Notorious Ombre Contraste: A Notoriously Popular Sculpting Powder from Chanel

by Paris B on · 58 comments

in Blush,Bronzer,FOTD,Makeup,Powder,Product Reviews


How can anyone resist anything with a name like that! “That” in this case, is what Chanel calls a “Sculpting Veil for Eyes and Cheeks”. The idea is to use it to sculpt your features (a more elegant way of saying “contour”).

chanel notorious5 Notorious Ombre Contraste: A Notoriously Popular Sculpting Powder from Chanel

I have seen many pictures of this online already and just like its name, the views on this product are notoriously divided. People either love it (“OMG! Cheekbones!”) or hate it (“OMG! Dirt on my face!”). I couldn’t quite decide.

I’d read about how wonderful it was on the beautiful Xiao and Arianne, both of quite different skintones, but Christine of Temptalia wasn’t impressed with this one. One fateful day while chatting with Xiao, Arianne and Tracy who all own this, I was convinced to give it a go. I mean, what’s the worst thing that could happen right? I could just join the zombie apocalypse – no biggie! icon biggrin Notorious Ombre Contraste: A Notoriously Popular Sculpting Powder from Chanel

So I hoofed it down to the Chanel counter (Pavilion KL if anyone’s wondering. I’m not sure if its available at other Chanel counters), plonked myself down in the chair and told the SA to do her worst. Ok, her best. She was quite amused that I had requested to try this powder. My guess is most people take one look at the grey concrete looking dome and pick up the Christmas edition Stardust blush instead (so pretty! I was tempted but passed because it was too sparkly). So she seemed quite helpful in helping show me how I could wear it.

So, am I in the “Cheekbones!” or a “Wash your face!” camp? icon wink Notorious Ombre Contraste: A Notoriously Popular Sculpting Powder from Chanel

Did I say concrete? Yes I did.

chanel notorious7 Notorious Ombre Contraste: A Notoriously Popular Sculpting Powder from Chanel

I’d been so used to seeing the images online, I wasn’t quite prepared for the real thing. It wasn’t a deep grey as I initially thought. It was in fact a light taupe grey that looks remarkably like concrete. I was reminded of a freshly poured concrete slab that is just dried out. If anyone knows what I’m talking about (There must be some engineers among you yes?!) this is the best description of the colour that I can give you. Its not as deep a grey as that of the 1st photo above, more like the 2nd one.

chanel notorious4 Notorious Ombre Contraste: A Notoriously Popular Sculpting Powder from Chanel

Here’s another shot of what I think the colour looks like to me. A cool toned concrete grey. I said cool toned didn’t I? I do think this powder, although quite neutral, does tend to the slightly cooler end of the spectrum. Temptalia says that this is why it doesn’t compliment her warmer complexion. However, Arianne (Glittergeek) wears it beautifully on her warm complexion so I think its a case of varying mileage and how one wears it.

chanel notorious6 Notorious Ombre Contraste: A Notoriously Popular Sculpting Powder from Chanel

Here is it swatched lightly on left and heavily on right. No one in their right mind would wear such a heavy swatch of colour of course. Its just to show you how it looks. There is some shimmer but I didn’t notice it on my skin at all.

You can probably tell that Notorious swatches quite neutral, with both warm and cool tones. Its what has prompted many people to say that it could suit most skin tones. I will however venture the suggestion that while colour-wise it could potentially suit most skintones, it may not suit all face shapes.

Let me explain.

chanel notorious Notorious Ombre Contraste: A Notoriously Popular Sculpting Powder from Chanel

I don’t know how helpful this collage is. I tried my best to show you how a before/after Notorious looks but it isn’t all that obvious because I can’t seem to take 3 similar pictures in a row icon razz Notorious Ombre Contraste: A Notoriously Popular Sculpting Powder from Chanel I applied Notorious just under my cheekbones and along my jawline. It helps to shade the area, and create the impression of a hollow, which means it creates shadow and by association, anything that isn’t shaded looks raised. Along the jawline, it tricks the eye into seeing a shade where a heavy jawline is, and that makes your face shape look “sharper”.

