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Chanel Jade & Paradoxal Dupe Smackdown

By on August 24, 2010
in Chanel, Green, Milani, Models Own, Taupe with 81 Comments
chanel-jade-paradoxal-dupe-swatch-comparisons With every new Chanel nail polish launch the inevitable question is, are there any affordable alternatives?  More often than not the answer is no.  Chanel seems to find a way to add a little something special to their nail colors that make dead-on dupes an impossibility.  Of course there are plenty of nail polishes that come close but Chanel twins are usually hard to come by.

After the Chanel Jade craze last fall a number of brands came out with their own less expensive version of the pale green shimmer, most notably Charlotte Russe Jade and Claire’s Dream Catcher.  And now Milani has entered the ring with their interpretation, Dress Maker. Back when I reviewed Chanel Paradoxal I was hard pressed to find any decent comparisons and then a reader email led me to Models Own Purple Grey.

Read on to see how these budget conscious versions stand up to two of Chanel’s most buzzed about nail creations.  Let the smackdown begin!


First of all I have to send huge shout outs to The Daily Nail and Midwestgrrl for helping me get my hands on the Chanel Jade dupes.  I seem to have no luck with these types of searches.  Especially considering the Midwestgrrl lives in the CLE.  So big, big smooches to you both!

In comparing Chanel Jade to Milani Dress Maker and Claire’s Dream Catcher I found that the latter are actually twins.  Don’t get me wrong, they are excellent alternatives to Jade but neither one is a dead-on dupe.

They’re both a little darker and a little more green.  They are also a lot more sheer.  I needed four coats of each and Dream Catcher gave me cuticle drag no matter how long I waited between coats.  Though considering how many people love that subtle Chanel shimmer I am happy to report that the shimmer is very similar in size and concentration.

Chanel Jade vs Claire’s Dream Catcher
chanel-jade-claires-dream-catcher-comparison-swatch

Chanel Jade vs Milani Dress Maker
chanel-jade-milani-dress-maker-comparison-swatch-1

As I mentioned above, my stash is seriously lacking where colors like Chanel Paradoxal are concerned.  This murky purple-taupe hue is so on trend right now but Chanel does not fit into everyone’s budget.  Enter Models Own Purple Grey.

No, the polish doesn’t have the same fine purple shimmer but the base color is pretty close to Paradoxal.  And while the shimmer adds a bit of sheen to Paradoxal, it’s not as detectable as Jade’s.  Now Purple Grey’s base is a shade lighter than Paradoxal so it’s not a true twin but it’s REALLY pigmented.  Like it totally kicks Paradoxal’s butt in terms of opacity.

chanel-paradoxal-models-own-purple-grey-swatch-comparison

I attempted to replicate Paradoxal’s shimmer by adding a layer of CND Violet Shimmer to Purple Grey but it lightened the color too much.  All the CND Shimmers lighten the color they are applied over, I just didn’t expect it to be so dramatic.  One might have better luck mixing the two rather than layering.

chanel-paradoxal-models-own-purple-grey-cnd-violet-shimmer

line

Judges Decision: In terms of dead-on dupes, the Chanel polishes still reign supreme.  Though if you don’t mind the slight variance in color or lack of shimmer any of these dupes will satiate your lemmings and make your wallet very happy.

Milani Dress Maker is available on MilaniCosmetics.com for $4.49/ea or check your local Milani retailer to snag one.  Claire’s Dream Catcher has been out for a while now and is still be found so you should have better luck than me in picking up bottle at a Claire’s near you.

Model’s Own recently reached its 10,000 Facebook Likes goal so they are running a 50% off sale from now through August 27th.  Use code FACEBOOK50 on orders of £20 or more at ModelsOwnIt.com.  While you’re ordering make sure you get Slate Green, Jade Stone and Top Turquoise.  You’ll thank me.

How many of you have opted for any of these Chanel dupes rather than take the plunge on the real deal?  Are you just as satisfied?  Who feels there is no substitute for the interlocking C’s?  If you make a Models Own order, let me know what you picked up.

