Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Product Review: Jamberry Nail Wraps

There's a bit of a funny story that goes with this post. I was contacted by Erin from Jamberry Nails* a few months ago, asking if I'd like to try out their product. I was obviously interested, as my nails are naturally really gross and I'll try anything that will make them look pretty. The aim was to have this post all done by the start of October, just in time for the official release of Jamberry in Australia.

That didn't exactly happen.

There's obviously a problem with my PO box, because Erin's package was sent back to her after about three weeks of being in limbo. I'm not impressed, as renting out a PO box isn't exactly cheap and this issue did not turn out to be a one-off. Several people have tried to mail me things to the PO box address, only to have it returned.

So yeah, really unimpressed.

But, the silver lining is that I did eventually get my little package from Erin, and that's what today's post is all about!

Jamberry is a company that is best known for its nail wraps. They have nail polish and the like, but it's the nail wraps that are seriously worth getting excited about. These wraps come in a variety of styles and finishes -- from glossy to satin, animal prints to chic monochromatic patterns, they've got a huge range. The website is pre-set to show the bestselling products, but you can easily narrow down your preferences to browse whatever suits your tastes best.

I was sent a full sheet of nail wraps, a couple of samples, a wooden cuticle stick, a purple cuticle stick, a nail prep wipe and a nail file. I didn't know which patterns I was getting sent, I didn't pick them at all -- but, as it turns out, Erin has some great taste!

I received a full sheet of nail wraps in the pattern called Carmen Ombre, a super neat pattern of white flowers and leaves over a pink/peach ombre -- perfect for summer or what? The sample nail wraps appear to be randomised, as other posts that I've seen showcase different patterns.

Top to Bottom: Rosy Quatrefoil | Caribbean Snakeskin | Faded Bouquet | Prep School | Island Energy
Top to Bottom: Smitten | (unknown - similar) | White Stripe | (unknown - nothing similar) | Black and White Tiger

Now, I've used nail wraps before -- one or two drugstore brands used to have them, and once they were discontinued and marked down, I bought them and tried them out to see what they were like. They were super easy to apply, but overall, I just didn't like them.

The Jamberry nail wraps are different. They're more cumbersome to apply, especially if you don't have their mini heater, but it's still rather straightforward and the results they promise are much, much better.

The recommended process for best application is to remove any product and then wash your hands in warm, soapy water. After your hands are completely dry, you wipe them with one of their alcohol wipes to remove any residual traces. What I noticed about these wipes is that they don't have a strong alcohol scent -- it's there, but it's faint -- it smells more of something else that I can't quite put my finger on... Vanilla bean, I think.

From there, you buff and file your nails, push your cuticles with the wooden cuticle stick, then lift the nail wrap from the sheet. The instructions say to select a nail wrap that is slightly smaller than your actual nail, as having it touching the skin or cuticle can affect its wear time. I used the point end of the wooden cuticle stick to life the wrap, as Jamberry discourages using your hands, lest the natural oils in our fingers interfere with the adhesive.

Then, using either their own mini heater or your own hairdryer, you need to heat the wrap for 3 to 5 seconds. I barely know how to use a hairdryer, and I hardly know if it's as hot as the heater gets, so I held it for a second or two longer; other online reviews have said that using the heater is much, much quieter. The next step is to apply the wrap to the nail, smooth it down with the purple cuticle, heat it again for another 3 to 5 seconds, then trim it and file the edges off.

So yes, more time-consuming than your average nail wraps to prepare, but it probably took me about the same time as if I'd painted my nails -- maybe less. I found it slightly tricky at times to apply, and I was never quite successful at getting a completely smooth application. It will take something of a learning curve, however, you can't really tell unless you're looking at them up close.

Before: Ugly hands
One of my favourite things about the nail wraps is that they're on a sheet of clear plastic, which makes sizing them really easy. The size range on the sheet is also quite wide, so you should be able to find the right wrap size no matter how big or small your hands are -- or, y'know, you could put them on your toes if you were so inclined!

