Chanel Riva Nail Lacquer Review, Photos, Swatches

Chanel Riva Le Vernis Nail Lacquer
Chanel Riva Nail Lacquer

Chanel Cote d’Azur Collection: Riva

Chanel Riva Nail Lacquer ($27.00 for 0.4 fl. oz.) is a pale sky blue with ultra fine, barely-there iridescent blue shimmer strewn through the creamier, almost jelly-esque base. The swatches included in this post show the effect of three coats (and thicker ones at that)–I would say that you would need a muted white shade underneath, perhaps, or else four coats.

In all honesty, this is just not a shade to be worn opaque (at least not on its own). You’re better off wearing two coats and going for a sheer look than layering it on and ending up with a very thick pile o’ polish. I didn’t experience any streaking when applying the three coats, but it did seem more prone to bubbling (I don’t think I’ve ever really had a polish look like it was going to bubble on me… it was odd!).

I’m actually a big fan of Chanel’s polishes typically, but I can’t say I’m on the Riva bandwagon yet. The color itself is just not there for me; it lacks the dimensionality of other cult status Chanel shades–the shimmer is too fine, too soft, and it’s difficult to detect unless under direct, bright light. I had no idea this was a much anticipated shade until after I purchased it, which I’m glad for, because my expectations may have been even higher had I known.

Even more painful is the $4 price increase on Riva as compared to their other nail lacquers–what? I’m fully willing to pay $23 for a shade that only Chanel can do (or at least, is the first to do), but $27 for a shade with some application/formula issues and doesn’t quite hit the zing color-wise makes it impossible to recommend in good conscience!

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! 🙂

  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 5/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re a Chanel collector, you may want to snag it rather than see it for $200 in two months–just because a lot of hype has been built up for this shade and it likely will sell out. Otherwise, I think you could safely skip.


Chanel Riva Le Vernis Nail Lacquer
Chanel Riva Nail Lacquer

Chanel Riva Le Vernis Nail Lacquer
Chanel Riva Nail Lacquer

Chanel Riva Le Vernis Nail Lacquer
Chanel Riva Nail Lacquer (Natural Light)

Chanel Riva Le Vernis Nail Lacquer
Chanel Riva Nail Lacquer (Natural Light)

Chanel Riva Le Vernis Nail Lacquer
Chanel Riva Nail Lacquer (Natural Light)

Chanel Riva Le Vernis Nail Lacquer
Chanel Riva Nail Lacquer (Natural Light)

Chanel Riva Le Vernis Nail Lacquer
Chanel Riva Nail Lacquer (Natural Light)

Chanel Riva Le Vernis Nail Lacquer
Chanel Riva Nail Lacquer (Flash)

About Reviewer
Review FAQ

Christine Mielke is the editor-in-chief and has been reviewing products for over 14 years.

She has normal-to-dry skin with occasional dryness on cheeks and nose. She has a light plus skintone with subtle, warmer yellow undertones (view her foundation matches here).

Learn more about her review process here.

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Oh geez…I think it’s gorgeous. The shimmer is killing me in that flash photo. But yeah, what’s with the markup? And I can see why you say it has application issues. Darn you, Chanel. I still don’t have any of their nail polishes and I guess I won’t be starting with this one.

Even though this color is beautiful, I call shenanigans on chanel for the price increase. Everyone knows their nail polishes are rubish aside from the colors, but it will be soon enough that a brand in every price point will have a dead-on dupe come out.

I haven’t had quality issues with the majority of Chanel polishes (this one is probably the fussiest I’ve come across by Chanel, personally) – they all last a week or more on me 🙂

It’s okay, but I can’t see paying that much for so little color payoff. Plus, Sephora by OPI has a close dupe called Havana Dreams for only $9. Sorry, Chanel, I’ll have to pass.

I purchased this last week online and received it on Friday. I Just Love it. I only use 2 coats and think it is beautiful. I am fair skin and green eyes with Blond hair so maybe my complection can carry it off well. I also took OPI’s glitter Shimmer and simmer and put that on my ring finger only. I think its Great!

Chanel thinks very highly of themselves by bumping up the price on this highly dupable shade. To hear that the formula is equally unsatisfying just further solidifies the fact that I will be staying far away from this one.

It’s not really the color, which is pretty, but it doesn’t quite live up to Chanel standards – and the formula issues are notable.

Hard Candy Sky is not a dead on dupe, but on my skin tone (NC 42ish) Chanel Riva doesn’t look the way it does on the models, but Sky does. Riva is still pretty, though!

I know this shade has gotten a lot of so-so reviews from beauty bloggers, but I think it is lovely! The price tag is expensive, but that is Chanel for you. I think it was meant to be a sheer baby blue, hence the lack of opacity.

Oh man, that color is gorgeous, and would be perfect for spring, but I can’t see myself paying that much for a polish… Especially one that doesn’t practically apply itself! Too bad 🙁

I received this one in the mail yesterday but haven’t opened it yet. What a drag that it’s so sheer. How would you compare the opacity to OPI Breathe Life?

I love blue nailpaints so IMHO its pretty.
Its pretty but its not something very special
It reminds me one Essie color (forgot the name) and it reminds me somewhat one of the limited edition Essence colors…hmmmm.

I have to disagree. I got mine today and love it! I could not tell the difference between this polish and my other Chanel nail polishes. I used 3 coats & it came out very nice.

I actually love it! But that price is too much. There is amazing nail polish out there for less than half the price that probably has the same/similar color. Not smart on Chanel’s part. Thank you for the review!

I just saw a friend wearing a similar shade. I thought it looked beautiful. I doubt it was Chanels shade so I’ll ask her and come back with some possible dupes available

I don’t normally go gaga over nailpolishes, but this shade is really getting to me. Even your review about the high price & craptastic quality does not deter me grrr!! I am going to the store on the weekend and try.. Hope it looks crappy in person!

I wished I waited for you review first before buying this. The color is so sheer and it applied unevenly. Now, I’ve owned several Chanel polishes and I’ve never had any issues with them. But this one is a total let down. For a $4 increase, I expect better quality or better formulation. Sorry Chanel, but I’m not happy with this purchase. I am sending mine back for a return tomorrow.

I bought this and tried it and I too had higher expectations, I had to put on 4 coats to get any color out of it. It also bubbled on me as well. I don’t know if I’ll ever wear it again. I’m glad I’m not the only one who was disappointed with it.

Its such a pretty color and I think it could’ve turned out great if Chanel had made it a stronger color. My manicure didn’t turn out as pretty as yours though. Oh well, just one of those things where you have to cut your losses. But it was an expensive lesson, I mean $27 dude. :-/

I’m not sure this color is supposed to be worn opaque. In the Chanel S/S ’11 runway show, the models had them really sheer. It almost looked like a single coat.

Dupe Idea: I had a half-empty bottle of Essie Minimalistic (a sheer white color) and mixed in one drop of Essie Midnight Cami (deep navy) and three drops of Essie Trumpet (sheer shimmery nude). Thought I would share because the result seems similar to Riva (don’t own Riva so cannot say it’s identical)

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