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What is BIAB Nails?: A Complete Guide to Builder in a Bottle

what is biab nails

‘What is BIAB nails?’ BIAB nails, or "Builder in a Bottle," are revolutionising the nail care industry. Unlike traditional acrylics or basic gel polishes, BIAB is a professional-only, soak-off soft gel that's designed to be used as an overlay on the natural nail. This innovative product provides the same strength and durability as acrylics but without the associated damage, making it a popular choice for those looking to maintain healthy, strong nails.

The formulation of BIAB is thicker than regular gel polish, whereby BIAB nails create a protective shell over the natural nail. This protection encourages natural nail growth, enhancing overall nail health. The Gel Bottle Inc. is credited with popularising this product, which has quickly become a favourite in salons due to its effectiveness and convenience. Although they coined the term BIAB, the concept has been around for years, and it is known as overlay gel or hard gel.

By opting for a BIAB manicure, individuals can achieve the desired look and strength similar to other artificial nail enhancements but with the added benefit of gentler application and removal processes. This new method cures hard under an LED light, ensuring a long-lasting manicure that holds up well to everyday wear and tear.

Overview of BIAB Nails

BIAB stands for Builder in a Bottle. It is a professional-only soak-off soft-gel product designed specifically for use as an overlay on the natural nail.

  • Ingredients and Formula: BIAB polish is a soft-gel formula that is thicker than regular nail polish and gentler than acrylics. This makes it a popular choice for those seeking a balance between durability and nail health.
  • Application Process: BIAB nails are applied in a manner similar to other gel products. The process involves curing under an LED light, which ensures a hard and durable finish. This hardening process helps protect the natural nail and allows it to grow without damage.
  • Popularity and Trend: BIAB nails have become a must-have in the beauty industry, particularly in 2024. They offer a luxe finish with added shine and staying power, making them a fashionable and practical choice.


  • Extra Strength and Protection: BIAB nails provide a strong, protective shell over natural nails.
  • Nail Growth: Encourages natural nail growth due to the hard protective layer. Just look at Bella Hadid and her long, healthy nails!
  • Healthier Alternative: Generally considered healthier compared to traditional acrylic or gel manicures.

Comparison with Other Products:



Regular Gel Polish


Normal Builder Gel





Very Thick






Nail Growth









File-off or Soak-off

Benefits of BIAB Nails

what is biab nail polish

Expanding on the benefits, BIAB nails offer a range of advantages that make them a popular choice for many. They provide exceptional strength and durability, offer versatility in application, and minimise damage to natural nails.

Gel Polish Strength and Durability

BIAB nails are known for their remarkable strength and durability, thanks to their shellac content. Unlike regular gel polish, BIAB has a thicker consistency, which provides enhanced support to the nails.

This strength makes them ideal for those who have weak or brittle nails and require extra reinforcement.

Daily activities such as typing, household chores, and even physical exercise can pose a challenge to natural nails, but BIAB nails can withstand these stresses effectively.

The long-lasting nature of BIAB means fewer touch-ups and more time enjoying beautiful nails.


One of the standout features of BIAB nails is their versatility. They can be used as a standalone overlay, providing a natural look, or as a base for another gel colour (like classic red).

This flexibility allows for varied styling options, from subtle and natural to bold and vibrant.

With a range of pigments available, users can match BIAB nails to their personal style or occasion. The ability to be used with different top coats adds another layer of customisation, giving users creative freedom. Check out our wide range of BIAB pigments on our BIAB category page.

Minimal Damage to the Natural Nail

BIAB nails offer a gentler alternative to traditional nail enhancements like acrylics or SNS. They adhere well to the natural nail without causing significant damage, preserving the health of one nail plate or more.

Their removal process is less aggressive, reducing the risk of weakening or thinning the nails. Regular use of BIAB can actually contribute to the natural growth and strength of the nails, due to their nurturing composition.

This makes BIAB a suitable option for those looking to maintain nail health while still enjoying the benefits of enhanced nails.

The BIAB Application Process

biab nails what is it

The BIAB (Builder In A Bottle) application involves a series of meticulous steps to ensure strong, long-lasting nails. This includes preparing the nails, applying the BIAB product, curing it under a UV lamp or LED light, and finishing with a top coat.

Nail Preparation for Gel Nails

Proper preparation of the nails is crucial for optimal adhesion of the BIAB product.

  1. Clean the Nails: Start by removing any old nail polish or residue using a non-acetone remover.
  2. Shape and Buff: Using the free edge of a nail file, shape the nails to the desired length and style. Gently buff the surface to remove any shine.
  3. Cuticle Work: Push back the cuticles using a cuticle pusher and trim any excess. This helps in preventing lifting.
  4. Dehydrate and Prime: Apply a nail dehydrator to remove oils, followed by a primer to enhance adhesion and ensure less trauma to the nail.

