Medium Skin Tone  – How It Looks Like (Visual Guide)

Medium skin tones are some of the most common skin tones. But what exactly is “medium skin tone”?

Which foundation shades would match someone with medium skin tone?

We show you how medium skin tones look like and how to find the right foundation shade.

For light and dark skin tones, see our Visual Guide to All Skin Tones.

Skin tone depth for medium skin

NC35
NC35 (Light to Medium shade)
NC42
NC42 (Medium shade)

When we describe someone as “light-skinned” or “dark-skinned”, we are really describing their skin tone depth.

Therefore, someone with “medium skin tone” would fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.

Undertones for medium skin

Once you’ve figured out your skin tone depth, it’s time to determine your undertone.

This part is crucial because the worst foundation mismatches tend to be shades that make one appear unusually orange or pink or grey.

Broadly speaking, medium skin undertones fall into 4 categories:

Warm skin tones look more yellow.

Cool skin tones look more pink.

Neutral skin tones are somewhere between yellow and pink.

Olive skin tones have green and grey hues.

MAC Foundation Shade System Explained

Here at Redmond Mom, we use the MAC foundation shade system to classify brands and shade matches/equivalents because it’s more precise.

NC: has yellow, neutral and olive undertones

NW: has pink and neutral undertones

C: has yellow and olive undertones

For example, someone who is NC40 has medium skin with yellow, neutral or olive undertones.

What Do Light to Medium Skin Tones Look Like?

Light to medium skin tones fall somewhere between light and medium shades.

Light-skinned people may also find themselves in this shade range as they get more sun in summer.

It’s usually described as “beige skin color”, “light beige”, “rose beige”, “buff” and “nude”.

Examples of light to medium skin shades are MAC NC25, NW25, NC30, NC35.

NC25
NC25 (light beige with golden peach undertone)
NW25
NW25 (rosy beige with rosy undertone for light to medium skin)
NC30
NC30 (light to medium beige with golden undertone)
NC35
NC35 (light to medium beige with peachy golden undertone)

Top Rated Foundations for Light to Medium Skin Tones (Warm or Neutral undertones)

L’Oreal True Match Liquid Foundation in W3 is a match for NC25 skin tones.
NARS Sheer Glow Foundation Review
NARS Sheer Glow in Stromboli is a match for NC30 skin with olive undertones.

Top Rated Foundations for Light to Medium (Cool or Neutral undertones)

Estee Lauder Double Wear
2C0 Cool Vanilla
is a match for NW25 skin tone.
ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40
ST9 Paloma
is a match for NW25 to NW30 skin tone.
Light to Medium
Warm shades
Light to Medium
Cool shades
NC25 Foundation Matches/EquivalentsNW25 Foundation Matches/Equivalents
NC30 Foundation Matches/EquivalentsNW25 to NW30 Foundation Matches/Equivalents
NC35 Foundation Matches/Equivalents 

What Do Medium Skin Tones Look Like?

Medium skin tones are some of the most common skin tones and are usually described as “tanned” or “caramel”.

Some examples of medium shades are MAC NW30, NC37, NC40 and NC42.

NW30
NW30 (medium beige with rosy undertone)
NC37 (medium beige with neutral undertone)
NC40
NC40 (medium beige with golden peach undertone)
NC42
NC42 (true medium beige with golden undertone)

Top Rated Foundations for Medium Skin Tones (Warm or Neutral undertones)

Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation in 54 Beige is a match for NC37 skin tone.
Estée Lauder Double Wear in 3W2 Cashew is a match for NC40 skin tone.
Medium Warm
shades
Medium Cool
shades
NC37 Foundation Matches/EquivalentsNW25 to NW30 Foundation Matches/Equivalents
NC40 Foundation Matches/Equivalents 
NC42 Foundation Matches/Equivalents 

How to find your foundation shade that matches your skin tone

Find Your Foundation Shade

Once you’ve figured out your skin tone depth and undertone, check out our extensive Find Your Foundation Match page or view below to find foundation brands and shades that match your skin tone.

For light and dark skin tones, use our full list of foundation matches/equivalents to find your shade.

For medium warm, neutral and olive skin tones:

NC25 Foundation Matches
light beige with golden peach undertone for light skin
Try these foundation shades if you are matched to NC25.

NC30 Foundation Matches
light to medium beige with golden undertone for light to medium skin
Try these foundation shades if you are matched to NC30.

NC30 to NC35 Foundation Matches
If NC30 is too light for you and NC35 is too dark for you, these foundation shades might suit you.

NC35 Foundation Matches
light to medium beige with peachy golden undertone for medium skin
Try these foundation shades if you are matched to NC35.

NC35 to NC40 Foundation Matches
If NC35 is too light for you and NC40 is too dark for you, these foundation shades might suit you.

NC40 Foundation Matches
medium beige with golden peach undertone for medium skin
Try these foundation shades if you are matched to NC40.

NC40 to NC42 Foundation Matches
If NC40 is too light for you and NC42 is too dark for you, these foundation shades might suit you.

NC42 Foundation Matches
true medium beige with golden undertone for medium skin
Try these foundation shades if you are matched to NC42.

For medium cool/neutral skin tones:

NW20 Foundation Matches
warm neutral beige with rosy undertone for light to medium skin
Try these foundation shades if you are matched to NW20.

NW25 Foundation Matches
rosy beige with rosy undertone for light to medium skin
Try these foundation shades if you are matched to NW25.

NW25 to NW30 Foundation Matches
If NW25 is too light for you and NW30 is too dark for you, these foundation shades might suit you.

NW45 Foundation Matches/Equivalents
medium mahogany with rosy undertones for medium to dark skin
Try these foundation shades if you are matched to NW45.

Top Rated Foundation Reviews

Top Rated Foundation Reviews

More Foundation/Concealer Shade Guides

Go to our Shade Guides Main Page to see all of our shade guides.

MAC Foundation Shades for Indian Skin

MAC Foundation Shades for Indian Skin

Maybelline Foundation Finder: What the Numbers Mean and Finding Your Perfect Shade

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer Swatches and Shades Guide

What’s the difference between Maybelline’s Classic Ivory, Natural Ivory, Ivory and Fair Ivory shades?

ILIA Skin Tint Shade Finder

Medium Skin Tone  – How It Looks Like (Visual Guide) and Foundation Shade Matches

Image credits: https://www.maccosmetics.com, www.amazon.com

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