Home Reviews Chanel Les 4 Ombres eyeshadow quads and Joues Contraste blushes … USA vs The Rest of the World

Chanel Les 4 Ombres eyeshadow quads and Joues Contraste blushes … USA vs The Rest of the World

by Sonia G.

Depending on where you buy your Chanel eyeshadow quads “Les 4 Ombres“, or blushes “Joues Contraste“, the texture and pigmentation will be different, there’s one “USA” version, and there’s another one for the rest of the world (Canada, Asia, Europe, …).

Chanel USA vs the Rest of the World

I have tried to find the reason why there is such a big difference in exactly the same products, so far without success. Here in Switzerland they aren’t even aware of a different version released specially for the USA… . But, I don’t give up easily and I will find out ! Some say that in Europe or Asia we tend to prefer a more sheer and subtle application, but every single Chanel make up lover I met till now, prefer the more pigmented USA releases. Even in Asia, Canada, Germany or anywhere else, when they know about this difference, they would rather pick the non-baked and more pigmented USA formula.
At some point I thought maybe the ingredients (regulations in the countries) could be the reason, but I don’t think so…

Some brands, like Dior for example, sometimes launch additional or completely different products depending on the countries, for example with their collection “Electric Tropics”, in the Diorskin Nude Glow, we had two bronzers in Europe but Dior launched a beautiful highlighter, in that same collection, exclusive to Asia : the First Light Nude Glow in 003.

But for Chanel, and for these Les 4 Ombres quads and the Joues Contraste blushes, the names are the same but the texture is completely different.
If you are interested in exclusive Asia releases or if you missed out on some Limited Edition collections, sometimes I buy my products at www.izzysbeautyshoppe.com, that’s were I got the Dior First Light in case you are interested.


Chanel quads in the USA have square eyeshadow pans, if you buy the quads anywhere else in the world, the pans are round and their formula is baked. Both formulas are smudge-proof and can be applied dry for subtle shading, or dampened for more intense colour.

USA specifications
Square pans.
In the USA version, the product you get in the quad weights 6.8 g (0.24 oz).
The cases are identical size-wise but inside, the space reserved for the applicators is located at the bottom for the USA version and on the right-hand side for the other versions (see first pic above).
The sponge applicators are black (one is thinner and therefore will allow you to draw a nice thin line)
Made in France.

Rest of the World specifications
Round pans.
You’ll get 1.2 g (0.04 oz), since this formula is baked maybe you will get the same amount of product at the end… but the weight difference is huge.
The two sponge applicators are white, both the same.
Made in France too.
I was only able to find a list of ingredients for this release, I am not even sure (copied from Sasa.com site) : Talc, paraffinum liquidum, lanolin alcohol, magnesium aluminum silicate, bentonite, aluminum hydroxide, methyparaben, zea mays, propylparaben, BHT, ascorbl palmitate.

I remember that the first eyeshadow quad I bought from Chanel was the European release of “Les 4 Ombres : Sparkling Satins“, it was so glittery, the glitter could not stay put and it had no color payoff. I was really disappointed and gave it away.

When I found out that the quads were different in the USA, I ordered Les 4 Ombres in Mystic Eyes… great start, I loved it, it’s one of my favorite Chanel quads today.

This week, I was shopping in my favorite perfume and make up shop in Switzerland and Aurelie, a make up artist working in that great shop, asked me if I wanted some help…  I told her I was looking for the best quality quad of the Chanel Les 4 Ombres and ended by telling her why I needed it… basically only to write this post because I was planning to give it away to my mum or to a friend afterwards. She told me I could just simply borrow two testers in order to take pictures of them swatched side by side. How great is that ? I already had the two versions of the Prelude at home and thanks to her, I can show you the Kaska Beige and Mystic Eyes, both versions swatched together.