Disclosure: Product samples were provided by Chanel and Models Own.  The Milani and Claire’s polishes were gifts from friends.  For more info view my Disclosure Policy.

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  1. emma says:

    In Holland we have a Chanel Jade dupe that I think is pretty close. But I don’t have the Chanel Jade so I can’t compare. It’s called Catrice Sold Out Forever. It’s form the same company as Essence. They do sell Essence in the US, don’t they?

    • Susanna says:

      Ulta has just started carrying Essence (very limited selection), but I don’t think Catrice is available in the US.

    • Katarina says:

      Yes!!! I’m just wearing Catrice “Sold Out For Ever!”
      I don’t have Jade as in Slovenia it’s impossible to get any “not safe” color and in nearby Italy all new editions are always “sold out-for ever” ;-)
      Reading this article I was constantly glancing to my nails. Regarding the pictures the shimmer is subtle and the color is probably a bit darker. I sometimes see in Sold out (rearly, depending on the light) a bit yellowish tone and I don’t think that Jade has it.
      Catrice will do for me and specially it will do for my wallet. (Chanel €22 vs. Catrice €2,6)

  2. Pammy says:

    thanks for this awesome post.

    i love my paradoxal and i continue to hunt for my bottle of jade (i refuse to pay insane ebay prices).. and i won’t rest until i find it :)

  3. Lynn says:

    I just placed my Models Own order this morning for Purple Grey, Blue Gem, Green Tea, Champagne, Gun Grey and Disco Mix. I wish I would have picked up the ones you suggested, but too late!! I’m really excited for Purple Grey especially after reading this and seeing the comparisons!! :)

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      Green Tea is so gorgeous. I haven’t seen the others in person but they’re all colors I’m interested in as well. I’m still plotting my order. I have quite a few of their blues and greens but want to branch out and try more.

  4. lisa m. says:

    I have all three Chanel Jade, Dreamcatcher, and the Milani. The Milani is much closer than Dreamcatcher. Dreamcatcher has a greyness undertone when you compare them on white paper. Also, Dreamcatcher doesn’t have the same concentration of shimmer as Jade. Dressmaker comes much closer in that department as well. I had problems with all three polishes opacity wise. All three took at least 3 to look even.

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      Interesting. I have all three on at the moment and the shimmer looks the same in all of them to my eye. Then again we all see color differently so even though Dress Maker and Dream Catcher look the same to me, they won’t for everyone.

      • gina says:

        I also have all three, and I agree with Lisa: Milani and Claire’s are NOT twins. To my naked eye (and to the other people I have shown) the Milani and the Chanel look exactly the same. Maybe the camera flash picks up some miniscule difference, but they look the same without it. And the Claire’s is different- too green.

        • All Lacquered Up says:

          I don’t use a flash with my pictures but we can agree to disagree. Lighting makes a difference of course but that can change just from room to room.

          • Janice says:

            Not sure if anyone else knows this but there was a couple of different versions of the Claire’s Dream Catcher. I had both (one looked a lot closer to Chanel Jade than the other). So this might be the case with your bottles? Maybe that’s why you both had different results.

  5. Cuteychao says:

    In Brasil we have a pretty close (very close) Chanel Jade dupe, Colorama Absinto: http://tudosobreesmaltes.com/2010/05/22/hora-da-verdade-absinto-e-jade-chanel-separados-no-nascimento-ou-primos-de-2%C2%BA-grau/

    But there’s none like Chanel Paradoxal. Which doesn’t bother me, since I don’t like it very much anyway.^^

  6. Winnie says:

    I have Dream Catcher, as I never got caught up in the Jade hype but then I found one bottle of Dream Catcher on clearance for $2 at my local Claire’s, what polish fanatic would pass that up?

    I had to have Paradoxal though, and I didn’t figure there would ever be a good dupe for it, so I grabbed it right up, it’s such an unusual color.

    Love the ‘smackdown’, made me laugh!

  7. Denise says:

    I found Milani Dressmaker at my local CVS drug store and liked it very much – it will do for me! I won’t buy Chanel again. I bought Particuliere and it chipped within 24 hours – that makes me think their polish is of poor quality.

