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Rant & Rave: Chanel

Tell us what you love and hate about...


These days, I don’t have many rants for Chanel. I’d like them to be more consistent in the quality of their special edition palettes, as there have been some real misses and at $80+, that shouldn’t occur. They have excellent shipping/packaging (the best) and one fo the better loyalty programs (it’s like a hidden feature – I get free overnight on all orders, and I’ve received random full-sized products in the mail as a thank you). I wish their products weren’t scented, though.

— Christine


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Mariella Avatar

Not crazy about the prices, many of which aren’t warranted by the quality of the products themselves. But when they get it right – whoa, while it’s still a lot of $$$ to part with, it is still well worth it. Oh – another “rave” – their included applicators are way different than the standard sponge tipped applicators that come even with other pricey shadows. The Chanel ones are REALLY good and really work well.

Ebru Sancak Avatar

I wish they would sell everything everywhere rather then just picking markets for exclusives. That makes no sense and is just annoying. Otherwise it’s usually good stuff.

Stacey Avatar

Like Burberry, its Limited Edition are repeats of the same with some variation. Dior does the same. Chanel, now at least, have the products made in France. Don’t like the eye shadows..irritates my eye, the formula.

Chanel, my first expensive brand. Will always remember that.

FaithJ. Avatar

I don’t have a lot of Chanel makeup, but what I do have (lipsticks, liquid foundation and loose powder) I love. I LOVE the fragrances that accompany each one (easy for me to say since the fragrance doesn’t irritate my skin). The little whiff of scent makes it feel truly luxurious and lifts my spirits. None of the people at Chanel’s makeup counters have been snobby to me, and I like going in and getting a trial run before buying anything. My only rant is that they have discontinued lipsticks that looked perfect on me. I wish they had a regular lineup of colors.

Tammy Avatar

Your comment about the sales people not being rude at the Chanel counter reminded me of my last visit to a Chanel Counter in November of 2016. I went there specifically to try the LE five pan shadow they put out near the holidays every year. While the sales person was applying the colors ( blue, silver, grey), she informed me I would not be able to wear the colors to work, only for a night night out. When I asked her if I could try Chanel’s lipstick in Vie, she informed me that Chanel does not have a lipstick named Vie and that “Vie isn’t even a French word.” When she matched me in foundation she informed that Chanel doesn’t acknowledge warm vs cool skin tones and that “only Americans talk about this.” I was too amused by her to be upset by her, lol.

Nancy T Avatar

Rave: 2 of my top favorite purchases this year were Chanel; the Empriente du Desert Quad and Rouge Vie lipstick. They actually look wonderful together in a nice toasty warm autumnal look! Next up, hopefully will be Codes Chanel blush and/or Libre lipstick!

Rant: Chanel is sometimes guilty of putting out some not so great LE products and at their prices, that’s just unacceptable.

alice20c Avatar

Vitalumiere Aqua – best foundation ever! The formula is good and Chanel has the very best match for my skin tone. It’s like “damn, did you make a bargain with a demon last night?” My skin is this neutral-coolish and fair but not exactly pink. Blushes and lipsticks I’ve also had a good experience with. Their scents are my go-to.

Eye makeup from Chanel has been hit or miss for me. I wish everything was as good as their foundation. I also wish they carried their full range of foundation shades into concealers.

Online service is wonderful. Store counters…mixed. Been through a lot of snotty moments at them. I wish they sold deluxe samples of their skin care lines. Those are a hefty investment for a gamble.

Linda Avatar

Rave: In thinking about this question, I realize I don’t really have a current day rave about Chanel. My fondess for the brand goes back to it being my first, aspirational make-up love. I went through several lavender color correcting powders in the 80s (that’s right, the 80s! — so long ago now…). To this day, it remains one of the all time favorite makeup products I have ever used.

Ladies here — Nancy, Mariella, Tammy and others — over and over have loved Empriente du Desert Quad — I had to get it. (A year late, but so be it. 🙂 ) Should receive it in a few days. If women who know makeup and quality still rave about a shadow quad months later, there is something to be said for that. (They’re also really nice colors for me.) But it shows me how little I have been paying attention to Chanel.

