My Name is Red : Chanel Rouge Allure Ink and Guerlain Nahema

“I’m so fortunate to be red! I’m fiery. I’m strong. I know men take notice of me and that I cannot be resisted… Wherever I’m spread, I see eyes shine, passions increase, eyebrows rise and heartbeats quicken. Behold how wonderful it is to live! Behold how wonderful to see. I am everywhere. Life begins with and returns to me.” Orhan Pamuk’s description of my favorite color in My Name is Red has stayed with me ever since I first read the book, and I often think of it whenever I see another red that draws my attention–fabric, autumnal leaves, lipstick, the lacquer of Japanese bowls or perfume. Yes, perfume can also be red.

The impression of red in fragrance is subjective the way synesthesia tends to be, but Guerlain Nahema is a perfume that makes me feel as if I’m enveloped in layers of crimson silk. The effect comes from the combination of rose essence and the damascones, aroma-materials with the aroma of rose jam and stewed apples. This accord alone has a lipstick red hue, but paradoxically it comes across as even more saturated against the background of green citrus and hyacinth. Reds often stand out best against contrasting colors, and this is the case with Nahema.

Wearing Nahema inspires me to paint my lips and nails red. While Guerlain has a Nahema lipstick, my choice today is Chanel’s Rouge Allure Fusion Ink in Signature 222. Although described as matte, the finish is satin-like and the lip color is not overly drying. Lips, however, should be moisturized before putting on Fusion Ink. It’s waterproof, comfortable to wear, and the vibrant color lasts for hours. Signature is a cool red, with not a hint of orange tone, but it remains true red, without turning pink (the way most cool reds tend to become on me).

For my nails I’ve also selected Chanel. Rouge Puissant 528 is part of its 2019 winter collection, and it’s a true red, the color of Chinese lacquer ware. It’s a traditional nail polish, which means that you’ll get about a week of wear out of a manicure. I avoid gel polishes, and I’d rather change my nail color once a week, so this option works for me. The color is also irresistible.

Today Nahema is available only as Eau de Parfum, and while it’s less intense and less red than the extrait de parfum, it’s still a dramatic and memorable fragrance whatever color you choose to pair with it.

What is your favorite red?

Photography by Bois de Jasmin



  • AndreaR: Beautiful! I’m inspired to wear Nahima today. My red lipstick will be Chanel’s Rouge Coco Gabrielle. November 22, 2019 at 9:45am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m going to look up that color. Chanel’s reds are beautiful. November 23, 2019 at 4:01am Reply

      • AndreaR: Gabrielle is my daytime red. Last night I wore Nars Audacious Lipstick, Rita.
        Today I’m going to explore the reds your readers have recommended. November 23, 2019 at 11:42am Reply

  • Anne: I like Revlon Cherries in the Snow. November 22, 2019 at 11:02am Reply

    • Victoria: A classic for a reason! November 23, 2019 at 4:01am Reply

  • Matty: Nahema is a favourite of mine. Enveloped in red….a fab description X November 22, 2019 at 11:42am Reply

    • Victoria: Mine too, so it’s too bad that it’s going to be discontinued. November 23, 2019 at 4:02am Reply

  • Tatiana: What a perfect holiday combination. For some reason I always think of Christmas as a red and gold time. I need to see if I still have a sample of Nahema. Even though I love Guerlain perfumes, I never bought a full bottle of Nahema. Lucky you for getting a weeks wear out of Rouge Puissant. It truly is a powerful red. I rarely get more than 24 hours with Chanel polish before it starts chipping on my nails. November 22, 2019 at 11:51am Reply

    • Victoria: I believe that it’s a new formula, because my other Chanel polishes didn’t last that long. November 23, 2019 at 4:05am Reply

  • Sandra: There is nothing more chic than a red lip

    I have some favorites

    When I am being a red scaredy cat : Lipstick Queen Medieval. Its a sheer red, beautiful

    A lipstick that smells of By Kilian Love, Dangerous Rouge in the matte form. Love the scent and the color. BK put as much quality into his lipsticks as he does in his perfumes.

    Honorable mention: YSL Rouge Pur Couture in 01 Blood Red. This is a very hydrating, pigmented and long lasting. It has a faint rose smell but it fades quickly.

    My favorite red nail polish is Christian Louboutin in Rouge Louboutin.

    When I wear red I usually pair it with a perfume like Chanel’s 31RC. Or the other day I wore YSL red lippy but I was wearing a plaid vest I bought in the mens section of the store and the perfume of choice was Vetiver Tonka. November 22, 2019 at 11:59am Reply

    • Victoria: You’re a red connoisseur! Thank you for these ideas. I need to try YSL’s Blood Red. November 23, 2019 at 4:06am Reply

      • Sandra: You do! Let me know what you think November 25, 2019 at 12:07pm Reply

    • Karen A: I’m impressed! Great brief descriptions. November 25, 2019 at 6:19am Reply

  • Nina: Dior 999 is a fabulous red 💄 November 22, 2019 at 3:57pm Reply

    • Victoria: Onto my list it goes. November 23, 2019 at 4:06am Reply

  • Klaas: Thank you for reminding me of My Name is Red….I so enjoyed reading that book! Come to think of it, I’m going to read it again! November 22, 2019 at 6:02pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’ve just finished reading it. I first started reading it some years ago and never got past the first couple of chapters. This year I decided to pick it up again after reading The Museum of Innocence. I really enjoyed it. November 23, 2019 at 4:08am Reply

