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Chanel Paradoxal Swatch, Review & Comparison

By on July 1, 2010
in Chanel, Fall 2010, Gray
chanel-paradoxal-le-vernis-nail-polish-bottle-fall-2010 Coco Chanel’s iconic style was a study in contrasts. She boldly mixed black and white, masculine and feminine, classic and modern. Paying tribute to her unique vision, Peter Philips, Global Creative Director of CHANEL Makeup, has created a makeup collection for Fall 2010 that brings bold emphasis to the eyes, and keeps lips soft and delicate.

I am the furthest thing from a style icon but I can still relate to the contrasting theme of Chanel’s Fall 2010 makeup collection.  In some ways I am a walking paradox.  A math and science girl like me could never have imagined a career as a blogger.  As a Chemical Engineering major, I dropped out of Freshman English three times.  True story!

Keeping the emphasis on the eyes and nails, Peter Philips has mixed dark and stormy with sweet and feminine and the star of the show for me is Paradoxal, a grey violet shade that the wordsmiths at AOL StyleList have dubbed “griolet.”

Paradoxal is definitely more grey than violet.  It’s a deep and mysterious taupe-y grey with an undercurrent of purple shimmer that gives the color a cool sheen in natural light and a hint of sparkle in the sun.  Indoors it looks much darker than it appears on camera but it was pretty bright on the day I shot this.

For me it’s a great twist on the greige look of last Fall that gave us way too many warm toned polishes and not near enough options for the cool toned girls.  Consider Paradoxal to be Particulière’s violet cousin.

chanel paradoxal nail polish swatch fall 2010



Application & Formula: The pigmentation in Paradoxal is spot on.  It’s what one would expect from a Chanel lacquer.  Smooth, flawless coverage in two easy coats.  I had such ease of control over Paradoxal that I was able to create curves along my cuticle that are about as perfect as I can get them.  No cleanup necessary.

The question that remains… does Paradoxal have a twin? Unfortunately no.  I had a hunch that Dior Lemon Balm might be a winner but, even if it was, it’s LE and not a cost effective alternative.  Sephora by OPI Metro Chic is a cool toned taupe but it’s much lighter than Paradoxal.  In my stash there are no twins but if you already own Lemon Balm it may satiate your need.




Bottom line: Paradoxal is unique enough to warrant a look.  It’s sure to be one of the hot colors for Fall.  Considering that it lives up to the high Chanel quality standard nail fanatics have placed on the brand, you won’t be disappointed in your purchase.

Chanel Paradoxal is available now on and at Chanel counters nationwide.  Polishes retail for $23/ea.

So what do we think?  Are you on board with “griolet” as the big trend for Fall?  Do you have suggestions for possible Paradoxal dupes?

Disclosure: A product sample was furnished by Chanel.  For more info view my Disclosure Policy.

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  1. beautiful day « divasoria | September 4, 2010
  2. The Poor Girl’s Chanel Paradoxal Nail Polish. | September 8, 2010
  1. vvn says:

    It’s a cool colour, but doesn’t make me want to race out and buy it/find a twin as much as Jade did.

    I recently found your blog (I think via and I gotta say, I wish I knew about it sooner. Would’ve saved me all those nail polish disappointments! Love your blog!

    And I can’t help but comment on this, but awesome, chemical engineering! That’s my major too :)

  2. Jen says:

    Another smash hit from Chanel. Who thinks of these? Genius.

  3. Jen D says:

    The color looks very violet to me, although I see the ‘greige’. Absolutely love it! I’ve never tried a $23 bottle of polish but I’m tempted…still contemplating a $14 bottle of butterLondon.

    • Angela says:

      I still haven’t bought a Chanel polish, but I’ve been tempted, but i will say, i love Butter London. =) I personally have gotten the best wear from their polishes.

  4. sissy says:

    $23, ugh. i want but not at that price

  5. Andrea says:

    This color is amazing, it might just be fabulous enough for the $23 splurge!

