When I first saw photos of Ciate’s Caviar Manicure, I had two immediate thoughts:
1. I would buy bottles as soon as they were available so I could swatch them for this blog.
2. While waiting for bottles to be available, I would find microbeads and attempt to recreate the look for less for people who wouldn’t have access to Ciate/wouldn’t want to pay the $25 price tag.
A number of other nail bloggers had the same idea. They posted tutorials on creating your own caviar nails using microbeads from craft stores. This did not sit well with Ciate. They sent letters to some bloggers, asking them not to use the words “caviar manicure” or “caviar nails” because Ciate is in the process of applying to register these trademarks around the world.
I had two immediate thoughts:
1. Applying to register a trademark is not the same as owning a trademark.
2. I really did not like the sound of that letter. What was that part about “avoiding confusion from the point of view of our customers”? Did they just mean they didn’t want people to know they can achieve the same manicure without splurging on their products?
And after a little Googling, I found out that Ciate didn’t even invent caviar manicures, the Dashing Diva nail team and celebrity nail tech Pattie Yankee created the look for the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week as early as February 2011. And bloggers have been playing with polish and microbeads long before those first images of Ciate’s caviar mani appeared.
Ciate made a big mistake sending out those letters. You don’t see Chanel kicking up a shitstorm when people try to find cheaper alternatives to their limited edition shades. They know no matter how many Peridot dupes appear on the market, there will always be customers who would go for their product. The same could have been true for Ciate’s Caviar Nails. A handful of DIY tutorials online wouldn’t have stopped people from buying their products. If they didn’t piss them off.
I will definitely not be buying those caviar sets anymore.
And while I usually try to stay away from drama, this time, I felt like I had to make a stand. Because I don’t want some company to one day throw together bottles of polish and pieces of straw in pretty boxes and tell us we can’t use the words “splatter mani” anymore. Or sell polish with water and cups and claim they’ve trademarked “water marbling.” Ridiculous.
There was one great way to make a stand – by joining Fish Egg Friday, a blogger movement organized by Sammy of Nailasaurus earlier this month. A number of nail bloggers all posted their version of caviar nails on the same day – Friday the 13th. I wanted to join then but microbeads proved to be elusive in my part of the world (sadly, there are no Michaels stores here). So yes, this is a couple of weeks late.
And because it’s not a Friday, you can just call it Microbead Monday. Or Beluga Bonanza. Or Roe Roe Roe Your Boat. Whatever you want.
I finally found microbeads in two places – Ebay.ph and Landmark.
This set of six colors came from Landmark. I got it for P139 (roughly $3).
I brought out the polish shades I wanted to play with.
I got little containers too for catching the rest of the beads.
For my first Beluga mani, I chose a-england Camelot with a Chanel Kaleidoscope accent finger.
I applied a coat of Chanel Kaleidoscope and let it dry. Then, I applied a second coat of Kaleidoscope and before it dried, I poured silver beads over that nail.
It was surprisingly easy.
I wish it could have been more even though.
And I wish it didn’t have bald spots.
Still, it wasn’t bad for a first attempt.
Maybe next time I can dip instead of pouring – maybe that will get more beads onto my nail.
Here’s a close-up.
And while this isn’t a look I’d rock every day, I had fun doing it.
I had so much fun I wanted to do another one.
This time I chose Chanel Rose Exuberant as my base.
And I mixed three colors of the microbeads.
I painted all the nails with one coat of polish, let them dry and added another coat, painting the accent finger last.
And just like the first time, I poured the beads over the wet nail and then pressed them down.
I let stray beads fall into the little container so I could use them again.
I like how happy these colors look.