Monday, July 16, 2012

Review: Chanel's Rives Eye Shadow quad (35)

I came home from Nordstrom with the complete Anniversary Exclusive collections from Chanel, Dior, and Bobbi Brown. I'm planning on reviewing every item between now and August 6, the last day of the sale. Nordstrom card holders have early access to the sale, which doesn't start officially until July 20.

Chanel Rives 35 indoors by lamplight
I thought I'd start by reviewing the Chanel beauty exclusives, because they received the least amount of press. This collection wasn't pictured in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale catalog, and I've heard that some Nordstroms only received half a dozen or so of each item.

The Chanel Rives 35 eye quad, originally available only in Asia as part of this spring's Fleur de Lotus collection, is the unloved stepchild of the collection. It hasn't generated much buzz, even among Chanel fans.

Rives features four shades of brown and a white. Even die-hard Chanel fanatics are probably wondering whether it would be worth it to buy Yet Another Chanel Neutral Eye Quad. Are these colors unique and special enough to justify Chanel's ridiculous prices?

I'm a huge fan of neutral eye shadows--I really prefer them for those of us past our first youth. They're universally flattering, and they can be light and subtle or dark and dramatic.  As a result, I've accumulated a scary number of neutral Chanel quads.

Poppy's Chanel eye quads.

I hate to say this, but I find the Rives quad unique. Some of the Chanel neutral shades are a bit murky (Prèlude and Enigma, I'm looking at you) but the shades in Rives are sheer, straightforward browns with a beautiful shimmer and without a hint of plum or gray. I think they'd work with every eye color and skin tone, whether your complexion was warm, neutral, or cool.

As with most Chanel quads, pigment varies from shade to shade. In general, the finish is sheer and the shades are blendable. The lighter shades are meant to be used as a wash and don't leave a lot of pigment. The white looks chalky in the pan, but applies as a wash of sheer, shimmery lightness. The darkest shade is designed to be used as a liner and is much more heavily pigmented.

With makeup fanatics, it's a cliche that the applicators that come packaged with eye shadow and blushes are complete garbage, and should be immediately pitched. This is especially true of sponge-tipped applicators. And it's true that the small, hard black sponge-tipped applicators that come in American Chanel quads are horrible.

However, I got my best results applying these shadows with the plush sponge-tipped applicators they came with. I use a silicone-based concealer as a primer, and I find that other, very pigmented shadows (e.g., Urban Decay or MAC) grab the primer so hard that they become difficult to blend. Not these shadows. They're so soft, it's like working with confectioner's sugar. They blended beautifully when I applied them onto primed eyelids with the sponge-tipped applicators.


Here they are in the early morning light. I applied concealer first. For the left four stripes, I used a brush to apply. I started with the lightest shade and worked my way up to the darkest. Unfortunately, the white shade doesn't show at all. You can only see a hint of the shimmer.

Chanel Rives 35 quad, applied over primer (left) with a brush, and (right) with the sponge-tipped applicator
The four stripes on the right are swatched fairly heavily with the sponge-tip. As you can see, the white shade shows up much better.

Here's the quad, outdoors in morning light. The sun has finally come out enough to reveal some of the shimmer.

In this picture, I swatched all four shades on the paper, so again, it's impossible to see the white.

It's rare that I use all four shades in a quad, but these shades work beautifully together.

To buy, or not to buy

Rives is much prettier, less murky, and works better with my fair skin and hazel eyes than either Prèlude, Enigma, or Dunes. This quad is definitely worth a buy--if you're comfortable paying $58 for four eye shadows, and don't, like some people I know, already own 5,000 shades of brown eye shadow.

I don't know whether these are going to sell out, so if you're interested, call Nordstrom. The pre-sale started July 11th; the sale officially starts July 20th and ends August 6th.



The entire Fleur de Lotus collection is previewed on Rouge Deluxe.

Another review, from a Singapore beauty blogger.


  1. Oh you've really got me curious as I have hazel eyes and love a great neutral brown combo...
    I've been dabbling in shades of plum and soft mauves in quad that was cheap as chips from the drugstore.

    I think a trip to the Chanel counter is on my agenda for the week.
    Thanks Poppy!

  2. Hello! Great blog! The last post is very interesting and beautiful! Let's follow each other, if you agree, then let me know!)))

  3. Ahh these are amazing!! I love them.
    I found your blog through the BBU blog hop & followed :)

    Leanne xx

  4. Glad to read your review. I ordered the quad Friday as well as the pink lipstick. The SA thought they'd go well with my coloring, brown eyes, light olive skin.

  5. Love neutrals and I think they are so versatile in creating many pretty looks. Thanks for the great review!

    Found your blog through BBU blog hop, new follower!

  6. I do love Chanel's makeup. But I sense these might all be for yellow-undertoned skin...

  7. Welcome, tini-tani, Leanne, and STG! Glad you stopped by.

    Reader--having seen you IRL, I'd say your sales associate was right. These colors will be great on you.

    LPC--With your delicate coloring, my main concern would be to keep your eyes from being overwhelmed by too dark a shade. In general, I find that Chanel skews a bit warm, but this palette is about as cool/neutral as you can be, and still be brown. The peachy/rusty shade is the warmest, and it's very sheer. But you know Chanel--there's always another neutral eye quad in the pipeline!

  8. Oh my God, I think you just overtook Into the Gloss and became my favorite beauty blog. Thank you for swatching the Chanel shadows. I have been interested in them for awhile, own none, but hmmm, my birthday is coming up and maybe this will be what I treat myself to. I happen to be close to a Nordstrom this week, maybe I can get over there and see what Chanel they have. Are the prices reduced for makeup during the sale? I thought those prices were set in stone for each brand. I have to find a quad that will work with blue eyes and I have been wanting a lighter eyeshadow for awhile. Wish you were with me when I shop! XO, Jill

  9. I went to nordstrom today and swatched rives next to dunes. I think this is the warmer and darker version of dunes. The bottom right shade looks purple on my NC 25 skin. I was gonna buy this but it looks similar to Dior Rosy Tan that I just bought and I much prefer.


Gentle Readers:

For the time being, I've turned off comment moderation. Please don't spam; it's not nice.

xxx, Poppy.