Choosing The Right MAC Foundation & Concealer

This weekend I was faced with the mighty task of heading into MAC and finally investing in some high-end base products. However, I'm one of those people who will settle for a completely different haircut to what I asked for instead of telling them to stop because I feel bad, so the thought of having to get colour matched by a professional daunted me. 
It can often get really frustrating, especially in situations where I'll let myself get talked into buying something I'll probably never use, because it's the wrong shade. Not to mention MAC's little NWs and NCs, which can get confusing if you've never shopped there before. 

I'm definitely no expert, but I did manage to walk out of the shop with my perfect foundation and concealer match without having to wave my arm helplessly in the air and ask for assistance, so I thought I'd put a little post of tips together for those who struggle to find the perfect match...

Numbers & Letters
Moving from high-street foundations with names to high-end foundations with seemingly endless letters and numbers can be a task and a half, especially if you don't know what you're looking for. Typically, the 'w' in 'NW' means warm and the 'c' in 'NC' means cool, and this is relative to the skin tone that you have. The higher the number after it, the darker the shade. 
A quick google will show you that there are quite a few ways to find out if you have warm or cool toned skin. One of these is to take a quick look at the veins on the inside of your wrist. If they appear blue, you're likely to have cool pinky-undertoned skin, and if they appear greener, you're more likely to have warm yellow-undertoned skin. If you're like me and have both blue AND green veins, apparently we're neutral and can pull of either warm or cool tones, but obviously this isn't the be-all and end-all. Choose what fits you best! 

I ended up going for a 'warm' concealer as the cool ones didn't match up to me at all, and supposedly a cooler toned foundation (this is the Matchmaster one, so just to confuse me further there are no letters and the numbers work slightly differently haha).

Lighting can be VERY deceiving
I swear makeup store lighting purposely attempts to draw out all your imperfections. The lighting in my local MAC store is ridiculous. That concealer you thought looked seamless? Under their light it looks patchy. Not to mention that tan you thought you'd gotten completely disappears and you end up looking paler than Wednesday Addams. 
This can make things really awkward when it comes to swatching, as colours can look a lot paler than they actually are. I found the shades that looked like they should have matched my skin tone looked way too dark in daylight, so don't be deceived by the crazy lighting - if it means swatching some colours and then stepping out of the shop into daylight to get a better idea, then girl, do it! Better to walk in and out a couple of times than walk out with the wrong shade completely, right?

No one knows your skin better than you
At the end of the day, you live with your skin 24/7, and no one knows the skin on your face better than you do. The online MAC foundation finder recommended that I use the Pro Longwear foundation in NW40, however as soon as I swatched it I knew it was way too thick and waaaaay too dark and yellow for my skin type. Anyone can tell you 'this one's best for oily skin and this one's best for combination', but you might put it on and it might not agree with you at all. Remember, you don't HAVE to take the counter lady's word for anything. Sure, they might be able to provide a bit more guidance, but if you've done a bit of research and some swatches yourself and think another product would work better with your skin, go for it. 

One last thing! There are so many different types of MAC liquid foundation, and it comes in handy to make a note of which ones include a pump and which ones don't. Pump application and ease of use is a big thing for me, so I went for one that includes a twisty pump so I didn't have to splash out for a separate one on top of what was an already pricey foundation! A little research can definitely go a long way and in my case, it influenced my decisions so much. I hope my ramblings can help out! 

Big love, 


  1. I had my heart set on the MAC Prolongwear, so went in to get matched on my 20th birthday.
    I didn't feel atall comfortable! I was treated like I knew nothing, and was a nuisance by suggesting anything different. Came home with the wrong shade (I'm Ice pale for 80% of the year) and it's put me off MAC completely. This store in particular felt like a clique I wasn't welcomed into.
    I appluad you for both finding your shade in the rainbow that is their colour system, and being braver than I was!


    1. Oh nooo, I'm sorry to hear that! That's the worst :( I've heard from a few people now that the general atmosphere of MAC stores is terrible and that the same happened to them, which was why I was double scared of going in! At the end of the day I just didn't want to get it wrong considering the price tag, and even though it may be their job, I get really protective over who puts what on my face and would rather just struggle by myself! It took me quite a while and I went through a hell of a lot of tissues haha - I think the best thing to do sometimes is just to get stuck in, because whether they believe it or not, us bloggers know a thing or two ourselves about makeup :')

  2. I've never tried a MAC foundation, i have heard such mixed things about them. And i completely agree about shops atmosphere, i feel like its every shop though, regardless whether its beauty or fashion!! xx

    Abi | abistreetx.blogspot.co.uk

    1. This'll be my first MAC foundation too, I was torn between this or something like NARS Sheer Glow or Estée Lauder Double Wear but seeing as I got a MAC voucher for Christmas I thought I may as well try one out! I feel like a lot of shops nowadays have become quite uncomfortable to be in and a lot of the time it's like you can feel yourself being judged, which is horrible! Thank God for online shopping haha xxx

  3. I really want to try a mac foundation- I'll be going shopping on my birthday so this post will be very useful, I especially liked the tips you put in for finding if your skin is warm or cool - I used to never have a clue! thanks for the help :) xx

    Wiyld - Beauty | Fashion | Thoughts | Lifestyle

    1. Ah definitely do it, I've been very impressed with mine so far!
      There are so many little clever ways you can find out what skin tone you are and it's so interesting to read about! Glad I could help out :) xxx

  4. Wow The veins in your wrist thing is so cool (I can't have been the only one flinging my wrist near my face to check what mine were) Thank you for the tips :) I feel like I'm a little clued up now the numbers and letters always threw me completely! I'm hoping to make my first MAC purchase soon x

    1. Isn't it just! Haha I spent an insane amount of time trying to figure out what mine were before I realised it was possible to have both :')
      No problem! The whole MAC numbers and letters scenario used to completely throw me off too so I'm glad I could shed a little light :) xxx


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