I was at the MAC , Gurgaon store the other day and i saw this girl who was obviously buying her first foundation from MAC, struggle with finding her skin tone. The poor thing was swatching everything from an NC 15 to an NW 45! She was actually the same skin tone as me so i told her which one i wear, and she seemed happy- and then she had a ton of questions about NW and NC which i am listing down below. I’m no MAC expert from any angle, infact im a MAC beginner myself  but i’m a makeup research addict so i did a fair amount of research on MAC skin shades before going in for my first MAC purchase, so thought it might be useful for MAC beginners who are confronted with unfriendly MAC MUA’s.

What is MAC NW and NC:
NW and NC is the shading system of MAC for all their foundation/concealers etc
NW: Neutral Warm
NC: Neutral Cool

Does that mean that if i have warm undertones (Yellow, Golden beige skin) i should use NW and if I have cool undertones (Pinkish beige  skin) i should use NC?
NO. Its the other way round. MAC makes their products according to the colour wheel, so NW (Neutral Warm) is meant for cooler skin tones to neutralize them. NC (Neutral Cool) is meant for Warmer skin tones to neutralize them. So yellow and golden skins need an NC and pinkish skin needs an NW.

If im an NC in a foundation-I will definitely be an NC in a concealer right?
NO  You need to look at the type of dark circles you have. For eg: If you have reddish dark circles like i do then even if you are an NC in foundation, you will need an NW in a concealer to neutralize them.In fact , a lot of people get confused because they blindly purchase the same shade concealer as their foundation and then feel like it doesnt do anything for them. I am an NC in foundation and an NW in concealer.

How do i know if I am a MAC NC or NW?
One quick way is to check the veins on your forearm If they appear greenish- you are likely to have warm skin and likely to need an NC shade. If they appear blue-ish you are likely to have cool skin and need an NW shade. This would be an approximate way. Otherwise go to the MAC MUA and ask them their opinion.

What is the equivalent of an NC 30 in an NW?
There is no equivalent! An NC 30 is very different from an NW30 or any other NW for that matter. The colours that form the base of each foundation differ and cannot strictly be compared though you may find approximate matches.

Are Indian Skin tones MAC NC or NW?
No hard and fast rule as such- but  Indians are mostly likely to be an NC in foundation since we have golden/yellow undertones to our skin, unless you are one of those very fair one’s with pink undertones- then you are an NW in foundations. If it   helps then think Deepika Padukone – she  would probably  be an NC. Kareena Kapoor would probably be an NW.