Chanel Notorious Ombre Contraste

October 24, 2012

Chanel Notorious Ombre Contraste – Sculpting Veil for Eyes and Cheeks ($43 for 4g/0.14 oz) is a new limited-edition release from the Contrastes Essentielles Collection. We first saw a glimpse of this back in March as seen on CafΓ© Makeup’s Chanel Runway Report. It finally arrived on counter just a few weeks ago. I purchased mine from Saks NY, it is available at select Chanel counters and right now on Chanel.com.

Chanel Notorious is a multi-purpose contouring product for both eyes and cheeks. The description “mauve-taupe” suits the product perfectly. On me it’s more taupe with a hint of mauve-grey. It has a satiny finish – glowy but very subtle on the shimmer factor. The texture is soft and blendable – based on the pan, it doesn’t resemble the European/Asian baked formula, but it doesn’t quite resemble the US formula either. I suspect since this is more for eyes and cheeks it has a completely different consistency than the Joues Contraste blushes.

Based on the runway previews I expected a pigmented grey that was layerable for a strong contoured effect. It does layer well for a more intense effect, but I found the formula rather sheer. For me, the color didn’t show up well on the face – I suspect it’s my medium-tan skintone that prevents it from showing up well. I tried a number of techniques with different brushes, no luck. A number of others have shown this to be a success on the face – I suspect they are lighter in skintone than I am.
On the eyes however, I absolutely loved it. Notorious provides a wonderful contour. It’s one of those magical shades that is so versatile. It layers well over metallic creams or sheer shimmers, it looks amazing layered with other colors, it’s a wonder-product to help blend out harsh edges for a smokey eye. The sheerness and layer-ability helps contour the eye to create a soft gradient. It’s a much-needed shade in my collection. In the compact it’s the same color as what I envision a space-rock to look like.

I pulled a few other greys and contouring shades to compare: Chanel Furtif, Gris Exquis, Burberry Pearl Grey, Burberry Earthy, MAC Emote and NARS Notorious (discontinued). I found Chanel Notorious to have enough warmth to suit my olive skintone as the perfect contour – other greys tend to be quite a bit more silver/blue-based (which is nice, but more sharply contrasted with my skintone).

Update: I’ve added one more comparison photo below. Some have commented it resembles Burberry Rosewood. It’s in the same family, but I feel quite different. I apologize I don’t have time to swatch these but I hope this helps as a reference guide. It’s definitely likely there are dupes – in doing a quick search I couldn’t find any, but I didn’t search for all the possibilities. Below: Burberry Rosewood, Le Metier Corinthian, NARS 413 BLKR, MAC Satin Taupe, MAC Smoke & Diamonds, NARS Ashes to Ashes.

I really like Chanel Notorious. I didn’t like it as a blush/contour, but I love it on the eyes. Perhaps it will take more experimenting for it to show up on my face. For reference on other skins, see it swatched on Blondy Candy, Messy Wands, Best Things in Beauty and Indigo-Kir-Royale. As an update, a darker-skinned follower tweeted me an additional look at Notorious on darker skin at Adventures In Makeup.

If you’re considering this, I recommend you order soon. It’s limited-edition. Did you try or buy Chanel Notorious? What were your thoughts? If you tried it – can you share your skintone too for my other readers below?

You Might Also Like

  • Gorgeous! I own nothing like it (in terms of color). It looks great on the models' cheeks but I don't think my skin tone could pull it off. Lovely as an eye shadow though.

  • Hi, I was thinking the same thing, looks good on the eyes but quite muddy/ashy on cheeks. Like you I have light/medium golden skin and this did nothing for me.

  • I'm going to the Chanel Studio at Nordstrom Seattle tomorrow, this one is definitely on the list for me to check out. It looks surprisingly taupe to me, compared to the other greys. Have you compared it to say Burberry Rosewood, MAC Satin Taupe, or other taupe shadows?


    • I can pull more to compare but probably won't have time to swatch them.

    • Update Claire – I just added one photo for you. Hope this helps.

    • Thanks, Sabrina!! That's actually quiet helpful. I went to Chanel Studio today to try out Notorious, a bit too dark for my fair skin, but as you mentioned, lovely as eye shader. I'm still on the border. I'm glad I saw your comparison picture to other taupes, indeed, Notorious is quite different. Thanks again πŸ™‚


  • It reminds me of Chanel Particuliere, just in eyeshadow form. The color is gorgeous. I think people who have more warm undertones will like it on the eyes, but I think for the cheeks, it should definitely be used only as a contour, and with a very light hand and major blending. I think it looks great on the girl who writes Messy Wands!

  • I just got mine and so far I am loving it. It works on my cheeks with lots of blending!

  • I'd love to see Notorious in person. It looks gorgeous in the pan for an eye color, and the sheerness would be make sense for contour. However for face, I keep thinking that it treads a very fine between avant garde and ashy. It's interesting to hear that Notorious might not show up on medium skin tones; I had originally imagined it to be quite pigmented πŸ™‚

  • I love this beautiful shade though I agree it would probably look much better on the eyes than on the cheeks!

