Monday, July 04, 2011

Chanel Joues Contrase Rouge Blush- Byzance Collection Fall 2011

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 boutiques around the world and apparently also from Bloomingdale's in NYC.

All photos are mine.


  1. Thank you for this review, Gaia. I've already ordered the Rouge Byzantin red lipstick (I HAD to have that or I was afraid my heart would break), but I was on the fence about the red blush (and the gold, as well, though I know I can use that). Now that I've seen it swatched (and heard that it IS possible to blend it into something natural), I may head back to the site and order it, along with the Or.

    Do you think this would work on fair skin, or am I just wishing for something impossible? I'm very fair, and although it looks amazing on you, I imagine you are at least somewhat darker than, I have very neutral skin tones as opposed to your more olive undertones. Any thoughts?

    Thanks again for the great, in-depth review!


  2. Wow that pigmentation is INSANE! I wish would ship to Canada. I really want the blush and Rouge Allure :-( As Shannon heart is breaking.

  3. Oh, I can't wait! I think this will be a keeper for me. Thanks for the application tips.

  4. Shannon, I think Rouge will work just fine, as long as you take the time to really blend it with the right brush. I saw it on a pale skinned woman and it was gorgeous in that Snow White way.

  5. C., if I remember correctly there are Chanel boutiques in both Toronto and Montreal. I'd give them a call, as well as to Ogilvy and Holt, just in case.

  6. PeriouslyPale, I ordered mine from the Nordstrom Chanel Salon in Seattle. They may ship to Canada. If you decide to call, ask for Phylliss at 206-628-1054.

  7. Hi Shannon,

    I have fair skin with peachy pink undertones and when an MA friend applied Rouge on me using a fan brush (a technique she taught me for intense shades), it looked really beautiful. Gaia's Snow White image is perfect. A more modern take on it might be Dita Von Teese ;-) The only reason I did not purchase Rouge was because I've had hot flashes for over 12 years and never know when I'll be treated to a full flushing effect. Needless to say, I have to be very careful about the colors I put on my cheeks.

  8. Wow, this is gorgeous! Highly pigmented, but if I get out my "new" fan brush, (thanks Gaia) I'm sure things will work smoothly.
    I tend to under-apply blush to begin with, I always worry about using too much.

  9. Very pretty! It reminds me of the red side from MAC mineralized eyeshadow in Mi'Lady.

  10. I had managed to convince myself that I didn't need this until I saw your swatches. So yes, Phyllis at Nordstrom's Chanel has my credit card info now... :-) Really looking forward to receiving it.

    THANKS for a great review and amazing photos!

  11. Beautiful!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for the review.

  12. @ Ava thank you for posting Nordstrom Seattle info. I ordered it from there. No shipping for being a tier 2 member! Thanks so much!

    Lovely swatches Gaia...your swatch pushed me over.

  13. Hi Perilouslypale, I got my Byzance Rouge blush from Holt Renfrew in Toronto, Bloor street. It's apparently the only department store selling the byzance makeup collection in Canada I think. You might want to give them a call bec I got mine a few weeks ago...

  14. You're welcome, Suchetab. Thanks, Gaia, for posting.


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