January 30, 2015

My Jamberry Experiment (why I probably won’t be using them again)


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.

10400014_10101173831878741_1097778372716641760_nDidn’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…..


  1. I'm so sorry to hear you weren't happy with your Jamberry experience. I have a couple of comments.
    1. I also have super curvy nails that are weak and break constantly. It did take a few tries for me to figure out the application method that worked best for me. (I heat the wraps until the bend in the shape of my nail and then apply them at the base and "stretch/pull" them until there are no wrinkles.) I also don't file mine, I simply trim right up along the edge of my nail and use the "baggie" method to seal the tips. I very rarely have any lifting with this combination.
    2. The mini heater eliminates the noise/bathroom confinement of the hair dryer.
    3. As for the damage to your nails. I'm curious exactly how you removed them. Some people are able to just peal them off and you'd never even know they were on their nails. I am NOT one of those people. If I don't take the time to really break down the adhesive (I get the best results with acetone), the wraps will take the top layer of my nails with them. I found that using the strengthening base coat under my wraps has helped tremendously.

    Anyways, I'm sorry you didn't have the amazing experience you were hoping for. If you still have some left and decide to give it another shot, let me know, I'd be happy to trouble shoot with you.

  2. What she said!!! ^^^ You have to be VERY careful when you remove the wraps. You can't just peel them, or yank them off willy-nilly. Like Jes, I pretty much have to soak them in acetone to break down the adhesive. And if I get any kind of impatient with them and start pulling on them, I get damage. And yep, it took a while for my nails to see any kind of healing. I had to go a week without wearing them, and apply a strengthening base coat in the meantime. Also, to help avoid the damage to your nail, you really have to use the cuticle oil. When you remove the oils during application, you have to replenish it later. Otherwise, you end up with brittle nails. This is a battle for me because I often forget to use it. And I can tell when I do! I don't file mine anymore, either, because they end up lifting. I've also found that trimming the sides to where you see a little nail keeps them from lifting. I'm HARD on my nails. I use them as tools.

    If you don't like the wraps, I won't hate you. ;-) But if you like them and wouldn't mind trying again, there are several different ways to apply them than just what's listed on the site and the rice bag. Lots of people with dome-shaped, curvy nails use this method: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crgM-7YsobU

    Anyway. I love Jamberry even if I have issues with them lifting because it STILL beats all the nail polish I've ever had on my nails.

  3. I actually did soak off the wraps that didn't just fall off on their own, like the instructions said. All the breakage and stuff didn't happen during removal, it was actually while I was wearing them. That was what was so weird to me. I would have tried a base coat with them but I thought the instructions specifically said that you had to use clean nails?

    1. Oh, you can totally use a base coat! I do it, as do lots of other consultants. I use a strengthening base coat so that I lessen the risk of damage when I remove them. (SO impatient!) And I also found that they stay better when I use the base coat. Even still, I change mine about every 7-10 days. I'm just really hard on them/my nails.

  4. I have flatter nails, so the application is easier. They last up to 2 weeks, but nail polish rarely makes it 24 hours on me. I have pretty thin nails and found a couple times when my nails split, but the wrap actually kept it together so I didn't chew it off.

    For someone who can't paint nails for crap, and has no patience, this is the only way I've found for them to grow to a decent length. And it does help remind me to not pick at my fingers most of the time. I can easily see how it would not be for everyone. I have naturally dry nails and have to give them at least 24 hours with lotion and oils between removing wraps and the next set.

  5. I don't like anything on my nails so I could not do Jamberry. I like the designs, it's just not something I'd ever buy.

  6. Oh you Jamberry HATER. Just kidding.. I still love you. They aren't for everyone. I just had to second the cuticle oil comment. So important to use daily while wearing the wraps. Make a big difference in the state of your nails.

  7. I am polish girl myself. I am seriously wondering the draw of Jamberry? Is it the 2 week thing? I really love picking out a new color each week from my stash and painting my nails while I watch Downton Abbey! (or Once Upon a Time or some other cheesy show that makes me happy :) )

  8. Mine only last about a week. I can push them to ten days. I have yet to have them last a full two weeks. But I get tired of the same design before two weeks any way so that works for me. I have not had any damage from them. I do keep my nails super short though and I have pretty thick/healthy nails naturally.

    I still love my OPI as well though, so I am thinking a trip to Sally's is in order soon. :D

  9. (My phone blanked out on me, so hopefully this isn't a duplicate)
    I am one of those flat short nail girls. I love love love jamberry for my nails. I play piano 20-30+ hours a week with my job and my nails chip if I don't wear polish or something over them. Jams actually protect my nails and for the first time in years, my nails are healthy. My jams stay at least 2 weeks and are solid the whole time.
    It just goes to show that every one is different, and curvy nails are more difficult than flat nails to deal with. Sorry they didn't work for you :( I love not having to worry about my nails for weeks at a time.

  10. I've tried them also and had pretty much the same results as you.

  11. I tried them twice, and have about 100 bucks worth of them sitting here because I can't get them to work right. They start lifting so soon, I can't get a new adhesion on it after that, and have to start over. I tried and tried, and used the rice bag, and no real luck. I love the Sally Hansen sets though. They are real polish, and quick! It took me over an hour, reheating that stupid rice bag trying to get Jamberry nails to stick.

    1. You're right, they won't stick back down once they start lifting. But the next time that happens, you can get some clear nail polish under there and press down until dry. The polish will help adhere the wrap back down to your nail. I'm a consultant and that still happens to me sometimes, and I will use the clear nail polish to get it stuck back down. Also, I've never had luck with the rice bags. But do try a mini heater if you can. I'm sure a consultant near you would let you use theirs to see the difference it makes, or contact me and I can hook you up. :) ashley.mattes at yahoo . com

  12. They work for me! But I can see how for others, they won't. Just like every product, I don't think they're for everyone. I have strong nails that have been damaged by chewing on them, but they work. I only get a week out of them typically.

  13. I'm just super into quality nail polish. I've gotten good at painting my own nails and I just use OPI, China Glaze, or Essie. It sometimes fades out a little bit, but it isn't that noticeable. Maybe that coudl work for you instead?

  14. I've had a good experience with them but I know others like yourself who have not. It boils down to personal preference. :)

  15. Don't worry, you are not the only one who thinks Jamberry isn't their jam (Har,har)! I was never one for having designs on my nails, so they were never of much interest to me. Plus, at this point I've gotten the knack of painting my nails down pretty good. I have no interest in fiddling around with wraps!

  16. I've had good experiences with them. I'm not the best at applying them but I'm not that picky. They aren't for everyone and that's ok!


I was nice and didn't turn on word verifications. Please reciprocate by having your reply-to email set and not posting anonymously.