Saturday, February 20, 2016

Chanel Longwear Le Vernis and Le Gel Coat Part I: The Pinks

This is my much-delayed series of large posts in which I tackle all of Chanel's new Longwear Le Vernis shades. You've been seeing these polishes all over the place. I'm proud to say I was one of the first to post uber quick swatches- not bad for a tiny little blog. That said, here's why you should stay tuned and read my thoughts even if you've been reading everyone else.

1. I have all 15 polishes available on the US market (Marinere, the blue shade, didn't ship with the collection. When I can get my hands on it I'll purchase and post).  I didn't just post counter swatches and leave it at that.
2. I believe in Chanel's product; in purchasing these products (and Le Gel Coat), I spent $447 plus tax. I wouldn't do that if this wasn't my true passion. No gratis here.
3. I took the time to take multiple shades for wear tests. No swatch and go here. That took time.

Looking around, I think I'm the first that can say that those 3 things apply to me. So that's why you should read the 4 posts that I'll be putting up even though many others have been talking about the collection. I mean no disrespect to any other blog out there (I love many of you!)- simply laying out facts that support that it will be worth your time to read my reactions.

I originally planned just one post but quickly realized that it would be approaching the length of my masters' thesis from years ago. Thus, we're going to break this up. It won't be one per day, but rather as I finish editing that I'll be putting the posts up. Believe it or not, these nail wheels take awhile.  One quick word on the nail wheels- I tried to focus on mainly Chanel shades rather than searching out every single dupe.


I've always been a fan of Chanel nail polish. It was my gateway drug into high end cosmetics, and my favorite in terms of color selection. Chanel Black Pearl remains my favorite polish for so many reasons out of the 1200+ that I own. The only downside I found was in wear time- I'd often chip in a day. Longwear Le Vernis has changed that for me. I found a range in wear time in the polishes that I took for a wear test, and actually removed one polish without chips or nicks after five days. As someone who is very hard on her nails, that's outstanding. Chanel carefully curated a very safe initial color selection. I'm looking forward to seeing what they add to the lineup. I'm glad to see some returning (albeit improved) classics- and keep hoping to see some additional polishes come back.

After the wretched experience that I had with Sunrise Trip, I was honestly quite apprehensive to try these. Luckily, Sunrise Trip seems like it's an isolated really, really bad trip. I didn't have any staining issues. Out there in the blogosphere, it seems some are complaining of bubbles. My response is simple: base, color, and top coats are formulated to work with each other. If you're not using Chanel La Base and a Chanel top coat with them, the bubbles are probably indicative of the formulas not interacting well. Seche Vite, for example, will not work with these polishes for good results. Got it? Good.

I can see these becoming a staple in my nail rotation along my beloved Christian Louboutin Nail Lacquers (I'll be posting them probably in early April- I'll have all 30 by then). I'll gladly pay for performance, which these deliver.

Simply because of the length of this post, I'll be splitting them up. First up, The Pinks.

Chanel is generally known for their red nail polishes, but I'll argue any day of the week that Chanel knows how to do a fantastic pink. One simply has to look through my stash to back that statement up. In its initial assortment of polishes, it's no wonder that they've dedicated 25% of the shades to classic pink.

With these 4 pinks, Chanel has curated a perfect pink nail wardrobe for the modern woman. You have Ballerina, the classic light pink used in many a French Manicure, Organdi, the classy nude pink that's at home in even the most conservative office, Camelia, the attention-grabbing, scene-stealing hot pink, and Shantung, the deep luscious raspberry bordering on red.

Each are unique and beautiful in their own way. Put together as a microcollection, it's genius. Asked to pick my favorite, I would have a difficult time doing so. Let's explore them, one by one.

167 Ballerina:

This delicate shade is meant to bring the soft pink that evokes ballet slippers. It's neatly white in the bottle, but a bit buildable. I never used to like it, but it's perfect for a pretty, professional look.

Out of all of the shades that I tested, Ballerina surprised me the most. The Longwear Le Vernis formulation of this polish is far thicker and becomes more opaque than its regular wear cousin. I have a confession: I hated the original Ballerina, but the new Ballerina is one of my favorites.

