Friday, January 24, 2014

Really, Ciate?

As this is primarily a place where I can talk about and post pictures of the various topcoats I make, it's obvious that I like glitter.  Lots of other people do, too, and big companies are starting to capitalize on the trends that indie polish creators have been setting for years.  For example, Sephora's new Formula X line consists of plenty of topcoats that would be easy for me to dupe, and which are more than likely dupes of actual existing polishes.  I mean, you can only combine glitter and nail polish base in so many ways.

Now Ciaté is trying to cash in on the "frankening" trend with their Nail Lab kit.

I guess in theory this is a good idea--a set of glitters, suspension topcoats, and nail polishes assembled for the specific purpose of mixing and matching everything up--but for the price, it falls kind of short for me.

Ciaté is selling their kit for $65.  Other than a few inexpensive nail tools, like an emery board and dotting tool (which you can find for a dollar almost anywhere you look), they give you twelve 5-gram pots of glitter, two empty mini bottles, six mini bottles of nail polish, and eight mini bottles pre-filled with suspension base.  Sixty grams of glitter is a little more than two ounces.  I'm always buying glitter from a variety of sources, and I've never paid more than $8 per ounce.  Some places sell glitter for as little as $2 for a third of an ounce.  So comparatively, the small amount of glitter in the Ciaté kit just isn't worth a whole lot of money.  What about the suspension base?  It's roughly a dollar an ounce.  Ciaté gives you eight .10 ounce pre-filled bottles.  That's not even a whole ounce.  So we have maybe five dollars (and I'm being generous) worth of tools, a dollar's worth (and again I'm being generous) worth of suspension base, and less than $15 worth of glitter.  We're up to maybe $21.  But the kit costs $65!  Granted, the packaging is nice.  And then you have to look at the fact that they include mini bottles of nail polish.  But is the packaging and nail polish--of which you get around .6 ounces total--worth forty dollars?  I understand you're paying for the convenience factor of having everything assembled for you, but honestly, you can buy "frankening" kits from Etsy for much more reasonable rates.  And while the packaging is nice--I really LOVE the gold colored storage box--I can't say everything is worth what they're charging for it.
But it's been a good seller, having sold out on the Sephora website at least once.  A lot of people seem to either want it or think it might make a good gift, and I agree.  And I might have even bought it myself if I didn't have so much invested in my own supplies!


What it is:
A kit containing everything for the ultimate at-home nail studio.

What it does:
Every nail tech needs a tool kit. This is the ultimate at-home setup for creating hundreds of custom nail looks. Here, you’ll find all the essential elements to help you create and master pro nail styles, including a dotting tool, ombre sponge, and striping brush, plus Ciaté founder Charlotte Knight’s favorite glitter recipes and nail-look show cards to inspire and help you create your own signature Ciaté look. These polishes are crafted with a specialty suspension top coat technology and super bendable formula for lasting, silky polish and salon-quality color. Professional-grade glitter creates a photo-shoot finish and dazzling bespoke shades ensure nail art like no other. Crown your creation by giving it a name with the enclosed nametags—perfect for creating a special gift.

This set contains:
- 6 x 0.1 oz Nail Pots in Mistress, Rain Coat, Amazing Gracie, Power Dressing, Pillow Fight, Ferris Wheel
- 7 x Recipe card
- 7 x Get The Look cards
- 8 x 0.1 oz Suspension Top Coat
- Glitter Pot in Splash, Tease, Bombshell
- Flitter Pot in Prism, Stiletto, Galactic
- Sparkle Pot in Nightfall, Ignite, Crowd Surf
- Shimmer Pot in Pout, Day Dream, Pirouette
- 2 x 0.1 oz Empty Mixing Paint Pots
- Petri dish
- Funnel
- 2 x Mini test tube
- Name tags
- 6 x Silver shaker balls
- Mini file
- 2 x Nail buffer
- Paint brush
- Stripper brush
- Dotter
- Scoop 
I generally love Ciaté nail lacquer, and I have quite a few bottles, mostly in mini-sized sets.  They've put out several kits I've enjoyed, as well, like the foil kit and the feather kit.  However, the majority of their kits are overpriced, IMO, just like the Nail Lab kit.  I've mentioned previously that you can buy nail foil VERY cheaply from a variety of sources; Ciaté does do a good job, however, of packaging everything together so that you don't have to buy from a variety of sources to get one look.

As far as the Nail Lab is concerned, if you're new to making glitter topcoats and don't want to source enough materials to make up a starter kit from a variety of sellers, this could be a good way to experiment and see if you'll enjoy making your own polish. However, for those of us who do this as a hobby, it really doesn't offer anything we don't already have on hand.

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