To be honest, from the front, I see a little definition along the cheekbones and jawline but it is just that – a little definition. It can’t change your face shape drastically unless you go heavy handed, which is great for photographs but not so great when you have to go out and face the public. Grey patches on the cheeks are a little too avant garde for everyday, I think icon razz Notorious Ombre Contraste: A Notoriously Popular Sculpting Powder from Chanel

chanel notorious2 Notorious Ombre Contraste: A Notoriously Popular Sculpting Powder from Chanel

I did notice however that from the side, it does add more definition. On left is just Notorious and on right is Notorious on cheeks and jawline and blush. I enhanced the colour contrast a little to show you how the powder has added some contour to my cheeks so I look less like a pancake face and more like I have cheekbones and a sharper jawline.

If I apply Notorious heavily, it does appear grey on my skin and I do look like I have been reading the newspaper and then wiped my newsprint stained fingers all down the sides of my cheeks (This is pre-digital newspapers for all you young ‘uns icon razz Notorious Ombre Contraste: A Notoriously Popular Sculpting Powder from Chanel ) With a light hand however, I noticed that the colour doesn’t quite show up per se, but there is a definite shadow. The grey isn’t quite grey on my skin either, but a pink based grey. Did that make sense? icon razz Notorious Ombre Contraste: A Notoriously Popular Sculpting Powder from Chanel

chanel notorious31 Notorious Ombre Contraste: A Notoriously Popular Sculpting Powder from Chanel

Once more for good measure. Image isn’t sharp, but it shows the effect best. I think it does look like my face shape looks a little more defined, especially around the cheekbones area and the jawline too . In person, I was told that my face looked sharper (the word used was “cheem” in Cantonese)

Remember how I said above that it may suit most skintones but not all face shapes? I thought so because my face structure does, under all the chubby chipmunk cheeks, have quite high cheekbones. So, Notorious enhances this. However, if you naturally have a smoother, less defined silhouette, then shading in these areas that are not naturally shaded may result in it looking a bit artificial. The key therefore is to find where your shadow would naturally fall.

The easiest way to do this, is to do the fish face icon biggrin Notorious Ombre Contraste: A Notoriously Popular Sculpting Powder from Chanel Look in the mirror, suck in your cheeks and apply the powder LIGHTLY just under your cheekbones. Blend it out, and top off the apples of the cheeks (smile at the mirror) with blush.

Why Notorious works when a bronzer has never worked for contouring on my skin, is because I realised that when I have shaded areas on my face, it is a dark shadow, and not a dirty brown. It might be my skintone, but brown has never been a colour I could comfortably wear. This grey powder however, has done for me what bronzer has done for many – it has allowed me to walk around looking like I have a defined facial structure. Its brilliant!

In a nutshell

The Chanel Notorious Ombre Contraste Sculpting Veil for Face and Eyes is a grey toned powder much like the Chanel baked Joues Contrastes blushes. The purpose of this powder is to enhance the hollows of your face, to define its shape, or contour, in regular parlance. I find that the powder is fine and that it was quite easy to get the hang of. Also, the grey tones, although a weird concept, seems to work on my skin to define my facial shape, and give me more prominent cheekbones, and a sharper jawline. I do not know if this could work for everyone so I would suggest that you try it out before you buy it, because it could otherwise be a costly mistake. It can also be used around the eyes, and to contour other parts of your face e.g. nose but I think I’d keep to creating cheekbones icon biggrin Notorious Ombre Contraste: A Notoriously Popular Sculpting Powder from Chanel

Pros: Light textured powder is very easy to blend, Works on my skin to create the illusion shading which makes the face shape more defined

Cons: Limited Edition, May not work for everyone

Who will like this: Anyone for whom bronzer does not work as a contour powder

chanel notorious8 Notorious Ombre Contraste: A Notoriously Popular Sculpting Powder from Chanel

Is this for everyone? Nope, not by a long shot.