We all know that there are many dupes for this type of polish, so I rounded up a few. It also gives you a good look at Old Ballerina vs New Ballerina.

Sorry about the big white block but I had to double up on nail wheels. You don't need to see some of the swatches for Chaine Or with Ballerina!

Bottom Line: I never, ever thought I'd be saying this but Ballerina is a must-have. It was one of my 5 most disliked Chanel polishes before; now it's one of my favorites and one I'd be happy to wear for a month straight. I'm going to talk about my wear tests in another post, but this one also wore like iron. A true winner.


I have a confession: I have been through the range of emotions with Organdi. I nearly ordered it when the collection first launched and I only wanted to purchase 2 shades. I hated it when I swatched in the store but was afraid to say so in case I changed my mind later.

I was right. I did change my mind and this shade is awesome. Looking at it, it screams ladylike elegance, like something a proper lady would work. Whereas Ballerina is more French Manicure-like, Organdi is that perfectly work appropriate pink that doesn't call attention to your nails. In my experience, these are also more low maintenance than shades like Ballerina.

I was afraid that it clashed with my heavy pink undertones, but having seen it in a full mani it's fine. I also suspected that it would be quite similar to Dior Lady, but Organdi is much darker. It's in the family of Rose Cache. It looks stunning in that mani picture despite that being the most rushed mani of all time. So yes, Organdi is a winner in my book.

The question then is, do I have a dupe for it? I pulled a nail wheel to check.

Bottom Line: After going through the full range of emotions on this polish, I'm so happy that my collector's instinct took over and I purchased it. Organdi will be a staple in my work nail wardrobe for many years to come. It went from the basement to the penthouse of my stash.

506 Camelia:

This was one of the first two shades that I purchased. Even though I own many, many hot pinks, I can't resist one with a great formula.

I'm going to be honest- I'm simply going to repost the picture from a couple of weeks ago here in lieu of re-doing a mani. My cuticles thank you for your understanding:

Forgive me for not re-swatching, but my hands have been quite a bit busy lately. I've been playing with the entire line but I have to admit that my initial instincts to nab Camelia were right. I see this getting a lot of use. Yes, it's dupeable but it's an awesome formula and a great, bright color.

Again, I'm going to repost my prior comparisons:

Dior Diorific Royale (non-US release from Holiday 2013) was the closest I found in my stash. While it's dupeable, I really have a soft spot for it. Do yourself a favor and nab it.

508 Shantung:

This deep raspberry can almost pass for red from a distance. It's one of those classic creme shades that Chanel does so well- and releases at least once a year. That didn't stop me from loving it. As soon as I'm done photographing all of the polishes that have stacked up while testing these, it will be my next mani.

The formula is flawless, and self-levels. Two coats are all that is really necessary, but I did a third just for insurance. This is a perfect four-season color and it honestly makes my hands look more refined. Please note that cleanup with this one is a bit trickier- evidence is found in my cuticles, post one round of cleanup with a brush and acetone!

Let's be honest; I can probably find about 10,000 dupes in my collection so I kept the swatch wheel simple here (and swatched it side by side with Camelia):

Since they're so close, here are a few notes: Chanel Desirio has shimmer and is a true blue pink (vs the warm pink of Shantung), Tom Ford Trophy Wife is close but has shimmer, and  Chanel Suspicious is a little bit lighter.

If you're still reading, congrats! That wraps up my review of the pinks. I'll get the Ballerina mani edited in, but not until I get the rest of the posts up. I have everything photographed, so they will be going up within the next day or so.

Have you tried any of the pinks? What do you think?


  1. Thanks for your informative comprehensive post. How does the le gel coat compare to others in terms of maintaining shine? I use CND weekly topcoat and it is very long wearing and affordable, but loses its shine after a couple of days. Does the le gel topcoat extend the wear of other polishes besides Chanel's?

    1. Hi Nailed It-

      I'll be posting a very detailed review of Le Gel Coat including multiple wear tests documented with photos once I'm done posting all of the colors- either Sunday afternoon or Monday, depending on how long it takes me.

      I can already say that I haven't used Le Gel Coat with other polishes since as I noted formula compatibility is essential to the best performance.


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