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DIY Nail Art: Fun with Ciaté Caviar Nail Polish


Ciate Caviar Nail Polish
{Photo: Sephora}

One of the hottest new nail art trends is the caviar manicure, a three-dimensional look created when tiny beads, called “caviar pearls,” are pressed into regular polish. Created by UK-based company Ciaté, the Caviar Nails DIY kit arrived stateside in April and has been flying off the shelves ever since.

In this article, I’ll give you a quick overview of my experience with the caviar polish kit, plus some tips for creating unique nail art looks with it.

About the Ciaté Caviar Manicure Kit

The kit is available in three colors: “Black Pearls,” “Mother of Pearl” and “Rainbow,” shown above, which is the one I bought Each kit comes with one bottle of regular polish, a second bottle filled with caviar pearls, a tray to catch excess pearls during application, and a mini funnel to return the excess pearls to the bottle once you’re done.

Application is incredibly easy: All you have to do is pour the pearls from the bottle onto wet nails and then gently press them in. The tray and funnel ensure a mess-free process.

Is It Worth the Money?

At $25, the set seems expensive at first. However, there are several factors that I think make it worth the splurge:

First, the basic polish alone is fabulous - it’s a nice pale pink that is quite opaque and gives great coverage with just two coats. It dries very quickly, which is great, but also means that you have to apply the caviar pearls immediately so they will adhere. Another cool thing about the nail polish is that it isn’t any special formula, so you can switch it out for any color in your arsenal. Second, the bottle of pearls will last a long time. After doing my nails and those of my two friends, about 90 percent of the bottle remained.

So while the kit is expensive for a college gal, the $25 price tag is not completely unreasonable for a nice bottle of polish and some pearls, and you will get a lot of use out of the kit.

Nail Art with Caviar Pearls

While most people use this kit for full-nail application (as seen in the top photo), I decided to experiment and create nail art using the caviar pearls. Below, I’ll show you three unconventional ways to apply the caviar pearls to your nails:


Ombre nail art with Ciate Caviar Nail Polish

To create an ombre effect with the caviar pearls, take the funnel and put it upside down on the mouth of the pearl bottle. (The widest part of the funnel should be over the bottle opening.) Hold the funnel in place and pour the pearls onto the tip of the nail, keeping the end of the funnel close to the nail. Then, take another finger to pick up a few pearls from the tray and gently press them into the lower half of your nail.

Polka Dots

Polka dot nail art with Ciate Caviar Nail Polish

For some cute and easy caviar polka dots, use a bobby pin or small brush to dab small dots of polish onto dry nails. Then just pour pearls over them. Gently tap off the excess and you’re done!


Stripe nail art with Ciate Caviar Nail Polish

To get dotted stripes, wait for your nails to dry completely, then take scotch tape and place the straight edges on either side of the area you want the caviar pearls to cover. Polish the uncovered area, pour the pearls over the nail and carefully remove the tape to reveal a clean stripe.

Pros, Cons and Conclusions

My favorite thing about this kit was the addition of the tray and funnel. They were super helpful in terms of cleanup, and basically eliminated wasted beads. Also, as seen in the ombre tutorial, the funnel can give you great control over the placement of the pearls, which opens up possibilities for countless designs.

A few other things I loved about the kit: First, the caviar pearls come off easily with regular nail polish remover. Second, like I said above, application is a cinch. Last, but certainly not least, the caviar manicure looks, frankly, incredible.

However, there is one major drawback to the caviar manicure: While your nails may look great, they won’t last long. On the back of the box, it says that they can last up to 48 hours, but my friends and I all had a few pearls pop off within two hours of application (though it wasn’t super noticeable). I tried to apply a top coat to make them last, which the instructions advise against, and it was immediately clear why: A top coat will make the colors of the pearls run and mess up the look. Therefore, this isn’t a great everyday manicure because it just doesn’t have staying power.

In summation, caviar nails are perfect for special events - they make a huge statement and look fantastic. Just don’t expect them to last all week. Overall, I say give them a try – they’re both fun to do and absolutely adorable.

What Do You Think?

Do you like the look of the caviar manicure? Would you shell out the $25 to try it out yourself? What look is your favorite, or would wear them in a completely different way? I’d love to see your thoughts in the comment section below!

Posted on on June 8, 2012 / Filed Under: Beauty & Hair / Tags: , , , ,

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26 Responses to “DIY Nail Art: Fun with Ciaté Caviar Nail Polish”

  1. 1
    June 8th, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Can I just have that pink color without the beads :P

  2. 2
    June 8th, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    I don’t think I would ever pay $25 for this kit…I was intrigued and wanted to try the look, so I bought a pack of 6 small bottles of tiny pearls from the dollar store (for $1!), and used them in the same way. Looked awesome, AND because I could use a topcoat on them, it lasted for around 5 days. So much cheaper for the same look.

  3. 3
    June 8th, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    The ombre look is super cute! I feel like a french manicure or reverse french manicure would work well too, even though the beads might come off the tips quickly. Accent nails are probably an affordable way to use up the pearls too!