Application of BIAB

Once the nails are prepared, the BIAB is ready to be applied.

  1. First Coat: Apply a thin layer of BIAB to the natural nail, similar to how you would apply regular nail polish.
  2. Building Structure: For added strength, use a brush to build a thicker layer, focusing on the apex (stress area) to give the nail proper structure.
  3. Smooth Out Changes: Ensure each layer is smooth and even, avoiding contact with skin to prevent lifting.

Tip: Work quickly but carefully as BIAB starts to dry upon application.

Curing Under UV/LED Light

Curing is an essential part of the BIAB process to harden and secure the builder gel.

  • UV/LED Light: Place the nails under a UV or LED light for the manufacturer-recommended curing time, typically between 30-60 seconds for each layer.
  • Check Consistency: After curing each layer, make sure the gel is fully hardened before applying another coat.

Safety Note: Be mindful of the exposure time under UV light to protect skin health.

Finishing Touches

The final step involves sealing and perfecting the BIAB application.

  1. Top Coat Application: Apply a high-shine gel top coat to seal the BIAB and provide a glossy finish.
  2. Final Cure: Cure the top coat under the UV/LED light for the recommended time.
  3. Cleanse and Nourish: Wipe nails with an alcohol solution to remove any tacky residue. Finish by applying cuticle oil to keep the nails and cuticles hydrated.

Result: The nails will have a durable, beautiful finish that can last several weeks with proper care.

Types of BIAB Products

There are various types of BIAB (Builder in a Bottle) products, each catering to specific nail needs and preferences. BIAB is a soft-gel overlay that offers strength and protection to the natural nail while encouraging growth. Understanding the different types can help you select the best product for the desired results.

  • Traditional BIAB Gel: This type of BIAB is applied similarly to regular gel polish but provides a thicker, more durable layer. It is typically used for creating a protective barrier over the natural nails, adding strength while still maintaining flexibility.
  • Coloured BIAB Gel: These gels come in a variety of colours, eliminating the need for additional polish on top of the BIAB layer. They provide the same benefits of strength and durability, with the added convenience of built-in colour.
  • BIAB with Nail Forms: Ideal for creating sculpted nails or adding length, this type of BIAB product is used in conjunction with nail forms. It allows for building and shaping extensions, offering a customisable length and shape without the use of acrylics. Take a look at our wide range of nail forms that make shaping your nails quick and easy.
  • BIAB Infills: BIAB infills are specifically formulated to maintain BIAB nails, allowing for the filling of grown-out areas. This ensures continuous nail protection and strength without needing a full removal and reapplication of the product.



Traditional BIAB Gel

Applied like regular gel, thicker and more durable

Coloured BIAB Gel

Offers built-in colour with added strength and durability

BIAB with Nail Forms

Used for sculpting extensions, customisable length and shape

BIAB Infills

Maintains grown-out areas without full reapplication

Each type serves a particular purpose, ensuring that there's a suitable option for various nail conditions and aesthetic preferences.

Aftercare for BIAB Nails

Proper aftercare ensures that BIAB nails maintain their strength and appearance. It involves regular maintenance and correct removal to avoid damaging the natural nails.

Maintenance Tips

Regular moisturising of the cuticles and nails is essential to keep BIAB nails healthy. Cuticle oil should be applied daily to prevent dryness and cracking.

Avoid using nails as tools to open cans or scratch surfaces, as this can cause chipping or lifting. Additionally, wearing gloves during household chores, especially those involving chemicals or water, is advised to protect the nails.

BIAB nails should be routinely checked and possibly filled every 2-3 weeks to maintain their strength and appearance. Visiting a professional for these touch-ups ensures proper care and longevity.

Removal Process

Proper removal of BIAB nails requires patience and careful technique to avoid damage to the natural nail underneath. Start by gently filing the top layer to break the seal. Next, soak a cotton pad in acetone, place it on the nail, and wrap it with aluminium foil.

Leave it wrapped for about 15-20 minutes to allow the gel to soften. After soaking, gently push off the softened gel with an orangewood stick. It is crucial not to force or scrape the gel off, as this can damage the natural nail. If the gel does not come off easily, rewrap and soak again.

If uncertain or uncomfortable with the process, seeking professional help is recommended to ensure the natural nails remain healthy.

