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making faces :: chanel channels canadian spring

sure, spring is about buds on trees and shoots of grass and first flowers, but if you come from canada, a lot of spring is about watching the snow melt and form small lakes on street corners and finding out who in the neighbourhood figured they'd just let the snow take care of that last autumn dog poop. does that sound beautiful to you?

well, the fact is that the endless palette of neutrals- when it doesn't involve urban sludge and poop- can be a bit stultifying, but it does also have a kind of muted beauty to it, when seen under the right circumstances. those circumstances might include admiring a painting by one of the group of seven.



or they might include gazing at the spring palette of chanel, which does call to mind the rich, earthy tones of spring thaw rather than the usual palette of impressionist greens, blues, lilacs and corals.

chanel's spring collection- "les precieux de chanel"- has a lot of warmer, more neutral shades that might be taken for "boring" but, kind of like the boreal landscape, if you're used to seeing these colours, you can start to appreciate the beauty in them. sure, they might all look like shades of sand and taupe and brown, but they shimmer and gleam in the slowly emerging sunlight and there's a lot more depth than you might think at first glance.

first off, for the eyes, it's worth noting that this collection, alongside a quartet of slightly cooler neutrals, sees the return of the rich, warm brown and peach-beige duo "sable emouvante", which was originally released as part of last year's summer collection. a lot has been made of the beautiful quad and rightly so, but don't forget to look at "sable emouvante", especially if the 4-shadow palette is a little too rich for your blood.

for the lips, there is really an embarrassment of choice. there are four new rouge allure lipsticks [the formula that was recently revamped with a whole new colour range] and two new rouge allure velvets [those were originally reviewed here]. the velvets are actually in brighter shades of pink and coral, but somehow still look a little muted with their soft matte finish. it's a nice take on a more wearable bold lip.

my personal choice, though, was the new rouge allure in "l'envoutante", described by chanel as a "shimmering violet plum". i'd say that two of those three words are accurate- it leans too red to be "violet" in my books... a plum-berry maybe? these things get so confused. although it looks fairly vibrant, it's actually fairly soft on the lips, because a single layer is quite sheer. that seems to be fairly typical of the new rouge allure formula, unlike the older ones which weren't generally opaque, but still gave a lot of pigment in a single pass. it does layer extremely well and evenly, so you can easily get a colour that's closer to what you see in the tube.



i didn't really review this new formulation when it came out [although i did show some pictures of "rouge noir" here], but in brief, here are my thoughts:

i found the older rouge allures quite drying, particularly the darker shades. the new formula definitely seems to be an improvement on that front, but i still find the rouge coco formula easier to wear. [most people i know find the opposite.] i wouldn't characterise either as hydrating- just a good quality lipstick that doesn't leave your lips feeling parched.

because they aren't as opaque, i don't expect that the rouge allures will last as long, but i find that the new formula fades faster than the old one. "l'envoutante" had significantly less pigment within a couple of hours. i imagine part of that is because my lips are quite dry now anyway, but it's less than one would expect from a high end product. on the flip side, if you just reapply quickly, the fading is less and it gives quite a nice stained effect that does last and that doesn't bleed. that went a long way to mitigating my disappointment in the disappearing act and i'd be curious to know if others have experienced the same thing.

YOU DON'T THINK THAT'S ALL I GOT, DO YOU?



as a colour, "l'envoutante" is the sort of thing that immediately grabs my attention, because that berry mix of red and pink with a touch of purple seems to always work on me. there are definitely some iridescent shimmers strewn throughout, which leave the lips looking full and dewy [even when you allow the colour to fade to a stain]. like "rendez vous" from guerlain's spring collection, it reminded me of rouge d'armani "605", but from the opposite side. whereas rendez-vous is paler and cooler, "l'envoutante" is redder and deeper. in the tube, i expected it to be similar to deeper berry shades like nars "fast ride", but it's not nearly so deep.

l to r :: nars fast ride, l'envoutante, rouge d'armani 605

after taking swatch photos, i realised that it also reminded me a little of guerlain's "lou-ling", which is brighter and more fuchsia.

