Chanel Paradoxal and Revlon Perplex – Swatch and Comparison

Chanel Paradoxal and Revlon Perplex
Chanel Paradoxal and Revlon Perplex

Chanel Paradoxal has been a very popular color this fall–it’s a murky, taupish grey with purple shimmer-and now Revlon has joined the ranks of Chanel dupe-producers.  They’ve just come out with Revlon Perplex, which is clearly meant to be a lower-cost version of Paradoxal.  Paradoxal costs $23 and is still available on Chanel.com, but Revlon’s Perplex is $4.50 and available at drugstores and Ulta.  How do they compare?  Keep reading to find out!

Chanel’s Paradoxal looks darker to me once it’s on the nail than it looks in the bottle, and the purple shimmer is not that noticeable.  The formula is lovely and easy to control, and it’s opaque in two coats.  I’ve had Paradoxal since the summer but haven’t worn it that much because there have been so many great colors to try this fall.  When I saw Perplex I was curious about how it would compare, so I picked it up.

In the bottle these two look very close, with the shimmer seeming ever so slightly more pronounced in Perplex.  Perplex is thinner and runnier than Paradoxal, so it was more difficult to apply, but it’s also opaque in two coats.  Here’s a swatch of Perplex by itself:

Revlon Perplex
Revlon Perplex

At just one coat, it’s clear that Paradoxal has a softer, browner base color than Perplex.  But with two coats, they look really similar.  If you look closely at them side by side, you can see that Paradoxal is slightly more brown, while Perplex is just slightly darker and more gray.   In the picture below, Paradoxal is on my index and middle fingers and Perplex is on my ring and pinky.

Chanel Paradoxal and Revlon Perplex
Chanel Paradoxal and Revlon Perplex

Perplex comes pretty close, close enough that if you don’t feel like spending the money for Paradoxal and you walk past Perplex in your Walgreen’s, you could throw Perplex in your shopping basket and be happy.

I hadn’t worn Paradoxal in so long that when I recently layered CND Violet Shimmer over Essie Hot Coco from the Winter 2010 collection, I thought that I might have found something very similar.  I tried that next to these two to check, and they are so different!  The order below starting from my index finger is Paradoxal, Essie, Perplex, Perplex.  The Essie does have a chocolately brown base with a tone that is a bit like the brown in Paradoxal, but otherwise it’s a lot lighter and just not the same.  A few of my pictures of the Essie combo came out really dark, though, so you can see that I wasn’t crazy–there is a slight resemblance.  The CND Violet Shimmer over Essie Hot Coco was really pretty.  It catches the light and gives a deep, slightly metallic feel. I might like it best out of these three-check out the last picture below.

Paradoxal, Essie Hot Coco w/ Violet Shimmer, Perplex
Paradoxal, Essie Hot Coco w/ Violet Shimmer, Perplex
Essie Hot Coco w/ CND Violet Shimmer
Essie Hot Coco w/ CND Violet Shimmer

I bought my Perplex at Ulta-has anyone else had luck finding it?  Do you think it’s a good Paradoxal substitute?

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