Feb 242010

Photo by NASA

There are some products which Chanel puts out that are so inexplicable, I cannot help but buy them just so I can try to understand them.  Rachel Zoe recently said in one of her recent Zoe Reports:

If you are someone who identifies with the fashion world, you probably have days when people look at you like you’re crazy—I know I do. But never let that discourage you. Anytime you find yourself the subject of a “What on earth is she wearing?” comment, it usually means you are doing your job right!

Chanel Joues Contraste in Luna seems to fit within a level of lunar insanity that makes me wonder, “Who on earth would wear that?”  Then I catch a glimpse of a cool luminescence on my cheek in the mirror, and I say “I would!!”

Although labeled as a “blush,” Luna is a most decidedly a platinum-toned highlighter.  Unlike Nars Albatross, most Bobbi Brown Shimmerbricks and other highlighters on the market, Luna runs white-silver rather than those that include pinks, peaches or golds.  This gives the cheek a high-fashion glow that is very very subtle.

If you apply this normally in the upper cheek and forehead area, you may not notice it at first.  I found myself squinting into the mirror, finally getting close enough to bump my forehead.  At extremely close (ouch!) range, you can barely see a cool multi-toned shimmer.  It is only when I came back an hour later, relaxed, stood back and allowed the light to fall naturally on my cheek that I noticed the pretty, glowy highlighting effect.

Glowy, but not as if you are the moon.  Rather, as if you are moonlit.

Here is a heavy, heavy swatch so that you can see the color.  I would not recommend wearing Luna so heavily:

There seem to be very few swatches of this blush around.  I doubt that product was popular, and it is extremely difficult to impossible to photograph the shimmery effect as a more lightly-applied, wearable state.  I find that it looks beautiful with a nude blush used as a contour, with the highlighting Luna on the upper cheek.  Clearly, this product is not for everyone.  But it was  more wearable that I imagined.  I suspect that it can be duplicated with a shimmery cool-toned pigment from one of the many etailers out there.  Nonetheless, I appreciate that Chanel tried something different with Luna that is a wearable, yet unusual, addition to my makeup.

Again, here are some heavy swatches:

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Feb 232010

Chanel Joues Contraste in Mocha (currently available, $42), is a recent addition to my makeup collection.  Here’s my question:  Why did I wait so long to buy this?  It’s beautiful!

Mocha applies as a mauve-rose with a touch of brown, and has a very glowy, shimmery appearance.  When applied lightly, it applies as a dusty rose-mauve.  Applied more heavily, the brown tones start to show.  Bobbi Brown Bahama Brown Shimmering Blush ($22) behaves similarly, and is in the same color family.

Here are some swatches of Chanel Mocha, side-by-side using different brushes:

So far, we’ve seen several brownish-toned blushes from Chanel.  How are they different?  Here’s my take, doing the best that I can to describe how I see them:

  • Mocha is a highly-pigmented, high-shimmer red-mauve-brown.   Lightly applied, the blush looks red-mauve with a hint of brown.  More heavy application brings out the brown tones.
  • Nude is a softly-pigmented very light tan that is nearly matte in texture
  • Fandango is shimmery and pigmented.  Fandango’s undertones are more yellow-based, leaning more peach but with a hint of rose.  It does not have any mauve tones.
  • Enchantresse is a shimmery warm bronzy-brown that has a tiny hint of red.  It gives a bit of of a sun-tanned effect.  Like Mocha, it’s highly pigmented and shimmery. It’s more bronze than Mocha.
  • Imprevu is a shimmery bronzy-peach.
  • Tempting Beige has a peachy-brown tone with a faint hint of rose.  It is less shimmery than Mocha, Enchantress and Imprevu.  It gives a softer, simpler color wash–it does not have the complexity or depth of those three.

Of course, these do look different on different skin tones.  Playing with the testers at a counter is always a good idea before investing.

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Chanel Joues Contraste Blush Marathon: Fandango

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Feb 222010

Chanel’s Joues Contraste in Fandango (currently available, $42) is a lovely deep red-brown that seems to work on a variety of skin tones. I knew when I saw Fandango for the first time that I would use one up.  I’m so happy that this is a part of the current line, it’s a universally flattering blush that can be used to add a touch of sun.  This gives an absolutely beautiful shimmery bronze-rose glow.

The shimmer is not over-the-top, there is no glitter but rather a natural deep flush.  This seems to apply well with a standard powder or blush brush.  No special handling required, worth every penny to me.

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Feb 192010

Chanel’s new Rouge Coco lipstick line includes Rivoli ($30), which I ordered sight unseen from Bergdorf’s.  I have a special affinity for the Rue de Rivoli in Paris, and so I knew I had to have it based on the name alone.

The color is a deep burgundy with the faintest hint of a cool blue-brown.  Honestly, I could not have asked for a more suitable color for my skintone.  I’m completely in love with berry tones.

This review must be short, because Rivoli arrived less than an hour ago.  I did the best I could with the lighting that I have (it’s getting dark here). So far, the lipstick is very lightweight and moisturizing.  It is a little more sheer than some, as easy to apply as a gloss or balm.  I’m very pleased, and I cannot wait to see more colors in the Rouge Coco line.

