Chanel has reformulated all of their nail colors into a newer longer lasting formula called Le Vernis Longwear Nail Colour ($28 each for 13 ml/0.4 fl oz, made in France). There are 15 shades in this new launch, there are a few from the original line that have been re-launched in Particuliere, Ballerina, Pirate, Vamp, and Rouge Noir. I haven’t yet had the chance to check out the new ones in person yet to compare the original to new shades, so I’m not sure if the new vs old colors are identical (if you have let me know!). The Chanel team sent 3 colors for me to try out along with the new Le Gel Coat Longwear Top Coat ($28 for 13 ml/0.4 fl oz), I’ve been putting these to the test for almost two weeks now. The formula is definitely a huge improvement in terms of lasting power.
The three shades I have to share are Camélia 506, Gitane 510 and Roubachka 514. These are all creams with insanely rich pigment. Camélia and Gitane are one-coat wonders, one coat offers full coverage, although I still prefer two for an ultra rich, ultra glossy, slightly cushiony look. These seem to be similar in texture compared to the more pigmented Chanel creams like Dragon. They glide on smoothly and easily. Camélia is a rich deep peony pink kind of color, it’s got a cool-toned base but has a bright undertone which adds warmth. Gitane is an electric warm red. Roubachka is definitely a two-coater, the formula in this one is almost like a pigmented jelly. It’s a deep purple color but looks almost black on the nails. It’s what I wanted Tom Ford Viper to be (which I’ve tested in store many times but found the formula just too sheer and streaky).
Above left to right is Gitane, Camelia, Roubachka and the Le Gel Coat. They’ve changed the packaging a bit this launch. The names are no longer printed on the front of the bottles. Names are now on the back for the colors. The formula remains 5-free.
Another change they’ve made is to the brush. I was a huge huge fan of the original brush. It was thin and dense which allowed for precise application. The newer brush is a bit thicker and fans out the slightest bit at the edges. Length of brush is about the same. Initially the fanning out worried me because I thought it would be harder to control and paint the nails evenly along the cuticles. I found no issue with application. At this time I still prefer the original brush – but when you have something that you fall in love with, getting used to something different can just take time. Here’s a look at the brushes for the new formula.
For comparison, here’s a look at Gitane vs Coquelicot, packaging size is identical in product amount and bottle size. Brushes are the same length, there’s just a slight difference in the shape:
Onto the swatches, all of these have 2 coats of the Le Vernis applied with one coat of the Le Gel Coat on top:
A few quick thoughts on the Le Gel Coat is that it’s amazing. When Chanel discontinued the Laque Brilliance Extreme I was heartbroken. I found the new Le Top Coat Quick Dry top coat to be decent, but nowhere near as good as the original top coat. The Le Top Coat was very thin and runny and I found I had to load up the brush to get enough product on it to apply to the nail, but often loaded up either too little or too much.
The new Le Gel Coat is a thicker glossy kind of top coat. It has a wider brush compared to the other top coats. I tested this over Essie Barefoot and Topless because no matter what kind of top coat I use on Essie, I get tipwear the very same day I apply it. I know many others like the formula, I think it’s one of the worst that I’ve tried in terms of lasting power. I figured if the new Chanel Top Coat could make Essie polish last, then it gets my approval. The Chanel Le Gel Coat made the manicure last until Day 5 with no signs of tip wear or chipping. I only took it off so I could test other colors.
The Le Gel Coat is described as, “Specially created to enhance the new nail colour, LE GEL COAT Longwear Top Coat extends the wear for up to seven days. Activated by natural light, the innovative, clear top coat bonds to LE VERNIS for flexibility, strength and unprecedented wear. The result: an ultra-glossy, gel-like look without the UV lamp.”
It did indeed make one of the manicures last very long. In addition to the Essie, I tested Chanel Camelia with the new Le Gel Coat Top Coat and saw no signs of chipping or tip wear by Day 8. It has a cushiony glossy look. The formula is on the thicker side, but still fluid enough compared to other gel top coats so it feels like it won’t dry out or thicken like other brands. I give this a thumbs up.
A look at the original, vs Le Top vs Le Gel:
First impressions are very good from my end. The new reformulation has definitely improved the lasting power of the polish although I’ve always had good experiences with the formula in general since I’ve started collecting Chanel nail polishes. The reformulation reminds me somewhat of when Dior reformulated and relaunched their polish – they changed the packaging, changed the brush, improved the formula and pigment and also launched colors primarily in the classic/safe zone to start with a couple of more edgy shades.
I haven’t had a chance to pull comparisons or look at the other shades in the new formula, with the exception of the one above with Gitane vs Coquelicot – they look identical to me with Gitane being the slightest bit warmer. Camélia is a classic deep but bright cool pink shade, it’s deeper than colors like Fracas, Rose Exhuberant or Pulsion. It has a similar vibe to April, but Camelia is a lot brighter and not muted like April. It’s bright but deep. If I were to compare the effect of Roubachka to another shade I would say it’s similar to Tom Ford Black Cherry. I am sad to see the other shades go, but to date I’ve only used up a couple polish colors and the shades I do have last a very long time (some I have are 5+ years old and the formula is still good).
You can find the new Chanel Le Vernis formula online at Chanel.com. I’ve spotted the colors online and in store at Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus although neither of them have Rouge Noir (at least not yet).
Have you checked out the new formula yet? What do you think?
Le Vernis polishes featured above provided courtesy of Chanel for review.