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      I’ve never had major issues with chipping. In fact I wore Paradoxal for a whole week and it help up amazingly well. I got one chip on my index finger when I banged into something and that was about it. What base & top coats are you wearing with it?

    • E says:

      I agree re: Chanel quality. It chips on me within 12 hours — always has.

  8. tricia c says:

    Claires dream catcher is not available anymore as far as I know months ago they went on clearance, well at the claires in my neighborhood (I live in los angeles)..also there’s some bottles of dream cathcer with slightly different coloring.milani teddy bare is said to be a dupe for chanel particuliere

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      Melissa from The Daily Nail bought the bottle she sent me a couple weeks ago so I assume they are still available in some places.

  9. lala says:

    This is fantastic. I prefer Chanel… but that’s just me.

  10. grace says:

    I just feel that it’s one thing when dupes arise “organically” and quite another when one company blatantly tries to dupe another company’s polish. I’d rather buy another polish in a different color from a brand that I can afford (that has a little integrity and creativity) than spend $5 on a knock-off.

  11. Kayla H. says:

    ahh I love Models Own. their 50% off sale is my heaven haha.
    I have two coats of disco mix on over purple grey and can’t stop staring at the glitter party on my nails.

  12. Mike says:

    I do not like Clarie’s nail polish, you have to put on 4 coats and it still comes out very matte, clear top coat does it some justice, but still! I don’t like clarie’s nail polish

  13. Great dupes! But I’m a Chanel girl all the way…I have such a collection, it’s awesome! Swatches coming for Le Khakis collection anytime soon and/or the Soho Chanel colors Steel & Strong? Let us know! You rock woman!

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      I’m awaiting the Khakis as we speak. I’m hoping they arrive in the next couple days so be on the lookout. I’m waiting to hear more on the Soho colors.

      • Great! Btw, by far you are the preeminent beauty blogger online hands down! The only other blogger that takes such care with respect to how his website serves his viewers is thesartorialist.com. Your swatches are done so professionally and so cleanly, it is just a delight to visit alllacqueredup.com on a daily basis. I wish other beauty bloggers would take note! Last night, I was looking for swatches of Tom Ford’s lipstick line and not one beauty blogger had the 12 shades on their lips as swatches! I really don’t need swatches on your arms, hands or loose leaf paper! You certainly have me spoiled and for a girl who LOVES beauty products & fashion but works in NYC real estate, your dedication to excellence is beyond refreshing! Thanks so much, seriously! :-)

        • Q says:

          I don’t think it’s fair to say all other beauty bloggers don’t care about their viewers. Lots of other blogs have clear pictures and lip swatches too! Like Temptalia or Scrangie or Lacquerized. And lip swatches aren’t always the best, because the shade of the wearer’s lips affect what the lipstick looks like on the lips. Before putting down all other beauty bloggers, you should explore more and appreciate the work that any beauty blogger does.

  14. Steph says:

    Unless Claire’s changed their formula (which is highly possible), my version of Dream Catcher was more yellow based compared to Dress Maker and Jade.. but like you said, we all see color differently. Also, Nina Ultra Pro in Never Glum Plum is a good alternative for Models Own.

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      I thought I read somewhere that there are different versions of Dream Catcher. I can’t remember where I saw that.

      • shus says:

        Hi. Only got bitten by the bug resently. And loving your blog. Costs me some money though :-) .
        No Dream Catcher in the store, but they had Jade in Claire’s, which I bought. Don’t have the Chanel version to compare. What do you think? Could this be the new Dream Catcher? And the new Jade? :-)

  15. Chris says:

    I love the the way these polishes look in the bottle, but I know they would look dreadful on me! I saw a shade of deeper green at Claire’s that I might get.

  16. Ping says:

    This was a helpful comparison, thanks so much. I think I’ll be happy with either Dream Catcher or Dress Maker, as they come pretty close, and no one else would be able to tell the difference anyway if I’m wearing either.

  17. Kistenh says:

    Zoya Kai comes pretty close to Paradoxal. I will have to find the Milani Dress Maker though!

