Friday, June 27, 2014

Potential Swaps for Chanel Dragon

Chanel's long-discontinued Rouge Allure Laque in Dragon has always prompted some polarizing, powerful responses. On the one hand, it's the most perfect medium red I've ever worn, and the formula is slightly glossy and decently long-wearing. On the other hand, it's one of ye olde liquid lipstick formulas, meaning it feathers easily and sucks every drop of moisture out of your lips.

So why was there such widespread panic when the product was discontinued? Why didn't people just march off to other red lipsticks?

Uh, yeah. It's THAT gorgeous. I've never found a red that looks exactly like that on my lips. And with a little lipliner and some q-tips, I'm able to get through a hot night on the town without excessive feathering or fading. It's just my perfect red.

I've been on a quest to find the best Chanel Dragon dupes for at least 3 years now. Every time I get a new red, I swatch it against Dragon. And while I've yet to find a product that looks just like Dragon on my lips--not only in terms of color, but also with regards to the finish--I've found several potential swap-outs.

The Armani Lip Maestro in shade 400 "The Red" is probably the closest match I've found in terms of color. Upon closer inspection, the Armani is a hair darker and slightly less blue; however, I think the darkness is partially because the product dries matte. Armani The Red is also a liquid lipstick, but its formulation is more creamy than liquidy, and it has a slight powdery feel on the lips. While the product lasts long, it also smears very easily; even with lipliner, the edges of my lips look quite soft after a few hours of wearing this one.

Hourglass Opaque Liquid Rouge in Icon is more blue than any of the other options seen here (to the point where it appears almost raspberry in these swatches), but it behaves the best. An incredibly long-wearing, only slightly drying liquid lipstick, Icon will last me for an entire day without feathering or fading. On my lips, it is about a shade darker than Dragon, and it dries down matte.

If you want the same bright, shiny red and aren't too concerned about longevity, Bite Beauty High Pigment Pencil in Pomegranate is your best option. This shade lasts for about 4 hours on me with minimal feathering. What it lacks in wear time it makes up for in finish: it is every bit as glossy as Chanel Dragon. It's also the least-drying option here due to the rich, creamy formula.

MAC Ruby Woo seems very off here--if you were going by swatches alone, you'd easily judge this too matte and too pink. And while, yes, it is easily the most matte option here, it also applies much more red on the lips--I think it looks pink here because the matte formulation appears more "chalky" on skin than these liquid and cream products, so it's not catching as much light. It's not particularly comfortable to apply or wear, but the color is gorgeous, and it does. not. budge.

Here are the swatches after one quick swipe with a baby wipe. The Armani and Hourglass lipsticks appear to be the most waterproof; the Hourglass lipstick also stains slightly and takes a bit more elbow grease to get off.

FINAL RECOMMENDATIONS: If you want the most similar formulation and a very close color, go for the Armani. If you want something that is spot-on in terms of color and finish, but performs and applies quite differently, go for the Bite. If you're willing to go a bit darker and give up all glossiness in exchange for a long-wearing, non-feathering product, go for the Hourglass. Last, but not least, if you want a similar shade in a more classic lipstick formulation, go for the MAC.


  1. This is such a great post! Thanks for making it.

  2. OK, try #2 to post this...How does Pomegranate compare to Cranberry? Do I need both? Your hair looks fab, BTW. Gives me hope that a blue-eyed, fair-ish redhead can wear red lips! If you could post a comp, I would be eternally grateful!
    thanks, Nan

    1. There should be a Bite review under the "brand: Bite" tag that includes swatches of Cranberry. It's very similar to Pomegranate, but a bit cooler and more purple. Let me know if that helps! :)

    2. that is kinda what I thought from looking at those pics. Thanks!