REVIEW: MAC Studio Sculpt and MAC Foundation Explained

This was an essential repurchase. It’s a lovely foundation – very creamy, thick and luxurious. Great for dryer skins giving a fresh, dewy finish. I tend to go between this and Mac’s Mineralize Skinfish foundation (Read full reviews here). The Studio Sculpt is my secret weapon when I need more coverage, it’s very long wearing too. I wouldn’t normally have gravitated to a thick foundation, but as it’s gel based it’s very soft and applies like a dream – no danger of looking “caked” unless you pile it on of course. I tend to apply with a mixture of fingers and a regular foundation brush (I use No7’s).

Studio Sculpt Foundation £23 and contains an SPF 15.

I’ve also had to buy it in a different shade. When I was first fitted for Mac foundation, I was told I was an NW but have since been told that I am an NC.

Swatch of NC 30 worked in to the hand…

A lot of people find Mac foundation shades confusing, so I’ll try to explain….

NC or NW?

Mac foundations are available in an extensive range of shades. Rather than shades being numbered 1,2,3 or ivory, beige, sunny etc. Mac use a more complex system based on the artists colour wheel. First you need to know your letters, then your number. Some begin NW, others NC. NW stands are Neutral Warm and is suitable for people that have a warm, pinkish undertone in their complexsion. NC, Neutral Cool, is suitable for people that have a yellow undertone in their complexion. This tends to be people with olive or golden beige skin colour. Be warned, you can be a bit of both, which is why I’ve had a mix up. My general undertone is more yellow/olive coloured, but where I catch the sun – nose and hairline, it tends to be a little pinky. The best thing to do is pop in to your local Mac counter and ask the staff to test some on you or get a sample.  

Next, choose your number. This part is easier since is runs in order, normally starting at 15 then rising in 5s to 50, for example NW15, NW20 and so on. I started with NW25, but found I’m better suited to NCs, now I’m NC25, or 30 in summer. Another difficulty is the shades vary foundation by foundation, for example an NC25 in mineralize can be darker than an NC25 in Studio Sculpt – so always try before you buy!


Hope that helps!

2 thoughts on “REVIEW: MAC Studio Sculpt and MAC Foundation Explained

  1. Yes very confusing as cool toned skins have pinky undertones and they are saying it’s a warm shade… very confusing from MAC they should know better!! i have the studio tech is NW15 which is definitely not for the warmer skin stones (it’s for us pasty faces)

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