Mystic Eyes

Colors :  cool shimmery light pink, neutral shimmery gray taupe, warm, shimmery gold brown, shimmery plum brown

This quad is one of the most flattering I have, I can wear it anytime, day or night, to work to to create a beautiful and threatening sultry and smokey eye. I have dark green eyes, it makes them pop and I love the dark color and the greyish taupe.

On the left the USA version, on the right the “RotW” (rest of the world…) version.

Sometimes the colors are very close, but the greyish taupe shades are completely different as you can see in the swatches !

I have tried to swatch the RotW version wet on the far left but I still prefer the USA pigment intensity, even dry, and to be honest I don’t want to be forced to wet an eyeshadow in order to get some color payoff, not at that price !
Some RotW versions if you don’t use them damp, you just won’t see much color at all.

I like to rub my arm with a paper tissue after I have taken the pictures and then check out the stains left behind, if any… I believe USA wins but the dark color and the pink color on the RotW version are very vibrant and I like them a lot.

Stains of Mystic Eyes

Kaska Beige

Colors : almost matte ivory beige, mauved brown with a satin finish, shimmery plummed dark brown, shimmery coppery tan.

The color payoff of the RotW version is so sheer compared to the USA one, the beige you can barely see it, the others I had to swatch them very heavily so that they would show.

USA stains win again 😉

Stains of Kaska Beige


I could not think of a better name for this *preciousss*…. I love it so much that I bought the US and the EU and if there were any other breed anywhere else in the world I would also get it….

Colors : Taupe, cream, beige, dark purple… Both US and EU quads are to die for.

If you get up in the morning and you don’t know what kind of day you will have to undergo, just grab this palette. It’s so easy to wear that you won’t have any additional stress thinking about your look. The colors are beautiful, the most perfect combination.
That taupe in the top-left corner is so gorgeous ! I can wear it all year round, day or night…

Both versions have nice pigmentation, the dark color in the RotW is even slightly more vibrant than the USA one. This quad is worth having whatever the version but I still prefer the USA one though…
Lisa Eldridge recently uploaded a video where she recreates for us the look she realized on Kate Winslet Red Carpet in April 2012, and she is using the Euro version of this Prelude, you can watch this video here

The stains left behind are not bad at all for both quads, and on the eyes this quad lasts all day with a base.

Stains of Prelude

The applicators included in the quads are different as well, both end in the bin… The USA ones are more useful since you can draw a line with the thinner one if you like, but they are too big for their little place inside the quad and each time you open the quad they end everywhere.

The Joues Contraste blushes

The blushes may look similar from the distance, from far far away…  but the formula of the USA JC is not a baked formula and the color payoff is also different. I love both versions, but I consider them as two completely different blushes. On my skin, the Rest of the World formula lasts a bit longer, some USA blushes can feel chalky on my skin, but some RotW blushes can be just way too frosty, so it’s a matter of preference.

If you don’t know if your version is a baked one, look at the sides of the blush, on the non-baked version you can see the border of the metallic pan.


These two Espiègle are totally different blushes..  Espiègle “RotW” is more like a pink-coral frosty highlighter, frosty but gorgeous. I love to wear this one in the summer, on top of my bronzer, gives a really fresh glow on bronzed skin.

The weight is very different as you can see in the picture, 6g for the US version, 4g for the other, it does not mean you get less product since the product is baked, also you may need more baked product in order to build up more color… You should really get the version you like and not depending on the amount you would get for the price.
Both are made in France.

In Love

Again I love both versions, but even if the color looks similar on the swatches, on the skin it looks different, I prefer the RotW release but many friends prefer the USA one.
The USA version is slightly darker on my skin and the other RotW version seems more appropriate for my fair to medium skin.
Color : dirty coral-peach with soft, golden shimmer, the tiny gold sparkles of shimmer show up in both versions.


These are heavy swatches of both blushes side by side. I own both versions of these, but to me they are completely different.

