Chanel Riva Le Vernis Nail Colour: Like the Ocean in a Bottle

Published in: Nails, Product Reviews

chanel riva le vernis nail colour review swatches photos with necklace

Um, can you say swoon? I’ve been dying — DYING! — to see the new Chanel Nail Lacquer in Riva ($27) ever since it popped up on the runway at the Chanel Cruise fashion show last May. I’ve lusted over Riva more than I’ve lusted over the abs of the official “Sexiest Man Alive,” aka Ryan Reynolds.


Needless to say, that’s, um, a lot of lust.

The limited edition shade just launched online and in select Chanel stores as part of the five-piece Chanel Cote D’Azur resort collection. Also included in the release are four Rouge Coco lipsticks in Sari Dore, Perle, Taffetas Rose and Chintz ($30 each).

Have you ever seen the sun reflect off a tropical sea on a hot day? Yeah, Riva’s like that! πŸ™‚ It’s a mesmerizing pastel blue, and when the light hits it just so, a hint of azure iridescence peeks through.

When I have it on my nails I feel like I’m sitting on my surfboard, waiting for the next wave, watching my hands as they caress the crystal blue water surrounding me. *DROOL!* It’s like the ocean in a bottle.

chanel riva le vernis nail colour review swatches photos nails 2

chanel riva le vernis nail colour review swatches photos nails 1

chanel riva le vernis nail colour review swatches photos single nail

chanel riva le vernis nail colour review swatches photos

NOTE: Riva can be a little challenging. It takes three layers to get to full opacity, and the texture, like many of the Chanel polishes I’ve worn, goes on thick, which can make it a little tricky to evenly apply.

And then there’s the fact that it’s hella expensive ($27)… Oh, how I long for those kinder, gentler days when shades like Chanel Flamingo were a mere $19.


As much as the price hurts, I’m still Lady Gaga over the color. I haven’t tested it for wear time yet, but if that’s anything like my Chanel go-to’s, Jade and Vendetta, Riva should hold up for between 7-10 days without chips.

Riva might test your patience if you don’t like having to apply three coats, but if you’re a Chanel collector or a blue polish fan, I think it’s worth your time.

PRICE: $27
AVAILABILITY: At Chanel stores and online

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 108 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. marisol says:

    Looks so nice! Does it achieve Jade status?

  2. applepark says:

    Soo soo sooo pretty. But seriously $27?! I’m all for the occasional splurge, but $27 for 1 nail polish feels like a lot. Milani has been so good about creating Chanel dupes. Do I dare just wait for the copy cat?
    applepark recently posted … NARS Makeover- Haul and Swatches – Holiday 2010

    • Karen says:

      Hi Applepark,

      I’ve heard about the dupe for Jade. I haven’t seen it yet in person, though.

      Ah, I can’t believe that $19 for a Chanel polish was actually affordable at one point in time.

    • Rengirl says:

      This looks to me like OPI What’s with the Cattitude – minus the hidden shimmer. I think it’s easily frankenable. Plus OPI’s formula is generally fantastic or at least it sounds better than Chanel’s.

  3. applepark says:

    The Milani dupe for Jade (Dressmaker) is goooooooood! There are also other Milani dupes for Jade Rose and Particuliere! $4.49 vs. $23, $25, now $27??????
    applepark recently posted … NARS Makeover- Haul and Swatches – Holiday 2010

  4. Tracy says:

    Your cuticles are looking sexxxxxy! This is so worth the price tag! When does this hit the stores?
    Tracy recently posted … Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse Foundation is Finally Here In Canada!!!!

  5. Ariel says:

    Wow, I love that nail polish and the Chintz lipstick…not sure if I can get over the price though!
    Ariel recently posted … Sephora Getaway Kit!

  6. Amber says:

    Ooh, that’s nice. But I’ll wait til someone identifies a dupe. πŸ˜€
    Amber recently posted … Adia Kibur crystal &amp leather cuff

  7. Katrina says:

    This is beautiful, but waaaay more than I’m willing to pay for a nailpolish!

  8. Eileen says:

    And I thought Nouvelle Vague was the ultimate! Riva is gorgeous. It looks like it has that same barely there sparkle in its depth that Nouvelle Vaguen has. It’s that extra dimension that makes it look so luminous. Your nails positively glow! Beautiful!

  9. Sara says:

    That is really gorgeous and different. It reminds me of sitting by the ocean in the moonlight.