Comparing BIAB with Other Nail Enhancement Techniques

what is a biab nail

BIAB (Builder In A Bottle) offers a unique combination of strength and flexibility. It is gentler than acrylics but thicker than regular gel nail polish. This technique is also known for promoting nail growth while offering protection.

Acrylic Nails are known for their durability and ability to create various nail shapes. They are more robust than BIAB and can withstand more impact. However, they require more extensive removal processes and can sometimes damage the natural nail.

Gel Nails provide a shiny and natural look. They are less durable than both acrylics and BIAB but are easier to remove BIAB. Gel nails are suitable for those who prefer a more natural and less protective option.



Acrylic Nails

Gel Nails




Low to Moderate







Very long-lasting



Easier than Acrylics


Easier than both

Natural Look




Nail Growth


Does not promote


Each technique offers unique benefits. The choice depends on personal needs and the desired attributes, such as strength, flexibility, and ease of removal.

Common Myths About BIAB Nails

  • Myth 1: BIAB Is Just Regular Gel Polish BIAB, or Builder In A Bottle, is often mistaken for regular gel polish. When you wear BIAB, you'll feel that BIAB is thicker and offers more strength than traditional gel polishes.
  • Myth 2: BIAB Damages Natural Nails Some believe BIAB nails harm the natural nail, similar to acrylics. BIAB is designed to be gentler and helps to protect and strengthen natural nails.
  • Myth 3: BIAB Doesn't Last Long Another misconception is that BIAB nails aren't durable. When properly applied and maintained, BIAB nails can last several weeks, providing a long-lasting manicured look.
  • Myth 4: BIAB Can Only Be Used As an Overlay People often think BIAB is only for overlays. BIAB is versatile and can be used as a strengthening base, as well as a standalone colour with a shiny top coat.
  • Myth 5: BIAB Nails Are Less Glossy Than Other Gels The glossiness of BIAB nails can match or exceed that of other gel systems. BIAB nails can shine brilliantly, especially with a high-quality top coat.
  • Myth 6: Removing BIAB Is Difficult and Damaging Some fear that removing BIAB is challenging and harmful. With the correct removal techniques, BIAB can be safely taken off without causing major damage to the natural nail.

These myths often lead to confusion about BIAB nails. Being informed helps in making better choices for nail care.

Choosing the Right BIAB Products

Selecting the appropriate BIAB products ensures a long-lasting manicure and promotes healthier nail growth. Key aspects to consider include the product's formulation, ease of application, and compatibility with your existing nail products.

Factors to Consider

  • Formulation: The formulation of the BIAB product is crucial. Look for a soft-gel form that is gentle on the nails but still provides the necessary strength and protection. Products that are free from harsh chemicals can prevent nail damage and enhance overall nail health.
  • Curing Time: Consider the curing time required for the BIAB gel under a lamp. Gels that cure quickly under an LED light can save time and reduce the risk of over-curing, which can make the nails brittle.
  • Ease of Application: The ease of application is an important factor, especially for beginners. Products with a self-levelling formula can help achieve a smooth, professional finish with minimal effort. Additionally, a brush that is easy to handle can make the process more straightforward.
  • Durability: The durability of the BIAB product is essential for a long-lasting manicure. Products that provide a strong protective layer can reduce the frequency of touch-ups. Look for reviews and user feedback to gauge the product's performance in real-world conditions.

Recommended Brands

  • Gella BIAB: The Gella brand offers a range of BIAB gel-like nail polishes that are perfect for nail biters. Their products are formulated to be gentle on natural nails while still providing the strength and durability of a normal gel polish. Gella's BIABs are available in a wide variety of colours, so you can find the perfect BIAB shades to match your personal style.
  • Bandi: Bandi's Builder Gel offers a range of high-quality overlay gels perfect for creating strong, durable manicures. Their products feature a medium-viscosity clear builder gel that ensures excellent coverage and a smooth finish. Ideal for cuticle coverage and overlays, and even as a no-wipe top coat, Bandi's Builder Gel helps reduce the chances of chipping and lifting while providing a long-lasting, professional look.
  • Gelish: Gelish offers a comprehensive range of BIAB products that are perfect for achieving solid and long-lasting manicures. Their products are known for their easy application and superior adhesion, providing a durable and flexible finish that suits both beginners and professionals. Gelish's BIAB products come in various formulations to cater to different nail needs, ensuring a high-quality manicure every time.
  • The Gel Bottle Inc: Known for its high-quality formulas, The Gel Bottle Inc offers a range of BIAB products that are praised for their durability and ease of application. Their products are vegan and cruelty-free, making them a popular choice among eco-conscious consumers.
  • IBD Builder Gel: IBD's Builder Gel is another highly recommended option, known for its reliable performance and ease of use. It provides a robust protective layer, promoting nail strength and growth.