Rant: I have not bought a Chanel lipstick in forever due to the fragrance and flavor. It would nauseate me to no end. When I think about it, I haven’t even bothered to test in a store I have been so turned off. Is it any better these days? Maybe I can revisit.

Anime Avatar

That’s a huge drawback for Chanel lip products for me as well. Please let us know how you like the Empriente quad — Not like I need another eyeshadow palette, but Empriente has been on the shelves for TOO long — it’s practically CALLING to me — and that GREEN gives me all the life!!!

Heather Avatar

That is so funny–I, too, have finally been convinced by the Empriente du Desert love on this site, and just last night ordered the last one Neiman Marcus had in stock (they’re shipping it from a store, but I know Saks still has it online.)

I’m counting it as a Valentine’s gift, since I know it will be more useful and last longer than flowers.

Ginny Avatar

Rave: Any Chanel product I’ve ever owned or tried has been great quality. Like another poster said, I find their SAs to always be very friendly, helpful and down to earth. They don’t act like the brand is exclusive, even though Chanel’s branding epitomizes luxury. A Rouge Allure was my first luxury product and I still have and love it <3. And I love their perfumes. Coco Mademoiselle is my #1. I have never ordered from their site direct, but I might start!

Rant: I wish I could afford it all! And I wish they had a broader shade range in their foundations. And they seem to pull products from the shelves quickly. I don't mean LE stuff, but the lightest shades in face products will sometimes only be available for a limited time or not available in the US. Lipstick shades will suddenly drop off, etc.

Anne Avatar

It was two or three years ago when they had a berry collection. I went nuts and bought far too much, because it so rarely happens that I love a collection like that one. I still adore and wear everything I bought. I agree with you about wishing for more cool-toned collections. But, I seem to say that a lot about all the lines. I just keep watching and waiting.

Jess Avatar

Rave – They make my favourite everyday lipstick (Adrienne) and I have an eyeshadow quad from them that I adore.

Rant – That eyeshadow quad cost me around £40 and has net 2 grams of product in it. I have bigger single shadows than that! I’ll never be able to justify that price again unfortunately.

Tam Avatar

I apologize for offering a rant only, but I’ve never felt drawn to the brand at all. When I see ads for this brand or see a counter at the mall, I keep moving because it is not marketed for women of different skin tones. Ever since I was a little girl, I believed the Chanel brand is for the ultra-wealthy European only. The brand is built upon exclusivity and high expense, which makes the brand more attractive to some, but not me. Even though the cosmetics don’t interest me, I think their fragrances are very unique in that signature Chanel way. With that being said, I haven’t purchased any of the fragrances either. They’ve only been sniffed in store. On a whole, the brand simply isn’t for me.

Anime Avatar

Rant: the bad products are REALLY bad. That last palette they put out was a HUGE misrepresentation of the amazing products they can produce. Additionally, regarding limited edition releases, (LE highlighters/blushes/eye palettes, i.e. Sunkiss Ribbon or Camelia de Plumes) you REALLY have to watch out for the amount of product you are getting. Most specifically with their LE highlighters, they tend to release around a similar price range ($60-80ish) but the amount of product (AND the quality therein — I’m looking at you, Poudre Lumiere Glacee) is all over the place. Camelia de Plumes was $72.00 and had .28 oz of product. Now, they’re turning around and pushing Camelia de Chanel off on us for $70 with only .21 oz of product. For your reference, that’s the same amount of product as the Wet N’ Wild MegaGlo Highlighting powders from last summer. I went through the rolodex of Chanel limited releases (as far as blushes and highlighters go) before purchasing Sunkiss Ribbon, and decided the product was worth the price. I unfortunately had to pass on Camelia de Chanel this year. Maybe they’ll have another release this year that blows me away the same way Sunkiss Ribbon did, and still does. Every time I open my nearly-untouched blush it makes my heart sing. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Rave: Good products are REALLY good and you cry when you realize that the makeup is not infinite. I.E.: Sunkiss Ribbon. I barely ever use it because I don’t want to have to part ways with it (or the gorgeous ribbon design!) and when I do I only use very soft goat brushes (It has mineral oil in it so I avoid squirrel) so as not to damage the appearance of the product itself.

