Thursday, 20 March 2014

Golden Oldies: Ruffle Manicure (and Ciate Chalkboard review)

This week I had to google what a ruffle manicure was, and when I saw it, I nearly chickened out. I can barely avoid making a huge mess with my nail polish brushes, how am I supposed to apply it like that? After some panicking, I had this awesome idea! I had an untried Ciate Chalkboard kit in my drawer, and surely I could paint some ruffles with the cute pens they provided, right?

Polishes used: Ciate Chalkboard Paint, Mattnificent top coat and chalk pens in Sachel (white), Teacher's Pet (blue) and Recess (yellow).

So, I got on with it - and what a journey this has been! It's only after I finished the manicure that I realised that this set was a fair bit younger than 1 year... A few tired facepalms later, I decided to post this anyway, just to save some of my sanity and for the sake of reviewing this set.

The chalkboard set contains a matte black polish, a matte top coat and four chalk nail art pens in blue, white, yellow and pink. In a previous post I'd mentioned that the matte top coat is only usable with the chalkboard paint - it cracks on any other polish, creating these ugly gashes in the base colour. Well, the matte black polish does the same if applied with a base coat, so remember to leave your nails bare. I actually felt really bad about just painting my nails without that protective coat, but at least this set doesn't stain at all.

Ciate Chalkboard Paint and ruffles added with Recess and Teacher's Pet and a layer of Mattnificent top coat.

The Chalkboard Paint dries almost instantly - the side-effect of this quality is the way this polish will drag horribly if you go over the same spot more than once, and it doesn't level very well. So, you need to apply fast medium coats and wait until the first one is fully dry before adding the second one. After two coats this polish looks amazing - it's deep black and completely matte, with a texture exactly like chalkboard. It's very eye catching, in that deep mysterious black hole way!

Ruffle fail with Ciate Chalkbaord set.

The nail art pens had to be activated by pushing the nib into the container - a process that went well with all but the pink one. For reasons unknown the pink paint just wouldn't flow down to the nib, and in the end I couldn't use it for the manicure at all. They are said to be water soluble, and I certainly found that cuticle clean up was a breeze - just wipe with a damp piece of cotton.

As for their performance - well, just have a look. I can't pretend to be a skilled artist, but these didn't really deliver. The paint coming out  of them seemed a bit watery, and not completely opaque with a single layer over black. The nibs were hard, and left trails through the design. I decided to give a different design a go, just to see if there are some patterns that make the use of these easier.

Ciate Chalkboard Paints alternative design - no topcoat
As you can see, the dots were actually pretty great - but I have dotting tools for this, and I really don't need a set of markers just for that. The flower looks reasonably well, but the nibs were way too wide for proper writing, and the white paint was not opaque enough to look good over black.

The Mattnificent top coat worked well with this set - it's very thin, and glides on well without smudging the designs too much. Too bad it can only be used with the chalkboard base. The good news is that the chalkboard base fares reasonably well under a normal top coat, so I guess I have another black polish in my collection now. The pens seem to work on other polishes quite well, but a typical top coat seems to damage them and cause them to shrink and form gaps in the lines.

Overall, this set was a bit of a disappointment - it's not very versatile, as the polishes and paints can only be used with each other. The pens are easy to use, but the colours are not opaque enough, and seem too watery. Considering the amazing crème polishes Ciate has, I simply expected more from this set.

Thanks for reading, and check out other Golden Oldies below:


  1. Great review, I've never tried this set before but I have to say that I am impressed with how chalkboard-like they actually are! It takes me back to primary school! I think I would like to get this set just to have a play around with :)

    1. I might go back to it one day and doodle some more :D It's super fast to use, and quick to remove if you're not happy with the effects, so it's easy to just hop into it.


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