Adding Length to Your Natural Nail Using Dual Forms and Hard Gel…

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In my last adding length tutorial I used tip extensions to add length and Gelish gel polish to add thickness/strength, but one problem with tip extensions is that the glue doesn’t last very long and the tips can pop off. I came across some videos on YouTube where people were using these things called Dual Forms (there seems to be different kinds of these nail moulds including Inverted Moulds, PopIts and the Dual Forms). I began researching them and they seemed really easy to work with so I purchased some off eBay for super cheap (you can also find them on Amazon).

The Dual Forms allow you to create a structured nail without having to use nail forms, which can be very difficult to apply and they take a lot of skill to create a sculptured tip. In my first attempt I used Gelish Hard Gel clear builder gel. Unlike the the gel polish hard gel is similar to acrylics, but unlike acrylics there is no mixing of powder and liquid and they must be cured under a UV or LED lamp. Gels are also more difficult to remove because they are nonporous therefor you must file them almost down to the natural nail before you can begin to soak them in acetone.

So here is my first attempt using both Dual Forms and Gelish hard gel…

I love these Dual Forms! They made application very easy, however, the Gelish hard gel was very difficult to use. It can be tricky to hold the nail in place while trying to fit it under the lamp, if you let go the nail tends to lift up causing air bubbles. Speaking of bubbles, I had major bubble issues with this hard gel. The more you handle it, the more it bubbles =(. Another reason I wasn’t crazy about this hard gel was I found it too flexible for a structured tip, after a couple of break I removed them and decided to try acrylic instead.

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25 Responses

  1. Ember says:

    I used gelish foundation to stick tips onto my nails instead of nail glue and it worked like a charm.

  2. Pat says:

    I have been going crazy for two weeks trying to get this right. ONE thing I have leaned is that if you can “get hold” of the MFG.s directions for hard gel product, you will learn a lot. FIRST – you can cure “Gelish” with either a UV or an LED lamp. BUT, you cannot cure a product that specifies UV with an LED light. SECOND – UV lamps come in different wattages (power) a $27 UV (9W lamp will not do a good job of “cure” You really need a 36W lamp. (MORE expensive) I was at the beauty supply store this morning, and the sales girl was tying to sell me a 9W UV lamp because is was less expensive than the 36W lamp (which was $77) In the mfg directions for each product line (hard gels) the mfg specifies how much wattage is required. Some products do require lower wattage. BUT 36W … in ALL cases will get the job done. Next step is timing….

    I bought a 36W UV light for under $20 on EBay. I figure I can watch the clock, or count, for the timing.

    I am so excited about the dual forms shown here. Can hardly wait for them to arrive. It looks sooooo easy !

    Don’t know how this post will lead as my compute “self-corrects” words, and I’ve seen some real whoppers that almost got out.

  3. Sherry says:

    I have tried using gelish hard gel with my sensationail 3060 lamp. Curing for 30 seconds. It doesn’t get very hard and pops off the next day. Should I cure longer? Thanks.

  4. Andrea says:

    There’s a few soak off builder gel’s out there.. IBD, Canni, and Peggy Sage Intelligel (!). I overlay my natural nail with them using (and extend if I snap a nail – not often because the hard gel tends to protect against snapping etc) forms. To remove, file through the colour and when you have a thin coating of gel left, soak off with acetone.

  5. Mary says:

    Is primer the same as normal uv basecoat??

  6. Susan Morris says:

    I’m a nurse and acrylic, whether it’s overlay or forms or tips, are prohibited. Where I work. I’ve had hard gel extensions before and loved them, but went back to acrylic because my long-time manicurist doesn’t do hard gel. I have very thin nails and currently have acrylic overlay on my natural nails. Can hard gel be used to apply overlay?

    • francine says:

      Are you looking for length or just protection? I recently reviewed the Madam Glam soak off gel polish and found it very similar to hard gel but easily soaks off. You could use the base and top together to protect the nail and paint over it with regular polish.

