What is Builder Gel?

If you’re new to DIY nail polishing, then you might feel nervous and overwhelmed in the beginning. Nail polish and fake nails have come a long way over the years, and if you want to save yourself some money and time by doing your own nails, then you will be among many others who are doing the same thing. However, you need to learn about the best products to use for the nail ideas you might be trying to create. You are likely to hear about builder gel as you begin purchasing the supplies and products that you need, but you may have no idea what this product is and what it can do.

What is builder gel?

Builder gel is a material that enables you to add strength, length, and thickness to nails. It is applied to nails, and when nail polish is added on top, you will be left with a beautiful and nearly perfect chip-resistant finish. Builder gel is essentially what’s used to create the popular “gel nails,” which are, of course, a popular alternative to acrylic nails. There are many types of builder gel, and some work differently than others. Two main types are soft and hard builder gel. Hard gels that make up most gel nails must be soaked off, while soft gel must be buffed off.

How to use builder gel at home?

woman hand lies in an ultraviolet lamp

If you’re going to be creating your own nail designs at home, you might consider using builder gel. Builder gel can certainly be used at home, just like gel and acrylic. Here are step-by-step instructions for applying builder gel at home:

1. Prepare your nails – first, you need to start with clean, dry nails. Clean your natural nails using a nail cleanser, and then you can file and buff them until they’re smooth and shaped in a desirable manner. Finally, you can make sure the cuticles are pushed back and trimmed.

2. Primer your nails – if your builder gel requires that you use one, apply a base or primer to your nails according to the instructions provided. Cure nails under a UV lamp, if a base or primer coat is applied.

3. Apply builder gel – apply the builder gel according to the instructions on the label. Many types of builder gels come in a bottle with a brush, which makes it easy to apply.

4. Cure your nails under the appropriate lamps – since all builder gels are different, you need to determine if yours requires that you cure your nails under a UV or LED lamp and be sure you have the appropriate lamp prior to applying the gel. Then, cure your nails under the required lamp.

5. Apply a second coat – if necessary, apply a second coat of builder gel, which will require another round of curing underneath the LED or UV lamp.

6. Clean the nail up – using a lint-free cloth and some isopropryl alcohol, wipe each nail clean, ensuring to remove any tackiness that may be present.

7. File the nail – use a nail file to shape up the nail and even out any areas where the builder gel may have been applied too thickly.

8. Apply the top coat – you can add the top coat or color and then cure it under the lamp. Once your nails are dry, you are all done.

Is builder gel similar to acrylic?

Builder gel is very similar to acrylic, because before it dries, builder gel can be manipulated in the same manner as acrylic, in order to attach nail extensions, cover nail imperfections, and more. One very noticeable difference is the fact that even the hard variation of builder gel is a lot softer than acrylic, as acrylic is extremely hard. However, despite the fact that hard builder gel is a lot softer and more flexible than acrylic, it still provides the nails with a protective shell and doesn’t chip for up to three weeks.

Is builder gel safe?

Builder gel is said to be relatively safe, especially when compared with acrylic, which emits an extremely strong odor that can cause sensitive individuals to potentially experience respiratory issues. Additionally, acrylic has the tendency to damage your nails, but builder gel is not known for causing damage to natural nails. Builder gel is not as safe as having natural nails, because it doesn’t contain some chemicals, but compared to the chemicals in other types of nail products, builder gel is relatively safe.

Can builder gel be used with acrylic?

artificial nails in a beauty salon

Builder gel can be used with acrylic, and if you opt to use this gel on top of your acrylic nails, then you can certainly do so. However, most people who use acrylic simply stick with that material to construct their nails and design how they desire. Since builder gel and acrylic both work similarly, there’s usually no reason to use both. However, if you did, for some reason, decide to use these two products together, it is possible.

One reason why some people might opt to use builder gel with acrylic is because they’re trying to create more of a natural look, but they want the extreme durability of acrylic. Despite being extremely durable and long-lasting, acrylic nails have the tendency to appear unnatural, depending on the design, making it obvious that they’re fake. However, builder gel enables nails to look more natural, which is a definite plus for many people.


Builder gel is a very helpful product that can make creating long and strong nails a lot easier. Not only can you use builder gel to make your natural nails appear longer and thicker, but you can also use it to provide protection for your nails, so they can grow. If you want to learn even more about builder gel, you can ask your local nail salon specialist or watch some of the many online videos regarding this popular new product.

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