The stains of the USA version are sheerer this time :

The applicators are different as well. In the USA version they are brown and thin. But in the other two baked rows of blushes below, the applicators are not the same… either brown with a wider handle or black with a thinner handle…
I never use these tiny brushes included in the compacts but since I have a few of them I may also show what you would get …

Bottom line

The eyeshadow pigmentation is so different that I recommend you the USA version.
For the blushes, it depends on the blush, sometimes the ones we get in Europe are too frosty, I prefer to try them and consider the two versions as two different blushes with the same name… and providing two completely different results.

Please let me know what your thoughts are on these Chanel products, and if by any chance you know the reason why Chanel decided to go different, I would love to finally know ! Any additional information would be really helpful.

Thank you for reading 🙂

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Maggie 12 May, 2012 - 3:54 pm

Thank you for this post! Super informative and the site for Asia exclusives is brilliant. Wouldnt have ever known about it 🙂

Sweet Make Up Temptations 12 May, 2012 - 4:06 pm

Thank you so much Maggie ! 🙂 I am really happy it helps 🙂

Marie R 16 June, 2012 - 2:00 pm

Bonjour, je découvre ton blog par l’intermédiaire de Wayne dont je suis une abonnée…
J’aime beaucoup ton article et je me demande comme toi pourquoi cette différence. J’ai regardé mes vieux maquillages Chanel et je constate que les 4 ombres (88 naturels) avaient un poids total de 2g … Il faudrait savoir si les deux versions USA/ Monde sont réellement fabriquées en France, car on peut jouer sur les mots. Le produit fini peut-être assemblé ou mis dans l’emballage en France et les pigments peuvent venir d’ailleurs …
;-( . Sur la différence de prix par rapports aux maquillages je t’invite à voir mes vidéos ” achats … NYX et “achat… essie, si tu as le temps.
Au fait j’habite aussi en Suisse et je suis d’origine espagnole… Je suis contente d’avoir découvert ton blog. A bientôt.

Sweet Make Up Temptations 16 June, 2012 - 2:24 pm

Bonjour Marie ! merci beaucoup de ta visite ! quel est l’adresse de ton blog ou videos ?
Quelle coïncidence quand même 🙂
Je me réjouis de voir tes vidéos, la difference de prix entre les pays me surprend et j’aimerais bien en savoir plus !
A bientôt !

Sweet Make Up Temptations 16 June, 2012 - 4:05 pm

Marie, je l’ai trouvé 🙂 merci ! génial me voilà parmi tes subscribers 🙂

Elen 17 June, 2012 - 9:17 pm

Hiya 🙂 check out gossmakeupartist on youtube…he uploaded a video about this and in the description box, he added a mail sent by Chanel. As per that mail, they said the square ones are powders – not baked. Hence the difference in quality and quantity :-/ so weird…anyhoo, thought i’d let you know 🙂 good day!

Marie R 19 June, 2012 - 8:17 pm

Merci pour ton abonnement ! J’ai mis un lien vers ton article sur Chanel depuis le post sur mon blog.
La réponse de Chanel à Wayne … ??? Grandiose ! 🙁

Sweet Make Up Temptations 18 June, 2012 - 2:23 pm

Hi Elen,
Thank you for your post and for the information about Chanel’s email to Wayne ! As mentionned in my post above, I know that the product is not baked in the USA, but in Chanel’s communication to Wayne, they say that the quality is the same for both versions, to me, and to many actually, the quality is not the same. What I call quality issues is the fall-out and the lack of pigmentation of the European or Asian quads. I still don’t know why Chanel don’t provide us with the nice USA releases ! What a shame !
Take care 🙂

Andrea 9 July, 2012 - 1:45 pm

Thank you so much for this informative post! I am a Chanel fan but I’ve yet to purchase any of the quads and the only blush I own is Horizon. Are the quads and blushes the only products different in weight and quality? What about the single eyeshadows? Another difference I noticed is the leaflet that came with my Vitalumiere foundation said the foundation bottle would contain a pump, but it doesn’t. I bet the USA versions have pumps! So frustrating. >.<

Jo 11 October, 2012 - 11:41 am

Hello…I’m in France and use obviously the baked Chanel Joues Contraste. I wondered if you could tell me which blush brush you find to be the best? I have the RMK Cheek brush and also a Hakuhodo Kokutan Blush Brush (S) but find they are still quite soft. Do you use any of your Suqqu or Chikuhodo brushes on this type of blush? What would you recommend? I’d love to know what your thoughts are! Thanks very much.

