Rouge is putting the Red in today's Red, White & Blue theme. This is the striking blush from Chanel Byzance Collection for Fall 2011. All items are limited edition and in limited distribution: Chanel boutiques (only the ones that carry the fragrance and beauty items, so don't bother with the one at NJ Short Hills mall), online and as a reader mentioned last night, Bloomingdale's flagship store in NYC also stocks the collection.
Simply named Rouge, this blush is as red as they come. It's richly pigmented and can go very wrong very quickly. The thing is, Rouge can also be brilliantly flattering and natural. Look at the blush carefully and think about it: unlike colors such as lilac, orange or bubblegum pink, this red tone is actually found in human skin. Therefore the right amount, placement and blending can give cheeks a healthy flush.
You need the tiniest amount of product here. Seriously. Very little. What I do is take one fluffy gentle brush and pick up very little- only a light touch to the pressed blush in the compact. Then I take another brush (Hakuhodo medium Yachiyo, for example) and use that to get even less color from the first one and apply it to my face. And blend. And blend again. Have I mentioned you need to blend? The secret is to start extremely lightly and add more if needed (highly unlikely). The result will surprise you, just as it did for me at the boutique when the SA proved that I actually can wear a red blush.
The color's complexity (you can see in the photos it is not a uniform red but actually a very complex shade with an almost marbled effect) allows it to pick up the natural tones in one's skin and look good on many a complexion. It's probably not the right shade if you have a skin condition that's accompanied by unwanted redness, but for someone who's trying to bring life into the skin, a touch of healthy red is a surprisingly good idea.
Now let's talk texture. Rouge looks a bit shimmery in the pan and when finger swatched. The particles disappear completely on the face and instead give that inner glow many of us get from Chanel blushes. Joues Contrase Rouge is pliable and blendable, soft and smooth. It takes the retro concept of a rouge compact and makes it new and modern. This is the one item from the Byzance collection I didn't think would interest me, but seeing it in person and testing on my face made me fall in love on the spot.
Bottom Line: this blush is most likely going to outlive me, but I'm thrilled to have and use it.
Chanel Joues Contrase Rouge ($43) is a limited edition blush, available from chanel.com, Chanel boutiques around the world and apparently also from Bloomingdale's in NYC.
All photos are mine.