Mar 102010

Chanel’s former Rouge Hydrabase Rouge Noir/Vamp #18 (currently selling for $32 including shipping on Strawberrynet), is a very dark toned lipstick that coordinates with Chanel’s legendary Vamp nail color that derived from the early 1990’s.  Like many of the Rouge Hydrabase line, the lipstick is extremely pigmented.  I had long refrained from buying this color, because of the very deep, blood-red-black intense color seems too strong.

When Chanel released the Rouge Coco line a few weeks ago, they re-formulated Rouge Noir.  Curiosity got the better of me, and after discussing the issue with Joey of The Pink Sith, I decided that a comparison was needed.  After all, Rouge Noir is the only color that appears in both the Rouge Hydrabase and Rouge Coco lines.  If we really want to know the difference (and we do! we DO!), the interests of science dictate that we compare them side by side, right?

Here are my thoughts:

  • Pigmentation:  Rouge Noir in the Hydrabase formula is more densely pigmented.  The slightest swatch gives an overwhelming wash of color.  The Rouge Coco goes on with a normal amount of pigmentation, and can be built pretty quickly (2-3 coats) to match the Hydrabase swatch.
  • Texture:  The Hydrabase version is much more matte.  If you add the red-black color to a matte-texture lipstick, you get a lot of very dark drama.  I find this combination too intense, and slightly aging.  The Rouge Coco has a satin glow that catches highlights to give a moisturized look to the lips.  I look more alive, and more my age, with the Rouge Coco formula.
  • Color:  The color seems to be a nearly identical match.  If anything, the Rouge Coco might have just the faintest touch more blue, and the Hydrabase a touch more brown.  As you can see from the swatches below, any difference is extremely slight.
  • Application:  The Rouge Hydrabase is a drier formula, without question.  I far prefer the Rouge Coco formula, which glides on and feels moisturizing.  Because the Rouge Coco can be worn slightly more sheerly (and more densely applied), I find that it is more versatile.

So, in the battle between Chanel Hydrabase versus Chanel Rouge Coco– which is the better Rouge Noir #18 (or “the Lipstick Formerly Known as Vamp”)?  Although the traditionalist in me hates to admit it, I have to give it to Rouge Coco based on wearability.  The newer version can be made to be dramatic.  The dash of reflectivity and a touch of coolness simply makes this choice more flattering.

For my previous review of Rouge Coco’s version of Rouge Noir, the link is here.

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Feb 262010

Chanel Rouge Coco in Rouge Noir # 18 ($30) evokes the iconic blackened burgundy made famous by the original Vamp in the early 1990’s.  I still remember the write-up in Vogue, that described this as the new “it” color that would become a classic.

The Rouge Coco version of Rouge Noir has the ability to be sheered out, which gives a deep, dark red-black tone that can be rather dramatic.  I must admit that I have always loved this color–I would die if an eyeshadow or eyeliner were released with this same tone.  As a lipstick, I save this for either formal occasions, although not necessarily evening.  To me, the Hydrabase Rouge Noir has always delivered a “wear me with all-black and watch the fabulousness happen” message.  Although I haven’t owned this long, I’m hopeful that this will work with less formal occasions.

As an aside, am I the only one who noticed that the number for this lipstick– #18 — is the same as the older Rouge Noir nail polish and Vamp?

How similar is this Rouge Noir to the former Hydrabase version?  I found the former one too pigmented and strong for my coloring, nonetheless I’ve ordered one that should be on its way soon so we can do a side-by-side comparison.  At present, I believe that many will find that the Rouge Coco version is less intimidating and far more wearable.  Here’s a quick swatch on my lips:

(Go easy on me! I haven’t learned how to take good lip swatches but I’m trying.)  If you’d like to see a comparison between the Rouge Hydrabase and this Rouge Noir, look here.

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