If you already have a bronzer or a face sculpting powder you already use and use well, you can easily stick with those. But if you are like me and have never been able to get a bronzer to sculpt your cheekbones without looking like you fell face first into a vat of cocoa powder, then Notorious might just do it for you. I personally feel the grey tone is more natural because a shadow does come in shades of grey – even if not in 50 shades icon wink Notorious Ombre Contraste: A Notoriously Popular Sculpting Powder from Chanel

I do find that having a very defined face structure does make me look a bit more mature (ahem!) even if it also does look a bit more sophisticated. So its great for making people take me more seriously at work, I suppose, but not something I’d be putting on a lot of, when I want to feel and look a bit younger… or more immature LOL!

I am presently using a Shu Uemura Pony #17 brush with this, with a very light hand. I’m not quite sure yet what brush will work, because my face brushes are all large and fluffy and I prefer putting this powder only on a small area. The trick is to use only a little, and blend it out well. It may not look very obvious to you, but when you get someone telling you that your face looks more defined, you know you’ve done something right.

Chanel Notorious – would you give a grey powder a shot for makeup?

I never thought I would get this. I thought I’d never be able to make it work, but its surprised me in many ways. I’m glad I got pushed into this, so thank you, Ladies! icon biggrin Notorious Ombre Contraste: A Notoriously Popular Sculpting Powder from Chanel I have a funny story about my discovery of my cheekbones. I’d always had a round moonface (Yes, people called me that – kids are cruel icon razz Notorious Ombre Contraste: A Notoriously Popular Sculpting Powder from Chanel ) but one day, I noticed that at the sides of my cheekbones, near my ears, was a hollow. It looked like a bruise, so I ran to my Mom to ask her to see why I had a bruise down the side of my face. My Mom look one look at it and said, that’s not a bruise, that’s the hollow under your cheekbones! Cheekbones! Me! I think she was wondering how she ended up with such a “duh” daughter LOL! icon biggrin Notorious Ombre Contraste: A Notoriously Popular Sculpting Powder from Chanel

Paris B

Chanel Ombre Contraste Sculpting Veil for Eyes and Cheeks in Notorious Price: RM140 Availability: Chanel Parkson Pavilion KL (unsure about all counters) Limited Edition: Yes

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[ 58 comments… read them below or join the discussion ]

Sunny November 28, 2012 at 8:45 am

I was lucky enough to lay my hands on a fellow blogger’s backup, but I haven’t really got to try it out yet (it’s on my to-do list for tomorrow)! My initial impression is that this is SO pigmented that I have to use a very light hand and blend like there’s no tomorrow! I’ll give it a proper trial or two then let you know :)


Paris B November 30, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Lucky you Sunny! I do find that with a brush, it is quite pigmented, so I make sure to tap off most of the powder so I just get a hint of shadow on my skin for everyday use. Waiting to see what you think of it :D


Esther Neo November 28, 2012 at 8:47 am

i think i stick to my bronzer. Nice haircut, btw….so pixie posh paris!!


Paris B November 30, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Thank you ;) Its great that bronzer works for you Esther! I wish it would but I always look like I had a touch too much sun and that my face is sunburnt while the rest of me remains fair hmm… ;)


Teri November 28, 2012 at 8:57 am

Thank you so much for the in depth review on this! This seems to be so popular right now and I can see why. I do have to say that for me it’s not that appealing for some reason. It’s not available here either so yeah, I’ll pass for now but I do have to say that it looks gorgeous on you!


Paris B November 30, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Yep, its everywhere isn’t it Teri? :D I have to say its not for everyone especially because it does look terribly unappealing in the pan (except maybe for eyeshadow). I’m surprised it isn’t available in Belgium! Why?! Brands are weird :P


xin November 28, 2012 at 9:04 am

i think your jawline is really much more defined with the notorious.


