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Weird and wonderful makeups attract me like a moth to a flame so naturally, I was very intrigued by Chanel Notorious. Dubbed as a facial contour powder meet eyeshadow, it has gained a somewhat notorious buzz among makeup connoisseurs (bad joke? had to be done).

How does it compare to other contour powders? Will it work for you? Why is it grey? Let’s begin.

As always, swatch comparisons first and review at the finale. The contenders…

Chanel Notorious: Comparison and Review

Left to right:
Rouge Bunny Rouge At Netherway Cove Bronzer (for reference)
NYX Taupe Blush
Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Medium
Rouge Bunny Rouge Chestnut-Napped Apalis (actually an eyeshadow)
Chanel Notorious

And comparison swatches

Chanel Notorious: Comparison and Review

Left to right:
Rouge Bunny Rouge At Netherway Cove
Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Medium
Chanel Notorious
NYX Taupe Blush
Rouge Bunny Rouge Chestnut-Napped Apalis

Shade descriptions:

Rouge Bunny Rouge At Netherway Cove: Peachy undertone. Very warm against the others- undoubtedly a bronzer. Medium pigmentation. Ideal for most skintones (fairer beauties could use this sparingly and achieve a natural result).

Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting: Warmer than Notorious, may make cooler ladies and gents look less contoured and more ‘bronze’. High pigmentation paired with a super soft texture. Ideal for medium-fair to medium, warm skintones.

Chanel Notorious: Review and details below

NYX Taupe Blush: Leans pink. Least pigmented of the contenders. Ideal for cool and pale skintones. A wonderful, affordable contour option.

Rouge Bunny Rouge Chestnut Napped Apalis: An eyeshadow, but it fits, dontcha think? Warmer than Notorious but cooler than KA Sculpting. Pretty high pigment, since it’s an eyeshadow! Could be used as a contour for most skintones except particularly deep colourings.

Chanel Notorious- My Review:

Notorious can be described as a super cool shade, grey leaning taupe with a hint of purple. Unlike the other contenders, it has a satin finish but I couldn’t really detect any shimmer on my medium toned face. Just a warning, fair skins may be able to decipher a fine shimmer once applied.
I define the pigmentation as medium, not a downfall because you’re less likely to over-apply. The product in pan is quite ‘hard’ in comparison to the others.
In practice, the shade mimics the natural shadows of the face very well, due to it’s ashy tone. To address my initial musings at the introduction of this post, the powder is greyish because natural contours of the face rarely appear warm- that’s where a bronzer comes in! Ideal contour powders are frequently cooler than your colouring.
I found the best method to apply this product is a small contour brush (like the Hakuhodo 212, pictured here), placing the product directly into the hollows of the cheekbone. Refrain from excessive blending upwards as to avoid an overall ashy complexion- precise application is key, in my experience.
I didn’t particularly like this powder as an eye contour, it wasn’t pigmented enough to provide depth to the socket, resulting in an undefined greyish haze. The included brush is pretty useless, unless you are geared towards convenience.
Overall, Chanel Notorious and Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting powder come out on top of this contest. I prefer the exquisite texture of the Kevyn Aucoin powder but instances where I’m yearning catwalk-esque cheekbones, Notorious fits the bill.

What’s your verdict on this bizarre looking grey powder?


Complete list of products mentioned

Taupe Blush
Taupe Blush
Sculpting Powder
Sculpting Powder
* Denotes products sent for consideration. I’m always honest with my reviews :)

Leave your comment (23 comments)

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  1. Hi! It’s great to see all of these together. I personally use NYX taupe, I do like it very much. I always wanted to try the sculpting veil from Kevyn Aucoin, it looks really gorgeous! I’m not sure if I could go grey-er then Taupe. Thank you πŸ™‚

    1. Hey Taylor!
      I used NYX Taupe a lot when I was paler but I think nowadays I prefer the Kevyn Aucoin. I’m usually all about colours but with contour powders, I think texture is really important. You don’t want it to be visible on the skin and Kevyn Aucoin does that perfectly.
      My pleasure πŸ™‚

  2. Hi Karima! I just discovered your blog recently–what a wonderful job you’re doing! I just ordered the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting powder, and I’m hoping it works for me. Your swatches and descriptions are so helpful. I’m hoping this works on my fair skin–sounds like you found the texture to be very good, so I’m optimistic! Have a great day.

    1. Hi there and welcome!
      I’m so glad you’re enjoying the posts πŸ™‚ The Kevyn Aucoin powder is a standout product, in my opinion. I’m sure you will love it- just be sure to use a light hand. Let me know what you think when you try it!

  3. I came to decide that I wanted Notorious too late in the game. I’m not a big user of contour colors so decided that it wasn’t worth the $$. However, read a number of blog posts a wk or so ago along with pics of this in use on pale skinned ladies & I had a new, raging lemming! I do have NYX Taupe for those occasional times when I do want to contour. Yours is the first post where I have seen that included in the comparison pics. Thanks so much for including that one! Side-by-side swatch comparisons are so helpful!

