Have you ever wondered how to create a long-lasting glossy manicure without the hassle of mixing, ratios, and messes? Builder gel allows the nail professional to form and shape beautiful nails quickly and effectively.
Builder gel is a type of nail enhancement or nail extension that lasts up to 3 weeks. These hard gels are used to create and build shape, giving you beautiful long and/or thick nails. They’re also perfect for simply adding strength and durability to the nail, making your mani last longer. Apply to bare natural nails or use it with nail tips or extensions. Cure with a UV or LED lamp.
Therefore, today this blog post is going to cover what builder gel is, how to use it, and how to choose. If you want to know more information, please read on.
Nail builder gel:
- Contains a number of ingredients that help to rebuild the nail structure
- Often used as a base coat before other polishes are applied
- Can be used to create a false nail
- Available in various colors
- Can be applied by itself or over other nail polishes.
Builder gel is used when you want to create length, thickness or add strength to the nail. You can apply builder gel to either natural nails for a non-chip overlay, or use it with nail tips to create extensions or enhancements. It’s much stronger than regular gel polish base coats, and the formula is a much thicker consistency than a normal base coat. They have high self-leveling properties which ensure a smooth foundation layer.
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.
let’s back up and cover the basics of the types of the products to better understand what they are and how they work on you based on their strength!
Level 1 – Nail Polish: this is the lowest level of strength. It’s a layer of color applied to your nails for looks but typically cannot give your nails much or any strength.
Level 2 – Soft Gel: all soft gels are not created equally! There is hybrid gel polish and pure gel.
Hybrid gel polish – this is the most gel that you see at salons unless they specify that they use pure gel (like a Japanese or Korean gel). Think of OPI, Beetles, Shellac, etc. It’s a gel polish that’s typically blended with another solvent or polish that helps it soak off easily/quickly. These typically don’t last as long as pure gel because it’s mixed with polish or an agent that literally helps it come off. This type of gel will give you some strength but it’s not as hard as pure gel or semi-hard gel, your nail will still feel flexible.
Pure gel – this is the type of gel that I use and recommend, like Kokoist, my favorite gel brand! It’s a literally pure gel, it’s not mixed with any other solvents to help it soak off. I also find that these products are more pigmented so you don’t need as many layers, and they’re easier to work with. They also last longer and give your nails more strength than hybrid gel polish but you can still soak them off.
Level 3 – Semi-Hard Gel: This level gives your nails a ton of strength, and this is where these base gels are that I’ll be talking about! This is a blend between hard gel and pure gel, but it can still be soaked off! You can use it to give your nails insane strength as you get with hard gel, and you can build nails (like nail extensions, if you want!). I’ll be using the terms builder and base gel and builder base gel interchangeably in this blog because I only use the Kokoist x Nail thoughts gels really, and they are both a builder, a base, and also a color ALL IN ONE!
Level 4 – Hard Gel: This is the strongest level of gel, and it cannot be soaked off, it can only be filed off. I personally don’t use hard gel because I find semi-hard gel to be hard/strong enough for me!
Level 5 – Dip/Acrylic: I haven’t used acrylic since nail school and I personally hate it. I found it really hard to use compared to gel and usually you get gel over the top of your acrylic anyways, so if you get the benefits of a hard product and all of the ease of gel, why not just use semi-hard or pure gel?! Of course, acrylics are good for people with SUPER long nails since they’re being built, but I’m only talking about doing this for natural nails and helping them grow in this post, so let’s just focus on that!
So which level does builder gel fall into?
Builder gel can either be semi-hard or hard. It’s used to build an apex on your nail (more on that below) or build a nail extension if you want to!
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.
Builder gel can come in a jar or can come in a bottle which is also called brush on builder gel or 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.
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.
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.
The main active ingredient of nail builder gel is a form of vitamin B3 known as nicotinamide.
It is a vitamin that is needed for the body to manufacture new cells.
A small amount of other ingredients are also present in the gel including:
Sesamol is a plant extract that has been used in the past to treat wounds
Tocopheryl acetate is a vitamin and an antioxidant that protects the nail from harmful UV rays
Vitamin C and alpha-hydroxy acids are both antioxidants that protect the nail from free radicals.
What Is Builder Gel Used For?
Builder gel is used in two ways. You can use it on natural nails or build nail extensions using builder gel.
On Natural nails:
Weak nails to give them strengths
Nails that have ridges in them to fill in the ridges
As a base coat to help manicure last longer
To create nail extension:
To create nail extension with forms or nail tips
To re-fill or overlay previously applied for nail extensions
The way you use builder gel depends on the particular brand you buy. Some require you to use a primer or base coat first, while others, such as Glossify, can be applied straight to the nail for a speedier application.