P.S.:  I had read that Chanel spent particular attention to the “click” that is made when the lipstick cap is closed.  I can report that the click is, indeed, really nice.  There’s a sort of slow-down as the cap gets to closure, then a medium-loud, deep toned and crisp “click” as it closes.  As someone concerned about loose caps that lead to damage to expensive purses, I really appreciate this feature.

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Chanel Blush Marathon: In Love

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Feb 192010

Chanel’s Joues Contraste blush in In Love (currently available, $42), is a softly pigmented peach-toned blush with a touch of pink and gold.

This blush gives a soft glowy look.  The effect is subtle.  If you are looking for pronounced color this is not your blush.  Perhaps Nars Orgasm or Bobbi Brown Calypso Coral is the better route. I typically use In Love over a bronzer to add a bit of fresh color.

Chanel has released another blush under the same name, “In Love,” in their now-discontinued Irreelle series with the quilt-impression surface and rectangular pan.  As you can see, the Irreelle version is much more pink than the Joues Contraste version.

The Irreelle version has more pigmentation than the Joues Contraste version.  Here is a comparison of the two:

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Feb 192010

If blushes were actually part of the Winter Olympics, Chanel Joues Contraste blush in Turbulent would be the opening quadruple axel skating jump.  You think its impossible– it cannot be done!  Yet Turbulent defies limitations, landing beautifully, elegantly and perfectly capturing the gold.

Originally released in Fall 2006, this blush represents the best of a makeup line at least to me.  Although Chanel has a number of beautiful classics, there are occasionally little edgy beauties that somehow work even at the office.

We need at least one standout item, just to set us apart.

This is an extremely pigmented blush.  I usually tap the brush onto the powder, then swirl the brush onto the mirror in the compact to shake off the excess.  You could also use this with a duo-fiber/skunk brush.

The first swatch is very heavy (heavier than I’d recommend) to show the cool pink color:

Here are some lighter swatches (both are Turbulent) to show the pearly texture and glow:

Is this the most pigmented blush that Chanel has ever produced?  I’m not sure.

However, I did find this decades-old Chanel makeup ad from the 1980’s, which I features an even more dramatic color.  Too bad this one isn’t available to compare to Turbulent….

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Feb 192010

Chanel’s Joues Contraste in Tempting Beige (currently available, $42) is a highly pigmented nude.  It’s a beautiful neutral that has a hint of a pinky-peach-rose to add a touch of color.  The texture is pearly, with very faint sparkles that are almost indiscernible once applied.

The blush applies with far more pigment than Nude, yet not as deep/dark as Enchantresse.  Here are some swatches so that you can see the application under different lighting and application:

I like this shade when wearing a strong lip color or otherwise want a subtle look.  Tempting Beige has that wonderful, finely-milled Joues Contraste formula that looks very natural.  I’d try this first with a light hand, it can go on stronger than you might think from looking at the blush pan.

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Chanel Joues Contraste Marathon: Nude

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Feb 182010

Chanel Joues Contraste Blush in Nude ($42) was released during the middle of 2007.  In the pan, it appears to be a very soft nearly-matte beige.

On the cheek, the blush gives a very natural soft-beige-peach glow.  Those who have a touch of red in their cheeks find that the color neutralizes the skintone nicely.

The blush was extremely popular, and was discontinued last year.  Presently, it is extremely hard–if not impossible– to find.  I found that the blush was nearly invisible on me, and so I do not use this very frequently.

Chanel’s Joues Contrastes in Nude looked, to my eye, quite similar when applied to Chanel’s Irreelle Blush in Sable, which was released during 2006 as part of the Beiges collection in Asia.  Sable was only available for a few months and it sold out quickly.  Both deliver a very soft peachy-beige nearly-matte look.

If you want a Nude look and are unable to locate either Nude or Sable, I would explore Shu Uemura’s Amber line of blushes.  I’m particularly fond of Shu’s M Amber 85, which gives a slightly darker look by comparison.  

Bobbi Brown’s Sandstone is another nice alternative, however Sandstone is more pigmented and leans pink (rather than Nude’s peachy glow).

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Chanel Blush Marathon: Joues Contraste Enchanteresse

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Feb 182010

Chanel Joues Contraste in Enchanteresse ($42) was originally released during Holiday ’07.

Essentially, Enchanteresse gives a warm, glowy bronzing finish to the cheek with a touch of shimmery rose that can lean toward red. Its a gorgeous neutral.

I’ve found that this blush is applied best with an angled blush brush (I use Chanel’s #4), which picks up just the right amount of pigmentation.  I typically use this just below the apples of the cheeks to contour, then blend upward and feather.  To avoid a streak, go light or concentrate the color on the cheek alone.

If you like, you can add a pop of color by adding a fresh pink over Enchanteresse.  Either this way or alone, this seems to bring out the blue in my eyes.  If you are looking for alternatives, Nars Lovejoy is in the same warm-brown-rose color family.

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