After: Ugly hands with pretty nails!
Cost Outline:
  • Full sheet of wraps: $22
  • Postage: $9.95 (appears to be a flat rate)
  • Mini heater: $27
  • Application kit (includes wipes, cuticle sticks, etc.): $18, or $29 with a bottle of Cuticle Oil included
One thing that I do find slightly disappointing is that it appears that you can't buy the alcohol wipes on their own, say in a pack of 5 or 10. One sheet of nail wraps will give me two manicures easily -- perhaps a pedicure as well -- so if I were to purchase several sheets as well as an application kit, the two wipes that are included wouldn't cut it. Perhaps you could just use a varnish remover instead, but as I haven't done so myself, I can't vouch that application will be as good.

Wearing Carmen Ombre with Faded Bouquet as an accent.
Other than that, so far I have been quite impressed with these nail wraps from Jamberry! I'm quite rough with my hands, so nail polish always chips or peels on me within 24 hours -- it's a nice change to have such pretty nails that still look pretty day after day! I think I would need to keep using them in order to master application, but that's not something I would mind doing, given the time.

Padawan Product Rating: A

Overall, if you want something that can combine a manicure with a heightened sense of pampering and 'me-time', these will be for you. If you want something a little quicker, if you don't want to fork out for the mini heater, or if you really can't be bothered breaking out a hair dryer, you might want to have a think about whether this product is for you.

And if you're interested in some of my personal picks, have a peek at these:
Boutique | Bumble | Caribbean Snakeskin | Chantilly | Destiny | Double Trouble | Mermaid Tales | Monster Mash | Santa Fe | Sheet Music

Have you tried Jamberry nail wraps before? Do you have a favourite pattern?

This product was sent to me free of charge for my honest consideration. It's been reviewed in accordance with my Disclaimer Policy, because life's short and I have better things to do with my time than make stuff up.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Bellabox | September 2015: Beauty Reboot

Being so busy in October meant that I didn't get much time to write about the products that I'd received in my September Bellabox, but hopefully this means I'll get two unboxing posts out this month. Let's not waste any time right now, though -- here's what I received in the September Bellabox!

Chapstick Night Repair Lip Treatment (not pictured) || This was the first thing that I started using from the box, and I have been using it fairly regularly. I don't use it exclusively at night, but whenever I feel that my lips are in danger of drying out or chapping (which has been a lot lately), and I like how well it works. To apply it, you squeeze a product out of a toothpaste-tube shaped tube and apply it directly to your lips; it isn't standard lip balm packaging. It's easy enough. I'm not a fan of the scent -- it has a kind of 'bad' scent, but it isn't noticeable on the lips so I can overlook it. You can buy these in a pack of two for $6.99 and I received one, putting the value at about $3.50.

Alluring Minerals Mineral Illuminiser || I am not 100% sure what this is. I don't know if it's a loose mineral highlighter, or an eye shadow or some other item that hasn't made its name known to my Padawan vocabulary yet -- I'm going to stick with highlighter. It looks kind of dark in the little container, so I don't know how well it look on my skintone; I might decide to use it in addition with my bronzer. Believe it or not, the little 4g pot you see is apparently a full-sized product! It retails for $30.

Organic Care Creamy Berry Enriching Body Wash || I started using this in the last week, and I love it! It's such a nice change from all of the other body washes that I have, which are more citrus or more floral. The pump bottle is quite handy, and different again from the others that I have. A 725ml bottle retails for $6.99, and I received a 250ml bottle worth about $2.41.

Jurlique Purely Age-Defying Firming Treatment Mask || I was a little... not skeptical about this mask, but more... I don't know. I haven't ever really been into these types of face masks. I've always thought that they look weird, but last week I decided to bite the bullet and give this one a go. Surprisingly, I quite enjoyed it, and I felt as though my skin texture was actually somewhat improved by it! A 5 pack of these masks retails for $69, so my individual one is worth about $13.80.

Pilaten Collagen Lip Mask || This is definitely not a product that I'm interested in. I'm not in need of any lip masks, what with my nice little collection of Chapstick products, and I'm not a fan of its kind of kitsch-y look. I'm going to pass it along to someone who will want to use it, otherwise it'll just sit in my drawer until I throw it out. These retail for $4.95 each.

Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula || Another sample from Palmer's! I'm not really into their products, but I do occasionally use them, so this is going to be tucked away into my little stash of samples. This little 5ml sachet is worth about 15c.

Price: $15 + $2.95 P&H
Bellabox Box Value: $54.81

Overall, I quite liked the contents in my box! I think this is the only box where I have actually started to use several things. Usually I just pack them away because I already have such similar products that I'm using, so it's nice to see a box that inspired me so much to use what's in it!

Interested in seeing what I've received in previous months? Have a clickity-clack down below:

Do you have any favourite products from this box?

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Life Through A Filter | September & October 2015

September was an Instagram-busy month for me, and October was busy for an entirely different reason: I was on placement! The last time I'd been placed, I still had some time to post, but this one was entirely different; I spent every ounce of free time working!

Thus, things were slow over the last month on the Instagram side, but I still managed to have a couple of adventures -- so let's get to them!

1. Me today.

You know those days where you wake up in a bad mood, and everything you look at just seems to make it worse? Yeah.

2. I'm decluttering my wardrobe and so torn about whether to throw this out! It was the first #handbag I ever had -- my mother bought one for a friend for her 11th birthday (@sarah_bluebird do you remember this? Were we 11?) and I loved it so much that I begged her to buy me one too. 12 years later and it's in impeccable condition. #declutter #girlfriendmagazine

I ended up keeping it!

3. And seriously, when I say decluttering, this is what I'm going through.

I couldn't really show how big the pile was in the photo -- it just wouldn't fit!

4. Goodbye! #itsbiggerthanitlooks #iswear

All of that clothing (plus the several pairs of shoes I tossed as well) filled up eight plastic bags! It all went to my cousins to sort through and keep or toss as they chose.

5. While there's still 15min left, my #wcw this week is @Jenna_Coleman_. I got a chance to meet her and chat to her last October. Poor woman must've been so tired and jetlagged and overwhelmed by zealous fans, but she was still really lovely to talk to and remembered my face when I saw her the day after. Also we're the same height, so that's cool. #shesalsofriendswithperditaweeks #perditaweeksismyultimatewcw #seriouslyidontshutupabouther #lookatthathermionethehair #refusestobetamed #jennacoleman

How can anyone not love her?

6. #fbf to when @jpantsfoshizzle was a stick figure and Jenson came home earlier than usual. #yr11japcomics #LOLZsorrymrjean

I used to draw a lot of little comics like this when I was in Year 11. I would flip through my Japanese dictionary, pick out a phrase and then substitute a couple of words to make it sound funny or weird!

7. #fbf to my days as an artist. I was inspired by the simplicity of stick figures and the way in which they could be manipulated to display complex emotions -- plus they were easy and I could quickly draw loads of them. Pretty sure I drew this in Year 12, either in RE (most likely), Chemistry or History. #sorrylouis #aintnobodygonnavetothis

I also drew a lot of little comic strips as well! I remember that there was a funny Facebook status going around at the time about a spider, and so I drew a comic strip based on it.

8. Found out that my mother bought my this notebook yesterday. It's so adorable, I love it. #stationeryfiend

I haven't yet found a use for this notebook. I want to make sure it's not wasted!

9. Sundays are about working all day, studying all night, and procrastinating by way of examining a miniature Big Ben. #postgradlife

It's amazing how much time you can waste by staring at tiny little blocks.

10. She's like a spider waiting for the kill.

The inspiration for this was that I was trying to recreate a look inspired by Cruella de Vil, but it didn't exactly work out in time! All of the red eye shadows that I have are too orange-y.

11. Aahhh, I love @mariablackjewellery!! I'm always window shopping on their website, their jewellery is so beautiful to look at. I bought two of their ear cuffs (Nena and Roxy) last year and I love them. I long for the day when I can add more to my collection.

I love this set of ear cuffs so much, but I don't wear them very often because I am super paranoid that I'll lose them. If you're into minimalist jewellery (or what I think is minimalist), then Maria Black is well worth checking out.