  6. Danika says:

    There’s a shade that’s been out awhile by Rimmel that is very similar if not dead on I actually have it, when I find the name I’ll let you know, but it’s definitely very similar to the Chanel.

  7. Lauren says:

    Interesting… it looks so purple to me. It looks like essie sexy divide on my computer, but I’m guessing it must be different in person since you are describing it as so unique. I’m intrigued.

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      Yeah, it’s not that purple in person. It doesn’t really come across as greyed on camera. It’s definitely much different than Sexy Divide.

  8. Isabelle says:

    I already got my bottle, I can’t wait to receive it! Sooo stunning!

  9. Danika says:

    Ok my bad it’s not dead on, but it’s in that color family it’s called Nightlife, I have two bottles and one I mixed with another and actually it made a shade damn near the Chanel, but again that is from mixing. Sorry.

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      Thanks for the heads up. I’ll have to check it out. Even if it’s not a dupe it could be a good low cost alternative.

      Out of curiosity, what did you mix it with?

  10. Kelly says:

    Is it comparable to Essie Sexy Divide?

  11. kittytokaren says:

    Mine looks much less shimmery…

  12. Grace says:

    This may be my first chanel polish. I’m a bit turned off by the shimmer in it, but everything I’ve read says that it’s not nearly as noticeable IRL, so I’ll probably at least go visit it at a chanel counter and see for myself. This looks like the perfect fall color.

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      The shimmer is only apparent in bright light and sun. Indoors it’s more of a creme

  13. Cin says:

    It’s gorgeous! This might very well be my very first Chanel purchase. I’m a bit new in the lacquer addiction game and haven’t spent over $12 on a polish yet – with a color like this I’m jumping off the deep end. Love it!

  14. Emily says:

    Gorgeous. Can’t wait to put it on when I get mine later today.

    Glad to see you swatching again.

  15. Laura says:

    This kind of reminds me of a grey-ed out OPI Ink color. It’s a neat color, but it doesn’t have me rushing to any Chanel counter!

  16. Elise says:

    Wow, that is one gorgeous nail polish. I’m not sure if I’ll be paying 23$ for it but I really do want it….

  17. This is beautiful! I will have to pick this up! :)

  18. This will be my first nail polish of chanel. The color and the greyge-Effect looks gorgeous to me. Thank you so much for the wonderful pics. :)
    best wishes,

  19. Shatteredshards says:

    Very neat color, actually, and generally the Chanel polishes fail to excite me. I just don’t think it’ll work with my skin tone – I think it’ll somehow look mauve on me.

  20. Jen says:

    Beautiful! I’m debating whether or not to pick this up. Ugh!
    I didn’t know you are a chemistry girl! I teach high school chem, and in a previous life did research at Cornell.

  21. Naomi says:

    The color is beautiful! Now I wonder if Lemonbalm is like CHG Bogie?

  22. Faye says:

    I bought it last week (2 bottles!) and am in love with it. It’s PERFECT for my very fair, cool-toned skin. I can’t wait for fall to come so I can bring it out.

    This is really a very unique color — as some mentioned, it looks purple online, but in real life it’s purple with a sort of murkey grey undertone. That sounds weird, but it’s not — it’s almost like the purple is an interesting twist on purple, something with depth. Chanel really hit it out of the park with this one (and the eye shadow quad and pink explosion blush).

  23. Shannon says:

    I ordered it right before I saw this post. Glad to hear that you like it.

  24. Meg says:

    That is an awesome color!!

  25. Grace says:

    Any chance of getting a swatch of this next to Zoya Kelly? I’m just curious whether the base color of this is similar to Kelly, which looks like a grey/violet creme.

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      Kelly is dolphin skin blue-gray to my eye. It may be a dupe for that YSL gray from last fall.

  26. Elusive M says:

    I find this a little boring. I’m tired of purples.

