(Quick overview of my review at the bottom of this post)
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A couple months ago I was on Facebook and saw some pictures that a sweet girl, Jane, who I went to high school with, posted of these really fun designs on her finger nails.
She also shared the link to her Jamberry Nails page.
I clicked on it and quickly became engrossed in the pages upon pages of cute patterns.
I am not really a nail polish person.
I always have my toes painted but I don't paint them often and I never paint my fingernails because it doesn't last more than 20 minutes on me.
But, I was planning a bachelorette party at the time and I started thinking, 'It would be so fun to buy these for all of the bridesmaids and do them together the week before the wedding.'
Then, I thought of Amy, my outdoor-sy vegan friend, the sister of the bride and my co-maid of honor and I wondered if I had ever seen her nails painted before.
Jamberry Nails are not nail polish.
They are thin vinyl nail sheets (hence all the really cool patterns) but I feared that Amy might think it was the lamest activity ever.
I also saw the Jamberry Nails "application kit" and the Jamberry Nails mini heater on their website, and I thought, 'Okay, wow, this requires way too many products, never mind!' and that was the end of that.
So, imagine my surprise when about two weeks later, Jane contacted me and asked if I would be interested in trying and reviewing Jamberry Nails.
She explained in her email that the product is vegan, non-toxic, and that all you need to apply them is some rubbing alcohol, a nail file, some manicure scissors, a cuticle pusher and a hair dryer-all things that I already had.
That pretty much proved all of my reasons for not wanting to try them wrong.
Did she say vegan?
Maybe Amy would like them after all.
I decided I would just try them myself first and see what they were all about and then decide if I wanted to buy them for the whole bridal party for Alicia's wedding.
Jane send me a half sheet of the Mint Green Chevron Jamberrys.
I watched the quick application tutorial video and was excited to get started.
I decided to do my toes first and see how they stayed for a while before trying my fingernails since I am so hard on them.
I forgot to take a picture before I got started (over-excited) so here is everything I used, but after I finished my toes so some of the nail shields are obviously missing:
(*Note: this was a HALF sheet and this was AFTER I did my toes so as you can see there are plenty left to do my fingers at least once.
Jamberry says that each full sheet will give you 2-3, or maybe it's 3-4 manicures and/or pedicures and I say you could probably get even more out of each one, especially on toes since they are so little.
I cut them off and shaped them myself so that each strip can be used on more than two nails.)
I cut them off and shaped them myself so that each strip can be used on more than two nails.)
Jane wrote me a note and said that the more heat and pressure the better and to make sure I only filed in a downward motion because side to side would leave rough edges.
1. Clean nails with nail polish and/or (if nails weren't painted to begin) rubbing alcohol.
2. Hold the clear sheet over your nail to decide which width will best fit your nail.
3. Using the cuticle pusher (not your fingers since they have oils) peel back the nail shield you want and cut it in half or to the approximate length of your nail.
4. Hold the nail shield (still stuck to the cuticle pusher) up to heat source for several seconds until you can tell that it is soft and pliable.
5. Stick the nail shield to your nail, applying pressure all over the nail and smoothing out any air bubbles
6. Cut off and file any excess
(Those are my words and I recommend watching the video for a more clear picture).
It seemed easy enough and it really was except for my big belly and my weirdly shaped toe nail beds.
My big toes have really flat bases and the nail shields come rounded so that they should match the shape of your nails.
When I put my first one on, it had major gapping on the bottom corners of my nail, so I took that one off and tried again.
I chose a nail shield that was a little wider than my nail bed and held it over my toe, still attached to the clear backing, then cut it to the correct shape with a flatter bottom.
And as you can see, I still had a little gap but not really noticeable.
Especially from a distance:
(my view with belly)
I did a better job on my right big toe.
The left one has a pretty good gap on the side because I used a narrower shield.
It was my first time so there was definitely a learning curve.
Okay, get this: I took these pictures over 2.5 weeks after I originally applied the nails.
The night I applied them, it was dark and I wanted natural light for pictures so I told myself I would take them tomorrow...and then tomorrow turned into 2 and a half weeks later due to a toddler and pregnancy brain.
The great news is that they were still totally stuck and I was still getting tons of compliments every day on my fun chevron toenails.
Everyone would ask how I did it (assuming it was polish) and I would tell them that I was just super talented (and then, of course, the truth).
Honestly, these things surprised me in many ways.
For one, they grew on me.
I couldn't decide if I would think a pattern was fun or if I would get sick of it.
