Vive la Difference: Chanel Rose Petale

Chanel, Joues ContrasteChanel’s split personality has long baffled jetsetting makeup lovers — you might say the brand is almost two companies in one.

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.
Chanel, Joues Contraste, Rose Petale, American version, U.S. version, swatches, KarlaSugar, Karla Sugar
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.

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8 Responses to “Vive la Difference: Chanel Rose Petale”

  • LuvJ says:

    Although some of the Euro versions’ shades are more appealing to me, i.e., the discontinued Narcisse, (U.S. version having more peach than pink), I would have to say that I prefer the U.S. formula. I find that the baked Euro version is harder to work with than the buttery soft texture of the U.S. versions.

  • Laura says:

    I *really* hope that when they move all production to France they don’t change to the baked versions of the quads. The US ones are so smooth! Oh well, on the bright side is that I’ll save lots of money if they do switch!

  • Gisele says:

    If the decision by Chanel to produce these JC’s in France is permanent (and why wouldn’t it be?), then I’ll probably skip on purchasing them. I only own one (Imprevu) but I know of the wonderful texture, feel, consistency, and hues (more than a mere color) of other shades from relatives and friends.

    Oh, well, c’est la vie, huh? If this move is a cost-cutting measure for Chanel, then I’ll be making one also by looking elsewhere for what the JC used to be.

  • Kylie says:

    NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! (Darth Vader Style) I hope they don’t change the JC formula we have in the States…. Disaster!

  • w says:

    Doesn’t matter to me, as I like the EU versions. Either way, it would be nice if Chanel would keep the US version as a lot of people seem to love it.

  • Honor says:

    Well, all this Chanel story is not really a problem of consistency but more of rivalry between the two Wertheimer brothers, one in Paris, the other in NYC. What is true for makeup is also true for fragrance ( for a long time, the US lineup has nothing to do with the french one), skincare and promotional activities. Never ever, will you see a GWP, a Gift set or any form of promotional activities in European markets and specially in the french market.
    Apparently, it seems that the french team has finally won their battle ( certainly due to the recent loss in sales in the US,and the strong grwoth in the european and asian markets..)
    Well anyway, it seems more rational for me that two products with different shades and texture do not carry the same ref number and name… after I guess, they will slightly alter the french version in order to have a more in between version ….

  • bullish1 says:

    Can anyone tell me why all my Chanel blushes (a dozen or so) are the European versions, although they were purchased from different stores and makeup counters in the U.S.? I’m totally perplexed.

  • Natasa says:

    Hi, I love the Adam’s Rib references and your writing style is just lovely and entertaining:)
    I’m from now on a subscriber:)

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