as if six lipsticks weren't enough, chanel also has two new glosses in their more opaque "extrait de gloss" formula. either is phenomenal, but i thought i'd get more use out of brownish-mauve-plum "merveille". unlike the "glossimer" formula, the "extrait" glosses rely less on sparkle and give more colour. this makes them a heavier gloss and, while they won't irritate those who wear stickier formulas like mac, these are a bit tackier than a lot of other high-end glosses. it's a fairly long lasting formula, consistent with a lot of other formulas [although not as high-performing as armani or even some of the better glossimers] and i like the fact that, although it's fairly colour-heavy, it's easy to get a very even application.




the colour is beautiful and subtle. it's the sort of no-brainer that chanel do very, very well, the kind of thing i always seem to reach for when i'm not sure what i should do and have run out of time to think about it. it goes with everything and it's definitely one of the most comfortable glosses to wear. my lips feel happier for having worn it.

it's similar to bobbi brown's "naked plum", but deeper, more mauve/ less brown and with less obvious sparkle.

l to r :: merveille, bobbi brown naked plum

the "piece de resistance" of the collection, however, is the much-anticipated "poudre signe" highlighter powder. this is the sort of thing that drives makeup lovers into ecstatic fits and has others wondering "what's she on about?" delicate powders like this are the sort of thing that you either get or don't. they're often quite expensive and they often look like the kind of thing it would break your heart to touch. and the "poudre signe" scores on both those counts.



the colour is a very soft, light gold. it's meant to be applied to the cheeks, along the brow, basically any place where you want to add a touch of luminosity. the powder is very finely milled and very nearly impossible to photograph properly. it's the sort of thing that you really need to see in person.

it has a shimmer, but it's important to remember that this is chanel, which means the end result is all about subtlety and refinement. it glows but it's not going to give you the sort of high-beam highlight you get from mineral powders or gel-to-powder formulas. what it does give is a glorious, almost angelic lit-from-within glow with a little extra gleam. it's impossible to overdo the product- i've applied it fairly heavily to see what happened and i've never had it turn caky on me or start to look metallic. it smoothes over pores [unlike a lot of highlighters, which can emphasise them] and the effect lasts well [again, unlike a lot of highlight products].



i don't have a lot of gold-tinted highlighters, being a cooler toned girl, but from what i've seen, nars albatross is a lot more pronounced in its effect- brighter and with a more intense sheen.

i have become a little crazed for highlighters lately [like bobbi brown's "porcelain pearl", which has also been in heavy rotation] and i find that good ones do wonders for those days when you're feeling tired, sick or when you've been up dj'ing later than you should have been the night before. not everyone is going to share that love since, as i've mentioned, the effect isn't as noticeable and therefore, not everyone will find it as easy to justify the cost as i did. but if you think this might be interesting, i encourage you to run out now and get it [well, allowing for time zone differences and the fact that you might not be wearing pants], as it's limited and much in demand.

oh, and don't think too long about the inevitable destruction of the intricate design. all beauty is fleeting. take a picture if you want and just jab your brush of choice in there with glee. it's the only thing to do.

so here's a look incorporating most of my purchases. you can see "merveille" in use back here.



the base ::
gosh anti-aging velvet touch primer
mac paint pot "painterly"
diorskin nude hydrating concealer "001"
clarins everlasting foundation "103"
mac fluidline brow "redhead"
guerlain e/s palette "liu" [i used the black to fill in my brows]

the eyes ::
chanel e/s duo "sable emouvante" [peach-beige/ rich warm brown]
sephora + pantone universe e/l "brown"
ysl effet faux cils mascara

the cheeks ::
chanel highlight powder "poudre signe" [soft light gold]
nars blush "amour" [warm rose]

the lips ::
chanel rouge allure l/s "l'envoutante" [shimmery medium berry]

i do think that a couple of these shots give an idea of the glow imparted by the poudre signe, but i still maintain that it's something that you have to see for yourself.

once again, i find that chanel shines through as being thoroughly classy with this collection. i also like the fact that, after a couple of years of softer, more typically "spring-like" shades, they've taken another angle for 2013. the palette may seem a little sombre, but these are the sorts of products that you will wear down to their atoms in order to get every last use from them. and even when you might not feel like one, you will always look like a lady.

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