NC vs. NW

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Thread: NC vs. NW

  1. #61
    Member cre8_yourself's Avatar
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    Re: NC vs. NW

    to amirah. the nw 20 will be good. the dark circles under ur eyes are "cool" colors, and that is why you need a nw to warm up the area to cancel it out... just like if u had rosacea you would use a green concealer to cool down the warm.. u get it ?? lol.. it is really confusing... im a freelance artist and I have about 7 shades in my kit..I can usually make them work.. but its all about what looks good. not necessarily the numbers.. but just remember .. cool should be warmed up.. and warm should be cooled down. ciao
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    Senior Member gujifijian's Avatar
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    Re: NC vs. NW

    actually I was checking out the FOundation help section and to my surprise I'm a cool undertone yet I wear NW concealer or even a Mac foundation( which is a rare as I get breakout from them)! weird!

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    Junior Member goldspice's Avatar
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    Re: NC vs. NW

    The following chart was created by MAC to help you understand the wide array of foundation
    shades
    that MAC offers. Each shade’s name is a combination of letters followed by numbers (ie: NC 35 or NW 15). The shades range in depth from 15 (very pale) to 55 (very dark). The C, NC, N, NW or W distinguish between different skin tones.
    Concealer / Foundation / Powder Shades
    To understand how MAC names their shades, here is a breakdown of MAC’s foundation codes:
    Shade:
    C
    NC
    N
    NW
    W
    Stands for:
    “Cool”
    “Neutral Cool”
    “Neutral”
    “Neutral Warm”
    “Warm”
    Match for:
    Yellow-Golden Olive Skin
    Golden Beige Skin
    Beige Skin
    Pink Beige Skin
    Pinkish Skin
    To determine what your undertones are, take a look at the underside of your forearm. If your vein looks more blue, then you most likely have pinkish undertones. If your vein looks more greenish, then you have more yellow or golden undertones.
    The number that follows the letter(s) denotes the depth of the shade. The higher the number, the deeper the color.
    To determine what your undertones are, take a look at the underside of your forearm. If your vein looks more blue, then you most likely have pinkish undertones. If your vein looks more greenish, then you have more yellow or golden undertones.
    The number that follows the letter(s) denotes the depth of the shade. The higher the number, the deeper the color.
    The first step in selecting your shade is to simply look at your skin, without makeup, in daylight. If your skin looks more Yellow/Golden Olive or Golden Beige, you match with Neutral Cool or “NC” shades. If your skin is a neutral beige, you will match with the Neutral or “N” shades. If your skin looks more Pink Beige, you match with Neutral Warm or “NW” shades. This might seem backwards since usually we think of pinkish skin tones as cool and yellowish skin tones as warm. The reason for this is that MAC uses the artists color wheel which is pretty much the opposite of what we usually think of as cool vs. warm. An easy way to look at it is like this: Think of each MAC foundation shade as being named with either the cool or warm shade that would neutralize and balance out your skin tone.
    By looking at your skin in daylight, most skin tones will fall into either the NC or NW classifications. However, if
    you are still not certain which classification is right for you, looking at the undertones in your skin will help. As mentioned in the chart above, looking at the veins on the underside of your arm can help you determine your skin’s undertones. But if at all possible, it is highly recommended to match your skin tone in person at a MAC counter or MAC store to ensure you purchase the correct shade.
    Here are a few things to keep in mind:
    • Finding the “right” colour is something very subjective. It is a good idea to choose the shade in person by visiting a MAC counter if at all possible.
    • When choosing a foundation shade, you will want to make sure you use the skin near your jawline or neck area as your criteria for determining your match. This helps to ensure flawless blending and to avoid ending up with a face that’s too light or too dark that doesn’t match the rest of your skin! If you simply try to match the skin tone on your forehead or cheeks, you will often end up with a shade that looks to dark compared to the rest of you. It is much better to choose the shade that matches your jawline/neckline, and then to use a Bronzer or Skinfinish to highlight or add “sun” to your face, if desired. (Also, when it comes to actual makeup to blend foundations and powders around the jawline and into the neckline.)
    • With concealers, it is possible you may want to try a concealer with a slight tint to it. This will help cover up dark undereye circles or reddish imperfections.
      • Slightly yellowish tones will help to cancel out and cover up dark purpleish/blueish undereye circles. (Or just selecting a concealer that is a few shades lighter than your regular foundation will also work well for diminishing undereye circles.)
      • Slightly greenish toned concealers will help to cancel out any reddish tones in your skin caused by acne, or other skin conditions.

