Self-care & Jams

I firmly believe in self love, self-care and taking time to do things for yourself. Writing is something I do for myself, for the love of it, for the intrinsic reward and for how it makes my heart feel. It’s a place I can go and be completely comfortable and content, even when the work is hard.

Listening to loud music I’ve bought from iTunes is another treat for my brain when it needs to rest & recharge. I am a sucker for an emotive film or tv soundtrack, and a good set of noise cancelling headphones really make the experience something to look forward to.

Over the years, I’ve also enjoyed getting my nails done as another self-care experience. Unfortunately, I’m a nail-biter, so I have teeny-tiny nails that are normally quite thin and sad. The only artificial nail treatment that would stay on my pathetic little claws were acrylic extensions and ultimately these caused quite a bit of damage when the acrylic inevitably came off. I loved getting nails, but hated what they did to my nail beds.

I discovered Jamberry nail wraps this year and initially I had little confidence they would stick, let alone look any good on my tiny nails. Surely they would peel straight off and take the top layer of nail with them? Surely they would look childish and ridiculous on my itty-bitty stumpy nails?

Boy, I was wrong!

I’ve become obsessed with the wraps. I must have them ALL! The colours! The finishes! Sweet Venus, the limited editions! There are Disney Princess and Marvel super hero wraps, for goodness sake! Just quietly, I think they need a larger Marvel range, with some fierce Black Widow designs, but there you go. Because I’m an insufferable obsessive, I’ve been posting my manicures on Instagram and Facebook, and my friends have asked a few times how I apply them.

My application process is not Jamberry canon and this isn’t a sponsored advertisement for the wraps. In this post I’m going to detail the process I use to give myself a self-care manicure that is cheaper than a salon treatment, doesn’t leave me with damaged nail beds, and has allowed my natural nails to grow and become strong. If you’d like to give the wraps a go, read on, and I will reveal my mani-secrets!

Nail Prep:

If you have a wrap, polish or artificial treatment on your nails, you’ll need to remove them before you can get your new mani started.

I use an acetone-free nail polish remover without any moisturiser. Jamberry have a remover in their store, but I have found a remover from the chemist or supermarket is ok.

I use this make up brush to gently lift my previous wrap and apply the remover under it to dissolve the adhesive. If you have polish or artificial nails on, soak or wipe them off with the remover.

Assess the damage!

Do your nails look dry or are they all flakey and ripped? Time to give them some love! Lavish them and your cuticles with cuticle oil and hand moisturiser.

Again, Jamberry have a cuticle oil and some nice hand creams, but I use whatever I can find locally.:

Let the oils soak into your nails and get them all happy and healthy again. If your nails are badly damaged by artificial nails, you may need to do this step a few times a day for several days before applying wraps.

Get your Jam on:

When you are ready to apply your Jams, wash your hands and nails in dishwashing liquid (Weird, but it works. Stay with me!) to remove natural and applied oils.

Clean under your nails, and push back/remove your cuticles so you have a nice clear, clean nail bed to apply to. I use these little wooden cuticle pushers

Then give your nails a final clean with an alcohol wipe and make sure the nails are dry…

I use these tools for my application:

A purple Jamberry curticle stick

Nail scissors


Jamberry Mini Heater – the BEST way to heat your wrap

Next, measure your nail against your wrap. Choose one that is slightly smaller than the full width of your nail, or cut a larger one to fit. You DON’T want the wrap to be touching your skin or cuticle.

Lift the end of the wrap with the purple stick and cut it so it’s long enough to cover your nail, plus a few millimetres extra.

Use the tweezers to hold the cut wrap in front of the mini heater for 3 seconds – NO MORE!

Position on your nail, and use the white end of the purple stick to press the wrap down on your nail.

Trim the majority of the excess wrap from the end of your nail, but do not file the rest off yet!

Repeat the above steps for all of your nails. By the time you have finished both hands, the first wraps you applied will be cool and ready to file.

File your nail as shown:

If you have long nails, you will be able to file the wrap off at a 90° angle but I prefer to file it at a 45° angle. This brings the wrap just a little further back from the edge of the nail, and goes a way to prevent lifting if you use your nails as tools. The 45° angle is also easier to get when you have short or teeny-tiny nails!

You can give your finished wraps a little more heat and pressure to finish them, but I tend not to.

A day or so after your application, start applying cuticle oil to the skin around the base of your nail.

If your wraps begin to lift at the exposed edge, file them back a little more with a glass file to create a smooth edge that won’t catch on your clothes or hair.

When it comes time to remove the wrap, either because your nail has grown out, or they have been damaged or you just want a new mani, repeat the whole process from the beginning!

The best advice I can give to those trying wraps for the first time, is make sure you talk to your consultant about troubleshooting if you are having trouble or you application isn’t lasting as long as you hoped. Different wrap finishes have different characteristics and no two people have the same nail beds, either in shape or surface.

My nails are ‘oily’ so I don’t buff them. Buffing makes my nails produce more oil and that makes the wraps lift and come off. Experiment and have fun, join a group of Jam-lovers who can help you perfect your process, but most of all, take some time and look after yourself.

You deserve it, after all!


One thought on “Self-care & Jams

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  1. Thanks for sharing this, Alicia! My application process is pretty similar. It’s amazing how effective washing your hands in dishwashing liquid is!

    It has been really awesome to see your nalfies. They look so lovely. I especially loved the one using Sarape Sunset.

    And a big YES to more Marvel wraps!

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