Nails have become more popular than ever in the last 3 years. During the time in this pandemic where mask mandates ran rampant, a lot of people expressed themselves through nail art and bold polish colors. Even people who previously didn’t subscribe to nail polish found themselves buying at-home kits and gender-fluid polish colors to express their emotions or escape their current realities. As a result, loads of trends popped up. The latest iteration: BIAB (builder in a bottle) — the new and improved gel manicure.
Traditionally, gel polish comes in a pot, but with the BIAB trend, it is being sold in a bottle for easier application. Unlike regular gel manicures, a gooey gel is placed on the nail under polish to give the nail more structure. The procedure helps gel cling to the nail better. The bottle applicator is like regular nail polish in that you would apply it on your natural nail and add a stronger gel over it for extra hold. And for removal, instead of soaking nails in foil like regular gel, you file it off. The clear starter gel polish is the layer that protects the nail in removal.
A lot of people don’t get gel (myself included) because of the horror stories that come along with it, like nail damage and weak nails. So, is BIAB finally a safe and healthy alternative to gel? In short, yes.
Since BIAB gives the nails a base layer for the gel polish, it is miles better than traditional gel manicures. The starter gel layer (think: base coat) protects the nail from the harsher gel polish, preventing the nails from becoming brittle or weak. The builder in a bottle manicure can also help bring broken or short nail to their full potential.
The pricing for builder in a bottle nails is also cheaper than classic gel, depending on salon of course, but they typically start at $35 and can go for up to $65. The duration of the manicure, however, is the same, lasting anywhere from 2-4 weeks.
So although the methods sound similar, BIAB nails are a lot healthier for your nails in the long run than traditional gel. This is because of the starter base level gel polish. Of course, the final choice is yours.
Photo via The Gel Bottle