The NW45 Debate!

….so once again Twitter has inspired me to write a blog post!


A couple of days ago my Twitter fam and I were discussing foundations that were suitable for the Woman of Colour and I stated that I usually wear MAC in NW45 – as I have mentioned many a time on my blog.

Return of the MAC....

Return of the MAC….

A few of my followers responded that this was the shade that they also wore and that they swore by it…
….however Gina aka Naturalbelle asked a very poignant question… this may seem an insignificant query – but it certainly stoked a debate among my followers, many of whom stated that they wore…or had been mis-sold the MAC shade NW45!

This was my response to Naturalbelle’s tweet…

I responded this way because I know that most women of colour who have visited a beauty counter have been mis-sold the wrong shade foundation/concealer at one time or another….it is as if the sales assistant sees your melanin as you approach and AUTOMATICALLY assumes that you are a certain shade – without taking a moment to account for your undertone, your pigmentation or any key concerns you may have!

Is this a case of the classic ‘we all look the same’ syndrome???


Londoncurl’s response sums up this sentiment to a tee!

Pelumi aka Care For Your Hair stated that she got so tired of being recommended the wrong shades by the MAC personnel that she chose to switch brands!

How could anyone sell Pelumi NW45 is beyond me!!! She is several shades lighter than I am and one does not have to be a trained MUA to see that this shade is most certainly NOT her match!


Mez aka MezMadeUp chimed in to say that the ‘univeral’ MAC shade for Asian skin tones is NC42!!

This is a topic that I sure will be debated further…watch this space!

16 comments for “The NW45 Debate!

  1. June 4, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    hahahahaha re living this convo it’s so funny. I do think there must be something in the training manual at Mac that states if your are a medium brown you are NW45! Mac make such a big deal about how all there staff are trained make up artists and they can’t even differentiate between the different shades and undertones of a medium brown woman. I find it odd to say the least.

    • June 4, 2013 at 10:46 pm

      I think MAC have become sloppy and somewhat lazy with their overall customer service – which may contribute to the incidences of the mis-sale, I also think that they take it for granted that they attract the large majority of the Black and Asian pound.

  2. June 4, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    Great post!. I have also found nc50 to be prescribed to everyone too. I have friends who have several shade differences. Probably why I like that Lancome use a shading chart to try get a decent shade. …. Ditto what Natural Belle has said on Mac’s claim to makeup artist training. They obviously need to do more work.

  3. June 4, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    This is hilarious. I’ve also been matched to NW45 too in several different stores in different countries – one of the reasons I’ve never really got into MAC! The one product I have bought that matches is studio sculpt NC55 which I picked myself without their assistance thank you very much. The number system is confusing too as it doesn’t seem to based on a spectrum so buying online could be a mare. Look forward to reading the follow up!

  4. June 5, 2013 at 7:15 am

    Hey Nat… errr… I am apparently NW45 too!!! But in Studio Tech, Select Cover up and other complexion items, NW45 is about 3 different shades. Great post!

  5. January 22, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    I also have that shade but is fits me because the mac woman tested it first on me before selling it to me. They didn’t just say nw45 bye. And it looks amazing on me its just perfectly my colour

    • February 12, 2014 at 8:06 am

      That is great! NW45 works for many – but not all. As long as the MUA has matched correctly and not make any assumptions then the customer will be satisfied.

  6. April 1, 2014 at 12:34 am

    Wow this is so true. My first trip to a MAC counter, they tried to sell me NW45. Granted, I had a tan but it was still too red/deep for me. I looked burnt/dirty. Also, the counter had terrible lighting. How are you selling someone foundation in the dark?
    The next time, I went to a different store and the guy said there was no way I was an NW45. He said you could see the olive undertones in my skin and recommended NC50. I still think it’s a tad red but it’s much better than NW45. However, I’ve noticed their is no consistency to their product shades. The power for the same shade, same line was three shades lighter, and if I tried a different line…forget it.

  7. October 15, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Well, Even I was sold NW 45 .This has been going on for many years… Whatever I buy from MAC …my friends say I look either tanned or orange and I dump the foundation.No wonder if everyone is sold NW 45 without matching… that is how they will look.

    • October 21, 2014 at 3:01 pm

      Thanks for reading Vidia! It is important that we make our views heard! If you ever feel you have been missold an item – take it back to the store!

  8. Laura
    November 13, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    I’m one of those people who can go either way. I have both yellow AND red undertones. When I wear NW45, the red tones are exacerbated. The NC50 highlights my yellows, but it matches my neck better, so I tend to go with that one. When I ran out of NC50, I switched to the NW45 until I had a chance to go to the store. It’s not a big deal, since I look beautiful either way. I just want my neck and face to be about the same color so I don’t have cakeface.

  9. ECfromDC
    February 14, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    I was mismatched not once or twice but 3 TIMES!
    I was first matched to NW45 (too dark and too red), then NC50 (too dark), NC45 (a little too yellow and just a pinch too light).
    I found out on my own that NW43 works best for me with just a pinch of NC45 sometimes but….for the most part i’m a true NW43.

    • February 15, 2016 at 12:08 pm

      Thanks for reading and for your comment! I am hoping that things have improved – I will be doing a follow up very soon


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