If you haven’t heard of Jamberry yet, it’s probably only a matter of time before you come across it somewhere, somehow as now that I have, I’m seeing it everywhere. Essentially, they’re a company that produces nail wraps and then sells them through sale consultants (anyone can sign up), who make commission through affiliated sales. In the UK, think Avon ladies and that’s the kind of thing I mean. Already out in the US, they launch in the UK on 5th April, so if you’re over here you might just see them around from now on.
I’ve never tried any kind of nail wraps before, so when a consultant got in touch I was intrigued and not just a little bit sceptical that a sticker, essentially, could ever be in any way preferable to good ol’ regular nail polish. Surely it would just peel off? However, as Jamberry’s big USP is how long-wearing they are – 2 weeks, they claim – suddenly I was more interested in this wraps thing. They put this longevity largely down to the heat application method, which seems especially unique to this brand. We’ll see, I thought…
- They give a really polished (ha) finish – let me just say that I’ve never got a pale almond shade of polish to apply this evenly and look this neat. Worth bearing in mind that this is just a plain finish, more intricate designs will also look perfect. To anyone looking, you’ve just got great nails, end of.
- The options – and intricate pattern opportunites – are endless – this would be a really good option to do that pattern you’ve always wanted to try, but are hopelessly awful with when attempting to do it with polish. For me, that’s definitely leopard print, so I’m really looking forward to trying the wraps I was sent and finally having a pattern that looks like an animal and not a big blobby mess. What I’d really love is a wrap with half moons, which is something else I’m awful at – but the consultant said that pattern wasn’t available right now, but could be again in future (so that would go on the ‘con’ list for me – if I like something, I don’t want to wait for it to be available to purchase or be in rotation with other patterns!). I’m quite boring with my nail preferences though – there really are a lot of fun things with these wraps you can choose from so if you like jazzy nails this is for you
- They’re good to go from the moment they’re stuck down – you don’t have to wait an hour before you can use your hands normally again, like with most polish. Once they’re on, they’re on. It’s pretty refreshing because I am an incredibly impatient person and pretty much always smudge or damage fresh varnish within 20 minutes of applying it.
- They DO last longer than polish – you probably can wear these for 2 weeks if a) you managed perfect application in the first place and b) you don’t type all day long so your nails grow at a rate of knots. For me, at around the week one mark they were looking less than ideal because I had at least a millimetre, if not more, of growth and the wraps I hadn’t done such a great job with had started to come loose at the edges. The latter didn’t make them come off, but you can see it and if you run your fingers through your hair you might get some caught! Saying all this, a week of pretty flawless nails is no small thing for me. No polish I’ve worn has ever lasted that long, no matter how many top coats I apply.
- The big one – the price – I don’t mind the thing of buying through a consultant – it’s nice that another person can benefit from a purchase as well as a corporation. I do feel like you see this sales technique reflected in the price of the wraps though – £15 for one sheet, which will probably do two hand applications (and can probably do toes too, with crafty cutting), feels pretty expensive to me and is on the pricey end for wraps. Not only that, as usual the UK is not at parity with the US, as the price in the US is $15. I really, really hate when companies do this. I think it’s common that UK prices are a bit higher than the US and it’s something I see in my own industry, but when the currency symbols are interchangeable like this it drives me nuts. Also, when a bottle of polish costs £5-10 and lasts numerous applications, it feels like a really pricey alternative, to me. The consultant pointed out that this price is preferable to that of a manicure, but she was talking to a woman who’s never had one of those in her life…
- They are fiddly – it doesn’t help that I’m a perfectionist, but these are a faff from start to finish. First you have to work out what size wrap for which nail (something I know I got wrong for my index fingers), then you have to heat each wrap individually, and several times to really stick it down. All without EVER touching the sticky side for fear of ruining it with your oily, oily fingers. I watched some online tutorials first and that really helped, but beware the angst when you accidentally stick one down slightly wonky – you can’t peel it off and try again. Don’t get me started on how impractical applying to toenails would be – I am not that flexible. If you are that flexible, apparently they last a month on toes, so good for you!
- They take time and concentration to apply – you might have guessed from the above that this is not an in-front-of-the-tv job, you need to concentrate to get these on right. This is a shame, as putting on nail polish is such an evening job for me and I like having something on in the background. Technically, you could have the tv on while applying these but I bet you won’t be watching it… Especially not if you don’t have the official Jamberry heater, as I don’t, and have to blast your hairdryer every few seconds (I’m sure my neighbours were wondering what on earth I was doing). They also took me far longer to stick on than painting two layers of polish does (note I’m not counting adequate drying time here)
- Air bubbles are the worst – like I say, forget about re-sticking something that’s already pressed down and if you’ve got an air bubble good luck trying to smooth it out. I managed to do so on one of my nails, but had an air bubble at the tip of my thumbnail since day one that drove me slightly insane.
- On close inspection, they do look, and start to feel, like wraps – from a distance I doubt anyone would know, but you’ll know. You’ll definitely know when after about a week of wear the edges of the wraps become sticky and tiny bits of everyday dirt/fluff clings to them. You’d never spot this at a distance and it’s way worse if you’ve bodged application by not applying the right size etc (guilty), but it’s kind of annoying.
- The templates might not fit your nails preceisely – the ends of the wraps are very rounded, which worked marvelously for my fingers but not remotely for my thumbnail. I had to trim to fit the shape of my nail and it sent my perfectionism crazy. I also have three nails that are the same size and the templates aren’t great for that as they assume more of a difference between them. It’s where I went wrong in application and if I did it again I’d have to trim more down to size. It’s a small thing really, but it all adds extra faff time.
- The consultants don’t seem to have a bad word to say about the products – this makes sense, they’re trying to make commission and to be absolutely fair the lady I spoke to wasn’t pushy. BUT something I’ve seen other people say when I did some research into this is the over-zealous, near-constant sales pitch you can encounter when speaking to a consultant. I’m someone who does really bad with being over sold to, I like being able to make my own mind up and I want honesty about the pitfalls of a product. So while I understand this as a sales technique, it’s not up my street at all. I’m fortunate as I got to try them for myself and make my own mind up, but I know not everyone will have that luxury.