Sweet Make Up Temptations 11 October, 2012 - 8:02 pm

Hi Jo,
In the past I used to reach for the Yachiyo large pointed from Hakuhodo pictured here. Today I actually haven’t tried my Chanel baked JC with Suqqu or Chikuhodo.
I just got the Rose Initiale and Fleur de Lotus so I will use them during the next days and will let you know. I think the Yachiyo will still be the best to trap and diffuse the baked texture (that sometimes is a bit too sheer and sparkly).

I’ll keep you updated shortly !

Jo 11 October, 2012 - 8:35 pm

Hi; I’d be really interested to know what you think. Rose Initiale is what I’m using too and I love the colour.

Can I ask you another brush question – is your Chikudodo Z-5 similar in shape to the RMK eyeshadow L? I know you didn’t care for the RMK L but in the absence of being able to get the Z-5 I’m looking for a fluffy, short, dense blending brush…and wondered if this would be a good substitute?

Sweet Make Up Temptations 12 October, 2012 - 6:51 am

I am wearing Rose Initiale today that I applied with the Z-4 but so far I prefer the finish of the Yachiho for the JC texture, I can buff more and give it a less powdery finish. But I’ll keep investigating.
About the Z-5, no, it’s a complete different brush than the RMK L. The Z-5 is much softer, pointy (thin at the top), it doesn’t compare at all. If you are looking for a similar brush than the Z-5, and same budget, but not a Chikuhodo one, then Hakuhodo S121G does compare and I would recommend you to get that one. The Z-5 hair length is the same as the S121G, the S121G is a bit thinner but the problem I have with the RMK L is that it’s now too scratchy for my eyelids.
I hope this helps 🙂

Jo 12 October, 2012 - 6:59 am

That helps a LOT. Thanks so much for your experiment this morning and for the advice on the eye brush… I might still try to find a Z-5! 🙂

Sweet Make Up Temptations 12 October, 2012 - 7:49 am

If you go one day for Chikuhodo, a very nice cheaper option is the BL12-6 Eye Shadow Brush (L), or the M-4, but the BL-12-6 is absolutely amazing 🙂
I will receive the GS-3 shortly, I will let you know what I think of it but it also looks like a nice similar option.

Jo 12 October, 2012 - 7:51 am

Thats great to know, thanks. It’s the availability that’s the problem! I will look forward to your reviews…!

Jo 12 October, 2012 - 7:53 am

PS I had looked at that Swedish site but they are out of stock on the Z-5, which is really what I think will suit my purposes. Be very interested to see what you think of the GS-3. Is Kohlindo reasonable for shipping costs?

Sweet Make Up Temptations 12 October, 2012 - 8:15 am

This is what Malin says on one of her comments : The shipping fee for EU is 118 SEK. Outside of EU is 130 SEK. So around 13 euros for France I believe. The shipping is extremely fast though !

Jo 12 October, 2012 - 3:15 pm

I have contacted the lovely Malin; so great to have discovered her site via you and also Dena’s blog. May I ask you one more thing? Do you think the Z-5 will be good with Edward Bess eyeshadows? I only do simple looks so I’m not looking for lots and lots of colour or complicated looks. I’m looking for one brush to do it all. I didn’t realise about the Haku S121G – do you still prefer the Z-5 over this?

Finally – RMK S or Chiku Z-4 for my baked Chanel blushes? (I know you like the Yachiho but I’m not tempted… 😉 ) I used the RMK (normal, not S today) and it wasn’t bad actually – I’m wondering if the squirrel/goat combo will be better, or if I should go mad and get the Z-4, but if I do, I want to be sure it picks up the pigment – too expensive if not!

