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making faces :: chanel's velvet realm

who doesn't love velvet? i know when i was younger, i used to, as george costanza longed to, "drape myself in velvet" and although that phase passed with time, i still think that the plush fabric has to be one of the high points of human achievement, up there with interior heating, advanced medicine and vodka. so to me, it's no surprise that one of the most hotly anticipated launches in the cosmetic world is chanel's new "rouge allure velvet" lipstick line, because even the name immediately makes me want to put it on my lips.

on a more concrete level, chanel describes these lipsticks as "luminous matte", which is sort of like the holy grail for lipstick lovers. we all want those intense, come-hither film noir lips, the sort where young men and sunlight are lost and never heard from again, but historically [including during the making of those films], applying a matte lipstick felt sort of like colouring in your lips with an old crayon that had been left in the refrigerator for a few hours. mattes were notoriously stiff and dry, they dragged across the lips and were nigh on impossible to get even. and putting them on was actually the fun part, because, while their lasting power was unparalleled, most drew more moisture out of the body than a couple of weeks on the atkins diet. indeed, one had to suffer to be beautiful.

in recent years, several companies have tried to remake the mattes, making them softer to apply, less dry-looking and less drying. lancome in particular has their excellent "color design" matte formula, which really does overcome the traditional flaws with aplomb. so there are improved mattes out there, but, of course, when it's chanel, there's always that extra level of excitement.

SWATCHES, REACTIONS AND A VELVET LOOK AFTER THE BREAK...



the rouge allure velvets come in eight shades, a fairly small offering for such an anticipated launch, but i suspect that this is more of a starting point. mostly, the shades are more intense [since that's part of the appeal of a matte formula]. some are a little more modern [coral, bright pink], but most are "classic" shades of red, plum and rose. between purchases and samples, i had the opportunity to try five of the eight, so i think i have a pretty good idea of what to expect.

the shades i tried were ::

la ravissante
la ravissante
#32 "la ravissante" a medium coral that leans a bit orange on me. lancome's corset is a little lighter and pinker, but the shades are similar. my chanel associate has red hair and this shade looked amazing on her. i modeled all the shades for dom and, on me, this was his least favourite. it's definitely one of the quieter shades from the launch and i think that coral fans will love it.

la raffinee
la raffinee
#34 "la raffinée" is a conservative medium pink, very business appropriate and ladylike. again, this is one of the softer shades from the collection and, to my eye, probably the least unique. the limited edition mac shade "mehr" is quite similar, which means that those who missed out on that one earlier this year will be happy. lancome's lucky kiss is deeper and browner [la raffinée runs neutral-cool]. estee lauder's "blushing" pure colour lipstick is deeper. i could go on, because there are a lot of colours in this range, but really, we must be moving on to...

l'exuberante
l'exuberante
#37 "l'exuberante", a bright pop of warmed-up fuchsia. i found this one a little more difficult to get even than the others and i found that the sheen was less pronounced. this colour is so hot right now that there have been a lot of variations out in the last year. although this looks intimidating, it doesn't actually seem as bright in use as i thought it would. [perhaps i just wear a lot of bright colours, so my eyeballs have gone numb.] mac's full fuchsia is somewhat similar and of course, less matte. yves st. laurent "le fuchsia" is bluer.

la fascinante
la fascinante
#38 "la fascinante" is a bright, cool cherry red and was dom's personal favourite from the selection. it packs a real punch and, while i think it could suit a lot of cooler-toned complexions, i have to say that i really love the contrast against my pale skin. there are lots of beautiful bold reds out there [about the closest i could think of was estee lauder's "scarlet siren", which is a bit darker], but no one does reds like chanel.

la sensuelle
la sensuelle
#40 "la sensuelle" is a deep, cool red with a purple undertone. this is also just a stunning colour, a little more sophisticated than "la fascinante", but also a great example of a chanel red. it's a bit bluer than mac's recently released "runaway red", darker and more opaque than guerlain's "l'heure bleue" and lighter than guerlain's "gigolo".