  10. Jennifer says:

    I ordered Riva yesterday and all the swatches that are suddenly popping up on the blogosphere are making me majorly excited. That color is going to look hot hot hot in Hawaii. I wish I was more tanned right now so I could work it as well as your hands do!!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jennifer,

      I’m plan on wearing this when I go next week. Usually Jade’s my go-to HI shade but this one is too cute to resist! πŸ™‚

      You should snag a bottle now and hold onto it until summer…

  11. Mrs. Kinne says:

    That is a perfect beach color! My first-graders always notice when I change my nail polish– especially when I go for a quirkier color. Something tells me that I would rave reviews from my class if my nails were such a pretty shade of blue.
    Mrs. Kinne recently posted … A Pound of Peanut Butter Cup!

  12. Jenn says:

    Love! I placed my order earlier today. I can’t wait for it to arrive!

  13. Evelyn says:

    So pretty but for $27 I think I’d rather buy another lipstick! πŸ™‚

  14. Jeni says:

    I love that nail polish color – in the bottle it looks like a muted Tiffany box color, and on your fingers I love the shimmer. But I don’t think I can justify $27!
    Jeni recently posted … Female Celebrities With Hair Loss

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jeni,

      It’s very expensive… but I threw down $25 for Jade, and I never looked back, LOL! If you’re a die-hard Chanel fan it might be worth the splurge.

  15. Jennifer says:

    HOLY COW! That is one gorgeous color!! Karen! Help me… I can’t believe I’m even considering a $27 nailpolish! But I think I just fell in love. what to do??

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jennifer,

      Hmm, maybe shift around your makeup budget so that you can accomodate this? If you want it I suggest that you pick it up sooner than later. It’s available online now, but I won’t be surprised if it sells out.

  16. Alison says:

    Can’t wait till I get mine, though it will be a couple of weeks – boo! But it is so pretty it will be worth the wait. I’m glad you love it as much as Jade because I love my bottle of Jade too and hopefully will also love Riva just as much!

    I’m also really looking forward to getting my hands on Black Pearl which will be part of Chanels Spring release. There is also going to be a yellow released sometime next year called Mimosa but I haven’t seen much info on that one yet. I don’t normally do yellow polishes but if it has that secret Chanel shimmer it may become my first!

    Oh and speaking of abs (Ryan Reynolds = swoon) have you seen the abs on Jared leto lately! OMG! I’m off to see them in concert again on Dec 4th and I’m reallly hoping he gets his abs out then!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Alison,

      I’m looking forward to that new yellow too. I wonder how close it’s going to be to their LA Sunrise from the Robertson Blvd collection. We shall see!

      And two big thumbs up to Jared for doing his sit ups, LOL! Who are you going to the concert with?

      • Alison says:

        My best girlfriend and fellow Jared obsessive is coming with me, we’ve been excited for it since they said they were coming back to the UK at the Festival we went to. That was back in June, time has really flown by! Fingers crossed we get to meet them again this time!

        I have already decided on my outfit, and of course which polish I’m going to wear. I’m wearing Chanel Khaki Vert this time I think. Last time at the festival I wore Chanel Black Velvet so I don’t want to wear the same again. It’s nice to look at my polishh stash and remember great times from the colour I wore.

        • Karen says:

          You’re so cute! I totally do the same thing for fun events (plan my nails/outfit). Will keep my fingers crossed and hope that you get to meet them again too! If you do you need to tell Jared to read MBB, LOL! I know he loves his guyliner.

  17. nicci says:

    I placed my order on Monday and so excited to get it! πŸ™‚

  18. Advah says:

    Prettttty! I’ve been waiting for that one for a while (not I can buy it, but more details!). It’s interesting they’re releasing it as a Fall/Winter colour, you’d think it’d fit perfectly in a summer collection, esp since it reminds me of all those China Glaze/Essie mint candy stuff that are all pale blue-turquoise-ish. (that’s a lot of made up syntax)

    It’s beautiful though, but probably looks better on people with darker skintone.

  19. Nina says:

    nail polish is one of the things i wish i used more. i cannot justify buying this because i know it will sit in the box and not be used. it is sooo pretty though!

  20. hani says:

    I don’t use much nail polish myself, but what a lovely colour…a cool dreamy light blue…surprisngly wearable, i think.

  21. Kim says:

    I thought it would be a bit more sheer, but I see that you said you’d applied 3 coats for opacity. I think I’d go for the one coat (on me, since I’m a sheer kinda gal). The iridescence is absolutely drool-worthy. I literally felt my eyes light up! πŸ™‚

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kim,

      You could totally do sheer with this. I’d be sure to add a base coat, though, to avoid any streaks.

      • Kim says:

        I was thinking the same thing, especially when you said that Chanel tends to be a bit on the thick side. I have a tough time with that. I know it takes more time, but I’m so much better with several thin layers!

        • Karen says:

          Ya know, it’s not that hard, you just have to go REALLY slow. Maybe do your mani while you’re watching a long movie, like one of the Harry Potter ones!

