Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chanel Mascara Comparison: Exceptionnel and Inimitable

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.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post. The Exceptionnel is the newer one, right? I was using it (or whichever is the newer one) before I started using the Armani, and you are right on all fronts. Which is why I switched to Armani.

    Last time I was at Barneys, the makeup artist/SA asked what I normally used while applying some of the Lutens mascara to my eyes (horrible) and when I said I used Chanel mascara, he asked if I used "the Exceptionnel or the Inimitable?" and the way it sounded with those two ridiculous words in the same sentence, made me think of the word "indubitably" and giggle uncontrollably. Then he was trying to stifle a laugh and started laughing, too.

    My point (there is one) I feel sorry for the SAs sometimes, with all of the over the top, marketing vocabulary they have to use (with sincerity) to discuss mascara and liptsick. It would seem so difficult to not constantly make fun of everything.

    Also, your lashes are great.


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