    Happy for my credit card though!

  27. aaminahs mom says:

    yes yes its so pretty- the one a coupla back vengeance was a dud for me hope its a dead on dupe for it or wait hope i get this job so i can buy nail polish like i used too.

  28. Jen says:

    I thought it was going to have more of a gray hue to it, I am kind of disappointed. I already bought one so I hope I like it better on and in person

  29. Jackie says:

    I love this color! I am wearing it now.
    I was wondering how this might compare to the fall Butter London polish Marrow that your raved about during Fashion Week. Do they look similar??

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      From what I remember of Marrow, it was more reddish purple so I don’t think they’ll be dupes.

  30. Echo7 says:

    I’m going to have to see this in person. The pictures on the blogs are all over the place – some more purple, some more taupe/grey. If it leans purple like in your pictures, I like it! When it leans more taupe, I don’t!

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      Unfortunately, no one’s pictures are going to be dead on and they’ll never match up. The light we shoot in, the light we edit pics in, camera settings, our monitors, etc all differ so it’s near impossible that you’ll ever see a polish show up the same on every blog. Like I mentioned in the post it does appear darker and more grey in person than it does in my shot.

  31. Eh. It looks pretty in the light, but it doesn’t really do a lot for me.

  32. Kelly says:

    Great post! How does this compare to Vendetta by Chanel? In these pictures they look pretty similar, with Paradoxal being a bit lighter, but not enough to warrant buying.

    • zora says:

      a chanel SA told me that paradoxal was a mixture of particuliere and vendetta. so there you go!

  33. Mich says:

    Oh wow, your swatches are really great. I was already contemplating getting it, but now I know for sure. It’s good to hear it applies very well, because Nouvelle Vague kinda disappointed me in that department..

    As for lookalikes, I’m thinking Purple Grey by Models Own could be close, minus the shimmer though..

  34. Deniz says:

    It looks like the dark sister of Essie Demure Vixen =)

  35. isnotfashion says:

    i picked up this shade earlier this week and LOVEEEEEE it. perfect for cool toned pal gals like me!

  36. mill says:

    hm. its nice, but i have vendetta and i dont want any of my chanel colors to be even remotely similar :) i justifiy my little collection by saying they’re all different!

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      to me, vendetta is much different because it’s SO blackened. like vendetta doesn’t look purple at all unless you’re in sunlight. paradoxal is nowhere near as dark. it just looks like a murky gray indoors.

  37. Vanessa says:

    Looks pretty cool, but not cool enough to spend 23$ on. Hell, I’d probably have to pay even more over here in Germany, if I could find it at all.

    On an OT-note: Any idea when you’ll be reviewing the China Glaze Vintage Vixen collection? I’m dying to see those colors outside the bottle..

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      I’ll Vintage Vixen up next week. I wanted to wait until closer to the actual launch and to have enough time to do comparisons.

  38. Andy says:

    I do like this colour combination, and here it reminds me of a UK drugstore shade I really like a lot: Boots No 17 Shimmering Sequins (Ltd Edition), which is way way cheaper. Of course in person I’m sure it looks way different and applies way nicer, but $23 a bottle – not for me!

  39. Tara says:

    Hmm, purple, taupe and grey – my three favourite shades all mixed together in one polish – I definitely have to check this out in person. Not on counters yet where I live though so I’ll have to wait another couple of weeks.

  40. kateM says:

    @Jackie Thanks for reminding me about Marrow. Per ALU Feb ’10 post it due out in 3 – 6 weeks. As for the Chanel, I’m on the fence. I love the look of them but I’ve never owned one that I felt was worth the money. There are too many (I want them all) great polish lines in the under $20 range to justify $23+ even if this does turn out to be the next Jade.

  41. Jackie S. says:

    I ran to Nordstroms and grabbed this one, it is gorgeous in person, I am so happy I made this my first Chanel purchase!

