The Ultimate Guide to Sculpture Gel
There are so many gels for you to choose from when doing your nails or a client's nail set. So, you probably want to try Sculpture Gel and see its beauty and difference among the other gel products, and we can't blame you! Here's our guide on Sculpture gel and how you can use it effectively.
What is a Sculpture gel?
Sculpture gel is a hybrid gel of acrylic and hard gel. You can use it with nail forms, overlay on natural nails, or use it with Sculpture Gel Tips (dual form tips). Sculpture Gel, a.k.a. As a poly gel to other nail professionals, it has a thick consistency but is not messy and runny, making it a go-to nail product among nail techs. You can use the Sculpture Gel to shape, build color, and design over it, making it a versatile nail product.
When using it, you can apply the dap method then use your Sculpture Gel Brush and start dabbing. Afterward, you may cure your iGel Beauty Sculpture Gel on a regular setting since it is a hybrid and requires a low heat setting. Sculpture Gel should be on your nail collection if you're looking for an easier application and a manageable gel!
What are our best-selling Sculpture Gel products?
How to use the Sculpture Gel?
- Sculpture Gel
- Sculpture Gel Brush: To manipulate the gel
- Small Container/Bowl/Dish: To pour alcohol or monomer into.
- Slip Solution/ 90% Alcohol: Acts as the liquid to move and mold the gel.
- UV/LED Lamp: For curing (hardening process).
- Nail Form or Sculpture Gel Nail Tips: Used to help guide the desired shape.
- Hand Buffer/E-File: To shape your nails.
- Dust Brush: To remove the dust after filing.
- Applying over Natural Nails
- Applying with Sculpture Gel Dual Form Tips
- Applying over Nail Tips (e.g., Pro Gel Tips or Universal Stiletto Tips)
You can read our guide about Pro Gel Tips here.
How to apply the Sculpture Gel?
STEP 1: Prep your nails
Prepping your nails is essential whether you're doing dip powder nails or DIY press ons. Here's our nail prep starter guide on how you can prep your nails effectively for gorgeous gel nail art! Your Sculpture Gel will come off too quickly when the nails are not prepped properly. We recommend taking your brush, dipping it in your alcohol slip solution, and coating the surface you are applying the Sculpture Gel on first. Afterward, you may shape it into place. If you want to learn more about gel, you can read our gel beginner guide and our common mistakes write-up.
STEP 2: Apply the gel base, then cure
Since the 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.
Natural Nails Overlay- You can overlay the sculpture gel onto your natural nails when applying.
Sculpture Gel Nail Tips- Specifically designed for Sculpture Gel. 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 press-on nails with gel that hardens.
You can use our Gel Base Coat when you’re applying sculpture gel and curing it in between.
Curing Time: LED (30 seconds), UV/LED (60-90 seconds), UV (2 minutes) depending on lamp wattage
STEP 3: 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 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.
STEP 4: 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.
STEP 5: 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: The Sculpture Gel is not self-leveling, unlike the acrylic dip powder, 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.
STEP 6: Place the nail form
When 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 both sides, top and bottom (underside of the nail).
Since Sculpture Gel is a gel, cover it with a UV lamp and keep it away from direct sunlight. This will ensure that your brush does not get damaged/dry/hard.
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 of Sculpture Gel.
STEP 7: Design your nails (Optional)
You may choose to add your favorite gel polish to top it off or leave it be. It's your preference on what design or other Sculpture Gel colors you want to add to your nails.
STEP 8: Remove the Nail Form ( Optional)
Slowly remove the Sculpture Gel dual form or the Nail Form after designing your nails!
Step 9: Shape or lightly buff your nail tips
If you have already reached your desired shape without buffing, you may skip this step and move on to the next.
STEP 10: Use a Top Coat
Before you cure your nails, apply a No Cleanse Top Coat.
STEP 11: Cure your nails
The best thing about our nail lamps is that they are compatible with Sculpture Gel! All our lamps have a low heat setting, except the LED Mini Lamp, which would still perform well with the Sculpture Gel. Don't forget to 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 five 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).
How to Remove Sculpture Gel?
STEP 1: Cut off any excess nail length
If you notice excess nail length, feel free to cut them off with a nail cutter to trim your nails to your desired shape or length. You can read our blog about the 8 popular nail shapes you should know about!
STEP 2: Buff the surface of the Sculpture Gel
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.
STEP 3: Use cotton balls and submerge your nails
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).
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.
STEP 4: Use aluminum foil and gently scrape the gel off
Use aluminum foil to wrap up the top of the finger. The less air you let inside, the quicker the Sculpture Gel will become loose. Wait 10-12 minutes. After 10 minutes, unfold the aluminum foils and use a cuticle pusher to scrape off the remaining Sculpture Gel gently.
STEP 5: Buff your nails
If tiny remnants of Sculpture Gel remain, you can gently buff off the residue with a hand buffer or sanding band.
Bring out the artist in you with our Sculpture gel! There are so many nail masterpieces you can create with this gel product. We highly encourage you to keep on practicing your craft, and you’ll master it! If you want to see other product tutorials and connect with other iGel Beauties, join our iGel Beauty Facebook community!