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      What color is Zoya Kai? Do you mean Ki? The black based oil spill color? It’s a duochrome that flashes purple and green. It doesn’t look anything like Paradoxal to me.

  18. m&m says:

    I feel that in the recent wake of the bloggers vs. polish companies battle, bloggers may be hesitant to declare any polish a dead on dupe. Especially a Chanel. They might not get their free bottles.

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      I can’t speak for anyone but myself but I’m not hesitant about calling something a dupe. I have always been honest in my reviews and will continue to be regardless of whether the polish is provided to me or I buy it. Plain and simple.

  19. Brittany Blai says:

    Paradoxal is still my obsession! I’ve only worn it once since I got it, but I’ve been planning my whole fall clothing around that polish!

    I think I’ll treat myself to a first day of classes manicure next week….with my love Paradoxal!

  20. GwenSA says:

    Thanks for the comparisons. I’d asked about comparing Paradoxal to MO Purple Grey back when Paradoxal was released. I placed an order @ models own last March, but haven’t tried any of them yet. I ordered: Slate Green, Purple Grey, Utopia, Lime Green, Green Tea, Green Grass, Grey Day, and Beth’s Blue. As I recall, at that time they were giving discounts that got bigger the more your ordered. Now I’ll need to check out their 50% off sale. I never got the Chanel Jade, but just picked up the Milani Dress Maker. It seems Milani is only available online in my neighborhood.

  21. Rachel says:

    Hmmm. Your Chanel Jade is pre-release, right? I wonder if they tinkered with the formula before the actual release – in every comp of dressmaker and Jade that I’ve seen (including the one I saw IRL) has them as dead on dupes. So I’m thinking one of your bottles might be a bit off. It doesn’t make sense that the Milani would be (I’m assuming it was bought drugstore retsil) so I’m guessing Chanel maybe tweaked a bit (much like we know RBL does…) before releasing Jade.

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      My bottle of Jade isn’t pre-release. I got it a couple days before it went on sale but it wasn’t a production sample. I’ve looked at Jade and Dress Maker in multiple lighting situations and they are not dupes to my eye. I even asked my boyfriend and he can see the difference on my nails.

  22. Jessi says:

    Ugh, You are such an enabler! I just put in an order for 10 Models Own polishes. I hope you feel guilty! :)

  23. greenCerulean says:

    I ordered from Models Own the three greens you recommended which is perfect because I was in need for lighter colored greens. Green and purple are my favorite colors and I love finding nail blogs who share the same love!

    I’m over buying Chanel. Paradoxal was a nightmare. I had extreme chipping with it even in just the first 24 hours. I tried it with both the Seche base coast and the nubar base coat. It chipped less with the Nubar base but it still chipped. Rodeo Drive didn’t chip as bad, but it was a pain to apply.

    For a couple bucks less I can get RBL and not have to worry about any of that. Can’t wait til Anne arrives :D

  24. katia says:

    I’ve tried both CLaire’s Dream Catcher and Milani Dressmaker. I absolutely detested the application. In terms of Color, I liked Dress Maker better but chances are I will never use it again. I do not own Chanel Jade. How would you compare applications between the Chanel, Claire’s, and Milani?
    I have no dupes of Chanel Paradoxal. I own it and love it, so I haven’t really looked for a dupe :)
    I will pass on Models Own for now. They have really nice shades, but I want to save $$ for winter collections sold in the USA :)

  25. NickiLondon says:

    Thanks for this post!

    I have found a couple of dupes myself – I think Barry M Mint Green is similar to Chanel Jade, although without the shimmer.
    Chanel Paradoxal is sooooooo hard to find dupes – I like this Models Own one. Also, Jessica Venus Was Her Name is similar as well, that has shimmer in it too. Nails Inc have also released a purple/grey – but it is a lighter shade than Paradoxal – more lilac/grey – this is called Lowndes Square, I am wearing it now, it’s nice!

