Chanel Exceptionnel IS Exceptionally Dramatic

Chanel Exceptionnel Mascara

Chanel Exceptionnel Mascara ($28.00) recently debuted as part of their winter launch (Smoky Eyes).

Let me first say that it is important to master the correct application technique. Chanel has set-up a special website devoted to their newest mascara, which I did find helpful. But to summarize, you apply by twirling the wand and then pulling upwards to the tips of your lashes. It’s not the wiggle method! So Chanel has done a pretty good job of creating buzz and hype and anticipation over this mascara because samples were made via Allure’s beauty program (I’m not part of it, so I don’t know anything about it, other than a ton of Allure readers got samples of this mascara!). Overall response has been raves–the point of contention being the price.

Let me tell you about the pros, the cons…

What is it advertised to do? Exceptionnel is advertised as a thickening and volumizing mascara. It is supposed to give you clump-free lashes with good separation. The brush is innovative as a six-sided application brush that combines plastic and comb bristles that alternate to form the six “sides” with regular bristles in-between.

What does it actually do well? It does add a good amount of length, thickens, and it is a very intense black. As I’ve said before, I want lashes that look fake but aren’t actually fake. This is only because I have two left feet (yes, feet) when it comes to applying false lashes, so I must go the route of mascara for the lashes of my dreams. I am all about the blackest of black lashes (which is why Plushlash has been my favorite for so long). My lashes aren’t stubby or short, and they have a slight natural curl (at least, they aren’t “stick-straight”), but they aren’t particular long or thick, which is why I require both in a mascara. I also don’t experience flaking or smudging throughout the day (12 hours of wear). Also, this mascara is particularly good at holding a curl for hours, which I know is important to some! I removed it using Lancome’s Bi-Facil with no issues.

Where does it fall flat? It does clump a bit! I know, I know, all these mascaras talk about how clump-free they are… but maybe it’s my desire for such false lashes that gets me in trouble. Maybe it’s one too many coats. Either way, there is a bit of clumping towards the end. If you take a lash comb or clean mascara wand, you should be just fine. I tend to do this anyway, because it helps separate and let them fan out fully. This is the only real downside I experienced, which I think could be remedied by blotting the wand (to remove excess mascara) from time to time, and again, using a lash comb.

Price points! DiorShow is, quite possibly, one of the most coveted mascaras, and it, too, comes along with a higher price point ($24.00). Unfortunately for me, DiorShow flaked within hours after application, which was truly shocking and incredibly disappointing. I couldn’t tell you why or how or what, just that I was sad to see it not work out for me. Anyway, the point of the story is to mention high end mascaras and their costs. If you can’t get yourself to buy a mascara for over $20, this just isn’t for you. Ask for it as a gift for one of the many occasions throughout the year, or see if you can try a sample, but be prepared to fall in love and not be able to give in because of the price. It’s very much like falling in love with a $300 face cream.

My whole bit on price is simply this: if you have the money and wish to spend it on high end mascara, definitely consider Chanel Exceptionnel. If you are happy with your current mascara and/or cannot see yourself paying $28 for a tube of mascara every 2-3 months, skip it.


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viv Avatar

wow. they do make your lashes look very long 😀
but yeah… Christine you’re right. 😛 i wouldn’t have the money for mascaras like that if i can only have it for 3 months!

diann_co Avatar

I got this as a mini to test for Allure and have been using it for a few days. The application takes a bit to get used to but it seems to work..but oddly more on the first eye I do and even tho I replace the cap not on the other side. I also think it does not hold the curl as well as my Diorshow

michelle j Avatar

I was one of the lucky Allure gals, and I absolutely loved this mascara. My lashes ended up a bit more feathery than yours have, but they stayed curled, voluminous, and LONG all day. I probably will go ahead and purchase it, but I’ll scrimp in another category to get it.

Asta Avatar

I got an Allure sample and I love it. I find that it clumps, too, but less than some other mascaras and definitely nothing that a quick comb through doesn’t fix. I have to be very careful about not getting any on my eyelids. It doesn’t flake at all, but it does smudge if you’re not careful before it dries. I’m going to try Neutrogena’s Healthy Volume mascara, and I still need to try Diorshow, but I’ll probably buy this if the other two don’t do as well. A friend at work is also trying to sell me on Lancome Hypnose, does anyone have an opinion on that?

claudia m. Avatar

I bought Hypnose on my cruise and I love it, it’s my everyday mascara. I curl my lashes with a spoon (I know!) and this is one of only two that doesn’t straighten them out. I love that it’s waterproof, it doesn’t smudge or smear and it’s really black but you can layer it on to get more thickness too. I like to try new things, but for right now it’s what I reach for in the morning and keep in my bag. I absolutely love it!!!

Mykeshia Avatar

I got a sample of this as well, I suppose I haven’t mastered the technique yet. I actually find myself reaching for my yellow tube of colossal mascara. Saves me 20 or so dollars!

Chrystie Avatar

I also received this as an Allure sample and was really surprised by how great it worked. My eyes looked open and lashes were well defined, volumized, and super black. I’m a diehard Dior Blackout fan so these are all big sellers for me. I considered purchasing, but I have to say as great as the results are, the price tag is just too high.

Christine Avatar

I must be the only Allure sampler who hated it 🙁 … it did a decent enough job of separating, but volume lacked on me, and worse yet, it removed any ounce of curl I had.

For the money, I expect miracles :-/

claudia m. Avatar

I curl my lashes too and I hate mascaras that are too “wet” and straighten them. Hypnose has worked really well for me in keeping the fake curl in my lashes.

carriespooner Avatar


I got this from Allure..

The first application ( following the directions) I adored it. Loved it with all my heart.

Second time.. the product came out in huge clumps and I had to use my Mac mini fan brush and clean that mess up.

I still pull it out and try it hoping it was my technique but, alas.. it’s clumpy. Plus.. it flakes into my contacts which I can not stand. Bummer.

My review for Allure was sad. They won’t send me anything anymore.. I’m totally sure.

aradhana Avatar

i don’t know whether you ended up finding a mascara that gave you the look of false lashes without being false lashes, but bourjois has a very good two step one…maxi frange…it was so dramatic i had to abandon it for daily use…

dina Avatar

I adored the Allure sample back in time and find myself comparing every crappy mascara wand to this one which is now discontinued 🙁 do you know of any mascaras with a similar wand? TIA!!!
PS LOVE your site

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