Jamberry Nail Wraps Versus Kiss Gel Dress Strips, a product review PART 1
In this part of the article, I will compare the Jamberry nail wrap Midnight Celebration to Kiss Gel Dress strips in “My Space”. I tried to provide an honest product comparison, without writing my conclusion ahead of time. Each step is described in detail, so skip to the section that most interests you: Overview, Application, Wear, Removal, and Conclusion. I split the article into 2 posts due to length.
KISS: INITIAL IMPRESSIONS
Standing in the nail polish aisle, deciding on which drug store nail strip to put against Jamberry, I was drawn to the newest product that looked like a Jamberry nail wrap I already owned. It was Kiss Gel Dress strips, in black with glitter. The package contained both regular and french tip strips for about $6. I said, “Oh, 40 strips! That’s a lot!” Well, it’s really 20 single strips plus 20 french tip strips. The strips are a shiny, black material with dimensional glitter glued on top. When I opened the package, they stunk like chemicals. Not nail polish, specifically, just a lot of glue smells. I immediately didn’t like how the glitter was actual glitter glued to the nail. Some of the strips had extra glue smeared all over the strip as well, which looked sloppy and cheap.
Kiss come in 9 sizes from small pinkie to big toe. The package claims up to 2 weeks of wear when paired with an LED cured top coat by Kiss. Inside, the directions say the strips will last 1 week when you use a regular top coat. The back says “The only Gel Strips in the market with instant, peel-off removal.” This means that the actual strip is made of gel nail polish, so these aren’t paper stickers or regular nail polish strips. There was nothing on the package that indicated these strips would dry up like Sally Hansen’s nail polish strips.
JAMBERRY NAIL WRAPS: OVERVIEW
Jamberry’s Midnight Celebration is a metallic wrap design. It is a vinyl nail wrap that is heat and pressure activated to create a water-tight bond to the nail. It is a reverse french tip style, with silver speckles on the cuticle end. The way these strips are printed is that the whole strip is silver and they print black on top of it. The metallic backing then shows through the black making the effect a metallic black with silver. It is hard to capture in photographs, especially at 4 am when doing a manicure at the kitchen table while both toddlers are still asleep.
Jamberry nail wraps come in sheets that have 18 double strips in 10 sizes. Each strip is then cut to fit the length of your nail and could give the average woman 2 manicures and 2 pedicures. Women with short nails can get more uses by cutting each strip to fit 3 nails instead of 2. The Jamberry sizes are perfect for me and my nails as far as the width. I use the 6 smallest sizes on the sheet because my thumbs are 2 different sizes.
KISS: SIZE MATTERS
The Kiss strips come in 9 sizes as well, with 2 single strips of each size, except for one size that has 4 strips. The smallest size matches up with Jamberry’s smallest size. While the largest size is slightly smaller than Jamberry’s second largest strip. This means if I feel like cutting some of the french tip strips down to fit my small toes, I could get 1 pedicure out of the Kiss package. I would only be able to get 1 manicure out of the strips, though without cutting larger wraps down to fit the width. However, with the strips being made of gel polish, the possibility of them drying out after the package is open is a very real one, meaning only 1 manicure and 1 pedicure is likely. If that is indeed the case, then why would they include “40” strips? Makes me think.
I do like how the larger strips on the Kiss sheets are flatter at the cuticle end. I feel most women’s nails do get flatter as they get larger, versus the Jamberry strips that keep the same cuticle curve for all of the sizes.
Jamberry is easy to apply, once you get all your tools set up. I apply mine with a mini-heater, but used a hair dryer before and it works great (just a bit noisy). After washing my hands and pushing my cuticles back, I roll the wrap off the sheet with my tweezers, cut it to the right length with my scissors, heat it up and press it on with an orange stick. Then I trim the top of my nail with scissors and file to finish. I file at a 45 degree angle instead of 90 to taper the vinyl edge, which keeps the wrap from catching or lifting at the tips. I also use Jamberry’s strengthening base coat underneath my wraps but usually apply that the night before and it dries in like 10 seconds so it’s not a big added step.
Midnight Celebration is one of my favorite Jamberry nail wrap designs. I absolutely love the now retired Tempest Glimmer, which was a metallic black, and Midnight Celebration is almost the same. The way the wrap glimmers and catches the light is amazing. I love that it’s not a flat black, but is metallic all the way through. The metallic wraps also go on easy for me (with just a bit of pull and stretch) and last a long time. They look so good I never want to take them off!
The Kiss Gel Dress strips are applied cold. So after I washed my hands and pushed the cuticles back, I peeled the strip off the backing and pressed it on my nail with my orange stick. The instructions then say to fold the strip over the edge of your nail and file it off side to side from under the nail. This seemed weird to me because then the strip would be longer than my natural nail and lift and catch on things. But I followed the directions as best I could. This was really hard, because the strip did not fold over my nail edge. When I filed back and forth with their included file, I just made a raggedy mess of the end of my nail. I then used a top coat of regular polish (not Jamberry) and let dry. The instructions say to not use a quick-drying top coat. I decided to not invest in the gel top coat and curing light because I know I wouldn’t use it again.
The Kiss Gel Dress strips’ texture made it hard to slide my orange stick around when smoothing them onto my nails. The glitter portion of this design is too long for my short nails. On some of my nails, the whole nail was covered in the glitter instead of just the cuticle end so I got very little black showing. I also didn’t like how much waste there was.
I applied 4 Jamberry wraps and 6 Kiss gel strips to my fingers. While I loved the idea of a cold application for the gel strips, I found that they didn’t bend down over the tip of my nail. They were a bit thick and stiff. It was super hard resisting the urge to “fix” them using Jamberry tips and tricks (like pull and stretch). The gel strips seemed like they went on smooth, but then 5 minutes later they were lifting at the edges and bubbling at the tips. I pushed them down again before I did the top coat. I used the Kiss mini file that was included in the package. It was a super fine grit and barely scuffed up the rough bits of the left over strips. I got them mostly smooth, but used up the whole file and only did 6 nails! The other side of the file was a buffing side, which I did not use. I did try a base coat on a couple nails and the gel strips seemed to adhere to those nails a bit better, with less lifting and bubbling. However using a base coat was not in the instructions.
I absolutely love how Jamberry nail wraps are thin and smooth. Even their “glitter” wraps, called sparkle styles, have a smooth finish. The Kiss gel strips are kind of thick and the added glitter makes them feel clunky and attracts lint. (we have 2 cats, and I’ve already found a couple cat hairs stuck to the gel strips after only a couple hours of wear so far). I also did not like having to wait for the top coat of polish to dry. I am used to cleaning up immediately after a Jamberry manicure, but this time I had to just sit there staring at all my tools and mess. Annoying!
Read more in Part 2 of this article, including how Kiss Gel Dress strips hold up versus Jamberry nail wraps; Removal comparison and my conclusion!