  7. Nikki says:

    Can regular nail tips be used to do this same procedure pr does it have to absolutely be the dual forms?

  8. Lyndsay says:

    I have recently started up a professional mobile salon using gelish nail polishes….I am thinking about purchasing some gelish hard builder gel to offer extensions to my clients…..does the hard gel soak off in a similar fashion to the gel polish or does it require filing off?

  9. nicole says:

    Can you use gelish nail polish on top of this? if so, would the process be the same? foundation, color, top coat?

  10. Edit profile
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    I used the ASP forms with Supernail sculpture gel. Three light layers in the form cured for 20 sec each then cured the primer for 30 seconds on nail and cured the form on nail for 2 mins. After I touch3ed up the inner curve for extra freeedge strength. Put two coats of Chinaglaze holo 2NITE and one uv ESN topcoat. Had no leakage from forms. Nice edge not too thick. Its been 3 days and the polish isnt even chipping. I like this a lot. I have carpaltunnel which caused me to stop doing my own acrylics due to filing. I had all this gel but the form work was tedious The inverted forms are a dream with gel. Who knows I may even go back to acrylic with the forms soon.

  11. I love UV gels because I do a lot of cooking and washing and nothing else stays on my fingers! I’ve seen people get the right thickness/strength with these and UV gel. You need to brush a couple of layers into the forms and cure them before doing the last layer and curing it on the nail. You have to do it backwards though. 1.topcoat 2. color (if you choose)3.two or three coats UV builder gel (cured between coats) 4. base coat in form and on finger (cure together). Even people who use these with acrylics will sometimes take off the mold, fill it and place it again to create another layer. Note: Depending on the your brand the “base coat”, “UV builder gel” and/or topcoat may be the same product. Going with one brand avoids confusion. Always start with clean dry nails. A good wash and a few swipes of rubbing alcohol can be the difference between a two week manicure and a one hour mess. Between Walmart and Ebay you can find just about anything. 🙂

  12. I’ve seen people get the correct thickness and strength with these and UV gel. You just need to brush a couple layers into the forms and cure them before you do the last layer and cure it on the nail.

  13. Jill Clark says:

    If you are not a nail professional how are you getting these professional products? I use Gelish Hard gels in my salon (nail professional of 23 years) and have no problems with lifting or breaking. My guess is these nail forms are not intended for gel since you can’t get the correct thickness needed.

    • You can find Gelish products on many online stores (Amazon and many beauty supply sites). I have no problems with this lifting from the nail, the lifting I was talking about was from the dual from lifting away from the nail before I could cure it (thus I had to hold the form down while during). Personally I found it too flexible, I’m hard on my nails and simply prefer acrylic over gel. But the dual form are meant for both gel and acrylic.

  14. sabl54 says:

    I recentely tired harmony hard gel builder. Followed all your steps in nail prep. However within 24 hours the nails lifted. As I am highly allergic to gels and acrylic I thought I give this hard gel a try. Thankfully no reaction. I washed my hands and cleansed with the nail cleanse and applied the PH bonder, put a thin layer on first just see if I would react and proceeded as usual. Came out really nice (wished better) but could not understand why they lifted. As I am concerned with touching my nail cuticle I tried to keep contact to minimal and maybe it just did the seal the edges right. Any suggestions. Thanks Sharon Lamb, Harbor City, CA

    • It’s hard for me to say why they are lifting without seeing how they were applied. Did you apply the pro bonder as well? Since this is a hard gel you need to apply a primer (pH bond is a dehydrator not a nail primer). Also, what is the condition of your nails? Do you have naturally oily nails or nails that are very smooth and shiny? If your nails are very smooth you might need to take a super fine file or buffing block and buff the surface of the nail, your not buffing away layers of the nail just creating a rough surface.

  1. July 11, 2016

    […] Adding Length to Your Natural Nail Using … – Adding Length to Your Natural Nail Using Dual Forms and Hard Gel… […]

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