Manicure Monday: Ciate Shell Manicure Wish Upon A Starfish

9:00 AM

Happy Manicure Monday and I hope you had an amazing 4th of July weekend! Today I have a new product from Ciaté to share with you guys: the SHELL manicure.

I don't know about you but I'm a big fan of anything iridescent like seashells so having crushed shells on my nails sounded mighty intriguing. Would it be sparkling? Would it be rough? Would it fall off in a day?

I had heard about the Ciaté brand when the caviar manicure trend went around (using micro-beads on the nails for a 3-d nail effect) but this was the first time I tried Ciaté out myself. The kit is pretty simple, coming with 1 nail color (Halo), 1 bottle of crushed shells (Wish Upon A Starfish), and a small funnel for ease of cleanup.

Halo is a translucent polish with iridescent micro-flecks that shift from pink to purple. It's a shade I'd typically use as a topper on another color, but was actually pleasantly surprised at how clean and pretty it looks applied on its own.

For the ring finger, I applied a base of Halo then added a second coat, pouring the crushed shells on top of the wet polish. Since many pieces are jagged, I pressed and adjusted the shells onto the nail until it laid fairly flat and even. (Tip: I recommend running a fingernail or orange stick around the perimeter of the nail before it sets to prevent poking pieces.)

Now, this is KEY! Wait 15-20 minutes for the shells to set first, then add a thick top coat. I recommend Seche Vite for this type of 3D manicure because it leaves a smoother finish compared to thinner top coats.

The less fun part comes during cleanup because this is honestly a pretty messy endeavor. The package comes with a large plastic well to catch falling shells during application, but it's not super reasonable to keep the entire plastic package around for subsequent uses. Be prepared to have shell particles get everywhere! Also, there was spillage when opening the shell bottle in the first place because it's filled to the max. It's interesting to note that the funnel is just for putting the shells back into the bottle, not for actual use during the manicure.

I've had this on my nails for about 5 days now and only had very minimal shell-fallout and tipwear on my dominant hand which actually isn't too noticeable with the natural shell color. Next time I might try a white polish under Halo or a french tip for a more balanced look. I also have my eye on Mermaid You Look, an edgy purple-grey version that looks very rockstar.

Overall I'm really digging the clean and beachy look of a shell mani, although there are definitely some caveats that come with the process. Worth it if you love nail art and want something unique for a special occasion!

If you are interested, you can check out Wish Upon A Starfish for $25 at Sephora and Bloomingdales.

Readers, will you be trying out the shell manicure? What are your thoughts on textured nail art? Let me know in the comments below! 

Disclaimer: This post contains product provided by the company's PR for consideration. For more information please see my review policy.  

You Might Also Like


  1. I REALLY like this.

    like my mouth literally DROPPED to the floor!

  2. I love love love how it actually looks like iridescent shells from the beach
    haven't seen a ciate nail polish catch my eye just as bad as this one did

  3. Check out my blog

  4. Prettyyyyy!! I generally dont like these kind of manicures on myself because stuff keeps falling off along the way but I would try this out if the fallout isn't bad (which you say it isn't so thats great!) !Looks so pretty on you Jen!

    1. It's definitely one of those situations where it can either stay on a long time or flake off depending on how you apply it! I've read other reviews where it fell of after a day so if you take care in setting it and using a thick topcoat you should be golden! :)

  5. This is the type of nail look I LOVE. So simple looking but very, elegant and girly. The nails are good because the polish is good and classy, not really because of an interesting nail art design, etc. So simple and minimal, aside from the mess.


  6. quite gorgeous. I've never tried this brand.. I don't know if I'm brave enough for the ring finger design though.. It might just irritate me haha. I'd just stick with shimmer or glitter.


  7. such a pretty look! could be worn with anything xx


  8. That shell polish in unbelieeeeevable! So gorgeous!

  9. This combo looks amazing!!!!
    I have been looking at this for a little while and never bought it but after seeing how good it looks maybe I will!
    xo Holly xo


  10. Ah this is so gorgeous!!

  11. Hi Jen,
    This is unrelated to the nails, but I hope you answer anyway- I am a huge fan!

    So I wear waterproof mascara everyday, but my eyelashes have started falling out/becoming brittle when I take it off at the end of the day. I usually use Maybelline Full 'N Soft and Neutrogena eye make up remover and use q-tips. I was wondering how you take off your eye make up while protecting your lashes or whether you have a better waterproof/non-waterproof mascara since I've heard waterproof isn't normally made for everyday wear.

    Thank you so much!

  12. OMG, your nails are beautiful. I'm a complete sucker for sparkles!

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. This manicure is so luminous and sparkly! :3

  15. I love how you express through the beauty of nail decoration. If not know how much time you need to create one beautiful nails?
    Pallet Plastik