    • If you have a significant undertone to your skin, you may choose to play it up or play it down by trying a shade that includes or excludes your undertones.
    • Often, people will wear a couple different shades throughout the year because skin shade and tone can change according to the season, physical well being and general lighting.

    webnotes borrowed from : sokissandmakeup.com

  4. #64
    Senior Member joygasm's Avatar
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    Re: NC vs. NW

    I use hyper real, and I'm NC400 in that.
    My concealer is NW25. I think it's select moisture cover.

    I don't understand to be honest.
    MAC NC42/MUFE HD 153

  5. #65
    Senior Member coconut's Avatar
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    Re: NC vs. NW

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by athena123
    I guess I'm still confused about this because I've heard some say that NC means Neutralizes Cool and NW means Neutralizes Warm. Which is the exact opposite of Not Cool and Not Warm.

    No one answered this as far as I can see and I am still confused about it.

    Also, someone said you need NW for dark undereye circles and this is what I have been given, however, NW is cool-toned and I have always heard that you need a yellow-ish concealer (i.e. NC) to cancel out the blue-ish tones in undereyes circles. Can anyone explain this to me further?

  6. #66
    Senior Member Heiaken's Avatar
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    Re: NC vs. NW

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by coconut
    No one answered this as far as I can see and I am still confused about it.

    Also, someone said you need NW for dark undereye circles and this is what I have been given, however, NW is cool-toned and I have always heard that you need a yellow-ish concealer (i.e. NC) to cancel out the blue-ish tones in undereyes circles. Can anyone explain this to me further?

    Yellow concealer is used to neutralizes redness and if you want to neutralize blueness you need an orange based concealer. It all falls to the colour wheel. You can try it wiht water colours, what happens when you mix blue and yellow together you get green. So if you but and NC shaded concealer to your blueish toned dark under-eye circles the effect isn't green but a really dull greyish tone but when you put NW it brightens them.



    The "Not Cool" and "Neutralizes Cool" are just memory tricks IMO, they don't have anything to do with the actual foundation. NC mean Neutral Cool and NW means Neutral Warm.
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  7. #67
    Senior Member animacani's Avatar
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    Re: NC vs. NW

    Okay so this is really wierd: a MA here in Norway gave my sister a nc40 foundation and another MA in London gave my sister a NW43 foundation.. When she wore the nc40 foundation she looked really grey! And now when she wears NW43 she looks really dark and red.. :S

  8. #68
    Junior Member bunbunlove's Avatar
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    Re: NC vs. NW

    I went to a MAC store today, and the MA immediately noted when I asked that I have yellow undertones (I'm 1/4 Chinese, 1/4 Filipino, and 1/2 white. My white parent has blonde hair, blue eyes, and burns easily). But when she paired me with a foundation, she gave me NW20. I'm debating going to a different MAC and getting a second opinion because I should be using an NC foundation, right?

  9. #69
    Senior Member GlamQueen21's Avatar
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    Re: NC vs. NW

    I'm still confused if I'm a NC or NW. I bought the Select Sheer Pressed Powder in NC55 and it was too light. I have the Studio Fix Powder in NW50 which blends with my skintone.
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  10. #70
    Junior Member Nicole787's Avatar
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    Re: NC vs. NW

    Im super confused after reading all this. I currently use NC30, but it makes me look super yellow around my mouth/chin. My veins appear blue on my wrist but change to green as they go up my arm. My nose/cheeks have pink to them, but the rest of my face is olive toned. I've gone and am always matched to NC's, should I try switching to something different?

  11. #71
    Senior Member chocolategoddes's Avatar
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    Re: NC vs. NW

    ^^^the redness in your skin may not be your actual undertone but just from irritation or surface redness, which can be corrected with a green-tinted concealer.
    "I.... dropped the SCREEEW... in the TUNA!"Oh yeah. I have a Twitter.

  12. #72
    Junior Member mirandaincanada's Avatar
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    Re: A question for the mac "experts"

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mac_obsession
    What exactly is the difference between NC and NW?

    This has been bugging me forever and I need to know




    me to lol thanks for asking

  13. #73
    Member makeupjunkie08's Avatar
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    Re: NC vs. NW

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lindas1983
    Each time I go to my local MAC counter they seem to match me differently, one week the MA says i'm definitly NW the next week another MA says i'l definitly NC. I'm so confused and am really starting to think they haven't got a clue and will just sell me whatever they have in stock if its my colouring or not!!!

