My First Chanel Quad: Les 4 Ombres in 08 Vanités

Many of the cosmetic purchases I’ve made lately have had one thing in mind: have I tried this before?  As a person who likes change, I gravitate toward the unknown (for the most part).  My aim with makeup lately is to try either a brand I’ve never used before, or check out a product within a brand that I’ve not yet investigated.  My most recent purchase in this regard was Chanel’s Vanités quad, from the Sophisticated Eye collection (fall 2011).

Chanel Vanites Quadra (2)

It’s strange: while I don’t tend to wear a lot of color on my eyes (preferring to do so on my lips, or even cheeks!), I often choose eyeshadows that have more of a *pop.*  When perusing the Chanel quads, the only one that really grabbed me was Vanités.  Having recently read a glowing review on the quad, being in the market for a nice lilac shade, and feeling spend-y, I picked it up and immediately brought it home to try out.

Chanel Vanites Quadra (3)

My first thoughts were that the quad was lovely.  Indeed, the violet tones are quite captivating – and check out that gorgeous gold-flecked mauve!!

Chanel Vanites Quadra (5) Chanel Vanites Quadra

However, once it came time to actually try the shadows, I was sorely let down.  Keep in mind that I do not have any experience with Chanel quads (and in fact, was unable to try this in-store as there were no testers available), so I wasn’t prepared what to expect.  After reading further reviews, Chanel quads it seems tend to be on the dry, stiff side, something to which I can agree with (and also – gritty-feeling) and that I would have likely avoided if I had known.  Also of note is that the quads here in Canada are of the baked variety, while I hear in the States they are different.  So, all points to keep in mind.

Here are the shadows when swatched:

Chanel Vanites Quadra swatches (4)


Chanel Vanites Quadra swatches (8)

Natural light

Chanel Vanites Quadra swatches

Artificial light

These swatches took many layers to achieve this much pigmentation, aside from the darkest shade, which was fairly pigmented in one swipe.  I tried to take photos of me wearing this quad, but it almost looked like nothing was worn, and certainly not enough to show shade and depth.

I realize that Chanel’s makeup philosophy leans toward a soft look; also, the brand caters more to fairer skintones rather than my darker ones.  So it is to say that though I was disappointed in this quad, I was not at all surprized.  Additionally, oddly enough when I looked at the ingredients of the shadows, they contained lanolin – though in the American versions, they do not (alternately, Chanel’s blushes in the US contain lanolin, but in Canada they do not).  So, combined with the disappointing pigmentation, gritty texture, and inclusion of an ingredient I am allergic to – I took the quad back.

For reference purposes, I did take a few comparison swatches against shades I already own:

Chanel Vanites comparisons (3)

Urban Decay’s Psychedelic Sister against the darkest shade of Chanel’s Vanités quad

Chanel Vanites comparisons

Clockwise from top left: Hourglass Exhibition duo, the two middle shades of Chanel’s Vanités quad, NARS Habanera duo, MAC Shale, Le Metier de Beaute Corinthian

Chanel Vanites comparisons (8)

Left to right: Urban Decay Psychedelic Sister, Chanel Vanités (darkest shade), NARS Habanera, LMdB Corinthian, Chanel Vanités (mauve shade), MAC Shale, Chanel Vanités (lilac shade), Hourglass Exhibition

Chanel Vanites comparisons (2)

Left to right: Urban Decay Psychedelic Sister, Chanel Vanités (darkest shade), NARS Habanera, LMdB Corinthian, Chanel Vanités (mauve shade), MAC Shale, Chanel Vanités (lilac shade), Hourglass Exhibition

You can see that none are dupes, though the mauve shade and MAC Shale are similar, and the lilac shade and the lighter shade in the Hourglass Exhibition duo are close as well.  I believe the nuances of these shades would be more pronounced with a better formula, and most definitely with a paler skintone.  On me, sadly, they just fall flat.

Have you tried Vanités, or another Chanel quad?  Have your experiences been positive or negative?  Has anyone tried both the Canadian version and the US version and can comment on how they compare?

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  1. #1 by Sarah on February 18, 2013 - 4:54 pm

    I’ve never tried Chanel quads but I am not a huge fan of baked formulas. I like the “colour story” here; I have an old Annabelle cream e/s quad with similar colours which I love, but then I’m quite pale and rarely have issues getting products to show up on me. Sorry to hear that it didn’t meet your needs or wants, though.

    Also that’s so weird about the lanolin! Is it in a lot of (non-lip) cosmetics?

    • #2 by Latoya on February 27, 2013 - 7:50 am

      Lanolin is in the strangest of places, Sarah, it’s really weird. But I kind of like having that restriction, it means that much less I can buy lol

      I bet this would have looked FANTASTIC on you, with your fairer skin tone! The colors were so beautiful, sadly just not for me 😦

      Sent from my iPhone

  2. #3 by Linda on February 18, 2013 - 5:11 pm

    Can you return it?

    • #4 by Latoya on February 27, 2013 - 7:50 am

      I did!! 😉

      Sent from my iPhone

  3. #5 by judit1661 on February 18, 2013 - 5:20 pm

    As much as I love me some CHANEL, I have not had good luck with the eyshadow, the lip pencil was terrrrible, and their concealer, not so much. However I love and adore their polish (of course) and their face powders, blushes, contours, brighteners etc…. I’ve learned to pass on the e/s. wet n Wild does e/s better than CHANEL. OKAY, there I said it. I’d better move before God strikes me down with a lighting bolt. And by God,of course I mean the ghost of Coco Chanel!

