Two of my friends threw Jamberry parties simultaneously, so I’ve had my first taste of the Jamberry experience this past week. I previously knew of them only because I’d read a review of their monthly Stylebox subscription, but I’d never tried the product personally. I threw these nails together to test out the sample I got – one strip of Jamberry nail wrap in Black & White Chevron. I matched the wrap with Revlon Elusive, a polish I kept wanting to wear but somehow never got around to.
Here’s two coats Elusive, topped with one coat Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat, on every finger except for the ring, which uses Jamberry Black & White Chevron. Outdoors, in indirect sunlight:
Elusive is a black jelly packed with teal glitters in various sizes and shapes – well, at least some round, some hex, and some micro. I think I’ve also caught a little flash of pink or purple in the microglitter, so there could be more to it than teal, but it’s at least predominantly teal. The formula’s a little clumpy with all the glitter in it, so it requires a little care to apply, but it otherwise glides on pretty easily for a glitter. By that, I mean no special glitter placement or dabbing technique is needed, and it’s opaque in two coats. (Well, it’s opaque in two coats unless your bottle has settled, like mine did. It was watery before I shook it, so my right hand (not pictured) required three coats, but that’s my fault, not the polish’s.) The brush is pretty standard – round, flat-tipped, and of average width.
Elusive dries matte, which would have surprised me, except I’d already read Gotham Polish’s thorough write-up on this polish and knew what to expect. I don’t mind it as a matte polish, actually – it gives Elusive an interestingly offbeat stone-meets-latex look. You can check out Gotham Polish’s post for pictures, since my photo didn’t turn out nearly as well. I think I might like it better glossy, though. The glossy top coat brings out the teal glitter better.
As for the Jamberry Black & White Chevron nail wrap, it was my first experience applying a Jamberry nail wrap (or any nail wrap at all, for that matter), and it was surprisingly easy to do. I followed their official application video pretty exactly: wipe off nail with alcohol, peel off half the wrap with tweezers and cut off that half, heat, stick on nail and smooth over, trim and file off excess, heat again, and done! I did have to trim the wrap to get it to fit on my nail because it was too wide, but that was easily done with scissors. I also had a tiny bit of bubbling at the edge (you can see it on the left side of the nail) that wouldn’t go away with heating and smoothing, but it’s pretty minor, and I’d probably get better with future applications.
I have mixed thoughts about Jamberry so far. I mean, I have no issue with the product itself. In fact, I think they’re fun, and the quality of the product seems good (it’s a durable plastic film). It’s easy to apply, and on the second day, it’s so far stood up pretty well to everyday wear and tear. The design selection’s huge, too, with a Nail Art Studio option that even allows you to use your own custom artwork. Sounds pretty great, right?
The only real misgiving I have is the price, which is $15 a sheet (plus extra for shipping), which Jamberry says covers two manicures, two pedicures, and an additional eight to 16 accent nails. If you go with a custom art design, it’s $18.75 per sheet, plus a $6 setup fee per order, kind of like with custom orders at a print shop. Granted, Jamberry seems to offer a buy-three-get-one-free deal (averages to $11.25 a sheet), and our Jamberry consultant has been offering some discounted deals (the party package includes four Jamberry sheets, plus an application kit, cuticle oil, and mini heater for $84), but it’s still kind of steep.
In short, it might be much cheaper than getting your nails done at a salon all the time (after all, you’re cutting out the personal service you pay for at a salon), but way more expensive than painting and stamping your own nails. While the Jamberry wraps are probably more durable than polish, probably a strong selling point for a lot of people, I like trimming my nails short weekly and changing up my colors too often for the two-week durability to be a big pull for me, and my current regimen keeps the polish intact for about as long as I want it on. Whether the wraps are faster to apply is also a toss-up, too, since I paint my nails pretty darn quickly these days. Plus, I just really like the painting part, though I guess gluing on plastic stickers is sort of fun, too.
So, I’m still thinking about it. Jamberry seems like the kind of thing I might want to use once in a while for the fun patterns and maybe special occasions, though, so maybe I’ll pick up a few at some point.