My Foundation Shade Guide – MAC NC25-NC30 to NC35-NC40 Equivalents

My Foundation Shade Guide for normail (NC35-37) and tanned (NC40) skin-the base line up- by face made up/facemadeup
My Foundations. The base line up.
My foundation shade guide- tinted moisturisers/cc creams by face made up/facemadeup
Tinted Moisturisers and CC Creams.
My Foundation Shade Guide-My Everyday Foundations by face made up/facemadeup
My ‘Everyday’ Foundations.
My Foundation Shade Guide-My Evening/Filming Foundations by face made up/facemadeup
My ‘Evening’ and Favourite for Filming Foundations.
Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation is Medium 6

I thought it might be a useful tool for any of you out there who are of a similar colouring and/or skin type as me, medium skin tone with warm, yellow undertones, for me to list all the foundations I’ve used and what shade I am in each one when I am tanned (equivalent to MAC NC35-NC40) and when I’m not so tanned (equivalent to MAC NC25-NC30) . I’ve seen many of these threads on the internet and find them very useful so I hope this may prove useful for some of you out there.

Selecting the right shade of foundation can be a difficult task at the best of times but when you cannot access the foundation to swatch it, things become even more tricky. Unless you’ve done some intensive research online, there is a big chance that you will end up ordering/buying the wrong shade of foundation and there’s nothing worse than throwing your money down the drain (unfortunately, unlike our American counterparts, in the UK, we aren’t able to return cosmetics if bought in-store, even if it’s not been used, and if we buy on-line,  we are only able to return if it’s not been used).

I’ve also found with some foundations is that what I previously thought was the right shade of foundation for me  is no longer the case as it’s the classic case of what colour your skin is on the tan scale when you first try and subsequently buy the foundation. More often than not due to my love for galavanting across the globe in hot and tropical climates, I am sporting some sort of tan whether it’s just a hint of colour from a long weekend away (4 on the scale of 1 to 10, equivalent to MAC NC30-NC35) or whether it’s a deep, dark, two-week tan which is the result of being severely sun burnt (11 on the scale of 1 to 10, equivalent to MAC NC40, or even NC42!) from the typical first day of the holiday mistake “it’s not that hot/sunny so I don’t think I’ll bother applying/reapplying my suncream”. Classic school girl error. Do I ever learn? Well clearly not. I am probably the palest (by my standards anyway) I’ve been in a long time and subsequently I’ve been finding that with a few of my foundations, they are now a tad too dark for me.

So if you’re an NC25- 30 or even an NC40, or if you have no idea what I am talking about but are of light to medium skin tone with warm, yellow undertones, then find your foundation shade (MAC NC25-NC30-NC35-NC40 equivalent) right here.

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Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Foundation Warm Natural (non tanned)  


Light to medium coverage with a natural, demi-matte finish. Review to follow.


Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation 6 Medium (non-tanned)  


Lightweight finish with a dewy finish. Check out my tutorial of me wearing this foundation here.


Dior Diorskin Star Foundation 030 (non-tanned)  


Light to medium coverage with a semi-matt finish. Although this foundation has a very neutral undertone, whereas I would prefer it more if it was a yellow base.


Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Gel 55 Beige Fonce (slight tan)  


Lightweight coverage with a natural finish.


Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream Rose Beige (non tanned)  


Lightweight coverage with a natural finish. Check out my tutorial of me wearing this CC cream here.


Bare Minerals Foundation Medium Tan (tanned)  


Light coverage with a natural finish.


Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Gel Touch Foundation 40 (can just about get away with it when not tanned, but looks better when slightly tanned)  

Light coverage with a natural, glowy finish. Review to follow.


Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet 30 Beige (non-tanned)  

Light coverage with a matte, very real skin-like finish


Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua  

B40 Beige- Dessert (can just about get away with it when not tanned, but looks better when slightly tanned)



Light coverage with a natural finish. Check out my tutorial of me wearing this foundation here.


Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation 6 (non-tanned)  

Medium to full coverage with a flawless but natural finish. Check out my tutorial of me wearing this foundation here and here.


Giorgio Armani Power Fabric Longwear High Cover Foundation Foundation 6 (non-tanned)  

Medium to full coverage with a velvety matte finish. Read review of the
Giorgio Armani Power Fabric foundation can be found here.


Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation Stick
Nude (non-tanned)  


Full coverage with a natural satin finish. Read review of the
Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation Stick can be found here.


It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream SPF 50 Medium (non-tanned)  


Medium to full coverage with a natural to dewy finish. Buildable. Check out my tutorial of me wearing this CC cream here.


Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint Golden (non-tanned)  


Lightweight coverage with a very dewy finish.


