TIA reader Justine recently had her acrylic nails removed, and she is now enduring nail "GOP" (Growing Out Period). GOP is the seemingly endless period of time in which ones' natural nails look absolutely horrible and your moods swing back and forth between angrily vowing to never use acrylics again to desperately calling every nail salon in town to get an emergency appointment to have the acrylics put right back on.  Justine wrote to ask if anyone had success with products which might both disguise the damage plus strengthen the old nail surface while she endures the dreaded phase. Marta recommended the Barielle line (which had worked wonders for her dry brittle nails) and I suggested something called Orly Bonder Rubberized Base Coat.

I started using the Orly Bonder Rubberized Base Coat about 10 years ago, because I found myself in the very same situation that Justine is now in.  I had used acrylic nails for about three years, but because I was traveling internationally extensively (about 200 nights "across the ponds"  per year, and almost never in the same hotel two nights in a row), I had a very difficult time scheduling regular "fills" at home or on the road. Worse yet, the chance of finding a great acrylic nail salon open at 7:00 p.m. and "popping in" for a repair in destinations like Dubai, UAE or Istambul, Turkey was impossible. The last straw for my use of acrylic nails came when I was detained by the local police for questioning after trying (quite unsuccessfully) to have a hotel concierge find an acrylic nail salon for me (as well as arrange for the required chaperon) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Even my vanity has it's limits, and while a few years in a dark windowless prison might have been great for my sun-damaged skin and waistline, it just didn't seem like much fun.

When my acrylic nails came off, my natural nails looked and felt horrible.  Three years of "acrylic bondage" left them so thin that I could honestly feel a cool breeze wafting over their paper-thin surface. They were ragged and brittle, and had small cracks and snags across their entire surface. It seemed as if they would "catch" on every article of clothing, regularly breaking and ripping the corners.  If I had thought I could get away with wearing gloves 24-7 for the next year I would have tried it, but instead I resorted to the "hide your nails by keeping your hands in your pockets or rolled up into tight fists" ploy that only made me look like a person with really ghastly nails who was also anti-social.

Thankfully, I stumbled onto the Bonder Rubberized Base Coat and have been using it ever since with fantastic results.  During the horrible "GOP", my nails looked and felt better immediately after a coat or two of Bonder, and the Bonder absolutely helped to make them stronger and prevented them from snagging on clothing etc. You should see my ten great natural nails today.  I honestly have to trim or file them down every two weeks to keep them from getting too long, because they simply don't chip, peel, or split.

The rubberized base coat is not a typical top/bottom shiny clear coat.  It is a matt, flexible rubber coating which adheres firmly to your natural nails, and then additional nail polish adheres firmly to the rubberized bonder. It fills in tiny cracks and crevices on the nail itself, providing a great surface for your traditional natural-nail manicure, or it can be used as a  "clear" nail protector. (Note: since there is almost no shine, this would be my choice for a manicure product if I were a man). Bonder dries quickly and is almost invisible....yet your nails look great.  I do my own "french manicure", and two coats of the Bonder under my polish make my nails look perfect for about 10 days, despite the pounding that my hands and nails take every day training horses, swimming, landscaping,  etc.   If I want to go without color, I can also add one single drop of the bright red polish (which I use for my pedicure) to the bottle, shake, and I have a healthy and translucent "sheer light pink" color which lasts forever. And did I mention it is cheap? Not "economical" or a "great investment".....CHEAP!  You should be able to find Orly Bonder in beauty supply stores online for less than $10, and one bottle lasts about a year since polish changes are fewer and further in between.

Most nail technicians suggest that you remove your artificial nails every few months to let them "breath" and rejuvenate, but I don't know a single woman who does that unless forced, because the newly bare nails typically look wretched. So if you want to help the appearance of newly bared nails during the "breathing " time, give this inexpensive and effective bonder a try.Or if you want beautiful natural nails, and/or beautiful natural nails which hold a manicure for nearly two weeks, Orly Bonder is a great product to try. Start using it today, and you just might end up with ten perfect nails before summer!


Butyl Acetate, Isopropyl, Alcohol, Heptane, Ethyl Acetate, Trimethyl Pentanyl Diisobutyrate, Tosylamide/Epoxy Rsin, Polyvinyl Butyral, Nitrocellulose, Benzophenone-1, CI 26100 (Red 17), CI 60725 (Violet 2) CI 47000 (Yellow11)