Magnificent Manicure KitToday I found the Elmer/Scientific ExplorersMagnificent Manicure Kit at Thriftown for $2. New it retails for $17 at Amazon. I had been curious about the kit before, mostly because all in all I’ve enjoyed other Scientific Explorer kits (Spa Science, Perfumery and its chemistry kits). But I didn’t buy it because in my experience these kits are waaaaay overpriced. They usually contain mostly the type of ingredients you have at home, plus a couple of small samples of stuff that would be a bit harder to come by. But for that you spend close to $20!
This is definitely the case with the Manicure kit. The kit comes with a 3.4oz bottle of lotion base, 4oz bottle of bath salts (aka sodium chloride or table salt), 1.2 oz bottle of crystal mud (aka sodium polyacrylate), 1ml of sodium melon fragrance, 1 ml green dye, 2 foam toe separators, a small plastic soaking tray, a measuring spoon, a mixing spoon, a small pipette, a toy nail buffer (I can’t imagine it’ll be good for anything) and a foot-shaped pumice stone. There is also an activity guide, which is really what you buy the kit for. My $2 kit did not have the lotion, fragrance, dye or mixing spoon – not a big deal as I have all those things at home. But indeed, I have everything the kit comes with save for the “crystal mud” (and the guide) at home.
My kids enjoyed playing with the “crystal mud” so much, that for me it was a good purchase. But the kit is definitely not worth $20, IMHO.
There isn’t very much science to the kit, though the crystal mud section is used to help kids learn about saturation, which was a concept Mika didn’t know before. There is also a few “fun facts” in the booklet with helpful information, though Mika was less than interested in this šŸ™

Here are the activities included in the activity guide.
– Making gel with the “crystal mud”. The crystal mud is a polymer which starts as granules which can absorb 300 times their weigh in liquid. They basically become a gel when saturated, and you can use them to soak your hands for relaxation purposes. It doesn’t do anything for your skin/nails, though. But Mika LOVED making and playing with the stuff and holding it in her hands.
-Adding salt to the gel, supposedly to help rub off death skin from your hands. However, this part irritated Mika’s skin.
-Mixing the lotion base with color and fragrance and rubbing it in her skin. We skipped this part, though we’ve done it before with a previous kit and the lotion we make ourselves, and just used regular lotion.
-Buffing and shining your nails with the included nail buffer.
-Painting your nails with the non-included nail polish.
Then you do a pedicure
-Soak your feet in the gel
-Rubbing your feet with the included pumice stone
-Applying lotion to your feet
-Painting your toe nails using the included toe separators and your own nail polish.