Paris B November 30, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Yes! I can hide my double chin :P


Hanny Daforcena November 28, 2012 at 9:12 am

HMMMMM…. I like this concept VERY much. *Glares at boss for withholding payday* I WILL check this out definitely!


Paris B November 30, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Hope you get to check it out soon! Failing which I think many other people have suggested a similar looking grey/taupe eyeshadow that might work the same ;)


Fiona November 28, 2012 at 9:37 am

I think I need this! But might not show up as nice as yours, Xiao or Arianne. Gonna pop by Chanel counter heh!


Paris B November 30, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Oh you never know, Fiona! I thought it would make me look like a zombie so I was pleasantly surprised not to be one LOL! Hope you get to check it out soon!


Tine November 28, 2012 at 10:06 am

Ooooh now you’ve got me wanting this! I have bronzers for contouring but they only just end up looking like streaks of poo on my face. This grey sounds highly intriguing. I’m going to try it out in store and see if it works ;)


Paris B November 30, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Val says it didn’t work for her so I do think it best to try it out in person before you decide if you really need it :) That said, Geek is getting one in the mail so you could play with hers too! ;) I couldn’t get bronzer to work – the warmed up complexion thing didn’t suit me but this one does, just for sculpting, not for anything else. Would love to know what you think if you try it!


Becca November 28, 2012 at 10:14 am

Damn this Notorious powder is really starting to pick up steam! :P I am really glad that the brown tones come through in the swatches–it looked WAY too grey in the pan and I was scared it would swatch that way as well! It looks gorgeous and natural on you, Paris! I am actually considering this, though I’ve never contoured a day in my life! :P


Paris B November 30, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Haha! When you see me – the last person to rave about a sculpting powder – rave about it, you know something has gone right somewhere :P It is actually a grey brown that is interesting because as you have noticed on skin it takes on a slightly different colour. You do not look like you just threw cement on your face (good!) but blending is key, as is a light hand. I tried and failed many a time to contour but this time, I did it. Can’t rave enough :D I hope you get to try it to see if it might work for you Becca.


Tracy November 28, 2012 at 10:26 am

Hahaha! Love the story of when you were little! But you are SO right! I too have that hollow, that”bruised” area and this matches that shading EXACTLY for me. I’ve been using it every day since I got it and love it. I think you look gorgeous with it on Paris! Very cheem! :)


Lily November 28, 2012 at 9:55 pm

LOL! Love it, Tracy. “Very cheem”. Hahaha!


Paris B November 30, 2012 at 4:00 pm

LOL! Tracy “Cheem” <3 you! :D When I first noticed the hollow I honestly thought I’d slammed my face against something. Kept poking at it wondering why I felt no pain. Honestly eh? :D


Marla November 28, 2012 at 10:41 am

I really like my Edward Bess bronzer for contouring because it has no shimmer, no orange tint, and looks very natural. There is something about the color of the Chanel product that turns me off. I think it might make me look like a corpse. Just don’t think it would look good on my olive skin plus I hate limited edition anything. May have to skip this one.


Paris B November 30, 2012 at 4:03 pm

I have heard that the Edward Bess one is really good as a bronzer. Lots of raves about it :) I think if you already have a bronzer/contouring powder that works, then this one would be redundant, but for me, its a great alternative :D


Janie November 28, 2012 at 10:52 am

Nice haircut Paris but no offence the colour on your cheeks look like you kena punch


Paris B November 30, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Haha thank you Janie and no offence taken :D Promise you in real life, the colour isn’t even that noticeable but yes, if not careful, definitely risk looking like I got punched ;)


Arianne November 28, 2012 at 11:41 am

I think that photo with Notorious + blush on you looks stunning! Super model cheekbones. :)

So happy you went for it and that you like it!


Paris B November 30, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Yay thanks to you for pointing me in that direction and making it look so easy :D


xiao November 28, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I am very proud indeed


Paris B November 30, 2012 at 4:36 pm

You should be… and you should be getting some sort of gratitude from Chanel! They probably are wondering how something so runway is flying off the shelves ;)


Sze Ling November 28, 2012 at 1:26 pm

ROFL on the newsprint-stained-fingers analogy. I’ve done that to myself a thousand times, cause I have sweaty palms and that attracts newsprint like a magnet.

