The Chanel Ombres Contrastes Duo in Sable-Émouvant: A Duo That Moonlights as a Quad

Published in: Chanel, Makeup, Product Reviews

Chanel Sable-Emouvant

running thin |ˈrəniNG THin |
1 My patience for eyeshadow looks involving more than two steps.


Okay, so maybe Chanel’s limited edition $42 Ombres Contrastes Duo in Sable-Émouvant from the new Summertime de Chanel collection doesn’t beam with the boundless possibilities of, say, a mega makeup palette packed with 99 shadows in every color of the rainbow.

And maybe it’s not interested in dazzling stargazers with sparkly disco glitter or lighting up lids with summertime teals, greens or golds — heck, it doesn’t even have any extra accoutrements, like a small tube of primer or a tutorial booklet.

But all that aside, it’s still one hell of a great date.

If it asked you to the movies, it would suggest Casablanca over No Strings Attached and Fandango the tickets ahead of time so you could both skip the line. Then, it would get you a big bag of popcorn while you freshened up (no butter, please), and snag perfect seats smack dab in the middle of the theater. No muss, no fuss.

Chanel Sable-Emouvant

With Sable-Émouvant, Chanel created a duo so elegant and effortless that I instantly forgave the brand for not releasing a summer quad in the collection as soon as I slipped it on my lids.

Just like the Ombres Contrastes Duos first launched in 2010, Sable-Émouvant blends with the grace of a swan. One minute, one brush, and I’m done.

The Chanel Ombres Contrastes Duos

And without a trace of fallout. None.

Despite only containing two shadows, the duo has as much flexibility as a good quad (perhaps more).

The lighter shade looks like a pearly golden peachy beige on my NC42 skin, and it reminds me of a creamier, soft-focus MAC Arena.

The darker shade, a purplish brown sheen, has blackened undertones when applied dry (amazing for smokey eye looks!), but it transforms into a pearly bronzed purplish brown with reddish tones when applied with a wet brush.

And when both shadows are mixed together, the resulting peachy brownish taupe flashes more purple when the light hits it just right. Super sophisticated, understated, and so totally Chanel.

Chanel Sable-Emouvant swatches
Chanel Sable-Émouvant swatches from the left: lighter shade, darker shade, darker shade applied wet and both shades mixed together

Chanel Sable-Emouvant

Getting to know the Chanel Ombres Contrastes Duo in Sable-Émouvant

  • The powder particles are so finely milled that they refuse to settle into the fine lines on my lids (have I mentioned that my 37th birthday is next month?).
  • Classy. The finish is much more “wine flights and tapas” than “shots of Patron.” I’d say it’s about halfway between a matte and a sheen.
  • Applied on top of primer, both shades stay put for at least 8-9 hours.
  • For a 1-minute eye makeup look, mix both colors together, and apply to lids and just barely into the crease. Then, wet a liner brush, and apply the darker shade to your upper and lower lash lines. Finish with two coats of mascara. 🙂

Sable-Émouvant may not look like much at first — I was like, dude, where’s my teal? — but I hope you give it a chance. You just might be surprised by the quick work it makes of classic, knock-out eye looks to pair with summer’s pink and coral lips and cheeks.

PRICE: $42
AVAILABILITY: Available now at Chanel counters and
MAKEUP AND BEAUTY BLOG RATING: A+ (despite the price)

The countdown’s on like Donkey Kong

Vancouver Stanley Park
Stanley Park in Vancouver, June 2011

So, yeah. I’m turning 37 next month, and I guess I could be a lot more cranky about it, but really, what’s the point? Life’s a one-way ride, and you can’t back up. Might as well own it! 🙂


Last year I went to Vancouver for my birthday, and it was probably one of the best trips I’ve ever taken in my life. A cosmopolitan city, smiling people, beautiful parks, great public transportation, mouth-watering cuisine, and Trinity from the Matrix lives there.

This year, I think we’ll probably stay local. El Hub’s got a lot going on at work, and I’ve got a couple of big blog-related projects in the works (boy, that wasn’t mysterious!), so probably just a nice dinner and a pistachio (or a jamoca almond fudge) ice cream cake from Baskin-Robbins.

