As two of the biggest luxury brands in France, it should come as no surprise that they each boast equally luxurious ranges of skincare. But how do they compare? And which is best for you?
Previously, we took a look at two French pharmacy titans: La Roche Posay and Caudalie; today, we will be comparing Dior vs Chanel - and more specifically their respective Hydra Life and Hydra Beauty lines (as well as Capture Youth vs Le Lift) - to help you figure out which luxury brand better suits you!
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Dior vs Chanel Moisturizer
Over the course of the past year of comparing the biggest names in skincare, we’ve found that one of the best ways to judge a skincare line at a glance is by beginning with their moisturisers. Not only will it set the tone for the rest of the comparison, but also we seriously just couldn’t wait to start telling you about these holy grail crèmes.
Best hydrating moisturizer
As far as hydrating moisturisers go, it doesn’t get much better than the Chanel Hydra Beauty Gel Creme and the Dior Hydra Life Sorbet Creme. However, although confusingly similar by name, they have a few key differences that make for a tricky decision between the two. Keep scrolling to learn more!
The biggest similarity between the two brands is their use of exotic botanicals as active ingredients.
The Chanel Hydra Beauty Gel Crème has the iconic camellia flower to thank for its inimitable hydrating powers. Not only does this potent little extract immediately help to infuse the skin with water (with a +40% hydration boost after just 4 hours), but it also helps to regulate and maintain optimal moisture levels at a cellular level. Speaking of skin cells, the second active ingredient - Blue Ginger - helps strengthen the cellular self-defence system, further reinforcing your skin’s ability to retain moisture (combatting nasty TEWL [Trans-Epidermal Water Loss]).
The Dior Hydra Life Sorbet Creme instead utilises the power of a Nobel Prize-winning discovery - aquaporins - to enable it to boast an almost 100% satisfaction rating. In one clinical trial, 98% of women found that their skin was more moisturised, 95% found that their skin was soothed, and 93% found that their skin looked radiant; all after just a single application. The secret ingredient? Mallow. A pure marvel of the Dior gardens which deeply boosts the aforementioned aquaporin synthesis to invigorate water circulation within your skin.
Both are in the form of a lightweight gel-creme, which lends themselves to almost serum-like absorption. Having said that, we found in practice that the Chanel Hydra Beauty Gel Crème absorbed slightly more easily than Dior’s, and as you can probably imagine, with greater absorption should come greater effectiveness. I can anecdotally confirm this to be the case, as I consistently wake up in the mornings with glowing, dewy-looking skin after using Chanel’s moisturiser overnight, but not so much when using Dior’s.
Further differences of note are that the Dior Hydra Life moisturiser is free of fragrance, whereas Chanel’s Hydra Beauty comes with a very pleasant floral scent, and the Dior moisturiser comes in a substantial glass pot whereas the Chanel moisturiser comes in a travel-friendly plastic container.
There’s not really anything bad to say about Dior’s moisturiser, it’s just that there’s so many great things to say about Chanel’s. So, on balance, and despite a slightly dearer price tag, Chanel’s Hydra Beauty Gel Creme is our overwhelming favourite. And just between me and you, it’s very quickly become my new secret weapon for keeping my skin glowing even in the middle of this harsh winter season.
Best anti-ageing moisturizer
When it comes to anti-ageing, there are two main approaches: prevention, and restoration. Chanel’s Le Lift Crème is more in line with the latter, helping to diminish visible signs of ageing, whereas Dior’s Capture Youth Creme definitely leans more towards the former, helping to keep skin youthful-looking for longer.
Continuing the previously established theme of unique botanical active ingredients, the ultra-powerful Chanel Le Lift Cream is formulated with botanical alfalfa concentrate. Extracted from a thousand-year-old plant, it is prized for its unique remineralizing and nutritional properties, but more importantly, it is as efficient as retinol for firming, improving skin quality, and smoothing wrinkles. We’ve previously spoken at length about the marvels of the best French retinol, but this restorative anti-ageing cream by Chanel completely blows the competition out of the water.
On the preventative side of things, Dior’s Capture Youth Creme is infused with Iris Florentina extract which works alongside the skin’s natural antioxidant defence system to help strengthen the skin and help fight against the appearance of signs of ageing even before they appear. It’s no wonder that millions of women globally swear by this cream as their daily moisturiser to stave off the natural ageing process.