  26. Karin says:

    I wanted to say that i love your site and i always wait for your pictures because i think they are really good! :D

    I couldnt resist to order some Models Own polishes! Or at least i think i did. The site wasnt working properly and i didnt get an confirmation yet but if it worked i ordered the next polishes!Emerald city, i hope its very green and not more blue then its going to be awesome!Grey day, Disco mix, Peacock green, Jade stone and Pruple grey. I just love purple and grey polishes :)

    • NickiLondon says:

      Karin, I couldn’t resist the models own offer either! sounds like we have similar tastes too – I also got Emerald City, Disco Mix and Purple Grey! As well as Purple Haze (glitter), Purple Poppy (bright creme), Magneta Divine (pink glitter) and coral reef. And I have just bought a big stash from Nails Inc as well….this is not helping my aim to cut down on shopping!!

      • Karin says:

        Hahaha i know what you mean :) I have so many purples already but i just love them :D for a purple glitter i think Zoya Mimi is the best! But im really looking forward to try Disco Mix out aswell :D

  27. Jackie S. says:

    Great post, too bad you didn’t get your hands on the Catrice color “sold out forever”..I have it and I have heard it is a closer match to the Chanel.

    I love your comparison post, they are so color accurate and I really appreciate that, Thanks! :)

  28. mg says:

    Yay! I feel honored to be a part of this post. :)

  29. Sarah says:

    Man, I was hoping purple gray would be as dark as paradoxal because that’s one of the aspects I like about it. I bought two bottles of purple gray for the facebook sale along with top turquoise, purple passion, blue sparkle, in the navy, lilac dream, lilac fantasy, magenta divine, jade stone, purple haze and betty blue. I’ll just use one bottle of purple gray to franken with and maybe I’ll come a little closer.

  30. ReaderRita says:

    OMG! I just read the ingredients list for Models Own polishes, and they are NOT THREE FREE at all. At all. Too bad, I really wanted to order quite a few colors. At least they don’t test on furry animals- only us, the shaved kind…

  31. ReaderRita says:

    I just thought of something, so I had to post again- if you want to get a Paradoxal dupe, maybe you could franken it from Models Own Purple Grey and Essie Demure Vixen? I was just looking at the Paradoxal shimmer and trying to figure out where I had seen that type of glow recently- and I think that it’s Demure Vixen. Just a thought.

  32. Michele says:

    Great comparisons as usual. I’m going to have to go look for Dressmaker this afternoon. Hopefully I’m getting Jade Stone from Models Own soon. My sister in law lives in Scotland and is coming for a visit next week so I asked her to bring me a few bottles to save on international shipping from the website. Purple Grey was also on my list but I’m not sure the store she’s buying from has it. I’m crossing my fingers that they will.

  33. Jackie D says:

    Yay for this post! I’ve been waiting to see a Jade/Dress Maker comparison ever since I saw Dress Maker at CVS. And honestly, I think I like it a little better than Jade. *gasp* Don’t tell anyone.

  34. Annie in Norway says:

    Thank you so much for the heads up on the Facebook/blogger discount! I am so excited! I was surprised that the buy 5 and save £7 was credited -before- the facebook 50% discount and the discount came off the total order before the ongoing discount! I got 6 polishes for £15! *squee*
    If anyone cares, I got Purple Grey, Emerald City, Slate Green, Dusty Mauve, Sterling Silver and Gun Grey. I am really excited. Thank you for the super enabling! :) It’s nice when bloggers use their powers for good instead of evil :D

  35. Leah says:

    Gah! I can’t resist a 50% off offer! Especially since I’ve had my eye on Purple Grey for a while now. Had to buy 8 to get the order to ship internationally, but oh so worth it!

  36. AmyS says:

    I second Nina Ultra Pro Never Glum Plum! I tried this topped with Orly Love Each Other and feel pretty satisfied that I duped it with non-hidden shimmer. It’s very hard to dupe hidden shimmer, but I think shimmer should be seen so I don’t mind it. I don’t think it lightened the color much at all too. Model’s Own is a great dupe; I’m glad I was able to find another alternative to satisfy my need for instant gratification.