Nichole Avatar

I don’t like that mineral oil is a main ingredient in their blushes. I like their lipsticks and glosses and love the Illusion D’ombre shadows. Their mascara is next in line after I finish up my current Mac mascara. The sample I tried was lovely.

Adriana Avatar

Christine, I agree with your assessment of Chanel. They need to step it up with their special edition palettes…they’re just not that exciting. Limited edition palettes should be different from they’re permanent line and lately, at least to me, there starting to all look alike. And as far as fragrance….I just don’t understand why cosmetic companies continue to use it when researchers have said it’s terrible for the face. High levels of alcohol and fragrance causes skin cell break down and skin irritation.

LaMaitresse Avatar

CHANEL was my first love, I used to only wear it until Nars came along. I do find the quality is getting better, more consistent, I just bought the codes blush, naturals quad and a beige rose crayon and they are gorgeous, perfect quality to me.

Anne Avatar

I’m not loyal to any one brand. I pick and choose from them all as I’m sure a lot of people do. Of those Chanel items I’ve purchased, I’ve been pleased. I can’t recall ever having to return any mistakes from this line. So, no regrets, but I’m very selective about what I buy. I have a few Chanel lipsticks, eye pencils, glosses, mascaras (3 for 2 at Nordstrom), eye shadows, highlighters, blushes and brow powder. I have a couple of base products as well. But, no foundations or powders. I’ve never been lucky with their foundations and I’ve not been impressed with their powders. They aren’t for me. And, I’ve never been OMG-impressed with their skincare line, although I’ve tried various samples. Chanel is a good line. I don’t think they make many dogs. But, they seem to discontinue a lot of products on-the-regular, so if you like something, you’d better get it while you can. Next season it may not be there. (I’ve heard rumors that the quality and size of their eye shadows is better in the US than in Europe.)

Emily Avatar

Lol I know you meant duds but I totally laughed out loud when I read “they don’t make many dogs”. I’m picturing a little lapdog clad in Chanel (yes, I have a very mature sense of humour!)

Agree though. I think duds from Chanel are rare – what annoys me is that they’ll come out with these slam dunk products and then d/c them or refuse to make them permanent! Notorious comes to mind..,

Shannon. N Avatar

Iv never tried ANYTHING chanel before. So I can’t comment on that.

The reason I haven’t tried anything from them is because I feel too scared to!!

Whenever I’m in department stores thst carry Chanel, I walk by and they don’t even acknowledge me. Where most will at least smile or chat me up. And when I get the confidence to go up to the booth, they will out right ignore me!

So iv given up on the brand. I assume they think I’m some young kid there, and they don’t think I’ll buy anything. When I most likely WOULD!

Lulle Avatar

Many years ago I had a very unpleasant experience with Chanel’s PR, who basically told me that they would sue me if I used any image of their products on my blog. That left a bitter taste so I didn’t buy their makeup for years after that.
I don’t really like the brand’s elitist image, I don’t think it’s very inclusive. But I have to say the products I have tried in the past couple years have been excellent quality. Overall it’s really not my favorite French brand for makeup but I recognize that what they do is usually very good – except for some LE eyeshadow palettes.

Deborah S. Avatar

Rave: When it comes to high end makeup I must say, Chanel is my favorite but not necessarily because of the products. It is a very nostalgic brand for me and between the smell and the packaging it just spells luxury to me. I am selective when purchasing though. I love Empriente du Desert eye shadow quad. I love the accompanying blush and rust lipstick that was released with the eye shadow quad. I just got Code Subtiles in the mail and will need to play with it before saying much but I am expecting to love it. In general, Chanel lipsticks wear well for me as far as traditional lipsticks work. I really like Vitalumiere Aqua for a lighter coverage foundation.
Rant: Lack of consistency across the brand.

