Choosing my all time favourite Chanel products is a bit like trying to decide which flavour of Italian gelati I’d rather eat (all of them, obviously, and preferably at the same time or right after one another). Over the last eight years, I’ve been fortunate enough to see the very latest products from this revered brand launch in the country and experience many of them first hand (to my delight and, often, hyperventilation).
With the arrival of each inspiring new make-up collection, sublime skincare spoil or other-worldly fragrance, my love for Chanel has only grown deeper. However, no matter how many pretty new things grace my desk, there are a few I will always adore and go back to time and again.
Chanel Le Vernis in Rouge Noir (R365, limited edition pack)
“Black and white are joined by red, a garnet shade, like the heart of a black cherry, which Chanel uses frequently and which is often called ‘red-black’.” – seen in the May 1926 American Vogue
This icon was born two decades ago, at a time when our country was celebrating new found freedom. It debuted at the Autumn/Winter 1994 Ready-to-Wear Collection, where models showed off fingertips adorned with this almost black red hue, called ‘Vamp’ at the time. It was the perfect combination of passionate red and classic black, a shade Coco Chanel adored.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of this little legend, Chanel brings us a bit of sparkle in the form of Chanel Le Top Coat Lame Rouge Noir (R380), which adds a precious, midas touch on top of classic Rouge Noir. And of course, it pairs perfectly with Chanel Rouge Allure in Rouge Noir (R505) on the lips.
I’ve always said that if I could only use one make-up product again (for the rest of my life) mascara would be it and if that’s the only make-up I get to indulge in, you best bet I’ll be splashing out on something special. This mascara is my lashes’ most luxurious treat and every time I use it I’m always amazed by the results I get. It’s the perfect combination of curl power to give my eyelashes a little lift, volume to add luscious thickness to each individual lash and a deliciously intense colour of deepest carbon black, which is actually what the formula is enriched with for the illusion of a kohl line along the lash line. This makes the eyes appear larger and even more dramatic. And the brush? Heaven.
In my book, sunscreen is as essential as food, water and shelter. It’s a non-negotiable purchase, particularly in our hot climate. Now, I realise using Chanel sunscreen daily is out of reach of the purse-strings of most of us (myself included) but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a seasonal summer spoil (for when you need it most) or a sunny holiday treat (which is when I use it most when travelling).
I would rather spend the majority of my beauty budget on really excellent facial sunscreen with skincare benefits like this one and use a more basic cleanser and day cream, than shell out loads on everything else and use substandard sun protection. Sunscreen is by far the most important anti-ageing skincare product you can buy because it prevents (rather than tries in vain to reverse) the devastating effects of the sun, which include photodamage such as pigmentation and sun spots, wrinkles and unsightly sagging (I’m not even going into the potentially fatal aspects of skin cancers). Plus, this one just feels and smells incredible, which makes you want to apply it every day (and let’s be honest, that’s half the battle with most sunscreens).
PS – The Sublimage range is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year with the relaunch of some of their most loved creams such as Chanel Sublimage La Crème (R4950, on counter 22 January) which is without a doubt Chanel’s most decadent skin spoil around.
I fell head over heels for this beauty the first time it graced my skin almost six years ago and it remains one of my top three favourite foundations (followed very closely by Perfection Lumière Velvet and on par with a brand new Chanel foundation launching in February, which I cannot wait to share with you – Les Beige Healthy Glow Foundation SPF25 PA++). As the name suggests, it is an ultra-light foundation with a super hydrating formula of lotus water and Hyaluronic Acid that leaves skin feeling so fresh and energised. It offers the most natural skin finish with light to medium coverage, and it smells absolutely divine, which makes it such a treat to use.
Naturally, it has to be Chanel N°5 EDP 35ml (R1055, for a limited edition travel size).
“A woman’s fragrance that smells like a woman.” – Mademoiselle Coco Chanel
To be completely honest, my favourite Chanel fragrance is actually Coco Noir EDP, but I think every woman has a responsibility to experience the right of passage that is owning a bottle of N°5. The launch of this 35ml travel edition makes it more possible than ever to own a little piece of Chanel history.
Around eighty ingredients make up the unusual composition of Chanel’s biggest icon, none of which stands dominant from the rest. Olivier Polge, Creator of Chanel Fragrances, describes this as ‘olfactory symphony’. However, you can look forward to popular notes of ylang ylang, jasmine and May Rose, enhanced by the aldehydes which made the scent so popular when presented to Mademoiselle Chanel in 1921 by Ernest Beaux, and relaunched by Jacques Polge in 1986 in the scent we know and love today. And if the fragrance is still a little too much for you (whether in potency or pocket) try one of the beautiful bath and body products – N°5 The Loose Powder is my favourite.
Photography Lauren Watters and courtesy of Chanel