I only loved it more as time went on, (probably because this is my very favorite outfit lately and they matched):
Secondly, I was sure that they would come off in the pool since one of the methods for removal is simply to soak them and break the seal but I tested them out a few different times, (I sit with my feet in the baby pool and watch Henry play for a couple hours whenever we go to the YMCA), and they stayed on great.
I put them on July 3rd and Alicia's wedding was August 3rd.
I had to take them off in order to put on my new ones a couple days before the wedding.
My nails had grown out some, just like they would with polish but unlike polish, there was no chipping.
After 2 and a half weeks with them on my toes, I decided to go ahead and do my fingers even though every time I paint my fingernails I feel weird like I am trying to be a middle school girl again or something.
I LOVED them!
But, I will be honest that they did not last long.
I KNEW they wouldn't.
My fault, not theirs.
I am a nail biter and I always bite at nail polish (luckily I couldn't do that with these) but apparently I use my nails a lot for opening things and after a few days, some of them were peeling back right at the tip.
I also may have damaged them by filing too aggressively.
(I later watched the tips and tricks video and they talk about that).
Still, they lasted longer than nail polish would on me- (because that would be about 10 minutes and I left these on for over a week).
After trying them and liking them, I called Alicia to see if she thought it would be a fun activity for her bridal party to do together and she was really excited.
She thought Amy would like them too since they are non-damaging, non-toxic and vegan.
She had thought that it would be great for all of us to have matching nails for the wedding, but let's be honest, like most brides she couldn't afford to take her whole bridal party to the salon for manis and pedis.
I ordered us the Swiss Dot Tangerine and Peach for our toes (her wedding colors were mint and peach and we were wearing mint dresses) and the Medium White Tip for our fingers (4 full sheets of each to share between 7 of us and it was more than enough).
Correction: I thought I ordered the medium white tip but really I ordered Clear thinking it was white tip due to the picture.
Jane caught my mistake and emailed me to say, "Hey, I thought you wanted french tips but what you ordered is just plain clear..."
Sadly, I took too long to get back to her and they had already shipped before she could change my order so she filled out the return/exchange form for me and made it so easy to send them back (for just the cost of a stamp since they fit in an envelope).
The correct ones arrived very quickly also.
So... on to the bachelorette party.
Alicia knew that I had bought those nails and all of the girls were staying together at her future mother-in-law's studio apartment on Thursday and Friday so we would be doing them one of those days, but what she didn't know is that we had a mini-bachelorette party planned for her.
We had a big cookout at Alicia's parents' house on Thursday night and I told everyone that I needed to head to my hotel to put Henry to bed but really, Christian and I went to the apartment and set up the surprise bachelorette party.
I set up a long banquet table for our nail party and everyone got their own cuticle pusher, manicure scissors and half sheet of nail shields:
The bride was so surprised!
We had a great time that night, listening to music and doing nails, which all of us said we haven't done since middle school or high school and we loved it.
As a side note, we also had progressive gifts for Alicia.
Throughout the night, we gave her presents, starting with really tame wife-y things...
....and getting more saucy as the night went on ;)
Okay...so back to the nails...
I did mine at my hotel room ahead of time so that I would be available to serve the bride and anyone else who needed help.
I didn't want the noise of blow dryers ruining our party so I borrowed two space heaters from Alicia's aunt and they worked perfectly.
I showed the girls the application video but it was really interesting the way that everyone seems to have their own methods.
I don't think there is only one right answer.
I tend to heat and press and heat each nail again individually while I go but some girls quickly stuck all of their nails on and then heated and pressed all of them after.
Anne, the med student, was definitely the fastest.
She had all of her nails on before I even had one of Alicia's feet finished.
I was probably the slowest (and the most perfectionistic).
The only problem we came across was with the french tips.
I ordered medium thinking that it was the safest for seven different girls to share.
Well, apparently I have exceptionally long nail beds.
I cut my thumb nail down as low as it would go but when I applied the nail shield, lining up the bottom of the clear part with the bottom of my nail bed, the white tip started about half way up my nail and I didn't like the look of it at all:
In fact, almost all of us had this same problem.
So I decided I would rather the white part look the way I wanted it to then have the clear part line up with the bottom of my nail and I started putting them on from the top and just dealing with the fact that they didn't cover my entire nail.
Here is an example on my pinkie:
It is soooo hard to see and this was taken intentionally focusing on it and in great lighting, so it is doubtful that anyone would ever notice in person but the clear part stopped about three quarters of the way down my nail so that the white tip could be the width that I wanted.