Tatiana Avatar

Rave: I like many of their Les 4 Ombres eyeshadow palettes. Generally like their lipsticks and blushes. Love, love, love many of Les Exclusifs de Chanel fragrances.
Rant: While I like to wear perfume on my body, my facial skin is sensitive and I don’t want it in my skincare or my makeup. For this reason I don’t use Chanel skin care or foundations.

Deborah Avatar

Chanel! I love the smell, the packaging and their blushes! I am not too crazy about their choice of nail polish but when I did use theirs it was quite good. I haven’t tried any of their lipsticks lately – maybe I should. No rants about Chanel that I can think of.

Susan Avatar

Rant: The price, the price, and the price. I tried one of their nail polishes once (it was gifted to me) and the quality was no better than drugstore products 1/10th the price.

Rave: The smell of Chanel No. 5 will always remind me of my late mother and bring me to tears.

Heather Avatar

Rant: They’re mostly out of my price range, and every time they produce a poorly-reviewed product I feel personally offended by the sheer audacity of charging $60-$80 for a terrible product!

Rave: When they do powders well, they do them *really* well–their blushes and eyeshadows can be lovely. I’ve only every purchased three items (a blush at a Nordstrom counter–the counter lady was incredibly pleasant and gracious), the Empriente du Desert quad (from Neiman Marcus CS–on its way! Yay!). and a nail polish (from the Chanel website–gorgeous packaging and quick shipping). The nail polish formula on the color I selected isn’t the best, but it’s still my lucky nail polish for job interviews or big tests. 🙂

Lisa C. Avatar

My biggest rant with Chanel (and a boatload of other companies) is their animal testing policy. It’s the reason I haven’t purchased anything from the brand in years. I do love their iconic, elegant packaging. Most of what I’ve had from Chanel was really nice in terms of quality, but it’s especially insulting when expensive brands release poor products (and I’ve bought a few duds in my day).

Asche Avatar

I generally like Chanel (at least I like everything I own), my only complaint is that their brushes shed like crazy! That shouldn’t be happening, especially considering the price.

AB Avatar

Only a few rants: I still miss a blush they discontinued a couple of years ago, but I know this is SOP and at least they had it on the market for a long time. Some of their more expensive and super-designed products are so-so quality but thanks to Temptalia I haven’t sprung for those.
Raves: One of my favorite lipsticks is a Rouge Coco Shine (Desinvolte), and I’ve been using a Chanel eyebrow pencil for years. I really like that their permanent items are available for a good long time. I like that their products are more consistently good performers than competitors; I feel more comfortable taking a chance with Chanel than others.

Dawn Molero Avatar

Rave: I love that Chanel products are easy to work with. I can achieve a beautiful result fast with minimal effort and never end up looking overdone. What some might see as lack of pigmentation….I see as being foolproof. I love the classic look and image.

Rant: The price can be a bit much and limits the amount that i end up buying. I might just get a shadow quad and lipstick where with other brands I might go for a full look with maybe a couple of lip options.

atsuko Avatar

I can always count on Chanel for quality and the impeccable packaging. I love gifting Chanel products and will most likely buy their item among dupes.
Though.. I do miss their true limited edition colors/items. Their recent limited edition items haven’t been special enough to shell out the high price.

bibi Avatar

Rave: Chanel’s Glossimers are absolute perfection! No flavor, not sticky nor tacky, last 4 hrs on, gorgeous shades!

Rant: Chanel’s makeup artists & SA’s are ‘hit or miss.’ I worked as a SA for EL. Bobbi Brown, Prescriptives, & Lancome in the 90’s during my university days. Chanel was then known for not paying their SA’s & MA’s very well, the ‘honor’ of working for Chanel was supposed to compensate for the lack of $.

Elizabeth Avatar

I have to agree with you Christine. Chanel is the best, I have ordered a few things, and they get to me fast. The packaging is wonderful, they are generous with samples as well as an occasional full size item. (They sent me a full size scrub, and some other skin care things.)