BIAB Nail Art and Design Ideas

This type of application also offers a versatile canvas for a multitude of nail art and design ideas.

  • Classic French Tips: A timeless choice, French tips look elegant with BIAB. The sturdy gel base ensures longevity, while the white tips add a refined touch.
  • Matte Finish: For a modern twist, a matte finish provides a sophisticated look. This style adds texture and depth, making it stand out.
  • Tropical Escape: Embrace vibrant colours and tropical designs featuring palm trees, exotic flowers, and bright hues. Perfect for a summery vibe.
  • Minimalist Lines: Simple lines and geometric shapes can add a chic and clean aesthetic. Thin black lines or gold accents on a nude base are subtle yet stylish.
  • Glitter Accents: Adding glitter to a few nails or the tips creates a glamorous effect. It's suitable for special occasions or when you just want some sparkle.



Classic French Tips

White tips on a BIAB base; elegant and sophisticated.

Matte Finish

A modern, textured look with a sleek matte topcoat.

Tropical Escape

Bright colours and tropical-themed designs.

Minimalist Lines

Simple, clean lines or geometric shapes for a chic appearance.

Glitter Accents

Sparkly effects with glitter on tips or entire nails.

Whether you prefer subtle elegance or bold designs, BIAB nails provide a durable and flexible base to explore diverse nail art possibilities.

Cost Considerations of BIAB Nails

what is biab for nails

BIAB nails require a different investment than traditional gel or acrylic nails.

Initial Application Costs

The initial application typically includes the cost of the BIAB overlay and a gel polish manicure. Prices vary by location and nail technician experience, ranging from approximately $60 to $130.

Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance involves infills and potential colour changes. BIAB infills can cost around AUD $60, which includes filling gaps and reapplying the gel.

Factors Influencing Cost

Several factors can influence the cost, such as location, the technician's expertise, and additional services such as nail art or extensions.


Estimated Cost

Initial Application

$60 - $130

Infills and Colour Redo

AUD $60

Economic Comparison

Comparing BIAB nails with other types of nail treatment like acrylics or standard gel polish, BIAB may have marginally higher upfront costs but offers nail health benefits, potentially reducing long-term damage and repair costs.

Understanding the costs helps in budgeting for regular upkeep and deciding the best option for nail care.

Professional Advice on BIAB Nails

BIAB Nails, or Builder In A Bottle, has gained popularity in professional nail salons due to its unique formula and application benefits. Nail technicians appreciate BIAB for its ability to provide a protective layer that enhances the natural nail's growth and strength.

Application Method

BIAB nails are applied directly to the natural nail. The technique involves using a specific soft-gel formula that is thicker than regular gels but gentler than acrylics. This ensures a robust finish without compromising the nail's health.


  • Strength and Protection: BIAB nails offer a durable, protective covering that helps prevent breakage and promotes healthy nail growth.
  • Gentle on Nails: Unlike acrylics, BIAB is less likely to cause damage to the natural nail.


BIAB nails typically exhibit a smooth, plump appearance similar to gels or Bio Sculpture nails. Colours are usually limited to clear or light shades, like pink, because darker pigments may have trouble curing properly under UV light.


Professional BIAB nails vary in price, generally ranging from $40 to $60 for a simple, one-colour manicure. Prices can fluctuate depending on the salon and the complexity of the nail design.


BIAB nails require regular maintenance, typically every 2-4 weeks, to ensure they remain in excellent condition. Refills and touch-ups help maintain the strength and appearance of the nails over time.

Professional Tips:

  • Ensure the nails are clean and free from oils before application for better adhesion.
  • Use an LED lamp to cure the nails properly, especially with lighter shades.
  • Regularly condition the cuticles to maintain nail health.

By following these professional tips and shopping for the best BIAB nail products at Diamond Nail Supplies, achieving long-lasting, healthy nails with BIAB is more efficient and rewarding.

Wrapping Up: What is BIAB Nails?

Now that you're accustomed to BIAB nails, let's wrap up the main points!

What is BIAB nails? BIAB nails are a revolutionary product in the nail care industry. They provide the strength and durability of acrylics without the associated damage. BIAB is a versatile product that can be used as an overlay or a base for other colours.

It is a healthier alternative to traditional nail enhancements and promotes natural nail growth whilst being healthier for your nail bed. The application process is similar to other gel products, but the thicker formula requires curing under an LED light.

With proper care, BIAB nails can last for several weeks and offer a range of nail art and design possibilities. While the initial cost may be higher than other nail treatments, the long-term benefits outweigh the expenses.