Fun Facts:

The Parisian fashion house of Coco Chanel entered the cosmetics market in 1921 with the release of its signature fragrance: Chanel No. 5.

After acquiring the exclusive hat maker A. Michel et Cie, the company has been trying to break further into the skincare segment, launching under the Precision brand.

None of Chanel's cosmetics are tested on animals, although they do contain lanolin, beeswax, and other animal-derived ingredients.

Company News/Recent Launches:

For fall '09, Chanel makeup is channeling Venice, evoking the mirage of colors and textures that come to mind when one thinks of the city built on water. The new palette is a collection of sunset roses and siennas, as well as subtle grays and green.

Launched in August 2009, the Symphonie Blanche de Chanel collection includes three products: Fleur Celeste highlighting powder, Quadra Eyeshadow in White Whisper, and Nail Colour in Blanc Petal.

Key Ingredients:

Planifolia PFA (polyfractioned vanilla fruit) in the Sublimage range

Blue Ginger PFA (antioxidant) in the Radiance range

Elimi PFA ("polyfractioned active") in the Lifting/Firming range

Ceritonia PFA ("polyfractioned active") in the Hydration range

TIA's Take:

As one of the most time-honored luxury brands on the market, Chanel packages its cosmetics products within sleek, crisp designs equipped with large mirrors and intelligent applicators. Chanel's lip products are known for their easy application and long-lasting color. There is no question that the fragrance and makeup products are high-quality, and at the same time, highly costly. Even though a bit of flair is nice every so often, TIA always favors substance over style. Chanel has taken the opposite approach, jacking up prices and limiting distribution to keep brand perception elevated. In spite of their obscene price points, Chanel's skincare products are hardly the medical-grade corrective treatments that marketing makes them out to be. Specific ingredients are impossible to get your hands on unless you are holding the full-sized product, which is never a good sign. From what we've seen of Chanel, the skincare formulas contain trace amounts of botanical extracts and vitamins, buried at the bottom far below sensitizing chemicals and preservatives. No cheap filler is beneath this sophisticated fashion brand, as silicones, artificial fragrances, and commonplace cooking oils find their way into many of its products. Items from the anti-aging collection, such as Chanel Sublimage Essential Regenerating Cream, tout an African vanilla plant as their secret sauce. The other ranges purporting to deliver a specific action reveal nothing about their formulas other than a "polyfractioned" mystery active. The biggest favor Chanel's skincare products are going to do for you is to provide a fancy jar for display on your dresser.