Thursday, September 04, 2008

Reality Check: Chanel Smoky Eye Quad

A couple of months ago, when I first got the sneak peak preview of Chanel's Smoky Eyes eye shadow quad (it was on the annoying promotional mini-site for the Exceptionnel mascara) I got a serious case of coveting. It looked utterly gorgeous.

Last week I got to play with it at my local Bloomingdale's. The compact is, indeed, beautiful (you can see the real-life photos taken by Annie of Blogdorf Goodman here. I'm not yet brave enough to attempt such a move, as the SAs here still give me enough dirty looks when I take my time testing and swatching. Apparently, I'm supposed to whip out my charge card just because they tell me "everyone looooves it"), but I didn't buy it.


I've always had issues with the smoky eye concept. The combination of a funky skin tone, dark circles and my age is making my first eye makeup priority be "try to look alive". While I use very dark colors on my lids and (upper) lash base because my lids are quite heavy and can use serious shading, I avoid any eye makeup on and under my lower lashes, and I always make sure that the rest of my eye area is "opened up" with a light wash of barely-there color. So my version of the look is the "half smoky" eye, where nothing is smudged downwards. Ever.

Now, the Chanel quad could have been the answer to my problem: all the colors, even the black one, are on the sheer side. The pigment is airy rather than dense, so there's no risk of looking like I just got a shiner. The thing is, what Smoky Eyes lack in pigment they compensate with shimmer. Lots and lots of shimmer. The white color, for example, doesn't show on me at all. It's a translucent base that holds tiny shimmery particles. Very pretty, but unless I was going clubbing or to a holiday party I wouldn't ever wear it. The black and the charcoal were seriously Halloween disco and the silver was pure shiny metal. Pretty, trendy, but not practical if you're me.

I really wanted a version of this look, but one that could actually work with my style and habits.there are several other smokey eye palettes on the market right now, and many, though shimmery, look more wearable than the Chanel (and they cost significantly less) with a better pigment/shimmer ratio. Worth checking: The Red Carpet Look or the Smoky eye quad from Stila, the Grey Eye from Du-Wop, Night Essence from Fresh and Guerlain L'Heure Fumee. I also took a good look at my already existing stash and realized I already have several black, charcoal, gray and silver eye shadows in various textures and finishes. I bet you have some, too (except you, Tom).

What I'm currently missing is a matte medium gray that can create the look for daytime. Bobbi Brown has exactly that: Slate (Steel also looks like a good option). I'd love to hear more suggestions.


  1. I love Slate for a daytime smoky look, but it looks more taupe-y on me than gray.

  2. I think the whole smoky-eye thing really only looks good on the red carpet or in a club. 99% of the time it just looks a little odd in broad daylight..

  3. Perhaps a shade infused with a little brown would be easier, or you know, there's no reason why one must stick to grey-tones exclusively, a tiger-eye is very pretty too.

  4. Yeah I've heard about the lack of pigment-ness in the Chanel quad. Have you tried POP's palettes? They work well and are fine textured.


  5. I just bought Avon's eye pencil in Slate, it was so cheap... And I love it.

  6. Anon- I know what you mean. I have Bobbi's Gray and it's definitely a taupe on my skin.

  7. Tom, try telling that to the hipsters in Williamsburg and the LES.

  8. Dain, I absolutely love that tiger-eye look. I'll have to experiment.

  9. Grayburn, I've seen the Pops in Sephora. They really look like fun. I own several Chanel quads and many of them require either wet application or serious layering if you want to see color. The singles are much better, pigment-wise.

  10. Lavinia, you probably made the smartest purchase. And you reminded me that I have a similar pencil from L'Oreal.Must go play...


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