    I totally agree, everytime I go to my MAC counter they tell me something differant too, I really think that they're pretty clueles!

  14. #74
    Senior Member Shadowy Lady's Avatar
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    Re: NC vs. NW

    lol, this is the story of my life. I have worn both NC30 and NW25 and they look pretty similar on me. The problem is my face is more "pink" while my body is more "golden". Even so colours like yellow or orange look aweful on me. This confuses me and the MA's all the time as to what my match is. The last time I got matched for Studio Sculpt, I got it in NW25 and it looked much better than NC30 on me (NC30 was a lil dark). I'm guessing I might be neutral :/
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    Junior Member Mzchio's Avatar
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    Re: NC vs. NW

    NC- Cool tones which are blueish and gold tones
    NW-Warm tones which are pinkish and red tones

    Ex.

    Concealers

    NC- better for blemishes (there's no highlight, minimizes the the blemish)
    NW- Dark circles, rosecea (the pink-red tones counteract the blue tones)
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  16. #76
    Senior Member jmarie7481's Avatar
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    Re: NC vs. NW

    I actually went to MAC the other day to be matched by my new favorite MA because my skin has already gotten darker with the season change *yay*. And my MA is fabulous...no one there will ever touch me face again. Anyway, I always figured I should be NC because my skin has some red tones in it, but my neck doesn't. However, I started noticing that as I got darker, that my skin was turning even more pink. So she matched me perfectly to an NW25 SFF with a N5 SFP. She said that because my body has a lot of pinker tones in it, I shouldn't be trying to cancel them out. Instead I need to work with them...so NW25. But because my neck doesn't have those pink tones and is more on the yellow/neutral side, I use the N5 powder to cancel out a bit of the pink in the NW. So now my face doesn't look as red as my body, and it doesn't look at yellow as my neck. It's like perfectly neutral between the two and works wonderfully.

    So I'm assuming that foundation isn't to neutralize colors but to work with the ones we have

  17. #77
    Senior Member cupcake_x's Avatar
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    Re: NC vs. NW

    I'm olive toned, I always figured I was warm but I'm an NC25-30.

  18. #78
    Senior Member billy_cakes's Avatar
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    Re: NC vs. NW

    Does anyone know why i was recomended NW15 in SFF and NC15 in SFP? the powder is to use on top of the fluid, it just seems to me that if i use both then it would counteract each other?

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    Senior Member rockin26's Avatar
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    Re: NC vs. NW

    Do you have yellow & pink tones maybe?
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    Senior Member Shadowy Lady's Avatar
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    Re: NC vs. NW

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cupcake_x
    I'm olive toned, I always figured I was warm but I'm an NC25-30.

    If you are warm toned (olive) then you are an NC. MAC's tone matching is confusing (NC = warm or olive and NW = cool)
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    Senior Member slick's Avatar
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    Re: NC vs. NW

    OK, I'm just gonna tell my story and hopefully it will help someone ;-)

    I learned to think of NC and NW as opposites, so if your warmed toned you want NC and if you're cool toned you want NW. I currently use NC25 foundation. But MAs have matched me to NW before because I carry a lot of pink undertones in my face.....it would always look OK in the store but as soon as I walked outside it would just look....odd. However, I am half asian and my neck and body are very yellow, so I know that my true skin tone is warm.

    PLEASE people, match your foundation to the undertones in your neck and body, this is your true undertone! It is very common for people to have different undertones in their faces. The skin on our faces is the most exposed part of our body, and it has to put up with sun, pollution, etc. which can cause strange things to happen to your skin tone! If you have a lot of the opposite undertone in your face, then neutralize it using correcting concealers. I currently use a green primer to neutralize the pink undertones in my face. If you are not 'that' warm or not 'that' cool, then mix warm and cool foundation shades together to get your match. Or, find a foundation with a neutral undertone. But match to your true skin tone, which is not always found on your face!! lol. Don't settle for the fact that a particular foundation doesn't come in your 'color'. Mix baby! Thats the only way you'll get the correct match.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by billy_cakes
    Does anyone know why i was recomended NW15 in SFF and NC15 in SFP? the powder is to use on top of the fluid, it just seems to me that if i use both then it would counteract each other?

    This is strange. First, I don't know why she would recommend that you set a foundation with another foundation. SFP is really meant to be used on its own. Mixing SFF and SFP can really get ugly depending on your skin type! If I were you I'd pick one foundation formula and use that alone. If you want to set your foundation get a proper setting powder or use a translucent powder. HTH!