  • I love this shade! I am a bit lighter than NW20 do you think it may look good for contouring or I should be too carefull with it s oI dont look like dead? πŸ˜›

    • Hi beautyincrisis I'm not sure – I think it would a nice contour but it's such a different shade I can't really say. Check out Messy Wands (linked in the post) – she has it swatched on her face, although she is probably NC20 by my guess.

  • This is a very interesting shade, and still quite neutral. I think I could actually use it on the face as well.

  • Anonymous

    It looks like Burberry Rosewood?!?!
    I go with Claire πŸ™‚

    Greetings from Germany,

  • Christine / LipstickChick

    Would anyone who may have seen this in person happen to know if this resembles Bobbi Brown's Stone e/s at all? It seems so similar to me, and if I can use the BB shadow instead, then yay me lol πŸ˜‰ Thanks to any who can answer me!

    PS — Hi, Sabrina πŸ™‚ So very long since I popped up, but follow every bit of what you write!

  • Intereting – I am really curious how this would look on the cheeks, perhaps as a contour shade? I'll be looking out for this one. This is definitely something I would reach for when doing smoky eyes on myself or someone else.

  • Christina

    After using this for a couple of weeks, I'd say it's a fanastic contour powder for my complexion, which is about NC10/15 with strong yellow/grey undertones. If you apply too much, though, you can look like you've been embalmed. On me, it's quite a grey taupe but with just the faintest hint of warmth to make it more natural looking. I am able to use this as cheek contour (only in the hollows, people!), in the eye socket to give it depth, along the jawline, and even as a brow filler.

    If you tap your brush into the pan, it can kick up a little bit of powder, but that doesn't translate onto the face at all. It is really smooth and translucent. This translucency also makes it harder to find an exact dupe, and I have several purply-grey taupe eyeshadows.

    I've never been able to use bronzers or brown-taupes as my contour because of my complexion, so this is much welcomed in my collection. I might just buy a back-up.

  • love the swatches!!! Great recommendations…
    Can't wait to try some of these products myself! – xo

  • bK

    I want this as an eyeshadow!!

  • I want Notorious but I live in Germany and I canΒ΄t get it!
    Sooo bad…sooo sad…

  • What a unique product from Chanel! I'd love to try it as a contour powder.

  • I am a super pale (NARS Finland, Chanel BR 12-22) with blue and red undertones. When I contoured using this blush, it made me look like I had a bruise that was healing. They grayish cast does NOT flatter a paler skin tone with cool undertones. I worked with it for 30 minutes with my Chanel SA, determined to make it work and it just didn't. I also reminded me of when I was REALLY sick from my muscle disease. It casted just an unhealthy look on my face.

    I also tried it on as an eyeshadow and didn't love it. I have pale blue eyes so I use a lot of gray shadows and it was just flat, somewhat sheer and lacked "life." I much prefer Gris Exquis, Chanel Furtif, (the other new fall silver/gray Chanel shadow)…pretty much ANYTHING compared to this.

  • Also, I tried to use it for contouring on the jawline, a place where you would want a darker shadow to slim the face and it worked ok for that. Again, in some lights it looked like I'd gotten into a nasty fight due to my already blue toned face.

  • I have light/medium skin with yellow undertones. I'm a little darker than NC20 in MAC, and this works fantastic as a cheek contour as well as an eye contour. It matches the color of the natural shadows on my face perfectly. This works better than any bronzer, which always seem to turn orange or look too brown, for contouring on me. I am considering a backup as well. The key is to build slowly and blend. And yes, definitely use only in the hollows of the cheeks!

  • I have a light/medium skin tone with yellow undertones. I am currently a little darker than NC 20. This works perfectly as a cheek and eye contour for me. The color matches the color of the natural shadows on my face perfectly. I've never been able to fake cheek bones until this product (I have a pretty round face). I am definitely considering a backup. The key is to build slowly and blend really well.

  • Ava

    I'm an NC45, Burberry Trench 9, medium/dark complexion. Notorious works perfectly for me as a cheek contour and as eyebrow color. It looks particularly good with cooler-toned blushes or a neutral such as Chanel's Rouge from the Byzance collection. If I use a warmer blush, I apply a traditional brownish bronzer over Notorious, which warms it up a bit without cancelling its contour affects. It does not work for me as an eye shadow. As Glossy Esquire said, it just looks dull and flat.

  • I've been so so curious about this but I've never been big into contouring, so I passed. But it IS a lovely color and I guess I could just use it on my eyes until I got some practice in with contouring!

  • Sam

    Notorious works really well as a cheek contour for my neutral fair/med skin (I'm roughly NC20, but considerably more neutral than "C"). Bronzers used as contouring powders just look brown (or, worse, like dirt) on my skin, so I can't use them. However, I had a gray/purple contour powder long ago that really worked for me, and I'm so happy to have found a replacement in Notorious. With a light hand and judicious blending, it's perfect.

  • is there any chance that you want to sell the notorious blush my dear?? <3 Im slowly dying since it came out and did not got a chance to get it hehe.. lmk! xo!