I Swapped My Gel Nails for BIAB Manicures, and Now I'll Never Go Back

I'm not ashamed to admit that I used to be obsessed with gel nails. There was something so satisfying about the high-shine finish, and I loved the fact that I didn't have to get them redone every single week. However, a few months ago, I decided to give my nails a break, and I realised just how weak and damaged they had become. They were constantly breaking and peeling, and I knew that I had to give up the gel manis for good.

One day, I was telling my friend all about my nail saga, and she recommend something called BIAB. According to her, since having BIAB manicures, her nails had grown a lot more and felt a lot better compared to when having gels, so I decided to give it a go. After trying it out myself, I can totally see the hype, but I've been keen to learn more about the trending manicure and how it can actually help your nails.

Therefore, I reached out to Tinu Bello, A-list manicurist and senior brand ambassador for Mylee, to find out everything there is to know about BIAB nails. Interested? Just keep on scrolling.

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(Image credit: @harrietwestmoreland)

What Are BIAB Nails?

First things first, what actually are BIAB nails? As Bello explained, "BIAB nails (also known as builder gel in a bottle) are created using a specific builder soft-gel formula that is gentler than acrylics but thicker than normal gel polishes. Instead of just looking nice, these nails often offer added benefits, including extra strength and protection, which in turn can allow your nails to grow longer." Sounds good, right?

Is BIAB Good for Your Nails?

Although BIAB nails can offer a lot of benefits, I was intrigued to know whether they are actually good for your nails. "BIAB can be great for your nails when used correctly, especially if you're prone to nail biting or regular nail breakage," says Bello. "However, it's important to practice proper removal of your polish (a soak-off product is best for BIAB nails), as peeling it off can cause serious damage."

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(Image credit: @imarninails)

You can opt for lots of different designs with BIAB nails. This pretty manicure features a BIAB base with nail art on top.

How Long Does BIAB Last?

Bello says that BIAB nails can typically last anywhere from two to four weeks, but that it's entirely dependent on your lifestyle and work. "However, you can do an infill if you want to continue using the product and maintaining the strength and length of the natural nail."

What's the Difference Between BIAB and Gel Nails?

Before getting BIAB, I was keen to know how it would differ from my usual gel manicure. "BIAB often has a slightly thicker consistency than gel nails, but the visual results are no different," explains Bello. "You will still have a smooth, shiny mani when you leave the salon."

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(Image credit: @imarninails)

Can You Do BIAB Nails at Home?

One thing that I used to love about gel nails was that I could purchase my own kit and do my manicure at home to save a bit of money. The great news about BIAB nails is that you can also do them at home, so there's no need to have to keep going back to the salon if you don't want to. Bello recommends the Mylee Full Works Complete Kit, along with your chosen Mylee Builder Gel colours and some time and patience for practice!

So there you have it—everything you need to know about BIAB nails. I always suggest taking a break between manicures to let your nails have a breather and keep them as healthy as possible, but I highly recommend giving BIAB nails a go if you suffer with weak nails like me but still want that salon-worthy mani now and again.

Shop At-Home BIAB Nail Products

Grace Lindsay
Junior Beauty Editor

Grace Lindsay is the junior beauty editor at Who What Wear UK. At the age of 18 she decided to train as a makeup artist before going on to study english and media at Goldsmiths University. It was during that time that she explored her love for journalism by interning at a small beauty start-up based in Shoreditch. Since then, she has worked at a number of publications including Marie Claire and Hello!, where her love for all things beauty continued to grow.

As Who What Wear UK's junior beauty editor, she covers everything from the latest hair trends to the stand-out makeup products of the season.