  42. shima says:

    Great colour love it, I have not seen there turquoise that Beyonce was sporting, will that ever be released?

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      That color, Nouvelle Vague, came out a couple months ago and it sold out already. :(

    • Deniz says:

      China Glaze For Audrey or Orly Gumdrop will be pretty good substitutes, they’re almost identical, just without shimmer. I personally prefer cremes, anyway =)

  43. Tara says:

    I was on the fence about this color, until I saw it in person at the Chanel counter. I was there for the Vert Khaki eyeshadow but just fell in love and had to have it!

  44. Fiona says:

    Great review as always :) Do you think NARS Purple Rain would be a good dupe for it?

  45. tz says:

    How does this compare to Chanel’s Vendetta from a few seasons ago? They both seem like REALLY dark purples.

  46. zb says:

    I ran out and grabbed this color and can’t wait to try it. In the bottle it looks darker and less sparkly than Vendetta. It looks nothing like any other purple I have.

  47. amy says:

    Oh I want this one too. I am now addicted to Chanel polishes, especially the limited edition ones.

  48. leslie says:

    How would this color look on olive toned\ dark skin? It looks good on you. I must say this is a odd color.I have nothing like it!

  49. MoLo says:

    I wonder how it compares to Dior Liquorice

  50. Susan says:

    Thanks so much for posting the comparisions! Any idea how does it comapared to “Silver purple” from Dior?

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      Silver purple is much more icy whereas Paradoxal has an earthiness from the taupe-y grey base. They don’t look anything alike.

  51. Alison says:

    I love this! I will definatly be adding it to my Chanel polish collection when it’s released in the UK!

  52. TyTyBaby says:

    It reminds me of Metallic Vamp a little, just with a touch more sparkle in it, perhaps?

  53. Bailey says:

    I love the colour!… but I just can’t see myself spending the money on it. I have Metro Chic, it will due for me.

  54. moeysullivan says:

    How about a comparison with Borghese Stellare Notte?

  55. Sharon says:

    This looks so much better on your nails than it did on mine. After reading this review, I bought a bottle but I ended up returning it because it looked so bad on me. (so disappointed) I’m hoping ChG Bogie will be a better match for me.

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      Aww, I’m so sorry it didn’t work out for you. Such a shame. You can probably return it or at least exchange it for a color that is more flattering. Bogie is more purple than Paradoxal if that’s what you’re looking for.

  56. GwenSA says:

    I would like to see it compared to Model’s Own Purple Grey, if you have it. Thank you for your brilliant swatches.

  57. Kimberly says:

    I LOVE that color!!!!! I WANT that color!!!! I don’t WANT to spend that much money!!!!

    “Will work for nail polish” maybe that will help. :p

  58. Brittany Blai says:

    My boyfriend picked it up for me! I think it might be my signature color for fall!

  59. Penemuel says:

    Hmn. I’m curious after seeing a swatch of BB Couture for Men Incognito whether they’re very close, or if it’s just the angle of the lighting on the Incognito pic. I saw it over on lextard. Incognito may be less purple, though. If possible, I’d love to see comparison swatches! They could be totally different…

  60. Kam says:

    I went to Saks today to try out the color in person and wasn

  61. Jen says:

    How does it compare to OPI Purple with a purpose?
    I was also thinking that if Revlon’s Plum Night had some pink shimmer, it might be a close darker version of Paradoxal.

  62. Jennie says:

    just bought my bottle yesterday… the color is gorgeous! A really taupe-y purple with a little bit of shimmer.

  63. Michelle says:

    Cool color! This reminds me of an old OPI shade that they no longer make. Phakaki phikatka plum. Ok I know I definitely spelled that wrong LoL! Does anyone else remember that oldie? I have 1 bottle I purchased last year on ebay for $30 CRAZY!

