Throughout my childhood, teens and early twenties I was a dreadful nail biter. It was a horrid habit, I hated the state of my short, stubby and often sore nails - it was a constant cause of embarrassment for me, but was a habit I found really hard to beat.
Something just clicked in my mid-twenties - maybe I was less stressed/nervous and at a happier place in my life, but I suddenly no longer felt the urge to bite them, and soon they started to grow, repair and began to look quite healthy after just a few months of no biting.
Since then I've always worked hard to take care of my nails, doing lots of home manicures - keeping my cuticles in check, my nails nicely shaped and using Solar Oil (or the equivalent) a few times a week to keep my hands and nails moisturised. I play around with painting my own nails but I'm not that great at it, and pretty much always smudge it within minutes...especially since having children - I just`don't have the time to wait for them to dry properly anymore!
Then I discovered gel polish manicures - what a revelation! A nail polish that is dry instantly and can't be smudged...perfect! I've tried both Shellac and OPI Gel Colour manicures and I love them, A gel polish manicure is the perfect treat`for a special occasion, but I can't afford to have it done too regularly.
I was getting so bored with my signature clear polish and then my friend Anwyn introduced me to Jamberry Nail Wraps. In essence, they are stickers that are applied to your nails using heat (a hairdryer) and then the excess is filed off using a standard nail file. They come in hundreds of colours, designs, textures and patterns - and each sheet has enough to do at least your hands and feet once. And the best thing about them - no smudging! The pattern or colour stays perfect no matter what.
Honestly, I was a little skeptical at first - I felt sure they would be immensely fiddly and impossible to put on alone. I wasn't sure how long they'd last and if they'd be a viable alternative to my once in a blue moon gel manicure. But, I ordered some designs that ticked my fancy and gave them a whirl.
I chose these four designs: duck egg/gold fleck, a gold glitter, gold mermaid/fish scale and a gold stripe. (Gold was a running theme for me...it is nice and dressy, goes with everything and everyone loves a bit of bling when it comes to nails, surely?) I also had some complimentary floral, stripe and lace patterned nail wraps to use too - so I got to work having a go at my first Jamberry manicure, and was pleasantly surprised.
T'ah d'ah! My first Jamberry manicure went really well - I combined three nail wraps with some hot pink nail polish on two nails to create this look and I loved it. The nail wraps were quick and easy to use, they applied easily and I found that there was a right-size sticker for each of my nails.
My biggest reservation about using the wraps is that they just wouldn't last and would peel off instantly. But I was pleased that my first attempt lasted almost two weeks - which is considerably longer than if I applied polish at home.
I had lots of comments about my pretty digits and lots of friends pledged to give them a try too once they'd seen them in the flesh and heard how easy I'd found them to apply.
I've still been treating myself to the odd gel polish manicure - I'm lucky that three of my cousins do it for a living, and so when I pop back to Surrey to visit family I often manage to wangle a free Shellac from one of them (thanks girls!). Shellac definitely lasts longer for me 3-4 weeks rather than 1-2 weeks, but obviously costs considerably more than the nail wraps do.
I should also add that my hands take a lot of abusing - constant hand washing, nappy changing, washing up bottles every day, crawling about on the floor with babies and toddlers and also lots of cooking/chopping etc ... so I would expect them to last longer on someone that doesn't put their hands and nails through quite so much trauma on a daily basis! Ha ha!
The latest Jamberry nail wraps I've tried are these fab gold stripe ones. Anyone who knows me well will know I'm mildly obsessed (okay, majorly!) with stripes - so when I saw these I had to have them. Again, I found them easy to apply and the fit was good. I was so pleased with how this manicure turned out, and I love that you can see my natural nail behind the gold foil stripe.
I find the application of the nail wraps quite theraputic - far less frustrating than using nail polish ( & smudging it!) I think on average it takes me around 15 minutes to apply a full set of wraps, and of course there's no waving your hands around like a maniac for fifteen minutes afterwards so that they can dry.
A perfect Saturday morning - nail wraps and a giant coffee!
When I say that Jamberry Nail Wraps come in hundreds of designs, I mean hundreds! You name it, they've got a wrap for it - from matte to glitter, colour blocking to monochrome patterns, arabesque to polka dot - from bold and fun to chic and stylish - they even do Jamberry Juniors for children's nails!
Here's a taster of some of my current favourites which are definitely on my wishlist for once my current stash has run out...
Of course it is also worth noting that your nail wraps will last longer if you used them in conjunction with nail polsih - using a Jamberry for an accent nail(s) looks really cool and is a more understated way to use the bolder patterns. You could use a bling on your ring finger, or use a pattern on every other nail, or just your thumbs etc. It's fun to play around - and if you shop smart and but four sheets that all compliment each other and work well together in varying combinations you'll have so many options you won't know where to start.
You can order Jamberry Nail Wraps directly from Jamberry UK online or from an independent consultant - I get mine from my friend Anwyn Rowberry.
Disclaimer: I was given my Jamberry Nail Wraps at half price in return for my honest opinion in this post.