Chanel Eyeshadow

Chanel Variation Eyeshadow Quad Swatches and Review

June 25, 2012

Chanel recently released a small eye collection Les Expressions de Chanel outside the U.S. (details here). This includes three eyeshadow quads, including the new Chanel Eyeshadow Quad Variation (#37), part of the Violet Expression Set. The collection also includes Eclosion, which was previously released in the U.S. (reviewed here by The Beauty Look Book), and a neutral set called Intuition. I’ve heard from various sources that this collection is slated for release in the U.S. in either October or November 2012, in the more traditional U.S. square-pan format.

Outside the U.S., these three eyeshadow quads are released in the baked, rounded format (the back of Variation reads “Made in France,” although sometimes the U.S. releases are as well). When I tested these in the store, I found the non-U.S. Eclosion and Intuition very noisy with fallout, and the texture seemed a bit uneven based on my finger swatches. I’m hoping the U.S. versions of these quads will be the more traditional, pressed powder type. Intuition in a U.S. format could be a nice neutral to have, so I passed on the non-U.S. version because of the rough texture.

Of the three, Chanel Variation had the smoothest texture, it is similar in texture to Chanel Rose Envolee. There are micro glitters the taupe, medium rose, and deeper eggplant color, but they are very pretty, Chanel micro-glitters–very fine in texture and very wearable. The U.S. version will likely have a very different texture altogether (and perhaps slightly different colors), so I picked up Variation to have in this formula.

Chanel Variation has a shimmery-satin light pink highlighter, a soft light taupe, and medium mauve-rose and a deep eggplant liner. It could certainly be used to create an eye similar to the one in Lisa Eldridge’s most recent video “Grown Up Girly” (here), where she relies on Bourjois Rose Variation. Alternatively, the taupe could be used as the main lid color with a touch of the Vamp-like liner to add depth as the liner over and smudged under the eye, with a touch of the highlighter in the crease.

This will compliment well with Chanel’s Illusion D’Ombre in Abstraction. Overall, Chanel Variation is a lovely, feminine quad. I’ll be curious to see how Chanel reinterprets this for the U.S. market.


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  • Musing on Beauty June 25, 2012 at 1:47 am

    Yes, unfortunately, the EU versions we get here are really bad 🙁 I wish we got the US ones, I’d love Chanel more. A Chanel MUA told me that these baked shadows need to be applied with the cotton sponge applicators because a brush won’t pick up the product well, but there’s just no way I can do my makeup with those things.

  • Manon June 25, 2012 at 2:06 am

    The color pay off is amazing! Really pigmented eyeshadows. Perfect colors for a night out, or a romantic diner. So bummer that the palette is a bit on the expensive side, but i think it is worth every penny!

  • Christina June 25, 2012 at 3:17 am

    I am not familiar with all the names & shades of quad sets. I think the combination of colors is beautiful. When will this be introduced to dedicated Chanel shoppers?

    • Amy June 25, 2012 at 3:46 am

      It depends on your location Christina. It’s released in Europe. As the post says, in the U.S. October/November of this year. The collection is summarized here.

      • Christina June 25, 2012 at 4:01 pm

        Thank you! So many choices and they are all beautiful.

  • eunice June 25, 2012 at 4:27 am

    hi amy,
    great review! do u think this can cause the pink-eye effect?
    thank u!

    • Amy June 25, 2012 at 8:54 am

      No Eunice! I think the colors are leaning sufficiently mauve (plus the taupe) you should be ok.

  • Sonia June 25, 2012 at 4:47 am

    Like you, I am curious to see what the US release will be, I don’t buy the European one since it’s not pigmented enough (I love the pigmentation of the darkest shade though).. I will wait for the US one 🙂 thanks for the great swatches and information !

  • Stella June 25, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Superb review, as always!! Amy, do you know why the Quads of Chanel non-US version tend to be of the baked form? I wonder if packed powder shadows are not as desirable in European market? Any insight on this? Thanks in advance.

    • Amy June 25, 2012 at 2:28 pm

      I wish I knew Stella! So many non-U.S. readers seem to prefer the powder formula as well. Dear Chanel, are you listening darling?