  22. #82
    Senior Member kathyp's Avatar
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    Re: NC vs. NW

    Sorry to resurrect this old thread, but I just wanted to add that the NC=cool, NW=warm never felt that strange to me. None of MAC's foundations really read as cool-toned (at least when compared to, say, Prescriptives R and BR lines, or some of MUFE's colors). NC looks olive/golden to me and NW looks peachy/golden, even red. The NW's have more "heat," therefore they're warm. To further complicate things, if I swiped an NC shade across my jawline (I have very pink-toned skin), it would look yellow-ash. A C would look green and an NW would look peach.

    Just the way I see it.

  23. #83
    Member Mandy4610's Avatar
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    Re: NC vs. NW

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lindas1983
    Each time I go to my local MAC counter they seem to match me differently, one week the MA says i'm definitly NW the next week another MA says i'l definitly NC. I'm so confused and am really starting to think they haven't got a clue and will just sell me whatever they have in stock if its my colouring or not!!!

    I have the same exact issue.
    And why does this whole subject bother me so much?
    I should just stick to mufe HD and keep it moving.

  24. #84
    Junior Member mteexo's Avatar
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    Re: NC vs. NW

    To go with this thread, though not completely about NW, NC, etc; a lot of you keep saying when you get matched you are washed out, etc etc. Just remember, foundation should MATCH and fade away to your skin. Your face & neck [& the rest of your body for that matter don't always match]. Also, remember, when you apply a foundation, you are taking away the imperfections usually blotchiness, discoloration, hues in the cheeks, etc that you are used to seeing. It's not that you are washed out [though sometimes MA's may very well have mismatched you], its you've taken all other colors out of your skin and evened your skin out. That's why we then use bronzer, blush, &/or finishing powders. It's not always a one-step product and then go on your way. That's why mineral make-up is a good alternative, it's slight coverage, but it still lets natural colors/skin show through without as much afterthought.

    Also, remember, you aren't being matched in natural light necesarrily [& unfortunately]. You are being matched in a mall or freestanding store [MAC stores lighting is usually pretty nice, atleast at my store, matching is easyyyy] so when you get home, you might notice some difference ESPECIALLY if you are at a department store [department store lighting isn't also foundation matching friendly]. If you feel like you are struggling with being matched, ask your MA to step outside with you with a hand held mirror so you can see what it looks like in natural light - we do this. It helps us & you to see what works best for you!

  25. #85
    Senior Member ms_bloom's Avatar
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    Re: NC vs. NW

    What a perenially confusing topic! Like someone above, the MAC cool/warm thing always kind of made sense to me until I started reading about everyone else's confusion. I wrote a little blurb about how I interpret it on my MUA notepad:

    MACs classification of cool versus warm-toned foundation has actually always made intuitive sense to me. Here's why:

    Excerpt from Blue Eyeshadow Should Still be Illegal by Paula Begoun: For skin that has strong yellow, brown, or ashen-green tones [olive], always avoid reinforcing those skin colours by using those colours on the face. Eyeshadows, lipsticks, or blushes in shades of orange, peach, yellow, chocolate brown, grey-green, rust, khaki or the like will only make sallow skin appear more sallow and pale. If your skin is ruddy and red in appearance, wearing colours of pink, purple, blue, red, rose, mauve and the like will only make the face look more red and more irritated. SUMMARY: Sallow skin is better off wearing blue-undertoned colours only. Ruddy skin is better off wearing yellow-undertoned colours most of the time.

    And from the original Colour Me Beautiful by Carole Jackson: Be careful not to confuse sallowness with a golden skin tone. Anyone can have sallow skin, which appears yellow on the surface, regardless of its undertone. By the same token, any season can have a ruddy complexion, where the capillaries are close to the surface of the skin, giving an intense pinkness to the face. This should not necessarily be confused with a blue tone, as, ironically, ruddiness occurs most often in the warm seasons.

    MY CONCLUSION:

    As Paula says above, strong yellow or pink tones in your skin are best complemented with makeup and clothing colours in the opposite tone, but I also think this applies for most people who don't have particularly sallow or ruddy skin tones. Since your skin may appear yellow or pink regardless of whether you suit warm or cool colours best, the undertone of your foundation should complement rather than match the undertones of the colours that best suit you to avoid looking too yellow or too pink. For example, fair redheads often look quite pink but suit warmer colours, while most Asians like myself are yellow-toned but look better in cool colours. Hence, MACs designation of pink-toned foundations being "warm," and yellow-toned foundations being "cool," has always made sense to me because I always read warm and cool as referring to the person's overall colouring rather than their apparent skintone.