  64. moeysullivan says:

    The thing I love about Chanel polishes is that Peter Phillips has made it a point to bring out one shade every season or two that behaves as a neutral (read: doesn’t clash with all your clothes) while being anything but. This began with Kaleidoscope, continued through Jade (perhaps the strangest thing about that green polish: one could wear it with at least some reds), through Particuliere, and now with Paradoxal. To coin an oxymoron, it is a statement neutral: it allows the wearer to adorn and flatter her hands without apologies or undue fuss, while maintaining an edge.

    That said, I tried this stuff in the store, was outraged by the price, and I may have to throw down for it anyway. No dups I know of.

  65. Dedra says:

    How about a comparison to butter London’s Marrow? It actually got posted for sale on the website tonight, its now available. Since they’re both supposed to be murky purple-greys, I’d love to see them side by side before I buy.

  66. Jeanette says:

    I received Paradoxal today and it remembered me of another polish. I quickly ran to my Helmers and there it was: ModelsOwn’s Purple Grey.

    Purple Grey is a creme but the base color is 99,5% Paradoxal and with a layering with either CND’s Amethyst Sparkle or Violet Shimmer it should be an almost perfect dupe. :)
    I posted bottle comparison pics a few minutes ago and I hope I can make a nail comparison as soon as possible. :)

  67. MissKacey says:

    How funny I should happen across this post right after I painted my nails in Paradoxal! I had never owned a Chanel polish until now, and now Im addicted! It went on so smooth and thick, but not in a bad way. With Seche Vite top coat it is so shiny and pretty, I can see how this is totally a fall trend color!

  68. Danie* says:

    Great color – I wonder how this would compare to Essie’s Sexy Divide? I guess the Essie lacks the grey undertones, but they still seem to have the sparkly bits in common …

  69. Brigitte says:

    I never thought I would spend 23 dollars on a nail polish but after seeing your swatch I had to. This color did not disappoint I am in love although my husband thought I was crazy…

  70. Lucy says:

    I tried to buy it yesterday at House of Fraser but they were sold out.I will have to take a trip to Selfridges and hope they have some in stock. :(

  71. Vanessa says:

    Nails inc in Belgravia is also very similar.
    Great post,so great that you show us the colours on your nails! love chanel paradoxal.

    The London Life of a Girly Girl, blog.


  72. jenna says:

    I love this color! Have you compared it to Revlon’s Perplex (826)? I would love to see how these two compare!

  73. Yolanda says:

    Barry M’s Dusky Mauve is the perfect dupe. Excactly the same!

  74. A Reyes says:

    What does “It’s LE” mean?
    Just a tad out of touch, A
    ps I love your thoroughness. And the way you do your nails is INSPIRING. Thanks so much

    • meme says:

      LE usually means limited edition, but not reading through all these comments not sure where you pulled LE out of. Just hoping that it’s what I normally know LE to mean. Some times you see it as Ltd. – auto industry always has used LE for limited edition…never apologize for being a bit out of touch. I always adore polish, but I do have to stand back from total consumption of buying all the time due to lack of space and I don’t like to part with bottles I have very often. But now that there are wonderful blogs I am turned on to like this one, I can feed my love for polish and hopefully keep a bit more current ongoing. I think I would have stayed current all the time if I lived anywhere there were stores for me to go look in person, I had the time for that, and was not limited by not being able to transport my electric wheelchair for the past 3 years while I collect $ to get an adaptive van for it.

  75. meme says:

    I did not get my by then famous Paradoxal until end of Feb 2010. I was sleeping with regard to polish for a time until Xmas and I gifted a ton of it as well as had to have every shade in the Burlesque collection. My wonderful polish vice was on attack again for knowing all the new and catching up on what I missed. I kept hearing about Paradoxal and when I got it, it did not disappoint. I don’t normally spend this $ amt. on polish but I really wanted to see what the hype was about. It’s now one of my fav go to polishes though summer sandals here now, I am pulling out a lot of spring lights and summer brights for my toes and fingers. But alas, this gal has deep in her heart a place for these