Testing: Ciate Velvet Manicure

(Photo by Caroline Hatano)

When the rust-colored leaves fall, pumpkin spice lattes lose their novelty, and autumn begins its gradual transition to winter, it’s inevitable that our oversized sweaters and scarves will make their way to the front of our closets. This season, a product from British nail-innovator Ciaté (the company that brought you the “caviar manicure“) allows nail art fanatics everywhere to jazz up their manicures with textured powder — it’s like a cozy cardigan for your nails.

Dubbed the “velvet manicure,” Ciaté’s newest nail kit — available in three wearable and seasonally appropriate shades of grey, purple, and blue — comes with a full bottle of polish, a tube of “crushed velvet,” and a brush for cleaning up your nails.

As someone whose nail vocabulary doesn’t go beyond Essie or OPI, I was both nervous and excited to step out of my polish comfort zone. The so-called “crushed velvet” doesn’t look like much. I was more interested in the familiar bottle of polish than the tube full of what I imagined to be the leftover dust from my vacuum.

Read on for the testing results…

I applied the product per the directions: paint two coats of polish on each nail and cover the still-wet tips with powder (By the way, filling the cap with powder and pressing my nails into it was much more effective than sprinkling). I then used the provided brush to whisk off any clingy bits, and — voila! — I had velvet nails.

At first, I was skeptical. Could I get the fuzzy material wet, or would a shower reduce my new nails to a goopy mess? Did my manicure look stylish, or like an arts and crafts project gone awry? To my relief, I discovered that velvet nails are immune to the perils of water. Users of pens and liquid foundation, however, beware: By day two, I’d unknowingly stained a nail.

Though my nails didn’t look perfect for long (they lasted two days before the velvet started flaking off), I would definitely try the trend again in a different color. I’ll stick to purple or blue to ensure that no one mistakes my manicure for a lint experiment.

$19, available at Sephora.

— Caroline Hatano