What Makes Mac NC30 Skin Tone

MAC color classification: Foundations & Concealer

Hardly any other brand manages to offer such a clear and manageable range of colors as this MAC color classification for foundation and concealer.

In this post you will find 4 different comparison tables that I have created over the years - always at different times, therefore sometimes different foundations. But I think you can also see the small differences that way, because

IMPORTANT: There are always color differences between MAC Foundation and MAC Foundation and MAC Concealer and MAC Concealer

The different formulations, pigment proportions and different media - sometimes more water, sometimes more oil - always result in a different shade after drying. Not least because every skin deals with this mixing ratio a little differently.

Unfortunately, one cannot generally assume that if the nuance "NC25" at the MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation fits, too MAC Face & Body Foundation in "NC25" will look and fit identical. So it still applies here:

always test foundation before buying!


The MAC color classification:
Foundations & Concealers

The letters before the digits

MAC divides the color effects of the complexion products into three coarse nuances, most of which are combined with one another:

  • “C” = stands for “cool” and means (important, only) for MAC that the product has a YELLOW cast
  • “N” = stands for “neutral” and means that the product is neither yellow nor pink (but it is not really neutral)
  • “W” = stands for “warm” and means that the product has a RED cast

MAC Foundations with those single digits are only offered in addition to the MAC “classics”, which are aimed primarily at makeup artists for a greater variety of colors:

  • MAC Studio Fix Foundation / Fluid (“N”, “C”, “NW”, “NC”)
  • MAC Face & Body Foundation (“N”, “C”, “NW”, “NC”)
  • MAC Full Coverage Foundation (“C”, “W” (only here), “NW”, “NC”)

Most MAC Foundations, however, are subdivided in combination, EITHER as

  • “NC” (“neutral cool” - “neutral yellow”)

Or as

  • "NW" ("neutral warm" - "neutral pink")

Logically, there is no combination of “C” and “W”.


For example, if you look at the MAC Studio Fix Fluid Swatches in the shop, you can see the tendencies.

This classification can be found in ALL MAC Foundations, including those that only have individual letters and the colors run parallel / complementary to each other.

EDIT: there has been with the for a while MAC Matchmaster Foundation & and the MAC Matchmaster Concealeran exception. This product is in Shades from 1.0 to 9.0 offered with the background that it adapts the complexion color and thus adapts to the undertone.

It's best not to be intimidated by the “cool” - “warm” chatter just remembers “C IS YELLOW - W IS REDDISH”. Another time I'll tell you how you can possibly find out what skin tone you have.

The number after the letter

Now to the number that is behind the letter combination. This is what MAC the brightness level Here two systems run in parallel, as well as with the letter combinations:

  • it willdivided from 1 to 5, but only in combination with a single-digit “C” or “N”
  • is much more common two-digit classification, which in the popular foundations starts with 10 (NEW) as the lightest shade and darker and darker in five steps becomes, e.g. so NC15 to e.g. NW55

In addition, some liquid foundations have "average colors" around 30-40 not only 35-40-45, but also Intermediate shades like 37 - 42 - 44 for NC shades and 43 and 47 for the NW shades, i.e. more finely graduated.

The HYPER REAL Foundation, which is no longer available, once stepped out of line. This is divided into hundreds. So 100 – 200 – 300 Etc.

In conclusion, I would like to point out that makeup is also in “real” colors gives. On the one hand, the airbrush makeup in primary and secondary colors - on the other hand, for example, the MAC Face & Body Foundation in “White” as well as the FULL COVERAGE, which is also available in “Black” and “Orange” because it can also serve as a concealer .

Update: MAC’s Color Adapting Foundations color department

For some years now, MAC has also had some liquid make-ups in its range that are supposed to adapt to the color tone by allowing the skin color to shine through through transparent particles or simply have a low opacity and thus blend. However, they are named very intuitively:

  • MAC Matchmaster Foundation is numbered from 1 to 9 with some intermediate nuances: 1.5, 7.5 and 8.5
  • MAC Next to Nothing Face Color is named by name from light to darkthat you already know from powders