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What MAC's Infamous NW45 Shade Tells Us About The Beauty Industry And Colour-Matching

Throughout my formative years, makeup – trying it on, buying it and swiping it from my older sisters and mum – permeated all aspects of my life. My friends and I would pour over YouTube tutorials and swap tips in the school bathrooms: yes to white eyeliner to make your eyes ‘pop’, when it came to mascara the more the merrier, and most importantly a great foundation base would tie it all together.

Growing up in Greater London left me with not many options in terms of where to buy my foundation and a limited colour shade range to choose from. Fortunately, by the time I had convinced my mother that I simply must wear foundation daily, Sleek Makeup had begun to be stocked in our local Superdrug.

Unlike it’s ‘dark skin’ predecessor, Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse, the foundation provided me with less ash and more ‘warmth’. Perhaps a little too much warmth. In fact, although Sleek did and continues to provide a viable high street option for black women, the infamous “lack of shelf space” argument and my own inability to colour-match under the fluorescent din still left me with a shade that wasn’t quite right.