Product Tutorials

Sculpture Gel 101: Application, Removal, and Troubleshooting

Sculpture Gel: What is it?

Sculpture gel is a hybrid gel of acrylic and hard gel. You can use it with nail forms, overlay on natural nails, with Sculpture Gel Tips (dual form tips) or any regular tip system.

Want stronger, sturdier, sculpted nails?

It's as simple using the Dap Method to apply it. Go on, grab your magic wand (or in this case your sculpture gel brush) and start dapping. Afterward, you may cure your iGel Beauty Sculpture Gel on a regular setting since it is a hybrid unlike most sculpture gels that require a low heat setting. Isn't that great? Bippity-boppity-boo!


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How to Use It:

  1. Applying over Natural Nails

  2. Applying with Sculpture Gel Dual Form Tips

  3. Applying over Nail Tips (e.g. Pro Gel Tips or Universal Stiletto Tips)

Since sculpture gel will not self level, you need to sculpt it into place. Unlike the dip method, it does not use glue to secure the product in place.

Curing Time: LED (30 seconds), UV/LED (60-90 seconds), UV (2 minutes) depending on lamp wattage.

Step-by-Step Guide:

1. Preparation is your Foundation. Set your canvas.

Want salon gorgeous nails? It all starts with a great canvas: a clean slate. After your nails are free from residue and oils, your clean canvas is good to go. 

Recall: Preparation is an important step, as incorrect preparation may lead to bumps, cracks, lifting, and expansion. (If you are having trouble with any of these we suggest skimming Most Common Mistakes Beginners Make Using Acrylics)

You may skip to step four if you wish to keep your nails short and tip-less.

2. Different Modes of Application. Choosing your Guide. 

  • Natural Nails

    • Overlay. Strong and natural! This would enable nails as strong as Hercules! (Okay, maybe not as fictionally strong, but you get it.)

  • Sculpture Gel Nail Tips: specifically designed for Sculpture Gel.

    • What are dual forms, and why do they look like nail tips? It is a nail guide that the sculpture gel won't adhere to. Hence, we would be able to place the sculpture gel on the concave side of the form, and place it on our nails. It's sort of like sandwiching the dual form to the natural nail or making your own press-on nails with gel that hardens. 

    • Fitting the Sculpture Gel Tips to your nail bed

      • Make sure that the nail tip covers your entire nail bed. If the tip placed is too small, lifting may occur and cause fungal growth. 

      • Recommendation: Go one size up from the form size you feel best fits with your nail bed without product inside.

      • Be sure to use the right side as the top (the top is where there are two little side pieces to pull the dual tip off the nail. It can be confusing at a quick glance.

    • How to use the Sculpture Gel with the Dual Tips.

      • Use 90% Alcohol or Slip Solution. 

        Grab your Sculpture Gel Brush, and apply thin, even layers of 90% alcohol or Slip Solution at the surface of your nail.

        This would help give a 'slippier' base.

        Note: The higher the percentage (%) of alcohol, the quicker it is to evaporate. Hence, we recommend 90% alcohol. Anything less than 70% would not be as great to provide the 'slip' you need to maneuver the gel around.

      • Placing the Sculpture Gel onto the Sculpture Gel Nail Tip. Grab your Sculpture Gel Brush, and squeeze a small bead of Sculpture Gel onto the flat metal part of the brush. This is meant to avoid product contamination. Then, place the bead onto the concave side of the Sculpture Gel Nail Tip. Make sure to re-dip your brush into alcohol or slip solution again to maintain a slippery brush to sculpt the small bead into place.

        Note: Unlike the acrylic dip powder, this is not self-leveling and will only move when sculpted into place.

        Pro Tip! Since the nail tip is clear, you can flip the nail tip to check if the product is even. Make sure to check if the sides are too thin.

      • Placing the Form. When you are satisfied with the length, and thickness, press the form onto the natural nail bed.

      • Remove any excess sculpture gel that may come out of the cuticle line or on the sides. 

        Pro tip! Flash cure the sculpture gel while holding the dual form tip onto your nail to secure it into place for 5-10 seconds. Afterward, cure the both sides top and bottom (underside of nail).

  • Nail Forms

    • How to use the Nail Form

      • Form Placement. Place the nail form under the tip of your nails (the side opposite the cuticle) and make sure that the form is hugging your finger (toward the side of the cuticle). It would look like a cute little bonnet.

