When the "caviar" nail trend popularised by Ciaté rolled around, I didn't see what the fuss was about. It just looked like hundreds-and-thousands stuck on the nail, branded to seem like some major nail art innovation. Plainly put, I didn't find it particularly attractive. But as usually is the case with all things fashionable (the Céline luggage tote is another example), over time and with repeated exposure, I found myself warming to the idea. At the very least, I was curious to play around with microbeads myself for the sheer novelty factor.
I used Caviar Effect Nail Art in 11 from Italian brand Layla (currently £8.09 on Look Fantastic). The process was a bit daunting at first but I found tutorials available online very useful. First I painted a clear base coat, then one coat of Chi Chi Wednesday, a black polish with gunmetal shimmer. Rather than sprinkling the beads on top of the nail, I opted to pour out the beads into a small container, tilt the container at an angle to increase the depth of the beads, then press my finger, freshly painted with a second coat of polish, into the beads. It was a bit of a challenge to get a perfectly even surface with no bald spots, but there weren't any major mishaps for my first attempt. The only thing I'd suggest is to use a deeper and larger container than I did (I picked out a small, circular ceramic jewellery box) so the tiny beads don't spill over everywhere as you manoeuvre your finger around for maximum bead exposure.
Thankfully, the end result is a bit more intricate evening gown beading than black sesame seeds, though admittedly it looks better from afar than up close, where the perfectionist in me sees the lumps and imperfections. You do end up using a significant portion of the beads in the bottle for both hands, so an accent nail might be a more cost-effective and less fiddly way to wear the trend. What I liked about the Layla beads were the varied sizes, ranging from very small to absolutely tiny, which meant a smoother distribution around the edges of the nail and less room for gaps. It's not the cheapest, quickest or easiest of manicures, but it's a unique and fun take on texture that you can't replicate with nail polish alone.
Disclaimer: Layla Caviar Effect Nail Art was sent to me for review. Post contains affiliate links.