Chanel Paradoxal Nail Color #509 ($23) (Le Vernis/ Nail Colour), released for Fall 2010, is a purple polish infused a heavy dose of gray and a slight touch of brown, shot through with shimmer. It gives an impression of an off-grey that leans toward mauve. It is an unusual color, I have not seen anything close to Paradoxa’s color. The closest that I own is Essie’s Demure Vixen (swatched here by Scrangie), but Essie’s is far more pink, lighter and far less gray.
Paradoxal is best when worn opaquely, and requires two coats to get there. The brush is the typical Chanel, which I find works well (or perhaps I’m just used to it). From a distance in normal light, it looks like a cream formula. However, it behaves more like a jelly. In strong light and looking closely, you can see the suspended shimmers, which gives a bit more depth to the polish than a cream formula would impart.
The shimmer in Paradoxal’s bottle implies that there is some sort of magic in the polish, just waiting to be released upon opening. Analogies to Pandora’s box aside, I was intrigued to learn whether this mysterious swirling effect translates to the nail.
I found that the swirling effect appears in the bottle only–on the nail, the shimmer is quite evenly distributed (click the picture to see the shimmers more closely). No swirls, as you see in the bottle. The color is striking:
I envision this polish looking lovely when wearing greys, ballet pinks, many blacks and mauve-based cooler tones in general. This is most flattering on cooler skintones. I’m going to put my bottle away until the weather cools, this seems to be clearly a fall-winter color. It’s striking yet still could be worn in an chic office setting. Like many darker-toned polishes, application should be as flawless as possible and the hands well-maintained –the color is so unusual, it does attract attention.