Home » Nails Guide » What is Builder Gel? Everything you need to know

What is Builder Gel? Everything you need to know

Last Updated on July 8, 2022 by SulaBeauty Staff

Gel nails or gel manicures (most commonly referred to as artificial nails) first appeared in the United States of America in the 1980s but they had limited success.

This was due to the manufacturers of gel lights and the gel itself had not realized the need to work together in order to ensure the safe use of this material on natural nails.

They made a powerful comeback in the 1990s with much improved formulas. By the 2000s, additional innovations like 3D Gels, Soak-Off Gel Nails, and Polish-Gel Hybrids were on the market. By the year 2017, 86% of salons provided gel polish services and 55% offered gel manicure and gel extension services to their customers.

Builder Gel is also commonly used as gel nails, get extensions, gel polish, gel manicures, or other artificial nails. It is a frequently used term in the beauty industry for when one asks to do a manicure or a pedicure.

You must have come across this phrase from someone in your circle, most-followed nail technicians, on social media, or even in magazines.

What is Builder Gel?

Builder gel is a medium to thick viscosity gel that can be used to create and build the shape of the nails, add length, enhance thickness, and/or strengthen the nails. When applied over extensions or nail beds, it is called a gel overlay.

Builder Base can be used for various things and treatments like:

–      As a gel polish base coat to add strength

–      As a builder gel (the way the name goes) to extend natural nails over a form or nails

–      For a gel overlay on natural nail enamels or gel polish nail enamels

–      Infill gel nails after the growth of natural nails

–      For nail art to decorate

–      Add glitter and other items for enhancement

How long does Builder Gel last?

Builder Gel is designed to protect the nails from any UV damage, unknown exposure, and other chemicals. Once the process of application is complete, it can last anywhere between 15 days to 7 weeks depending on how well it is applied, how often the Builder Gel is applied on the nails and if the instructions to apply the Builder Gel were followed successfully.

Does Builder Gel help nails grow?

Yes, they do. It can fill in cracks, breaks in the nail surface to make them appear even, strengthens by growing new cells, and nourishes them with vitamins and moisturizers.

There are a few benefits of using Builder gel:

–      Helps natural nails grow and makes them stronger

–      Adds luster and noticeable smoothness after the process is complete

–      Reduces the brittle on natural nails and lets them grow

–      Builder Gel can be used directly on the cuticle of the nails

What are Builder Gels made of?

Builder Gels are made of Vitamin B3, Sesamol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Vitamin C, and Alpha-Hydroxy Acids.

Vitamin B3:

It is the main active ingredient known as nicotinamide. This vitamin is needed for the body to manufacture new nail cells.


It is a plant extract that is used to treat wounds. This has been a practice for many decades.

Tocopheryl Acetate:

It is a vitamin and an antioxidant that protects the nails from harmful ultraviolet rays and maintains the natural nail form.

Vitamin C and Alpha-Hydroxy Acids:

These are antioxidants that protect the natural nails from free radicals.

What Color is Builder Gel?

Builder Gels come in eight different shades. Some are transparent, others are hues of pinks and neutrals like ‘All Natural’, ‘Neutral’, ‘Nude’, ‘Skin’, ‘Pink’, ‘Pink Nude’, ‘Rose’ and ‘Soft Pink’.

How to use Builder Gel?

Nail technician needs the practice to applying the Builder gel properly so that it lasts longer. Below are basic guidelines on the application process of the same:

1.  To buff the nails with a clean nail buffer.

2.  To apply the nail dehydrator product to each nail tip to remove any presence of dirt, debris, or oils.

3.  To apply the base gel (also known as the foundation gel) and cure it under a UV or LED light machine.

4.  To check and apply the type of nail form preferred onto the natural nails (if).

5.  Brushing and applying Builder Gel bead onto the apex of the nails and following it down to the free edge of the nails.

6.  Tap and drag the gel to avoid gel streaking.

7.  Ensure to apply the Builder Gel down the nail form to create nail extensions and shape the extension as per liking and length.

