The first thing you'll probably think when trying Chanel Notorious for the first time is question your sanity. What made you and me buy a gray/taupe contouring "blush" that has intense pigmentation and swatches like ash? (the answer is Xiao from Messy Wands. Check out her post about how to apply Notorious)
But I had to have it. Chanel Notorious is a sculpting powder. Similar idea to the one by Kevyn Aucoin-- here are the comparison swatches:
Chanel took this a step further, with a color that really looks like shade that falls on your face- if you blend it enough. As others already discovered, the key is blending like your life depends on it. And then blend some more. I've spent the last couple of weeks working on my skills, and I'm still far from an expert. It doesn't help that my face shape is the opposite of bony. I don't have any cheekbones to speak of, which makes me want, need and yearn for some good contouring, without any facial structure to support it. All I have are brushes and products.
Speaking of brushes: I've tried using several smallish face brushes with Chanel Notorious. The winners for me are Hakuhodo S103 (there are similarly shaped brushes in most of Hakuhodo's ranges) and Hakuhodo 210. The pointed and elongated S103 provides a precise and directional application, meaning the Sculpting Veil doesn't get where it doesn't belong. I start diffusing it with this brush before moving to the round 210. If I still find myself with too much pigment on my cheek I can always add a little presses powder or even foundation to take it down a couple of notches.
The texture of Chanel Notorious is harder and grittier than the silky Kevyn Aucoin powder. It also has a glow, surprising for a sculpting product. It doesn't translates as shimmer on a well-prepped face (my dry wrist does show some under harsh light--a combination of natural daylight and extra lamps), but do take it into consideration.
It takes a little patience and an extra couple of minutes to blend, so I'd never attempt Notoriousing my face if I'm not in the right mindset to deal with it, but there's something to be said for the ritual of mindfully applying a unique and beautiful product.
Bottom Line: Worth your time.
Chanel Notorious Ombre Contraste Sculpting Veil For Eyes And Cheeks ($43) is part of Chanel's limited edition Contrastes Essentielles collection. Available at select locations and from Chanel.com.