Bon weekend

Sweet Make Up Temptations 13 October, 2012 - 4:36 pm

Hi Jo,
Of course the Z-5 is very good with EB shadows, as is the S121G, but the feeling of a Z-5 on your eyes is… divine, the Z-5 it’s less precise than the S121G so you have to keep that in mind in you were planning on doing your look with only one brush, you could manage with the S121G, but the Z-5 is like an elephant in a porcelaine shop. I can do all-over and lid application with the Z-5 but the outer V will be an outer mess.
I prefer the Z-5 though if I had to choose.
Well for the JC I have to say that I tried… but I still prefer a full goat brush for these blushes. Rose Initiale is lacking pigment and trying to put it with either the Z-4 or the RMK was not a successful operation at all. It got better with the Fleur de Lotus which is more pigmented, it worked with both but again, not the brushes I would choose for that purpose. The Z-4 gave a more diffused color on the cheeks, the RMK gave a little more precision due to the goat hair placed at the exterior of the brush head (squirrel being only in the center), so you can get a little bit more firmness with the hair, but since the Z-4 is very dense it also does the job…
If using them with other JC blushes with the same pigmentation as the Rose Initiale then I think it’s a waste of money trying to use a squirrel brush with them, even the RMK was not good.
I am sorry, I hope this helps a bit… the RMK and the Z-4 both pick a lot of pigment but just not on these JC.
Bon weekend ! 🙂

Jo 13 October, 2012 - 6:45 pm

That is SUPER helpful; thanks. I actually have an S142 so I can do more precise outer crease and v with that. I am trying to do the opposite of you – use as few brushes as possible, and since I don’t do complicated looks I am trying to make do with three – so I’m going to go for the Z-5, the S142 and my Kokutan ML.

As for cheeks – thanks for the advice. Even though I would love a Z-4, for my purposes it might be overkill – I only use two blushes, maybe three at most – Chantecaille, Chanel and maybe Edward Bess, so I think I’ll go for the RMK S. Is it marked that it is an S? I am worried I won’t be able to tell the difference between the two RMK brushes!

In any case, this has been so, so helpful, thank you for taking the time.

I am in awe of your collection!

Thanks again,

Sweet Make Up Temptations 15 October, 2012 - 8:53 pm

That’s perfect ! a great combination !
No, it’s not marked that it is an S, I heard that the “100% squirrel” brush was not available anymore and that only the squirrel-goat option was currently available so I don’t know, you should ask directly the shop you are going to buy it from.
In Selfridges London they told me that only the S squirrel-goat was being sold but they did not know about other countries. Sorry 🙁
I hope you will find the “one” 🙂

cc 16 October, 2012 - 1:40 am

Hi Jo & Sonia,

Sorry to butt in.. FYI, The RMK cheek brush S is marked ‘S’ at the bottom of the brush handle whereas the normal blush brush is unmarked.

Sweet Make Up Temptations 16 October, 2012 - 7:06 am

Thank you CC !!! omg, I can’t believe I did not see that 🙁
I have checked this morning, indeed, an “S” is engraved at the bottom of the handle !
thank you again, it’s really great to know!
I hope the weather is nice in Malaysia, here we are freezing and fighting the cold already, -2 degrees C… brrrrr but I saw the most amazing scene this morning, a huge deer running around in the field at sunrise … all the cars stopped just to watch him, breathtaking !

Jo 16 October, 2012 - 6:10 am

Hi cc, Thanks, that’s good info. My RMK was bought recently from bonboncosmetics and is definitely not the ‘S’ version – it’s all squirrel and just says RMK at the bottom.

I can only wear diffused cheek looks…I’m still deciding if I actually need another brush!

