For as long as I can remember, my ultimate dream bag is a Chanel 2.55. Ok, not as long as I remember because when I was younger, I thought it looked “auntie” but now I want one and its out of my financial reach. (Besides, if I do have one I’m not sure I’d have the guts to carry it around and sully it with scratches, dirt, pollution… but I digress… ) So, what’s the next best thing to a Chanel 2.55?
Specifically, the Chanel Joues Contraste blushes. They are da bomb!
The Chanel Joues Contraste blushes come luxuriously packed in a velvet pouch (that serves no purpose except to add luxury) and are housed in a solid black plastic case with the classic Chanel emblem on the cover. Look at it from the front or back, it looks the same. That makes things a bit hard sometimes because it only opens one way and most of the time, I’m not getting to the right clasp!
Once opened, you’ll see a round domed powder blush on the left, with a small, cute but utterly useless blush brush on the right. I’d rather they just did away with the brush totally and made the case smaller and more compact. Maybe even slimmer.
Packaging grouses aside, the blush is, for me, perfect. There is just the right amount of shimmer in the blushes without being glittery and the texture is silky smooth. The powder blushes are baked not pressed so they feel harder to the touch. If you have Bourjois blushes, they are similar (Bourjois is Chanel’s little sister… or maybe its the other way around) in make but Chanel’s texture is much smoother and silkier.
In terms of pigment, I find that Chanel blushes are pigmented yet sheer, so they are blushes that can be built up slowly to your desired colour. Unlike Nars blushes which tend to deposit a lot of colour on the brush, the brush doesn’t pick up too much colour from Chanel blushes so it is easier to layer and to ensure you get your desired tone/shade. Some people don’t like this because it means you have to brush on your blush 2-3 times, and to them, its a bother. I like this because it means I’m less likely to make a mistake and have to start over which is, to me, even more of a bother!
In terms of colour, I do find that Chanel Joues Contrast blushes don’t come in great variants of colour, unlike Nars. Chanel blushes tend towards the Pink (Narcisse, Caprice, Turbulent), Coral (Reflex), Beige (Orchid Rose) and Browns (Brume D’or). On screen, the colours look bright but in person, except for a few more prominent shades, I’ve noticed that they are more muted. In fact, I used to find Chanel blushes a little boring because they looked very brown. Now of course, I know better.
What this means is that Chanel blushes are more wearable. I can wear a brown/bronzer shade like Brume D’or without looking like someone threw mud on my cheeks. Some other shades don’t work so well on me though. Some examples are:
- Orchid Rose (despite its lovely name and deceptive online swatches) tends towards looking muddy on my skin, and I have pretty neutral colouring.
- Turbulent (gift from a dear friend) but I had to part with it because it was too cool for my skin tone. The colour was just sitting on top of my skin which looked unnatural.
My favourite Joues Contrast blush of all the colours I have are:-
- Narcisse - the perfect shade of warm innocent pink for my skin which accepts warm tones better
- Reflex - Shimmery coral pink that warms up my face
- Lumieres Magiques - Limited Edition tri-coloured blush that mixes into a complex shade of rose, red and pink and goes on my skin a gorgeous flush
If I was forced to use blushes from only one brand, Chanel Joues Contrast blushes would be it! There are 2 drawbacks though:-
- Chanel Joues Contrast blushes are hard to buy by just swatching on the back of your hand. I’ve since found that a swatch off the tester doesn’t quite show you the true colour of the blush and whether it’ll work for you. When I first swatched Reflex off the tester, I was quite taken aback at how shimmery and orange it looked. But on the skin, it is anything but that, diffusing into a less harsh colour and shimmer. So, if you can, try to test with a brush on a larger skin area (arm maybe if you don’t want to put it on your face) to get a better representation of colour before buying. This also means that buying on line sight unseen may be risky.
- There is a fragrance. Its quite strong but it wears off eventually and it doesn’t bug me, but if you are sensitive to fragrances or don’t like fragranced products, you might want to check it out properly before you buy.
Do I need more Chanel blushes? Honestly, I don’t think so. They all tend to look similar after a while. (unless any Chanel blush afficionados can tell me of another blush that I absolutely MUST HAVE I do know I may want Rose Petale for now…)
Do I want more? Heck yes! In fact, Chanel’s offering for Fall 2008 (which according to Jojoba isn’t coming to Malaysia – boo!) has a Joues Contrast blush in Rose Dust which looks simply alluring. I am a little concerned that it may be too close in shade to Caprice or Narcisse, both of which are light pinks with Caprice having a hint of rose.
That said, it is a point to note that Chanel Joues Contrast blushes from Europe/Asia/Australia are different from those in the USA. They even sometimes have different names for the same item, which can lead to a lot of confusion if you are a collector. Those who have compared the two say that the Euro/Asia ones are better but I can’t say so myself, having never tried the ones from the USA. Do read Jojoba’s review on Chanel blushes too, for a very comprehensive comparison with lots of photos.
Now, for the most important question. What’s the damage to the wallet? A Chanel Joues Contrast blush costs RM133 (US$41.60) at time of writing. That’s not so bad is it? Its about the price of a Bobbi Brown Shimmerbrick (and a lot more useful!). I’m given to understand that prices of Chanel in Malaysia are one of the cheapest in the world. I’d tend to agree when I found out that a Chanel blush costs US$42 (RM137) in the USA and £24 (RM156) in the UK! Ok, not bank breakingly expensive elsewhere but still cheaper here. In the alternative, there’s always StrawberryNET.com where at US$42 it MIGHT be cheaper than it is wherever you are worldwide.
Pros: Pigmented but sheer and can be layered, Light shimmer, smooth and silky, luxury of owing Chanel!
Cons: Expensive, fragranced, packaging could be more streamlined, brush is useless
On a personal note: This review on Chanel blushes brings me to my 500th post on My Women Stuff! Whew! Hope you are still hanging in there with me