Through the years, and especially when I worked as both Fashion and Beauty Director at a magazine, I have tried tons of different foundations. And I have a pretty clear idea about which types and textures work for my skin - but the thing I have always found a bit challenging is finding the right color that really looks natural on me and makes my skin look the best. And I'm pretty sure there are lots of others out there who has the same problem. That's why I teamed up with Mac Cosmetics and asked the Mac Artist Stine Nyboe-Bek all the questions I could think of, to be able to give a short guide that will make it much easier for you to find the foundation color that's perfect for you. So here we go!
Mac Cosmetics has two color ranges, NW and NC.
NW is short for natural warm and has a red / rosa undertone. NC is short for natural cold and has a yellow / golden undertone. Both come in shades from 15 to 55, which means how light / dark the color is.
First you need to find out if you are a NW or a NC and to do that the best thing is to look at your neck, as it doesn't get as much sun and weather exposure as your face or chest - and never look at your face or cheeks for this, as you are likely to have some weather and sun damages. And hair and eye color has nothing to do with it.
You will have a slight rose or a slight yellow undertone in your skin - and that's what determines which of the two colorranges you should go for.
On the below picture you can see the difference between the Mac Mineralize Moisture SPF 15 Foundation in NC (to the left) and NW (to the right), both in shade 20.
Next you have to find the shade you need and the best thing is to try a couple of different ones around your jaw line. And to get a natural looking result it's a good idea to look at the upper part of your chest and your neck as well - if your chest is much lighter than your face you might want to go one tone lighter (never too light, that will make you look ashy and grey) and if it's much darker, then one darker. Or even mix two tones to get the right result. And do remember that you need to change with the seasons - you might even need to change between NC and NW.
Next comes the texture - and that totally depends on your skin. But when it comes to coverage you might not need as much as you think, as a good concealer can do a lot and that way leaves your skin looking alive and glowing.
To cover up dark circles you need to look at what color they are; blue tones are neutralized with NW and reds are neutralized with NC. Don't go for a really heavy concealer as it will set in your lines and creases. And remember that it needs to look natural, not three tones lighter than the rest of your skin
When it comes to spots a green concealer followed by a bit thicker concealer will do the job.
-For light concealers you get the best result with a soft brush and for the thicker concealers a hard and flat brush works best.
The Mac Pro Concealer and Correct Palette, in the picture below, comes in four versions from light to dark skin, and has both NC and NW concealers as well as two correctors and is a great substitute for having four or five different concealers lying around.
According to Stine Nyboe-Bek one of the biggest mistakes women make is covering to much up - you are most likely the only one to see you as close up as in the mirror - and that means that other people won't see the beauty imperfections that you see. So see what you can do with a bit of concealer and a light foundation - or maybe just a primer.
Skin is really the most important - get your skin to look great, with foundation, concealer and blush and then you can work on eye makeup and lips.
To find products you will be really happy with go visit Mac Cosmetics - or your favorite brand, and talk to one of the artists about how your skin is, what you use now and how it works, what finish you want (mat, creamy, dewy), and how much time you have in the morning. That way you won't bring home products you end up never using.