This is my review of the Chanel Le Vernis nail polish formula.
I have reviewed a number of Chanel polishes so far (eg. Lilis, Alchimie, Taboo), but thought that I would write a review of the formula itself, given I own a number of these beauties.
Chanel’s bottle is a rectangular glass bottle with a hefty black lid that has the interlocking c’s on it. It’s a classy looking thing (I’ve used Chanel Bel Argus here):
The lid detaches leaving a smaller lid that makes it easier to handle – obviously having a massive lid would be unwieldy if you had tiny girl hands (like me).
The brush is tiny. I have small fingernails so find the smaller brush works well for me, particularly on my pinky and index fingers. The drawback of the brush being on the smaller side is that you need to have multiple swipes at the nail to paint it evenly and therefore it is more prone to streaking, cuticle bald-spots, brush-strokes and patchiness.
That being said, I find the formula amazing. The only issues I have ever had with Chanel polishes is some of the very light, slightly sheerer polishes where painting with the smaller brush has been streaky. That and the more shimmery / metallicky polishes that are prone to showing brushstrokes (but these are in the minority – Alchimie was a little bit like this).
I consistently get one week’s wear with Chanel polishes, which is great given that for me to buy a Chanel polish in Australia is a spicy meatball at $39 AUD. Yes. Ouch. So for that amount of money it better be good. It should almost paint itself. In fact, ideally it would buy me dinner first.
I find that the longevity is consistent no matter what I lay down as a base-coat or top coat. I have the full Chanel ensemble (base-coat, two coats of colour, top coat) and I have had a week’s wear. I have laid down Revitanail as a base-coat, two coats of Chanel polish, OPI top coat and have had a week’s wear. I have used Butter London’s base and top coats. I have used Essie’s base and top coats. I have mixed it up with a permutation of the base-coats and top coats that I own and I get consistent wear time. This is not a temperamental formula and that’s why I love Chanel polishes.
The other thing I love about Chanel is their colour palette. Not to diss Essie (who are well known for their neutrals, pinks, reds), but Chanel has come out with some absolute magic colour choices. Jade. Mimosa. Khaki Vert. Coco Blue. Black Satin. Who’d have thought that Chanel would come out with green polish? Yellow polish? That it would launch a revival of black nail polish and make it mainstream and chic? It’s that that keeps me coming back for more and waiting for the new seasons to come along so I can snap up the next surprise colour offering.
Chanel Lilis is a bright coral. I love these sorts of colours. There has not been a coral polish that I haven’t fallen in love with.
This is a smooth, creamy polish. No shimmer. Just glossy smooth perfection. This was two coats below but if you applied carefully you could get away with one coat, it’s quite saturated.
Now a little more about me raving about the colour. It is definitely orangey red. Not a very pinky coral if you know what I’m saying – that’s why I love coral coloured polishes, sometimes they lean more red, sometimes they lean more pink, sometimes they lean more orange. Sometimes if the formula is right it can be different depending on the angle. Chanel Lilis falls into this sort of category. The photo is true to the colour on the nail, but in super bright lighting it is a super-saturated and bright polish. Very bright. Absolutely gorgeous.
I also found that I had fabulous wear time with Lilis. I have had some minor formula issues with some of the other recent Chanel launches like Alchimie, Taboo, etc, where the wear time was not my usual week’s worth of wear but where I started seeing chips within day 3 or day 4. I’ve raved about the wear time before in my Chanel Le Vernis Formula review.
Chanel Lilis was not like these polishes. I don’t know if it is the lack of shimmer and therefore they are using the old formula, but this just wore and wore like the usual Chanel polishes that I know and love. I actually took it off to change colours to swatch (I suffer for the people, hehe), rather than take it off because it chipped (I have another confession, I can’t do chipped polish. Chipped polish is a gateway to further chipping and I am a picker and will pick off the polish that will leave the naked nail exposed that will then call to me…..so I get onto chips straight away or I will bite those virginal, pure, unpolished nail bits. I know. I’m disgusting ).
If you are looking for a bright pop of colour to brighten up your winter outfits (for my Southern Hemisphere peeps) or want to bring Summertime to your fingers and toes, Chanel Lilis screams it. It’s fun. It’s bold. It’s classy. It’s pretty.
Disclaimer: I bought this myself from Nordstroms.
In the blue corner, representing Chanel is Chanel Alchimie.
In the red corner, representing YSL is YSL Bronze Pyrite.