If I ever wanted to do it again, I would definitely order the long size because you can always cut the clear part down but you can't make it longer.
I asked everyone what they thought and the feedback was mostly that surprisingly, none of us are, by nature, nail people.
I have some friends who love to paint their nails, are always changing polish colors, and would love all of the fun designs that Jamberry Nails offers, but it just so happens that all seven of the girls in Alicia's bridal party never paint their fingernails and rarely paint their toenails.
They all thought it was really fun to spend one night doing it, especially in such a girly setting, but they also admitted they would probably never do it again on their own.
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Here is my basic overview of how I feel about them:
Would I buy them again?
I probably will buy them again because they are somewhat addicting now that I've tried them.
The patterns are definitely more fun than plain old nail polish and I LOVE how long they last and how extremely glossy they look (and that glossiness never goes away!)
Do they last?
Yes, especially on toes, and without the chipping that happens with polish.
I am still wearing my toes from Alicia's wedding (3.5 weeks ago), although my nails have grown out enough that it is probably about time to change them.
(Darn prenatal vitamins).
Are they easy to apply?
For me, nail polish is not easy to apply either.
With the exception of a professional pedicure, I definitely like the finished result of these better than when I paint my own nails.
It is somewhat time consuming to apply them but then so is nail polish for me because whenever I paint my nails, it goes something like this:
Apply one coat.
It looks great.
Decide it needs another coat.
It gets on my skin.
I get a q tip or cotton swab to get it off of my skin but then accidentally touch the finished nail.
Now I have to fix that nail.
I stare at them.
Maybe they could use a third coat?
Now they are bubbly and too thick and don't dry all the way and get ruined when I get impatient and then I have to start again.
So, in that way, these were easier for me than nail polish.
I am a perfectionist and I wanted them just so, but with patience, I was able to get them just right and I loved that I didn't have to wait for them to dry.
I did my mint chevron fingers with Henry.
I gave him stickers and I told him that I was doing stickers.
He would ask me for a cup of milk and I could get up and get it midway through my manicure without worrying about ruining wet nails.
The end result looked nicer than I could have ever achieved with nail polish by myself.
BUT that's why I don't usually paint my own nails and why I love getting pedicures.
Obviously, it is a lot more work than getting a professional manicure or pedicure.
Did they damage my nails?
Definitely not the first time (with the mint chevron).
I soaked them in hot water and gently broke the seal.
I also used nail polish remover on a q tip to help break down the sticky stuff as I peeled.
The removal instructions say you can even soak in nail polish remover or if that's too harsh for your nails, water with lemon juice is a nice, organic option.
The second time I got impatient and overly confident in their claim to be non-damaging and kind of just ripped them off of my nails.
I regret this because they definitely feel a little brittle now.
Patience is key here.
That being said, even when I ripped them off, it was NOTHING like acrylics which damage your nails intensely.
I love pedicures but when I think about the cost, this is definitely a more economical option for a really nice result.
One full sheet of Jamberry Nails is $15 (or buy three get one free).
I would say you can get 4-5 manicures or pedicures out of each sheet (especially if you are willing to get creative with cutting and shaping them yourself).
That is definitely more expensive than a bottle of nail polish (which can be anywhere from $1-$15),
but less than you would spend on a professional manicure or pedicure.
Let's say a mani or pedi is $30 dollars, (you can get a cheaper or more expensive one but the experience and the results usually match the price).
My pedicures usually last a few weeks to a month which is how long these nail wraps stay looking awesome, so you could have 4 do-it-yourself manicures or pedicures for half the price of one professional manicure or pedicure.
That's pretty awesome.
Would I recommend them?
Are you someone who loves doing your own nails or doing detailed crafty projects?
Then YES, definitely.
But if you have short patience with little detailed projects or if you hate painting your nails, then these probably won't be that fun for you.
Overall, it was a great experience!
Thank you so much, Jane, for introducing me to Jamberry Nails and for asking me to do this review.
It was an honor!
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If you do not have a Jamberry consultant, I know that Jane would really appreciate your business.
I am not a consultant myself but I know that she would love to stay home with her daughter someday and this business could help her meet that goal.
(And I promise that she did not ask me to write that, or even ask me to put one link to her personal Jamberry page in this post. I added all of that myself and am receiving nothing from her for doing it.)
Jane says that the matte ones are awesome and stay on better in her opinion.
I haven't tried them (yet).