I decided to see what all the hype was about and give jamberry a try. Since we were going home for Christmas, it seemed like a good time for a test run. If there was ever a good time to NOT want to touch up my polish, being away from the house for a couple of weeks was it.
I bought an application kit and few designs, and won a few designs, so I bought some for both Christmas and New Years. I wish I had taken more pictures of the whole process, because this isn’t the most visually dynamic post. And the ones I got were very pretty. Sparkly and shiny and really cute. I love sparkly and shiny things, so this was a plus.
The first time I used the recommended method, of hot air and compression. I had to do quite a bit of trimming on the wraps. My nails are super curvy, like true half-moons (when they’re full length, more on that later) which means that a straight line doesn’t apply…straightly. It meant some crazy cropping and I still couldn’t get a smooth application. Their were either wrinkles along the sides from trying to keep the top/front edge straight, or else the wrinkles were on the tips trying to keep the sides flat. It was incredibly frustrating and took something near an hour. But, eventually they got on and did look fine.
Didn’t take long, however, for problems to ensue. Much more quickly than I anticipated, the edges started lifting, usually when hot water was involved. And since I wind up washing dishes once or twice a day, well, this was a problem. Mostly they’d reattach once they dried, but eventually I had to replace a couple. Of course, they are only guaranteed for up to two weeks, not at least two weeks. An important distinction. The ones I had to replace made it about a week. But I had seen friends’ facebook posts about how theirs lasted in perfect condition for the full two weeks, so that’s what I was hoping for.
This time, for the replacements, I googled something like “jamberry curvy nails” or something, and saw what was called the “rice bag” method. I had a long rice bag that I use for my neck, so I heated that in the microwave, and used that as the source of heat for my application. This process was definitely faster, quieter, and I could do it watching TV with SoldierMan instead of hunched over in the bathroom for forever long. So I liked that. And it did make for a smoother application overall. So if you have curvy nails, I think the rice bag method is a good way to go.
We made it to Oklahoma and engaged in the festivities. I should also point out, at the time all this started, I had gotten some pretty good length and strength to my nails. I hadn’t had acrylics on since before Baby G was born (more on that later) so this was a big deal to me. Between Christmas and New Year’s, I changed some of my designs, again using the rice bag method, which I brought with me on our trip, as well as all my jamberry tools.
It was the same story. First day looks great, but it doesn’t take but a couple of showers for the lifting to start, and eventually they just start hanging lose. Again, disappointing, but I decided to stick with it because, well, I spent the money.
Meanwhile, my nails themselves were suffering. My natural nails are the soft, peeling kind. This was a big reason I wore acrylics for so long. Not just for fashion, but for utility. Without the acrylic, I have to keep on top of my nails with strengthening polish and conscientious filing. After three-ish weeks of nail wraps, my nails were a disaster zone.
I bring this up because, if you’ve seen any of the jamberry campaigns, you know one of the key selling points is that nails wraps “won’t damage your nails like acrylic.” Yes, acrylic nails can damage your nails – if you only get them done once or twice a year for special occasions and try to take off the tips while they’re still glued on. If you maintain acrylics consistently, 1) there’s no real “damage” to your nails except the slight roughing that needs to happen to help the acrylic adhere, and 2) even that is covered and reinforced by the acrylic. I only stopped using acrylic because it’s crazy expensive to get in El Paso, and I didn’t want to keep up with doing it myself at home. Without the acrylic, I’d been vigilant with the strengthening polish and careful filing, and been able to maintain strong, useful nails.
I had hoped to get a similar kind of reinforcement from the wraps, but that just wasn’t the case. Even under the wraps, my nails broke and peeled off down to the nubs, so that there would be this break in my nail and the wrap would just be hanging there in its place. The problem was compounded by following the recommended filing technique in the jamberry instructions. To shape natural nails, you’re supposed to file side to side, going one direction only. This helps keep the layers of nail sealed against water damage and splitting, which weakens the nail and contributes to breakage. The nail wraps pretty much require a downward motion filing (I tried side-to-side, it tore the wraps up) which doesn’t seal the nail the same way, even with the fine-grain block.
Now that I have the wraps off, I can see the damage. The ends of my nails are split in horizontal layers, peeling and breaking still. Some of them have grown out now that I could consider them “healed,” but some the damage was so bad I’m still having to be really careful with them. One of my thumbs tore halfway down my nail bed. I guess I’m still a little upset.
All that to say, the jamberrys appear to work well on a certain kind of fingernail – flat, short, naturally strong or filed close to the fingertip. The friends I have with nails like that seem to have great success. Mine are none of those things, so my experience wasn’t what I had hoped for. This may just be a case of my expectations not being what they should. And I can see using jams as the occasional accent nails for special events. But full-time, it definitely didn’t work for me.
How did your mileage vary? Are you a wrap addict or do you prefer polish and acrylics?
And speaking of polish, I was in Sally’s yesterday, they sell OPI now! I’ll say this for 50 Shades, it inspired a gorgeous line of lacquer! *sigh* If only we weren’t saving money for PCSing…..