  • Cyndi: I love Clinique’s “Angel Red” lipstick as it seems to be the one that looks the best on me. I also love Guerlain Nahema perfume but having trouble finding the eau de parfum! November 22, 2019 at 10:59pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s still sold at Guerlain boutiques, but it will discontinued soon. November 23, 2019 at 4:08am Reply

      • cyndi: Thank you, Victoria. Hope to be able to buy a bottle or two before that happens! November 23, 2019 at 9:32am Reply

      • carole: the eau de parfum of Nahema is leaving? I knew the parfum was but thought this was safe. I love Nahema but it reminds me of the lst Christmas with my mom so it’s bittersweet. As for red lipsticks I can’t get enough-just tried the Nars audacious line, and bought Louise, Jeanne, Charlotte, and Marlene, as well as the Lisa Eldridge reds (and pinks and browns). November 25, 2019 at 4:37pm Reply

  • Debi Sen Gupta: I used to love red door but don’t like it so much any more.

    Red lipstick is of course Ruby Woo. November 23, 2019 at 1:33am Reply

    • Victoria: Red Door is a major perfume! November 23, 2019 at 4:09am Reply

      • Debi Sen Gupta: I think they have changed the formulation. Smells different now. November 23, 2019 at 12:59pm Reply

  • Aurora: Such a cheerful post, so glad you found a red that suits you, it can be difficult . I don’t wear red on my lips or even as clothing, I’m too pale. But I love all kinds of red, brownish, orange red, dull red and also Bordeaux, and a dramatic Russian red.
    I have Nahema in parfum de toilette, it’s a fruity passionfruit rose on my skin. I find it a very unique rose, Portrait of a Lady is a wine red to me. November 23, 2019 at 2:07am Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, I agree, Portrait of a Lady smells red to me too. November 23, 2019 at 4:09am Reply

    • Silvermoon: Hello Aurora! I agree that POAL smells red, like Nahema. The first more like a cool red, and Nahema like a warm red. I love both of them. So annoying that Guerlain is discontinuing Nahema. I don’t know why they all seem to do it from time to time.

      Like you, I tend to avoid red lipstick because I think it’s too strong for me. However I do like wearing red clothing. November 23, 2019 at 6:47am Reply

      • Aurora: Hello Silvermoon: I feel like you about Nahema being discontinued 🙁 maybe we should stock up, I have 2 bottles so not sure if I need more. I love red scarves, it’s bigger items of clothing that I find difficult to wear, not me somehow. November 23, 2019 at 4:26pm Reply

  • spe: Oh, back when my hair was black and skin pale and un-lined, I wore red lips and nails. Love that look! At this point (greying hair and sallower skin), I have moved toward less dramatic colors. The last red lipstick I purchased was Dior’s Rouge Dior Nudes line: 683 Esquisse. It’s a soft warmish red and discontinued, unfortunately.

    My replacement is Rouge Dior 683 Rendez-Vous. It’s a more neutral red.

    To this day, I consider red a neutral. Other than green (except on Christmas) and perhaps purple, I think red pretty much goes with everything. November 24, 2019 at 2:01pm Reply

    • Karen A: I agree about red going with everything. I love red with brown – a dark chocolate brown. November 25, 2019 at 6:22am Reply

  • rickyrebarco: Perfect timing. I’ve just been contemplating adding Nahema to my collection. It’s a beauty for sure.
    I also love red nail polish and need to paint my nails in anticipation of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday next week November 24, 2019 at 2:57pm Reply

  • Figuier: I love lipstick but am hopeless at wearing them – they always come off after a short while! My favourite red is Nars Jungle Red 🙂 November 24, 2019 at 3:10pm Reply

  • irem: Red is my favorite color too. There is no color like it. I still remember the pure red spectral line of some lamp we had to analyze for an undergrad physics lab many many years ago. Was it a sodium-vapor lamp, I do not remember. But I still remember the beauty and vibrancy of that one red spectral line. It was out of this world beautiful. The only things that comes close are probably red patent leather shoes and red nail polish – especially with a high shine cushiony top coat like Seche Vite. My favorite (bright) reds are Chanel Gitane and Rouge Louboutin. (And of course I have a special spot for Rouge Noir, but it is not a red.) I also love Chanel Shantung – which does skew pink, but looks better with my skin color. Pure red nail polish or lipstick tends to bring out the red in my skin.
    BTW, I have read My Name is Red in its original Turkish, but I like the English translation much better – at least of the part you have cited. Does not happen a lot I guess.
    Finally for red perfumes, have not found mine yet. I have bought many perfumes for their red bottle though: Samsara, last year’s No. 5 EdP (No. 19 girl at heart, No. 5 leaves me cold), Shiseido Eudermine (not a perfume, I know, but gorgeous bottle), Carnal Flower in a red travel case. If I ever go back to Paris, I will have a red bee bottle filled with some Guerlain. Which one? There will be time to decide.
    Thanks for reminding us of the beauty of red. November 24, 2019 at 10:01pm Reply

  • Karen A: So sad to see Naheema is being discontinued! I treasure my bottle of extrait and put some on after reading this post yesterday. Red lipstick and I seem to have an on/off again relationship. I love the idea and have quite a few, but rarely wear them. Looking forward to trying some of the sheer reds mentioned, that might be the solution! November 25, 2019 at 6:26am Reply

  • Nancy Chan: My favourite two favourite red nail Polish are Dior’s Rouge 999 and Chanel’s Rouge Essential 500. September 18, 2020 at 3:58pm Reply

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