Many of Chanel’s most popular products (Joues Contraste blush, Glossimer lipgloss, eyeshadow quads) have a European version and an American version. Sure, there are shades exclusive to one region or another, but in Chanel’s case, two very different products may share a name and number.
Joues Contraste blush is an obvious example: the European blushes are baked. The label on the compact says, “Made in France,” and the brush has black bristles. I call these the “European” versions because they’re made in France, but these characteristics describe all non-U.S. JCs (even the Canadian ones). The American versions, by contrast, aren’t baked, the label says, “Made in U.S.A.” and the brushes have brown bristles. I prefer the American versions, generally. The baked blushes don’t seem to yield as much pigment.
In the case of 99 Rose Petale (my favorite), the shades are also quite different: the European version is more rose; the American version is peachier. I thought the differences ended there.
Over time, many of you have asked if/when I plan to swatch the Joues Contrastes (or why I haven’t done it yet). Readers, I am acutely aware of this swatching gap, but the Joues Contraste blushes possess some voodoo magic. The shades are nuanced, and they are extremely difficult to photograph. I’ve actually swatched them on three different occasions, and not been satisfied that the camera adequately captured the shades.
Anyway, on my most recent attempt, I discovered that the “Chanel difference” was even more profound than we thought. At the counter in Neiman Marcus I found two different testers of Rose Petale, in obviously different colors. Naturally I swatched them side-by-side on my arm.
I asked a sales associate about the difference. Which one was “right”? (Which one would I get if I bought a new Rose Petale right now?) Had one of the testers oxidized? Had Chanel made a recent shift in the color of this blush?
She confirmed that the swatch on the left, the pinker, less peachy shade was the “correct” one (curses! I liked the other!), then swept the offending tester away to the back room, where she no doubt incinerated it on the spot.
I mourn that peachy tester.
When I was swatching Chanel’s Nordstrom Anniversary items, I learned from my sales associate that Chanel is aware of its inconsistencies, and is planning to standardize its shades and formulas worldwide. The company is planning to move all production to France, and that change is expected to take place over the next few years.