Jouer Matte Moisture Tint Camoumile (non-tanned) although look rather pink in tone but when buffed into the skin, the colour is wearable. Light coverage with a matte finish.
Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation Dusk (non-tanned)  


Medium to full coverage with a matte finish. Read review of the Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Foundation here.


Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturiser Bisque (non-tanned), Ochre (tanned)  


Light coverage (but buildable) with a glowy, dewy finish. Check out my tutorial of me wearing this foundation here.


Loreal True Match Foundation W3 (non-tanned) W4 (tanned)  


Medium coverage with a natural, slightly dewy finish. Check out my tutorial of me wearing this foundation here.


Loreal Paris Infalliable Pro Matte Foundation 104 Golden Beige (non-tanned) 106 Sun Beige (tanned) 105 (somewhere in-between)  


Medium to full coverage with a natural, matte finish. Check out my tutorial of me wearing this foundation here in W6 and here in W4.


MAC Pro Longwear Foundation N37 (a bit too dark on non-tanned skin so an NC35 would probably be better)  


Light to Medium coverage with a matte finish.


MAC Studio Fix Foundation N40 (tanned skin)  


Medium- buildable coverage with a matte finish.


MAC Face and Body C3 (non-tanned), C4 (tanned)  


Sheer to light/medium coverage with a dewy finish.


Makeup Forever HD Foundation (discontinued – replaced by the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation) 128 Almond (tanned), 127 Dark Sand (non-tanned)  

Light to medium coverage with a natural finish.

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation Y335 (non- tanned and equivalent to 127 in the original formulation)  

Medium to full coverage with a satin finish. Check out my tutorial of me wearing this foundation here and here.


Nars All Day Luminous, Weightless Foundation Deauville (non-tanned, be warned, this shade selection does not match up to the Nars Sheer Glow foundation which is totally bonkers to me!)  

Full Coverage, matte foundation.

Nars Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation Stromboil (non-tanned)  


Full coverage with a natural radiant finish. Read the review of the Nars Natural Radiant Foundation here.


Nars Radiant Tinted Moisturiser St. Moritz (non-tanned)  


Light coverage with a dewy finish.


Nars Sheer Glow Foundation Stromboli (non-tanned), Barcelona (for when I’m rocking a deep tan- NC40)  


Medium- buildable coverage with a radiant and lightly dewy finish. Check out my tutorial of me wearing this foundation here.


Nars Velvet Matte Skin Tint St Moritz. (non-tanned although could probably get away using it with a light tan)  


Medium coverage with a natural, matte finish. Check out my video demo here.


Too Faced Born This Way Foundation Natural Beige (slightly tanned, might get away when non-tanned)  


Medium to full coverage with a dewy finish. Check out my tutorial of me wearing this foundation here.


Urban Decay All Nighter Liquid Foundation  

4.0 (non-tanned)

Full coverage with a matte finish. Check out my review here and my video demo here.
Yves Saint Laurent All Hours Full Coverage Matte Foundation  

BD35 Warm Caramel (non-tanned)

Full coverage with a soft satin matte finish. Read the review of the YSL All Hours Foundation here.

For MAC NC25-NC30 to NC35-NC40 shade matches/equivalents in the best long-lasting, full coverage foundation releases of 2017, check out my blog post – The Best New Long-Lasting, Full Coverage Foundations of 2017 here.

I will continue to add to the list as and when I try out new foundations/tinted moisturisers/BB/CC Creams. Feel free to continue the thread by adding your own foundation shades.

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  1. Thanks!!!! I believe Im a similar non tanned shade and this is helpful!! Ive just bought the Healthy Mix serum in 55 and just to add to the list 4.5 in Boobi Browns Foundation stick works well too 🙂

    1. No
      problem! Glad that you found this post useful, it’s all I ever hoped for as I love these kinds of posts myself.makes finding your correct shade so much easier without having to physically try them out. =)

      1. Hi, love your blog! I’m the same color like you in all the foundations you listed. I was wondering if you’ve tried the tarte shape tape concealer and if so which shade do you prefer. Light sand, light neutral or light medium. I can’t decide..

    2. Thank you for this post. I am 40 in Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, NC 37 Mac Studio fix and 4 in Bobbi Brown Stick.
      I wanted a foundation for daily use and heard that Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Gel is brilliant but since it is not available in my country I need to order it online. This post helped a lot it picking the shade.

    3. I also use NC 40 and MAC’s Studio Fix and C4 for Mac Face and Body Liquid foundation, I saw that you posted a Non-Tanned shade for the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation, do you happen to know if the color for tanned skin is still almond (Y415)? It looks really dark in the pictures on sephora.

      1. Hi Christina. I would be inclined to try shade Y365 (which is equivalent to the old 123) although I have not tried this myself. From the swatches I have seen though, this looks like more of a natural step up from 127/Y335. You are right in saying that 128/Y415 is dark but it does work on me when I am probably the darkest in terms of tan shade. I would recommend you try before you commit if possible. Hope that helps.

