Battle of the Nail Wraps

wrap cover

If you’re a female who has a Facebook profile, there’s a good chance that at least six of your friends have added you to a Jamberry group that you wish you could leave, but would feel guilty when the host noticed you bolted.

Nail wraps are all the rage these days. It’s the new Scentsy… or Living Oils… or (fill in the name of any “lose weight fast” product here). So what’s the big deal?
Well, I tried three of the biggest nail wrap names on the market and I will now divulge all the wisdom I have compounded on the newest beauty fad.

First up, Sally Hansen’s Salon Effects.

Salon Effects
Sorry, I took this picture before I knew I was going to write a blog about nail wraps, so it’s a bit craptacular.

I actually had these stashed under my sink. A friend sent them to me before they were a fad, but I didn’t “get it,” so they’ve been down there for months. When searching for a new color, I pulled them out and gave them a shot and was really impressed. When I opened the package, they actually smelled like nail polish. I didn’t expect that. I just assumed they were basically stickers. And I guess they are, but they’re stickers made of real nail polish. I only did a couple fingers and opted to paint the rest.

Ease of application/removal: A
The strips were sturdy and easy to apply with no extra tools needed. It was also quite easy to peel them off and reposition them as needed before I pushed them down completely. Removal was a snap – I just used nail polish remover as voila! Done in a flash. The adhesive was a bit sticky when removing, but came off my fingers with a little extra rubbing.
Price: B
Like I said, this set was free for me, but I looked at the local Walgreens and these ran right around $11. Not too bad.
Durability: A+
I don’t think I kept them on for a full two weeks, but I did wear them for over a week and moved an office full of furniture and boxes. Not even one chip. Impressive!
Selection: A
I haven’t taken a ton of time to peruse, but there was a pretty decent selection at Walgreens and it looks like an even wider selection online. While all the options may not be readily available to you, there are a lot of options out there.

Second, Jamberry Nails.
photo 2I finally cracked and requested a sample from one of my many friends who are on the Jamberry sales wagon. The sample is just one strip, so my options were a bit limited. The first things I noticed as I took it out of the envelope was that 1.) it did not look like it did in the picture and 2.) it was not made from real nail polish. The colors weren’t as vivid and the design was not as crisp as I anticipated. And it was, in fact, just a thick sticker you apply to your nail.

Ease of application/removal: C
Although it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how to apply a Jamberry wrap, it seems more complicated than it needs to be. You have to actually heat these wraps with a blow dryer to activate the adhesive. After you’ve heated it, you smooth it on… except the wrap is so thick that this is a more difficult task than it would seem. No matter how much I heated and rubbed, I still had a wrinkle on my nail. Not good for someone like me who can’t help but pick at any rough patch on my nails. Also not good for me – their were gaps on the side of the wrap, which gave me another thing to pick at. On the bright side, removal was awesomely simple. Just heat it up and pull it off. I wish removing all polish was that easy.
Price: C
Most Jamberry wraps are $15, which isn’t terrible, but is enough that I start thinking about how I could have a manicure for the same price or close to it.
Durability: A-
Evidently I am pretty easy on my nails. Even regular polish will take over a week to chip with my normal wear and tear, so Jamberry wraps aren’t really deigned for someone like me. Like I said, these things are thick, so I have a feeling that if you are rough on your nails and could resist picking at them, they would most definitely last the full two weeks. However, I couldn’t resist picking at them, so they got an A-.
Selection: A+
There are a ton of designs for Jamberry nails. It’ll take you an hour to dig through all of them. Then another hour to decide on which one you want. Major props on that, JB.

Lastly, Incoco.
photo 3I had never heard of Incoco until I read through some old entries on my friend’s girlfriend’s beauty blog, Skinny Jeans and Sippy Cups. Her pictures looked great and she recommend Incoco, plus they’re fairly cheap, so I took the plunge and bought a full set. (Two, actually. One was on clearance for $4.00.)

Ease of application/removal: B
When I opened the package, I got the same nail polish smell that I gotten from the Sally Hansen’s strips. Big fan of that. Not because of the smell itself, but because I don’t want to wear nail stickers, I want to wear nail polish. The main thing I noticed when applying the Incoco strips is that they’re incredibly flimsy. That’s great as far as them getting a good fit on the nail, but sucks when it comes to application because they tear super easily. You also have err on the smaller side because if the wrap is on your skin and you attempt to trim it, you’ll probably tear it. I lost one wrap to a tear and barely salvaged another one. Oh, and they’re difficult to reposition. It can be done, but again, you might tear it. However, after I got them on, I was happy with how they looked and felt.  Unfortunately it took me about 45 minutes to do all ten fingers. Removal is no biggie – just use some polish remover and some elbow grease.
Price: A
When I said they we’re “fairly cheap,” I mean they’re $9.00. I’m all about anything in the single digits.
Durability: A
I’ve only had them on for a few days, but so far so good. Those days have included light moving, working, bathing, and exercise and they look brand new. I don’t forsee wear and tear becoming a problem. Once they’re on, they’re sturdy.
Selection: C
Compared to the two other brands, Incoco is pretty limited. I say that, but they have 160 designs and that doesn’t include the tips or the “nail colors”. Maybe the designs I liked are limited. Matter of fact, I don’t love any of them. It took ages to decide what to get and I’m still not crazy happy with my choice.