I haven’t had any quality issues with the items I have purchased. I test them at Nordstrom’s or Neiman Marcus, get samples, and then I order from Chanel. The best order I have ever received was 10 years ago, I treated myself for my birthday, and I ordered Auqualumieres Multi Effect palette in 34 Exaltation. It had 8 lip colors and the compact has 2 really decent brushes. They were small, but very nice for a mini lip brush. The palette also had a small well so you could mix the colors to get even more looks. It was a lovely palette too. The SA told me I could use the bottom row as cream blush as well. They had a firmer texture and were darker colors, the top row had a creamier texture and were frostier, so they worked great when you wanted a little sheen, or layered together with the darker colors.

I also got the Collection Velours De Chanel Lip Kit. It had four really great colors, and the lip brushes were bigger than the other palette, and they were also really nice to use. The colors were all great, and wore very well. It was the Harmonie De 4 Rouges.

In 2003, I did the same thing for my birthday. I ordered 2 different palettes. I got the Chanel 2003 Essentiels De Chanel palette. It had six colors, 2 powders, in black and white, and four creams, a gold overlay, silver overlay, a great Chanel red cream, and the best cream concealer/primer I have ever used. The color matched my skin tone seamlessly, and the brushes, although small, were really great. The overlay colors could be layered with the powders and the red cream. I used them over other eye shadows and lip colors too, they were really nice. I also got the Pro Correcteur Multi-Corrector Palette. It had 4 colors, a green cream for redness, a light peach for correcting, and a light and medium concealer. They were also very nice to work with. The consistency was very nice to work with, the medium concealer was just like the concealers in the Essenteils palette. They never creased under eyes, never settled in my lines, and I never has to touch up. They were an amazing formula.

I also have a few nail lacquers, a few of their blushes, and had another eye and face palette I used up. When testing them at the store, I have been able to avoid the underperforming items, and I loved the Teint Idol and Auqualumiere foundation. I also read your reviews Christine, so I have had pretty good luck. They aren’t a brand I would buy sight unseen though. I have tested a few duds as well, but I didn’t buy any of them.

Fran Avatar

Chanel No. 19 perfume was my scent for years in the 80s. Then I stopped wearing fragrance because of my son’s allergies and asthma. Now he’s grown, and his asthma is in good control, so I’ve started to wear fragrance again. But Chanel No. 19 is not at all like it used to be!

I actually haven’t bought any of the makeup yet. The prices and the fragrance get in my way — I might like to smell fragrance, but it’s very irritating to my facial skin. Something about their image also does not quite appeal to me, but that wouldn’t get in my way if there was a specific product that I really wanted. I’m very curious about their new lip crayons. I also don’t feel as comfortable playing with the makeup at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, or Blue Mercury as I do at Sephora, MAC, MUFE, or ULTA, and that probably holds me back from discovering some Chanel products that I might like.

Erin Avatar

Rant: alcohol in products, scented everything, and price. Oh and limited foundation shades.
Rave: everything else about them. Especially their colors, I’m not sure what they do to colors there but I can usually pull off just about any of their warm shades. It’s like they found the secret to having a neutral base that is almost universally flattering and then add it to all their shadows, lipsticks, and blushes.

jenna Avatar

I don’t have much from chanel but what I have (loose powder, cream bronzer, rouge allure gloss) I really like. My biggest gripes with chanel have been mentioned. Their heavy fragrance and their poor shade range. And sometimes they even go hand in hand. Why does their concealer (which only has a pitiful 3 shades where I live) have fragrance in it!?

Melle Avatar

Years ago, Chanel lipsticks were my high-end go-to for my luxury cosmetics. The original Rouge Coco and Aqualumiere were my bread and butter! They were pigmented (even the sheer Aqualumiere) and very moisturizing. But now, Aqualumiere is no more, and the Rouge Coco line is so sheer and ordinary that it’s no longer worth the price tag. Also, I find the Rouge Allure Velvet line to be drying, and the Rouge Allure line to be, simply, ‘meh’. With all of the fierce competition among other high-end brands, along with increasingly impressive drugstore lines (Milani Color Statement and L’Oreal Colour Riche), one would think that Chanel would be at the very top of their game, but they’ve seemed to have stopped trying. My new high-end go-to is YSL.

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