the formula feels amazing on application- it really is like having your lips caressed by velvet. unlike old-fashioned mattes, it's very smooth and feels light on the lips- no caking and no need for undue pressure. i also found the application extremely precise, since the shades are so pigmented. for those a little nervous about the intensity of the colour, they can be blotted for a more restrained effect. unlike many mattes, the formula did not emphasise the flaws in my lips- quite the opposite, in fact. i felt like it gave a smoother appearance. there is a slight pearly sheen to the colour [more on some than others], but the look is definitely that of a slightly lustrous matte. because the coverage is opaque, the colour you get is very true to what you see in the tube.

although i wouldn't characterise these as dry by any means, i did find that my lips felt better if i put a little lip balm on before applying lipstick. i tend to do this anyway when the weather gets chillier, since my lips are very prone to drying and chapping. after a few hours wear, i did find that my lips felt a bit dry, although they didn't look it. since the weather has suddenly turned chilly here, i feel like that might have emphasised this reaction [my lips were getting dry on their own], but the dryness was enough that i was certainly aware of it- i'd say i noticed it more than with the lancome mattes.

historically, the properties of matte lipsticks that made them irritating to apply and wear also made them extremely tenacious, so you could depend on them lasting long hours in use [unless you ate, which meant that you would lose about half the colour and then have to spend twenty minutes scrubbing away the remainder because a partial touch up would look completely uneven]. the soft, smooth formula on the rouge allure velvets means that they won't last as long, but touching up is a breeze. left on their own, the shades wear to a softer stain. i tried out two of the shades for several hours apiece and found that the evenness of wear varied a little between them. on me, the time it took for them to fade was roughly the same as the regular chanel rouge allures. i didn't notice any feathering or bleeding around the edges of the lips. in fact, they maintained a perfectly crisp outline through hours of wear.



la sensuelle after 5-6 hrs
la fascinante after 5-6 hrs













overall, i'm drawn in by the luscious colours and the gorgeous finish. although they require more frequent touch-ups than older mattes, that seems like a small price to pay to overcome the dryness, unevenness and other flaws. while they're not especially drying, moisturising lips a little beforehand is definitely a good idea, particularly when the weather outside is looking to ravage exposed skin for moisture. although the colour selection is somewhat limited, i think the shades available are stunning and would work over a variety of skin tones.

one of the great things about a bold matte lip [as i've mentioned several times before] is how easy it makes the rest of putting your face together. this is a very quick look i did yesterday when i was running really late to meet some friends because i'd wasted way too much time playing with the cats... it happens.

products used

face ::
mac prolongwear foundation "nc15"
lush colour supplement "jackie oates"

eyes ::
mac mega-metal e/s "prance"* [frosty light mauve]
benefit creaseless cream e/s "skinny jeans" [deep frosted pewter]
mac e/s "creamy bisque"* [soft white]
mac fluidline "blacktrack" [black]
benefit they're real mascara
makeup forever concealer pencil "light"

cheeks ::
mac blush "salsarose" [bright pinkish coral red]

lips ::
chanel rouge allure velvet l/s "la fascinante" [bright cool cherry red]

*suggested alternates :: prance = inglot #420; creamy bisque = dazzlelight


Comments

Anonymous said…
Thank you for the fabulous review. I was not sure about these, but now I am very tempted to pick up a few of the pink toned ones. I always wear balm underneath, so hoping that will help any dryness!
flora_mundi said…
I definitely think that the pink shades would be perfect for you! I tried wearing them both with and without balm first and, while they're not terrible without, it's definitely a step I'd recommend.
Color Beam said…
such a nice review:-)!!
i so much love these lipsticks!
i have La rafinee and La sensuelle, both i m totally in love with:-)!

i m your new follower:-)

Color Beam

:-)
Kate MacDonald said…
So glad that you enjoyed it, Color Beam and I hope that you find other posts you like and, by the way... LOVE that profile photo!

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