          • Kim says:

            Now, that’s a good idea! We’ve been watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy a lot lately and those are definitely *long*. πŸ™‚

            Btw, I finished Hush, Hush and Crescendo. Did you feel like Nora was kind of “Bella Light”? Being a teenage girl is tough!

            I think you’d like the Maze Runner series too. It’s not quite up to Mockingjay standards, but I liked it a bit better than Hush. My husband has started to call me a Level 1 reader, but I’m enjoying all this teen fiction! πŸ™‚

          • Karen says:

            Ya know, teen fiction is actually really great! It’s interesting to see how it’s evolved since we were teens. The themes are so much darker now…

  22. corinne says:

    do you think Nordstrom will carry this? I have a Nordstrom Note I’ll be cashing in for this.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Corinne,

      The PR info I received said it would be at Chanel Boutiques and Makeup Studios, so I’m not sure. I’d call your nearby Nordstrom to confirm.

  23. Glosslizard says:

    I know that $27 is hella pricey for a polish, but it’s funny… once I’ve been in those boutiques for a while surrounded by $1800 shoes and $3000 jackets, the makeup starts to feel like a real bargain! πŸ˜›

  24. What a pretty colour! I’ve never bought any Chanel polishes because of the price tag though. I already spend way too much on beauty products as it is! Don’t we all? πŸ™‚
    Jenn @ So Very Fabulous recently posted … IMATS Toronto 2010 Haul!

  25. Emma says:

    I love the colour and I really love your wedding band, Karen!

  26. Antonia says:

    I’ve been dying to get it!! oh. I’d pay 27USD, because I want the real thing, dupes just don’t do it for me!=/…
    Antonia recently posted … Luckily- I had my pyjamas

  27. knownever says:

    the true successor to Jade!
    knownever recently posted … Militainment! Space Marines!

  28. Kaoyee says:

    Iz soooo puurrrrddyyy. But I can’t get over the $27 price tag. *fans herself* I like the lipsticks too. *sigh*

  29. Resham says:

    It is so FREAKIN GORGEOUSSS!!!! But I will need a dupe…Chanel Polishes though beautiful are a bit expensive…
    Resham recently posted … Bobbi Brown Day to Night Warm Eye

  30. Jasmine says:

    I am definitely in love with this shade, so gorgeous !!

  31. saku says:

    OMG that shade is wow, that may be my 1st Chanel polish. Must resist.
    $27 is a lot for a small bottle, but it looks good on you. But that promo pictures looks so nice and calming. Reminds me of my island days.

  32. It is a beautiful colour, but I’m not enough of a polish addict to spend that much on a bottle. I guess I’m more of a lipstick person, and wouldn’t blink twice at spending $50 on a tube…

  33. Clara says:

    Do you know of any other light blues to recommend? Love the color, but not the price tag. I seem to remember Essie having something like this last year?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Clara,

      I’ve heard China Glaze Audrey looks kinda similar. It’s a Tiffany Blue. Michelle over at All Lacquered Up has a swatch here: China Glaze Audrey. It’s a little less blue and more green and lacks the subtle shimmer.

      The shades you’re thinking of from Essie might be either Essie Lapis of Luxury (from the Resort collection) or Sag Harbor (from the North Folk collection). Here are swatches:

      Essie Lapis of Luxury
      Essie Sag Harbor

      I’ll keep my eyes out for dupes and let you know if I find anything.

  34. mill says:

    so getting this. yay!

  35. Stephanie says:

    I think I just fell in love with Riva.. πŸ˜€

  36. bluematilda says:

    oh my, when i saw this polish i almost broke my no spending ban…and then i was grocerying at the shakywalmart and saw that they had a new hard candy polish, maybe it’s a repromote of sky? it’s a very similar blue with a little shimmer…have you seen it? do you know, or if you have it can you do a comparison? $5 would be much better than 20 something…tabs for president!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bluematilda,

      I haven’t seen that one yet, but if it’s anything like the original Sky then chances are it’ll be more pastel and less blue than Riva. If I run across it I’ll snag a bottle…

  37. Tasha says:

    Ahhhh this is gorgeous! I thought I could settle for my bottle of Nouvelle Vague but after seeing these pictures I may need Riva as welll!!!

    27$ is a lot but we all deserve a little treat sometimes and I adoreee Chanel polishes so its worth it for me!

  38. Rengirl says:

    I would pay $27 but not if the formula is as you describe! I have heard Chanel’s formula is a hit or miss which puts me off.

  39. Laura says:

    I managed to get a bottle early too and really love it! I put some pictures up on my website since it’s such a nice color for the winter.

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