  4. 4
    June 8th, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    i think it’s kind of wierd, and would be annoying…. but very inventive, i must admit

  5. 5
    June 8th, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    The ombre look is very cute! I prefer that to all the nails having the beads on them.

  6. 6
    June 8th, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Woww. I don’t usually go for nail art trends but the pearls are pretty fabulous.

  7. 7
    June 8th, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Martha Stewart has a microbead set (they look exactly the same as the beads sold in the Caviar kit) sold at craft stores like Michaels and Jo Ann fabrics for like $16. You get 12 different colors in the kit. I have used them to create the caviar nails and they work great. It’s a cheaper alternative on a college student budget and you get TONS of colors.

  8. 8
    June 8th, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    I’m not a big fan of this trend, but I’ve seen a lot of people avoid the high cost of this by buying the beads at a craft store for $4-7 instead. Obviously you’d miss out on the funnel and tray, but might be worth it to save so much!

  9. 9
    June 8th, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Very cool. Although you could save a bunch of money by purchasing craft microbeads. They are a few bucks for each color, or you could get a multi pack like this:

  10. 10
    June 8th, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    I really like the ideas you came up with! They are so cute! :)
    I might give this a try! Well done!

  11. 11
    June 8th, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    I’ve done caviar nails with some microbeads I bought at Michael’s. I like the ombré one you did.

  12. 12
    June 8th, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Personally I would not pay $25 for this as you can probably get multiple bottles of microbeads at craft stores for the same price. Also, the brand Ciate issued a “cease and desist” to nail bloggers who have been using microbeads (and not the Ciate pearls, even though they are the same thing) and the name “caviar nails” for the look. The fact that a brand would go out of its way to tell bloggers to stop “copying” their look is ridiculous when microbeads have been used in nail art far before Ciate debuted this look and slapped their own name on it.

    There’s more information on this blog:

    Nail bloggers have been starting a “Fish Egg Friday” event, in which they post the microbead nail look, but call them fish eggs to demonstrate that it’s unfair of the brand to tell bloggers not to copy a look that’s not even their own.

  13. 13
    June 8th, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    I heard they were threatening to sue people over the term “caviar manicure”, when it had already been around for a while. Bloggers have been using craft store beads for some time.

  14. 14
    June 8th, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    I like the look but I’d rather purchase craft beads at Michaels. Martha Stewart beads are exactly like the ones in these sets and there is more of a selection.

    This look has been all over nail blogs. Like some other commenters have said, Ciate has also sent threats to blogs because they are using the “caviar manicure”. Ciate didn’t come up with the design.

    I don’t think I’d pay 25 dollars for it. That being said, I really liked the polka dot design you did with beads. The overall effect is very cool.

  15. 15
    June 8th, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    This review was way better than michelle’s promotional video! I’d have to say mainly because the designs were way more creative and unique!!! anyways I personally think that $25 is quite reasonable because some designer nail polish can cost $20 on a tiny bottle and this set includes pearls and a mini funnel and the bottles look quite big. This was a great post! I might consider getting it at Sephora. :)

  16. 16
    June 8th, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    I bought a kit of 12 different coloured beads from ebay for $3 and instead of using polish, I do one coat of coloured UV gel, press the beads on top and cure, then put one of two clear gel coats on top and cure and they last until the gel needs to be drilled off.

  17. 17
    June 8th, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    It looks like dirt on the nails…. Not a fan.

  18. 18
    June 9th, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    So much fun! But I will def be hitting up the craft store for the beads instead.

  19. 19
    June 17th, 2012 at 3:16 am

    Hit up micheals I bought the Martha Stewart ones I think like twelve colors each little thing has like over a thousand beads in each one this will last me forever

  20. 20
    June 17th, 2012 at 3:20 am

    It cost 19 bucks but u get a ton more than sephora also on another aisle they have this one by recollections it’s a 6 pack of cream brown black white and pearl colors for 6 bucks and ask the cashier to scan I coupons for you ifnu guys go within a few days you can get 50% off and also there is a next day coupon on the receipt for like 30%off and no I don’t work at micheals I just shop a pnd use google a lot lol enjoy ladies

  21. 21
    June 20th, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Wow! Those are really cool! But $25? I know nailpolish is only suppose to be $5, of course this IS an exclusive design.:(

  22. 22
    June 25th, 2012 at 7:57 am

    I like nail polish that tends to last me awhile so this probably isn’t the nail polish for me…although it looks pretty cool :)

  23. 23
    June 29th, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    You can also get the look for much cheaper by buying micro-beads and regular nail polish instead of using the kit! :)

  24. 24
    July 10th, 2012 at 12:01 am

    I think that pale pink colour with normal white pearl beads would look so gorgeous!

  25. 25
    December 19th, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    okay so i got these on sale and i love them so much!!! if you put clean/top coat on the ends/tips of your nails they stay on for WAY longer

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