Join Date: Jun 2012
Really need some IBD Builder Gel advice - 23-06-12, 07:58 PM
I'm not a pro nail tech so please forgive any ignorant questions. I have to DIY because I'm a musician and put my nails through hell in the course of playing. Repairs need to be done quickly to prevent further damage so using the services of a pro tech isn't really practical for me. I've done my best to research the best product for my situation but am having a few problems with it, and I'm hoping one of you folks might have a suggestion or two for things I might try.
I started investigating NNO's because standard polishes and top coats weren't doing a thing to help with splits, cracks and peeling. I was temped to try acrylic but heard too many bad things about them from other musicians, nail bed damage etc.. After a lot of deliberation and discussion I decided to try the IBD Builder line. For the past month I've just been keeping it simple with Clear Builder Gel because my nails were so short anyway. I've spoken to people who tried both the soak off and the regular UV Clear Gel and neither seem to be strong enough to hold up for this application.
I quickly discovered that I had to apply it very thick at the stress point because with the slightest flex the gel would crack. That proved frustrating because if I didn't file the crack all the way down to the nail plate, the crack would show through and actually look worse when I re-gelled it, as if the clear topcoat was acting like a magnifying glass.
So my latest attempt at this has been something like this.
1. Followed standard prep steps, pushed back cuticle and made sure that all of the film was removed. Very lightly sanded to remove just the nail shine. Cleaned with alcohol using lint free wipes.
2. Applied thin coat of IBD Bonder and wiped well using a clean wipe
3. Cured that under 45 watt UV for 1 min
4. Applied a coat of Builder Clear and cured for 1 min
5. Applied many (about 4-5 thin coats) only to the front half of my nails capping the free edge each time, curing in between for 1 min.
6. Applied a final coat of Builder Clear to the whole nails, cured 1 min.
7. Removed excess with IBD Cleanser
8. Final coat of IBD Intense seal, cured for 2 min.
I'm very careful about cleanliness and keeping the gel off my skin and cuticle. Fortunately that's not hard to accomplish since it's so viscous. It goes exactly where you want it and doesn't migrate. It's been fantastic both for daily wear and for playing music. I've actually succeeding in growing my natural nails over 1/8" past my fingertips for the first time in years.
However, after about 4-5 days I start getting lifting around the cuticle which gradually moves inward over the next few days until it's quite bad. I haven't had the same problem at the tips fortunately so long as I don't file off the gel cap. Tip cracking has been greatly cut down by applying so many coats, although eventually it will happen and needs to be repaired. Generally the natural nail doesn't also crack unless I fail to notice the problem fast enough.
But once it lifts there doesn't seem to be any solution to resolve it other than filing the whole overlay down and starting from scratch. I'm exceptionally careful with this and use a 180 grit IBD hand file to remove everything that has lifted, and to bring everything else close to that level so there aren't any sharp lines. I always stop filing the second natural nail is exposed. The last thing I need is to burn my nail plate off. Typically once the gel gets thin enough during filing it starts to lift off the nail of its own accord though even if I don't want it to just from the flexing of the nail plate.
To my shock and surprise though, once the nails plates are exposed they're unbelievably thin, like typing paper. They've always been thin but I've never seen anything like this. It's almost like the gel bonded to the top layer of my nail and ripped it away with it or something. They're red in some spots and very sensitive to touch. If I re-gel them again using very very thin coats so it doesn't heat up, I'm able to build them back up again and the discomfort fades by the next day.
How abnormal is this? I've heard many people talk about gel leaving natural nails very thin but I've also heard people call this an allergic reaction, so I'm really unsure whether I can safely continue using this product.
If I am going to continue using it though , I think I have to solve the lifting problem so I no longer have to file them all way down to expose the nail plate and can just do fills as it grows in.
One last question, if it's okay. If I can figure out how to make this work long term, I'd also like it to look nice, and clear builder gel doesn't look very appealing once the tips start to grow out. I also have the pink builder gel and the xtreme white french gel. What would be the best sequence to apply those products given the required thickness I need for tip strength?
I was thinking something like pink for whole nail, then pink for most of the building steps, then a coat or two of white on the tip, and then clear builder gel over the whole thing. Would that make sense?
So sorry for the wall of text. I thank you sincerely if you've made it all this way