This might be the first time I’m not remotely interested in trying out a Chanel product. -shocker!- I’m usually quite open to trying new products, but this just looks a bit too grey for me.


Paris B November 30, 2012 at 5:06 pm

I used to draw “moustaches” thanks to reading the newspaper and then wiping my hands on my face. We just never learn do we? :D Even if you don’t intend to buy it, just go and try it anyway. Its fun! ;)


jk November 28, 2012 at 2:15 pm

I am still struggling whilst trying to manage the bronzer. When I put on bronzer and then my bit of blusher, I find that the end result is having a blusher like effect on me. Not sure if that’s right especially since I don’t see any contouring effect. Me still amateur on contouring – I don’t think I am ready for this yet. Baby steps baby steps..


Paris B November 30, 2012 at 11:19 pm

I struggle and am still struggling with bronzer. It’s like we are not meant to be because it makes me look ‘dirty’ no matter how hard I try and if I try to contour, it looks dirtier. So in a way, Notorious was easier. I didn’t have to work as hard to get the contouring effect to show up, and I didn’t look dirty!


gio November 28, 2012 at 3:03 pm

I’m really intrigued by this. It’s hard for me to find a bronzer that doesn’t look muddy on my face. Maybe this will work better. :)


Paris B November 30, 2012 at 11:19 pm

It just might, Gio! I struggle with bronzer too!


Christine November 28, 2012 at 3:55 pm

I’m cyber stalking this product… slowly reading my way through people’s experiences with it. Mostly positive outside of Temptalia. I’m really, really tempted to get it! By the way, in non-contour talk, your eyeshadow in these pics is stunning! What is it?


Paris B November 30, 2012 at 11:21 pm

Cyber-stalking! :D the ones I read are mostly positive. I didn’t know about Temptalia’s less than exuberant review till I was told about it but I knew she has a much warmer complexion than mine so I wasn’t worried :) the eyeshadow here is from the Guerlain Liu palette :) thanks for noticing!


Beth Maiorana November 28, 2012 at 7:36 pm

When I first read/saw swatches of this product, I found that NARS Llasa eyeshadow was similar looking in the pan: so, I applied it to my cheekbones and jawline … I am NC 10-15, mind you, pink based. It looked okay- it looks really nice on you, Paris (It always helps to start with God-given beauty, right?). For me, I would not pay the price for it- I’ll just dip into my NARS eyeshadow now and then BUT it is very on trend these days per the fall runways in September- that grey/ash/mauve shadowing was all over Fashion Week. Thanks for the post, Paris. xoxo Beth in Pgh ;-)


Paris B November 30, 2012 at 11:26 pm

Ah Beth, you are very sweet as usual :) I knew the colour looked familiar and you’re right, it does look like Lhasa! I almost bought that one but passed on it in the end because I wasn’t sure how it’d look on me as shadow. Wish Nars would hurry up and open a counter here :( still, since you have it, skip Notorious and save money for something pretty in the 2013 collections ;)


Lily November 28, 2012 at 10:00 pm

I just received it today. Even though matte bronzers work on me, this one seems more dramatic, more “shadowy”. I have to test it properly. Works great on my eyes. Definitely defined the shallow hollow where the socket is. It’s hard to translate to photos unless you pile it on, but I do notice the subtle difference :-)


Paris B November 30, 2012 at 11:29 pm

I haven’t tried it on eyes but I suspect I wouldn’t like it very much. Still, can’t tell till I try :) Waiting to see hat you think of this after you’ve had a chance to use it more :)


Lisa November 28, 2012 at 10:51 pm

aaah…..looove….. this is this holiday season’s best surprise. :-)
And i do think blending it with a beautiful blush makes it much more wearable than having it alone on the face (for everyday use).