Sweet Make Up Temptations 16 October, 2012 - 7:11 am

Hi Jo, oooh that’s the one I was looking for 😉
This one should be good for diffused looks, you are not happy with it?

Jo 16 October, 2012 - 7:21 am

Hi again, yes, I absolutely love it, but because Rose Initiale is not so pigmented, I wondered if getting a very slightly firmer brush might make a difference – hence my questions about the RMK S. I have the Kokutan Blush Brush S which is soft, but not dense.. It seems greedy to buy a third one! But, I can interchange them for other blushes, for bronzer, and also for powder, so three doesn’t seem too bad?!? 🙂

Cold in Lyon too this morning, as you say, brrr!

I want to ask you another question about Edward Bess…I’ll head over to that post and ask there!
🙂 Have a great day.

Sweet Make Up Temptations 16 October, 2012 - 7:27 am

I have tried to apply Rose Initiale with the RMK S, it didn’t really work well, it seems like this blush is a pain in the A§ to apply !
I just bought two new JC, Malice and Tumulte (EU version) since I had to use a voucher yesterday and nothing else appealed to me, they are more pigmented, but this Rose Initiale really is an exception, shame because it’s beautiful !
I need to buy a winter coat !!!

Jo 16 October, 2012 - 7:30 am

I looked at those two yesterday as well! Too orange for me (Malice) and too cool (Tumutle) … 🙁

luno 8 January, 2013 - 7:13 pm

Hi guys, I have a question about lipsticks, are all Chanel lipsticks the same or do they have different formulas for the US version and the rest of the world one? Lets say the same colour for the US market differs from the same colour for the rest of the world due to the formulation?

Sweet Make Up Temptations 8 January, 2013 - 10:07 pm

Hi Luno,
gosh I have no idea !!! I only have Chanel lipsticks that I bought in European countries, if anyone knows and can share that would be great, I really don’t know, I might go to the USA this year, if I do I let you know 🙂

luno 9 January, 2013 - 8:11 pm

Hi! Thank you for reply!
I just called their customer service on 1-800-550-0005 in the USA, so the rep said that all the lipsticks are the same formulation and colour, however he mentioned that SOME products(not lipsticks) have different formulation from country to country, e.g. skincare, perfumes, some makeup(probably he meant quads and blushes) I might go to the USA as well later this year, will compere my lipsticks to the US editions there:)

Sweet Make Up Temptations 9 January, 2013 - 8:41 pm

fantastic ! I had no idea that perfumes could be different too ! if any news please let me know 🙂 I will also do the same if I go (or WHEN I go 🙂 )

Dawn 12 April, 2013 - 2:08 am

I’m considering purchasing the Prelude quad, and I have access to both the US and European versions (though not both at the same time). Lacking the two to compare next to each other, can you help with my decision by telling me why you prefer the USA one?

Sweet Make Up Temptations 12 April, 2013 - 8:04 am

Hi ! the USA one is more consistent with pigmentation, you get more color with less product and it lasts a bit longer, although I very slightly prefer the darkest shade of the European but the other 3 have better color pay-of in the US quad. The baked european versions are just much more sheer in comparison.

Monica 15 June, 2013 - 1:36 pm

I thought I was the only one that noticed the differences and everyone thought I was crazy lol. Chanel used to make pretty much all items in the usa for USA market and France for rest of the world. In 2008 the USA stopped manufacturing but the formulas continued to be made differently. The only time we can buy a rotw version here is if that’s a very exclusive limited release edition item, then every country will sell the same one. Many times these are made in Italy items (special blush items usually or items like artifices items)

Gladys L. 15 June, 2013 - 3:59 pm

You are not alone.

I tried to reach for limited edition only for the square e/s pans, as all other permanent ones can be found in HK are now circles.

And as for similar pigmentation preference, I have learned well from my experience and stop myself from buying mineral e/s from MAC.

Morgan Mckinney 19 May, 2014 - 5:51 am

Hi what places can send me or let me borrow some chanel eye shadow testers please help?


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