Ciate Chalkboard Manicure Kit review

Ciate Chalkboard Manicure Kit review and first attempt
My nails are getting nubbier. Once a breakage-phase begins, they keep on peeling or breaking for a while. When one breaks, I have to file all the others down. And then, another one breaks to repeat the process. I actually wish my ring fingernail would break, too - it is the only intact nail and I don't want to file it into evenness for fear that it will break further and I will have to file all the others into the cuticles. However, I am not going to wait for them to grow, but will continue with nail art challenges.
Anyway. Ciate's Chalkboard Manicure kit was on my wishlist for a while and I was delighted to find it at Sephora ME. The base polish and the pens are intended to mimic blackboard and chalk respectively, creating "classroom chic".

Here are my thoughts on the Ciate Chalkboard Manicure Kit and a first attempt at nail art with it.

Ciate Chalkboard Manicure Kit review and first attemptThe Ciate Chalkboard Manicure Kit, like all Ciate manicure kits, is packaged really nicely. The black box flips open to reveal the following:
  1. Four chalkboard pens in white, blue, pink and yellow
  2. One chalkboard nail polish in black
  3. One Mattificient top coat
  4. A little pamphlet of instructions and ideas
The tips of the pens are rather thick and fibrous. It is not easy to get a fine line with these, unless you get some polish out of them onto a card or palette and then apply from there.
Ciate Chalkboard Manicure Kit review and first attempt
The chalkboard pen polish is thick and takes time to dry. Also, you get the polish out of the pens by pressing the tips down repeatedly. This might create dents in the base polish. What I am trying to say, in my frighteningly limited way, is that it is not very easy to control the amount of polish that comes out of the nail art pens. The texture and smell remind me of correction fluid - I bet you could use the white pen as correction fluid in a pinch!
The base polish is thick and gloopy. Rather like shatter polish. You need three coats to get a semblance of evenness. It dries matte, floods the cuticles and stays there. I would say this formula is quite unlike other Ciate polishes and very difficult to work with. Once it dries out, though, the idea is to make the base look like a blackboard. The black base "chips" easier than porcelain vases hurled off a cliff onto boulders below.
Ciate Chalkboard Manicure Kit review and first attempt
I asked my niece to think up a nail art design with this kit. She told me she wanted to write "A-B-C-1-2-3" on my nails. Not surprising, given that the kiddie is in kindergarten. Her uneven attempts needed a bit of correction and work on my part, which is why the A-B-C is rather thick and covers most of the surface of my nails. The 1-2-3 was my effort alone.
Photographs are in natural light, and in direct sunlight, respectively.
Ciate Chalkboard Manicure Kit review and first attempt
The topcoat is the big secret here. It is not your usual matte topcoat - I have Essie Matte About You and the finish is rather different. This topcoat actually gives a softer, blurry effect to the nails. I really like that, and the effect is what makes it look "chalkboard". If you look at my skin/fingerprints, you will realise that the photos are sharp alright, but the polish looks very soft.
Ciate Chalkboard Manicure Kit review and first attempt
Without the topcoat, the designs wash off with water. "Our" first attempt was blue and topcoat-free but disappeared after washing my hands once. I retouched the black base and got her to use the white pen before stepping in to make the letters decipherable and, thereby, much thicker. Unless you wait for the design to dry completely, the topcoat will smear the design.
The sad part is that, within a couple of hours, despite doing no work except maybe turning pages of a book, this chipping happens. And then, it is a matter of minutes before I chip off the rest.
Ciate Chalkboard Manicure Kit review and first attempt
Overall, I do not regret buying this kit and think I will have some fun with the kids and this kit. I will do my own attempts with the other colours, so I can get some thinner designs. I do wonder how the chalkboard pens will work on other base polishes. But this kit has quite a few limitations, and nothing really addresses the chipping.
This is my submission to the freehand-themed GOT Polish Challenge. Polish bought in December 2013 does not count as "a year old". But chalk, blackboard and ABC-123 definitely featured in my life ages ago, so that is golden oldie enough, right?

  1. Hello! Very nice review of the kit! I have it as well and I'm dealing with the same problems, but still, it's too cute so I keep going back to it from time to time... :))

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  2. MyBeautyJunctionJune 20, 2014

    Thank you! If only they improved the formula of that black base polish and addressed the chipping, I would love this kit forever. Oh, and maybe make the tips of the pens a little thinner so we can get all those pretty designs in that pamphlet. The concept is brilliant, though, and my niece wants one for herself to do sums on her teensy nails and show "teacher".

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