How about you? Have you already celebrated your birthday this year? When was the last time you went all out?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 69 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Selina says:

    You look fantastic! I like the contrast between the ultra-classy eye makeup and the fiesta earrings 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement to enjoy life as it comes- you’re inspiring.

  2. Rads says:

    I love this eye shadow duo! My birthday is next month…no plans..other than deciding on what to get myself 😀

  3. Rads says:

    Uh-ohh..My comment disappeared 😐

  4. Vijaya says:

    This sucker is getting BOUGHT.
    Vijaya recently posted … Buxom Lip Tarnish: Blackmail

  5. LOVE the darker shade when used wet. It’s über sultry!
    dani@callitbeauty recently posted … NOTW – Glitter And Hot Pink Tips

  6. Marina says:

    I was considering getting this duo! As for Birthday, I just had a nice dinner, it was not a big date…
    Marina recently posted … Clarins Instant Smooth Crystal Lip Balms in Pink,Violet, Coral and Red Review and Lip Swatches

  7. Astrid says:

    Yay! I’ve been waiting for you to post about this duo… I love how sophisticated it looks :). Typical Chanel indeed!
    If I could only choose between this or one of the bronzers, what would it be? I love the eyeshadow but I have browns and beiges, On the other hands, I have no bronzers. I am also nc42-ish :).

    As for my birthday, you are my birthday twinnie, Karen! I’m turning 33 this year. Maybe we’re going to go for a weekend getaway or something (love it that this year it’s on Saturday!).

    Also, that Vancouver picture, I was at that spot 16 years ago 😀

    • Karen says:

      Hi Astrid,

      Hmm, I’d say go for Sable Beige. It’s a lot softer, and it’s very flattering as a blush on NC42 skin.

      Not Chanel, but do you have NARS Laguna? That’s another gorgeous golden bronzer that looks great on almost everyone!

      How cool that we share the same birthday! I’m positive that there’s some cosmic connection in that. 😀 GEMINI!!!

      • astrid says:

        Hi Karen,

        Thanks for the recommendations! Sable beige it is then :D.

        We don’t have NARS counter in Germany anymore, so I haven’t tried it out yet… I’ll definitely try it out the next time I’m in France :). Thanks!

        Was also at the Dior counter yesterday and tried on the Nude Tan in 004 Sunset. Have you tried that? That was also gorgeous… Ah, so much stuff but only one face to try it on. Lol.

        Yes, I think so too!! (well, especially me, because I think you’re ubercool :D) Gemini rocks!!!!

  8. nawi says:

    I passed this one at first but after reading such great reviews I decided to try the tester in the store, instanted love it was! I think it is a must have and very wearable for lots of ladies I combine it with the peche eyeliner and the brun intense from the collection. Like you said so easy and quickly to apply what we expect from Chanel. thanks for posting!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nawi,

      You’re welcome. I’m so glad you like this duo. You’ll be able to get a lot of use out of it. 🙂

      What else did you like from Chanel’s summer launch?

      • nawi says:

        Hi Karen,

        LOL you can better ask what I did not get! At first I did not think I was going to get much from this collection but after reading reviews and swatching them in person I ending up getting the bronzers, the eyeshadow duo, both pencils, all three the nail polishes, the en vogue lipstick and last but not least the calyspo glossimer love everyone I them using and wearing chanel make up always makes me feel happy. I was lucky that there was a vip discount otherwise I would not have been able to purchuse this much. Love reading your reviews hope you will do some more Chanel or Dior reviews!