  37. Jessica says:

    Michelle,

    I just wanted to tell you that I bought my first and only Chanel polish in Particuliere a couple of weeks ago. I LOVED it! But then this past weekend I was at Target and I bought a polish by Sonia Kashuk for $4.99 called Tauped #16 and it is a REALLY REALLY amazing dupe for Particuliere at a fraction of the cost. I was quite peeved at myself. I was hoping that maybe you would do a post on that or add it to this one. Tauped looks slightly lighter in the bottle, but dries exactly the same shade as Particuliere. I cant wait to see your thoughts and opinions on this color.

    PS..
    Your blog is amazing. I lay in bed and check for a new post every single night. =)

  38. KatieM says:

    Models Own seems to make it extra hard on U.S. shopper or I’m doing something wrong (it’s quite possible). They are adding VAT & £10 shipping & the order has to be over £20 after the discount?

    • Leah says:

      Yeah, it really does seem that way. Not to mention that it says that it could take 4 weeks to get to you. It was just too great of a deal to pass up, though.

  39. KatieM says:

    Oops! Sorry I was wrong. During this sale U.S. shoppers just need to hit the £20 subtotal. I’m getting Betty Blue, Moody Gray, Slate Green, Purple Grey & Top Turquoise

  40. Diane says:

    I’m loving the purple grey. Somebody franken it with the CND Violet Shimmer! lol. I want Paradoxal for Christmas. :D

  41. Julie says:

    I just bought Milani Dress Maker as I wasn’t sure I would like Chanel Jade–so wanted to try a dupe for less. I also have purchased Chanel paradoxal and can’t wait to try it out. Love your posts on dups!! Thanks.

  42. Scarlett says:

    I discovered a maybe-sorta dupe.
    Sally Hansen Xtreme wear in Blue It is pretty close to Orly Frostbite.

  43. Tuxie says:

    How funny I just tried my luck at concocting a dupe for Paradoxal today! I did 2 coats of Bourghese “Stellar Notte” and one coat of Wet n Wild “Wild Card” and it looks pretty close- not an exact but almost there. Also theres a brand called CQ that I found @ walmart and they have a colour called “Shimmering Bark” that’s kind of similar and very lovely in its own respect. :)

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      Oh thanks for sharing! I’ll have to look for that CQ. I’ve seen the brand before at Rite Aid but never really looked at it.

  44. rose says:

    i’ve never liked claire’s nail polish,it just doesn’t work and chips CONSTANTLY.

  45. carol says:

    Just found your blog, so cool! I’m also an addict.
    OMG the new chanel khakis are to die for! And I just scored me some Butter 3Free

  46. Anna says:

    Soooo glad you did this post. Got six polishes from Model’s Own (Purple Grey, Dusty Mauve, Slate Green, Betty Blue, Green Tea and that light yellow one that draws slightly towards apricot), all for the price of the Paradoxal I’ve been longing for, but probably would have had to drive through half of Scandinavia to find a bottle of. Thanks!

  47. Mrs_Miagi says:

    I found Chanel Paradoxal at duty free in san Juan, Purto Rico’s airport for $21. Ladies if your traveling in the future check at the duty free stores, The chanel cosmetics are discounted.

  48. temptu says:

    My favorite color is green, that’s why I was so happy to see this product. My nails will surely look pretty with this.

  49. In the UK we have a Chanel Jade dupe by Barry M Mint Green number 302 which is a very good one.

    Jayne xx

  50. chewybacca says:

    I found a polish by Dare to Wear called Fortune. It’s slightly darker than Chanel’s Paradoxyl and has a shimmer finish as well. I haven’t tried it with the CND Shimmer/Sparkle but I reckon it would lighten the shade to closer to the right hue.

  51. Sideral says:

    There’s an EXACT Paradoxal dupe: the new Barry M Dusky Mauve. They’re seriously identical!

  52. Heather says:

    Barry M have a colour called Dusky Mauve, it’s a pretty good match for paradoxal!

  53. Kellie says:

    I just saw a bottle of Jade on Ebay selling for THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS! For that kind of money, it better come with it’s own manicurist that’s ready to give me the most luxurious mani/pedi/massages at the snap of my fingers for the life of the polish.

  54. Barry M have a dupe for Paradoxal, I would go so far as to say it’s nearly identical, it’s called “Dusky Mauve” Google it and you’ll see! xx

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