When it comes to testing beauty products, I am decidedly democratic in my approach—favouring neither price point nor packaging in my quest to find what really works. However, while there is a certain thrill to be found in discovering a cheap concealer that's just as effective as a more expensive counterpart or in trialling a brilliant cleanser that belies its basic packaging, I'd be lying if I said that there aren't certain brands that simply set my heart aflutter. Case in point: Chanel.
Yes, in the same way that a classic Chanel bag will always remain iconic, there's something deeply covetable about a pillar-box red Chanel lipstick or an eyeshadow compact embossed with those iconic interlocking Cs. Chanel makeup artist Zoë Taylor, whose impressive celebrity client list includes the likes of Bella Hadid, Lily James, and Rihanna, agrees.
"Chanel makeup is so iconic and has stood the test of time because the products are transformational in the most chic way," Taylor explains. "The development of each product is done with such love and care in a truly artistic way, and it has to be said that everyone is seduced by that chic black and white packaging… including me!"
But which Chanel makeup products, in particular, are the true classics? I asked my contact at Chanel beauty HQ for the inside scoop on the brand's best-selling items, and thankfully, she obliged.
Ahead, keep scrolling for the Chanel makeup shopping list of dreams…
There are no prizes for guessing that a red lipstick would be on the list of Chanel makeup best sellers, but the specific shade that has made the cut is Pirate—a flattering blue-red. "The blue-based tone suits everyone, and the creamy formula hydrates lips and makes them look fuller," says Taylor.
Lupita Nyong'o wearing Chanel's Lip Colour in Pirate at the Golden Globes.
This transparent balm is something of a makeup-artist insider secret for creating a classic French-girl glow. "This is the product I use on every makeup look I create," explains Taylor. "It's a glossy highlighter that truly brings makeup to life by giving the glow of youth. If I had to save one product from my kit, it might be this."
"I love adding these into moisturiser, as they brighten up skin beautifully with light-reflecting magic," says Taylor. "I also add them into my foundation, especially long-wearing or satin formulas.”
A red carpet favourite, this mascara is perfect when you're seeking lashes with a little extra drama. "I often get asked if I am wearing falsies when I use this mascara," says Taylor. "The brush catches all of my fine lashes and builds them up with an ultra-black, glossy formula. I love building this up for extra thick and super-long lashes."
Kristen Stewart wearing Le Volume Stretch de Chanel Mascara at the Oscars.
This low-maintenance lipstick is a personal favourite of mine, so I feel somewhat validated to see it in the list of Chanel best sellers. "I have to say that it is such a favourite with the celebs and beauty editors—they are always pinching these out of my kit," says Taylor. "Everyone loves this gorgeous, super-hydrating formula, and the colour is just enough to look chic without looking too made up. It really looks after your lips whilst you wear it."
Taylor isn't the only makeup-artist fan of this water-light foundation. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's makeup artist Nikki DeRoest is also enamoured. "Rosie [Huntington-Whiteley] and I have been using the Chanel Les Beiges Water Tint for photo shoots, and the finish is stunning," she told Refinery29. "It gives the skin a healthy glow, like a bare-skin effect."
“This foundation is insane. It is my absolute favourite," agrees Taylor. "Little droplets of colour burst when you buff it into the skin, creating a veil of colour that makes skin look so fresh and heathy, and it adds a gorgeous glow."
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley with her trademark glowy skin.
"This is a truly iconic Chanel product," explains Taylor. "It is so versatile. I use it to warm up skin, contour, as an eyeshadow, and sometimes, I even mix it into moisturiser for an all-over colour."