12. This gorgeous blue sky (without filter) courtesy of Melbourne.

September is usually a really crappy month where the weather is concerned, but we had an absolutely stellar day!

13. When playing around with makeup takes HOURS and this is the end result. #donefortheday

I decided to have a real play around with makeup, and I was obsessed with getting the look I wanted just right. Does it always take so long when experimenting?

14. I don't often compliment food, but this... this is good.

It's true, I'm a tough critic when it comes to food -- I'm no fancy cook, either, don't get me wrong -- but I don't say that a meal is good unless I think it's good. Pasta with chicken meatballs is a staple recipe in my brother's repertoire, and usually it's okay; he played around with the spices this particular time, and created something really, really good.

15. Podcasts have really taken off in the last 12 months, and today on the blog I have shared my favourites! Amongst them are these extra-special four: 1. Generation Why. True crime, mysteries and conspiracies. An all-time fave. 2. The Eleventh Hour. Doctor Who. Hilarious. The first one I ever listened to. 3. British History. They had me at British. 4. History Extra. Who doesn't love MORE history? The link is in my bio. Let me know which podcasts are YOUR favourite!

I am absolutely crazy for podcasts -- and you see all of my favourites here!

16. Just casually reading the odds about who's tipped the next #DoctorWho companion... Someone has tipped @kimkardashian at 500/1! I mean, it makes sense, right? She's taken over the world, naturally the universe is the next step. #strangerthingshavehappened

I find it hilarious that anyone tipped a Kardashian to be the Doctor's next companion -- but now I am absolutely convinced that a Kardashian reference is going to make its way into the next series.

17. Ahhhh, I can't wait until I can write the post that goes with this look! (I don't even look like me?) It's part of a series that I'm doing -- hopefully!

A series that, sadly, never came to fruition.

18. Somebody rearranged my perfume. I'd be ready to snap "DON'T TOUCH MY STUFF!" if it weren't so pretty.

It did look pretty nice.

19. So much highlighting to do. Where did my life go? #postgradlife

That was my life for the whole of September. Actually, it's been my life all year.

20. The last two weeks have been CRAZY!! I'm on placement, and I'm halfway through, but MAN it's taking up all my time! My poor feet feel like I've walked on a shredder, so I think a bath is in order tonight. The question is: which Lush product to use tonight?

Fast forward now into October, where it took over two weeks before I was able to post anything! This actually marked the start of a fantastic adventure, one that I know I shall never repeat.


I swear, I turned my back for five minutes and the bath water was covered in bubbles! The (arguably) unfortunate thing is that I take baths for my upper back and neck, so I need a lot of water -- and it was maybe three quarters where I needed it to be!


It wasn't even the flimsy airy bubbles that make up the bubble baths of childhood memories. It was like sinking into a sea of marshmallow foam.

23. It was raining this morning so I stole my mother's hat! Bye, Mum!

Usually I use a scarf to protect my hair, but I couldn't find it so I tuck it all into my mother's hat instead.

24. Um, excuse me, Lipton, we have beef. Wtf is this? Why is gross cucumber suddenly in tea form? AND WHERE IS MY DELICIOUS, DELICIOUS DAIQUIRI TEA?!

I mean, I know that it *said* 'limited edition' but it's been on the shelves for a couple of years at least! It was the most delicious tea! Cucumbers are not delicious. Cucumbers should not be in tea.

25. "See, I'm just trying to teach you the thing that really counts: how to be me." If you're looking for some last-minute inspiration for Halloween, I created a look inspired by Kristin Chenoweth as Maleficent in Disney's Descendants! It was time-consuming for me (#thosepadawanskillz) but simple in technique! #probablytoolastminuteforaustraliasorry

I worked so hard to try and get this look together, but wow, what a time-consumer for me! It needed so much layering, but I feel that doing more research and finding different products would help cut down the time.

And just like that, that's all that I've been up to over the last two months on Instagram! I'm looking forward to hopefully going to squeeze in a few extra blog posts, but it's going to be a mad month: I've just submitted one assignment, and I have another eight to do!

Rescue me, someone!