      • Cute Little Bead. Take the cute little spatula side of your Sculpture Gel Brush, and squeeze a tiny bead of sculpture gel onto it.

      • Use 90% Alcohol or Slip Solution. Dip your brush in 90% alcohol or slip solution for the 'slippery' smooth effect (without this, the brush may become gunky and unfavorable). Shaping and guiding the sculpture gel to a smooth, even shape is crucial for nail forms.

      • Wet, Pat, & Swipe. With your wet brush, pat the product down near the cuticle area. Make sure that the brush does not dry or the gel will start to stick to the brush. Keep adding alcohol or slip solution to your brush.

Once you've pushed it to your desired shape, you're good to move to the next step!

Pro Tip! Since Sculpture Gel is a gel, cover it from a UV lamp and keep it away from direct sunlight. This will ensure that your brush does not get damaged/dry/hard. Other than that, you can pat and swipe as long as you wish. ♡

The beauty of the Sculpture Gel is that you only need to apply one layer and sculpt accordingly. However, if you're doing layers too thick, you'll run into cracking and breaking. You may also opt to use two thin layers. The Sculpture Gel would require a sculpture gel brush to apply the gel to your nail.

3. Final Curing (Double Cure): Top and Bottom.

Fortunately, all iGel Beauty lamps are compatible for Sculpture Gel! All our lamps have a low heat setting, with an exception of the LED Mini Lamp which would still perform well with the sculpture gel. Cure underneath the nail as well.

Curing Time: LED (30 seconds), UV/LED (60-90 seconds), UV (2 minutes) depending on lamp wattage.

Pro Tip! Cure each finger one at a time to ensure proper curing time for each nail. Don't wait to finish all 5 fingers before you cure. This is crucial when using the sculpture gel dual form tips, as it won't stay in place if you move onto the next finger (it would most likely fall off).

4. Remove the Guide

Slowly remove the Sculpture Gel dual form or the Nail Form.

5. Shape: Light Buffing

Gently file your nail tips to the desired shape. Afterward, use your dust brush to clear it up before the next step.

If you had already reached your desired shape without buffing, you may skip this step and move onto the next.

6. Design (Optional)

You may choose to add your favorite gel polish to top it off or leave it be. We too love sculpture gel colors! 

7. Top it off with Top Coat!

If you've yet decided between our different topcoats, we've attached a summary below.

  • Original Gel Top Coat - This needs to be cured and then wiped with alcohol after its final curing.
  • No Cleanse Gel Top Coat -This needs to be cured, but no wiping (cleansing) is necessary.
  • iGel Matte Top Coat - This needs to be cured, and does not require cleansing. However, we do recommend using the No Cleanse Top Coat before the Matte.

Curing Time: LED (30 seconds), UV/LED (60-90 seconds), UV (2 minutes) depending on lamp wattage.

How to Remove Sculpture Gel: Soak the Sculpted. 

Whether you're ready for a new set of nails or would just like a breather, it is essential for the health of your nails that you remove these properly. No pulling!

1. Buff with Love.

Since Gel Top Coat is acetone resistant (the shiny layer), we highly recommend buffing/roughing the shiny layer before soaking it. Alternatively, you may also use a hand buffer or your e-file of choice to remove the bulk of your Sculpture Gel without reaching the natural nail. Be careful! Buff with love.

2. Soak and Submerge.

Afterward, you may proceed to soak your nails in 100% acetone for 10-20 minutes (depending on how thick the remaining Sculpture Gel is left). 

Pro Tip! Bowl-ception. You may place the acetone in a glass bowl and place another bowl of raw heated rice or hot water underneath. Yes, you read that right! If you are using rice, heat it without water for 1 minute. The hot rice will heat the acetone and speed up the process. 

3. Softly Scrape.

If it won't come off, please re-soak them for another 5 minutes. Be gentle with your nails. Do not force-scrape them off. Once they are soft enough, you may lightly scrape them off with a wood stick or cuticle pusher. 

Please keep in mind that you may leave little scrapes, cracks, or chips if this removal is harshly done.

4. Resilient? Repeat.

If tiny remnants of Sculpture Gel remain, gently buff off the residue with a hand buffer or sanding band.

Nervous? No worries! We warmly welcome you to the iGel Beauty Facebook community for more tips, tricks, and inspiration! Alternatively, you may reach out to us at our email We are here for you.♡

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