8.  To cure the nails until they are dry, then file each nail and the final step is to shape the nails. The more time used to dry the Builder Gel before the filing, the longer the nails will last.

9. Wipe the inhibition layer from each nail with a cleanser.

10. Apply colored gel polish or regular nail polish over the Builder Gel and finish with a gel-compatible top coat.

11.  To cure the nails to complete the Builder Gel manicure.

12. To add nail art (optional).

Do you need a base coat for Builder Gel?

Yes and no.

If you are using Builder Base as a gel polish base coat then you do not need to file the product. Although, you must simply ensure to apply 2 thin layers or coats of the Builder Gel and then apply your color coat or top coat on top. Do not remove the inhibition layer from the nail plate.

If you are creating a gel nail then you will need to remove the inhibition layer and refine the nail tip shape by filing.

Is Builder Gel better than acrylic?

It is often a personal preference whether to go with Builder Gel or Acrylic Extensions.

Acrylic Nail Extensions appear to be harder, less flexible to work with and break more easily and hurt the nails more. Whereas Builder Gel appears natural, can be applied quickly, is more uniform, and has a high-shine finish on the nails.

On the other hand, if someone has soft nails, then Acrylic Nail Extensions can provide that extra layer of protection as they can only be well applied, cared for, and removed professionally by a nail tech.

Also, they are preferred over Builder Gel when choosing long lengths of nail extensions.

Hard Gel, Soft Gel, Builder Gel, Gel Polish – What’s the Difference?

As a professional nail technician, you need to be well-versed in all things nails. That includes the different types of gel polishes and what sets them apart.

In this blog post, we’ll break down the differences between hard gel, soft gel, builder gel, and gel polish so you can make an informed decision about which type of gel is best for your needs.

Let’s get started!

Hard Gel:

Hard gels are used to build and create nail extensions as they are more able in adding length when compared to soft gels. Hard builder gels are similar in properties to acrylic nail extensions but still need to be cured under a UV or LED light.

In order to remove these, they usually need to be filed off and hence, it can cause more damage to the natural nail tips. Some examples of hard gels are Profile Gellux UV or LED GEL and IBD Builder Gel.

Soft Gel:

Soft Gels are very popular nowadays in salons, social circles, and the industry itself. It is because their durability properties are similar to hard gels but easier for the removal process.

Soft builder gel is also known as “soak off” gel and can be gently lifted away with acetone whenever the need to remove arises.

They are used for a more natural, softer effect and cannot be used for some lengths are they will not be as long lasting as the hard gel for this purpose.

Builder Gel V/S Gel Polish

In order to create the shapes of the nail tips and the lengths, one can get either the hard builder gels or the soft builder gels. However, it is of utmost importance to keep in mind that both these Builder Gels are different from regular gel polishes.

These gels are thinner in consistency and whilst they do enable the nail tips to strengthen but are not as hard as Builder Gels.

One can paint gel polish over the nail or over the Builder Gel. For it to give all the benefits, one must ensure to use both within the system brand.

How long does it take Builder Gel to cure?

It takes about ninety seconds for each layer of Builder Gel to cure once applied. To be precise, thirty seconds under an LED light/lamp and about two minutes under a UV lamp; for each layer.

Is Builder Gel bad for your nails?

Builder Gel is breathable for your natural nails with the ingredients used to make it. Hence, it is advisable for those with weaker nails to use this over any other form as cuticle oil can penetrate this gel and reach the nail bed.

It increases flexibility on weak and brittle nails which means that they are much less likely to break.

Although, it must be used, removed, and re-filled by a professional nail technician. If not, and if done by self, it can prove to be harmful.


To sum it all up, Builder Gel for nails is a great option to get strong and healthy natural nails. They have a long-lasting property and can definitely be used to improve the appearance of your nails. The gel can be applied at home, is easy to use, comes in a variety of colors, and can be maintained without a hassle.

It is highly recommended to use Builder Gel over other formulated gels or acrylics on the market. Also, it is preferably performed by a professional.

Leave a Comment