What is builder gel? Everything you need to know.

Confused about builder gels? So was I at first! There are so many types of nail extensions these days it can be hard to keep track! In this post, I’m going to walk you through what you need to know about builder gels. So, what is builder gel? Let’s find out!

Builder gel is a liquid gel that’s used to make nails longer or strengthen natural nails. You paint it on like nail polish or apply it with a brush, then cure it with a lamp. Builder gel is much stronger than gel polish and lasts for 2 to 3 weeks.

Alrighty, now that we have the basics down, let’s dive a bit deeper and see if it’s right for you.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What is builder gel?

Builder gel is a thick gel that is used to strengthen natural nails or to create nail extensions.

It comes in a bottle with a brush applicator (sometimes referred to as brush-on gel or builder gel in a bottle).

But you can also get it in a pot, in which case you’d apply it with a nail brush like what you’d use for acrylics.

BG’s are much stronger and more hardwearing than gel polish, so don’t chip as easily and can last for 2-3 weeks with good application.

These types of gels can be used with tips or forms to add length in the same way as acrylic nails.

But you can also use it as an overlay – i.e just paint or brush it on over your natural nails without adding any length.

Why use builder gels?

They’re great for beginners because they go on like nail polish (although a fair bit thicker) and unlike acrylic, they don’t dry until you cure under a UV or an LED lamp.

This means you have plenty of time to get the hang of the application without worrying about it setting too quickly!

It’s also self-leveling, so no need to worry about your nails looking uneven.

BG’s tend to look more natural than other types of nail extensions, which is something to think about if you’re trying to decide between gel and acrylic nails.

Some (hard) builder gels are just as strong, but slightly more flexible than acrylic nails. This is great if your nails tend to break often!

BG is a thicker and stronger alternative to gel nail polish, so switching will likely mean fewer chips to deal with and a longer-lasting mani.

Whether you want to do an overlay, add length to your nails, or do infills, BG will get the job done.

What is builder gel in a bottle?

Builder gel in a bottle is a type of super-strong hard gel that’s designed to create a full set of nail extensions.

As the name suggests, it comes in a bottle and has a brush with it just like a regular nail polish bottle.

“Builder in a bottle” is not a brand, it’s a type of nail product. There are many brands of BG in a bottle to choose from.

It can be used with either tips or forms to add length, but you can also use it for overlays too, to make the natural nails stronger.

You cure BG in a bottle with a UV lamp (2 minutes) or an LED lamp (30 seconds).

When you apply BG in a bottle, you need to cure each finger separately.

You can’t do your whole hand at once and then cure because the gel does tend to move about a bit.

This is totally normal, so don’t be scared if the gel moves out past your natural width!

Gel nails are easy to file, so you can just file the edges off once you’re done curing.

There are some gels, like Acrygel (which is actually a mix of gel and acrylic), that will stay in place longer so you can do more than one nail at a time.

Builder gels are extremely hard-wearing and need to be filed down (preferably with an E-file) before soaking to be removed.

Does builder gel help nails grow?

Yes, BG can help you to maintain a good length when it comes to your natural nails.

But you need to take some important steps during removal to keep your natural nails from breaking.

It’s important that you file as much gel down as you can and do it gently.

Also, don’t be tempted to pick at, or scrape your nails off as this will wreck your natural nails!

What are builder gels made of?

You may be surprised to hear this, but chemically, hard gels are actually very similar to acrylics.

Both acrylic nails and BG nails are made from a mixture of monomers and oligomers (monomer chains).

The only difference is that acrylic nails are designed to cure when the powder and liquid monomer are combined, while gel nails are designed to cure when exposed to UV or LED light.

What is builder gel base?

This is the term used when you use builder gels as a base for something else.

So you might do a clear BG base, for example, then apply a colored gel polish over the top of your BG base.

Some people think that BG base is a separate product, it’s not.

The only products you would use underneath build gels are dehydrators, primers, or in some cases, regular gel base coat. 

What is builder gel liquid?

Builder gel liquid is another name for builder gels. 

It’s a thick, viscous liquid that is used to create nail extensions or to build up the natural nail to make it stronger.

BG comes in a bottle with a brush and is applied to the nails in much the same way as regular nail polish.

It needs to be cured under either a UV or LED lamp.

Do you need basecoat with builder gel?

Not always, it depends on the specific products you’re using.

Sometimes, a little bit of dehydrator or primer is enough to create a strong bond and you can go straight in with the BG without applying a base coat.

It’s always best to check the instructions for your specific product.

What colour is builder gel?

It usually comes in clear, white, and natural-looking pink colors.

You can also get browns, nudes, and other creamy shades.

I haven’t seen shades like purple, blue, and red though, so if you like those colors, you’ll need to put gel nail polish on top of your gel nails.

This is easy to do and you can remove it and change the color easily without damaging your (hard) gel nails.

Is builder gel hard or soft gel?

This question can be very confusing because you can get both soft and hard builder gels.

Think of it as a scale going from soft to hard, or strong to even stronger.

Soft gels are still extremely hard-wearing, but they are a little easier to remove and are usually advertised as “soak-off gels”.

Glossify builder gel is a good example of a soft BG.

Hard gels are a little tougher and are the most similar to acrylics.

IBD Builder Gel and Profile Gellux UV/LED are examples of hard BG’s.

How many layers do I need?

1 to 2 layers is enough for a nice nail.

If you’re doing 2 layers, try to make the first one thin and the second one thicker.

Don’t put the layers on too thick or the light won’t be able to penetrate and your nails won’t cure.

How long does it take builder gel to cure?

Each layer takes 30 seconds to cure under an LED nail lamp and 2 minutes under a UV lamp.

Here’s a good How To Use Builder Gel vid

Can you put builder gel over acrylic nails?

Yes, you can apply BG over the top of acrylics if you want.

Make sure that you file the acrylic layer down thin first so that your nails don’t look too chunky!

Can you soak builder gels off?

Yes, you can soak builder gels off in acetone.

Make sure you file them down gently first to remove as much gel as you can without going down to the nail plate.

Then soak in a bowl or wrap your fingers up with acetone-soaked cotton balls for 10 minutes.

Remove and gently scrape off any excess gel with an orangewood stick, or repeat the soaking again if needed.

Does builder gel have a tacky layer?

Yes, BG does have a tacky layer (aka inhibition layer) just like regular gel nail polish.

You may want to remove this layer with rubbing alcohol before applying your next coat of gel polish or BG.

Is builder gel bad for your nails?

No. builder gel is not bad for your nails if you use it correctly and take proper care of them.

However, like with anything else, overuse can lead to problems.

Make sure you give your nails a break from BG and other artificial nails every 3 months to give your natural nails a chance to breathe.

And always make sure you’re using high-quality products from a reputable brand.

Cheap, knock-off products are more likely to cause problems.

When used correctly, BG can actually be good for your nails! It can help strengthen weak and brittle nails and can even help your natural nails grow!

A lot of people find that nails that are done with BG cause less damage than acrylics, so in that sense, they can be better for your natural nails.

Final thoughts

BG is a great choice if you want strong, long-lasting nails.

It’s important to use high-quality products and to take proper care of your nails, but other than that, BG is a relatively low-maintenance option.

There are many different BG products available, so you can definitely find something to suit your taste and your application style.

If you’re looking for a durable, long-lasting option, BG is definitely worth considering!