  • Eileen June 25, 2012 at 9:37 am

    I think it is worth the wait to see the US version. I had the opportunity awhile back to compare my US version of Vanités with my aunt’s European version and was really struck by the difference in depth of color and over-all feel. In comparison to the US version, the baked colors looked faded and more superficial.

    I do have a couple of the baked quads: Les Tentations Cuivrée (Holiday 2010) and Rose Envolée (Le Blanc 2011). I love the colors and their crystalline effect so much that I’m willing to take a bit more time and extra care to work with them. If; however, the baked formula ever became the rule for US quads, I’m sure I’d stop purchasing them.

  • Susie June 25, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Amy, how does this compare to last year’s CHANEL Vanity quad?

  • Susie June 25, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Excuse me, it’s callede Vanities.

    • Amy June 25, 2012 at 2:31 pm

      Great question, Susie–Vanities deepest shade is a purple, whereas this is a deep mauve-burgundy. The Variation quad has a light taupe, rather than a soft brown in Vanities. The medium shade in Vanities is more of a true purple, this Variation has a lot of red/pink mixed with the mauve. Definitely worth having both! (I prefer Variation in terms of the colors, even though this is the european formula).

  • Lakshmi June 25, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Amy, don’t you think this quad looks perfect to recreate Lisa Eldridges’s newest “Grown-up Girly” look? It’s beautiful, the two darker shades are my favorite, the darkest one reminds me of Magic Night, which I think may be discontinued now (can’t find it on

    • Amy June 25, 2012 at 2:27 pm

      Absolutely Lakshmi! Wonderful idea!

  • Sabrina June 25, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Oh my! This is absolutely beautiful. Thank you thank you thank you for the preview! I now know what to look forward to.

    As an FYI to your readers (hope you don’t mind this), I saw the preview sheets at my Macy’s counter (for US release). Ship date for this collection is scheduled for end of October, so as Amy kindly noted for us, I do believe we can expect these in October/November for the US release. I don’t remember all the details but I think the colors are the same as the European release – just in the US square pan formula.

  • Susie June 25, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    I saw pics of Intuition and Variation quads on other blogs and thought I’d pass. Then along come your renditions and wow, your pics sell me. I want both (I already have Eclosion)!

  • Kay June 25, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Thanks for the review Amy! all four of the shades from variation were very reminiscent of another Chanel quad – #14 mystic eyes (I have the non-US baked version). If you are familiar with mystic eyes, can you compare the two quads? are they actually similar? Thanks!

    • Amy June 25, 2012 at 10:10 pm

      Kay, I don’t have the baked version of Mystic eyes, but this picture shows it as all browns! The tones of Variation are burgundy mauve–not the same color family!

      • Kay June 26, 2012 at 4:08 pm

        Aha I see! Just dug out my quad to see, and you’re completely right! I think it was the highlight pink and light taupe that sparked the comparison in my head, the two two darker shades are quite different. Thanks Amy!

  • Susie June 25, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Amy, I LIVE for your blog! (And I am sure I am not alone.)

  • Brooke June 25, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Dying for this collection! Ty for the swatches!

  • Buggsiebee June 26, 2012 at 1:07 am

    Lovely & informative post as ALWAYS! Thank you:)
    I have this quad too and find it perfect as is. Although the US version may be different, I cannot imagine that there is much room for improvement.
    The US version of the Intuition quad on the other hand can ONLY be an improvement. ‘Noisy with fallout’ is way too polite for the gold shade which is a disaster in its current form. I find the chosen shade of gold a perfect companion for the warm chocolate brown color below it, but due to the grotty texture it is sadly unusable:((

  • Becca @ The Beauty Sample June 26, 2012 at 2:45 am

    These shades are SO stunning!!! I really hope this quad is released here, but of course, in the traditional pressed powder formula. I really don’t like baked shadows

  • Anne H June 26, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Thanks for posting this info! Really useful! I will buy it! Thanks for convincing me.

  • Andromeda June 28, 2012 at 7:32 am

    Do you happen to know if these quads, as well as the Illusion D’Ombres that are also part of this collection, are limited edition (in Europe) or if they’re now part of the permanent line? Thanks.