    1. Hey Kristi!
      Aw is Notorious hard to find, where you live? Luckily, it was still available in Australia (I was also late to the party). Perhaps try a taupe eyeshadow first to see if you like the look to save you tracking it down then deciding you dislike it. I’m happy my swatches were of help to you, though!

  4. I like your redesign of your blog. I haven’t seen it in a while but it is easier to check out now. Looking forward to new posts. The old format was very difficult to look at.

  5. NYX taupe is great, this was a neutral on me, it wasn’t too orangey or yellow, but it wasn’t grey enough I think. It didn’t look much like a shadow. It didn’t really push the bone line back or pull forward on me. It often looked, in my opinion, just like I was wearing a slightly darker blush on my bone contour line. Kevyn Aucoin, for some reason, showed up rather warm on my skin. More like a bronzer. I think it is just my colouring that cause this issue. Because Chanel Notorious is discontinued I thought I would try Nars Lhasa eyeshadow since it is similar in color. So far this actually contours my cheek bone and makes it look like a shadow. For some reason, I really want to try D&G tan blush as a contour. I saw this some where on a review where the person was asking for a comparison on D&G tan to NYX taupe. I am really curious if they are similar.

    1. Hey Nikole πŸ™‚
      Contours can be tricky. I can totally see how KA Sculpting would appear too bronze on some skintones. Sounds like Chanel Notorious would have been perfect for you :-/ Doncha hate that! Does Lhasa have shimmer?
      Unfortunately I don’t own D&G Tan, but I’ve heard rave reviews!

    1. Totally depends on your colouring- pale and cool, I’d suggest notorious or RBR Chesnut Napped Apalis. Medium and warm, I prefer the KA Sculpting- the texture is really beautiful so blends easily around the nose area. Hope this helps. xx

  6. I’ve been roaming the internet just to find a colour similar to Chanel’s notorious as the price is out of my range (and I think that notorious is no longer available anyways..). I saw a really close swatch of a matte catrice eyeshadow in starlight expresso. Unfortunatelly I live in Greece where Catrice makeup isn’t sold. The thing is the price of the eyeshadow is dead cheap. Have you seen any swatches? They would be nothing alike texturewise but the colour is the closest one I come across to that day.

    1. I think Starlight Expresso is similar to MAC Copperplate, from what I can tell of the swatches online. It would definitely work but I think Notorious has a slight lilac tint, which makes it hard to dupe. I hear a few have likened Notorious to NARS Lhasa, although that has more discernible shimmer.

      1. You are right. I think I can combine the Catrice in Starlight expresso, with a bit of PAUL & JOE Eye Shadow in 06 which is a shimmery lilac colour. I know that it might be a fuss, but I think it will be a pretty close result!

  7. Hi Karima,
    have you tried Tom Ford’s shade and illuminate contour cream? How would you compare that to the KA sculpting powder? Are both equally natural looking and long lasting? (I have dry skin).

    1. Yes I do own Shade and Illuminate in intensity 1, it’s a LOT warmer than KA Sculpting and I wouldn’t really recommend the TF S&I for a natural contour. It’s also very emollient and has the tendency to migrate. All in all, I recommend KA Sculpting. xx

  8. Dear by any chance πŸ˜€ you want to sell me this amazing blush (notorious) by chanel?? I have been dying for it for the longest time! haha πŸ˜€ xo

      1. Hey love … I never replied back, sorry! I actually found it brand new from another blogger and I love it to death! Thank you β™₯

  9. Hi Karima

    Really enjoyed reading your blog:) (and your youtube channel as well!)

    I have been searching for a KA sculpting powder for ages (I have a yellow undertone and I am a Chanel 10BEIGE)! As most of the website don’t ship some of the KA product (incl. sculpting powder) to Australia due an ‘restrict distribution agreement’! just wondering where did you get yours?

    Thanks Karima!

    Cathy xx

  10. I know that this is a very old post, but would you be willing to do a video trying to find a true dupe for Chanel Notorious? I do not have the real thing, so finding a dupe would prove nearly impossible for me. I know you have (and love) it. Pretty please?? Puh-leeeeze?? (Literally begging you…) <3
    YouTube user name: Lexi Hay (longtime subscriber and super fan of both you and #Sharima!!) πŸ™‚

    Thank you!!

  11. Hi Karima!!
    I hope you are doing well. Congratulations on being a university graduate. Well done, dear! We’re all so proud of you.

    I know that this is a very old post, but would you be willing to do a video trying to find a true dupe for Chanel Notorious? I do not have the real thing, so finding a dupe would prove nearly impossible for me. I know you have (and love) it. Pretty please?? Puh-leeeeze?? (Literally begging you…) <3
    YouTube user name: Lexi Hay (longtime subscriber and super fan of both you and #Sharima!!) πŸ™‚

    Thank you!!