So, if you’re asking my humble opinion on which nail wraps are the best, I’d have to go with Sally Hansen’s Salon Effects.
A couple more dollars than Incoco, but much less prone to tearing. Nice and thin, easy to apply and reposition, and plenty of design options that you can just run to the store and pick up with no waiting and no shipping charges.

What are your thoughts on nail wraps? Is there another brand that I should try? What has worked the best for you?


11 thoughts on “Battle of the Nail Wraps

  1. Great write up on variety of wraps out in the marketplace, Rachael. Of course I wish Jamberry would have scored higher in the end, but truly love the brutal honesty on the colors and durability. I joined the Jamberry bandwagon in May and there is a bit of a learning process in the application portion. Totally love the hundreds of design options for sure!

  2. Hmm, Incoco *does* offer french tips and nail colors at – I think their selection is way bigger than SH, but smaller than Jamberry.

  3. I have used SH a lot. That was my go to before I heard of the other two brands. I have not used jamberry and don’t think I will from your description. However, I disagree with your opinion of Incoco. I like Incoco much better. I have had much more difficulty with SH.
    Incoco strips are easier to apply than SH strips. The ease of SH strips depends on the design. All of the plain color strips are harder to apply. The design strips are easier not sure why.

    1. Thanks for the tip, Ms. A! Sounds like I need to give Incoco another chance. I’ll try a pattern this time and see if I get better results with those.

    2. Incoco is way better I agree. I have only tried design strips so I think I should stick with them so I don’t have to experience putting on the harder ones. Plus I always got compliments on my Halloween ones!

  4. I have only tried two of the brands, but I have to say that so far I LOVE incoco and am in like with Jamberry. I will have to invest in some SH to round out the bunch. I found incoco in Walgreens for $5 but I have since ordered some from their site for $8.99. I think Jamberry has a bigger selection, but the process of applying and removal is so annoying. On another note, I do love Jamberry’s lacquers…a LOT!! They’re addicting!!

  5. No I do not agree. Incoco are way better. I’ve have Sally Hansen on now and they look horrible. On the other hand I had Incoco on from Halloween night until after Thanksgiving and they were JUST beginning to look unacceptable lol! Incoco felt way smoother and were way more shiny. I had to put a layer of clear on top of Sally Hansen to make them look less dull. I get Sally Hansen at Walmart and Incoco at a Walgreens. I think they just had a Halloween special at Walgreens for the Incoco because I have not seen them there since, wish they will come back soon so I don’t have to pay for shipping. I love the idea of nail wraps because I don’t have to worry about messing them up or waiting for them to dry!

  6. Agreed I actually don’t like sh. They don’t last long and I totally disagree with variety. Incoco has about 100 or more at this point. Pretty easy to apply. Also an extra addition is that the sh product expires quickly if you don’t use… I bought one and it did not apply at all after sitting a few months in my office. Incoco lasted a year… Incoco are feel thinner.
    Also I like the style of Essie’s , however they feel the thickest. Also Incoco stretches better as well.
    I would like to try jamberry but I don’t like an extra special application. It bears the whole concept of not using lacquer. They do have a ton of variety. I also don’t like the guilt of helping out fellow fb friend sellers…
    Ncla also is great, lasts the longest and is enough for two sets, however they are expensive.. And sometimes too avant garde for me.. Sometimes they have basic ones ..does anyone know any higher end ones? I have seen minx but too designy for me.. Maybe I’ll try if they have a basic one but I haven’t seen much.. There was a uk brand however they don’t sell to consumers before…rebel nails. Scratch it looks promising too.

  7. Hi! I know this was two years ago, but I wanted to give you a bit of feedback anyway.

    I can completely understand why Jamberry frustrated you. If my first experience had bombed, I probably wouldn’t have signed up, either. Even though the package only gives one way to apply them, there are multiple methods. As you noticed, the heat activated adhesive makes it kind of hard to reposition. However, if you put them on *COLD*, reposition them until you’re happy and THEN heat them, the results are much more consistent. They stay on for a really long time, too. Most of the time, I end up changing my jams because I’m bored, rather than because they’re looking worn. We’re supposed to say “up to two weeks” on the hands, but I almost always get longer than that.

    Anyway, if you still have any, I’d strongly recommend trying them again. If you don’t and you want to, I’d be happy to send you more to sample. And if you’re not interested, that’s cool too 🙂 I’m not into the hard sell.

    Have a super day!

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