As promised, here are photos and full descriptions of the colors in the Collection Essentielle de Chanel Paris-L.A. Palette. You will have to forgive me for the lack of swatches-I just haven't had the time (I'm trying to keep several balls in the air as we speak and I still owe several of you emails and replies. I'll get to it as soon as I post this). I did my best to give as detailed a description as possible.
The palette contains:
3 eye shadows
3 lip colors- 1 is a liquid lipstick, two glosses
2 cream concealers
1 cream blush
1. Collection Essentielle de Chanel is quite neutral in coloring and mellow in pigments. The eye shadows lean a little cool (just a little, though), the lip colors are on the warm pink side and a little shimmery, the blush is warm apricot beige and both concealers are yellow toned.
2. The overall look you will get from the palette is almost-nude. It's office-appropriate and is perfect for a French-inspired face. All you need to add is a black eyeliner and mascara.
3. The color intensity could have been better. The shades are very low-drama and I haven't been able to build them. At all.
4. The applicators are crap. I don't even like the lip brush because it has a blunt end.
What you see in the pan is exactly what you get. All three shadows are matte, which I love- very different from the Holiday Quad and its baked glitter texture. They are reasonably smooth but lack something to feel truly luxurious. The ivory one does not show on my skin at all. It's comparable to Bobbi Brown's Navajo and I guess would work in a similar manner if you subscribe to Bobbi's way of doing eye makeup of starting with a layer of invisible base color. I don't and this annoys me to no end. I would have liked a delicate non-shimmery highlighter that opens up the area under the brow bone.
As for the two mauve-plums, they are nice and create a natural almost-naked-but-not-quite look. The lighter shade is nearly the natural color of my lid. The darker one is not dark enough to be a real liner on me. At first I hoped these colors would make an elegant and subtle smoky eye, but they're simply not smoky enough.
The lip colors are best described as warm reddish pink. The dark(ish) liquid lipstick loses the very little shimmer it has in the pan when applied and is a very pretty light berry color- dense but not completely opaque. It's flattering and easy to wear alone or topped with a gloss.
The ligher gloss is a sheer shimmery pink. My natural lips are too dark for it to show, so I only wear it atop a lipstick. The texture is lovely- Chanel really knows how to make a lip gloss. The middle color is a red berry with golden shimmer. It's pretty and can be lightened by mixing with the light gloss or used to give the cream lipstick some extra punch.
We don't get many cream blushes from Chanel, at least not as singles, so this is exciting, especially since it's a great product. My skin tone is probably the darkest that can work with this specific color. If you have a tan or are naturally darker than my pale olive skin (NC 30-35ish, but not quite) it's probably too light for you. The blush is sheer and shimmery- on a darker skin it might actually be a very nice highlighter. I can wear it alone but think it's prettier over a powder blush- it tones down the more aggressive Nars Dolce Vita, for example. I apply it with Julie Hewett Cheeky blush brush.
Chanel makes excellent face products and these concealers are no different. They are on the yellow side and I wear the lighter one better but mix a little of the darker concealer in it for custom color where needed. They give excellent coverage and blend perfectly.
Bottom Line: Collection Essentielle de Chanel is nice but a little underwhelming and is definitely not for those with darker skin tones. If you're trying to decide between this one and the other limited edition, Les Regards de Chanel eye palette (back in stock for now), I'd recommend the latter, unless you're utterly in love with the blush.
Collection Essentielle de Chanel Paris-L.A. Palette ($85) is available now from chanel.com.
All photos are mine, including these two bonus ones starring Lizzy and Sophie: