I’m Becoming Fast Friends with Chanel Inimitable Intense Mascara

Published in: Makeup, Product Reviews

chanel inimitable intense mascara review

Sometimes “quick” describes something bad…


Like the blind date I went on some years ago with the Beatles-hating dude who confessed to listening to nothing but techno music 24/7. I grew up on a steady diet of John, Paul, George and Ringo, so when he dissed Blackbird five minutes into the evening, something inside me went, “OH, HELL NO!” I faked a headache halfway through my beer and hightailed it home.

And sometimes “quick” describes something good…

Like the new Chanel Inimitable Intense Mascara ($30, available in four shades), a new take on Chanel’s original Inimitable (a lengthening, curling, volumizing star!).

The O.G. version was born back in 2006. This new version 2.0 extends its predecessor’s double rainbow “all the way across the sky!” — with MORE lash drama on all fronts. Plus, because it works well even with a single layer, it’s also quick. πŸ™‚

Can I get an “AMEN!” from my perpetually late/lazy makeup friends/fiends?

Whenever I’m in a hurry, deep, dark Noir hits the spot. A true black, it delivers the dramatic, spiky lash look I love.

The smooth consistency and shape of the brush head make it easy to build volume beginning at the base of the lash. A single layer delivers noticeably longer, smudge-resistant lashes with all-day curl hold.

chanel inimitable intense mascara review

chanel inimitable intense mascara review
No mascara

chanel inimitable intense mascara review
One layer

Oh, but if you’re looking for ultra-separated lashes with precise definition — aka a fanned-out fringe — that’s where I think Inimitable Intense Mascara comes up a little short. Lashes coated with it tend to stick together in small groups of three or four (contributing to the spiky look, which I actually like).


And while I like how one layer looks on my lashes, additional layers beyond two look and feel increasingly bumpy, clumpy and heavy. For something that layers better, you might try Chanel Exceptionnel or YSL Faux Cils, both of which layer well without clumping.

Chanel Inimitable Intense Mascara does what it’s designed to do, and it does it well, delivering dramatically longer-looking lashes, boosting volume and holding the curl from lash curlers all day long. It does so with a formula that doesn’t smudge, either, and looks good after just a single layer.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t layer well, costs $30 and comes up a tad short when it comes to lash separation. Still, if you like the spiky look (and that gorgeous Chanel packaging!), you might want to give it a try. Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: B/B+

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 34 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Nina says:

    When I got my FF stuff, the lady at the Chanel counter was all `bout that mascara and how she loved it!

    Looks pretty but … my lashes need MORE help than that!!! πŸ˜€

  2. Ginger says:

    Hey Karen, I have a quick question about perfume… specifically the Pacifica Perfumes. Which is a stronger, more lasting version: the roll on or the solid perfume? Thanks! πŸ™‚

    • Kim says:

      Hi Ginger – Just wanted to chime in on the roll-on (haven’t tried the solid). I love the scent, but it only lasts about 30 minutes on me. And I’m ROLLING lots of it on. πŸ™‚ Karen had better luck with hers – her review said something like 4 hours. Might just be me.

    • Karen says:

      I get about equal time with both — about three or four hours. I think part of it is also because my nose is VERY sensitive. I can smell stuff on me (and others) from a mile away.

  3. Instant Karma (formerly L) says:

    I’ve been excited about this mascara, but I am ridiculously anal about clumps. Ah well πŸ™

    Also, OH NO HE DIDN’T. The Beatles are my favorite band. I’ve got a blown up, framed version of a 1964 issue of Mersey Beat magazine with George Harrison on it up in my bedroom (my apartment has real art in the living/dining room and bathroom, and music stuff in the bedroom). I’ve even seen Paul McCartney twice in concert. He blew me a kiss once! I nearly died (Best thing ever? Perhaps). Heck, I mean, look at the handle that I use — John Lennon!

    It sounds like you made the right choice in skipping out, lol. I recognize that not everyone loves the Beatles as much as you or I may, and that’s fine, but someone who outright dislikes them to the point of mentioning it within five minutes of a blind date is BAD NEWS. Ew. Talk about a deal breaker!

    • Karen says:

      SERIOUSLY? I need to tell my mom. She’d probably pass out if Paul ever blew her a kiss.

      • Instant Karma (formerly L) says:

        I nearly DIED. You know those old clips from when the Beatles first played on the Ed Sullivan show, with those girls shrieking their heads off? Yeah, I became one of those girls. I was jumping up and down, screaming with my friend, “OH MY GOD, HE BLEW ME A KISS!” Then the creepy old drunk dude a few seats away from me put his arm around my shoulder and slurred “HE GAVE US ALLLLLL A KISS, SWEETHEART,” but I was so happy that I just kept behaving like a crazy 13 year old girl, LOL.

  4. Tracy says:

    I think I’ll keep sticking to my drugstore mascaras for now!
    Tracy recently posted … Products Im Loving Right Now Edition 70

  5. S says:

    I really like the original formula – have you tried that one?

  6. Trisha says:

    That looks really nice, but it’s a shame that it clumps and sticks so easily. I guess I wouldn’t pay that much for a mascara, especially if it clumped. Too bad.
    Trisha recently posted … What Makeup Brands Do You Use Often

  7. Alison says:

    I love the original and use it everyday and was eyeing up this new version for when I need to replace. I generally only use one coat of mascara during the day as I like a natural look but do like a couple of coats for evening. I’m disappointed that this may not suit my needs. I had been looking at the rouge noir shade too for a different look but I don’t think I would wear it often enough to warrant the cost!

    I just ordered the eye Khol in Clair from the new collection, I’m hoping it make me look more awake on days when I am not looking or feeling 100%!

    • Karen says:

      Have you tried Exceptionnel? I like it more than this one because it builds better.

      • Alison says:

        I haven’t, I like my inimitable so much that I passed on exceptionnel when I was replacing in-case I didn’t like it! I will try it one day though, my Chanel obsession will surely take over me and I’ll cave!

  8. Radhika says:

    That was pretty accurate…I am not so fond of the clumpy look though…and I never bother with more than one coat! I used to think its something I am doing wrong..guess I will be going back to Exceptionnel or try the YSL Faux Cils.

  9. Kim says:

    I still love my Lancome Hypnose, but I’m always on the lookout! πŸ™‚

    Also, I don’t know if everyone does this but I can almost always avoid clumping by starting at the base of the lid and shimmy-ing the wand side to side all the way up to the tips. It seems to help with the volume too. Is it just me?

    • Karen says:

      I do that too! It’s like the OG/broke version of the oscillating mascaras that were all the rage a couple seasons ago.

      • Kim says:

        Oh, I’m glad to hear that! Everyone else I’ve seen just does the “straight-up” from base to tip, so I thought I might be doing it wrong. Well, not really wrong, because it works well. But it’s good to know it’s not just me!

  10. lexi says:

    I hope you don’t hate me when I tell you I’m more of a Rolling Stones kind of gal instead of Beatles loving hippie =)

    I really like the Trish McEvoy mascara – don’t know if you tried any of hers. I have been curious about this particular Chanel mascara but clumps – NO ES BUENO!!

    • Karen says:

      We can still be friends, LOL! I am okay with the Stones.

      One of these days I gotta get on more Trish McEvoy. I have a friend who raves about her blushes… have you tried ’em?

  11. Indoorkitty says:

    Girrrl, you have hot lashes in the before shot. What curler do you use? I crimped my eye lid the other day with my Shu, almost made myself cry off all my concealer. Argh! On the hunt for a better fitting curler for my big almond eyes. Got any suggestions?


  12. Ellen Lange says:

    Your lashes are so healthy and pretty even without mascara! Do you do condition them or anything?

  13. Kristen says:

    Karen, I have been dying to ask you a question all day and this mascara-related post is perfect timing. πŸ˜€

    I have been on the mascara market for months now (ever since my favourite Cover Girl mascara was discontinued!), looking for a mascara that can add some volume and length WHILE holding a curl in my lashes. No matter what brand I’ve tried (Cover Girl, Maybelline, etc.) I just can’t find anything that looks great AND holds the curl from my eyelash curler. It’s so frustrating to me.

    Can you recommend anything that would give a girl a boost and hold her curl? I’m so tired of buying new products only to be disappointed.

  14. Minky says:

    Too true, more than 2 layers and it clumps and crumbles, great brush though. In fact my favourite way to achieve mega-dramatic super heavy and separated lashes I use this brush with YSL Faux Cils formula, 3 coats plus works like a charm

  15. Nina says:

    Oh wow. 30 bucks for a mascara? Thats a bit too much for me …. I really only buy drugstore mascaras because I dont wear it everday…

  16. Leslie says:

    Hi, I am working at a Macys and of course have to try all the mascaras to rule out my non fave….I love Hypnose Drama, was curious about EL Sumptous Extreme, and like them both but was very surprised by Chanel Inimitable Intense….I applied it carefully and quickly while still wet and wow!! I did LOVE it!! If I didnt have my emp discount NOT sure Id pay the money for it…I like NOT having to layer it 3 times to make my blonde lashes visible….I even wore it at work with my Cils Booster XL and people thought I had on the Drama!!!:) Im NO expert but I love your blog and love reading other makeup lovers’ opinions:)

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