Asian Skin? Dark Skin? Fair Skin? Here’s How To Find Your Perfect Foundation Match

This excellent post is brought to you by M.A.C Cosmetics.

Finding the perfect foundation is the makeup equivalent to discovering a skincare regimen that is tailored to your skin type. They’re both essential, the crux of your beauty routine, and they also leave tell-tale signs when they’re not customised to suit you—hands up if you’ve spotted that orange streak along your jawline? Which is just one of the reasons why when it comes to foundation, it’s so important to find a shade that suits YOU, and compliments the real colour of YOUR complexion.

So, rather than stopping past the local cosmetic counter, selecting a light, medium, or dark hue (and let’s be honest, hoping for the best), the iconic M.A.C Cosmetics Studio Fix Fluid SPF15 Foundation is now available in an incredibly diverse selection of 50 shades, and uses a unique coding system that is based—pardon the pun—on your both your skin colour and its undertones.

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Firstly, think about how you want to appear in a photo, says M.A.C Cosmetics pro senior artist, Carol Mackie. “You want the colour to be the same on your neck and face as it is on your shoulders—if you self-tan your body and not your face (and there is a noticeable difference), select a shade that is in between the two, and make sure you blend the colour down the neck to even out your skin tone.” Where you test the foundation it is also important: “The side of the face and neck will give you a good idea of how the shade will appear, however, it is better to apply the foundation over the whole face to get a real indication, preferably in daylight, so you can see the colour and finish on your skin.” Better still, if you have the chance, head to your closest M.A.C Cosmetics store, and have one of the make-up artists guide you in the right direction.


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We’re sure you’ve spotted numbers and letters on M.A.C Cosmetics foundations, but it’s also likely that you may not understand what they mean for your skin. This combination of letters and numbers is actually a code, and will eventually determine the foundation shade to suit your skin.

It’s firstly set by the undertones in your complexion, marked by letters, and there are four undertones available to choose from in the range, explains Mackie.


N: A neutral balance of all undertones.
C: A more golden, olive hue with cooler undertone.
NW: Neutral with a rosy warm undertone.
NC: Neutral with a cool golden undertone.


Once you know your undertone (see here for tips on how to find yours), the number following reveals the colour of the foundation, and how light or dark the formula is. In a nutshell, “the higher the number the darker the shade,” says Mackie. “For example, NC5 would be the lightest colour, and slightly golden as it’s an NC, whereas NW58 would be the darkest available, with a more warm rosy undertone because it’s an NW.”

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While it’s technically designed to provide a creamy matte finish to your foundation, what sets Studio Fix apart is not only the shade selection, but that it also suits all skin types, explains Mackie. “It’s really about what you put underneath Studio Fix that also makes it so versatile. It can be manipulated in so many ways just by varying skincare or using different brushes, and you can achieve an array of finishes and textures, from sheer to dewy to full-coverage matte.”

The application also plays a key role—if you’re using your hands, like model Ollie Henderson (below), warm it up in your fingers to begin with, then blend it into your skin. If you desire more coverage in particular areas or to conceal further, you can use a fluffy brush to lightly stipple additional foundation onto the skin.

For a natural-looking coverage, as seen on model Nya (above), prep the skin with essential oils and the cult M.A.C Cosmetics Strobe Cream, lightly massaging it into the skin before using the M.A.C Cosmetics Large Angled Contour Brush #168S to apply it all over the face, then go in with the smaller Tapered Blending Brush #224S to use Studio Fix as a concealer around the eye area.

To achieve a full coverage finish, make like model Alice (below) and try a densely packed bristle brush like the M.A.C Cosmetics Synthetic Rounded Slant Brush #170, which helps to seamlessly buff and blend liquid or cream foundation into the skin.

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Tell us—have you tried M.A.C Cosmetics Studio Fix Fluid SPF15 Foundation? 


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