skin tone.  If you know what MAC color you are, getting the right color from any line will be a breeze.

One of my least favorite places in the world is the MAC counter on a Saturday afternoon. I suggest you go on any other day of the week, early in the morning is best. Avoid the crowds. ASK for help. Tell them you need to know what color you are. They'll know what you're talking about. Have them match you using their Studio Fix Fluid formula.

MAC breaks their foundations down into basically two different color groups  NC and NW.  This is where things get a bit confusing, but I'll try and make it as simple as I can   The C in NC stands for cool; ie cool skin tones.  The W in NW stands for warm; ie warm skin tones.  The N in both of them refers to the term neutral, but for todays lesson don't worry about that.
  • Cool skin tones are skin tones that have a blue/pink undertone.  Look at the back of your wrist, if your veins look blue, you have a cool skin tone.
  • Warm skin tones are skin tones that have a yellow/beige undertone.  The veins on the back of your wrist will look greenish if you have a warm skin tone.

BUT MAC doesn't make it that easy.  The NC (cool) foundations have a yellow undertone and the NW (warm) foundations have a pink undertone.  I know it's confusing and it all has to do with the color wheel (important when you go to buy concealer) , but all you need to remember is ...
  • NC foundations have a WARM yellow undertone
  • NW foundations have a COOL pink undertone
You will notice that after the NC or NW there is a number.  The lower the number the lighter the color.  The higher the number the darker the foundation.  That part is pretty simple. I am a NC20 in the winter and a NC25 in the summer.  What that means is, I'm warm toned and my foundation is lighter in the winter then it is in the summer. 

Here's the thing, I don't expect you to fumble around at the MAC counter trying to figure out what color you are. I do want you to understand the way the colors are organized.

 Don't worry if you like the foundation they're using, the purpose here is to determine what color you are.  The color that is right for you will have the same undertones as your skin and will disappear into your skin.  Do NOT test on the back of your wrist.  You need to test the color along your jaw line.  You need to leave the color in place for at least 30 minutes and you need to go outside with a mirror to verify the color is right.
  • test the foundation along your jawline
  • leave the color in place for at least 30 minutes
  • verify the color outside in natural light.
Once you have your color you are done.  That's it. You now know your color and you can use that information to help you find your perfect foundation.  Now I'm not saying you can't keep shopping and no one at MAC would complain if you pick up a Lipglass or two. In fact I recommend taking a look at their Surf Baby collection-very fun!

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