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BIAB vs. HEMA Free Builder Gel: Which is Better for Sensitive Skin?

BIAB vs. HEMA Free Builder Gel: Which is Better for Sensitive Skin?

In the world of professional nails, innovation is key, and nail technicians are always on the hunt for the latest products. When it comes to colours and trends, new-ness is key and, as the demand for healthier and safer alternatives grows, HEMA-free builder gel has become a go-to product in a nail technician's arsenal. But what’s the difference between Builder Gel In A Bottle (BIAB) and HEMA Free Builder Gel? Both have their unique benefits, but when it comes to sensitive skin, which one truly reigns supreme?

The Lowdown on BIAB


Builder in a Bottle, or BIAB, has taken the nail industry by storm. Known for its versatility and strength, BIAB is a soak-off builder gel that combines the ease of application of a gel polish with the durability of a builder gel. It's designed to create strong overlays and enhance the natural nail, promoting growth while offering a robust, chip-resistant finish.

One of the standout features of BIAB is its self-levelling properties, making it a favourite among nail technicians for its smooth application and professional finish. It's ideal for clients looking for a long-lasting manicure without the bulk of traditional extensions.

HEMA-Free Builder Gel: The New Sensitive Skin Saviour

On the other hand, HEMA-free builder gels have been developed in response to growing concerns about allergic reactions to HEMA (Hydroxyethyl Methacrylate), a common ingredient in many gel products. Gllitterbels was an early mover in HEMA-free products, with our (HEMA-free) Builder Gel, launching last summer. Why did we invest in this area? HEMA can, in certain cases, irritate or (in some rarer cases) allergic reactions.  In some cases, nail technicians themselves have experienced some adverse reactions after prolonged exposure to HEMA in BIAB or other treatments. 

HEMA-free builder gels offer a gentler alternative, designed to minimise the risk of allergic reactions while still providing the strength and durability expected from a high-quality builder gel. These gels cater specifically to those with sensitive skin, ensuring that beauty doesn't come at the cost of comfort.

BIAB vs. HEMA-Free: The Battle for the Best

 When comparing BIAB to HEMA-free builder gels, the choice isn't straightforward, as both have their merits. However, for clients with sensitive skin, HEMA-free builder gels might edge out BIAB. While both our black bottle (containing HEMA) and our HEMA-free pink bottle builder gels offer exceptional quality, there are distinct differences worth noting. The HEMA-free pink bottle gel boasts a thicker viscosity, allowing for longer extensions and the ability to be sculpted, providing greater versatility for intricate designs. In contrast, our black bottle range, containing HEMA, is best suited for shorter tips and lacks the sculpting capability, making it ideal for simpler applications.


Application and Performance

BIAB is renowned for its easy application and strong, long-lasting results. Its self-levelling nature ensures a flawless finish with minimal effort, making it a go-to for many nail technicians. However, HEMA-free builder gels are catching up quickly. While they might require a bit more finesse during application, the peace of mind they offer to clients with sensitive skin is invaluable.

Allergy Concerns

For those with sensitive skin or a history of allergies, HEMA-free builder gels are the safer choice. Eliminating HEMA from the formulation reduces the risk of allergic reactions, ensuring a comfortable and irritation-free experience. While BIAB is generally well-tolerated, it still contains HEMA, which could be a potential trigger for those with sensitivities.

Durability and Finish

Both BIAB and HEMA-free builder gels deliver on durability and aesthetics. BIAB provides a robust, chip-resistant finish that can rival traditional acrylics. HEMA-free builder gels, offer an equally impressive strength and longevity, making them a viable alternative for sensitive clients who still want all the benefits of a BIAB manicure. 

Tailoring Your Choice

Ultimately, the choice between BIAB and HEMA-free builder gel depends on your client's specific needs and sensitivities. For those with a history of allergies or particularly sensitive skin, HEMA-free builder gels offer a gentler, safer option without compromising performance. However, for clients without such concerns, BIAB remains an excellent choice, celebrated for its ease of use and lasting results.

As a nail technician, staying informed and adaptable ensures you can offer the best possible service tailored to each client's unique needs. Whether opting for BIAB or HEMA-free builder gels, the goal remains the same: to provide stunning, durable nails that keep your clients coming back for more.