    4. have u tried the tarte rain forest of the sea foundation? I’m a nars sheer glow Stromboli and a Mac NC30. I’m not sure what shade to get

      1. I have not yet tried the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea foundation but looking at swatches, I’d be inclined to go with Light Med Neutral.

  2. Came across this great post & Realised you wrote this nearly over a year ago, It was great to find out which shade you are when tanned, as I am nc40 and barcalona Nars, so was looking to see what shade I would be in MUFE, Laura Mercier and if it was worth trying to find my shade match in Chanel. Need to find more posts like this, Thanks!

    1. AWWW…thank you! I started this post as I struggled to find anything as comprehensive like it. I’m adding to it as and when I get new foundations and there’s been three this year so far! I’m glad you found this helpful as it’s intended to be. =)

  3. Hello! This is very helpful because I find that I wear a few foundation shades the same as you do. I recently bought the Healthy Mix Serum and was wondering if you can get away with 53 at all. When I was ordering it, 55 looked too dark so now I’m afraid I made a mistake! Thank you for your time 🙂

    1. Hi, thanks for stopping by. I am glad that you found this useful. When I am at my lightest i.e. no tan whatsoever, I reckon 53 would be perfect. 55 is only a touch darker for me but perfect for when I have a tan. I have a few more new foundations to add to this post since I’ve been trying out more so keep your eye out for that.

  4. Thank you for Thai extensive list of color matches! So helpful!!! I’m looking to purchase the Jouer luminous tint and found your base list so helpful.


    1. You’re very welcome! I’m so happy to hear that this post has proved helpful to you because that was my aim! I’m always on the lookout for lists like these as I, to, rely on them for colour matching especially when I can’t swatch them myself. If you have time, checkout my Youtube channel 😉

  5. Oh my god! I nearly have the same skintone with you. I am between NC30 – NC40. Im glad that i found your blog. Its very informative. I use the loreal true match in shade golden tan, its so perfect for my NC30 non-tan skin. I also use clinique cc cream in shade light medium for my non-tan skin. For my tan skin, i use rimmel lasting finish in shade 303 true nude. Its my perfect shade on summer. <3

  6. OH MY GOD you have no idea how glad i am to find a person with my skin color!!! thank you this is so helpful!! keep it up!

  7. Have you tried tarte’s amazonian clay foundation? I’m having the hardest time with my shade and I’m similar to your skin tone!

    1. Sorry Aneeta, I’ve not yet tried any bases from Tarte as yet. Although that Tarte Shape Tape concealer has my name written all over it!

  8. Thank you so much for continuing to update years later. Have you tried the MUFE stick foundation yet? What about the loreal infallible glow?

    1. You’re welcome. Being someone who prefers more of a satin/matte finish, I have chosen not to try the Loreal Pro Glow (although the Pro Matte is the bomb digs) or the MUFE stick. Have heard that the ABH stick is perfect for oily/combo skin types though so that is next on my radar!

    1. I am not sure what you mean by this. NC25 is light to medium with warm, yellow undertones. It is my shade when I am not tanned. When I am tanned, I am more closer to NC35-40. NC25 would not work on me. I hope this helps?

  9. This is so helpful! I’m Mexican(father’s side) and Japanese and Filipino(mom). It’s so difficult to match my skin tone. I’m definitely not pink. Most times I’m yellow to golden undertone, sometimes I see olive though. Because of the olive I can appear more tan but I’m mostly on the medium to even light medium end of the spectrum. Can you tell me what hourglass shades would be in your range?
    Thanks you kindly

    1. WOW what a mix that is! I would be surprised if you told me you had a pink undertone. My shade in the Hourglass Vanish Foundation (which I have just very recently swatched) is the shade Nude. I am not sure if the same colour system runs throughout all their ranges though. I hope this helps.

  10. Thank you for replying. I wouldn’t have guessed Nude in hourglass(I was looking at all the different foundation stick included)! I was looking at the golden shades but they didn’t seem quite right. The Koh gen do aqua 143 when I’m not tanned suits me perfectly. Tanned is a different story. And I can get paler too but always yellowish. My skin color seems to be always changing. Since they don’t make it darker I can’t wear that til I fade a bit. Which is about now. Hopefully they come out w deeper shades soon as I love the formula and finish. Feels and looks so natural.

  11. Hi… need your help on some recommendations… i’m in nc35 mac lightful powder foundation all year round… do u know any good drugstore dupes? Thank you in advance!

  12. What is your shade for the tarte shape tape concealer? I see that you said you like it, we’re similar in tone and would like to know what shade did you get? Thank you!