If you are applying builder gel to the natural nail only, it can be applied and built up to the desired thickness and shape in a number of coats, curing between each layer. If you are extending the nail, simply apply your nail tip or form before applying the gel and creating the length.
Generally, the steps you would take to apply a builder gel would be something like this:
1. Prepare the nail – clean, file and buff the nails. Push back and trim the cuticle. Wipe the nail with a lint-free pad using nail cleanser or acetone.
2. Apply base coat or primer – if your builder gel requires you to use one. Cure under your nail lamp if needed. If you don’t need a primer, you can skip this step and save some time.
3. Apply the builder gel – if you are using a bottled builder gel, you can paint it on. If you have a pot of gel, you will need to use your own nail brush to pick up a small amount. Stay away from the cuticle and be sure to cover the free edge. Builder gel tends to ‘self-level’, so allow it to settle for a few seconds to make sure it is applied evenly.
4. Cure under LED/UV lamp – your chosen builder gel should state what type of lamp it needs to be used with and how long to cure it for.
5. Apply a second coat – if needed, apply your second coat and cure again.
6. Clean the nail – use a lint-free wipe and isopropyl alcohol to remove any tackiness.
7. File the nail – perfect your client’s desired shape and even out any areas that might be too thick.
8. Apply color or top coat – wipe the nail clean again, and apply your top coat. If your client wants a different color, paint on your gel polish and cure again first.
9. Finishing touches – once all your gel is applied and properly cured, your manicure is complete! Add a touch of cuticle oil and let your client know of any aftercare advice before they leave.
As discussed, a gel nail extension is 100% soaked off in pure acetone. However, there are a few steps to do so that you can easily remove them.
File as much of the nail extension as you can use a low grit nail file like Mitty 100/100 grit nail file. This step can be much easier if an e-drill (e-file) like Mitty portable nail drill and using a Smooth Top Barrel-Medium nail drill bit if you are trained on how to use an e-drill.
Now we need to soak the nails with pure acetone. Cut a cotton pad into 4 pieces. Now place acetone on the pad, slip the pad inside your Mitty Polish off Soakies and slide the Soakies onto your finger. If you don’t have Mitty Polish off Soakies, you can use aluminum foil however aluminum foil is harder to use and it’s not environmentally friendly.
Wait 10-15 minutes and remove the Soakies. Use a cuticle pusher to remove softened gel. If all products are not removed, repeat step 1-3 until all gel products are removed.
Once all gel products are removed, buff the surface of your nails and apply a good quality cuticle oil like Mitty 100% certified Australian organic Cuticle Juice.
QUICK APPLICATION AND REMOVAL
A good quality builder gel like Mitty brush on builder gel is designed so that it keeps its shape which means it reduces the application time. Plus it needs minimal filing. This means you will have fabulous nails a lot faster than in other applications.
Builder gel is also 100% soaked off in pure acetone very similar to how you would remove gel polish.
FEELS LIKE YOUR OWN NAILS WITH POLISH ON
Builder gel formula, when compared to acrylic and dipping (SNS) has a lighter more flexible feel on the nail and feels no heavier than a gel polish manicure.
Builder gel is designed to be super strong. It can be used to create an extension over a nail tip or you can use nail form and to add strength to the natural nail. You can also use it on natural nails without nail tips.
It can also be used instead of a regular gel polish base coat to create a long-wearing, durable and strong foundation base if you experience nail breaks or you are looking to grow your natural nails.
Thanks to its strong and durable formulation
Mitty Brush on Builder gel can be applied thinner than conventional builder gels giving the nail a sleek profile and look.
Less damaging to nail due to limited filing required and being able to soak off
No strong fumes
Can be done at home or salon
Can be used on natural nails, tips or forms. No limitation.
There are many types of nail builder gels on the market, so it can be hard to decide which one is best for you.
It’s important to choose a gel that is compatible with your nails and skin type, as well as the product you’re using it with.
Each has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to choose the right one for your needs.
Some things to consider when choosing a gel:
- How fast does it dry?
- How long does it last?
- Is it easy to remove?
Builder gel is a popular gel nail overlay used to create strong, long-lasting lengths for natural nails. Builder gel is available in an assortment of colors in both hard and soft gel types. The different gel options make designing custom gel manicures possible for beginners and seasoned nail techs.
In conclusion, builder gel for nails is a great way to get strong and healthy nails. It is a long-lasting product that can be used to improve the appearance of your nails.
The gel can be applied at home, is easy to use, and comes in a variety of colors.
We highly recommend using builder gel for nails if you are looking for a way to strengthen your nails and make them look their best.