DIY Shell ManicureSometimes I just really want a beachy, statement manicure. SAID NO ONE EVER! But, that is what Ciate is pedaling with their newest Shell Manicure nail art kit. This kit sells at Sephora for $25 which is more or less highway robbery. You can get the supplies to do this manicure for less than $2 and use nail polish you already own.

As for the shell manicure itself; I thought I was going to hate it. But I have to admit, in the right situation with the right clothes this can actually be cute and appropriate.

This of course can be done as a full manicure but I opted just to do an accent nail. Having a full on shell manicure is, to say the least, a lot.

Below the jump you will find all the info you need to do an at home, DIY shell manicure! Make sure to leave a comment and tell me what you think about this nail trend.


Crushed Shell Nail Art WheelWhat you will need:

  1. A base coat. I used Barielle Barielle Fortifying Nail Builder.
  2. A creme finish nail polish in the color of your choice. I used NYC Tropicoral and Barielle Black Rose.
  3. Crushed Shell Nail Art Glitter. I got mine on eBay for a whopping $1.48 (with free shipping!). It can also be found on Amazon.
  4. An orange stick or thin nail file.

Shell ManicureHow to:

  1. Apply your base coat as normal. Let dry.
  2. Start with one, thin coat of your base color. It’s best to use a creme finish polish. It’s easier to really wedge the shell pieces into a creme polish.
  3. On any nails you want to add shells to, work one at a time and add a thick second layer of color. Immediately sprinkle the shells over the nail (put a piece of paper or paper towel underneath to catch excess ) and press the shells into the polish.
  4. Using an orange stick or nail file go around the edges of the nail and push any shells that need a little help with placement.
  5. Repeat on any other nails you want to add shells to.
  6. Let dry for a good 30 minutes.

And that’s it! I tried using a top coat in various ways (just on the tip, over the entire nail, etc) and it doesn’t work. Skip the top coat entirely.

As with a caviar or a velvet manicure 24 hours is about all you’re going to get out of this before pieces of shell start to fall off. It’s also a bit challenging to live a normal life whist wearing a shell manicure. Hair gets caught between the shells. So does liquid makeup. And lint. This is a night/day out kind of mani.

Shell Manicure NYC Shell Manicure Black Shell Manicure Barielle


  1. tanguera says:

    I think it looks good as a summer accent nail. Not sure I love it so much that I’d go out of my way to actually do it though, especially given the issues you mentioned. It’s different and eye catching though.

  2. Cookie says:

    It’s a lot prettier than I thought it’d be, especially that coral-ly pink. For a very special occasion perhaps? Can you imagine though, the damage you could to a nice outfit? I have enough problems with short nails — don’t needs shards on top! Surprised a top coat wouldn’t work. Think I’ll stick with glitter. 🙂

What do you think?