In which we get too close for comfort. Literally.
I've been going through a bunch of Chanel mascara samples, trying to decide which one is the best and if I need to add any to my regular mascara arsenal. The mascaras were Inimitable in Noir Obscur and Exceptionnel de Chanel in #10 Noir. I tested two mini tubes of each line for several weeks.
Inimitable has been around for several years now. I had it in both black and brown at some point but was never enamored enough to keep purchasing. I can't be sure, but I think there has been a change in formula and it's now less prone to smudges. But it's been several years since I used Inimitable regularly.
As you can see, the differences are both in textures and in the wand. Inimitable has the better brush with short comb teeth all around it that separates and reaches the smaller lashes. This is important in this case, because the formula tends to clump. The look is dramatic and distinct with a lot of extra length but not vulgar, as long as you make sure to apply as cleanly as possible. It doesn't hold a curl very well, so there's some droopiness after a couple of hours.
Exceptionnel is quite different. The color is less glossy, the brush has only three rows of teeth (another one would have given it a serious performance boost) and its focus is on volume. The thick formula give the lashes a full coat that somehow isn't too heavy (maybe that's why the brush is a bit sparse) and holds the curl beautifully. The one big issue with Exceptionnel is dryness. It's dry to begin with and becomes even more so after a week of constant use. It's not a problem when you get the mini GWP and promotional samples, but forking $30 for a tube that will not reach the 3 month mark.
Bottom line: I'll stick with Armani.
Both Exceptionnel and Inimitable ($30 each) can be found at your local Chanel counter or on chanel.com. My samples came with various purchases online and in store.
Photos, eyes and eyebrows that are due to be groomed are mine. I'm not wearing any other eye makeup in these photos and haven't used a curler or a lash primer, so what you see is what you get.