  9. When I saw the duo I wasn’t really impressed. I mean the colors are great and I’m sure I could use it all the time, but still it looked as if I already own too many along the same line. Wrong, how very wrong I was! I can’t get over how intense the darker shade becomes when used wet, and mixed together it’s a TOTALLY different eyeshadow. This one is definitely on my wish list now!
    Sunny @ Mostly Sunny recently posted … Goodbye Dullness, Hello Baby Skin! Philosophy The Microdelivery Peel Review

  10. Twyla says:

    Love those colors!! but not the price.. in Canada it’d be even more expensive. lol

    As for birthdays, Maybe one year you should check out the EAST Coast of Canada since you’ve been to the WEST. You’d love Newfoundland & Labrador aka mini Ireland. My birthday is in September and this year its a Saturday which means either a party at the LakeHouse or a venture to the local wateringholes. Next year for #40, I’m doing 2 wks in Ireland & Scotland!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Twyla,

      I would love to go visit the other side of Canada! I’ve gone to Toronto, but I was there for a quick trip; would love to go back and then explore the coast someday. If I do you’ll have to let me know where to go and what to eat!

      Oh, your trip to Ireland and Scotland sounds amazing. I have both on my travel wish list. Do you have the tickets booked and everything?

  11. Nina says:

    In keeping with my resolution NOT to buy any more eyeshadows, im skipping this. It hurts but …. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nina,

      I’m turning a blind eye to that resolution … you can never have enough eyeshadows, especially Chanel ones. 🙂

      • Nina says:

        You are enabling me, yes? :-d You know im an easy mark. :-d

        Ill think on it. 😉 The bronzers though, diff story altogether!

        • Karen says:

          LOL, why I’d never!

          Speaking of the bronzers, I grabbed Sable Beige for the umpteenth time in a row this morning. 🙂

          • Nina says:

            I cannot wait to get to the Chanel counter and bring my babies home! Im probably gonna end up kissing them too. 🙂

  12. This is so, so beautiful. My first Chanel, perhaps?
    Emi at Project Swatch recently posted … Wet n Wild Megalast Lip Color Spring 2012 Review, Swatches, Photos

  13. Michelle says:

    This duo is gorgeous! I own several Chanel quads, but no duos. Must buy!! I hear ya on the birthday thing. I turned 39 this year, yikes. And my oldest daughter just turned 13 — how did that happen?!?

  14. Kate says:

    I’m totally enamoured of this duo. Even though it might not appear exciting at first, it is so easy to use and it’s such a beautiful rendition of the colours that it doesn’t matter. Thanks for the wet swatch of the darker colour- I didn’t even know it could be used wet!

    Oh, and I’m facing the big 4-0 later this year. A little early for planning now, but believe me, I’m very, very aware that it’s coming.

    • Karen says:

      You’re welcome, Kate. I hope when you get the chance to swatch it that you fall in love with it!

      Happy early birthday, btw. 40 is a big one! What do you think you might do?

  15. Daniela says:

    Will have to give this one a try, I travel a lot and big palettes are not an option and neither is shlepping around 6 different singles, sometimes it is just best to look well put together without too much product.

    Just like Kate I will be 40 later this year, but I will pretend that it will be my 39th again. No plans other than hiding from any well meaning birthday wishes/surprise parties/cube decorations that say: It’s all downhill from here.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Daniela,

      That’s cool that you travel a lot! Do you do it for work, or for fun?

      • Daniela says:

        Hi Karen,

        mostly for work unfortunately. Heading to Brazil next week, already wondering how not to over-pack 😉

        • Karen says:

          That’s still super cool that you get to more stamps in your passport though, right? 🙂 I hope you find a way to sneak in a little fun when you go to Brazil… I hear the food is amazing!

  16. Ava says:

    Looks a bit like Prelude when applied wet. Do you know how it compares?
    Ava recently posted … Eve Lom Cleanser

  17. artemis says:

    pretty look on you 😀

  18. Kim says:

    Wow, it’s beautiful. Maybe after I have that surgery to fix my drooping eyelids, I’ll spring for a Chanel duo. Until then, I’m mostly shadow-free. 🙂

  19. Sarah S. says:

    1)Extremely hard to believe you’re 37!
    2)I wouldn’t have looked twice at this duo, but you’ve made me want it BADLY by showcasing its versatility and how perfect it looks on your eyes!
    3)My 29th birthday is slightly over a month away… I’m in denial ^.^

  20. Oh my, it really *is* like a quad! Gorgeous 🙂
    Rae // theNotice recently posted … Don’t miss this | “Pick-me-up” makeup on She Said Beauty

  21. The addition of wet swatches totally sold me on this! THANK YOU. Well my credit card doesn’t thank you! LOL I had been eyeing this duo thinking it looked like such a nice quality everyday kind of duo but the added bonus of the versatility of this duo makes it a no brainer!
    Perilously Pale recently posted … Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow 20 Madra Perla – Swatches, Pics, Review

    • Karen says:

      Hi Perilously Pale,

      You’re welcome! I think you will love it and be able to get lots of use out of it. Definitely hit the pan material. 🙂

      What else from Chanel summer do you have your eye on?