    Of course, YMMV. Also:

    (a) Yellow is not always warm and pink is not always cool, anyway. See GeekChick's notepad for a full explanation. MACs NC and NW shades vary on this and to me, the NC shades vary from cool yellow to warm peach/orange while the NW shades vary from cool pink to warm salmon.

    (b) Also check out MACisWack's notepad for some good information on the original C and N shades. I agree that C is not yellower than NC. In comparison, the NC shades are a "brighter" yellow tone, whereas the C shades are still yellow but more neutral or olive-toned (perfect for me). I think there are a few W shades still floating around but I am unsure what their true undertone is.

    (c) The colours also vary somewhat by foundation:

    KarlaSugar has excellent swatches of MAC Face and Body in the very neutral C and N colours; and Studio Sculpt, where the NC foundations are very peach and the NW much more neutral.

    Beaniewienie also has great comparison swatches of the Studio Fix Powder, comparing C, NC, NW, and N shades (pics start on page 11).

  26. #86
    Senior Member Shadowy Lady's Avatar
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    Re: NC vs. NW

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ms_bloom


    (c) The colours also vary somewhat by foundation:

    KarlaSugar has excellent swatches of MAC Face and Body in the very neutral C and N colours; and Studio Sculpt, where the NC foundations are very peach and the NW much more neutral.

    Beaniewienie also has great comparison swatches of the Studio Fix Powder, comparing C, NC, NW, and N shades (pics start on page 11).

    thanks for this roundup, I agree I'm still sometimes confused about MAC shades. The studio sculpt line in shade NW25 was the best MAC match for my skin and now I understand why
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    Junior Member shordeecat's Avatar
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    Re: NC vs. NW

    Hey girls! I had a question. I am trying to get my sister the studio fix powder foundation and she is slightly darker than me. I am an NC40 and I bought the NC42 last time and it was too orange for her. Does anyone know if a C40 is a little darker than the NC40, but still for asian skin tones?
    NC35-NC40

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    Senior Member kathyp's Avatar
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    Re: NC vs. NW

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kathyp
    Sorry to resurrect this old thread, but I just wanted to add that the NC=cool, NW=warm never felt that strange to me. None of MAC's foundations really read as cool-toned (at least when compared to, say, Prescriptives R and BR lines, or some of MUFE's colors). NC looks olive/golden to me and NW looks peachy/golden, even red. The NW's have more "heat," therefore they're warm. To further complicate things, if I swiped an NC shade across my jawline (I have very pink-toned skin), it would look yellow-ash. A C would look green and an NW would look peach.

    And I now realize this is because I have very little warmth in my skin.

    I've tested a lot more shades since then, and this is how they break down on me. I have a reddish face and a blue-white body. I'm usually an N3/NW15

    C - olive undertones. Looks very green on my skin
    NC - golden yellow. Still looks quite yellow, but NC15 is workable, but a litle sallow.
    N -beige. N3 is pink beige. This is what I sometimes wear in studio fix. It's an okay match, but looks a bit ashy around my chin.
    NW - peach. Neither NW15 nor NW20 reads pink on my skin. It's still quite warm. It's a pretty good match, but turns orange.
    W - pink. Unfortunately, there are no W shades available except for Full Coverage (W10), which is pro only. I would probably be a W15 if it existed. The closest I've found to what I imagine that shade would look like (in a Studio Fix-like product) is Origins Silk Screen in Porcelain or Bisque.

    I hope this helps. Granted, I'm super pale, and have only tested shades as dark as NC20/NW20.

  29. #89
    Junior Member Azul.86's Avatar
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    Re: NC vs. NW

    hi am new here and I want help girlZ

    i think am golden yellow undertone , i used studio fix NC40 and it's find but it make my skin little darker
    So i want brighter color than NC40 i checked the MAC site and there is NC37

    there is no NC39 or NC38?

    and i want to buy a powder, what do you recommend for me (color tones and kind)?

  30. #90
    Junior Member Azul.86's Avatar
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    Re: NC vs. NW

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Azul.86
    hi am new here and I want help girlZ

    i think am golden yellow undertone , i used studio fix NC40 and it's find but it make my skin little darker
    So i want brighter color than NC40 i checked the MAC site and there is NC37

    there is no NC39 or NC38?

    and i want to buy a powder, what do you recommend for me (color tones and kind)?


    no one can help =(?

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