Ask the Beauty Editor: What do the “N”, “C” and “W” Mean in Foundations?

Beauty & Style | Melanie Yvette Martin | 06/12/2015 | 01:49 PM EDT

This will probably help you find your best shade

So many women have asked the question: What do the letters on foundations mean? The labels “N”, “C” and “W” can help you accurately choose your best shade based on the color that sits under your skin. You know, your undertone. Here’s all you need to know.

What do these letters stand for?

These letters are here to help you choose the best foundation that matches your undertone. “N” stands for a Neutral undertone. “W” stands for a warm undertone. “C” stands for a cool undertone.

What is my undertone?

To find your undertone, you can study your veins, pay attention to which colors look best on you or have a professional help you out.


-If your veins are more of a green color, you have a warm undertone. If they’re more of a blue color, you have a cool undertone. If it looks like you have both green and blue veins, then you have a neutral undertone.

-If you look better in colors like blue, white, or red, you more than likely have a cool undertone.

-If you look better in greens, oranges or browns, you probably have a warm undertone.

-Think about the jewelry you like as well. If silver pops on your complexion, you more than likely have a cool undertone. If you prefer gold, then you may have a warm undertone.

(Photo: Melanie Yvette/CentricTV)

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