Now, at first I thought maybe I’d gone crazy and was on crack, which I’m not, when I even suggested that maybe Chanel Alchimie and YSL Bronze Pyrite could be twinnies. But there are some similarities that made me want to go and compare them.
So compare I did.
They are not dupes. They are similar in colour family but Chanel Alchimie has that secret sauce in the way of tiny microshimmers and microglitter that Chanel does superbly. YSL Bronze Pyrite on the other hand is more metallic and boasts being a metallic without showing brushstrokes.
In the picture below, I have Chanel Alchimie on my index and ring fingers and YSL Bronze Pyrite on my thumb, middle finger and pinkie.
In some angles the colours are remarkably similar and in darker lighting (eg indoor light) they do look quite similar. In full sun, indoors with bright light or photography with flash – the colours are different and the finish differences are noted.
Chanel Alchimie boasts microshimmer and microglitter in a green base. YSL Bronze Pyrite is a metallic polish where there is no differentiation between the base colour and the shimmer. This is like molten metal in its smoothness.
Well hello there. <picks self off floor, leaving a little puddle of dribble behind>. This. Is. Stunning. OMG.
Let’s look at the color in the bottle first. I know that usually I do the swatches on the nail first and the bottle second, but the bottle is just drop dead gorgeous. The depth. The glow. The shimmers. The complexity. It is seriously why I love Chanel polish (granted the formula is pretty amazing too and not chip-tastic at all for me). Enough of me raving about the thing, show me the bottle already:
Look at that. Basque in the glory that Chanel Taboo is. It almost looks red in this photo but you can see the deep purple on the edges and the red and fuchsia shimmer that makes it almost look like it’s glowing from inside the bottle. Like it has its own light source.
Now on the nail it is just as gorgeous. The purpley-goodness shows through but you can see the shimmer has translated to the nail as well. Don’t you hate it when sometimes the bottle is all gorgeous, lit-from-within, shimmery-perfection and you paint it on and wonder what happened? Like you almost had to double-check that you weren’t abducted by aliens who decided to paint your nails a similar color without the shimmer, just to mess with you.
Ta-da! Look at that for perty. You can see the shimmer in the bottle. You can see the shimmer on the nail. The coverage was good in two coats and when you applied top coat, wowza, did the shimmer really pop and shine through.
The only drawback I can say is that this was a bit of a chip-tastic polish. The usual Chanel formula is awesome on me. I get a week’s wear. But this was a delicate polish and chipped horribly within two days. I discussed this with the sales assistant at the Chanel counter at David Jones (I was wearing Taboo at the time) and she also lamented that it was chip-tastic on her also and she hazarded a guess that it had something to do with the micro-glitter and shimmer.
It’s still pretty, but if you are used to long wear like Chanel’s usual polishes, you may be disappointed, which I was because they are high-end, expensive purchases.
Disclaimer: I purchased this myself from Nordstroms.
I love Chanel nail polish.
Alchimie is a light khaki green polish with microshimmer, so much so it almost looks metallic. It has moments of duo-chromeness, but isn’t a true duo-chrome. From some angles it looks greener and other angles it looks a bit more antique-gold. Either way, it’s super pretty.
The main drawback of this polish is the brushstrokey-ness. Due to its high shimmer verging on metallic nature, there are going to be brushstrokes. Some people don’t sweat the brushstrokes. Others do. I fall into the “omg this is super-brush-strokey” and my OCD kicks in and I feel the need to try to add another careful coat in the hope of minimising it. Of course this doesn’t work. Yet I still do it, like this time it’s going to work. Anywho, I was super careful and my top coat did level it out to some extent, but you can see the brushstrokes below. A note of warning, if you have any lumps and bumps on your nails – this polish will highlight it.
Chanel Alchimie 591
The color is reminiscent of Chanel Peridot (which I own) which also has that green / gold thing going on but falls into the true duo-chrome category and is super-metallic. I will dig it out and put up a post showing the differences.
Alchimie is far more wearable. It can be subdued and work appropriate. It won’t draw a lot of attention from afar, but when someone does look at your nails they will remark on how pretty and how different they look with this sort of color.
Chanel alchimie bottle view
The bottle shows the different colours, the gold is highlighted plus a little bit of copper and the khaki is evident near the top of the bottle. I love these sort of chameleon colors, something I believe Chanel does better than anyone else.
Disclaimer: I purchased this myself from Nordstroms.