Both creams are specially formulated to be gentle, and both are composed of primarily natural origin ingredients (~90%). The only downsides are the price tags, but honestly, they’re oh so worth it. When it comes to deciding between the two, it entirely depends on whether you’re looking to reduce the appearance of visible signs of ageing (Chanel’s Le Lift) or if you’re trying to delay the formation of visible signs of ageing (Dior’s Capture Youth).
Dior vs Chanel Cleanser
If you’re looking to splurge on a quality cleanser or makeup remover, you’ll be hard pressed to find better luxury options than Chanel’s Le Lait and Dior’s Hydra Life Cleanser. Allow us to compare and contrast to help you pick the one that is best for you.
First and foremost, the most notable difference between the two are their textures. Whilst Chanel’s Le Lait comes in the form of a milky cream that you massage over dry skin, Dior’s Hydra Life Cleanser is a watery lotion that transforms into a rich and airy foam. Instantly from that nugget of info, we can tell you that if you have combination to oily skin you will prefer the Dior Hydra Life cleanser, whereas if you have normal or dry skin you will prefer the Chanel Le Lait.
As with the moisturisers, these cleansers also boast unique blends of plant-based active ingredients to treat and care for your skin. At the heart of Chanel Le Lait is blue micro-algae and marine salicornia extract which protect cells from micro-stress caused by pollution, as well as moisturise and strengthen your skin. The Dior Hydra Life Cleanser contains natural cleaning agents called Saponins which power the cleanser’s effectiveness by releasing a purifying, detoxifying and softening foam. It also contains white tea leaf extract which tones and refreshes the skin.
In practice, though, we prefer Chanel Le Lait. The sensorial richness of the milky cream and its simple effectiveness is everything you want and more from a high-end cleanser. It leaves skin soft, satiny, and perfectly makeup-free without stripping your skin or clogging pores. Dior’s cleansing lotion felt a little too stripping for our tastes, but as we mentioned earlier, it would be beyond perfect for those with oilier skin types.
Dior vs Chanel Serum
A serum is a lightweight moisturiser that penetrates deeper to deliver high concentrations of active ingredients to the skin. We've already covered what constitutes the best French serums, but keep scrolling to see how Dior’s and Chanel’s fair.
Best hydrating serum
Given the above definition of a serum, it should be fairly obvious that serums are the *ultimate* way to provide your face with a big skin-quenching dose of hydration. And when it comes to luxury hydrating serums, there’s arguably none better than Chanel’s Hydra Beauty Micro Serum and Dior’s Hydra Life Sorbet Water Essence.
There are strong parallels between these two serums and their moisturiser counterparts, so much of our conclusion remains the same (i.e. we prefer the Chanel Hydra Beauty Serum for effectiveness). That said, the price disparity between the two (with the Dior Hydra Life Serum coming in at nearly *half* the price of Chanel’s) definitely gives food for thought. Allow us to compare the two to see if you think Chanel’s serum warrants double the Dior Hydra Life Serum’s price tag.
Concentrated in Mallow and Haberlea leaf, the Dior Hydra Life Sorbet Water Essence offers 3 actions in a single step: the ultra-concentrated moisturization of a serum, the radiance boost of a gentle peel, and the toning effect of a lotion. Day after day, your skin becomes more resilient and healthy, and in the words of Dior: “[your skin] becomes so beautiful you will prefer it bare”. A bold claim! In our experience, though, it’s not far from the truth!
The Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Serum is composed of camellia micro-droplets which, in perfect affinity with the skin, fuses with it releasing precious camellia extract for continuous hydration and an intense plumping effect. After one month of daily application, skin hydration levels increase up to 33%, and after 4 applications, the skin is visibly plumped (with a +32% plumping effect).
Side by side, Chanel’s Micro Serum is far and away the better serum for hydration. But, for half the price, we’re definitely fans of the Dior Hydra Life Sorbet Water Essence’s added toning and radiance boosting benefits despite slightly less impressive hydrating power.
Best anti-ageing serum
Just as with hydration, since serums are super-concentrated with active ingredients it also makes them fantastic for delivering anti-ageing benefits. As far as luxury anti-ageing serums go, there’s not too many better than Chanel’s Le Lift Serum and Dior’s Capture Youth Serum.
So as not to entirely repeat ourselves from the moisturisers section, we’re just going to reiterate our advice. If you’re looking for a serum that will diminish the appearance of existing signs of ageing, the Chanel Le Lift Serum is the one for you. If, instead, you’re looking to preserve your youthful appearance for longer (and delay the natural ageing process), you will love the Dior Capture Youth Serum.
Work in progress
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