  13. This is such a helpful list! In regards to the Too Faced, would you say Natural Beige has an olive/yellow enough undertone, or is Warm Beige more olive? I’m around Nc30-35, Mac C3 and Nars Stromboli are perfect matches for me, but Bourjois 55 leans a tad too neutral.

    1. Glad you found this helpful. I’ve not tried Warm Beige but from the swatches I have seen, I’d say both have the same undertone but Warm Beige is darker than Natural Beige.

  14. I was SO happy that I found this post! Seems like I have the exact skin tone since I go through the Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer stages in Bisque (non-tanned) to Natural (in between, mid summer) to Ochre (tanned), pretty much from June to Aug. 😀

  15. Omg thanks so much for this post. I’m the same skin tone with you and it’s so hard to find equivalent shades in different foundation brands. Where have you been all my life? :P. Thank you so much

  16. Well nc37 is very light, unless someone is Anglo saxan, nc37 is quite light. I’ve seen non tanned folks wear it, it depends on your preference overall and your overall complexion. Kinda like the shade rattan from Estée lauder. My fave shade, both are Medium toned warm color.
    i enjoyed this blog

  17. Hello… I’m excited to try to new Tarte Stick foundation and the Rainforest one. Have you tried ? I’m think to try but not sure what shade . I’m a 5 in urban decay all nighter and an NC40 in Mac studio sculpt also a 106 in L’Oréal pro matte . Any advice ?

  18. Thank you so much!!! I came across this recently and it helped me so much. I live in China so I have to buy all my make online, so this helps me a lot. Could you please maybe do an updated version or a version for high-end concealer?

    1. Hi Syd, I am glad that you found this helpful. I continue to update this post as and when I try out new foundations but have been slacking lately. Will get back on it I promise. With regards to high end concealers, I don’t try out anywhere near enough concealers as I do with foundations as I tend to stick to my favourites which includes Urban Decay, Tarte and Nars.

  19. hello Girls! I’ve just started wearing make up. I am 40 beige in Chanel perfection lumiere and I want to purchse a MAC foundation but I don’t know what shade. I would be very grateful if you convert my chanel shade to a MAC shade

  20. thankyou for posting this info. I am nc30-nc40, depending on my level of tan and i’ve been wearing MAC for about 25 years! it will be nice to have some cheaper, daily alternatives!
    i’m off to check out your youtube channel x

    1. Hi Kris, I’ve not tried the Urban Decay Ultra Weightless foundation but if it’s a similar colouring system to the Urban Decay All Nighter, I’m a 4.0 if that helps.

  21. Hi Thu! I have been pouring over sites to try and find my color in other brands and so happy I found your post! I usually have to order online as we have limited selection where I am from. I am of mixed Chinese decent and wear NC 35 and warm natural in BOBBI. Have you tried the Fenty Beauty line yet? I am really struggling to match as one MUA tried 4 shades on me!

    1. Hi Sacha, I haven’t tried the Fenty line yet but if I were to hazard a guess as to what my shade in the foundation would be, I would go for #240. Not sure if that helps at all.

  22. This is so helpful!
    Thank you!
    I am an NC 35, although I sometimes feel I’m a little bit lighter, especially in the fall-winter time; and I have been looking for a foundation to try but I am afraid to choose a wrong color, so thanks to this post I have a better idea of what colors can suit me.

  23. I want to cry, this is SO helpful!! I literally am going to type this up and keep it in my purse for when I go makeup shopping. I am a makeup newbie, and it is so hard to find my color. And when I think I have finally found it? It’s different for every brand! I have a very olive skin tone, with a lot of yellow undertones, and I fall between light and medium skin. I am American but with German and Native American roots. I currently wear Neutrogena Shine Control in the shade 40 “Nude”. I have finally found my foundation color, but I really need help with a concealer! Everything I try is so light and thin- I have really dark, greeny under eye circles that I want to cover up. I need something with more full coverage that’s not too light. Can you help?

  24. This is an amazing list!! Could you let me know what shade of Charlotte Tilbury’s Light Wonder you would be when tanned? Thanks!

  25. Hello Girls! I want to purchase the charlotte Tilbury light wonder but I am not sure what shade? I am currently using Chanel perfection lumiere velvet Beige 40. Please help!

  26. Hey so glad to find this post. I’m Mac NC35 -40 what would be the right shade for me in Georgio Armani silk foundation?

  27. Hi, thank you, this helped me so much!!
    I was wondering if you could help, I’m an NC40 in the Mac Studio fix fluid foundation, however I’m struggling to find my shade in the Becca Ultimate Coverage Creme Foundation
    Thank you!!

  28. Hands down.
    This is by far the best comparison blog for us people like who are force to buy from online.Please do the same for setting powder, bronzers and other makeup items.
    It would be so helpful.
    Thank you for this blog.

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