I hope I'm posting this in the right place or that I'm not repeating a topic; I had a look around first. I apologize in advance for the ramble, but I want to give some history.
When I rediscovered my love of MAC a couple of years ago, the first thing I did was go to a MAC counter to be matched for foundation/powder (dead of winter, no tan). The MUA recommended Studio Tint Medium-Dark. I knew this was darker than what I once used, but sun damage takes a toll and does darken skin, so I bought it after asking if she was sure it wasn't too dark. I never loved that product, but I did use it up (diluted).
The next time I went back, the MUA said that I was no medium-dark, but medium. I liked that colour much better. When I wanted something that would better cover the redness in my cheeks, I had Studio Fix NC35 powder recommended. Having learned my lesson, I went outside, looked at myself in sunlight and came back in to say it was WAY too dark. Another MUA came over to assist, said that I was right and that NC30 was the right colour. Fine. That colour looked better so I came home with it. Except I found that it looked powdery and not quite right so I used it verrrry sparingly if at all.
In the meantime, I built up my collection. There's a free-standing MAC store near my office and I've developed a relationship with a MUA there; I buy virtually all of my permanent products from him. He never steers me wrong and has this freakish ability to just look at me, pull a colour and have it be great for me. I don't know why I didn't ask him to match my foundation but I always go in to that store already fully made up. I've bought all the foundations at the counter near home because I don't mind going in there with nothing on my face. There are nice MUAs there, but they keep suggesting different colours.
When checking out the Fashion Sets in person this weekend, I mentioned to the MUA I most often buy from at the counter that I hate the Studio Fix + powder and that MAC foundations just don't work for me. After asking me what I use, she swatched a bit on me and said it was too dark for me, that I have olive undertones, etc. and asked me to please bring it back. I went home and got it, but she was gone when I went back. Her replacement suggested C4. I mentioned that it looked darker than the NC30 and she said it's really more like NC35-40, that NC30 is too light for me. Did my skin somehow change colour in an hour?!
Today I went to the MAC store and asked my fave MUA how it could possibly be so hard to get the right freaking foundation. I want a natural look that evens out my skin and covers some of the redness in my cheeks. That's all. He's listening to me, nods, reaches for something and starts dabbing at me with a 130. Two seconds later? Perfection. I kid you not, and he didn't even bother to remove what was under it. Face and Body N3. I have no idea what that means, but it looks fabulous. The redness is gone and my face actually matches my neck again. The MUA yesterday insisted that my face was darker than my neck and chest; well, it isn't now.
My new hero sent me home with a giant sample (and some Prep & Prime Powder too for my uber oily t-zone). Told me to try them out for a week and see how I like them. I came home and redid my makeup from scratch, still love it. I'll give it a few days to be sure, but I think he nailed it (and didn't need to swatch eighty bazillion colours to do it).
HOW could I be a NC30, NC35-40, C4 and N3 over one weekend????