Saturday, October 1, 2011

Chanel Ombre Essentielle Soft Touch Eye Shadow 58 Lavande

Chanel Ombre Essentielle Soft Touch Eyeshadow 58 Lavande ($28.50) is discontinued, but you can probably still find it on eBay and the like.

Like all Ombre Essentielle eyeshadows, Lavande is buttery soft and applies very smoothly with no fallout or shimmer migration. The name obviously implies a lavender color, but unlike the blossoms from the herb, Lavande is not muted. It is a clear, blue-lavender shade with no grey to soften it.

The clarity in this eyeshadow disappointed me at first, but I have grown to love it over time. I had originally wanted a light purple shade with blue or grey undertones, because I had nothing like it in my small purple shadow collection (forgetting about NARS Violetta and D. Gorgeous), and I was hoping Lavande would be less bright. This eyeshadow makes my blue-grey-green eyes sparkle, but it would look even more glorious on brown-eyed girls, especially those with yellow undertone to soften its vibrancy.

Since I am not warm toned, the logical conclusion would be to pair Lavande with a warm eyeshadow, but I don't wear warm eyeshadow. At all. As in, don't even get it near me. Despite what beauty pundits say about complementing blue eyes, warm, orange-based browns, khakis, and golds make me look ill. I looked for a suitable complement, but I found nothing from my own cool taupes, greys, and greiges that improved the appearance of Lavande. Everything I tried made Lavande look more blue.

So as pretty as Lavande is in the pan, I almost put it into the Mistake Drawer. I have a personal policy about eyeshadow. OK maybe it's not a policy, but it's a goal. Any eyeshadow I purchase must be able to stand on its own. If it requires layering with other shadows to look good, I won't keep it, no matter how pretty the result of the blending. It's one reason why I am not drawn to the Le Metier de Beaute Kaleidoscopes. I can't be bothered with all that layering and blending.

Here are some swatches on my NW15 skin, which does little to enhance this beautiful eyeshadow because my skin turns Lavande icy.

Lavande in sunlight
Lavande in natural light, no flash
As it turns out, I was unable to shop my own stash for a more flattering version of shimmering purple. In fact, Lavande drew my attention to the fact that most of the other shimmery purple shades were not as flattering as I first thought. My eyeshadow mistakes occur when I am irresistibly drawn in by a pretty color but don't give enough thought to how that color will translate on me.

Here are some pictures of Lavande compared to Chantecaille Freesia, Laura Mercier Dusk (reviewed here), and Delicate Hummingbird (reviewed here, which contains a MAC Shale comparison).

These colors are soft, so I hope you can see the differences. Lavande, far left, is the most clear of the four colors shown. Freesia is lightest in pigment and falls somewhere between Lavande and Dusk, being neither too blue nor too pink. Dusk has pronounced red undertones, but it is not a lavender shade--it's a shimmery lilac, so the red makes sense. Delicate Hummingbird is a very complex color that has so much going on, the overall effect is a muted plum, deeper and slightly warmer than the other three.

For fun, Lisa Eldridge uses one of my comparison eyeshadows, Chantecaille Freesia, in a very bright/pastel EoTD.

Bottom line: Lavande is beautiful, and I am happy I picked it up, but wearing color took some getting used to.

Do you have a favorite shimmering purple eyeshadow?

All photos taken by me


  1. I know Lavande is a favourite of Dain's, but I suspect it would be too cool on my skin.

    I have a few shimmery lilacs, including NARS Nouveau Monde and Strada, and Shu Uemura IR700 and P750. The way I often wear them is not on their own, but mixed with a neutral on the brush, like NARS Galapagos, to add dimension to the other colour.

  2. Can't say shimmering purples are my fave though they are GORGEOUS in the pans. I think I only have one and it's NARS Night Rider which is way too glittery for everyday wear. This Chanel looks lovely for spring!

  3. I have a problem wearing these shimmery purples as well as I find they can make me look sick. I love the way they look on others, but just not on me.

  4. Oo... That is too bad. You must be cooler even than I am. On me (since I do have a little yellow to balance the pink), it wears as an off grey. I have to say, swatched against your skin, Delicate Hummingbird is the clear winner.

    I think purples are hard to get right. Something about the actual pigment itself seems to be hard to formulate well.

  5. Li Wen, I had not thought to mix the two colors together on the brush, but that is an excellent idea. If I take a matte or stain grey or not-overly-cool taupe to temper the lavender, it just might work. Thank you!

  6. Liz, I have found that many of NARS shimmer eyeshadows don't work on me. I really love the texture of the mattes, though there's only ONE color in the line that complements my skin tone, but the ones that contain chunky glitter ... no.

  7. Tracy, I am starting to wonder if its the changes in my skin from the aging process. My lids are no longer pinkish blue-white but almost the color of a healing bruise! An odd purply-bluish beige that leans yellow. And SO different from the rest of my skin, which has pronounced pink undertones and beige overtones. And the only reason there's any beige on my skin at all is sun damage. When I look at belly or butt skin, it's pure milky white.

  8. Dain, I was hoping for the off grey, but it seems more clear than ever that I need to try new products on before buying them. You know, like I did in the old days. I do not have to try on tester lipstick--I can apply to the tip of my thumb to get an idea (e.g., when I squeeze the blood up into that area, the skin turns almost identical in color to my lips), but as I mentioned in an above comment, my eyelid skin has changed in the last 10 years.

    Delicate Hummingbird is definitely the most flattering from the above post, but unfortunately it has intense shimmer, far more than I like to wear during the day, so it doesn't get much use.

    I agree about purples being harder to get right, even though I have read in some color theory books that purple--especially lavender--is a universal color (I believe it was about clothing, but why should makeup be different?). I should remember that when I look at a new purple in the pan, it must be muted, preferably with grey not brown, and it cannot be plum because too much red around my eyes is not my best look.

    Currently, MAC Shale (which is a satin, not a shimmer) is my most flattering non-matte purple. The big surprise is that Bobbi Brown Heather is still my best matte (in both her powder and cream formulation), even though almost every other one of her eyeshadows oxidizes on me, but I am starting to think that purple in itself is no longer my best look, and that makes me sad because it's my favorite color in makeup, clothing, and flowers.

  9. In spite of sharing cooler coloring (I can probably wear any lipstick you like), we must have different undertones around the eyes. I have an excess of sallowness around my eyes, including the lid. It's sort of an yellow-olive-brown color (rather than a blue-mauve), which the purple tones in Lavande neutralize. Hence, the off-grey effect.


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