    • #6 by Latoya on February 27, 2013 - 7:52 am

      Hahahaha nice one, Judi 😛 But I suspect you might be right ~side-steps lightning bolt~ Oh well, as you said, their polishes are beautiful and there are other things we can look to Coco for; the rest will have to be found elsewhere 🙂

      Sent from my iPhone

  4. #7 by Amy on February 18, 2013 - 6:01 pm

    Oh dear, I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you! I’ve never tried any of the Chanel quads, and plan to steer clear of the baked ones, as you are not the first to say that they have subpar pigmentation and texture. Still, sadface 😦 They looked so promising in the pan!

    • #8 by Latoya on February 27, 2013 - 7:53 am

      I know, right?!?!? So, so pretty. I even tried them wet but no luck. I think it was a combo of subpar formula and just my skin being too dark 😦

      Sent from my iPhone

  5. #9 by Larie on February 19, 2013 - 1:02 am

    I hear that these aren’t the greatest in terms of formula, actually. I’m sorry this didn’t work out. Can you return it?

  6. #10 by Eugenia on February 19, 2013 - 8:21 am

    The biggest shame, is that your counter had no testers – I don’t understand that, because I know for a fact that CHANEL counters received between 2 -4 testers of each product. You could have avoided the disappointment that way 😦 That being said, not all CHANEL quads are created equal; I own a few (not many) that were let-downs as well — to clarify, I have a couple of quads that I can only use 2 of the shades, while the others are either too stiff/dry or have chunky flakes of glitter which equals major fallout. Those were the quads I picked up without testing first *insert forehead slap here*. Other than that, I love all my other sets and I just ask that you don’t judge them all by this one fail. On another related note, I’ve been informed that fairly soon, all North American CHANEL products will be coming from one source, so there won’t be the whole US/Canada discrepancy any more – something I never understood anyway. Personally, I prefer the baked formula as you then have the choice of using the product wet or dry, and I’ve never had an issue with pigmentation – depends on the brush you use as well.
    In any case, this didn’t work out for you for many reasons, and I’m glad you weren’t stuck with it – too bad, cause the colours looked so good in the pan and I can see them on you!

  7. #11 by Liz (@Reductionista) on February 19, 2013 - 4:09 pm

    I’ve yet to be really captivated by a Chanel quad. I’ve looked at duos more because their softer texture seems to indicate better pigmentation. I think these apply better when used wet but I suppose it’s hardly worth the trouble. Glad you were able to return it!

  8. #12 by Makeup Morsels on February 20, 2013 - 12:28 am

    Aw man, sorry to hear this didn’t work out. At least you were able to return it! They look stunning in the pan, but I can see what you mean about the colors falling a bit flat on the skin. From what I’ve seen online, the square pans/US version are usually more pigmented. But I have to admit, when I swatched those in store, none of them really jumped out at me even though they looked beautiful in their pans and everyone raves about them all the time. Maybe one day I’ll go back and find out I love them though, who knows?

  9. #13 by BeautyReflections (@BeautyReflectTS) on February 20, 2013 - 3:29 am

    This is why I hate Chanel quads too! But the new blue one was better for some reason, which is why I bought it. Glad you took it back! Btw, I just found out that Bourjois OWNS Chanel beauty, so i bet their stuff is pretty much the same stuff!

  10. #14 by Sara on February 21, 2013 - 3:52 pm

    Hello, just wanted to let you know I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! Here’s the link to my post on it:

  11. #15 by Maggie (@MaggiesMakeup) on February 21, 2013 - 7:58 pm

    My Chanel SA keeps trying to convince me to give the quads a try, but I just can’t fall in love with the baked formula. I haven’t tried any US-formula quads, but if the duos are anything to go by, those are much better. I’d rather sheer out a pigmented product that build up (or wet) a less pigmented product. But I can see the appeal of softer application.

  12. #16 by Denise on February 25, 2013 - 7:26 am

    I’ve bought one Chanel quad in my entire life, and while it was beautiful (it was a neutral palette, but I don’t remember the name since this was nearly a decade ago!), I didn’t think it was worth the price… I remember them having a nice soft texture and being pretty pigmented, but mine didn’t look like yours — the eyeshadows in mine were flat, not domed, and square instead of round. Don’t know if that’s a Canadian thing or a US thing or a European thing…

    With pre-made palettes, I have been consistently happy with Urban Decay and TheBalm, both of which are much cheaper for the amount of product you get. 🙂

    • #17 by Latoya on February 25, 2013 - 6:02 pm

      Yea, I have both palettes with both UD and theBalm shadows, and they have fabulous quality. I wish that we’re standard across the board! I think the flat Chanel pans are US, but not sure. I feel like the spring release we had ere had flat pans – I swatched it and it was nice – but it’s all kinda confusing to me!

      Sent from my iPhone

  13. #18 by crystal on December 9, 2015 - 5:37 pm

    I am looking to purchase les quatre ombres vanites I am extremely interested if anyone has them and would like to arrange a purchase or a trade I would love to work it out as i have quite the large selection of makeup and am very open to suggestions and deals. Send me an email

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