Paris B November 30, 2012 at 11:31 pm

I remember you were talking about this and you got it too right? I am quite surprised that I actually like it and that it works for me. I like wearing it with a blush too so it looks more ‘natural’. On its own, its too much, I feel unless for photos.


Jyoan November 29, 2012 at 2:18 am

I got this. I pounced on it first day of arrival. haha. But I have yet to use it because I left for a tour the day after I bought it.

I got it before Temptalia reviewed it, and I was just terribly disappointed on seeing her review. Her skin tone is I daresay exactly the same as mine, warm, light-medium to medium (NC25). By my experience, everything she recommends suits me to a T. Nothing has gone wrong.

Unlike you, those dirty brown bronzers like Benefit Hoola really suit me, so I am very afraid that I will be disappointed by Notorious. I am putting off using it! haha.


Paris B November 30, 2012 at 11:35 pm

Aww who knows, it might just work for you still! Arianne of the Glitter Geek has warm tones too and she rocks it :)


Juanneth November 29, 2012 at 5:45 pm

I owe something works quite similar like this,it is a versatile greyish brown colour of loose eye shadow that I bought from Monave Mineral. If I can remember correctly, Contour is the name. I like it to sculpt my round face but I’ve found it too much work for everyday (shading the nose,the jawline, forehead, chin, aaahhh, minus them I could spend at least 5-10 minutes to sleep), so I stick to highlight the highest point on my face. Still,I will never forget to use it for special event *insert camera’s flash here* hehe.


Paris B December 2, 2012 at 9:12 pm

That colour sounds about right! I don’t do the whole shading thing everyday too, because it’s too much work as you have pointed out. But when I do have a little more time, and I do make a little effort, the results are so worth it! :D


EL November 30, 2012 at 1:18 am

I think this washes out your complexion :( Thanks for the review, it’s such an interesting colour. I’m still hoping to try Nars Laguna for contouring one day.


Paris B December 2, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Thanks EL :) the colour is a bit cool in these set of pictures unfortunately so I used them mostly to show the contouring cos in real life there isn’t much colour per se :) I have heard Laguna is a good bronzing shade! Hope you get to try it soon!


Jennifer November 30, 2012 at 1:31 am

It works in a notoriously magical way that I cannot pinpoint the effect exactly. Bah, I am flabbergasted, lost for words :) It brings more dimension to your beautiful face. Well done Paris!


Paris B December 2, 2012 at 9:45 pm

You, Jennifer are notoriously sweet! ;) thank you!


Kay November 30, 2012 at 2:18 am

After seeing this post, I really wanted Notorious…but it’s sold out!

Some bloggers have suggested using your own stash of gray eyeshadows so I tried Bobbi Brown’s Slate. It actually looked better than my newly purchased Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder.

But I still want Notorious…


Paris B December 2, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Ah Kay, so sorry to hear its sold out where you are! :( I have read that there are many dupes available but sometimes, nothing beats the real thing. It’s interesting that Slate works better than the Sculting powder! I guess grey does do something for shadows!


NeenaJ December 5, 2012 at 1:45 am

I’ve been thinking Slate would work well as a dupe. Temptalia also suggested MAC Fashion Fix and it’s really similar to Slate.


Kay December 5, 2012 at 10:57 am

Thanks, NeenaJ, for your comment! Yes, they do look very similar.

I would think that other companies would follow suit and start making gray contouring shades now that Chanel has an obvious hit. Or maybe Chanel will release it later as a permanent product.

But for now, Slate or Kevyn Aucoin will be fine if I really think I need cheekbones. Haven’t had them all my life so I’m not missing much!


NeenaJ December 6, 2012 at 10:41 pm

I’m sure you’re right. It will only be a matter of time before Gucci Westman knocks it off for Revlon. ;) In the meanwhile, I took someone’s suggestion and tried Maybelline’s Tough as Taupe as a cream dupe and it worked brilliantly on my fair skin!

Actually, I’m so delighted with T as T that I think my lemmings for Notorious are over.


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