23 Helpful Builder Gel Tips and FAQ's 
Here are some of our best tips, tricks and FAQs for using builder gel for nail art.
Today we are going to discuss what is builder gel and specifically builder gel for nail art and DIY manicures. Have you ever wanted to know how to use builder gel? It can be a little tricky because it's thick and viscous. With these tips, you'll be able to create beautiful nails in no time.
Builder gel is a type of gel that can be used to create a number of different designs. With the right tools and techniques, you can create anything from simple nail art to more complex designs.
One thing you might love about builder gel is that it has very little to no aroma, it will give you a manicure that can last 4-5 weeks and with practice, it's super easy to use. Builder gel will create strength, length and thickness on your natural nail or nail tip. And for those who have weak or thin nails, a coat of builder gel might be exactly what you need to start growing your own nails longer.
Builder gel is thicker than regular gel polish. You will still need a lamp for curing. You can purchase builder gel in a pot or a brush on builder gel depending on the brand you choose.
Keep reading for our top builder gel tips, tricks and how-to's!
BUILDER GEL TIPS AND FAQ's
1. Builder gel is permanent. If you are someone who likes to change your nails often or likes to try new shapes throughout the month then builder gel might not be the best option. With proper prep, builder gel on nails can last 4 weeks or more.
2. Use a quality builder gel from a reputable company. Builder gel is not overly expensive so do choose a brand that has really good feedback and a good reputation.
Read our article Best Builder Gels to see the list of the top selling builder gel brands.
3. Builder gel requires a lamp for curing. An LED lamp will cure the builder gel more quickly than a UV lamp.
4. Start with clean nails and hands. Wash your hands about 20 minutes before using the builder gel and make sure they are totally dry before going ahead with a builder gel manicure. Pay attention to the nail itself and make sure there is absolutely no moisture present.
5. Pre-measure the nail tips or forms. If you are using gelly tips or forms, have everything ready to go. When using a nail tip, be sure that it fits your natural nail properly. If you need to, you can adjust by filing the nails so that it gives you a nice and snug fit. Cut the nail tips to the desired length before using the builder gel.
6. Use a dehydrator on your natural nail. Preparing your natural nail plate is the most important step when using builder gel. A quality dehydrator will get rid of the oils and dry up the cuticle area.
7. Use an acid free primer. Nail tips and the natural nail must be gently buffed and have bonder or primer applied. This will prevent lifting of the gel over time. The best primer will be acid free to ensure a proper bond with the gel. Apply the primer in a thin layer. Look for an acid free protein bond primer.
8. Never stir builder gel. Take the builder gel out of the pot gently to prevent bubbles. The best way to take builder gel out of the pot is to insert your brush into the gel and slowly bring it toward the lip of the pot and then up.
9. Avoid getting gel on the skin or cuticle. If you cure the gel that's laying on top of skin, this is going to eventually lift. Lifting can cause your manicure to be ruined after just a few days. Lifting can also encourage bacteria to grow beneath the gel and nail plate.
10. Glitter and embeds should lay as flat as possible. Builder gel is quite thick and if you are using embeds like flat shells or large glitter pieces, make sure they are laying as flat as possible so that there are no air bubbles. Using a good quality UV glue is the best way to apply glitter and embeds onto the primer before adding the builder gel.
11. Use a small fineliner brush to get the gel even around the cuticle and sides. The best brushes for this are tiny detail brushes. You can use those to move the builder gel to the cuticle without going over. Builder gel is self leveling so when you put it onto the nail, stay a little bit away from the cuticle area because it will eventually spread slowly. You never want to flood the cuticle with builder gel.
12. Remove any builder gel from the skin before curing. Using a silicone tool, you can remove the builder gel from your skin easily.
13. Check all areas of the nail or tip to make sure it's fully covered. Move your hand around or the tip around to examine all areas, especially the sides. Let the builder gel level for about 10 seconds before curing.
14. Tip the nail upside down if it's pooling. If you have found that you added too much gel, or the apex is not being formed, then turn your nail upside down for about 10-15 seconds and see if that helps.
15. Use alcohol or slip to remove the sticky layer. When builder gel cures, it will have a sticky layer on top. The best way to remove the sticky layer is with 70% Isopropyl alcohol. Use reusable cotton rounds or paper towel that won't leave any fibers behind.
16. A 180 grit nail file or efile can be used to shape the builder gel once it is cured. Do be very careful not to file into the glitter and embeds. Builder gel files off pretty easily so just take off a bit at a time.
Read our article: Best Curing Lamps For Gel Polishes
17. Always follow the manufacturers directions when using their builder gel. If the brand also offers the dehydrator or primers, try to stay with the same brand as their formulas are meant to work together.
18. Apply a no wipe top coat. Sometimes we have found that if mixing different brands the no wipe top coat might separate before curing. Always test to make sure the supplies you are using will work together. Stay with the same brand when using nail art products whenever possible as their formulas are meant to work together.
19. Give the builder gel a final cure of 60 seconds.
20. Clean brushes by wiping them with a lint free cloth after each use. If your brushes need a deeper cleaning then the best way to do this is to put the alcohol in a dappen dish or shallow dish and dip the brush into it. Then on a piece of paper towel, move the brush around to remove all of the gel. Repeat if needed.
21. Keep the builder gel away from your curing lamps. Builder gel cures and gets super hard with UV and LED nail lamps. So when you are curing your nails, be sure that the lid is on the builder gel or that the builder gel is covered completely from the light.
22. You will get better over time with practice. Builder gel can definitely build some amazing nail extensions and ideas. It's pretty easy to use, even for a beginner nail artist. Like all nail art supplies, builder gel does take practice to get it onto the nail and then filing it to your desired nail shape. Set aside at least an hour or to learn how to use builder gel.
23. Use the same brush for builder gel and nothing else. If you dip into a base coat, then top coat, that's going to contaminate the builder gel formula. Mixing formulas can cause lifting. So do keep a dedicated brush that is only used for builder gel and label it if needed.
We hope you found this article helpful as you try to use builder gel. Please visit us again soon for more nail art ideas and reviews of the latest nail art products on the market. Thanks for reading!
MORE NAIL ART ARTICLES
Watch this video how to use builder gel on our YouTube Channel
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