  22. JCz says:

    Karen, thanks for the review of Chanel Contrastes Duo – for $42 its nice that you can get so many nice looks out of it, especially since I tend not to layer colors so I probably wouldn’t have looked twice at this pair. I practically can’t not buy it after your review 😉
    I’m going to Vancouver for the first time in June – did you try the Japadog truck? Any recommendations for somewhere great to eat and something to do? My husband will be working at that time so I’ll be solo for a while.
    Aaaannnnd….Happy Birthday! Enjoy your 30’s for a few more years!

  23. steph b says:

    I turn 40 (!) in a couple of weeks. It boggles my mind when I think about it. I’m doing quite the road trip. First to Greenville, SC for the US cycling nationals, then Charleston for a few days chilling at the beach, and then Philly for the Pro Cycling Tour. I’ll be volunteering at the second race, helping with the teams. I’ve been promised a lap around the circuit on the back of one of the motorcycles. Going to be an awesome trip!

    • Karen says:

      Happy early birthday, and yay, GEMINI!

      Sounds like you’re going to have an amazing time. Will you be traveling by yourself, or with friends?

      • steph b says:

        I’ll be travelling by myself but meeting up with friends hopefully in each place (my Charleston friend may be on work travel). I am so excited for each part of the trip, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to be exhausted after!

        • Karen says:

          Very exciting. Plus, you can stuff your car with as many shoes as you want without having to worry about other people’s stuff, LOL!

          Never been to Charleston, but I’d love to go someday. There’s surfing there, right?

  24. steph b says:

    Great thing about a road trip is not having to try to pack light! I’ve never been to Charleston either but I know they have a great historical district, beaches, bike paths, and shrimp boats.

    • Karen says:

      If the water’s warm and they have surfing lessons, you’ll have to try it! (Pretty please?).

      You know what I really love about traveling? Eating! I’m all about yelping restaurants now before I leave on a trip.

  25. steph b says:

    No way the water would be warm enough for me this early in the year! I tried surfing when I lived in Hawaii and I just have no sense of the timing or the balance needed for it. I do want to try the stand up paddleboards this summer.

    I participate in what started as a local food group/online board but also has a lot of recs for other places, including Charleston. I always check when I’m on the road. Gotta enjoy the food as well as the scenery.

    • Karen says:

      Stand Up Paddle (SUP) is really fun, and much easier! I tried once a few years ago and picked it up fairly fast. I didn’t even get my hair wet, but poor El Hub was falling in the ocean every five minutes.

      If you find any amazing, change-your-life restaurants please let me know! I’ll have to file them away in my “Someday” travel folder.

      • steph b says:

        Will do! If you’re ever in the DC area, I’ll set you up with a phenomenal restaurant itinerary.

        • Karen says:

          I will definitely take you up on that. Same thing goes for you when you come out here to the Bay Area!

          • steph b says:

            Absolutely! It has been waaaaay too long since I’ve been out there.

          • Karen says:

            Maybe it’s just because I’ve been getting more into food and food photography (good grief, I almost wrote “foot photography”), but I’ve found that SF and the Bay has a really great restaurant scene. I’ll have a long list for you!

            Okay, confession: I want to plan a trip to Vegas solely so I can eat at the fancy shmancy restaurants. And go to the spas.

  26. R says:

    Mixing the two together? YOU ARE A GENIUS. I have Taupe-Delicat and assumed this new one would be more or less identical. But that mixed taupe is making me yearn. Thanks a lot, Karen lol!

  27. Abru says:

    i am in love with the earrings, where did you buy them or how are they called? you look just gorgeous

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