Chanel Rouge Noir Le Vernis: Can You Dupe It?

November 15, 2010
Where has the time gone? In August, I featured a Chanel Rouge Noir 18 manicure with the intention of writing a dupe post shortly after. It seems I have lost track of time. Chanel Rouge Noir is one of those shades that has reached cult status as one of the most highly sought after shades. Is it simply because it’s hard to find? I’m not entirely sure. It is indeed a gorgeous dark chocolate cherry vampy kind of shade. I love how it will look reddish with one coat and get darker and more vampy with each progressive coat.

What makes Chanel Rouge Noir unique is the reddish base which prevents it from appearing like a straight black. It has a flawless glossy finish with 2 coats. It’s pure love. It’s currently available in the US in one of the Holiday Trio Nail Sets (with Rouge Noir, Gold Lamรฉ reviewed here and Coromandel reviewed here). For those who don’t like Chanel, can’t find this shade or don’t want to splurge on a trio for 1 color . . .

The question is: Can you dupe it?

I pulled shades I thought would be similar. Some turned out to be very close, others not so much so. Here is Rouge Noir compared to colors from OPI, NARS, Rescue Beauty Lounge, Rococo Nail Apparel and Dolce & Gabbana.

I’ve swatched these with 1 coat and then 2 coats so you can see the reddish base in virtually all of these. What I find intriguing is Chanel Rouge Noir vs. Chanel Forbidden. In the bottles above, Rouge Noir looks darker. However when swatched the results are different. (See more vampy swatches here in different lighting.)

With a high flash you can see the reddish base colors come out:

One Coat Swatched:

Two Coats Swatched (Thick):

The verdict: Yes, it can be duped! My take: the closest colors I found are Rescue Beauty Lounge Au Chocolat and Dolce & Gabbana Dahlia (with 2-3 coats applied).

If you cannot find Chanel Rouge Noir #18 individually, no need to fret. There are quite a few colors that are similar. Even if the colors aren’t an exact dupe, the effect of each are similar enough that you can barely tell the difference from arm’s length. Hope this helps many of you!

A Rescue Beauty Lounge Au Chocolat manicure will be featured shortly. Enjoy the last bits of your weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • Looks like I don't need Rouge Noir anymore as I have Au Chocolat ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks Sabrina!

  • What a coincidence— I was just thinking about buying this type of color when I saw your blog entry! Thanks for the post =)

  • Great post. Thanks for the heads up on the dupe.

  • rouge noir started my love affair with CHANEL nail lacquers. thank you for the comparison post! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • eke

    I did this comparison too after I bought last year's Nordstrom re-issue (in the interest of preserving my Chanel precious) and I found that Essie Wicked will also do the trick nicely. In fact, I couldn't tell which nail I painted with which polish. But you make the D&G products look so good, I may have to cave…

  • Off the topic, you have really beautiful handwriting !

  • Eileen

    Sabrina, you continue to amaze me with your wonderfully comprehensive and beautifully photographed side-by-side comparisons. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into this post.

    Per my monitor, the D&G appears to be the closest match because it, too, has that ever so slight hidden hint of blue that makes it and Rouge Noir lean towards purple rather than brown. They're gorgeous colors, that's for sure, with depth and a rich, complex color that would look attractive with warm or cool skin tones. So often the deep reds remind me of congealed blood (not a pretty image, I know) and they look great against warm skin tones and traditional autumn colors, but Rouge Noir and Dahlia seem to be more universal.

    I haven't tried any D&G lacquers yet, but Dahlia is a good reason to give them a whirl. Thanks again form the great post.

  • Gretchen

    I really like your handwriting. It's very pretty and easy to read.

    Now I need some vampy nails. I have on OPI Cuckoo for this Color. Next week I'll definitely be going dark red…

  • Aw man, I knew I should have gotten Au Chocolat during the RBL sale. I got Film Noir instead and it looks like my OPI Lincoln Park After Dark. Oooh that D&G Dahlia is pretty. I have the lip liner.

  • Absolutely gorgeous post, and great comprehensive swatches! Thanks for being honest about dupeability!

  • thanks for this great post! As my "rouge noir" is now nearly 5 or 6 years old and slowly getting too sticky, I was looking for an alternative. I had nearly given up and wanted to buy "rouge noir" again, but now that I read your review here, I guess I will order the Dolce&Gabbana one… ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for the wonderful comparison! I find the D&G polishes last and do not show tip wear for a long time! I just may get Dahlia! Their Red and Pink wear flawlessly.

  • the only shade that I can thing of is meet for drinks from sephora by opi after two coats, but I sometimes use three thin coats to deepen the shade

    Sometimes its hard to match nail polishes exactly with other brands. I have done that. all I am able to do is swatch or find an in between shade that almost matches up to it.

    your swatches are very similar: chanel forbidden, d&g dahlia and the first color opi. have u thought of using three thin coats to deepen the shade?

    Quick question:

    how do you store your nail polishes to keep them fresh? nail polishes spoil fast.

    also, how do you stay organized with all of your makeup? do you categorize it by brand, color, separate favorites from the rest?

    just wondering because i too have a lot of makeup like you and have a tough time keeping it organized

  • these colors never go out of style! so romantic

  • BP

    I think Essie Wicked might also be a good dupe!

  • Add thinner to polish… Polish doesnt spoil… I have some opis that are probaby 10+ years old

  • I think Essie Wicked might not be as glossy and might be missing that extra dimension Chanel one seems to have.